My dearest friend Alicia and I were having our usual meeting of the minds. Which is always about the word of God as it relates to self-improvement? For over twenty years we have walked, ministered and traveled concerning God’s word. And since this is the beginning of a new year I find it apropos to address this topic. On the weights of the balance two words come to mind; resolve and evolve.
Every year many of us make what are called New Year’s resolutions. However, very few, at the end of the year can check anything off that list. Perhaps the reason some of us could not check off that list, was due to the fact; adherence dictates change. A change from your comfort zone to the unknown. It is human nature to fight change. However, the life we desire to change requires we change, to break the mundane cycle of that life. And with this change stay changed and not revert back to what is common and comfortable. I call it Lot’s Wife’s Syndrome. You know, looking back on your past. Fooling yourself into believing it was far better since you are afraid of the unknown which lies ahead? Instead of looking back with remorse, set your heart to move forward with a sense of hope and purpose. (Isaiah 43:18) There are things that you need to understand and accomplish. When going where no man has gone before you must position yourself for purpose.
From a spiritual perspective, that is exactly what the word of God is all about. Biblical examples and applications giving us a spiritual blueprint as it relates to us concerning self-improvement. And God’s improvement plan is an ongoing process. Whereas, most of us yearn to be extraordinary overnight—not realizing God takes ordinary people and does extraordinary things according to His timetable! This is a daily process. (I Corinthians 15:31) Not something that is done overnight. Being to some degree a perfectionist; kind of sort of, but not really. I find, at most times, impossible to stay on task. Without tying myself to accountability as if my life depended on it. Focus is imperative. There are too many things that can easily distract us and derail our destinies.
This is my resolve and where genuine integrity enters the equation. Unless you are true to yourself you can in no wise be true to anything or anyone. Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Can’t you see for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you actually fail the test? And I hope you will realize that we have not failed the test.…(2 Corinthinans 13:5)
Having this resolve, we now need evolution in its definition as ‘the gradual development of something, especially from simple to a more complex form.” How simple-minded we are when it comes to the thoughts of God. And yet the Psalmist writes, “What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet…” (Psalm 8:4-6)
Talking with Alicia is like hearing a waterfall of knowledge flowing over Curiosity’s Peak. Therefore, I am always taking notes on the major points like a student in a classroom. As she was talking to me about walking in the flesh I began to ponder. Are you lost in the shuffle? You know. That shuffle between walking in the flesh and walking in the spirit? This has everything to do with personal change and growth. Yet nothing to do with your intellect, ego or definition of entitlement. And in a gulf, somewhere between these two viewpoints; lies an undiscovered truth.
“Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.“
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he addresses the topic of flesh and spirit: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Galatians 5:16-17) And here, “the things that you wish” is defined as good intentions. A red flag should automatically pop up, if this conflict is preventing you from doing what is right and true. Paul discourses in Chapter Seven of Romans, “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:21-25)
Your inward man is a mess when lust is left unchecked. Lust has a voracious appetite—it has no boundaries. Again, the Apostle gives many examples of where lust may lead… “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like…” (Galatians 5:19-20) You may not be doing it, but thinking it is still enmity against God. That is why the scriptures teach us to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. That obedience requires discipline. And that discipline is acquired by finding the narrow way. (Matthew 7:14)
Once you find it, you have to stay in the Narrow. Subsequently, while walking in the flesh you cannot hear from God. Nor discern what you see while on the Broad Path. In as much as you have just declared war on your inward man. What are you thinking lately? Is your mind so overwrought with lustful thoughts you lost God’s purpose for your life in the shuffle? Jeremiah warns us. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9) Your very thoughts can betray you. You may be thinking one thing but acting out another. Knowingly or unknowingly camouflaging the truth; which in and of itself is contradictory to the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus said, “These people draw nigh unto to me with their mouth, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)
The more you camouflage the truth you become further removed from God. It is the Holy Spirit that leads us to ALL truths. And to find those truths it is essential being at peace within you. But most of all it is your life’s narrative to stay at peace with God. Always remember, those whose hearts are perfect towards God are the ones who are at peace with Him. Here our prayer should be “My God and my King, may my heart never forget Your promises and may I be transformed through surrender to you.“
This battle will keep you constantly warring for truth, justice and righteousness. Here the enemy will try to pin you down so he can complete his mission—to steal, kill and destroy. Not your earthly possessions, but your spiritual gifts some of you have yet to discover. This prevents you from evolving into who God destined you to be. And is the reason we must make a conscientious decision to choose walking in the spirit. You may not be a perfect Christian, but at least your heart will be genuinely seeking the perfection of God. Yes, the battle is real. But so is our God!
No, it is not an easy task. For only through the redemption of Jesus Christ are we able to find the strength to make this choice. However, in choosing walking in the spirit, we can find our true being and not some carbon copy or a mislabeled disappointment society deigns us to be. But what God designed for us from before the foundation of the world. In this place your resolve will cause you to evolve. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Upon entering this New Year, I challenge you to search out the scriptures concerning this matter. Giving serious thought to how you will proceed and why. So that at year’s end, through your evolution, you will finally be able to check off that list!
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)
2019 was my Ironman Triathlon. Welcome 2020, we here at Rhema International pray all our readers have a Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! Blessings and Peace be unto you!
Thank you for your readership and continued support.
Note: The definition for evolution was taken from lexico.com. Specifically definition 2.
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