Tuesday, August 14, 2012

walking through the gospel: believing and following Jesus now {part 2}

Last week we talked about the darkness, and why believers have to leave it behind. This week, we are continuing that conversation with what it looks like to walk in the light. :)

the light

So what is the will of God for a believer? It's to walk in the light. So what does the light look like?
Galatians 5:
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Walking in the Spirit or in the light, you can't keep feeding those sinful desires- you must put them to death with the power of the cross. Because Jesus defeated sin, He can defeat and put to death the sins of your flesh! 

Walking in the light means you have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control!

Instead of malice, bitterness, or hatred, when you walk in the light, you have love for your enemies. 

Instead of throwing fits of anger and impatience with your kids, you can walk in the light by speaking kindly to them and waiting with patience. 

When someone says something hurtful to you, you walk in the light by controlling your tongue {self-control}, and speaking peace-seeking words in return to them.

Okay, now if this sounds really hard {or even impossible!}, it is. Our flesh- our desire to sin- and the Spirit are at war against each other.

And it is impossible to win the battle on our own. Our flesh desires to do what is wrong {to say ugly things or get revenge}, but the Spirit tells us the right thing to do. It's like a huge war between what God wants and what sin wants in our lives.

But Jesus, in His kindness, saved us while we were sinners, and rescued us from the chains of our flesh! He has the power over sin and death, and with His help, we have the ability to change!!

See, this is where so often we make a huge mistake as believers. We want to change ourselves, to please God, but our hearts are deceitful and our flesh is weak.

We try to do it on our own, and we fail, because we aren't relying on God for the change- we are trying to "fix" ourselves. And it feels like an endless cycle.

Sometimes, we know we can't change, we get tired of the battle. and we want to give up altogether. We want to stop fighting. This is where God's grace and strength is shown in our weakness!

why we want to walk in the light

The most important thing to realize is that God is the one doing the work in us. It's not about following a law of do this, don't do that; it's about seeking to do the will of God and seeking to please Him with our lives.

Giving up our desires and giving up our will is like offering a spiritual sacrifice to God. It's pleasing to Him that we give Him all of us:

Romans 12:1
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

You have been chosen by God. You are one of His people. You were given mercy- you were called out of darkness and into the light. And there is a war against your soul- the passions of the flesh- the darkness {sin} wants to take you down!

1 Peter 2:
9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
That's why we have to walk in the light- we have to walk with honor so that we bring glory to God! You are His child. Walk with Him in joy, love, peace, patience, goodness, kindness. There is no wrong in those. :D 

All that is good comes from Him. And He empowers us to do these good things. It's not done with our own strength- it's done through His power.

I love this passage because it sums up so perfectly what we are supposed to do:
Colossians 3
12Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Love. Be thankful. Be patient with each other. Be kind. Forgive. Be humble. 

Remember, sweet Jesus did all those things for you first!

Dwell on Christ. Do everything for Him! And you can do it with His help.

Does that resonate with your spirit too? I'm so blown away by how God works in your heart to help you desire the good things, and He helps you leave behind the desire for the darkness.

It's so God- He loves you so much to teach you these things! He saved you from the darkness, and it's so important that you don't go back there. Walk in Him- walk in the Light, sweet friends! 

You can do it with the help of the Holy Spirit- and next week we will talk more about Him- who He is, how He helps us walk in the light, and why He is our best friend. :)

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