Thursday, April 8, 2010

Living According to the Spirit

This entry is based on a paper i did for my NT survey class and the section of Scripture referenced was Galatians 5:16-18.

The book of Galatians was written by the Apostle Paul to the churches in Galatia, but we are not exactly which part of the country. Now most of the commentaries I have read lean more toward the southern portions of the country because he spoke to them in such a direct manner, as though he had spent generous amounts of time with them, which could have taken place while he was on his mission trips.

Since accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ you are free from the bondage of the Law. Do not abuse your freedom as a chance to sin more, but as a reason to love all the more accordingly to the great commandment. If we live in a manner according to the Spirit we will not gratify our fleshly desires. Keep in mind that the desires of the flesh and of the Spirit have no room for one another. So in being led by the Spirit we are no longer under the Law. Make sure to pay close attention to those around you because the works of their flesh are evident. You will also know those in whom the Spirit dwells because you will see their fruit. So live in the Spirit and you will not give into sin, remember that the Spirit and the flesh cannot occupy the same space, knowing that being led by the Spirit frees you from the Law.

Now the audience that Paul was writing to was a church that he had planted. While he was away however another group of preachers came around preaching another gospel. The gospel these men were preaching was a gospel of Jesus plus circumcision. These men were often called Judaizers. This same sect was also trying to challenge the authority of Paul’s Apostleship. Hopefully for all of us we do not rely on works to grant us salvation or have someone preaching it to us. We can also trust that Scripture is true and that Paul was an Apostle.

We should walk according to the Spirit and in doing so we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. And we are no longer bound by the Law but free in the Spirit.

Now to bring this all home let’s see what this will look like in our lives. I will use myself as an example, when I was younger I was an addict. I was addicted to alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and pornography. Since my conversion I have not had major struggles with all of these things but there have been some more than others. I have been able to combat these struggles not of my own accord but in trusting the Lord and spending time in His word and with Him. The closer I get to Him the further I get from my sinful desires. One of my favorite groups is Pillar and they have a song called “Further from Myself” which falls in line with what we are talking about.

A way we can look at being free from the Law is to look at the food customs when Peter was told that what God declares clean is clean.(Acts 10:11-15) So Jews today still hold to Kosher products refusing to eat pork and certain kinds of meat, seafood, and etc. By us being set free from the Law we are no longer accountable to the Law. So go have a some good food and thank the Lord he has set you free to eat it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

You Want Me To Do What ?!?

The Lord in his good and perfect grace saved me in August 2002. It was around six months after my conversion that I felt the Lord put a call on my life to minister his word. Just like Moses I felt like “God you have got the wrong man.” Remember God met Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3 & 4 informing Moses of the task at hand. All Moses wanted to do was come up with reasons why he could not do them. Moses got to speak with Jehovah through a bush, as for me He actually showed me in dreams what I was supposed to do. Due to the circumstances surrounding my life I constantly feel like a failure, or feel like I am inadequate to accomplish any goal. In my life whether at work or at church I am the outsider and very rarely listened to because I feel they think I lack authority. Just as Moses felt like an outsider while in Egypt, he was a Jew raised in the palace. He was never treated like any other Jew, by either side.

I think I get looked at like a child especially in my church because my education is not up to par with others in my community or life stage. However Moses did not have that problem because he was raised in the palace of the Pharaoh, and he was highly educated. I have offered before to lead a small group or to help assist or even teach a Sunday school class, but I have never received a second look from my leadership. So this makes me feel extremely insecure, like” Okay Lord did I hear you correctly.” The only thing that keeps me going to pursue my dream and goal in spite of everything is trusting that the Lord is in control. “And I am the God who made you with your limitation. I want to use you despite your limitation so that you will bring glory to Me.” (CF pg 67) My hearts cry is to bring glory to Jesus with all that I do in my life! In starting these classes I pray that he will be glorified in my work .My biggest fear is that I will screw up. I have been saying for so long how I feel called to His work, and here is my chance to show people that this is what I was made to do. I pray I don’t screw up and ruin the testimony of Jesus Christ.IMG_3740 copy

Right now at this stage of my life I am travelling in the wilderness. I have been out of work for close to two months now, just started attending school, while living in my mothers’ house with my family. On top of everything I live my life day to day feeling like I have few friends, no money, and unfit to be alive some days. But there is comfort in knowing that the Lord has made the promise “For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.” (Deut 4:31 ESV) So trusting that the word of the Lord is true I know that where I am right now is not where he is going to leave me. Because “Despite all the difficulties, it was there in the wilderness that God’s greatest blessings came” (CF pg 72) And holding fast to the words of Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”[1] So just like Moses I hope to lead God’s people well, remain in his presence and always pursue His will. May we all be like Christ in the garden in praying “And he said “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”[2]

[1]The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ro 8:28). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2]The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Mk 14:36). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Courageous Faith : Dr Ed Hindson