Thursday, December 10, 2009

Devotional 101209

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. We are thankful for light rain to wet our land. The dryness of life is sometimes unbearable and very irritating. Our skin is the first member in our body to cry out for moisture. We need physical moisture to reduce our skin irritation. We also need spiritual moisture to calm our itchiness or restlessness within our soul. It is hard to rest when my skin is itchy; it is very uncomfortable. We crave for something to calm our itchy feeling. Jesus comes to offer us this peace or rest to calm our restlessness from within. Praise the Lord!

"Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman." (Galatians 4:22). Paul is not dealing with sin in this chapter of Galatians, but with the relation of the natural to the spiritual. The natural must be turned into the spiritual by sacrifice, otherwise a tremendous divorce will be produced in the actual life. Why should God ordain the natural to be sacrificed? God did not. It is not God's order, but His permissive will. God's order was that the natural should be transformed into the spiritual by obedience; it is sin that made it necessary for the natural to be sacrificed.

Abraham had to offer up Ishmael before he offered up Isaac. Some of us are trying to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God before we have sacrificed the natural. The only way in which we can offer a spiritual sacrifice to God is by presenting our bodies a living sacrifice. Sanctification means more than deliverance from sin, it means the deliberate commitment of my self whom God has saved to God, and that I do not care what it costs.

If we do not sacrifice the natural to the spiritual, the natural life will mock at the life of the Son of God in us and produce a continual tug-a-war. This is always the result of an undisciplined spiritual nature. We go wrong because we stubbornly refuse to discipline ourselves, physically, morally or mentally. "I wasn't disciplined when I was a child." You must discipline yourself now. If you do not, you will ruin the whole of your personal life for God.

God is not with our natural life while we pamper it; but when we put it out in the desert and resolutely keep it under, then God will be with it; and He will open up wells and oases, and fulfill all His promises for the natural.

I like the way Brother Chambers uses two sons of Abraham to describe the struggle of our spiritual formation. It is true that the beginning of spiritual formation must involve giving up of our natural self, even though this is not the ultimate goal. We cannot achieve sanctification by self denial. It is only the entrance and it has to take place before re-creation can take place within us. No creature can re-create itself. It has to be the work of the Creator. We are talking about changing the spiritual DNA of our self. A surgeon cannot cut himself open and operate on his heart. He has to yield himself to the hand of other surgeon to do the job. It involves humility, trust and total surrendering to the hand of another skill doctor. And this is equally true to the process of our spiritual transformation. We have to come to our Creator God, humbly surrender ourselves to Him, and let Him perform His good work of transformation or re-creation from within.

Paul said, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:22-24). This is a definite process of sanctification; there is no short-cut or detour to by pass this process. If you want to grow in Christ, you have to put off your natural self or old self, and put on the spiritual self or new self, which is the product of living sacrifice through Christ. And we continue to follow His footstep in offering ourselves to God as living sacrifice in our daily lives. May God’s name be glorified in you and through you! Amen.

Love you by His holiness,

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