A continued reading of the Christian classic. These are observation and personal reflections, not a review.
Chapter 7: Help in the Daily Battle
In the same way count yourself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ JesusRomans 6:11
In review: we were slaves to sin. We are freed from sin's reign by participating in the death and resurrection of Jesus. We are no longer slaves. However, we are currently sharing the Promise Land with the previous inhabitants. We walk in victory; but recognize that the battles will continue while in this body. We have to resist sin.
United with Christ in all His power and with His Spirit inside us. Obedient to and dependent on His Spirit.
However weak I may be, it is the power of God that is working in me.Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges, page 54
Form the habit of remembering that we are dead to sin and alive in God. Renewing our faith that we can have victory in the power of Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit living inside us. The Spirit is in us to make us Holy. Why? Because holy is the only way we can be connected to God.
First He convicts us of our sin, with God's standard for holiness. This helps with the blindness we choose when we want our own way.
This will continue as we mature. He'll address finer and finer points of doctrine as He guides us closer to holiness. Never assume you've reached a tipping point and there's no more work left to do. That won't happen this side of eternity. Nothing causes blindness more than letting yourself believe you've arrived at some grand level in your walk. Suddenly, you reverse your logic to assume that your thoughts and feelings can become the standard, because "you have arrived".
Think of all David accomplished, only to be lulled into thinking that, as king, he was safe to do whatever he wanted.
How can we "hear" the Holy Spirit?
- From some it is obvious. He speaks in a way that is clear and sounds distinct from our own conscious and inner voice.
- For everyone, though, it requires the various spiritual disciples given to us as our interface with God. To HUMBLY do the following with the goal of obeying and depending on the Holy Spirit:
- Time and silence to listen for responses to prayer
- Reading the Word
- Studying and meditating on the Word
- fellowship, including accountability
- Also fasting, etc
- worship (Woe to he who lies to God in worship; one of our only gifts we have to give) (Stop and spend a little time on this one.)
- include a reference to the Spiritual Disciples book.
Once we have been convicted by the Holy Spirit and our heart longs to become more holy, He become the spiritual strength that allows for that transformation.
To live by the Spirit is to live both in obedience to and dependence on the Holy Spirit. There is a balance between our wills (expressed by obedience) and our faith (expressed by our dependence).Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges, page 58
Peter, himself, with massive failures in the rear-view mirror such as sleeping Gethsemane, chatterboxing during the Transfiguration, and denying his Lord, has this perspective as he matured:
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.II Peter 1:3-4, NKJV
He's talking about the Holy Spirit!
Chapter 8: Obedience, Not Victory
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.Romans 8:13
God made the provision for our holiness. However...He has also given us the responsibility for it.
- The holy Spirit gives us the conviction of sin, desire for holiness,, a new nature, and the power to be holy. (page 61)
- But we are told to be holy and put the misdeeds to death.
In Hebrews we're told to throw off what hinders us and run the race with perseverance. These are commands for us to take responsible for our part of this journey.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 (another direct command)
There are many mysteries in the Christian life and this is one more. Submitting in obedience to the Holy Spirit and dependency on Him, while taking responsibility for the part that He has given to us. As described in Philippians 2:12-13- worked into us for us to walk out) We're reading Judges right now in my church and at the end of Joshua, the Lord promises to fight for them. 1 man could defeat 1000 because the Lord would be fighting for them. But The Angel of the Lord chides them in Judges 2 that they compromised and sinned and even though His covenant won't change; their portion failed-which He had addressed in the covenant. Because He is in me, I can do what He has asked me to do.
If we sin, it is because we choose to sin, not because we lack the ability to say no to temptation.Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges (page 64)
We are not defeated, we are disobedience.
Exchange victory and defeat with obedience and disobedience.