Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"AGAINST SUCH THINGS THERE IS NO LAW."

The encouragement in this teaching is to live a life led by the Holy Spirit.  A life being lived with just The Word of God (Bible) at your side and being read every day is a great foundation and a wonderful practice to keep all the days of one's life.  However, there is so much more that can be drawn from each reading with The Word and there is so much more that we as Believers can do by being empowered with the Holy Spirit and living the Spirit-led life.

A great Biblical life exemplifying the above condition is Peter.  He had The Word of God, Jesus, with him for three years wherever he traveled.  Peter heard the teachings and saw the miracles of Jesus.  Peter was even the one to hail Jesus as the Son of the Living God, the Messiah.  But then Peter turns right around and is used by our spiritual enemy in an attempt to thwart God's plan of salvation by saying, "Never, Lord!  This shall never happen to you!"  (Matthew 16:13-23)  Then there was another time in Peter's life, the trial of Jesus, that Peter not only abandoned his teacher, mentor, and friend, but he betrayed his association with Jesus to the locals (Matthew 26:69-75).  Now, besides fulfilling prophecy (Matthew 26:31-34), why would Peter and the rest of the disciples scatter and leave Jesus all alone?

One huge reason is that they did not want whatever was coming to Jesus to fall on their necks too.  Those words of how they would go to the death for him (Jesus) before anything bad happens was all just a lot of hot air.  Many times when faced with death a great cause takes back seat to self preservation.  This instance seems no different.  However, all the disciples lacked one thing during their three years with Jesus that might have painted a different picture - the indwelling of The Holy Spirit.

Father God had it all planned out.  The vessel had to be restored and cleaned before a pure substance could be poured into it, so that it could be poured out again.  Salvation through Jesus had to take place first.  Then be believed by the Disciples, evidenced by the resurrection.  And all this before the Holy Spirit could come on the Disciples in power in the upper room.  Interesting note that Jesus "breathed" on the Disciples in the upper room after His resurrection, before He ascended to sit at the right hand of His Father and before the Acts 2:1-4 Pentecost indwelling.  "Again Jesus said, 'Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.'  And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.'" (John 20:21-23)

I personally believe the key between the two events is in the words "receive" and "be filled".  I believe in the John 20:21-23 reference that Jesus was saying - Accept ("Receive") the Holy Spirit.  Accept Him as your guide, teacher, mentor and friend (For Jesus was preparing to ascend to The Father).  Later, observing the Disciples had accepted The Holy Spirit and the Spirit-led life (John 20:21-23), they waited for the indwelling or to "be filled" or empowered (Acts 2:1-4).

Scripture says there are two mind-sets:  1) the mind controlled by the sinful nature and 2) the mind that is Holy Spirit-led.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires;but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. - Romans 8:5-8

Let us observe the mind, body, and spirit led by the sinful nature first.  The obvious sins or hurtful actions against God are many but the ones listed in Galatians 5:19-21 give us a running start - 

"...sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like."

There are other behaviors to not engage in - "being conceited, provoking, and envying each other".  These are spoken of in verse 26.  This list is not only a hitlist of potential pitfalls to a spirit-led life but Scripture promises that the people who constantly observe these behaviors/sins "will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:21).

Now, if you live a spirt-led life which means you allow The Holy Spirit to permeate every decision, every action, and every word then the kind of fruit you and others will see is - "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."  FOR "AGAINST SUCH THINGS THERE IS NO LAW." (Galatians 5:22-23)  There is no rule against love.  There is no regulation against joy.  There is no stipulation concerning peace.  There are no boundaries for kindness and goodness.  There are no parameters for faithfulness and gentleness.  We can never have enough self-control.

The Spirit-led life is like someone who always keeps his/her candle light or oil light burning bright, even in daylight.  There is no-telling when that person will travel to a shady place and need to illuminate the area with his/her light.  In the same manner, if the Spirit is fed and kept alive in us, like the fire of the candle or oil lamp, then the Spirit can spotlight the bad to stay clear of and spotlight the good to acquire more of in our lives.

"So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." (Gal. 5:24)

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs - " (Romans 8:16-17)  "...those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God...you received the Spirit of sonship." (Romans 8:14-15)  And for the ladies - daughtership.  ;)

If the "fire" is not lit for you, pray that God strikes the Holy Spirit "match" (baptism of the Holy Spirit).  Those that have His fire, Keep The Fire Burning!  Meanwhile, I will be observing you for those things against which there is no law!