Put off Flesh, Put on Christ

* What, practically, does Paul mean in Gal. 5?

Basically Paul is giving us a basic lesson on Christian living. This short passage is very consistent with Paul’s teaching through-out the New Testament as well as with what Jesus taught. As Christians we are to live in Christ and not in the flesh any longer. We have a choice to live in obedience or disobedience. Paul is calling Christians to unity in obedience to Christ. The text also means that it is not enough to attempt to stop sinning. The truth is that we must replace our vices and sinful habits with Christ, or we will just get caught in another sin or vice.

Paul’s other teachings that are very similar include his teaching on the “fruits of the spirit” (in Galatians 5:22, 23), his teachings on a right mind (in Philippians 4:8, 9), his teaching on spiritual warfare and the armor of God (in Ephesians 6:10-20), his teaching on reconciliation (in 2 Cor. 5), and his teachings on life according to the Spirit (in Rom. 8, 1 Cor. 6).
Jesus‘ teachings also lined up with what Paul is saying. Jesus was radical in his teaching. He was very clear that he wanted all of us. Not only did Christ want people to stop sinning, or to obey the law completely, but he wanted men to chose Him as their first priority completely (Mat. 6:19-24,33, 22:37).

* What is Paul instructing us to do?

First he asks us to put aside our old nature of disobedience. Verses 5-9, tell us what not to do. Second, Paul tells us to clothe ourselves with the fruits of the Spirit. Verses 10-16 tell us what we should do.
More specifically, in Christ, we are dead to the sins of our disobedient nature (immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, greed, idolatry, anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech). We do not have to live this way, as we used to before Christ. Now we are to put on our new self, which is the image of God (holy and beloved, heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love, and unity in Christ and the Word of God.) Christ set the ultimate example. And through Him, Christians can find unity on how to live.

* How can one do it (Put off >Put on)?

There is a paradox. Only through Christ can one put off the flesh and put on the Spirit/Christ. It is about Christ making us right and righteous. On man’s power alone, man will fail. This is what makes Christianity unique from all other religions. God reaches his hand down to man. Man can do nothing to save self! Sanctification is only through Christ Jesus. Man cannot help themselves. Man has choices to make, sure. Some scholars will say that man has the ultimate choice. That man has to do something to be saved and to be sanctified, this is not completely true. Man chooses daily to obey Christ by simply putting on Christ or to disobey Christ by sinning. This is true, but it takes some examining to fully understand. The issue is more complex than that.

Yes, man makes the choice to obey or to disobey, sin or not to sin, but there is the issue of surrender. If man surrenders his will to Christ, then it is Christ’s power that sanctifies man. If man surrenders his will to Christ, then and then only will man truly obey. My point is that on man’s power alone this is not possible. Man on his power will fail into sin and flesh. But man surrendered to Christ’s will can put on Christ and live as Christ, sanctified in His image. The biggest choice is for man to let go and let Christ make Him.

* How do you do it?

I personally surrender daily through prayer. I am by no means perfect. But I have made it a goal to let go before I let the day begin. As I wake up, – to the sound of the alarm, wet lick of my dog to my face, the smell of coffee, or feel the heat of the shower water – I begin praying. I begin by asking for the Holy Spirit to help me in this new day. I thank the Lord for it; everyday is a gift from Him. And I imagine putting on the whole armor of God. I try to think through situations where the Lord will need me and people who need the Lord. I ask for opportunity to serve Him.

As the day continues, I attempt to “pray without ceasing.” Of course, my life is not a piece of cake without problems and without temptations. Surrender is a continual process. It is not a one-time event, but on-going. Will I let go and let Christ or will I try to run my own life? I attempt to follow God’s will. When temptations come, I could choose to sin or obey God. I sometimes say a quick prayer and flee from the temptation. (James 1:13-18, 2 Tim 2:22) But sometimes I fail. Sometimes I sin. Just goes to show that man will fail, but in Christ we are free (Gal 5: 1-5, Rom 6:18, 8:2). Amen!

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Worship: Making the sacrifice

Worship is an essential part of spiritual formation.
Spiritual formation is about our relationship with God. Abiding in Christ, means living with Jesus in our lives, hanging out with him, making the choice to obey him! The Bible tells us that we are to worship God by sacrificing our whole being to God. We are to do his will and not conform to this world.

“Worship” has many facets, many levels to it. It is not merely singing praises. There is a lot more to it. To summarize “Let’s talk about worship,” we see that “worship” is about acknowledging and knowing the Lord, adoration and loving Him, and action in service to God. The word has several meanings and there are many ways to worship God. This is what we are discussing today, the many ways to express our worship to God in our worship services and in life.

In
regards to …the first directive that strikes my attention is that
we are to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise…” The idea is to praise
God all the time, without ceasing. In our worship services this means that when
the singing is over, the worship is still happening. We worship God when we
give our offerings. We worship him in prayer of praise. We worship him in
learning from his Word. We worship him in fellowship with others. Also I must
note that our entire life can be an act of worship. We must not compartmentalize
our worship to Sunday morning instead continually worship God.

The
second directive is the repetitive idea of “offering up a sacrifice” similar to
. Praise is not about making ourselves feel good and energized, but it is
about worshiping, giving to God. It is not entertainment for your own soul, but
a gift to God, a sacrifice. In our worship services, we must remember that
church is not merely for us. Sure, God blesses us and fills us. Our entire life
is about worship. It is not always going to be easy to worship God. But we
sacrifice for God. And he is pleased with us when we do.

The
third directive is “do not neglect doing good and sharing.” (This is another
sacrifice!) We can and should please God through sharing our wealth, money,time, energy, blessings, etc. But we also share life together with other Christians. We share our time, our sacrifices, food,
fellowship, but also our tragedies, our prayer requests. I think also that we
must not only share with other Christians, but also with those who are sick,
those who are in need, those who need Jesus, and those who are not into the
church. It is good, right, and a sacrifice (of sorts) that pleases God when we
share the Gospel truth!

Grocery Store Themes

Today, convenience is everything! Grocery Stores are becoming more like retail stores. Like Wal-Mart, they are putting everything in one place.
1. Gas Stations – buy fuel from the same place you buy food
2. Child Care – drop off the kids and just shop.
3. Perks – discounts for “members,” Fuel perks, food perks, etc
4. Not just groceries – like Wal-mart we see extras inside of grocers like restaurants, barbers, eye care, etc

Grave clothes or Grace clothes

In life as a Christian we can wear either grave clothing or grace clothing.

This was a great illustration my pastor used during a sermon.

It comes down to our two options as a Christian:

obedience in Christ or disobedience in Christ.

When we are living for God and being obedient we are in God’s grace and receive his blessings.

When we are living for ourselves and not in obedience with God, we are wearing grave clothing. We are as good as dead!

Reflections

I have been noticing that I get a lot of comments from many in opposition of the things I post about. I am okay with this.

I will say that I am not a real expert on most of the things I post about. I do not claim to be an expert. This blog is very informal and a fun way for me to express my opinions and learn more about topics. I do research and learning for this blog. I do not intend to contribute to science or anything like that.

I do intended to search for truth. And in my quest I post things that I am learning and thinking about along the way towards my quest for truth.

With that said, I know where Ultimate truth comes from, God and His Word – the Bible.
I am certain that science in nature, in biology, and in reality reflects God and his truth. I am not contributing to truth in this blog. I am expressing what I have found to be true.

When all is said and done, and my life is over, I know that some of the things I have posted about will be pointless. I know that I will not have gotten everything correct/right.
But I know that in the end, I will find truth. And others who have read my blog will have been exposed to truth. I will get a lot of things right.

I am not anti-evolution in general. And I have reasons for believing what I do believe. I think that a theistic form of evolution is feasible. Becuase of the Bible is not as clear as some would like it to be and therefore a theistic form of evolution is somewhat feasible.

But I do not think that a theistic form of evolution is totally correct nor do I believe that it is the most natural reading of the Bible.

I will continue posting on topics that I am not an expert on. I will continue to search for truth and I do not mind the opposition from others. I will be basing my findings on truth, the Bible and other resources. I am a simple blogger not trying to contribute to science, but merely expose truth, which already exists.

All I ask is that if you coming with opposition, I would like to see some evidence instead of a mere smear anti-God comment. Thank you.

New Surrender- Anberlin

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I got the new album and I love it. It is really catchy.
At first I was thinking that some of the songs are a little harder/darker than their last album, but that is not really true the more I think about it. Anberlin has always had those tough songs that make you think on all of their previous albums. They are always catchy and stick with you even if they are a little dark.
Although not all of the songs are that way. Some of the songs in New Surrender are really upbeat and happy.
I hear a little bit of Relient K, Coldplay, classic/orginal Anberlin, and Switchfoot in this album.

My two favorite songs right now are: Burn out brighter and Haight Street
But I do not dislike any of them.
And I have a great appreciation for the cleverness of the song Breaking.

Check out the album on Youtube or Myspace – but definitely purchase the album too!

From UnChristian to Christian

My reflection on Chapter 9 of UnChristian:
This is my final reflection on The book Unchristian. I wish that every Christian will read this book (or at least all my posts reflecting on this book, lol 🙂 ) It was a good read and well worth the time. It has got me thinking a lot and the book has a strong impact on my soul. I really hope we can change our perception over the next 10-30 years of what it means to be a Christian!

In sum, it all comes down to this: being more Christ-like!
We must learn to respond to people the same way Jesus did!
The more mature we become in our faith the more we are able to see our need to continue learning and growing. expect persecution but understand who your real enemies are. It is not flesh and blood but of spiritual warfare. Satan and his demons want to see you miss the mark in your faith. They want to distract you from the main goal. (your relationship with Christ!)

When you respond to cynics and opponents of your faith consider defending God’s fame. Not your own image/fame! maybe this will be humbling, admitting you might be wrong, but bring glory to God!

Connect with people with relationships! Spiritual influence occurs more often in the actual relationships you have with people. God has put people and opportunities in your life to have an impact on! Jesus said that we would be known for our love in these types of relationships.

Be Creative! Just as Jesus was a master communicator, we have the oppurtunity to be creative in our relationships, in the way we communicate, and the way we share the Gospel. Breaking through to our audience is something that modern day Christians are lacking today. We need to find fresh ways to communiate the Gospel to a society that no longer has a background in the Bible! Ask the right questions, engage minds, get people to think for themselves about the Gospel. The Word of God is sharp and the Holy Spirit will turn that Word in thier minds, but we have to get their attention!

One of the biggest eye-openers, and heart changers is simple servce. Jesus did it. And Christian leaders that make an impact are servants. We need to cultivate a deep passion for outsiders and trly love on them with all our hearts and serve them. Put them first. Show them justice and love. This will require sacrifice, but it is nessicary!

Learn to listen. All humans are craving attention and real relationships. Do not make the relationship about you. But listen and love them!

As I said before it comes down to Christ-likeness. Have we lost sight of the main thing?
Is Jesus, the main thinkg in your life. Once you build upon the rock of Jesus – you mature and become more Christ-like and develop all of the things also talk about in this post. So to start get your relationship wiht Christ right. When we act like Jesus, when we look like Jesus….(guess what?), people will see Jesus and they will want what we have. They will desire to be around us. THey will come to know Jesus, in just the little Jesus in us, but the real thing!