VIEWS: 12 PAGES: 5 POSTED ON: 4/8/2009
Dec. 15, 2008 Serving Self or Serving God Kathleen Maples In Romans 1 you have Paul writing to a people whose faith is being proclaimed around the world. He says they are the beloved of God in Rome, called as saints. He reminds them the power of Gospel for salvation, both to Jew and Gentile. He reminds them about the wrath of God against unrighteousness and warns them about knowing the truth and yet not wanting to retain God in their knowledge. There had to be some folks there who were guilty of this else Paul would not be dealing in such an area. There had to be some folks there that were basing their religion on their Jewish heritage, for in chapter 2 he is dealing with works, and circumcision and critical attitudes and judging of others. Some are boasting in their works, feeling confident in their ability to keep the law. Romans 3 He warns just because some will not believe the truth of God doesn't mean it is not true. All are guilty of sin, so none has a reason to boast in self, and the righteousness of God is imputed to men and women by faith. Because God sent His Son to die, to pay the price, so we could stand in His righteousness before God. In Romans 4 Works and Faith are contrasted, using Abraham as an example. In Romans 5 he explains how the just shall live by faith 1: declared right with God through the Lord Jesus Christ through whom we obtain our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand and there is our hope. He's addressing several issues. Many were holding on to dead religion, rather than embrace salvation and relationship with God. Some were criticizing and judging others, boasting of their works and their knowledge of the Law of God. These are the same folks whose faith is being proclaimed through out the world. Yet he also tells these folks it's not enough to hear the Gospel, it's only those who hear and obey the Gospel that are declared right with God. 2. So now the Word of God has a question-for we have arrived at Romans 6. What shall we say then in response? Shall we continue to miss the mark, to err and wander from the path of uprightness and honor, to do or go wrong? Sin is an offence, a violation of Divine law, in thought or deed. We are to be dead or dying to sin. Having been born again of the Spirit of God, we should not want to violate God's law, or miss the mark. We should be seeking the right way, seeking truth and understanding of the truth. Why would we want to continue to remain in the mire and muck God delivered us from? Then again, if we are continually striving in ourselves to serve and please God, frustrated at our lack of power to do so, frustrated by repeated failure, then we have missed the mark. If we are trying to live a Christian life in our own strength, when He said we had to be filled with the Spirit of God, the Word of God is asking us shall we continue in this sin, failing because of weakness, sin, confess and repent in a never ending cycle? Shall we continue to miss the mark or will we finally humble ourselves before God and admit we can't do this on our own, and repent that we tried for so long, in spite of His dealing with us, and seek to be filled with the Holy Ghost who is the ability of God in every believer to do what the Lord calls us to do? Ouch. 1Rom_1:17 2Rom_2:13 Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Rom 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: When we were cleansed and immersed into Christ-into His life-have we not considered what that life was? Do we not understand that means we are also to be immersed into His death? This is what Paul is asking the Romans. What does that mean? His life was a life lived for others, a sacrificial, selfless life, led and governed completely-not by Himself, but by the Spirit of God. He was dead to self and sin. Even after walking this earth 33 1/2 years, going about doing good, completely obedient to the Father, filled with the Holy Spirit, still, His flesh, was crucified. He was nailed to a cross for our sins. Then, He was raised from the dead by the glory and power of the Father, and that is to be our experience as well. Before we can walk in and fully possess HIS divine life we must relinquish our own. We are to have a renewed life. This is living His life-not our old self life. We are not to live to please self but HIM. When we consider this complete denial of self, it is an overwhelming thought. How can we do this? How can we reject ourselves? We have lived our whole lives in self, pleasing self, a slave to self. If self wants something, we sacrifice to get it. We will do without something else to get that thing self wants. The Spirit of God deals with us to get up early and pray before the rest of the family, but self is sleepy and denies God, because self wants its way. The Spirit says fast and seek Me for the deliverance of others, and self makes excuses, self is weak, and it whines, looking for a way out. Many times the Spirit of God deals and draws us to do something or go somewhere that self doesn't want to. Whomever we yield to, doesn't the Scripture say that is who we serve? Still, when we have this God-given desire to please Him, when we have His fear in our hearts, and we start by His operation in our lives to see ourselves in His light, it is ugly thing we see. It can cause us to despair over ourselves. Still self focused. But it starts with us, minute by minute, day by day, one thing and one thought and one act at a time of surrendering ourselves fully to Him. Start with what He is dealing with you most about. Is it prayer? Is it fasting? Is it spending more time in His Word? Is it asking someone to forgive you for something you said or did? Is it paying your tithes? Maybe being faithful to come to church? Whatever it is, start with that one thing. Is there one thing He's wanting you to get rid of? He's recently ended my life long love affair with caffeine. I am a diet coke-a-holic. Constantly drinking diet Coke or diet Pepsi- or diet Mountain Dew, another favorite. Now it's caffeine free, and folks, He's been a long time stripping me, but He has been and still is stripping me of self. I have seen enough of HIM that I have begun to want HIM more than self. This is the key to surrender. You can't preach and thunder "You must die to self! You must be crucified!" No, the message can't be self focused it must be Christ centered. He must be put on glorious display, and in seeing HIM we see self and then we realize what grace truly means and how costly it was. Then it becomes precious to us-not ever to be taken for granted. For when we see Him, when we have a divine understanding, a revelation of who He is, of His holiness, we see our own self centered and pathetic attempts to be holy by how we look or act, by what we do or don't do, and all we can do now is fall on our face before Him and admit Oh, Lord I can never be like you. Do away with me and come rule and reign in me. Give Him more and more of yourself. Ask Him to and let Him draw you by the power of His Spirit into His presence, more and more. When we see Him, by default we see our failures, our selfishness, how totally unlike Him we are. He is completely all together different than what we are. The only way we can be holy is be filled with His Holy Spirit-that is His holiness in us. Humanity can't be holy-we can have nothing that we have not been given from above regarding this divine life and nature. It doesn't originate from self or in self. It comes from above-from HIM. If we have been planted (united) together in the likeness (in a similar death) of His death, if we, like He, have died to self and sin, then we, like He, can rest assured we will be raised up in the likeness of His resurrection. Whenever there is a temptation to put self over God, deny that self its desire and expression. Yield to God, not self, minute by minute, hour by hour, thought by thought, day by day. When self is crucified with Him, that body of sin, that self will in us that can never be satisfied no matter how much it has, is done away with. Then we are not enslaved to serve a selfish nature in us that is voracious in appetite-regardless of what kind of appetite, and demanding. Then we can be free to serve HIM. He provides the faith, the strength, the wisdom, the forgiveness, the power, the holiness, the promises, the ability, the Holy Ghost-who is the ability of God in us. We have nothing we have not received-we can't do this ourselves. Provision has been made for the one who is sick of serving self, and wants to be used by God to make a difference in these last days. But we have to choose to suffer some things, in denying ourselves. The Lord says if we will make the choice, He will enforce it. Now, think about that..If we are willing to deny ourselves, if we reject self as the master of this body we live in, and present it to Him, for Him, and ask Him for the power, He will enforce our decision. This requires stepping out in faith, into a way of life we have never known-and that requires courage and trust in the Lord. Again, He is the provision. He is everything we need to succeed. Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts Rom 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. grace. Rom 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye thereof. Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Just as Jesus Christ died unto sin, and self, He lived unto God. This is our pattern. If we yield to the inner promptings of the Spirit of God, at the expense of self, refusing it any expression, minute by minute, day by day, always looking to Christ for the power to do this, then we are overcoming ourselves. Remember you have been made a spectacle before angels and men.3 God is also watching. When temptation arises, a choice has to be made. Do you yield your body and your mind to what the Spirit of God wants you to do, or do you yield to self and its desires? When you reject the rulership of yourself, and choose to yield to the Spirit of God, He will enforce that decision. He will be right there with all the power you need. Let NOT sin therefore reign in your mortal (temporary) body. By saying let not, He shows us we have a choice in the matter-to let or not to let self rule. Neither yield your members-your tongue, your hands, your mind, as tools of that which is wrong. Yield to God as one who is alive and a tool of His righteousness. Sin shall not have dominion over you. We don't have to sin-we choose to sin. When we feel weak, do we just give in to that weakness or do we refuse and call on His strength to stand and make the right choice? We do have that right. We fail ourselves and Him if we choose not to exercise that right. Don't you know that whomever you submit yourself to obey when that choice arises, that is who you are in reality serving? We are told in verse 23 there is a payday for each decision-one death and one life. Choose life. I just want to add this is what He has ministered first to me-and He ministered it to me in a way I could understand. My prayer is that He will forgive me of my past arrogance in thinking I could strive to do this-and is arrogance to think you can serve God on your own terms or in your own strength. I choose to rise up out of failure inspired depression and look away from self and look to HIM-His Word is solid and He never fails. If we stand for HIM and choose to yield to HIM, He will have our back so how can we fail? Jud 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, now and ever. Amen. Jud 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both He has the power by virtue of His own ability and endless resources to do this. That word 'keep' means to watch, to be on guard, carefully observe, to save and preserve. He protects what is HIS and He is able to guard us and keep us from ourselves. This is one reason why I believe He chose to come and live IN us rather than with us. He is right there every step of the way-the very second temptation arises. He's able to keep you from stumbling if you look to HIM and not yourself. So, if we present ourselves to Him, then He is going to be able to present us before Himself without fault before the throne of glory with gladness and great joy. He truly is the only wise God, our Source of wisdom, and our Deliverer, to HIM be all glory, honor, praise and worship, and majesty, dominion, and power for He alone would never abuse these. Truly, we are our own worst enemy. Yes, there is a devil out there who seeks to devour and destroy, but there is a carnal, rebellious nature inside 31Co_4:9 every human being that does not want to yield to God. To deny God is to deny life-for HE is the source of all life. Those who can hear and follow these Scriptures are those who will have the testimony of Jesus Christ. They will overcome by the blood of the Lamb, all those failures and sins, and they word of their testimony will be they loved not their own lives unto death-but rather HIS life. This is the testimony of Jesus Christa life lived for another, by the power of another. Father, teach us to walk in this truth, to live it, make it a reality in our lives, oh Lord, for You alone are able. The choice is ours, and by Your grace, we choose YOU, not self.
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