…among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
The transformation from sinner to saint is remarkable to witness. To observe it in others is always a great encouragement, but we should be just as encouraged when we see that precious work of God in our own lives too. Once we were spiritually dead, but now we are spiritually alive; once we were heading for an eternity without Christ and now we are heading for an eternity with Christ, once we were bearing all the hallmarks of the works of the flesh as described in Galatians 5v19-21, and now by God’s grace we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit. However this is not to say that we do not still struggle with sin or that the works of the flesh are never apparent in our lives, but it is precisely that struggle; that daily battle between choosing right over wrong, holiness over compromise, which is the confirmation that God is indeed at work in us. Sin, aka putting our wants above God’s calling, is for the most part enjoyable in the short term. If it wasn’t it wouldn’t be a temptation to us, since no one in their right mind voluntarily puts their hand in the fire to be burned thinking that the experience will be beneficial. In fact it is only the saint who truly struggles with sin because now God the Holy Spirit Who is resident in our lives is seeking to mould us into the image of Christ which means teaching us to die to self; and that by any measure is not an easy thing for any of us to do. The sometime daily struggle not to fulfill the desires of the flesh is something we have dealt with since our earliest days, in fact even from the day we were born, as David states…
I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
Now I realise that is not a politically correct statement in the modern world, but does a good parent ever have to teach a child to act selfishly or does that come naturally?
By nature we look after number one, we always have done and outside of Christ we always will do. In Christ though we have something that we did not truly possess before, and that is a CHOICE! Coming back to Galatians 5v16-17 Paul teaching on this subject says, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. In other words before we knew Christ’s power in our lives we naturally sinned because that was our dominant nature, and this was because our spirit was dead to God and our soul was in the driving seat. But now we are in Christ we have a choice, to be led by the Spirit or revert to type and behave and react to satisfy and fulfill the desires of the flesh and the mind again.
Below is an illustration of the transformation that happens to us when we return to God’s design for our lives. The first series of circles shows how God created Adam in the beginning, to be a trinity, spirit, soul and body; a perfect man whose spirit was alive to God and therefore one who was being led by the Spirit. After the fateful day in which Adam chose to close himself off to the Spirit’s counsel and do his own thing, his spirit died and by default he then allowed his soul to lead and direct the course of his life. Since we are all born in Adam’s image, we too are born into this condition, spiritually dead to God. The degree that we allow our souls to rule our lives in the pursuit of fulfilling the desires of the mind through the body, our flesh, is the exact degree to which darkness will fill every area of our soul and our thinking; and will even be visible in the flesh, even to the extent that sickness can be a direct result of that soul’s darkness. When we receive Christ however the lights are immediately turned on, a new manager the Holy Spirit, comes in and the house is put back in order according to God’s original design for us.
In Luke 11 v 34-36 Jesus said The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.” Which of us doesn’t want to be full of light? The only way is to yield to Christ in every area of our lives, and that is the CHOICE we are faced with every single day. The brightness of the light of Christ in us will be exactly in proportion to our SURRENDER TO CHRIST. If we are honest with ourselves it may seem that some days that the light within us is so dim we are not even sure if we are saved, but if we have genuinely asked the LORD into our lives He has not left us, it is just that our egos have for the time being eclipsed His brightness, just as the moon does the sun. In like manner we simply need to get out of the way so that Christ can shine through us again; and in fact that is where we are at our happiest, our most joyful, when the light is turned on to max, because it is then that we can see, by FAITH, where we are going!
So once we conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, but now we are the children of God, children of Light, those of whom Christ Himself said were to be the Lights of the world. Let us keep that light shining by choosing daily God’s way over ours; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.
OUR PRAYER TODAY
Heavenly Father, thank you that though we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind but now we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, Your own special people, that we may proclaim Your praises Who has called us out of darkness into Your marvelous light; Help us now to make right choices, to daily step aside so that the Light of Christ in us may be evident to all. Let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
1 John 1
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2