Generation Cedar

“Natural” has a lovely ring to us, but not to God. Everything about me that’s natural smacks of sin; it is the natural man that wars against the spirit of God in me. He must die so I can live..yet not I, but Christ in me!

I don’t know about you, but it’s so easy for me to get discouraged about my spiritual weaknesses. I know who I want to be, I know who God asks me to be, but often those things seem so far from who I am.

So I pray, and ask the Lord to “fix” me 😉 You know, “just make me nice and calm and patient–godly all the time.” Wouldn’t that be easy? We think that once we’re children of God, our sin natures should just dissolve.

But Scripture teaches otherwise. And understanding this is SO important! 1 Timothy 4:7,8 says:

“…exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profits little; but godliness is profitable unto all things…”

There are 2 things about physical exercise. First, it must become a habit to be effective. Second, the longer the habit of exercise is performed, the more fit we become.

We must exercise ourselves unto godliness! We must make a habit of godly behavior, and practice it consistently.

Philippians 2:13 says,

“For it is God which worketh in you both to WILL and to DO of his good pleasure.”

We will to behave in a godly manner. We choose to speak kindly when our flesh wants to yell. We choose to serve when we long to be served. We choose to respect our husbands when we don’t think he is deserving.

This is walking in obedience and working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. This is the process of sanctification.

How will the world know us as belonging to Jesus if we don’t display the fruits of the Spirit?

“I am who I am”, you may say. And if “who you are” isn’t striving for the holiness of God, Jesus says “deny yourself.”

This one hurts me. Many of the things God asks of me do not come naturally. And isn’t that the sum of the matter? “Natural” has a lovely ring to us, but not to God. Everything about me that’s natural smacks of sin; it is the natural man that wars against the spirit of God in me. He must die so I can live..yet not I, but Christ in me!

 

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5 Responses

  1. “”I am who I am”, you may say. And if “who you are” isn’t striving for the holiness of God, Jesus says “deny yourself”.”

    Gives a new ring to, “Just be yourself.”

    Great post!

  2. Yet remember, WW, that you have been made a new creature in Christ. Old things are passed away and all things have become new. When you became a child of God you exchanged your sin nature for the nature of Jesus. He became sin for us so that we could become the righteousness of God! (2 Cor. 5:21)

    When you have a new nature, what comes naturally is good. Like the fruit of the Spirit–it grows naturally when one is rooted in Christ. A tree does not strain and fuss and TRY to grow fruit. The fruit grows as silently and effortlessly as can be. It happens when the roots are good.

    And as new creatures we can bear the fruit of the Spirit–without straining and striving–but with the fruit flowing out of our new and good root system.

    Blessings,
    Daja, au naturale……

  3. Thank you, Daja…that’s the interesting/puzzling thing about Christianity to me.

    I had, in fact, included the “new creation” verse in the oringinal post, and then took it out because it didn’t fit with where I had it.

    Anyway, yes, the spirit of God in us must produce the fruit of the spirit.

    But, our flesh still gets in the way. And with Paul, I question, why it is that “the things I know to do I do not do; and the things I don’t want to do, I DO!”

    The spirit in me longs to be a blossoming fruit tree, and yet that seed–the center of my flesh, must die first.

    Confounding.

  4. I found yet another profound word on this very topic by Oswald Chambers. It helps my confusion a bit 😉

    He says:

    “Deliverance from sin is not deliverance from human nature…The warfare is not against sin; we can never fight against sin…Jesus deals with sin in Redemption.

    The conflict is along the line of turning our natural life into a spiritual life and this is never done easily, nor does God intend it to be done easily.

    It is done only by a series of moral choices. God does not make us holy in the sense of character; He makes us holy in the sense of innocence, and we have to turn that innocence into holy character by a series of moral choices.

    These choices are continually in antagonism to the entrenchments of our natural life, the things which erect themselves as ramparts against the knowledge of God.

    We can either go back and make ourselves of no account in the Kingdom of God, or we can determinedly demolish these things and let Jesus bring another son to glory.”

    Isn’t that great stuff?

  5. Good stuff.

    I think a lot of differences among Evangelical denominations have to do with their definitions of sin.

    One says… anything (including mistakes),…

    another says… WILLFUL transgression against the KNOWN law of God.

    I say denying ourself takes care of any confusion. 😉 And ,of course, grace.

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