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“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Pt 2:11-12 KJV)
Photo by Susanne Schuberth

During the last few months I got more and more aware that this whole world is in enmity with God. Just yesterday I watched a female teacher walking in the street with about 20 boys and girls who were heading toward school again. Having taught children myself, I know how difficult it is today to make yourself heard (not only by kids). It seems that the (fallen) human mind is so busy with thinking about itself and how they can get their way with others that they hardly perceive the needs of other people, even of those close to them. It seems to me that most people do not know that our mind and heart naturally live in rebellion with God, with laws of any kind, and with authorities like parents, grandparents, teachers, and official institutions. Even if our old nature submits to authorities, do we always obey out of love for God and others or, rather, isn’t it the fear of punishment that makes us often do what was demanded?

One might argue here that my observations are a bit hard-edged and they are. But sharing these thoughts with my husband today, I believe I am not that wrong here. Paul tells me quite often about how difficult it is to trust anyone in professional life nowadays. There is a handful of bosses, staff members, and students you know you can rely on anytime. But the major part of apprentices and co-workers do their own thing by taking the law into their own hands. As soon as you turn your back on them, they somehow spit you in the face by ignoring what you told them to do. If you ask them about their defiance later, they look for excuses or even lie at you. As for me, I too know that it has become ‘normal’ to browse the internet for many an employee on the job, during a time where they are paid for doing their work. This is this world and we won’t change it. However, is it Christlike if a Christian does the same things? Or when they often do some chitter chatter about their co-workers and neighbors?

Dear reader, it is primarily obedience in what we might call little things that counts for God, not the serving up of big things we might do for mankind on a grand scale. If we do not submit to Him in our sometimes pretty boring everyday life, we do not need to believe that He would be interested in our other ‘bigger’ good works ‘for Him’ we chose on our own. God does not need self-seekers whose minds and hearts are conformed to this world. Instead, He wants a people who loves and obeys Him, even if nobody on earth ever comes to know about their obedience. It is a heavenly life in the Spirit God has in mind for all of us. The problems that arise and the blessings that eventually follow when we try to submit to God’s leading that pulls us AWAY from the spirit of this world, even away from this religious Christian world, T.A. Sparks aptly put this way.

“To the flesh that is not easy. To go on with God and have nothing to show for it, never to be able to have the work written up in the papers, to publish no reports, nor statistics, and yet to know in your heart of hearts that, although it is hidden, something is going on, and that you cannot do otherwise than you are doing, is far from being a path of ease to the flesh.”

“It is a testing way, but, blessed be God, if we do endure the testing and go on patiently with Him, in His time, when that flesh has been finally laid low; when the voice of natural ambition is no longer sounding and having influence, and we are now utterly at the place where if things are not going to be of the Lord then there is not going to be anything at all, the Lord has a free way, and He is able to indicate that all the time something has been going on. He shows how He has been at work, and how that in time there will be manifested a work of God, a work that shall have such a large percentage of spiritual value and meaning in it that you are very glad, after all, that you walked with God and not with men in the work of God.”

http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/002998.html

May God have a free way with us when our old self with its desires, finally, has taken the back seat.

Grashof/Rothsee
Photo by Susanne Schuberth

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