Choosing to Live Above “Normal” – 8-Jan-2023

Choosing to Live Above “Normal”

by Pastor Roy Esposito

  • “Normal” – enslaves us to the effects of sin: fear, anxiety, illness, etc.
  • ” Above Normal” – means being led by the Holy Spirit  (Romans 8:14-15
  • The HOLY SPIRIT frees us from the slavery of sin and its effects and restores us to the freedom of a genuine relationship with God through Christ.
  • To live above Normal begins with a passionate and committed desire.
  • But it’s in no way automatic.  We must choose to do so every day.
  • Galatians 6:16 (NLT) “And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. The two forces constantly fight each other, and your CHOICES are never free from conflict.
  • When we give ourselves totally to the Spirit, He will help us change the way we think. (Romans 12:1-2)
  • A change in thinking is necessary to avoid making room for sin to influence us. (Rationalizations, deflections, and excuses – “I’m only human, after all!” )
  • I have to choose to walk in the Spirit in order to experience God’s goodness.
  • Without experiencing His goodness, I will never find peace. And without peace, I will never come to fully trust God – the key in overcoming faith.
  • Ephesians 6:15“Gospel shoes of Peace” –  My feet connect me to the earth.
  • Shoes – speak of having firm footing, firm direction, and foundational surety that God’s peace brings.
  • “His Peace”(Greek) – Eirene – To set at One again; to make Whole – which brings a sense of well-being to our hearts, mind, and bodies.
  • (Hebrew) Shalom – Completeness, wellness, health, welfare, soundness, prosperity, rest, harmony, and the absence of agitation and discord.
  • These describe some of the benefits of an “Above Normal” life.
  • Romans 7:14-25 – Paul explains that it’s our normal sinful nature that makes us slaves to sin – even when we know what not to do and not wanting to do it, we do it anyway.
  • We’ve somehow believed that evil is some kind of invisible, cosmic force that’s irresistible and overpowering and just grabs us and takes us away.
  • The truth is: There is nothing outside of me that has the power to make me do wrong except that which I have given power by what I have permitted to be in me. – PR
  • Evil is NOT cosmic, nor is it invincible. It doesn’t have to overpower us.
  • Why? Because as Christians, we are “Dead to it and alive to God.” (Romans 6:11) if we “reckon” ourselves that way.“ (Where thinking differently comes in!)
  • We can set ourselves free from sin’s power by choosing not to let ourselves become infected, looking to Jesus and the goodness of God instead of the temptation.
  • We can do this because when we received Christ as Lord, He breathed into us the Holy Spirit, making us eligible to live in the realities of the Kingdom of God here on earth.
  • Actually, the patterns of wrongdoing that govern human behavior are generally weak because they only exist as illusions or “shadows” which contain no real substance.
  • They are, for the most part, just habits or automatic responses we’ve formed over time.
  • When we act out of them, it’s generally without any prior reflection, which gives them their power.
  • Habits – don’t run through our conscious minds or our deliberate will – and are often contrary to them.
  • Rarely is our wrongdoing the result of careful deliberation.
  • Our routine automatic behavior patterns manage to keep our deliberate will and conscious minds off balance by filling us with delusions, distractions, lies, “what if” scenarios, and general poppycock…
  • This leaves us on the defensive, having negative thinking, which then expands into denial, rationalization, and misappropriated actions  – leading further and further away from the truth and making more space for evil to prosper.
  • The HOLY SPIRIT will help us replace old habits and automatic responses with new ones that reflect Kingdom principles and sustain them with Kingdom power.
    Here are some suggestions that may help:
    1. Ask – the HOLY SPIRIT to reveal bad habits and responses. 
    2. Acknowledge them:  Matthew 5:25 – “Agree with your adversary quickly….’

      You will never be able to deal with evil effectively as long as you view it as external to yourself. – PR
  • “The devil didn’t make you do it!”  The devil may have dangled some temptation before you, but you can say NOOOOO!!!  It’s your CHOICE.
  • When we don’t choose rightly, a place is formed inside us where sin can take root and manifest itself if it’s not repented of.
  • A Recap: 
    1. NOTHING has the power to tempt me or force me to do wrong except that which I have given the power to by permitting it to remain in me.
      • Romans 8:31-39         
    2. The most dangerous things are the LITTLE habits, thoughts, feelings, or actions we let slide because they’re “Normal.”
      (Song of Solomon 2:15… ”the little foxes”)
    3. Death to Self – is acknowledging we can live “above normal” because we are Sons and daughters of the Living God, heirs to His Kingdom, created in His image. – It’s the CROSS applied in our daily lives.
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 – Tells us to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”  – Have you ever tried to do this? It’s impossible to do in your natural self.
  • I believe God has given me a strategy to help me do this:
  • I start my day with, “Lord, I submit my thoughts this day to You. Holy Spirit, please help me.
  • I place Jesus’ blood over my mind, body, spirit, and emotions, and it becomes my “robe of righteousness and my helmet of salvation.”
  • I believe every modern-day disciple of Christ should do this every day in order to break sin’s grip.
  • The good news is – the power of sin is broken 
  • God will help us through it, but – He won’t do it for us.
  • It is we who must decide to pursue holiness passionately and intentionally.
  • As always  – INTENT points the way.
  • Even when we fail – I believe that God is more concerned with the intent of our hearts.  
  • Jeremiah 17:10 – “The Lord searches the heart, and tests the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
  • If our hearts are committed to transformation, the Lord will redirect our habits and responses to support our new intention.
  • When automatic responses go into action, it’s because something triggers it; a button gets pressed.
  • Genesis 50:20 – What our enemy does for evil, God has meant for our good.

Let’s ask the Lord to use the “buttons” the enemy has meant for evil to trigger Godly responses in us instead.

  • He will trigger responses that are GRACE-FILLED, and Holy Spirit empowered so that we can live “Above Normal” lives while here on the earth.
  • Living “above normal” begins with BELIEVING we can – and then choosing to do so.

2023 — RCF’s 27th Year

#7 – Spiritual perfection; The conclusion of a matter; Speaks of maturation.

I believe that 2023 will be a year that many of the things we’ve made spiritual inroads into will become clearer and more accessible. We will come to see the fruitfulness and fullness of things we’ve believed by faith.

#9 –    RCF 27th year 

9  –  Is the number of the Holy Spirit. It speaks of completeness and fruitfulness. I believe that we will see many of our prayers answered this year in very unique ways. Some will be astonishing in their impact, and some will be just the beginning of some things that God has not yet revealed. 

All in all, a good year full of Godly surprises!