Monday, October 7, 2019

What Did God Really Say?

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:1-4

Do you remember what your life was like before you were born again? I do. My life was full of insecurities and self-centeredness. I was living for today. Trying to survive. Interested in seeing that I took care of myself, because no matter what anyone said to the contrary, I believed that I was on my own.  Even my relationships were all about what I could get out of them. I was living a life just like Paul described. A life just like everyone else – at least everyone else that I associated with was living. 

But then I met Jesus and my life was changed.  Not all at once, but bit by bit. The thing is, that the change in my life has not been a steady climb, but erratic, with pauses along the way.  Those pauses were a result of the struggle that persists inside of me, to this day – the struggle between my flesh and the Spirit of God.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2

The reason that the Bible says what it says is because God understands our nature – our tendency to go our own way – the way of the world. The temptation is for us to pause in our transformation and embrace the pattern of this world.  It can be a comfortable place – living like the unsaved world – preferring what the world has to offer – having our lustful selves fed and satisfied with those things that we were saved from. As comfortable and familiar as slipping on a old pair of shoes.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”” – Genesis 3:1

That was the “ruler of the kingdom of the air” speaking to Eve and he asks us the same question.  Wanting to convince us that God is OK with the way you live and with your self-promoting priorities. They are not self-indulgent – they are actually blessings.  You don’t have to be poor to be holy. It is not a sin to look out for number one – to make certain my future is secure. It is really Ok to build bigger barns.

Did God really say …..

“‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” – Matthew 25:41-45

Yes He did! That describes the way of the natural world.

I included the following verses in my post on the 4th then the pastor preached on them Sunday.  I always see that as the Spirit emphasizing the point.  This is what the Spirit is saying counter to what the god of this world would have us believe.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:13-17

The darker the night – the brighter our light!

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