Tag Archives: fleshly desire

Finding Yourself or Finding God?

We live it a society that has many artificial foods. Each product is intended to be just like the genuine product. In fact, they even use a name that indicates that you cannot tell the difference between the two products. When many of these products are tested years later, the results of the test show that the product may in fact be harmful.

Christianity is no different that these foods. There are people who will try to convince you that you can become god. Many of you have heard the phrase “I can do all things.” People will tell you that it is in the Bible so it must be true.

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) Paul says: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. When you read the entire text you will find that Paul is giving God the credit for all that God has allowed him to do. However, the message that people like to hear is: “I can do all things by my own strength.” This makes them feel important. They believe they can do anything they want to do.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3(NIV)

Being focused on self and wanting to be god is not a new concept. It has been around since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Today people are still listening to Satan’s argument. However, if we want to know real thing, we will find that the opposite is true; we cannot do anything without God’s strength. The Bibles says if we want to know the real joy of following Jesus, we must deny ourselves, in other words, we must become nothing and let Christ become everything.

Luke says it this way in Luke 9:23-26:

Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:23-25(NIV)

What are the results of following your fleshly desires and doing whatever you please?

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21(NIV)

What happens when you sacrifice your fleshly desires, and follow God’s leading?

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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:25-26(NIV)

Throughout the Old Testament, God shows the results of His power and the results of man’s power. Repeatedly God overpowers fleshly man. For instance, in the story of David and Goliath, Goliath is thinking that he could do whatever he pleased. He thinks he is infallible. His daily routine was to come before Saul’s army and dare them to kill him. However, when David saw Goliath and heard what Goliath was saying, David was determined to slay the giant.

God had been with David when a lion attack his sheep and again when a bear attack his sheep. David had experience God’s power in his own life. He knew God would give him the strength to slay Goliath.

David got permission from the King to stand against Goliath. This is what David said to Goliath after Goliath ridiculed him for being only a little boy.

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47(NIV)

David did kill Goliath. He did not kill the giant because he was god and could do it in his own strength. He did it because of the strength of the God of Israel.

Throughout the Gospels, the writers tell of God’s power through the life of His son Jesus. After the death of Jesus, God showed his awesome power by raising Jesus from the dead, thus overcoming death. It is because God gave Jesus victory over death that we will be able to live forever in Heaven. There has never been another person who has been able to overcome dead.

God has shown His love to us by sending His only begotten Son into the world that we may have eternal life. If we cannot believe the power and love that God has already shown to us, we will never have the eternal satisfaction of being reconciled to God for eternity. Adam and Eve were satisfied for a very short time as they tasted the forbidden fruit, but guilt soon took over and they hid from God.

Trust God with all your actions. Rely on His strength and not your own strength. God gives you hope for tomorrow but following selfish desires only brings hopelessness.

 

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog have been downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

The Rainbow

I find the rainbow to be an interesting symbol, especially when the rainbow is associated with the same sex marriage decision made by the Supreme Court.

If one were to study Genesis 6-8, they would find that the world had become corrupt. The women had been forced into co-habitation relationships. The people had turned to their fleshly desires. They had forgotten that is was God who formed man in his image. Their thoughts were evil all the time. The world had become so evil that God wished he had never made man. It appears the way society was acting then is very similar to the  way society is acting today.

When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:1-8(NIV)

Noah was the exception, however. God found that Noah was a righteous man; a who still believed in God regardless of what society was doing; Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God chose Noah to save the world from their sin. God did destroy all the people of the world, but He saved Noah and his family. God also saved two of every kind of animal and bird.

God had a plan. God talked to Noah and told him to build an ark. Noah worked on the ark for 120 years. While Noah was building the ark, the people ridiculed him. He still trusted God and kept building the ark. God made a covenant with Noah saying that God would protect Noah, his family, and two of every kind of animal.

God gave the world 120 years to repent but the people did not improve their behavior. It continued to deteriorate. The flood came but Noah, his family, and a representative male and female animal from each kind were safe inside the ark. The people, who continued to sin and followed their fleshly desires, were destroyed by the flood.

After the destruction of the people who followed the fleshly desires of their heart. God caused the water to subside. The water subsided and God gave Noah a reminder of the promise God made with Noah, that he would never destroy all living creatures with a flood again.

Why then, would the rainbow be used to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to force same sex marriages on all states? Is it a reminder to people that we can either accept God, or reject God? If we reject God, God will turn us over to our sinful behavior, and we will die in our sin (See Romans 1:18-32). On the other hand, if we accept God, we will follow God, and will have eternal life with him.

The rainbow is a reminder of the covenant God made with Noah. Circumcision was a reminder of the covenant that God made with Abraham. The communion cup is a reminder of God grace offered to us. It represents the blood of Christ shed for us. Jesus paid the price for our sins. He made it possible for us to have eternal life with God.

When you see the rainbow, remember God’s love for us. It was so great that He sent His Son to die for our sin. He freed us from the guilt of our sin just as he promised.

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog were downloaded from  www.biblegateway.com

Same Sex Marriages: What Christians Need to Know

In the beginning of John chapter 8, Jesus is presented with a situation that was intended to get him into trouble. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. John 8:2-8(NIV)

At the time of this event, teachers of the law and the Pharisees were responsible for caring for the widows. This was a very important task. The women of this day were responsible for being their husband’s wife. They were not permitted to become secretaries, clerks, waiter, etc. There was no place for women to earn money. Consequently, if a woman lost her husband, she also lost all of her financial support. These widows had two choices: they could starve or they could become a prostitute. To prevent people from being put into this position, the leaders of the Law and Pharisees were responsible for caring for these women. When Jesus said that the person who had not sinned could throw the first stone, he knew that this group of people would feel the guilt for their actions. They fully understood what Jesus was telling them. They were negligent in caring for widows. Today, we have a very similar situation that is taking place in our society. There are Christians who are to failing to teach their children what the Bible says and what it does not say. Older women and older men are instructed to teach the young men and young women what is right and what is wrong. Our failure to teach the young men and women right from wrong has caused people to reject Jesus. Most of what is written in the Bible was written for Christians – people who have accepted Jesus Christ as the sacrificial lamb that died to our sins. When we read about how Christians should behave, we automatically apply it to people who are not Christians. We also make the mistake of telling non-Christians that they cannot go to heaven if they take part in certain behaviors. First, it is not up to Christians to determine who does, or does not go to heaven. It is God’s gift of grace, accepted by faith that will get us into heaven. We cannot earn our way to heaven by doing or not doing certain activities.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10(NIV)

There is nothing that we can do that will take that gift away from us or that will make it bigger or smaller. This gift is a gift that is given to those who believe in Jesus Christ. The gift is the same for all people regardless of their past. God will not force his gift on anyone, but he has made it available for everyone, regardless of his or her sexual orientation. Faith and grace are not the same! If we fail to do what God wants us to do, we do not lose our free gift of grace. We receive grace when God receives us just as we are. He knows that we cannot live sinless lives by ourselves. Our faith, on the other hand is something that grows as we learn to follow Jesus. Likewise, it diminishes (or dies) as we fail to follow Jesus. Included in our free gift of grace, is the Holy Spirit who dwells in our lives. The Holy Spirit guides the Christians actions. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to live. It even teaches us who we should choose for a marriage partner. God’s plan for marriage has not, nor will it ever change. Only the secular definition of marriage changes according to the wishes of the people. Faith does not force us to behave in a given manner. But rather, our actions are an indications of our faith. If a person does not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in his/her life they are incapable of living by the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, your only choice is to follow your fleshly nature

 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:12-13(NIV)

Christians should not expect the non-Christians to behave like Christians. In fact, we are to love them ‘as Christ loved us’. Changing how people behave is the work of the Holy Spirit, not Christians, or anybody else. People are born in sin. Every one of us started with a fleshly nature. Included in that fleshly nature, is the potential of becoming a gay or lesbian person.

 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:21-32(NIV)

In this passage of scripture, the writer is telling about the behavior of people who have not accepted God’s gift of grace. The writer never says, however that these people can never accept God’s gift of grace. Our behavior is the result of who we are following. When we follow our fleshly desires, we do those things that help us feel better at the time. We do the things that our flesh desires to do. However, if we crucify our fleshly desires, and are led by the Holy Spirit as Christians are instructed to do, we do things like love our neighbor, live in peace, joy, and happiness.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 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[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:16-26(NIV)

A person’s behavior is determined by who they are following. As a Christian, it is our responsibility to demonstrate God’s love to those who are not following the Holy Spirit. It is our responsibility to love other people. Love never forces itself on anyone.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:6-16(NIV)

Are we like the Pharisees and teachers of the law mention at the beginning of this blog? Do we want to throw the first stone? Why would someone want to be a Christian if we fail to live like Christ? If you are a Christian, go love someone who is in need of God’s love. Do not condemn them because they are behaving the way God said they would behave. God gave them over to their fleshly desires. God, not man, let them have their own way. Note: All scripture used in this article were downloaded from: http:// biblegateway.com

How Christ-like are You?

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:1-4 (NIV)

When people think about being like Christ, they frequently look at the thing Jesus did early in his ministry and not his whole ministry. What did Jesus do?

  • Fed the poor and homeless
  • Cared for widows
  • Healed the sick
  • Loved the unlovely
  • Prayed
  • Sacrificed fleshly pleasure

We frequently do the first four things on our list, but fail to do the last two. Several times in the Bible it records that Jesus prayed:

During busy days, he prayed.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:6(NIV)

Jesus prayed before he began  the day.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35(NIV)

Jesus prayed for other people

But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32(NIV)

Jesus prayed for all believers:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:20-26(NIV)

Jesus prayed that God would be glorified

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. John 17:1(NIV)

But the most important prayer was when Jesus sacrificed his fleshly desire to do the Father’s will. In fact, this was so important that he prayed the same prayer three times. Jesus was struggling with his fleshly desire.

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 (NIV)

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Matthew 26:42(NIV)

So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Matthew 26:44(NIV)

The primary thing that Jesus did was to glorify the Father. To glorify the father, Jesus had to sacrifice his fleshly desire and do what the Father asked him to do.

If we are going to glorify the Father as Jesus did, we also need to pray for God’s will.  We need to sacrifice our fleshly desire so we can do the will of the Father.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26(NIV)

If we are going to feed the poor and homeless, care for widows, heal the sick, love the unloved; we cannot follow our fleshly desires. When we do these things in our own way, we are only doing a legalistic act to show God how much we love him but in reality we are seeking our glory…not the Father’s glory; we a providing an inferior  love, an inferior  joy, an inferior  peace, an inferior  forbearance, an inferior  kindness, an inferior  goodness, an inferior  faithfulness, and an inferior  gentleness, and an inferior  demonstration of self-control.

The only way that we can provide genuine, spiritual fruit is when we have sacrificed our fleshly desire and determined to do the Father’s will. Do you really want to do the Father’s will or do you want people to see how “Christ-like” you are?

NOTE: Scripture verses in this article were downloaded from Biblegateway.com.