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Monday, December 15, 2008

Serving God or Serving Self?

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. So is God, and So is Satan.

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?

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,

Jud 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

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 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 Christ-a 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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