Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Devotional 240609

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I thanked God for giving me strength to work, even though I was under the weather. I might have caught a cold because of the rapid change of weather. It was so warm last Sunday that I sweated a lot after each preaching. I did not take off my jacket all morning long. I guessed that might be the cause of my sickness. Anyway, God’s grace is always sufficient for His children. Praise the Lord!

"Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour--when darkness reigns” (Luke 22:53). It is not being reconciled to the fact of sin that produces all the disasters in life. You may talk about the nobility of human nature, but there is something in human nature, which will laugh in the face of every ideal you have. If you refuse to agree with the fact that there is vice and self-seeking, something downright malicious and wrong in human beings, instead of reconciling yourself to it, when it strikes your life, you will compromise with it and say it is of no use to battle against it. Have you made allowance for this hour and the power of darkness, or do you take a recognition of yourself that misses out sin? In your bodily relationships and friendships do you reconcile yourself to the fact of sin? If not, you will be caught round the next corner and you will compromise with it. If you reconcile yourself to the fact of sin, you will realize the danger at once - Yes, I see what that would mean. The recognition of sin does not destroy the basis of friendship; it establishes a mutual regard for the fact that the basis of life is tragic. Always beware of an attitude of life, which does not recognize the fact that there is sin.

Jesus Christ never trusted human nature, yet He was never cynical, never suspicious, because He trusted absolutely in what He could do for human nature. The pure man or woman, not the innocent, is the safeguarded man or woman. You are never safe with an innocent man or woman. Men and women have no business to be innocent; God demands that they be pure and virtuous. Innocence is the characteristic of a child; it is a blameworthy thing for a man or woman not to be reconciled to the fact of sin.

This is always a constant battle within us against our sinful nature. We can never root out the sinful potentiality of our human nature. We can only put a leash on it lest our human nature goes against the will of God. The potentiality of a wild horse could be very destructive if it is not tamed probably. If it is tamed or under control, then it could become a great blessing to it’s master and others. Jesus used this concept to describe the blessing of “meek.” He said in the sermon of the Mount, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matt 5:5). Paul described “self-control” as one of the 9 expressions of a Spiritual Fruit in Galatians 5:22, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” If you look at this verse carefully, you will understand that Paul was talking about 9 expressions or characteristics of a Spirit filled or Godly person. We don’t know for sure about a person’s relationship with God. But by seeing the result or fruit (that’s why he said “fruit” a single noun but not “fruits”) in this person’s life, we can tell whether he or she is really filled with the Holy Spirit. These 9 qualities of a Godly person are all inter-connected. If we compare this verse with Paul’s love poem in 1 Corinthians 13, you can easily tell that true love involves patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and so forth. In another word, we can’t pick and choose the kind of qualities you want for your life but not the others. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, they should all gradually surface in your life. In the same token, gentleness and self-control are like two sides of the same coin that one cannot go without the other. Therefore, when you put a leash on your human nature according to His Word, you are deliberately submitting yourself under the control of the Holy Spirit; people will eventually see the transformation in you that you don’t even aware.

After saying all of the above, we have to recognize another fact that we are not always be able to exercise self-control. We need the inner strength from our Holy Spirit and the prayer support of our fellow brothers and sisters. We will have our “dark hours” in life that we may even betray our Lord Jesus. We need the Body of Christ to hold us accountable and never forsake us just like what God would do.

Love you by His steadfastness,

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