So, the last two-ish years or so, my life has been on a journey away from doing things my own way, to complete submission to God & the Holy Spirit and doing my best to walk in obedience to the Spirit. This article is being written at 1:24am EDT on a Friday night because I couldn’t sleep and because I felt the Spirit compelling me to write it.
Now, for those of you who may not be Christians, what I mean by “obedience to the Spirit” means listening for instructions from God, and doing my best to carry them out in my life.
When Jesus died and was resurrected, he died so that, if we believe in what God did through Jesus, we would have eternal life. Additionally, we receive the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of God. We believe and the Bible teaches that when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us and give us direct access to God.
There are lots of ways that God speaks to us. One is through his words found in the Bible, another is through prayer, and sometimes he even speaks to us through other people. In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that,
“… [He] came that we may have life – indeed, life to the fullest.”
2nd half of John 10:10CSB
Through further reading, we can come to the conclusion that Jesus, who is the ultimate example of what obedience looks like in human form, was saying that if we believe in him, receive the Holy Spirit, and are obedient to the Holy Spirit that we can have access to this life and life to the fullest.
The first part of John 10:10 mentions “the thief”
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10:10 NKJV
Now “the thief” that this verse references is talking about the Devil or “the enemy” as the title of this blog post calls him. Jesus in this verse is contrasting the purposes of the devil vs. the purposes of His own life.
All of us, whether we like it or not or even whether or not we choose to believe in it, are dealing with the contrast of these two universal truths.
When a person decides that they want to accept the free gift that God has given them through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, they are made new in Christ – meaning their Spirit being is made completely new and is reconciled with God and has access to the promises of God.
What that doesn’t mean however is that in our “flesh” or our soul (that is your body, mind & will) won’t still struggle between this new Spiritual renewal and our fleshly desires (basically carrying out our own will or what the Bible calls “sin”). So even when we accept Jesus, become Christians, and are renewed and given new life Spiritually, we still have to “overcome the enemy” in our fleshly being.
Temptations to do things that we know we shouldn’t, attitudes that aren’t in line with the word of God, or a self-focused mentality are all things that we have to overcome in order to mold our fleshly lives into the reality of the Spiritual renewal we’ve received.That may sound pretty out there to someone who doesn’t believe in any of this stuff – totally okay, it did to me as well and we’re all just works in progress.
What it really means is that we strive to each day become better people, who are acting in accordance with the word of God and the example set by Jesus, so that our external beings will reflect the spiritual reality that God has created inside of us. This is a constant struggle – one that we have to continually work to refine and improve throughout our lives as we progress more towards the image of what God has for our lives.
The Bible tells us that these influences that are alive in our flesh and also alive in the world around us, are a result of sin and our free-will choice to either choose to do what is right and good or choose to do whatever we want, which can lead to some really awful scenarios for our lives, something God absolutely doesn’t want for us.
One of the verses that we use as a promise to cling to in this struggle as we fight this fight every day is James 4:7
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 NKJV
No joke, I’d only ever recalled the second half of this which is “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” That’s what many of us quote always but we forget the first part which is “…submit to God.”
What does this mean? Well, it means different things for each of us at different times in our life. Certainly, we can read the Bible and come to some conclusions about what is out of alignment in our lives. But to be completely honest, for most of us, that would create a laundry list of things that we should be doing better that we aren’t currently doing.
I’ve been struggling a lot with this, doing my best in my own will power to “resist the devil” so that he will get the heck away from me. Unfortunately, the attacks have been continual, and the dude just will not stop.
Since I know & believe in my heart that the word of God is the truth and there is nothing in it that is a lie, I have confidence I must be either understanding or doing something incorrectly to receive this promise.
God sent this message from Joyce Meyer and I gave it a watch. I recommend you watch it too if you’re struggling with it:
If you don’t have 53 mins to watch it right now, I highly recommend that you do take the time as there is so much wisdom in there. But essentially, she says that we have to look at our own lives and find the areas we aren’t submitting to God. She mentioned a ton, and just like I mentioned above, I was left with a laundry list of things I could be working on and doing better.
She also recommended that instead of putting together a totally new life plan, I should ask God what he wants me to tackle right now, and then once that’s handled to ask him for the next thing to tackle.
The three things that God asked me specifically to work on were the following:
- Spend consistent time with Him in his Word and in prayer every single day
- Work with God on controlling my tongue
- Work on turning complaining into praise
So these are the three that I’m going to work on and I’m going to continue posting on here as I’m working through this journey and writing about how it’s going. Did you get a chance to watch it? If so, leave a comment about what God asked you to work on below and I’ll make sure to pray for you in this area.