Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Feeling It Doesn't Mean To Do It!

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God." - 1 Peter 4:1-2; ESV

Just because I feel like doing something doesn't mean that I should do it.  And yet, this seems to be the gauge by which we judge what we do or plan to do.  There is a higher standard, and that standard is found in the call for Christians to be holy - to be set apart for Jesus.  It means that we are not victims to every desire that may come our way, looking to fill our appetites with pleasures for moment, but don't truly satisfy us, only to leave us empty in the long run.  And then when we fall into a pattern of pleasing our appetites, we look to justify our actions rather than repent of our mistakes.

I'm encouraged, though, when I read this verse.  And here's why: God is telling us, through his word, that he knows and understands that we will have appetites that will seem strong at times.  He knows that our flesh desires immediate gratification.  However, God wants to provide eternal satisfaction.  It's not about just getting it now, it's about enjoying the parts that God blesses us with now as he leads toward the ultimate blessing — himself and his glory.  We are free to obey Jesus.  We are free to run from sin and strive to live lives that are pleasing to Jesus.  We have been liberated to do the will of God instead of aimlessly follow the appetites that will truly never be fulfilled.  "The devil made me do it" is a phrase that shows the true character of the individual saying it rather than the power of the enemy.

Christians: Expect temptation.  Expect opposition from the enemy.  If you're not experiencing any opposition from the enemy, it's probably because you're not much of a threat as a Christian anyway.  And if you're never tempted, maybe it's because you're not striving for the will of God but rather only to fill the appetite.  And if you experience no conviction when you sin, it may be that you haven't surrendered to Jesus in the first place.  First things first: surrender to Jesus.  After that happens, you'll see the change that he promised.  Just make sure that you gear up for it.

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