Have you ever stopped to consider the most important elements of your home? I hadn’t really before today and now I have a new appreciation for that which is unseen. Let me try to explain.
The part that we see, the decoration or cosmetic, is just to show off the finished house. It adds eye appeal and quite frankly is what sells a house in most cases and what we focus the most on. But underneath all of that is the bones. The wood framing, plumbing, electrical, foundation – you know the structural. That is what makes the house have the ability to stand, hopefully for a good number of years, and provide a home for us to live in. Most of us I suspect would never think much about that beyond asking, is the structure sound, how’s the electrical, and does the plumbing work good? Oh, and how old is the roof? While the cosmetic gets the money, it’s the structural which makes it possible. And let’s face it, we can’t see what’s underneath anyway unless it fails. Without the latter the former isn’t much good and in fact can’t stand on its own.
The same applies to our walk with the Lord. In Romans 8:5 we read, “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.“ (NASB77)
I must admit that most of my adult life has been closer to the things of the flesh than the things of the Spirit. I know that might be a shock to some of you but as I stopped to take a serious look at my life what I’ve discovered isn’t too sound. It’s been the THINGS in life which have garnered most of my attention. Now it’s true that I’ve given a lot of time and effort to the Lord’s work so surely that should count for something, right? Well that would put me in the middle somewhere then since I garner the Spirit while pursuing the flesh. According to many today that still makes me an okay person and Heavenward bound. Let me just quote the rest of the above passage for you.
“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.“ Romans 8:6-8 NASB77
Maybe you need to read that again. The way I read it is pretty straight forward. There is NO middle ground. If my mind is on the flesh, even a tiny bit (I guess little white lies would be out) then that makes me “hostile toward God” and hence I “cannot [do not] please God.”
If you know me then you’ve mostly known the cosmetic, fleshy, sinful me. While there have been some structural foundation work it keeps getting knocked down whenever I focus back on the cosmetic, or flesh. If I want to have “life and peace” and to “please God” my life must be fully in the (Holy) Spirit which makes my structure sound and pleasing to God allowing the Holy Spirit to work through me for the Glory of God.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:29-32 NASB77
Want to start building the structural foundation of a life in the Spirit? These 6 points are found in the passage of scripture above.
- Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth.
- Build others up.
- Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit with your behavior.
- Release ALL bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice.
- Be kind and tender-hearted to others.
- Forgive others even as God in Christ forgave you.
It has taken 70 years for this message to fully sink in for me. I pray and hope that it won’t take that long for you.
I offer no apologies for this message except that I’ve taken so long to write/tell some who are closest to me and now to all who read this message. If you’ve gotten this far then I encourage you to search out how to truly walk a life in the Spirit and ditch the flesh. There is NO middle ground. If you disagree with me that is your right, but I encourage you to check the facts straight from the Word (Holy Bible) and disregard the words of man, the church, the denomination, the religion.
In Christ and with love,
Note: This blog post was inspired by a sermon given at Salem Evangelical Church by Pastor Randy Butler on 7/17/16. If you desire you can view the sermon by following this link: https://vimeo.com/176360995. The link is for the full service. The sermon starts about 2/3 of the way through at 51:42.