Inviting God To Dwell – Heaven Is Calling Lesson 5
Hello Everyone! Welcome to lesson 5 in the Bible Art Journaling Challenge series, Heaven Is Calling! I’ve got a super fun and easy watercolor texture technique to share with you today! And, a really important devotional topic. If you’ve not seen lesson one yet, I encourage you to start at the beginning so we can go on a journey together in this free 12-part devotional series.
So far in this series, we’ve talked about setting our hope on a good God. We’ve talked about answering God’s call and recognizing His voice. And, we’ve talked about how our good God, is with us! Today, I want to talk with you about another aspect of connecting with a good God – inviting Him to dwell. It’s the beginning point of connecting with His goodness. God is the ultimate gentleman who will not force His way into our lives. He waits to be invited. And when we invite God to dwell in us, our lives are never the same again… in the best way possible.
Inviting God to dwell
Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus gave His life, so our sins could no longer separate us from His love and the eternal life He offers. He wanted to connect with us and became the ultimate sacrifice, so we would not have to pay the price for our sins.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
When we accept Jesus into our lives, our old man (the sinner), passes away and we become a new creation in Him. With that transformation we are no longer slaves to sin, as Romans 6:6 says. Before we accepted Christ, we were a slave to sin. That means we were prone to it – sin was in our nature. Once we accepted Christ, we became a new creation and that means we are no longer a slave to sin. We are no longer prone to sin and it is no longer in our nature. Do we sometimes sin as a new creation in Christ, even though our old man has passed way? We can! We are human and we don’t always make right choices. We are still capable of sin, but we do not have it as our default button any longer. Before it was our default choice, now it has to be a deliberate choice since we have the mind of Christ and know better.
I believe that as a body of believers in Christ, we must identify the difference between being a sinner by definition, versus being someone who makes bad choices sometimes, but is no longer prone to do so. Simply put, there is a difference between a deliberate choice to have a lifestyle of making bad choices that separate us from God, versus having a lifestyle of making good choices and sometimes not getting it right. Before Christ, sin was on speed-dial. Now, the number has to be punched into the phone. You get my point.
If we do not invite God to dwell in us, we are a sinner by definition. If we have invited God to dwell in us, we are quite capable of sin, but we are no longer a sinner by definition, because old things have passed away and we have become a new creation. Now, we are just working out our salvation, but no longer prone to choose sin because it has to be a more intentional choice.
I know there are many ways to arrive at a theological standpoint on this matter. And, I’m not interested in a debate here. Bringing up this historically debated topic is surely proof I am not trying to win a popularity contest. I pray you will trust that I’ve not led you astray thus far and that you will continue with an open heart and mind as we look at what scripture clearly says to us about this.
I want to drill right into the heart of this matter and get to a section of scripture that I believe might be one of the most ignored and misunderstood section of scripture in the Bible. I used my Double Column ESV Journaling Bible, for this lesson. The section of scripture for this challenge is Romans chapters 6-8. I encourage you to read it all in one sitting to get the most out of it.
I’m going to quote some sections and bold a few areas worth reading a few times, to get our thoughts around. Let’s start in Romans 8:1-4…
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
(ESV) 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
Let’s continue with verses 9-11…
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
As we back up to Romans 6:1-14, we can see a bit more context to this topic…
6 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
Let’s jump toward the end of this subject in Romans 8:12-17…
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
Who we are in Christ
Can you see what Paul was trying to say? He told us to not let sin control the way we live. Would he tell us to not sin, if we were unable to live free of sin? No. Everything in life requires practice to become a master at it and we are all called to not give in to sinful desires and instead give ourselves completely to God.
If we look right in the middle of the Romans 6-8 chapters, we find a section in chapter 7 which is a key cause of confusion. And possibly never before have I had such a great example of how important it is to read context when studying and seeking to understand scripture. We can get confused about who we are in Christ, if we read only chapter 7 and stop without understanding the context.
In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul is writing a letter in Rome, to discuss the gospel, its power over sin through faith and how it should affect our lives. Tucked into chapter 7, Paul explains the very real inner conflict between good and evil.
As Romans 6:2 says, “Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?“. We are real people with real lives and real temptations. Even if we give in to temptations again and again but repent and move forward with wisdom on how to do better next time, we are still not a sinner if we have invited God to dwell in us. We are not a sinner by definition. The Bible actually calls us saints. What we are is a saint who has sinned and needs to repent and reconnect with a good God who is tirelessly forgiving. He has more than enough grace and there is nothing, NOTHING that we can do, which can separate us from His love. We need only accept it.
The very heart of this discussion that I plead with you to be open to ponder in your heart is this… it is unfair of us to consider ourselves a child of God, and still define ourselves as a sinner. The truth is we won’t always get it right but, it is wrong to call ourselves a child of God AND a sinner. To call ourselves both is a paradox. It is actually an absurd contradiction to consider a new creation in Christ, to be a sinner by definition. Lets not excuse ourselves from Paul’s command that we “not let sin control the way we live.”
I honestly feel that it is inappropriate to call ourselves a sinner, once we have invited God to dwell in us. I feel that it somehow allows us to excuse ourselves from sin as if it is in our nature. “Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.” It is simply not good enough to invite God into our lives and then go around believing we are a sinner and telling others that we are a sinner. It contradicts the Biblical truth that our old man has died in Christ and that we are a new creation. As I mentioned, this is a section of scripture that I believe has been very overlooked.
Going beyond an invite
I want to ask you to join me in grabbing a hold of what Jesus paid the ultimate price for, and identifying with our new man in Christ, instead of who we were before Christ. God has offered us SO much more beyond just a spot in heaven. We get to be the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth and watch His great plans and goodness unfold around us, as we invite Him to dwell in us and be free to use us as a partner for His glory. I believe we must first shake off the wrong thinking that stops us from identifying as the child of God who is no longer a slave to sin and move on to embrace more of the fullness of God’s Kingdom that is available to us as we partner with His plans and desires for our life.
When we mess up, we cannot dwell on the fault. We must just repent and move forward to focus on partnering with Jesus, instead of allowing a weak moment to become how we define ourselves.
I have a friend in ministry who loves to use an expression. He likes to encourage people to “Get Jesus what He paid for.” When I had been bed-ridden for 2 1/2 years and somebody prayed for me and I got dramatically healed overnight, that was him getting Jesus what He paid for. He partnered with God, by being His hands and feet in my life. Jesus paid the price for us to be free from the power of sin and death. We have the very great honor and privilege of being the hands and feet of Jesus by going out and “getting Jesus what He paid for”… praying for those in need, loving people into the Kingdom of God, being a shoulder to cry on and demonstrating the power and love of God to the world around us. I want to encourage you to get Jesus what He paid for. Lets align ourselves with what the Gospel says about us. Let’s get out there and be the heart of Jesus to those who nobody else can reach with His hope.
This is such an important topic and it matters greatly in our perspective of understanding about connecting with a good God. I appreciate you taking the time to read through this thus far. Please leave a comment below and let us know as a community, how you’re doing at identifying with your new man! We’re all working out our salvation and we’re growing in this together. Let’s all put our old man behind us and identify with who we are in Christ, so we can partner more effectively for His Kingdom.
Watercolor texture technique
Now, about that super fun watercolor texture technique! You’ll see me stamp a sentiment toward the end which I did with some white pigment ink, so it would provide me with a sort of “lettering guide”, to go over with my favorite white gel pen. The sentiment sums up one of the extras I’ve been able to embrace in the fullness of God’s Kingdom as I’ve partnered with His plan for my life. What have you been able to embrace? Enjoy!
Isn’t this video so fun?! This watercolor texture technique is such an easy and fun thing to do. You could even do it with your kids or grandkids and all feel like a pro together. 🙂 The hardest part, is having patience while it dries! I hope you’ll give this a try and show me how it turns out for you. Each time, it is entirely unique and beautiful. Remember that you need to get your Bible page prepped with two layers of gesso before starting, to ensure your page will be strong enough to not tear when you add so much liquid to it.
Today’s Bible journaling supplies
As promised, here are the supplies I featured in this lesson. I hope they help you find anything you may want to try out. All links will lead to my affiliate partners, Dayspring (DS), Scrapbook.com (SB) Amazon (AZ). These are purely optional and you are free to participate with whatever you have using the scripture for this lesson.
Join me in this Bible Art Journaling Challenge
You can find answers to most any question you may have about participating in this challenge, on the Bible Art Journaling Challenge page and learn more about this devotional series, on the Heaven Is Calling page which holds the lesson archive, supplies list and and how to join in! Be sure to head over to our Facebook group or Google+ Community, to chat about this Bible Art Journaling Challenge and get started on your own creativity!
Many of you ask if it is okay to share these posts with your friends. Please share! It is a simple way you can partner with me to impact lives. And remember, you can join this challenge any date you wish. The community is always growing and you are welcome to participate whenever you want!
I regularly get requests for advice on choosing a Journaling Bible and this free complete guide, is my answer to all the questions. It even has a free checklist for choosing a Journaling Bible.
I also regularly get questions about supplies I recommend for Bible art journaling. I’ve created linked recommendations on my Bible Art Journaling Supplies page, to make your starter choices easier.
If you have not done so yet, be sure to join my email list, so you can be first to know when I release new content!
Thanks for joining me. Please take a moment and comment below! I’d love to hear from you!
You are loved. x
* Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All Rights Reserved.
*When indicated Scripture is from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
*Links in this guide take you to my affiliate partners, Amazon (AZ), Dayspring (DS) and Scrapbook.com (SB). And, occasionally to other shops when I am not an affiliate of whomever sells the product I am linking to. When you find deals which I’ve recommended through my affiliate partners, I get supported. This has no effect on you and makes a real difference for me. You may view my affiliate and product disclosure for more info on how this works. Thank you, I so appreciate your support, which helps me support your creative journey with God!