death, decisions, discerning the spirits, dying to self, eternal life, exhortation, experience, family, freedom, friends, grace, idolatry, joy, life, loved ones, new creation, old creation, pain, peace, suffering, T.A. Sparks, unbelief, walking by the spirit
God spoke to me a few minutes ago through the following Scriptures. He made them alive particularly by emphasizing the word TODAY. You can read this word five times in these verses. As many might know, five is the number that stands for GRACE. Just to give you a few hints as for the context in which God spoke to me, I can tell you that I had a struggle regarding a decision on how to react (or not) to someone’s misbehavior that put them in more or less big trouble. If you love someone, you might know how difficult it is to not intervene when you see things go downhill. So, my heart was very troubled about this trial as God pointed out to me that NOW it was my choice to turn to Him and to obey Him instead of trying to ‘save’ someone I love. If I obeyed Him, all things would turn out well, He said. Below you can read the Bible verses that reached my heart and comforted me immediately.
“For this commandment that I command you TODAY is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. “See, I have set before you TODAY life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you TODAY, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you TODAY, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you TODAY, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Dt 30:11-20 ESV – emphasis added)
Have you ever thought about ‘other gods’ being our loved ones, our family and our relatives, or our friends…? Maybe you have and thus you know that it is impossible to tear someone out of your heart and to decide to love God more than them. In this as in all other cases God’s grace is truly required so that we are enabled to trust God more than our own reasoning, fears and doubts. If we decide to trust Him despite our remainders of unbelief, God helps us to get rid of our old habits of thinking and behaving as we surrender one area of life after the other into His loving hands. He knows best what is good for us and for our loved ones and sometimes they, like us, need to learn through suffering and pain that earthly life is not always a bowl of cherries. In fact, our old nature cannot really enjoy life because of its self-centeredness. If our life is all about us and about how we are doing, we will never be able to live in God’s peace and harmony on a permanent basis, as it is described by Paul in his letter to the Galatians. Paul said,
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal 6:7-10 ESV)
In closing I offer you another excerpt from T. Austin Sparks which I already saved a few days ago because I would realize that that was exactly what I had been going through lately, experiencing life and death, death and life, again and again. So, I got more and more aware of how important it is to run every little decision by God before I act as I always did according to my old nature’s habits. Listening to Him has been a freeing experience indeed! Sparks explained it properly as he wrote,
If we begin to work for the Lord with our own natural strength, we meet death and before long our natural strength will come under death. If we begin to use our natural judgment in the things of God, we shall meet an arrest and before long we shall come to a deadlock, unable to get through. Anything which we bring of nature into the things of God will bring us up against – not some new issue, but the old issue – death which was made to rest upon the old creation. In so far as we move in the newness of Life, work by the Spirit of God, and walk after the Spirit, death is done away and we are in Life and we can go on and can get through, no matter how much there may be of handicap and weakness in nature, we can get through as we go on in the Spirit.
May God give us His Life and peace as He enables us to walk by the Spirit, just as it is written here,
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Rom 6:5-6 ESV)
By the way, the land of which God promised us that we could enter and possess it (Dt 30:16) is a spiritual land in the New Covenant. It is the Kingdom of God, the Promised Land that we enter by walking in the Spirit, just as my blog’s name indicates. 😉 Entering His rest and never return to our old Adam life, that is our goal, isn’t it?