Boasting in Knowing Him

Jeremiah 9:24   (KJV)   24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

Glorying or boasting is good if glorying is in the right thing. Having a true saving knowledge of, experience with, and understanding of God are right reasons to glory—Jeremiah 9.24 - Boasting in Knowing Himknowing His nature, His power, His ways, His will.

The more we know Him, the more we see how wonderful He really is. For Him to lovingly and graciously invite us to drink of the free Living Water, He knows that when we do, we get to taste and see how good He really is, that He really is the One we need and we’ve been looking for. He’s the only one Who really satisfies our deepest hunger and thirst. He really is the answer to the greatest longing of our souls.

Others run after this world and its seemingly grand offers. They pursue more and more money. They strive hard to share in the 15 minutes of fame—of increased power and influence. They continually look for new things that will satisfy the cravings of their tongues and stomachs, or other people and things that will satisfy their flesh. But those are not things we glory in—not temporal things that will eventually just get burned up.

What we have extends beyond the reaches of matter, time, and space. Who we have and what we have are infinitely worth more than anything and anyone. He’s incomparable, immeasurable, incalculable, and incomprehensible. That’s why we worship Him alone. No volumes of books are enough to accommodate everything that can be written about Him. No amount of words can be used to fully describe the joys and blessings of having a saving knowledge, personal relationship, and very close intimacy with such a magnificent Being.

 

Spiritually-Minded

Romans 8:6   (KJV)  6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

As God’s children, we think godly thoughts. We enjoy life and peace now, and we’re looking forward to life and peace with our Father for eternity. We understand we still have choices. We believers don’t lose our free will even after surrendering the throne of Competitionour lives to our Lord Jesus. We choose the focus of our thoughts. We’re also very much aware of the huge implications and repercussions of our choices. Our heavenly Father doesn’t spoil His children.

I pray that this won’t be an issue of intrigue; my prayer rather is that it will be a thought to at least ponder on. Jesus has already borne the penalty of our sins on the cross. In fact He Who knew no sin was made sin for us. That Jesus has taken the death penalty for us is an absolute truth. What is this death then that results from being carnally minded? It’s easy to choose one and reject the other. In doing so, others explain away whatever they prefer to reject.

Forbid the thought that they would question the efficacy of the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice, so the trend is to deal with the death that results from carnal-mindedness. We’ve heard others interpret and teach that as death of a physical kind. And there’s no doubt, some sinful or even wrong choices can reap physical death as a consequence. But although there’s truth in it, it also misses the fact that physical death also comes even to the spiritually-minded people.

On the other hand, if the consequence of our godly thinking is life of the physical kind, what’s the necessity since we’re already physically alive? Unless it simply means continuation of our physical existence in our present condition, the other and I believe the more logical conclusion is that it also refers to life of spiritual kind. This becomes obvious when looking at the context of the passage. The entire chapter deals very much with our spirits. Without disrespect or preference of any denominational distinctive, we can safely conclude: 1. It’s absolutely and undeniably true that Jesus paid the sin-penalty of death; 2. It is also absolutely true that to be carnally minded—having our sinful nature control our mind—is or leads to death.

Whatever each of us believe; we may not all agree on one line of understanding, but the non-negotiable mandate or exhortation we can all agree and focus on is this: shun sinful nature that produces sinful thoughts, and yield to the precious Holy Spirit Who produces good, spiritual, right, and godly thoughts.

Crucified Flesh

Galatians 5:24   (KJV)   24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Yes, our inner struggle against sin is constant. This is true even among the saintliest of saints among us. This is not in any way an attempt to undermine our brothers and sisters in Christ who believe in sinless perfection, that we can attain total sanctification while galatians-5-24-crucified-fleshwe’re still here on earth. Bless their hearts if this is a real experience to them. As for me, and in my humble personal understanding of God’s Word regarding this issue, our struggle will ultimately end when this flesh is completely done away with.

And praise God; that day will come. But we don’t have to wait for that day for us to live in victory. There will be battles against our flesh, but these battles can turn to one victory after another. This is possible because true, genuine believers—followers of Jesus—we, have nailed our flesh and its affections or passions, lusts and ungodly desires to the cross. We render our flesh dead. We follow the Spirit’s leading.

When we allow God’s precious Holy Spirit to take lead, and we follow His guidance, we avoid doing the detestable dictates of our sinful nature. Evil desires become abhorrent to us. As we continue to grow in the Lord, as we continue to taste and see His goodness, we lose our appetite towards ungodliness. We experience the beauty and wonder of a life of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. What’s better than that?

Living in the Spirit

Romans 8:9   (KJV)   9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

We are not in the flesh—we’re not controlled by that part of us that desires sin. What a wonderful affirmation!!! Praise the LORD!!! The reason why we’re not controlled by the flesh is the Holy Spirit; He’s the new force, power, or influence Who is in control of us. For romans-8-9-living-in-the-spiritthose of us who have received the Holy Spirit through our faith in the Lord Jesus, it’s a very encouraging guarantee: He’s now in control of the wheels, no longer our sinful nature.

This sounds very interesting; it’s almost like we don’t have to do anything about it because it’s automatic. But to clarify, we have a part here. We are also urged to make righteous choices. I pray that my humble short exposition adds clarity to those who may have a small question regarding the seeming irreconcilability between God’s Sovereignty and our free will. Does God sovereignly control us to live in the spirit, or do we make that determination? It’s both.

If there’s any consolation to us who may have to exert a little more effort in understanding Paul’s teachings especially in his letter to the Romans, we’re not alone in this; even the Apostle Peter pointed out the fact that parts of Paul’s letters are hard to understand. Praise God, we have the mind of Christ; we can understand. “Hard to understand” doesn’t mean impossible to understand. Regarding the outworking of God’s Spirit in us and us choosing to live in the Spirit—both are true as I wrote above.

The apostle Paul affirms this repeatedly. We as true believers are the ones in whom the Holy Spirit lives. We in whom the Holy Spirit resides, the Holy Spirit takes control of. We who the Holy Spirit takes control of, mind the things of the Spirit and choose to walk after the Spirit. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have the ability to choose otherwise; it’s just that we are now new creations, with new nature, who now desire thus choose to live freely in righteousness and life, and no longer as slaves to sin, flesh, and death.

God-Powered Weapons

2 Corinthians 10:4  (KJV)   (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Believers are engaged in a battle beyond the physical and the material. Spiritual warfare necessitates spiritual weapons. We do possess such weapons. Our weapons are not weak; our weapons are not outdated; our weapons are powerful. They are God-powered.

We have the weapon of the most advanced kind. There is no weapon on earth or in hell that even comes close to its power. It won’t jam; it won’t backfire; it won’t misfire; it won’t malfunction in any way. There is no nuclear weapon invented or any other weapon to be invented by the most brilliant of human scientists that can duplicate its potency. No, the most advanced and most powerful bomb we have won’t even scratch the surface – much less, even touch this special weapon we possess.

We don’t need the help of any human gadgetry to overcome our real enemies. Our true enemies are not physical; we’re fighting against the world system, our own ungodly desires, and the devil. For these, no knives, swords, guns, cannons, or bombs would work. Any attempt to advance Christianity through sword or force isn’t Christianity. It’s detestable and deplorable. We as believers ought to not only stand in disapproval to such evil act; we ought to take strong actions to stop any such wicked outworking of terribly misguided vigilance to faith.

A song we used to sing goes something like: “The church of God is moving… The battle has been won, the foe’s been overcome and we are marching on today. So say goodbye to doubt and give a victory shout. The church of God is moving on.” (Thanks to the composer – didn’t get to find out who). But that’s it. We know how the war ends: the Kingdom of God is victorious. That Kingdom power – the God-powered weapons we have will give us the daily victories over our daily battles. There’s no stronghold too strong, no fortress too fortified, no enemy too powerful to stand effectively against our weapons. Let’s not cower; let’s not retreat; let’s not sit idly, hopelessly – convinced that we’re defeated and that there’s no way we can overcome our sins and struggles. CHARGE!!! THE VICTORY’S OURS!!! TAKE IT!!!

Our victorious God and Savior, thank You for giving us the weapons we need for sure victory. We understand perfectly why You can so confidently assure us that no weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:17) and that the gates of hell will not prevail against us (Matthew 16:18), – in Jesus’ Name, amen.