Earlier, we touched on the struggle between flesh and spirit. When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, our spirits are born again. Our flesh (or human nature), however, does not change. At least, not immediately. While some people may see radical shifts in their personalities, their language, their habits... the sin nature is still present and must be dealt with on a daily basis.
What was the Apostle Paul’s experience?
15 For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns].
Romans 7:15 (Amplified Bible)
As we read in verse 15, our behavior can often be baffling or bewildering. The Holy Spirit within us prompts us to do good works... but then our flesh tries to get us to do the opposite. Even when the Spirit wins and we do the right thing, the flesh then tries to take credit or glory for what was done. And, when we get called on that, it is frustrating because our original intentions were good. Yikes! Who will deliver us from this wretched condition?
25 O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Romans 7:25 (Amplified Bible)
Yes, thank God that we don’t have to try to live the Christian life on our own power and ability. In fact, we can’t. We can try... but then the flesh gets in the way and we screw it up. So, allow the Spirit of the Lord to live it out through you. Allow Him to consume those things that are not like Christ so that he can empower you to live a life that is Christ like. Let Him love those unlovely people who work on your last nerve. Let Him complete those good works that He desires you to do.
Like Phil Keaggy and the Compassion All Star Band sang: Yield to the Spirit. He has the right of way...
Looking back at the Old Testament practice of sacrifice, the burnt offering was consumed and the glory of the Lord appeared in a powerful way. The response of the people was to worship... as the power of God was in that place.
1 WHEN SOLOMON had finished praying, the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. 2 The priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house. 3 And when all the people of Israel saw how the fire came down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed with their faces upon the pavement and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.
2nd Chronicles 7:1-3
We wrote It Consumes Me in response to that scripture as an expression of our personal desire to have the presence of God consume all that is within us... like refiner’s fire purifying gold, we want to be holy -- set apart for the Master’s use.
The sweet delight of the pain of life
that draws me to another day
on goes the fight to uphold the light
the God to Whom i give all praise
His precious love -- it consumes me
The Holy Dove -- it consumes me
His Throne, His righteousness
The zeal to serve my God -- it consumes me
No sting in death just a peaceful rest
When Jesus comes, it won’t be long
Life is a joke where the “un-awoke”
Pursue the things that’ll soon be gone
To be the best -- it consumes me
To pass this test -- it consumes me
To see the battle end
And enter in His rest -- it consumes me
The sweet delight Of the pain of life
There’s something here i’m trying to find
Within my grasp what i hope will last
Am i a fool? Am i just blind?
My tears, they fall -- to extinguish
Those flames that are causing me anguish
about what i can’t distinguish
My heart’s desire -- it eludes me
The tightrope wire -- there to prove me
Send Holy fire -- to consume me
You’re my desire -- Lord, consume me