DEVOTION for May 14th
[1Co 3:1, 3 NASB] 1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. … 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?
Have you ever wondered what happened to the faith you had on Sunday during worship as you drove to work on Monday upset with the traffic and the way others were driving? Or in that business decision that compromised your conscience at the office? Perhaps, it was the verbal and emotional abuse you released on your spouse and/or children once you got home. How could there be such a big difference in our attitude in just one day?
Now, we would be quick to judge others in this regard. We normally are very quick to condemn the hypocrisy in others, but rarely can admit our own.
But what causes this experience?
The core problem is that on Monday we are “in the flesh” which is really saying that we are depending on ourselves and don’t trust Jesus to be able to handle the “real world.” On Monday, we preach to ourselves the message of self-righteousness, self-reliance, and self-pity. Our trust is not in the LORD, but in ourselves or someone else, some corporation, or perhaps the government to save us in the practical everyday struggles of life. Our “gut faith” is not in the gospel, but in our goodness and greatness.
It is justifying sinning because it has to be done to win.
We are acting like we have no new birth, sonship in Christ, or Holy Spirit in us. At these moments we are living like we are merely “East of Eden” fallen, rebellious and unbelieving human beings. So how could we escape from this?
[Galatians 5:16-17, 22-23 NASB] 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. … 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
So we can act like Christians on Monday only if we develop a lifestyle that is bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit as HE points us to focus on the LORD Jesus and experience more and more love for HIM. This love will then pour out into our actions, words, attitudes, and relationships. As the Holy Spirit reveals to us a greater and greater vision of the Lord Jesus and our oneness in HIM, it is then that we can begin to develop a lifestyle that lives by faith in the gospel.
Our gut is captured by the gospel and then we live a life worthy of the gospel.
[Galatians2:20 NASB] 20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
So, when you see your “flesh” begin controlling you on Monday, stop, pray for the Holy Spirit to allow you to see the Lord Jesus more clearly, preach the gospel to yourself, and open your heart to loving Jesus more and more. If you do this, then as you live by faith in the gospel you will incarnate the love of the gospel in words, thought, attitudes, and actions. You will be, as C.S. Lewis said, “a little christ” reflecting Christ Jesus in the web of relationships HE has sent you to minister to in HIS name.
So, today; Shine Jesus Shine through us! Amen