Insights from the Lord
Scripture references :
Matthew 6:13 ( Lead us not into temptation )
Romans 7:14 - 8:2
1 Peter 4:1-2
In Matthew 6:9-13 we see the Lord's prayer. In Verse 13, we are told to pray, "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil" ( or the evil one, depending on the manuscript referenced ). Knowing that God does not tempt any man, what does it mean that we should ask Him not to lead into temptation ?
I believe that we need to get a better understanding of the ongoing conflict between the two natures that exist within each of us, as explained in Romans 7:14 - 8:2.
Personal challenge: When I read the scriptures, I prefer to read beyond the end of a chapter, continuing part way into the next chapter, until what I perceive is the end of the thought, or statement, has been reached.
Notice how ROMANS 8:1 begins with the word "Therefore". This word represents conclusion and requires us to back track through the previous scriptures so that we can determine what were the statements requiring a conclusion.
ROMANS 7:14 - 8:2 ( The two natures described )
- Verse 17 and verse 20 use the word "dwells" , which is the Greek word "oikeo" (pronounced oy-keh'-o) which means; to occupy a house, i.e. reside, ( fig. inhabit, remain, inhere); by implication to cohabit - dwell. ROMANS 8:9-11 explains how the Spirit of God also dwells in us.
- Verses 22 and 23 mention two laws; 1st - the law of God in/concerning the inner man, also referred to as "the law of my mind" in verse 23, and 2nd - the law of sin in the members of my body.
- Verses 22 and 23 also use the term "waging war". This term coincides with ROMANS 6:12-13 which twice refers to our members as "instruments" using the Greek word "hoplon" ( pronounced hop'-lon) meaning "weapons", or more specifically, offensive weapons.
- Verse 25 shows that we are serving both laws. We are serving the law of God with our mind and serving the law of sin with our flesh. Both are written in the Present Tense.
- As a side note, Ephesians 4:17-24 discuss putting off the old man and putting on the new man. In particular, Verse 22 says the old self / man is "being corrupted", Present Tense.
- Verse 8:1, begins with the word "Therefore" which represents the acknowledgement of the existence of warring laws within us. It states plainly that for those who are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation in this war.
- Verse 2 then goes further in telling us that fact.
As a thought for this warring, we should consider that wars are fought when two (2) entities want control over one (1) thing, or area. Greater is He that is in me ( God ) than he that is in the world ( my flesh ).
1 PETER 4:1-2 ( Suffering in the flesh )
- Verse 1 states that since Christ has suffered ( or suffered death ) in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he ( little "h" ) who has suffered ( or suffered death ) in the flesh has ceased from sin, and on to Verse 2. The phrase "arm yourselves", I believe, refers to Ephesians 6:13 which is explaining the "whole Armor of God", including in Verse 18 praying at all times in the Spirit.
- If we look at Luke 9:23, we see that we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Christ, which means we are to crucify our flesh ( fleshly desires ) daily and walk in the Spirit of Life.
- If we look at Luke 9:62, Jesus plainly states that "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." This seems to be a call to continue the walk in the Spirit of Life, don't look back to "Egypt", or our old fleshly, sinful life.
- When we pray "And do not lead us into temptation...", we are asking God not to lead us back to our "Egypt", where our old fleshly lusts reside, and the temptations that reside with them. Our flesh, which is still active and "being corrupted" would certainly be tempted by Satan, and our flesh more emboldened to have its way, were we to return.
- When we pray "but deliver us from the evil one...", we are completing the previous petition to not be returned to "Egypt", but we are also asking for the destination of the "Promised Land", which seems to require some time in the "desert", learning how to follow Him.
MARK 11:22-26 ( Four conditions of prayer )
- Have faith in God ( Verse 22 )
- Speak it out ( Verse 23 ) Our words have power.
- Believe you have received and do not doubt ( Verses 23 and 24 )
Forgive, if you have anything against anyone ( Verse 25 )
I believe that the time is coming, and may already be here, when God is calling us to come to a greater knowledge of who we are in Christ. The war is on between flesh and spirit in each of us and we must learn to take up our cross daily and follow Him, crucifying our flesh. I plan on returning to this scripture reference of taking up our cross daily a little later.
When I read Romans 7:14-8:2, I see Paul discussing the two natures of flesh and spirit, and the conflict that exists among them. In verse 17, the phrase "no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me" suggests that even though I have given my heart and life to Jesus Christ to be Lord and Saviour, sin still dwells in my flesh, the part that is the seed of the first Adam. The Greek word for "dwell" is "oikeo" ( pronounced oy-keh'-o ) and means "to occupy a house", i.e. Reside; (fig. inhabit, remain, inhere); by implication to cohabit - dwell.
It is my opinion that this is explaining why I find myself continually doing things that I know are wrong, sinful, and go against God and His plan for me. Even though I am now a new creature in the Spirit, I am still on this earth in a fleshly body, which has been dying since my "first" birth.
Adam had the perfect relationship with God for a time, but the moment he sinned, he died spiritually. He was therefore separated spiritually from God, and any person born of Adam has also been born spiritually separated from God, born into the bondage of sin and death. The seed was contaminated and corrupted, so that the human race, all of us, one race, have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.
God had to create another race, an uncontaminated race, to give us a Way to be freed from this bondage of sin that we were born into. It makes sense to me that when Jesus came unto this earth as God in the flesh, He could not be born from the same seed that was already corrupted, but had to be interjected as the new Seed of woman through the virgin Mary, being conceived by the Holy Spirit. Through this method, a new race, a "grace race" was created. A way for us to reconnect spiritually with the Most High God, the only Way. This meant that Jesus would have to live His life on this earth as a Lamb without blemish, the perfect sacrifice, enduring all temptation without sin, the very thing neither Adam nor any of us could do.
The scripture tells us that when Jesus was fervently praying in the garden, that His prayers were so intense, that He was so incredibly stressed, that blood was dripping from His pores. I believe He knew that He was about to become spiritually disconnected from His Father, which He had never had to do before. This could explain the prayers of Him asking the Father if there was any other way that this cup might pass from Him. But yet, He said ( I believe three times ), "not My will, but Yours be done." So at this time, Jesus, having lived the perfect sinless life, submitted Himself to the will of the Father, allowing Himself to become the propitiation for sin, such that when He was crucified, He was spiritually separated from the Father.
In Romans 8:29 it says that "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;". This firstborn reference is the spiritual birth of Jesus from the grave. By Jesus being called the firstborn of many, this must mean that there will be a second born, a third born, etc.. I believe this means that Jesus is the firstborn in spirit among many. When Nicodemus asked Jesus how could a man be born again, part of His reply was "that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' ". Jesus, resurrected from the grave by God the Father, is the firstborn of the Spirit, the first one to be...born...again.
So now, just as in Adam we all sinned (born of the flesh), in Christ we are all born again (born of the Spirit).
Yet this conflict, this war between flesh and spirit continues within us. From the reference in Romans 7:22-23, the term "waging war" is used. This coincides with Romans 6:12-13, which says "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." The word "instruments" also translates as the word "weapons".
To be continued...Also references to 1Peter 4:1-2, Luke 9:23-24, and Luke 9:61-62.
I have gotten so used to the idea of waiting for the Lord to lead, show, guide or whatever else, that nothing ever seems to get accomplished. I ask regularly for wisdom, discernment and guidance which I believe God gives as we ask. I also ask for His will to be done, not my own.
When reading in II Timothy, chapters 2-4, a lot of encouragement and instruction are given to us about running the good race, fighting the good fight, enduring, persevering and such. II Timothy 4:5 says (NASB) "But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
In praying about how to fulfill my ministry, I began again to ask for God's will, His wisdom, discernment etc. and was waiting for a "sign", I guess, whether spoken or marvelous moves of God to open doors for me. I'm not sure what I expected.
But God did give me wisdom as I believe He revealed to me a connection between decisions we all face in trying to follow Him and waiting for Him to make the move. Now, there are certainly times when we must wait for God to move and I'm not disputing that. But there are also times we must make the move and trust in God for the wisdom of a serpent in this world and the innocence of a dove.
God reminded me of the parable ( found in Luke 19 ) of the master who gave each of 10 slaves a mina, which is about 100 days' wage, and instructed them to do business until his return. The slaves who gave their master 10 or 5 minas were rewarded and called faithful in little things. The slaves who gave their master only the one mina given to them were called worthless and had the mina taken from them and given to the faithful slaves.
If we notice, the faithful slaves were instructed only to do business, not exactly how to do it. They took the initiative to increase the master's money. It seems to me that worldly wisdom (wise as a serpent ) was needed while reverential fear of the master ( innocence of a dove ) was also needed.
In summation, we are instructed to fulfill our ministry. We are also called to be good and faithful servants with what the Lord has given us. We need to be balanced in when to wait for God to move, and when we need to move in faith and reverence to Him.
How many ministries never get off the ground ( yielding no minas ) because we are waiting, waiting and waiting for God to do or say something, not realizing He has said and done something. He's put the ministry on our heart and given us instruction to fulfill our ministry. In my own life, He has given me specific words of instruction, encouragement, etc. that I need to obey.
I believe that as long as we are moving in faith when required, waiting upon God when He instructs us to or when we can no longer move without His direct intervention, and remaining true to His Scripture, we will be called good and faithful servants in Christ Jesus.I must move in faith and keep my eyes upon God so that I will know when to move again and when to stand still.