Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Who am I?___All I am in Christ by His Grace is my true identity. I "AM" [not will be or hope to be] a new creation in Christ Jesus. [That's not to say there isn't more to come.] It's as if God has created me anew and said "It's good." all over again. It's a wonderful work of Sovereign Grace and the Holy Spirit has taken up a dwelling place in my spirit as well. That's who I am.

How did it happen?___I heard and understood the gospel, believed it, [a gift of Grace in and of itself] and was redeemed. The Cross really did it's work, not only for me but in me. I "have been crucified with Christ." It is true that "nevertheless I live," but I now know that He is alive in me and the life I now live is totally identified with who He is and what He's done. It's an exchanged life.

What has He done?___My sin and self He took to the Cross and on the third day was raised for my justification and His Righteousness is now accredited to my account by the heavenly Father who accepted all that on my behalf.

Now I have a new relationship with God the Father. I am now a loved, accepted, forgiven and empowered person, and am free to reflect all of that to others as I relate to them in the living of life, all because of my Elder Brother, the Lord Jesus. Each believer must know this as a biblical accomplished fact for a life of faith to be lived out.

Will I still struggle?___There are some pre-conversion patterns of living I learned early on, [mostly for self preservation/protection I think.] that remain. Those particular feelings, beliefs, behaviors and the like, that I had developed to an art inside me,  [The flesh] have been hanging around long since my salvation experience began in time. They REALLY are so very familiar to me and even feel like they're actually me sometimes [though they're not] and I tend to believe them, frequently, when they whisper that to me in my dark moments. That IS a lie of course, but sometimes I forget that.

What's worse is, when I DO act on those whispers sometimes thinking that's who I am, it's sin. It's called living the "self" life, as Stuart Briscoe said one time while in a bible conference in a church I pastored, He said it this way, "The flesh in scripture is nothing more than 'flesh' spelled backward dropping the 'h'.... Self." As long as I'm in this mortal body, which is also flesh, though not the evil kind mentioned above, I will find a warfare going on between the Spirit and the flesh as mentioned in scripture. But one day, when this mortal flesh [body] will be raised and shall put on immortality, the war between the Spirit and the flesh will be over.

I must remember that this behavior that is called "the flesh" is ANY and ALL the activity I do, even the GOOD activity, when I do it hoping others will notice and appreciation me as a person. This is even my religious behavior that is motivated by a desire to get God to like/notice me as well. It's still.. the "I/ME"  [flesh] in me raising its ugly head. That's the continuing struggle for me and all believers while still in this flesh [body] and this natural world.

Can I make right choices?___Of course! I am now responsible to choose to live by the Spirit. But I mess this up sometimes because I can choose to believe and act according to the flesh. So, all too often, the Spirit life [see above] isn't lived and and the flesh life [see above] is lived out. This is where the rubber of human performance [flesh] or Grace living [faith] really meets the road. When it happens I'm to pick myself up, agree with God about what just happened, [confession] get back into choosing to walk by the Spirit knowing ALL MY SIN has already been forgiven in Christ. This is the war raging between the flesh and the Spirit. It's the battleground for any healthy life or relationships to be lived as believers.

I've written this in personal testimony form, but I do believe it is the track-record of EVERY SINGLE believer. What also has just been described in this brief post from a relational viewpoint are some of the fantastic bible doctrines like Salvation, Justification, Resurrection, Sanctification, spiritual warfare, Spirit-filled living, Sin, Flesh, Confession, The Crucified life, and all are the inheritance and experience of EVERY SINGLE believer as well. These biblical truths must never grow old and must ALWAYS be the basis of our understanding of how to live life as God intended from the beginning.

Paul B.


Aussie John said...


"These biblical truths must never grow old and must ALWAYS be the basis of our understanding of how to live life as God intended from the beginning."

Hear! Hear!

"... I do believe it is the track-record of EVERY SINGLE believer."

Certainly mine!

Oh, if only so many believers didn't carry a huge pile of extraneous matter on their hearts and minds, most of which has been heaped upon them from pulpits, TV preachers, and many authors, which is nothing less than spiritual abuse.

Thank you for being Christocentric!

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

This..."Thank you for being Christocentric."....is the very best compliment that could ever be given this small-time, often less than competent, blog writer. Thank you!

Victorious said...

Thank you for this post, Paul. I've read it several times as there is much to digest (for me anyway.)

I do appreciate your insights.

Rex Ray said...


Once a man accused me of working on churches was my God. I used a handsaw to trim the roof decking on the church I’m in now when I was 15.

The hardest decision of my life was my thirteenth trip to Japan to ‘tape & bed’. I tried to get two of my relatives who had the trade and they had been before, and others, but none could go.

I told the missionary, Bill Walker, I couldn’t because my wife was facing back surgery, but he kept calling. The job was five two-story missionary houses and a large warehouse. I could usually do one house a week.

I rationalized since my missionary uncle, Rex Ray, did not see his family for five years; I told Bill I could come for 3 weeks. By working 7 days a week and 100 hours a week, I finished in 3 weeks.

I found out the five missionaries had already paid an extra $75,000 for three months rent because the project had missed their promise date. The project was out of money and Bill had all their employees working because they were about to miss again. With everyone working, they made it with a few days to spare.

My wife had asked, “Who will put my shoes on?” and I replied for her to get some slip-on shoes. We’d been married 46 years, and she said, “I always thought if I really needed you—I could count on you.”

That’s the words I remember when I cry.

Paul Burleson said...


I appreciate that. Thanks.


Sad, but understandable. In more ways than one.

Geeman said...


Is our heavenly Father any more or less pleased with our doing good (good activities) in the flesh than He is with our sin (evil activities)?

Or is doing good in the flesh a contradiction of terms?

Is doing good in the flesh just a whitewashing of our sinfulness?

Can a believer do anything good apart from the Spirit's leading?

Of course, this begs the question, can a unredeemed, spiritually dead person do anything good at all?

Or, if you drill down deep enough into any nonbeliever's "good" works will you eventually uncover a selfish (me/I) motive?

This would give an absolute meaning to "totally depraved".

Most that I read limit depravity to being in the total being, but not in every action and motive; a lost person can do some good.

What is your understanding?

This has turned into more than you probably want to deal with here in the comments.

Do you have a previous blog along these lines?


Paul Burleson said...


I personally hold to the idea that, while there IS a natural good, it is the antithesis of what is spiritually good and is, in fact, the choice made by the original Adam in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Good that is done apart from the good produced by God Himself is nothing more than a cousin to evil though with lesser consequences in the human realm. In God's realm it is the same as evil.

I'm aware that this far too brief and shallow, but an effort to give some personal insight.

Thanks for commenting. Great thoughts too.