What About Sin?
The Bible simplifies sin when it makes the bare bones statement that everything not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23). Or to put it another way, all unbelief is sin. (Unbelief means that we do not believe what God says about us—that as Christians we are joined to Christ, and He is one spirit with us). In view of this fact, the first thing Satan must accomplish in his effort to get any believer to commit a sinful deed is to tempt him and get him to believe he is an independent self-operating self. In other words, to see himself as an “alone I” or “just me.”
When/if Satan is able to lure us by this lie into the sin of unbelief, he gains the power to boss us on the soul/body level and lead us into any sin deed he chooses. Our union with Christ is not broken; however, our sin temporarily blocks the Holy Spirit from living through us. Confession and repentance on our part is the only way we can receive God’s grace and forgiveness and once again walk in the light—in actual fact, have Christ live through us.
The good news is that we can avoid the Satan sin trap by simply remembering and, if necessary, stating the truth that thoughts and feelings are not the real us. They are factual but not real in the eternal Spirit sense. This is the way the Bible says it: The things that are seen are temporal [fleeting] and the things that are not seen are eternal [everlasting] (2 Cor. 4:18). I am not saying that we are to ignore our thoughts and feelings. To the contrary, it is very important that we look at them honestly, and if necessary, talk about them to someone, but as quickly as possible, move past them and begin to reflect on who we are in our spirit center–we joined to Christ rather than how we feel.
Paul uses the marriage analogy in Romans 7 to help clarify this issue. He says in this passage that we must consciously enter into the reality of not only our cut-off from our old husband Satan, but also our marriage to our new husband Jesus Christ. Until we do this, we will remain under the illusion that we are independent. This puts us, unknowingly, under the outer control of our old husband Satan. And as a result, defeat and guilt are our lot.
For do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another–to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God (Romans 7:1-4).
How Temptation Really Works
The above applies to me in relation to my writing this booklet. In spite of the fact that I have known from the beginning that the task of writing this is something I have been commissioned to do, I have been plagued with the feelings of inadequacy and fear of being unable to do it. And not to be left out, my thoughts go hand in hand with my feelings–I think over and over, I am not good at writing; this is too hard so I will just quit and leave the writing to those who are good at it.” Along with thoughts like this, I feel very inadequate and fearful to attempt such a task.
Satan tried to use this approach when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness (John 4:1-11). He began his discourse with Jesus, not as we would expect, tempting Him with food (Jesus was hungry because he had fasted for forty days) or with power. He tempted Him with pride. Satan preceded all his specific temptations with this piercing statement: If you are who you say you are, you can turn these stones into bread or you can throw yourself off the temple and God will send angels to save you.
Jesus could have come back with, “Of course I am who I say I am; I am the Christ, the Son of the living God”–the “I” meaning that He had what it took in and of Himself to do what Satan tempted Him to do and go Satan’s self-for-self way. The truth, and He made it quite clear, is that He and His Father are One, and He does only what He sees His Father do (John 14:10). His strengths and His abilities are operated only in love for others, just as are those of His Father.
Let’s pick up where we left off a couple of paragraphs back with our discussion of my problem writing this paper. Is my struggle with what I am thinking and feeling? Or do I have a much bigger problem? Look at my sentence for a minute: “I am incapable of getting my thoughts organized and written down and I feel inadequate and fearful.”
Remember that Satan begins all temptation by trying to get us to see ourselves as independent or, “just me.” But as we have said again and again, there is no independent or just me individual in the universe. For that reason the answer to the question is obviously NO! Nevertheless, if I continue to repeat Satan’s lies, I put myself in danger of disobediently crossing the line from being tempted to believe I am independent to actually believing I am. If/when I do this, I commit the original sin of unbelief. This gives Satan the freedom to take control of me on the soul level, thus blocking Christ from living His life in and through me. At the same time, Satan gains the freedom to misuse me through my members (body/soul).
Avoiding the Sin Trap
The course of action I must take to avoid this Satan trap is very simple but not easy to do, because it takes my giving up my idea of the situation and saying that I am wrong. Next, I stop saying all the negative things to myself that I have been saying, and instead I say the truth about myself–and that is, “If I am Jesus Christ in my particular form and He is my operator, then what I am thinking and believing about my inability to organize and write down my thoughts cannot be true.”
What I am thinking and believing may be the way things appear to my human senses, but they are merely appearances, and we are admonished in Scripture not to judge by appearances (John 7:24). I must look through appearances to what is true in the realm of spirit. This is how Jesus lived. He saw past the outer human need to His Father, the total supply, though invisible to the human eye, right in the midst of the negative circumstance.
Next, I begin to say by faith (none of it will be fact at this stage) what I know to be real in the realm of the Spirit. The truth is that Jesus Christ through me can write anything that He wants to write as long as He is the one in control of my life. As we discussed earlier, Christ regains His rightful place as Lord (Boss) of my life when I confess my sin of unbelief and then affirm and stand in the truth: that Jesus Christ, who is my spirit operator, can and will do it through me. My responsibility is to trust Him to do so and not give up, but to continue on writing.
To go over this one last time in hopes that this further discussion will help you become very quick in dealing with your thoughts and feelings, here is an example that I hope will help you.
What To Do About the Turmoil of Feelings
We say that we are shy or fearful or smart or ugly (use your own example). Let’s pick “shy” and write it out: “I am a shy person. I have all the traits that portray someone who is shy. I have always been this way. I have been told I was shy since I was a small child.” All this is true on the body-soul level, and Satan has been free to live out shyness because my wrong believing about myself has given him the freedom to do so. But (and it is a big but) the truth is that I know that my operator is Jesus Christ and the shy label that I have put on myself is a lie.
The truth is that Christ is not shy. If He is sometimes quiet in me, that is His business. I am wrong to call myself shy because of His quietness.
At the same time, I may be feeling shy, but you now know that is just a soul feeling and it has no reality on the Spirit level. I speak the truth when I say, “I am feeling shy, or afraid, lonely, or superior, or smarter, but these are all feelings and they are not who and what Jesus Christ, who is my operator, is.” We must not think we are off-course when the feelings continue, which in all likelihood they will. We simply focus on who we are and pay as little attention to our feelings as possible.
It is crucial that we understand that sin never begins with a deed; consequently, our root problem is never our deeds. Deeds are merely the symptoms of a deeper hidden problem. But Satan has done an excellent job of tricking us and keeping us from getting to the root of sin. Because of his deception, we always concentrate on the symptom. This keeps our attention off the source of sin, which is believing Satan’s lie that I am just me and that I can and do operate independently of God.
Not I, But Christ
I am now finished with this booklet, but the task of writing it never became easy. I sat at the computer, trusted Christ within me putting myself at the disposal of the Holy Spirit, and simply recorded truth as He brought it to my mind. The task continued to feel impossible, but I ignored my feelings (soul) and no matter how impossible the task felt, I doggedly reminded myself of the truth – Christ is perfectly capable of getting the writing done that He wants to get done. My responsibility is to remain faithful and available to Him to use to accomplish the task.
–“Life: The What, The Who, The Why”