This evening at Bible Study we will be taking a look at Ephesians 1 and contemplating what God has done and who we are in Christ. Much of the doubt and depression that believers experience is that unknowingly they listen to themselves more than they listen to God.
by that I mean, they listen to their own self talk on a consistent basis rather than evaluating what is being said in the light of Gods' word, believing what God has said, and affirming that what they are believing is the truth.
Because of the performance oriented Christianity that exists today, many people have a problem becoming established in the truths of Ephesians 1, because they can't wait to get to Ephesians 4. The pattern that both Paul and Peter used is to establish foundational truths, and then exhort the believer to live by faith in the light of those truths.
The pattern of knowing, considering and yielding, that Paul taught in Romans 6 is implicit in most of new Testament teaching. Jesus said, "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." He prefaced that with "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples." it is the Word of God that renews the mind.
You see, our minds are filled with wrong thoughts, wrong thinking patterns, wrong views of God, ourselves and reality. it is the word of God that gives us the truth about God, ourselves and reality. We need to daily meditate on the Word of God, and refuse to believe the errant thoughts that are produced in the flesh by our sin-tainted minds.
We need to speak the truth to ourselves.
David did this. In Psalm 42, David asked himself, "why are you cast down, O my soul?" He didn't want to believe the hopeless lies he was telling himself. then he encouraged himself to hope in God, and he affirmed that no matter what circumstances said, or self, or Satan, he would look to God and praise Him, who was his salvation and his God.
The failure of most believers is the failure to talk to themselves rather than listen to themselves.
Of course, when we speak to ourselves, we ought to follow Pauls' admonition to speak to ourselves in Psalms, and Hymns and spiritual songs.
We need to continual affirm the truth to ourselves.
So, in Ephesians, we should first of all become established in the foundational truths found in Chapter 1. When we are feeling low and despised, who should affirm the facts from the Word of God about who God is, what He is doing in our lives, (i.e. faithful testing us? disciplining us? nurturing us? being Faithful to us?) and what the truth is concerning ourselves. We are God's chosen children. we are washed, we are justified, we are sanctified in Christ. We have been made holy. We are accepted in the beloved. we are blessed. He loved us before the creation of this world. He died for our sins and is guarding us until the day we enter our wonderful inheritance in heaven with Him. It is all on His strong shoulders, and ours is to rest in Him. Now, go tell yourself that!! Self, here are the facts from God's own word, no matter how you feel.
You see, until you adopt a Christ-centered rather than a sin-centered theology, you will never live in the victory that Christ got for you at Calvary.
Keep your focus on Christ, and live in the light of what He has done for you.