Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trick-or Treat!

Halloween. A day where many people, young and old, participate in the festivities. People go trick-or-treating, to parties, to haunted houses, etc. Many people dress up in costumes for the occasion. This is usually just for fun. A cheap mask or outfit is worn that another person can easily tell that someone is really not an astronaut, superman, a cowboy, or whatever the costume may be. Many people claim to only participate in this sort of activity once a year or not at all. The truth is that there are many Christians out here claiming to be so righteous and so holy and they are just wearing a cheap mask.

There are too many Christians trying to do everything all by themselves. We try to go through this CHRISTian walk alone (notice the root word of Christian). We try to do better in our daily actions and break away form our sins, but we are not trying to know God more. By ourselves, this is impossible. We need God to help us break away from our human nature. Many people talk about the fruit of the spirit in Galatians chapter 5, but they do not read what is before it; the work of the flesh. Galatians 5:16-26 (KJV) reads:

16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the
17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit
against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye
cannot do the things that ye would.
18But if ye be led of the Spirit,
ye are not under the law.
19Now the works of the flesh are manifest,
which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife,
seditions, heresies,
21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and
such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past,
that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith,
23Meekness, temperance: against such
there is no law.
24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh
with the affections and lusts.
25If we live in the Spirit, let us also
walk in the Spirit.
26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking
one another, envying one another.

These works of the flesh are our natural, carnal desires that are our human nature. When we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit is in us. However our flesh, or human nature, still exists also. Whatever age we were when we came to Christ, for that many years our natural habits, desires, and motives had been instilled in us. So to try and just start changing our actions on our own just will not work. Our worldly ways have been embedded in us so we must do the same with the ways of God.

I am sure we have all had a bad habit or addiction, whether we want to admit it or not. A common pattern to see is a Christian claim they are going to stop going to a certain place or doing a certain thing. They might hold out for a while, but eventually they come back to some mess that they tried to leave behind. This is because many times we try to mimic God’s ways without seeking God’s mind. Notice that Galatians says the “fruit” of the spirit.

How does fruit come forth? First a seed must be planted. Then the seed is taken care of with water, sunlight, etc. After much time and care a beautiful fruit is grown. With little care a seed might not grow at all or just grows very poorly. After receiving Salvation, having the Holy Spirit in us is like having a seed planted. Only through feeding our spirits through studying the word of God, talking to God, and knowing His ways (not just knowing about His ways), can the fruit of the spirit flourish in us. Our outward actions will be different because our spirits are truly different (more like Christ). The Holy Spirit will grow in us. We do not need to just know what the word of God says, but we need to meditate on it. We need to let it saturate and overtake our minds.

Philippians 4:4-9 (KJV) reads:

4Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
5Let your
moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
6Be careful for
nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let
your requests be made known unto God.
7And the peace of God, which
passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ
8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever
things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be
any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:
and the God of peace shall be with you.

We must be focused on these good and righteous things mentioned in this scripture. This means we must constantly monitor what influences get into our minds. There are many influences that we can not avoid. These include people we work (or go to school) with, billboards, and television commercials. With so many negative forces that we can passively let affect us, Christians need to actively control whatever influences we can. These include our friends, what we watch on television, what music we listen to, the books we read, and the places we choose to go. To keep our mind on righteous things we must surround ourselves with positive and Christ focused influences.

Colossians 3: 1-11 reads:

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things
above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with
Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will
appear with him in glory.
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs
to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and
greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You
used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid
yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy
language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off
your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being
renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

When you earnestly seek Christ you will not have to put on a costume or fake being righteous. You will be happy with the real you and God will too!!!

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