Saturday, September 01, 2007

Galatians 5:26

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

The "who" in the above verse struck me the other day as I read it. So often we focus on what God does in us, that we neglect to do what we are called to do for ourselves - repent.

It is not easy to walk away from our temptations. Our flesh sometimes cries out with great pain and anguish when we deny it what it is hungering for. We have crucified the flesh, we need to let it die. We need to let it hunger and thirst, and gasp for air.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me

We are able to walk the uncomfortable and painful path because we trust God. The Jesus that we are following did not take the comfortable easy path. He asks us to take up our cross and follow him. When we follow him, he replaces our lustful and sinful passions named in Galatians 5:19-21 with the fruits of the Spirit named in verses 22-23.

It is not God's job to crucify our flesh. It is ours.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Where am I Stiff Necked?

It is fascinating to study the behavior of the people of Israel during the exodus. They experienced miracles daily. God delivered them from slavery in Egypt, He protected them from the plagues affecting everyone else in Egypt. He lead them as a pillar of cloud and fire. He parted the sea for them. He miraculously provided them food to eat.

In spite of all of these miracles, they still continued to question God's leadership. Often they complained that they would be better off dieing in Egypt as slaves.

We too have been rescued by God from slavery. Romans 6:17-18 says "
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness."

For the last several weeks, I have been trying find the words that pinpoint the change that happened when I "died to Sin" . It is hard for my transformed mind to remember how it thought before my conversion. The primary question I have is Is sin different for a Christian than it is for a non-Christian? Do we engage in Sinful activities with the same motives?

Honestly I cannot remember why I sinned before I was saved.
I speculate that I had little guilt and engaged sinful activities because I thought that they might lead to a more fulfilling life.

When I sin now, It is out of weakness. Usually sin is not something that I pursue, but something I fall into because I lack the faith to resist. My failures testify to my need for my Savior.

My confusion over this question leads me back to Exodus. Am I just like the nation of Israel? is God doing a miraculous work in me that I just don't see because it happens every day? Am I blind to God's provision because it is so everyday that it doesn't seem miraculous anymore?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Tongue

According to the Bible, the tongue is a spiritual barometer. Consider these verses:

Matthew 15:17-18
Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.

Luke 6:39 basically says the same thing.

James 1:26
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Also see James 3 on the power of the tongue.

Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:45
"...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."

Proverbs 18:21
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

What can you say to this? It is convicting for sure. But what we say starts in the mind, and the mind needs to be renewed.

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Oh, how we need Jesus! We need to be renewed daily so that our flesh is crucified more and more. Because the only way to please God is by faith, and that can only be done by the Spirit. Thank God He provides what he requires!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Muddled Wisdom?

One of the favorite passages for parents is Proverbs 22:6. The NIV translates it this way:

Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Many parents are encouraged by the idea that if they train their children well, the children will continue to be well disciplined as they mature into adulthood.

The Proverbs should be considered wisdom, not promises. Unfortunately, there are a lot of examples of kids that where raised in Godly families who departed from the path that their parents would have chosen for them.

Some of the other translations give this verse a slightly different meaning. For example, Darby’s translation says “Train up the child according to the tenor of his way, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” After reading these alternative translations, it is easy to see how you can totally change the meaning of the meaning of the verse by emphasizing “he should go” instead of “Train a child”. It is also important to note that the NIV verson also has a footnote suggesting that the word "Train" can also be translated "Start". When you look at the Hebrew lexicon it is also fairly easy to see how it could be translated both ways.

Basically if you train a child to pretend to be something that they are not comfortable with, they are going to feel lost, and will wander. If you encourage them to be who God made them to be, however, they will be comfortable with themselves and will not have to “find themselves” later.

Is the interpretation “Train up a child according to their bent, and they shall not depart from it” as valid as the more commonly accepted interpretation? Why or why not?