Monday, June 18, 2012

When CPR is a Bad Thing.

So It’s been a while. To say I’ve been busy is not adequate anymore. It’s just my lifestyle, it’s not gonna change anytime soon. I guess i will say I haven’t been able to take time out of life to write like I used to do. But here I am again, because I have some ideas clawing at my mind, begging to be released into words.

The idea I’ve been toying with lately is in regard to the human struggle against the flesh.  And how it can interfere with our productivity and ministry.
Yesterday I was visiting Bay Area First Baptist, where I was involved with Vacation Bible School this past week. The speaker was talking mostly about/to fathers in honor of Father’s Day, but I got so much out of it for ME as a believer. And it solidified some of my thoughts.

The passage that stuck out to me was Galatians 5:16-25 
 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit
So here’s my mental picture.

When we, as believers who have died with Christ and been raised to walk in newness of life, give in to the works of the flesh (as recorded in verses 19, 20 and 21), it is as though we are digging out the decomposing, sinfully rotten self we crucified at the time of our salvation and attempting to perform CPR. That’s disgusting!

Inside of every believer is a Helper, the Holy Spirit of God. As I like to tell my students, it’s the very same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead -LIVING INSIDE. The Helper does just as his name suggests- helps! Helps us to say “no” to temptation and “yes” to God. (nod to the best GNC Bible teacher, Mrs. Frankovich, on that one!)
Those works of the flesh are no longer our obligation if we are living by the Spirit of God. Instead, we have the power to produce fruit, not death. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Here’s what I told myself in regards to all this:

If I am so busy dragging around (and attempting to resuscitate) a dead thing, how in the WORLD do I think I’m going to be effective for the kingdom of Christ? If I’m focused on trying to put some life back into what I’ve killed, how can I be offering an example of living by the Spirit?

I can’t. At least not very well. And not without confusing people, and exhausting myself along the way. Trust me, I speak from experience.

So, while it’s (unfortunately) hard indeed to leave that rotting hunk of sinful-self alone, imagining dragging it around all day in attempt to revive it certainly gives a mental picture that disturbs the soul just enough to remember to knock it off when I’m dabbling with the works of the flesh.

I keep thinking what it would be like to make this into an object lesson for my 1st through 6th graders. I can just see me now, walking onto the stage with a halloween dummy strapped to my back.... yeah, maybe not such a good idea. But honestly, with something as hard to shake as the grip of the sinful nature, you have to get radical or get lost.

Instead of spending my time giving CPR, I want to be using my every breath to bless others, to honor God, to bring the good news of Salvation to those who haven’t heard.

I’ve got only one go at life here on earth, and I want to truly live.

Well, that’s all for now, folks. Gotta dive into a harrowing blitz week with the Slovakia team now. Focus, focus, focus. I’ll be back at the end of summer with something for sure, and maybe I’ll make a quick stop in mid-summer. We’ll see.

Until then, I remain...