So you know how it is when your boss says he (or she) has some good news for you and before they have finished speaking and left the room in your head you are the next CEO? Or when a boy you like smiles at you and before a minute is gone you are naming your kids? Or you weigh yourself and have lost a couple of pounds and as you step off you are imagining a whole new slimmer wardrobe or bikini beach? We run with things and let our imaginations get the better of us. There’s nothing wrong with that so long as we don’t build our lives on ‘vain imaginings’. But after yesterday’s enthuse I want to bring a touch of balance as my dear friend Paul the Apostle did.
It would be all too easy for me to read what I said yesterday and decide I don’t have to do anything except let God work. I can lie back and let my life, actions, thoughts go wherever they want because ultimately God has it in hand. Maybe that’s the extreme example but I hope you get my meaning. Just because it is God’s Grace and work that perfects me, consecrates me, sanctifies me does not mean I can do what I like and leave Him to clean up the mess. His forgiveness IS always freely available when I repent for absolute sure and without a doubt but why would I want to be in a place where I have to repent? As I said on Sunday I LOVE Him so why would I want to offend Him?
9 Love others well, and don’t hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil; pursue what is good as if your life depends on it. 10 Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. 11 Do not slack in your faithfulness and hard work. Let your spirit be on fire, bubbling up and boiling over, as you serve the Lord.
My red and underlined emphases do in no way deny what I said yesterday. That is my part of the bargain that with all the strength He has given me I run from evil and pursue Him.
12 Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self-control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy.
There it is again Grace comes to teach me to run away from what offends God, what takes me away from Him. The flesh, this earth body as a friend called it today, wants nothing to do with God and grace and salvation. It would much rather have an easy lazy life filled with chocolate, wine and other lusts. As I have to live in it there’s a battle and the me that is going to outlive this earthly body has to take control. God enables me to do that by His power, but He is not going to make me a robot. I will not be assimilated and lose my will. I submit my will and He empowers me to live a full, healthy, purposeful, empowered life. The life this body was actually intended for.
He has such wonderful glorious plans and purposes for me, for you, I can never understand why it is so hard to do the right thing sometimes. But moment by moment as I pursue Him it becomes more natural because His grace is just that good.
4 He gave His body for our sakes and will not only break us free from the chains of wickedness, but He will also prepare a community uncorrupted by the world that He would call His own—people who are passionate about doing the right thing.