If we desire to live our lives close to the Spirit of God, we need to be quick to humble ourselves and not make excuses for giving way to our fleshly desires and bad attitudes. Our resistance to the Holy Spirit's conviction hinders His ability to lead and guide us. In contrast, our humility to receive the correction and convicting work of the Spirit will bring us more grace: “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (James 4:6). Whenever you catch yourself justifying something that the Holy Spirit is showing you to be wrong, know that the enemy is busy trying to get you to rely on yourself rather than God’s intimate presence and power. To walk closely in step with the Spirit of God, you must resist self, sin, and Satan.
In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul the apostle wanted to help the believers there with the same difficulties we face. He taught them that there is 1) Something we must know, 2) Something we must consider, and 3) Something we must present. Let’s look at those three:
1) Something We Must Know
3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?... 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin… 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him (Romans 6:3, 6, 9).
The prophet Hosea said that God's people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). I want to emphasize again that we cannot lose our salvation if we have been born again; we are secure in God's love (John 10:28). It is possible, though, to be completely ignorant as to how to draw on God's grace and power to overcome sin, self, and Satan. We are called to be overcomers. In the Book of Revelation, in each letter to each of the seven churches, the Lord spoke about the rewards He will give at the end of the age, saying, “to him who overcomes…” (Revelation 2-3). God expects us to overcome self, sin, and Satan. To do that, we need God’s tools to overcome, with the Word of God being our chief weapon—the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
Do you know and believe what Christ accomplished for you when He died a substitutionary death and rose again? This belief is critical for living in tune with the Spirit and being empowered for ministry. If you are not firm in this knowledge, the enemy will quickly condemn and rob you of your authority in Christ. When Paul wrote the above Scripture, he stated that we are baptized into Christ’s death (v. 3); this spiritual transformation has occurred in the heavenly realms. The word baptism comes from the Greek word baptizo, which speaks of identification. It was a term used for dyeing cloth. When the fabric was dipped into the colorant, it was transformed. We, too, are changed by this baptism into Christ and His Body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:13). Christ's victory over sin was our victory. You may not feel victorious, but by faith, regardless of your feelings, you need to understand what Christ accomplished for you and know that He obtained this victory for you to walk in, not just to comprehend mentally, but to live in the power of this truth. To keep these meditations short, let's come back to these thoughts tomorrow to consider the other two things Paul wrote about, 2) Something We Must Consider or Count On and 3) Something We Must Present. Keith Thomas
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