Heart Versus Flesh

Behind the maskSome people believe the end is near. I remember in 1988 there was some guy who believed that the world was coming to an end. He had made some calculations based on data he has acquired. He was wrong. Here we are nearly 30 years later. No one knows when this world will end. I believe we should be alert and ready at a moment’s notice. I could be taken in an accident while driving. I’m not trying to be morbid, but I am trying to alert and ready no matter what happens to me – I want to be ready when my time on earth ends.

My heart and flesh are the practical battle that fights inside of me. It’s the same spiritual battle that features God’s Spirit versus the enemy. Paul gives some practical counsel about preparing for this internal battle. Check this out..

11 Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.12 The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk with decency, as in the daytime: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t make plans to gratify the desires of the flesh. (Romans 13:11-14 CSB)

I want to cloth myself with the armor of light. This armor can cover me completely. Light exposes and reveals the darkness and chases it from the room.  When I sin, I like it to be quietly covered so that I’m not called out. I can’t hide my sin from the Lord. I am accountable to the Lord for everything I do, everything I say and everything I think. My wife holds me accountable for the first two, but God’s Spirit can assist with my thoughts.

I want to glorify the Lord NOT gratify the desires of my flesh.

I want be transparent before the Lord as well as others, NOT secretive and suspicious.

I want to live and work from a heart that is fully committed to the work of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Fight Within

 

devil angelI remember the cartoons when I was a kid that depicted the devil with a red body and a pitch-forked tail sitting on one shoulder whispering in my ear. He’s coaching me to do bad stuff. Then, on the other shoulder is an angel trying to coach me to do the right thing. I remember thinking this was “cute” when I was young. As I aged and grew in wisdom, I can see some truth in that. The enemy has never relaxed at pushing me. He is constantly pulling and trying to coach me into areas of weakness of my flesh. As I read God’s Word and lean into Him for wisdom and strength to live out my faith, the fight within keeps going. In Romans 7, Paul, the Apostle addressed this very battle and in fact, he verifies the inward fight. Check this out…

18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. 19 For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one that does it, but it is the sin that lives in me. (Romans 7:18-20 CSB)

There is always a fight with my flesh brewing somewhere in my life. My fight can be traced back to pride. I must constantly beat down pride so that The Lord can do some good work inside my soul. Pride is like the fuel that fuels my fleshly desires of lust, greed and notoriety. When the Spirit can win the battle for my heart, I become humble, grateful and generous. I have been approaching the Word of God differently because I believe The Word is a huge help in putting pride in its place and allowing the Spirit of God to shine through me. I want the Spirit of God to direct my flesh in proper choices and ideas. I want the Spirit of God to win today’s battles. I’ve read the end of the book and I know Who wins in the end. I want to finish my life strong with the Spirit of God clearly keeping my flesh in check.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Cause & Effect

Cause and effectThis is a pretty simple exercise early in school – in elementary school, I think. A cause is WHY something happens. An effect is WHAT happens. I have “cause and effect” moments all day every day. Some are pretty big and others are really small. For example, I make fresh coffee because my team loves to drink coffee. I know it’s really simple and it’s just an example. There are big ones too that affect others and myself in a big way.

Ezekiel was speaking the Word of the Lord to people who were being severely punished for their behavior. Their behavior was the cause and the effect was the punishment. He speaks about Egypt, Elam, Assyria, and many more. Check this out…

25 A bed is made for her among the slain, with all her hordes around her grave. All of them are uncircumcised, killed by the sword. Because their terror had spread in the land of the living, they bear their shame with those who go down to the pit; they are laid among the slain. (Ezekiel 32:25 NIV)

 

The Lord notices my behavior – good or bad. My behavior reflects the posture of my heart. I believe that this is a HUGE “cause and effect” issue. I need to cultivate my heart in pursuit of God’s heart so that my thoughts and activities reflect Him thorough out my life.

I’m definitely not a brilliant scientist, but I do understand that my obedience to the Lord comes from my heart. My flesh wants what I want when I want it. My heart is trying to live out my faith in a way pleasing to the Lord. There is a cause and effect and a war within me as I live out my faith.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Place of Peace

iwo jima memorialThere are places that I can go that are very peaceful and serene settings. There are other places that I can that are extremely noisy and distracting. I’m learning that with the Presence of God in my heart, I can have peace and even serenity in the midst of the noisy situations. The Presence of God in me makes everything about me different. The Presence of God in me might not change my situation, but it definitely changes my response to every situation. Check this out…

5 The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
    he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times,
    a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
    the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.
20 Look on Zion, the city of our festivals;
    your eyes will see Jerusalem,
    a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved;
its stakes will never be pulled up,
    nor any of its ropes broken.
21 There the Lord will be our Mighty One.
    It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams.
No galley with oars will ride them,
    no mighty ship will sail them.
22 For the Lord is our judge,
    the Lord is our lawgiver,
the Lord is our king;
    it is he who will save us. (Isaiah 33:5-6;20-22 NIV)

 

I had the opportunity recently to go to the World War II museum in New Orleans, LA. I watched a short film/documentary of what happened leading up to the war as well as the bravery and tenacity of the American spirit in the midst of great turmoil. My heart was moved by the willing sacrifice of so many to fight for the life of our country and the freedoms that we hold dear. War is the opposite of peace. There are times when the unfettered aggression of another brings conflict. When the conflict subsides then peace can move in and find a home.

There are occasional times of war inside my heart. The Spirit of God is fighting against my flesh that wants what it wants when it wants. My flesh can be wild and out of control – the Holy Spirit can help bring my flesh under control. When my flesh is under the control of the Holy Spirit then the peace of God can rule and reign in my heart.

Pressing On!
Dwayne