| Re: |
I agree 100% and that is what I have been trying to say but not as effectively.
| 2016/5/20 21:00||Profile|
| Re: |
To directly answer the question in the original post, here are my thoughts:
1) IDENTITY IN CHRIST
It is critical for the Christian to understand his new nature in Christ. When you became born again you were translated from the kingdom of darkness and brought into God’s kingdom of light in Christ. This occurred in your SPIRIT. Before salvation you were in fallen Adam and your spirit was dead to God. It wasn’t extinct or annihilated, but your spirit had no relationship with God. At salvation you became identified with Christ both in His death and his resurrection. When the Bible says that your “old man” died with Christ, this is the old sin nature that was your old dead-to-God spirit that you inherited from fallen Adam. Your new born spirit man was born of the Holy Spirit and always loves God and wants to please Him. The nature of the new spirit is love, purity and holiness.
Christians no longer have a sin nature but they do have minds that have not been renewed (reprogrammed by the spirit). Your old programming that you learned before salvation taught you to live a life independently from God and rely on your own resources. This is what the Bible calls “the flesh” in Romans 7 and Romans 8. It is not the old “sin nature”; that would be too strong of a term for it. It is living from the self-life apart from Christ. You can think of the flesh as the “ghost” of your old sin nature that was left behind in your mind. Galatians 5 lists the works of the flesh. There is also something called “religious flesh” which can look good on the outside but is abhorrent to God. The apostle Paul when he was Saul the Pharisee is a good example of religious flesh. Many Christians display religious flesh because they don’t live in union with or dependence on Christ. They do good works to try and impress God and give Him a reason to like them. They don’t understand grace and are forever trying to attain right relationship and fellowship with Him by works.
Without a clear understanding of the nature of your spirit and your flesh, your fight against sin will not be effective. When tempted you need to understand that it is the flesh that is tempted to sin. Think of the flesh as the old “false self” and the spirit as the new “true self”. We do not deny the existence of the flesh. Even after salvation you can recall old memories of sinful activity that was pleasurable. God does not erase your mind at salvation. And just like Pavlov’s dog, we also respond to fleshly stimuli and respond with sinful desire. It is important to believe and confess both your being dead to sin and also your resurrection and union with Christ in your spirit. So many people don’t consider the difference between their spirit and their flesh and so when tempted they just assume that’s just who they are. They look at everything at the deed level without considering the source. They also think God only cares about things at the deed level and therefore things like attitude and motive are unimportant.
When you are tempted you need to be bold and tell yourself (not necessarily out loud) that this temptation is trying to stir up the old dead self (programming) and you have been delivered from that domain and lifestyle. If you don’t stand firm on the truth of this fact the devil will succeed in stumbling you since your unbelief will allow or give permission to go the next step and sin. I find it helpful to say “I’ve been there, done that and it’s a mirage and illusion that appeals only to my flesh. I never found the satisfaction that the temptation alluded to by giving in to it.”
God gives grace to the humble. When tempted in an area that you fail repeatedly it is good to RELAX and tell God in prayer something to the effect: Lord, I have failed in this area many times and I know that the only way of overcoming is to lay hold of your power which resides in me by the Holy Spirit. I confess my inability apart from You and so I now look to you and trust and rely on your Spirit within me to put to death the deeds of the flesh. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus sets me free from the law of sin and death. Thank You.
2) THE MIND
You become like and do the things you set your attention on. If you are battling overeating it is not a good idea to look at or be around tempting foods. Often times we are tempted by thoughts that arise in our minds without a visual component. What is weird is that if your try to forcefully try to not think about something it will be even more stubborn in leaving. This is because you gave it power in your mind by over-reacting to it. If you think the thought is all powerful, it will be. It is best to have an “Oh That” attitude toward it. Sort of like how you would respond to a pesky little mosquito. The Lord told me to not “reminisce or get sentimental” about the sinful practices and lifestyles I engaged in before getting saved. You still have flesh that can get “heart sick” for that old stuff but if you entertain or have dalliances with that kind of thinking you will sink for sure.
3) LOVE FOR THE LORD
Finally, the Christian life is above all else about relationship. Jesus obtained our good standing with God so I’m not talking about earning or attaining right standing with God. As you progress in your walk with the Lord your love for the Lord should increase. I am very humbled when I think about God’s goodness to me: how He has forgiven me of all sin, how He has been SO patient and forbearing with me after I got saved, how He has provided my every need and protected me all along the way. And by the grace of God I have been delivered from idolatry and several addictions. I’m not perfect but with those big things out of the way it’s like there is so much more room in my heart for the Lord to fill and possess! I don’t pray out of duty anymore and sometimes I pray for a short time and sometimes it’s a long time. I don’t look at the clock. I pray from the heart what’s real to me. And now that the Lord’s love is taking a firmer hold on me, I want to obey and please Him. Previously, I would often be motivated by fear, guilt or duty. Not always but sometimes. It always made me feel separated and further from God. There is a place for warning people about reaping what you sow and the destructiveness of sin, etc. But calamity from sowing wild oats or the destructiveness of sin are baked into the sin system just like falling down is built into the gravity system if you fail to take heed to stay balanced. Anyway, Jesus said that no one can serve two masters, he will love one and despise the other. I don’t want to put too much of a guilt trip on someone who has a besetting sin because I feel it might cause them to hide from God. Instead I would hope that they would just have an honest prayer with God asking that God would give a greater and deeper revelation of His great love for them. Meditate on these two verses:
It is the mercy of the Lord that leads to repentance.
We love Him because He first loved us.
Blessings from my heart,
| 2016/5/21 0:18||Profile|
| Re: |
It's very nice to see the grace of God at work in a man and His hand is quite clearly upon you:)
Not too long ago this (post) might've been submitted in a pointed, combative fashion... But for a while now there is an earnestness, a sincerity to your disposition that seeks the truth and is a blessing as it really helps to further fellowship rather than draw lines and defend:)
So just wanted to give thanks to the Lord for the work He is doing in you and to you as well for yielding to His loving hand as He grows us up in Christ:)
| 2016/5/21 6:25||Profile|
| Re: truewitness|
These are very well articulated thoughts and practices!
very similar to my understanding/relationship and I am blessed and encouraged by your sharing them!
Yes and amen! to how you present the "problem" of our flesh-
Recently a friend pointed out that when Christ was tempted in the wilderness that, tho it was the devil whom tempted Him, it was nonetheless His own flesh that He was speaking too, keeping it in subjection to the spirit. I mean after 40 days of not eating you know He had to be hungry! So the devil appealed to that "good desire" to eat but did so in a way so as to subject our Lord to His flesh if He gave in... so He tells His own flesh to (quiet down) that it is written that man shall not live by bread alone...
And that everytime it was an attempt for Him to exalt His flesh above His spirit...
I had never thought of it in this way before, but it seems consistent with and parallels what Paul says about beating his own body into submission lest he become castaway...
| 2016/5/21 6:49||Profile|
| Re: JFW|
Brother thank you for your encouraging word. As somebody once said. Please be patient with me. God is not done with me yet. Again thank you for your encouragement. :-)
| 2016/5/21 7:44|
| Re: |
"When tempted in an area that you fail repeatedly it is good to RELAX and tell God in prayer something to the effect: Lord, I have failed in this area many times and I know that the only way of overcoming is to lay hold of your power which resides in me by the Holy Spirit. I confess my inability apart from You and so I now look to you and trust and rely on your Spirit within me to put to death the deeds of the flesh. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus sets me free from the law of sin and death. Thank You."
I suspect there are folks who have prayed something similar 10,000 times yet still sin in that area. Why might that be? I certainly have no issue with that prayer- I think it is appropriate. What I might take issue with is the "relax" part. Jesus said to cut off body parts that cause us to stumble. Now, I do think he was using a rhetorical device to make a point- and that point is that sometimes violent and severe action may be necessary.
Dr. Michael Brown has an excellent sermon called "Are You Backsliding?" (at least I think that is the sermon I am thinking of). Anyways in there he talks about getting serious about not sinning and has some great pointers.
If it was simply a matter of prayer, why not just pray" Lord, I don't like sinning. You don't like sinning. Please help me to never sin again. Amen." I mean, that would clearly seem to be God's will, right?
| 2016/5/21 9:21||Profile|
| Re: |
If that happens (ie prayer is not answered) we can try to meet the condition in John 15:7.
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
Devote ourself to God, pray, read the word, separate ourselves from the world, repent and not be discouraged when we fall, but keep trying, this process takes us to the place where we die to ourselves (relax) then we pray that prayer again referring also to John 15:7.
| 2016/5/21 9:47|
| Detecting the voice of the devil|
Charles Spurgeon on detecting the voice of the devil:
"Now I will give the poor sinner a means of detecting Satan, so he may know whether his convictions are from the Holy Spirit, or merely the bellowing of hell in his ears. In the first place, you may always be sure that that which comes from the devil will make you look at yourselves and not at Christ. The Holy Spirit's work is to turn our eyes from ourselves to Jesus Christ, but the enemy's work is the very opposite. Nine out of ten of the insinuations of the devil have to do with ourselves… "You do not repent enough"" that is self. "You have got such a wavering hold of Christ" that is self. Thus the devil begins picking holes in us; whereas the Holy Spirit takes self entirely away, and tells us that we are "nothing at all, - but that "Jesus Christ is all in all."
"Nothing is to be trusted to but the finished work of Jesus Christ upon Calvary's bloody tree! No feelings, no emotion, no believing, no conversion, even, must ever be put into the place of that one eternal Rock of refuge—the blood and merit of Jesus Christ! Fly there, poor Soul! Whatever you are, or are not, fly there! Cast your guilty self on Christ and rest there, for there alone can you find salvation! Learn this lesson - not to trust Christ because you repent, but trust Christ to make you repent—not to come to Christ because you have a broken heart, but to come to Him that He may give you a broken heart - not to come to Him because you are fit to come, but to come to Him because you are unfit to come! Your fitness is your unfitness. Your qualification is your lack of qualification. You are to be nothing, in fact, and to come to Christ as nothing - and when you so come, then will repentance come!"
Eph. 1:17-20,"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,"
So your part is just to believe in HIM, You can do this NOW!!!
Remember, therefore, it is not your hold of Christ that saves you - it is Christ; it is not your joy in Christ that saves you—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to your hope, but to Jesus, the source of your hope; look not to your faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul."
| 2016/5/21 10:06|
| 2016/5/21 10:19|
| Re: |
Todd, I'm sorry if you understood my advice to relax to mean we should be indifferent or apathetic to sin. That was not my point. Also, the prayer I offered as an example was not meant to be just a beggy, "hail mary", hopin' and a wishin' prayer. The last half of that prayer was a statement of faith in the power of Christ in us by the Holy Spirit. In both cases the idea is to get the focus on Christ within us to be our resource for living and overcoming the trials and temptations we face every day.
As I have stated in other posts, there is a divine balance in the Christian walk between our being responsible and taking action and our dependence and reliance on Christ to live through us. It is easy to over-emphasize either part too much. I, in my early walk, took the attitude of "I got this Lord, I can handle this sin problem, you can rely on me." I experienced the Roman 7 outcome and was quite dismayed. Trying to whip up more resolve did not help things. And just as Paul moved out of Romans 7 reliance on self and into Romans 8 reliance on the Spirit, I too experienced the same breakthrough. There are many sinful temptations I don't struggle with I suppose because Christ's character in me handles it without my thinking too much about it. But besetting sins which have a history of "hooking" me are ones that I most definitely do need to be humble and put my focus on the Holy Spirit in me to overcome. As Paul said God told him, "My power is made perfect in weakness."
I hope this helps clarify things.
| 2016/5/21 11:22||Profile|