Thursday, January 15, 2009
THE SPIRIT versus THE FLESH-3
--''LOVE, JOY, PEACE''-- One of the most illuminating words of Jesus concerning the work of The Spirit is this;''He shall glorify Me'' [JOHN 16;14]. He will magnify Christ in human living. Whatever Christ desires a follower of Him to be, The Spirit will set about to make him. He will produce Christ-flavored fruit. He aims at Christ-likeness in the child of God. ''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE.'' It is bound to be. ''God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God., and GOD IN HIM'' [I John 4;16]. Was Jesus concerned about our loving one another/ ''A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another''[John 13;34]. But what makes it new/ ''As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.'' That is, His love is setting a new standard for love that outmodes all others. Love, not those who love you, but those who hate and despise you. Do you say, ''I CAN'T DO THAT/'' A good confession. ''Very well,'' says The Spirit, ''I will supply the love; I will love that way in you.'' I go into churches where they seem free to ''bite and devour one another.''One would think this command of Jesus was not in their Bible. How can they/ Only because they are living on the human side, dependent upon human affection that fails,cut off from the supply of divine love that never fails. A man confesses to cherishing ill-will in his hrart. He says,''That nan wronged me, and I hate him.'' There are many such wrongs, and life is pretty much that way. Let's analyze the matter. Who does the hating/ Would you say, The Holy Spirit/ Would you dare lay it to Him/ No. Then it is I, myself, the self life. Put the blame where it belongs. ''I'' have failed. Why/ Beause I was not abiding in him; I got back on our side where such feelings can be cherished. Gladly, thankfully, I yield myself to the Holy Spirit to work His love in me, that the lustings, the tendecies of the flesh under whatever provocation--anger, ill-will, envy, quarrelsomeness, may not be fulfilled in me. ''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS JOY.'' And you don't have joy/ What are you doing / Surely refusing The Holy Spirit His freedom to do what He came into your life to do. That is extremely serious; far more than a mere defect in Christian character. Christ expects it; ''These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that, your joy might be full'' [JOHN 15;11]. God commands it; ''Rejoce alway'' [I Thessalonians 5;16]--at all times, under all circumstances. ''The JOY OF THE lord''--His joy, ministered by the Spirit--''is your strength [NEHEMIAH 8;10]. Then, the lack of it is our WEAKNESS. ''But,'' someone says, ''I am so difficultly circumstanced; I am discouraged-- I can't help.'' Very well. Ask yourself, who is discouraged/ Is it The Holy Spirit/ Is He havimg such a hard time that HE HAS GROWN DISCOURAGED/ Never. You are discouraged. YOU are consulting your feelings, your fears, your circumstances, and your failure, to abide. The Holy Spirit can't have His way and produce HIS FRUIT. Have we considered the paradox of Christian living; naturally, we sorrow; supernaturally, we have joy. WHERE WAS JESUS WHEN He bequeathed to us His Joy/ Under the shadow of the cross, with the sorrows of the world's sin about to engulf Him, ''a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,'' His face ''so marred more than any man''; yet He says, ''MY JOY.'' The Holy Spirit, faithful to Him under trial, kept ministering strength to hIM, EVEN His joy. Paul experienced this paradox and demonstrated joy under great trials [II Corinthians 6;4-10--[Turn]. He says, ''As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing''--Paul practiced the joy he preached--then he adds, to enlarge upon the paradox, ''As poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things'' [V. 10]. Friend, read your Bible for its joy. I recently went through the Psalms, marking every note of joy and gladness. WHAT A REBUKE TO SADNESS... Paul from the Roman prison writes the Philippians a prolonged appeal to rejoice. ''REJOICE IN THE Lord; and again I say, Rejoice'' [4;4]. But the Greek is, ''I will say, Rejoice.'' Circumstances may be against it, but since the Lord expects it, ''I will say, Rejoice,'' in the strengthening of The Spirit. A sad, long-faced Christian only advertises himself and the fact that he is failing; therefore ''I will rejoice.'' ''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PEACE.'' And you don't have peace/ What are you doing/ Frustrating the express purpose of the Spirit in coming to live in you. Jesus left us His peace saying,''Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you'' [John 14;27]. It is a proven peace, persisting under great trials; ''These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world'' [JOHN 16;33]. UNQUESTIONABLY Christ expects us to have peace and display it; but, knowing human failure, the Spirit says, ''I will make it MY BUSINESS TO PRODUCE PEACE.'' Read your Bible for its peace. Talke Philippians 4;6-7, to heart, and practice it. Peace is the twin sister of Joy; one can't live without the other. Peace is the badge of a Spirit-indwelt believer. Christian, you were called to peace, the opposite of worry; called to perpetuate Christ's peace on earth; called to display His peace as evidence of your loyalty to Him.