Friday, August 05, 2005

The Civil War of the Born Again Believer p1

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh:
and these are contrary the one to the other:
so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Galatians 5:16-17

So that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Are you a good person? Before you answer, may I ask that you truly consider this: If it were possible, would you allow me to read your thoughts? I'm going to assume that you would say no to this question, just like I would say no myself. So don't feel too uneasy! This question was not intended to be some sort of trick. I think a question like this would cause most people to stop in their tracks and truly consider, that the mere thought that others could read our minds is indeed, embarrassing at least and frightening at most. Isn't it wonderful that we are not able to read the thoughts of others!

Have you ever been asked to sit quietly and meditate on beautiful thoughts, as to bring some sort of clarity, peace, understanding? Personally, I find this type of mystical exercise is designed to only make people feel good, by attempting to concentrate on the good things in life, on how beautiful things are, that there is really nothing wrong with us, with me, if only we could see and grasp the beauty in all things. I don't agree with or believe this type of philosophy, as life is not always wonderful. Or, haven't you noticed this simple truth?

It doesn't take long before our minds begin to wander back and forth and we start thinking on the things which we ought not. No matter how hard we try, just underneath that thin surface resides our true nature, our true humanity, all that which is good and all that which is not. Friend, we cannot escape this simple fact of life. To admit this truth is the first step that God is asking us to take. If you can admit this truth and take that little step, then God has spoken to your heart and He is ready to help you do, that which you ought!

Do you believe that you're the only person whose mind goes from good and wonderful things, to those things which are tucked away deep down, struggling to keep them under wraps? Don't feel alone, we're are like this actually. If someone tells you otherwise, you know they're either confused with what is true, or they're simply lying to you. If you doubt that, then just ask that person if you could read their mind for just one day! I believe that an honest person would be able to understand and recognize this simple fact.

So, are you a good person? The question is not so deceiving if you really stop to think about it for a moment. Personally, I believe most people are what we would consider good people. I'm sure that most people care about others and so forth. But this question is not designed to find out how you feel about others, or whether or not you would help a stranger in need. No, this question is asked because I really want you to consider for a moment, just how good of a person you actually are. Not the outward person we see and converse with, but that person who is hiding deep down in your soul, that inner person no one knows about. For whatever reason, are you able to grasp what I'm asking you? If so, would you really and truthfully allow me to read your thoughts, say for only one month? Would you allow me to broadcast and publish those for the whole world to know? Ahh! It seems to be a little different if that were the case, don't you think?

Okie, so I'll turn the attention off of you and place it on myself for the time being. Oh, but don't worry, I'm not going to share with you those deep dark things that lurk just below the surface as I'm sure you have your own little secrets. Knowing this truth allows me the comfort and confidence to share with you some of my observations, knowing that I'm not that much different than you..

So, you're a Christian, a true born again believer! Do you do those things which you ought not do? If so, then welcome to what I call; The civil war of the born again believer. I know... you thought being a Christian would somehow change everything, didn't you? Contrary! Nothing has really changed, or haven't you yet noticed this simple fact? What has changed is your knowledge and security of eternity, this is true. Yet here you are, still the same person you were before crying out to God for forgiveness and salvation.

I'm sure you're wondering why I should say such things. I mean, after all, isn't salvation about being saved? Yet here we are, still in the same world, the same body, the same mind we had before we cried out to God for forgiveness, realizing we are sinners. We recognize that salvation alone comes through accepting the Lord Jesus as our personal savior, and yet here we stand, no more perfect than when we were lost. Of course the difference today is knowing that we are saved, yet not perfect. We have a new heart, this is true. But what about that old nature that is still attached to us? It hasn't left yet has it? Interesting is it not?

Let me try to make this a better visualization. Lets say I have a yard-stick, and it is measured at exactly one foot. Now then, this is the measure of our sin. The 12" is the full measure, it is 100%. Before I accepted Jesus into my heart, to save me from my own condemnation, my sin was not recognized as sin. I was just me living my life, not worried about what others thought of me or what I did, or where I would spend eternity. One day though, I became a child of God, and oh my, how my sin was revealed to me.

Now then, that full measure of my sin, that 12" was now set before me. In time, I began to do away with those things which brought corruption to my soul, knowing that which is good in the sight of God, and those things which are contrary. So, I have done way with 9" of those 12". Today, I still know that there remains 3" of sin, and yet, I cannot seem to rid myself of those 3". I have done so well, doing away with those 9", but today, six years later, it seems those remaining 3" are more grievous than the full measure of 12". Welcome to the realization of saving grace!!.

And did you know, this is exactly where God wants us to be! This is the testimony of the Holy Spirit, convicting us of our sin. That 3" is now, far more revealing to me than it was when it was a full measure of 12". Then, I did not know or understand that measure. But today, I have grasped this measure in understanding and in wisdom. Friend, this is the true sign that you are truly born again. The heart, mind and soul cry out, "wretched man that I am, there is no good thing in me". The Apostle Paul recognized this same issue, our personal war, that of the old nature (the flesh) and that of our new nature (the spirit)
Romans 7:15-20
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Are you able to understand what Paul is saying? He is basically saying that even though he wants, desires and knows he should do good, he cannot. He cannot because it is sin that resides within him (his flesh), even though he wants to do away with it, he cannot. For he wants and desires, but he alone cannot do this thing, as he too struggled with that old nature and his new nature.

This is the certain realization that you are a true child of God. You recognize that you are indeed a sinner, that you desire, long for, want and look forward to, being released from such a thing as sin. This is what God is wanting us to see, to recognize, to grasp, to understand. If you are in this position today, then you are exactly where God wants you. How gracious He is!

part two

Copyright Wendell Leahy
published by


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