Every once in a while my old nature rears it’s ugly head and I am reminded that the transformation within me, where my will and God’s will for my life, be it with old habits, quickness to say something negative about someone else or giving into self gratification in one of it’s many forms, is far from complete. I don’t like it when that happens. I know, this happens to everyone but I’m still not keen about it.
Sometimes these shortfalls are used by the accuser to try to bring us down and that isn’t fun either. If we open the door to allow the accusations of the accuser, he wastes no time and the disparaging thoughts can quickly come flooding in. Thankfully it doesn’t happen all that often but when it does, you really have to stop this process dead in it’s tracks and move forward, not backwards.
Remember when Jesus was tempted by Satan during His 40 days of fasting, prior to the commencement of His ministry? Remember what Jesus consistently did?
“It is written …..”, “It is written ….” , It is written …”
I’ve already written two or three posts about Nabeel Qureshi’s recent passing and how hard it affected me. There’s been spill over from Nabeel’s death, even when I am reading God’s Word, where I see something that Jesus states like in Matthew 18:19 NIV where He says “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” My mind says, hold on, that’s not necessarily true because there were hundreds, thousands, who were in agreement that Nabeel should be healed and that obviously didn’t happen.
I know what you’re thinking, but what we ask for needs to be in agreement with God’s will. I agree. God’s will is sovereign. Thats where other verses of God’s Word come into play. Where rightly dividing the Word of God is key. Verses like John 15:7 NIV “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” and of course, 1 John 5:14 NIV that says “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
The accuser loves to twist scriptures and throw doubt into our minds.
When our old nature rears it’s ugly head he is right there to followup with all kinds of negative thoughts. Because we have been brought up in a world that is performance orientated, where praise or acceptance follows good performance and ridicule or distain follows poor or bad performance, we have a natural tendency to associate that reaction, the way humanity acts, with God. That is wrong. He doesn’t work that way, not with His children and that is what we are. We are children of His Kingdom! I should have that put on my forehead in indelible ink so that every time I look in a mirror, I am reminded of it. We belong to God, our sins that we committed prior to becoming a Christian have been paid for by the shed blood of Christ on the cross, when we honestly believed and asked Jesus to be our Lord.
When the accuser tempts us to look back at our past, at the things that we did before we became Christians, we must tell him in no uncertain terms that those sins have been covered, paid for, wiped out, gone ….. because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.
James 4:7 NIV “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” And how do we do that? The same way Jesus did, with God’s Word.
1 Peter 2:24 NIV “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
And what about sins that we commit after we have become Christians? God has that covered too!
The Apostle Paul speaks about this reality in Romans 7:21-23 NIV where he says: “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”
Galatians 5:16-17 NIV “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
This is our old nature, the way we used to live, the lifestyle or mindset that we no longer habitually follow any more. It’s still there but we no longer walk after the flesh but are now called to walk after the Spirit.
Hebrews 10:14 reads :“By one sacrifice, He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” This word is the basic word for holy which means “to separate from profane things and dedicate to God, and to purify.” But notice the tense of the verb. It is a present tense verb, continual action. By one sacrifice, God has forever brought to an end the perfection of those who are in the process of being made holy.
And here we have this incredible conundrum that we are at the same time both perfect in the eyes of God and yet imperfect in the eyes of God. His has made us fully perfect but He is still in the process of making us holy. And that is where our Christian existence lies: having been made perfect, we are now in the process of being made holy.
The book of 1 John was written to Christians. The apostle says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8–9). It is clear from this passage that even those who have been born again and redeemed by the blood of Jesus will still sin. Through thought, attitude, or action, we will “grieve” (Ephesians 4:30) and “quench” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) the Holy Spirit at times. But this passage also reassures us that God offers continual, ongoing grace whenever we agree with Him about our sin and ask for His cleansing.
The fact that when we sin and it grieves us, is a good sign. It’s when you sin and it doesn’t bother you that you know you have a problem.
When we are born again, our desire changes, and we cannot continue in sin. Christ not only erases our past sin; He also transforms our hearts so that we no longer desire it. We don’t want to follow our old nature, we want to follow the Commandments of God, we want to follow His will. Will we slip occasionally, yes we will. Will our old nature raise it’s ugly head from time to time, yes it will, but …… God’s Word tells us that if we confess it (acknowledge that it is wrong) and ask for forgiveness for it, He forgives us.
Don’t let the accuser mislead you, don’t let him stop your forward motion.
We ARE forgiven, we ARE being made holy, because we have acknowledged and confessed our sin and we are going to continue to go forward. The accuser wants us to focus on our slip, he wants to make us believe that we not changed, but we have been changed and we are being changed. He is a liar.
What do I do when the accuser reminds me of how I have failed? I tell him:
It is written …….
Philippians 3:12 ESV “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
I love that verse!
And we should never forget that we have the witness and the promise of the Resurrection where we shall receive a new body that is no longer influenced by our old nature.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!