Archive for January 20th, 2010

(Please forgive me for not writing out all of the scripture passages mentioned.  The post was getting very long even without them.  I encourage you to look them up for yourself or on www.biblegateway.com. :))

The first major reason that I think causes me to have low points in my spiritual life is that I have a tendency to want to be in charge.  I know I’m supposed to give everything to Him and let Him be in control, but I have a heart attitude of “Here, God, take everything… except such-and-such.” 

According to the New Testament, there are basically three ways you can be living.  Here is what my Scofield Study Bible says about it:

Paul divides men into three classes: 1) psuchikos, meaning of the senses, sensual (James 3:15, Jude 19), natural, that is, Adamic man, unrenewed through new birth (John 3:3,5); 2) pneumatikos, meaning spiritual, that is, the renewed man as Spirit-filled and walking in the Spirit in full communion with God (Eph. 5:18-20); and 3) sarkikos, meaning carnal, fleshly, that is, the renewed man who, walking “after the flesh” (Romans 8:4), remains a babe in Christ (1 Cor. 3:1-4). The natural man may be learned, gentle, eloquent and fascinating, but the spiritual content of Scripture is absolutely hidden from him; and the worldly Christian is able to comprehend only its simplest truths, “milk” (1 Cor. 3:2).

Here are some notes from a session in AWANA counsel time last year.  (This originally came from a tract put out by Campus Crusade for Christ.  You can see the online version at http://www.ccci.org/training-and-growth/classics/the-spirit-filled-life/index.htm)

The Sinful man – one who has not accepted Christ as Savior.  Self is on the throne of the heart of the sinful man, and his sin separates him from fellowship with God.  No matter how much he tries, he can never have peace with God in his own power.

The gospel in a nutshell: Jesus paid the debt for our sins – death (Romans 6:23).  We must accept the fact that there is no way we can pay the price we owe and live (we admit that we are sinners), and believe that Jesus paid it for us when he came to earth, died on the cross, and rose from the grave.  Once we have done this, Christ comes into our lives as Savior and Lord, we are part of God’s family – Christians.  There are two ways a Christian can live: walk in the flesh (carnal) or walk in the Spirit. (See Galatians 5:16-25)

The Carnal man – one who has received Christ as Savior, but lives in defeat because he is trying to live the Christian life in his own strength. In the carnal Christian’s life, Christ has entered, but self is still on the throne.  Christ is not allowed to direct the life, and interests are directed by self, often resulting in discord and frustration.  Here are some possible characteristics of the carnal Christian: ignorance of spiritual heritage, unbelief, disobedience, loss of love for God and for others, poor prayer life, no desire for Bible study, legalistic attitude, impure thoughts, jealousy, guilt, worry, discouragement, critical spirit, frustration, aimlessness.  The carnal Christian claims Christ’s name, yet has no desire for deep doctrine, but only simple “milk.” (See 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 and Romans 8:5-8) 

The Spirit-filled man – one who has accepted Christ as Savior from sins and is yielded to Christ as his Lord – the one in charge. In the life of the Spirit-filled Christian, Christ has entered, is seated on the throne of the heart, and is depended upon to control all of the details of life.  Interests are directed by Christ, which results in harmony with God’s plan.  Here are some characteristics of the Spirit-filled Christian: Christ-centered, empowered by the Holy Spirit, introduces others to Christ, effective prayer life, desires and understands God’s Word, trusts God, obeys God, displays Fruit of the Spirit, thankfulness, and abundant reverence for Christ.  (See Ephesians 5:18-21)

How does this apply to us?  We often only want Christ to be our Savior (to rescue us), but we don’t want Him to be our Lord (the one in charge).   If I want to have a consistent walk with God, I’ve got to give everything to Him.  EVERYTHING.  This is not just a one-time thing, though – we must do it daily, often more than once a day!  I very often have to stop during the day and say a prayer something like this: “Sorry, God.  I’ve been taking over.  Forgive me, Lord.  I want You back on the throne.”  To live a successful, Spirit-filled life, we must begin by being sincerely willing for Christ to be in control of every area our lives.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’”  Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV)

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