How To Die Already - Your Guide To Death To The Flesh
Adam and Eve sure had it good. Not only did they get an unlimited buffet of goodies in the Garden of Eden, but they had another quality I envy. They did not struggle with sin. Can you imagine it? If I have to look at the things in my life that get my down, they are feelings of regret, disappointment and fear. These struggles in your heart can sometimes cripple your spiritual life.
Although you know that satan is the accuser of the brethren, you still struggle with guilt. Even though you know the Lord wants to provide your needs, you struggle with your fear. You struggle with temptations and at the end of the day, you and Paul are singing the same tune with the lyrics that go, "I really want to do good, but find myself doing the things that are not good!" You know what is right, but you always do what is wrong instead.
In the end you sing like him, "O wretched man that I am!" Sounds like the lyrics to a good heavy metal song if you ask me!
Adam and Eve did not have this problem. Before they ate the forbidden fruit, they did not struggle with sin and temptation. They did not find themselves doing things they should not. They did not have to grit their teeth and say, "I will not perform that sinful thing." This to me is the greatest paradise that they ever had.
Unfortunately we know that this story does not have a fantastic ending. The moment they reached out for that fruit, something changed. They were suddenly aware of sin and everyone after them struggled. The Lord did not leave them in the lurch though. Right there He promised that a seed from them would rise up and crush the head of that serpent. That seed was Jesus and the greatest gift that He came to give us was a winning formula for the battle against sin.
Not only did He take back everything satan stole from Adam and Eve, but He has now given us the power to overcome these struggles. You see when Adam and Eve sinned, they reversed the order that the Lord set in place. The reason why they had so much spiritual authority is that they were not ruled by their flesh, but by their spirits.
They had no need to slap on a W.W.J.D. bracelet to remind them of what was the right thing to do. No, they naturally flowed out of their spirits. When they took hold of that fruit though, a lot more happened than them having the worst day of their lives.
In addition to giving satan license in the earth, they also reversed the order God has set into place! From that moment on, their bodies started calling the shots. Instead of doing things God's way an eternal struggle began. They started to follow the impulses of their bodies instead and so set the pace for mankind.
What many believers do not realize, is that the Father sent Jesus to do a lot more than just forgive our sins. Sure, when we got born again, our sins were blotted from the sight of the Father, allowing us to enter into His Kingdom as Sons. Our position in the Lord is written in stone.
What He also did was give us the power to bring the correct order back! Through Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can get our bodies back into shape! In other words, we can shake things up and instead of always following after our flesh, we can allow our spirits to take control.
Don't you ever wish that you could handle a situation like Jesus would? Don't you wish that you could see people as He did or handle pressures with His insight? Well you can! The Holy Spirit is living inside of you and you have all the power that you need right there.
All the revelation and wisdom is right inside of you! The problem here is not with the Lord, the problem is that pesky flesh that keeps getting in the way. When you allow your flesh to dominate and make the decisions for your life...whoops there that order goes again.
Next thing you know you are scrambling around for some fig leaves, because you know very well that you just messed up. The Lord Jesus did not come to condemn you, but to empower you. He came to give you an alternative to dying and struggling with your temptations and sins.
Here is the reality of it all. You cannot overcome your flesh. That temptation you keep facing? The longer you struggle with it, the worse it will get. In fact it is like digging yourself into a hole. While you still think that by a simple choice of your will that you can overcome, you will only fall deeper.
Nope, it is going to take a lot more than deciding 'not to sin' to overcome. You need a greater power than your own. That makes sense though doesn't it? I mean, if we as human beings could stop sinning and making mistakes, what was the purpose of Jesus coming in the first place? If man could obey every letter of the law, then why did Jesus shed His blood?
It is because we cannot overcome! Oh how quickly we forget this powerful truth. We are so quick to patch ourselves up and try to change ourselves. You try to cover your guilt over by trying to 'not do it again' instead of taking another option - the one Jesus died to give you.
That option is to suck in your pride and to take hold of God's power. When you take hold of His power, you will not struggle any longer. You will find the will power and you will find the strength. In fact, when you take hold of this power, you can start to go through a transformation. A transformation to the point where you just do not feel like doing that sinful thing any longer.
Is That Possible?
Jesus died to make that possible and this little process is called "walking in the Spirit." You see, while your flesh is calling the shots, you will always take the wrong direction. That is what Paul was speaking about when he went on a bit in Romans 6 about having two masters. He said to us that we cannot have two masters. You obey one or the other.
So tell me, what is mastering you right now? When orders are barked, to whom do you jump to attention? Are you following the orders of your spirit or of your flesh? Fortunately for us, we have a little God given control tower that lies slap bang in the middle of these two. This control tower is called your soul. It is right there in your soul where your mind (intellect), emotions and your will lie. So when you are faced with a situation, you have only one choice to make. Which master is your control tower going to direct you to?
Just like any air traffic controller, it will only allow one plane to land at a time. Which one is it going to give preference to? Well that is entirely up to you. By a force of your own will, you can decide if you are going to handle this situation in the flesh, or if you are going to listen to the Lord instead.
You can yield your body to the spirit. In other words, you can allow your spirit to make the decisions instead of your flesh. You can be ruled by what God wants and not what you just think is a good idea. This means to put off your flesh and to take on Jesus.
How God Gets Our Attention - A Call To Death
Unfortunately for us though, a lot of the time we do not even realize that we are making the wrong choices. In fact it is only when you are pushed up against a wall and everything is going wrong that you suddenly sit up and take notice. It is when you face a dilemma in your life where you realized that the wages of sin are death and you could sure use some gifts and fruit from the spirit.
It is during these crisis times in your life when you struggle with your flesh as Jacob did with the angel. You feel a war going on inside of you. You know what is right, but everything in you wants to do what is wrong. When you eventually come to a place of realizing that you cannot fight your flesh with flesh, you are then ready to give it up and do things God's way. You are ready to DIE ALREADY.
Now the Lord uses this process in training His ministers, but every believer will face such a moment in their lives at one time or another. Some call it the "dark night of the soul." It is when you come to a point in your life when you can see everything that is wrong. You see your flesh and your sin and failure.
This is not the worst of it though. The worst of it is when you suddenly realize that you can do nothing about it! You have tried and tried, but you have not overcome. You have cried and pressed through, but failed yet again. Child of God, it is time to die already.
It is time to realize that you cannot overcome this thing in the flesh. You need the power of God. Just like Jesus went to the cross and yielded up His spirit, it is also time for you to give up your sin and your striving. When you do that, then God can take over. Only when you have crucified that flesh, can your spirit start dominating once again. Apostle Paul says in 1 Cor:15 that he died daily! He left nothing to chance. Daily he put his flesh on the cross and allowed Jesus to get off, taking control of his life.
Daily he was led by the spirit of God. This was not an automatic thing. As we read, we see that he too struggled, but he did not remain down! He boldly could say in, Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
God wants you to live a life of abundance. All the pressures that you are facing right now are bringing you to a single point. When will you start to realize that you cannot overcome this alone? It does not matter how deep your sin is or how high the mountains are in front of you. When will you realize that you cannot climb that mountain without the power of God?
How much longer will you go on struggling without tapping into the endless supply of that power in your spirit? The Lord has been waiting all along to help you overcome the situation that you are facing right now. However for as long as you keep struggling with it all by yourself, your sin will just dig itself a deeper hole. Your flesh cannot save you here. You need a power greater than your own. You need Jesus Christ to pull you up out of the pit.
In the spirit see yourself walking up to the cross. See all of your struggles and all the weaknesses you are battling with. Then just as Jesus could yield Himself in death before the Father, do the same. This is the only choice that God requires you to make.
Walking in Resurrection Power
The Lord did not ask you to save yourself. The Lord did not expect of you to have a power you do not possess. He asks you to make a single choice. To yield to the spirit. Once you do that, He can give you the peace and power that you need to face this problem.
Apostle Paul not only spoke before Kings, but he survived shipwrecks stonings, prison and even death. He could not have done all of this by himself. Rather he did all of it by saying that it was Christ who lived through him.
What is your mountain today? What pressure, temptation or struggle is coming at you? Put it on the cross. Admit that you cannot handle it. Admit your love is weak. Admit that your faith is empty and that your hope is gone. Then as you submit yourself to the Spirit of God, watch how your faith, hope and love are restored once again.
Then go from there walking in the resurrection power of Jesus. Together, there is no mountain that can stand in your way.
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