"But God, I really don't want to..."
Have you ever said that or thought that way about something in which you thought God was asking you to do for someone else?
I know that I have at times. It is in those kind of instances that I realize... I have not completely crucified my flesh. Oh, my! Even worse, I have not completely received what Christ has already done for me.
"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Gal 5:24, NIV)
I know that it is my flesh rising up on the inside of me saying 'No' to something I think that God wants me to do because...
"For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want." (Gal 5:17, NIV)
I also keep thinking about it and saying 'No' to the thoughts.
There are many reasons my flesh may say 'No' to something God wants me to do too. Perhaps, the other person chose to fall into temptation. Or...the person chose to sin against me. Most importantly, they chose to sin against my Father God. Therefore, my line of comments or questioning of God sounds something like this...
They deserve what they get! They knowingly and willfully sinned against you and me!
They strayed away from the faith! They fell into the tempter's liar! They can get themselves out of it!
Really, God? You really want me to go and help them?!?! They are not helpless! They are adults. They can choose to make the right choices.
We can know the works of the flesh by God's word. The Apostle Paul wrote about them saying, "The acts of the flesh are obvious...hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition..." (Gal 5:19-20, NIV)
Paul goes on to write, "I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal 5:21b, NIV)
I do not know about you, but I certainly want to 'inherit the kingdom of God'. By receiving the 'kingdom of God', we can have the eternal life not only in heaven but here on earth. (Matt 6:10) I definitely want to experience the abundant life that Jesus died to give me. (John 10:10b)
The Apostle Paul encourages us, "So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." (Gal 5:16, NIV)
He also speaks about the fruit of the Spirit which are by-products of our relationship with our Father God.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Gal 5:22-23, NIV)
When we learn and grow more in the Spirit, our flesh becomes less obvious in us and in our lives. Paul says, "But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law." (Gal 5:18, NIV)
Then, when we are even more spiritually mature, it will be even easier to live by the Spirit. "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." (Gal 5:25, NIV)
Paul tells us that we are brothers and sisters who are "called to be free". However, he makes a point of saying, "But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “(Gal 5:13-14, NIV)
Father God, thank you for who you are to us. We realize that we can do nothing without you. (John 15:1-8) Help us to crucify our flesh! Help us to die to ourselves! We want to be the people you created us to be for your purpose and plans. (Jer 29:11-13) We want to receive everything that Jesus died to give us. (Eph 1:16-23) In Jesus' name. Amen!
Copyright 2012 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.