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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We Must Choose The Way of Christ

This is posted on a wonderful website, Authentic Christianity.

We Must Choose the Way of Christ

**The following article is from the book - Living in the Heavenly Realms - and the chapter entitled "The Christian's Work: “ Believing and Yielding."

We often hear Christians condemning the Jews for choosing Barabbas over Jesus. And we wonder how this could have occurred. It may be helpful to realize that Barabbas represents someone who tried to further God's kingdom through his own efforts. The Son's way is to plant the seed in the ground in death and then to become fruitful in resurrection life. The way of Barabbas is to save self and then live for God through the zeal of human works. When presented with these two different ways, most people choose to save the flesh-life.

They will say, "Give us Barabbas."

But in the end it always results in the death of the Christ-life. And because it is effectively choosing carnality, this way of Barabbas is still killing others. Many have been turned away from Christ by the words that come out of the carnal hearts of professing Christians. Thus, we find this tragedy of the first century being repeated over and over again in the church today.
Someone once said, “Self is willing to permit the believer to do anything, give anything, sacrifice anything if it can only live.” People do not mind serving God if they can direct their own steps and have some of their own glory. But this is what permits Barabbas and Agag, with their carnal nature, to live.

Again, it has been said, “The Cross can only sever what you consent to part from. The severing of the Cross is not an actual experience, unless the will of the believer desires and consents to the actual separation in fact and practice.” God is very gracious. He patiently waits for each individual to make the choice to follow Jesus through the cross. Those who will honestly make the same decision that He did in the Garden of Gethsemane, can depend on the Spirit to then take them through the cross and into resurrection life in due time.

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh (Rom. 13:14)

Since the Holy Spirit only works through yielded faith, how can He provide a complete severance from the old man and all that pertains to the old creation if you are still making ample provisions for the flesh? Whatever becomes food to the flesh  is dry fodder, or the food that perishes,' to the Spirit, and vice versa.

Do not love the world or the things of the world. With the Spirit's guidance, look for the things of the world that you tend to use for your spiritual support. What is it that your flesh insists on having? Examine your habits and routines. What leads you to do what you do? Again, what do you rely on for your spiritual support? While the body does have natural desires that will need to be met, they should never have dominion over the Spirit. Are you being led by the flesh or by the Spirit? Are you still seeking to have some of your own glory through the works of your own hands? If Christ's rivers of Living Water are not yet consistently flowing out of the heart in both good times and bad times, there is something preventing it. There is a need to search the heart with the Spirit and be prepared to surrender the most dearly loved Isaac.

God has provided all things to enjoy. But He did not intend for us to live by the flesh and turn the things into idols. Once we are truly living through the life of Christ in the heavenly realms we are enabled to walk in this world without being dependent upon its things for our spiritual support. Jesus lived in the world, and He was able to enjoy God's creation, but He did not receive His life from the world. The Son came to dispossess, to displace and to dethrone that old self-life so that God may gain complete possession of the human personality. It will never do to intellectually crown Christ as a puppet King and then live under the rule of Self-desire.

Of self, for self, and by self has remained the threefold principle that governs the lives of countless members of Christ's church. A believer cannot wholeheartedly set his affections upon the things above while he is still living for the things of this world. And it is unimaginable to think that someone who has truly been seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, and has begun to share with Him in every spiritual blessing found in His life, could still be hankering for the things of earth and of time and of sense.

Some of our readers may have tasted of the heavenly life at some point in their past. But since that day they have slowly weighted themselves down with the things of this world. It has resulted in a loss of what they once possessed. If this is your case, may God give you the desire to lay aside every weight and once again look unto Jesus for His life in the heavenly realms. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. The only way to successfully combat the desires of the flesh is to implicitly obey every prompting or motion of the Spirit, be it ever so slight. Whether it be a warning, a check, a leading, or a teaching, all must be followed. Do not permit others to turn you away from truth with their human wisdom and rationalizations. You must listen to the Lord. Those who will yield to the leading of His Spirit in all matters, even though it may result in some difficulties and suffering, can depend on Him to faithfully take them into the life of promise where it is possible to reign with Him over all the works of the flesh.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith {so you may fully trust in God}, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now {in the lives of Christians in this world} and forever. Amen. (Jude 20-25)

In closing, we pray that each of God's called-out children will honestly seek the Lord in faith. There is a life of promise within the heavenly realms, and we need to begin living there today. Every member of the body needs to submit to the work that God has previously planned to work out through their lives. (Eph. 2:10) It is our only means for truly revealing His light of life and drawing other spiritually poor and lost souls out of the darkness of this world and into His heavenly kingdom on the highest plane.

He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Eph. 4:10-16)

When I read this article, I was very much convicted by the truth it contains. I can only add this quote from the late Pastor BH Clendennen "If we will make the right choice, God will enforce it."

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