Saturday, October 11, 2014

Seek God, Not Sin

Galatians 5:1, 16-25 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

I read a thought-provoking article lately, where the author used this illustration to drive a self-examination of our Christian walk based upon the reality of the Bible verse above, saying, “One of the great hymns of the Church that always strikes me with its profound truth is the song ‘Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.’ The lyric from this hymn that probes at the deepest level of honesty and understanding is this line: ‘Prone to wander—Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.’ Does that resonate with you as it does with me? Even when we are genuinely denying ourselves and experiencing nearness to Christ, we still know—deep down—that this never happens without a struggle. We are “prone to wander.” O Lord, how we feel it.”

2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?

Nobody likes a battle (life-threatening or not), let alone any struggle in life (physically, verbally, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually), so we avoid them whenever we can, even to the point of ignoring them and/or denying that they are actually happening sometimes.  We prefer pleasant over unpleasant any day, but “life in the jungle is no bowl full of cherries” and this side of eternity we have to deal with the natural sinful desires of the fallen flesh, the immoral allure of the God-rejecting world system,  and the temptation lies and half-truths of the Evil One that pull us in a tug-of-war upon our heart, mind and soul with the indwelling Holy Spirit … it’s pure war. We like to think that we can overcome the flesh on our own, by our own power and strength, but we  cannot overcome the flesh by the power of the flesh. Try our best, we are prone to wander. It takes walking with the Spirit, aligned with God’s holy Word, Holy Will and Holy Way to not gratify the desires of the sin nature of our flesh; to make the decision to mindfully keep in step with the Spirit and purposefully seek good in the eyes of the Lord. The author points out that this is why God steps out of eternity to tell us in His Word, “Seek good and not evil, that you may live” – Amos 5:14. He is the Life- giver and Life-Sustainer.  And though our feet are indeed made of clay, our souls know that life is only found in one place—in Christ, in God, through the righteousness given to us at new birth.  Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Romans 8:1-14 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,  so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,  because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,  and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—  for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Seek God, not sin. And live - John 10:10.

In Christ, Brian

No comments: