Thursday, November 24, 2011

Living By The Spirit Of God Is The Only Way To Live In Jesus

I am going to try to control myself but I am very excited to have reached 1 Corinthians 12. I could write for hours on the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ. This is the chapter that demonstrates to us how far we have moved away from what we could be in Jesus Christ. This chapter shows us why the world does not see us as a people but as just another religion. This chapter holds out to us just how supernatural we are compared to how normal we act. Too many of us try to live a life for Christ according to our flesh instead of according to the Spirit.

I live in Quebec where 80% of the population speaks french as their first language. Learning to speak a second language is so much more than learning the vocabulary and must include grammar, sentence structure, pronunciation, and cultural understanding. You have to let go of the bonds of your first language to step into a completely different world. You can't speak the second language through your understanding of the first. This is what it is like to be a follower of Jesus Christ because our life is no longer lived through our flesh but through our spirit. Everything changes and is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Yet, many Christians have no understanding of the Spirit or even that they are suppose to be empowered by him. This is what Paul explained:

Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:1-3)

We try to live our life in Christ through the limitations and understanding of our first language, that of our flesh. It is the reason we fail to love with the incredible power of Jesus' love. It is why we struggle with sin. It is why we seem powerless to do anything for Jesus. We have to let go of of the boundaries of our first language which is governed by man's wisdom and logic. We have to let go and step into a greater reality that operates by the spirit and not the flesh. It is by the Spirit that we are able to confess Jesus as Lord and understand what that means and have it affect us to the core of our being. We can say the words in our flesh but we cannot speak it in the inner place without the Holy Spirit.

One of the most famous chapters on life in the Spirit speaks of this:

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Romans 8:5)

It's a great chapter; you should take the time to read it. In the Spirit our mind has been changed, we have a different perspective, different priorities, different trust and different expectations. Our purpose has also changed and now we only desire to see the will of the Father fulfilled. But it is even more than that; the Holy Spirit never leaves us with any doubt of who we belong to:

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:9)

Oh wow, I could spend all day here because this is the pulse of who we are in Jesus. This is the place of great understanding, of freedom, of power, of real worship and service. This is the place where all of creation opens up to us, where we understand who we are in Jesus, of the rights and privileges we have been given, of the boldness we possess to approach the throne of God. By our flesh we consider ourselves unworthy and only a worm, but by the Spirit of God we know we are a child who has the right to call God "daddy":

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:13-16)

Before we go on to the supernatural understanding of the Body of Christ we must be sure of who we are supernaturally in Christ Jesus. There can be no doubt in us about his love for us and the promises that are ours. There can't be any timidity in us when it comes to God because it means we do not trust him when he tells us to come boldly as his children. Whatever old school, old ways, old flesh you have hanging on you throw away right now. You are a completely new creation, covered by Jesus, emboldened by the Spirit, a child of God the Father, governed by a different law than this world understands, a place where power and miracles are part of our every day existence. By this same Spirit we are sensitive to God's moving and his will and we are instantly caught up in it. If the whole Church could only grasp this the world would be completely changed by the power of God.

I am reluctantly going to end today with this. Tomorrow we will pick up where I have left off but today I want you to do a word study on the Spirit and see what has been said about him and us. It should be enough to read today that you have no part in Jesus if you are not possessed and controlled by the Spirit. Too many Christians are playing a role, speaking the words but have no power even to control sin in their lives. Let's not be like that. Do a study today, ask the Lord for greater understanding and, if you have not done so already, ask for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have but it is better to ask the Lord.

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