Monday, November 30, 2015

Natural Man vs Spirit of God Part 2

In an earlier post I discussed how the natural man and the spirit of God are in opposition to one another, and about the fact that if we are believers in Christ, we have His Holy Spirit available to us to guide, and lead us through this life.  (see post titled " The Natural Man vs. The Spirit of God")  But one may wonder, what exactly that looks like on a practical level.  What does it mean to be “lead by the spirit”?  Through the lens of scripture, we can clearly observe what it means to live such a life.

First of all, we must be willing to submit to the Lord with our actions, attitudes and indeed our whole self. 

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1. 

**Do not be too quick to rush over this point.**

What Paul is conveying here is that we ought to be willing to give God full control over everything that we do.  This requires us to stop thinking of our bodies as our own, and seeing them as God’s possession, with which to do what he pleases.  In contrast to this check yourself for self-will, pride, selfishness etc. These things are direct barriers to such a walk.

““God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”” James 4:6.

It is important to note that unlike our salvation, continual commitment to living an obedient life unto the Lord is required to bear fruit. Once we have dealt with issues mentioned before, we also must regularly renew our resolve toward this endeavor of submitting ourselves to God. 

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Romans 12:2

“I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  Galatians 5:16

Walking.  Step by step, minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day. As Christians, the choice is ours how to handle our flesh. But the command is clear , put it to death, giving it as little ground as possible.

“And to those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:24-25

In my life, I have found this to be very difficult.  I would commit to doing right, fail, repent, rinse and repeat…  It is important though, to remember that apart from God, it is impossible to live a life that is pleasing to Him.  And that it is God who works in us to do good and to want to do good, therefore, He gets the glory.  The fundamental strategy, if you will, is to keep our focus on Him, praying to Him, Reading and studying His word, and fellowship with other believers that will help us in this process of renewing our mind. 

As a final thought, remember that even though presenting our bodies as living sacrifices to God, and the things that may be required of us as a result, seems like the most difficult thing imaginable.  I, like many have asked the question, “what if it is just too hard to live for Jesus?“ Is it possible that our Lord asks too much of us?  He addressed this very issue so much better than I, or anyone else, ever could:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke iseasy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11: 28-30