Attacking the Root: Commitment

“For 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. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:17-18 KJV)

Before we get into this…let’s pray. We should always pray for jumping into our Bible so that we are led by God’s understanding and wisdom. We should allow God to prepare us by letting Him open our minds to receive whatever it is He desires to tell us through His Word, and we do that through prayer. So, let’s pray right now:

Lord, thank You for another day. God, I’m asking You to help me to understand and hear what it is you need me to take away from this. Help me to pass on your wisdom to others; let it be You resonating in these words and not self. Help me to find clarity and show me how to apply this scripture to myself. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Final_Fly_Exam

Click To Hear “Fly Exam” by JGivens

The title track from the album Fly Exam played on my shuffle this morning; I believe it correlates with what I’m going through and feeling…truthfully, this song is one of my ‘fight songs.’ I hope that you’ll take some time to listen to it and hear the words…

I’ll be frank. I’ve been up and down a lot these past few days. I find myself slipping away from Christ, I reposition myself, I’m fine…and then I’m sliding back again.

As I went over my reminders today, God stopped me and had me go and read Galatians 5:17-18. He then instructed me to go and studied it, so I did. After studying I decided that I would share what I learned with you all. So, here are my three points for this study (three things I summarized after studying over the scripture:)

  1. Commitment is more than just showing up or showing face. When I spend time with the Lord does He have my full attention? Does He completely have my heart?
  2. I am under the Spirit of grace. God has extended mercy to me. This doesn’t mean I don’t live by the Word of God, but rather it means even when I don’t make the mark in pursuing God, His grace and His love lifts me up.
  3. Relationships are not time wasters. People’s hearts and emotions are not meant to be toyed with like some sort of game. I need to find something more productive to do with my time if I believe otherwise; that kind of thinking is toxic [see Matthew 18:6.]

(I’ll repeat these again at the end.) Let’s get into the study.


“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” I looked at verse 18 and found myself puzzled. I’m aware that as a believer and follower of Jesus, He’s not saying we now have a free pass to sin. I’m also aware that we are to read, study and live by His Word (the Holy Bible) every day, but what exactly does this verse mean?

The Holy Spirit began to speak to me, “To be led by the Spirit is to be under the Spirit of grace. God does not hold you to the letter of the law because His Son already fulfilled it,”

ephesians-4-8

“but He still expects you to live by His Word.” At this moment I pondered on verse 17, and considered what I had been taking in spiritually, “If all you are doing is living by the Spirit of God then nothing but godly things will come out of you, but if you are entertaining the flesh then you can expect sinful nature and tendencies to ensue.”

I thought to myself, okay so I have to stop sinning…to which He replied,

“Man, by nature, is sinful because of his flesh but that does not give us the right to pursue our flesh.” Now right here is when I began to understand how those who are new to the faith or have a desire to be saved get confused. We know we shouldn’t sin, but then we are inevitably prone to sin…so then what’s the point? We’re imperfect, we’ll never get it right 100 percent of the time, but then we’re expected to live by His Word. The Bible definitely doesn’t have any give when it comes to sin…so…what exactly am I supposed to do?

matthew-5-17

“It is because we walk under the Spirit of grace and mercy that we are no longer stoned to death for things we see as menial now: working on the Sabbath, wearing mixed fabrics, eating forbidden/unclean meats, etc. We live according to His Word and we abide by it because we are to pursue righteousness in spite of our failures, in spite of ourselves.”

God began to show me the difference between the saint, the sinner saved by grace, and the legalist.

The saint knows that they will continue to make mistakes. They will have days where they are a solid 8 or 9 and others where it’s more of a 6 or 5.5. They know this, but that doesn’t stop them from giving Christ their ALL. Even if it’s a 5.5 day, they’re still going to give the best 5.5 they’ve got. They recognize they will sin and continue to sin, they repent and acknowledge where they’ve fallen. The saint isn’t trying to be perfect; they just do everything they can to do the very best they can.

The legalist, however, is someone who puts a lot of pressure on themselves and others to be as close to perfection as possible. They hold everyone by the letter of the law. The legalist spends so much time trying to prove to everybody and themselves how saved they are that they miss the point. They have 5.5 days like the rest of us, but you’ll rarely ever hear about it because they are hiding behind a wall of denial.

I am that legalist.

I am guilty of ignoring or pretending everything’s fine when I know I’m standing on a crumbling foundation. I have foolishly tried to use God as a band-aid to cover up my sins rather than repenting and letting Him cleanse me from it. I know I’ve had abysmal days where I spent absolutely no time with Jesus because most of that time was wasted on my vices. So to make myself feel better about where I am, I’ll read a quick verse or two or listen to a few gospel songs/watch some inspirational messages on YouTube, then it’s back to the same old thing. We are not saved by works, but our faith in God.

And it is that faith that causes me to presses on, even when I become legalistic, because it reminds me that Jesus didn’t die for me to live like this. He died so that when I fall, I could have another chance to get back up.

So yeah, we look at the Old Testament and read about the laws they had. Some of us may have even said, “JEEZE! They got stoned for THAT?!” God is very serious when it comes to sin, and He was not kidding when He said that the wages of sin is death (see Romans 6:23) but when Jesus Christ gave His life and rose up from that grave He eliminated all those stumbling blocks.

Will we sin? Yes. Are we slaves to it?

Only if we choose to be.

“So the real question is, who are you chasing after? Are you truly pursuing God, because if it’s not one it’s the other.”

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There is no middle ground, no in between. You’re either serving God or you’re serving the devil; simple as that.

“Commitment starts with you. God has faithfully shown and proven Himself to not only be committed to you, but reliable, loving, trustworthy.” The conversation then turned to some of my heart’s desires: a relationship/husband, my dream career of becoming a best selling author, “A good husband deserves a good wife. Are you even that with God?”

God IS the foundation. He is the starting point to everything in our lives; whatever the issue is, it can be linked back to us lacking something in our own relationship with Him. If we have a strong desire for sex, lust then we lack intimacy with God. If we have trust issues, we don’t trust God like we should. If we seek to be in control of everything, it’s because we haven’t learned to submit to Him. That being said, if we cannot commit to Him then it’s safe to say we won’t be able to commit to anyone we’re with. We’ll get bored with all of it, and when we tire of them, we’ll just move on to someone else that strikes our fancy.

“The Lord is your husband even after you marry. If you cannot commit to Him then you won’t be able to be with anyone else. Being faithful or committed to a person is more than just being with them, but serving them wholeheartedly. Devoting yourself into their service and giving every little bit of yourself for them. It’s about taking the time to get to know them throughout the years while still finding out little things about each other. You can share their company but will that person God gives to you have possession of your heart?”

Good question. I remember this past Sunday when I was walking through the grocery store with Mom and I saw a young couple shopping together. They weren’t lovey-dovey; they had been together for awhile. It was just a regular day for them. I vividly recall looking at a bottle of Sriracha and pondering about me and my future husband, and thinking, “One day you’ll be in the grocery isle, shopping for hot sauce.” The feeling that came right after that was a sense of boredom, something trivial. Hmm…maybe marriage isn’t all that exciting after all. It’s just two regular people doing regular stuff…why exactly do I want to get married?

After hearing this from the Lord however, I thought about how I’m still learning about myself at 28. I instantly pictured being in a relationship and for the first time I just couldn’t see it. Now all I could think about was why did I even want to be in one. Because it just seems like the right time? Because I’ve been single—LITERALLY—all my life?

As I drifted off into my thoughts, the Spirit brought me back.

“You can spend time in the presence of Jesus and still be far away;” You can be in a relationship and still not be with that person, just as you can do and say all the right things and still not have a relationship with Christ, “we’ve seen this throughout scripture time and time again.” Even in the wilderness, the children of Israel were right there with the Lord, but many of them were still serving the false gods they left behind in Egypt. People followed Jesus, could reach out and touch Him if they wanted to, but still did not believe or love Him as much as they claimed to.

I then heard Him whisper to me, “You say you want to spend time with Me, but when you’re with Me are you actually doing that?”

I had no choice but to confess that I was once again being that legalist… “Don’t let up and don’t give in. Remember: actively engage in your Savior. Talk to Him, listen for His voice, enjoy the pleasure of His company. Don’t just take a seat, just to say you showed up—you did your part—and then leave.”

(Now this next part I’m about to share may come off a bit bold, but it was necessary for me to hear it. Therefore it might be just as necessary for someone else.)

“God is not a one night stand; a side piece you pacify by showing your face when you’re ready to get off or try to coax into getting what you want, and then doesn’t hear from you again for days, weeks, or even months.”

I began thinking about how I’ve been acting, “My book isn’t doing so well…maybe if I spend a little time with God, and maybe if I put a little more effort into doing the newsletter for my church, and maybe if I show Him that I can be His ‘good girl’ again…then perhaps He’ll finally allow those book sales to start coming in. Then I can finally make some real money doing what I love to do.”

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“God is too worthy of better from you. He’s absolutely too worthy period. You are the one that’s undeserving, you are the one that’s not worthy, and yet He’s still calling you unto Himself. Don’t reduce your relationship with God to something flimsy and fleeting. A relationship that is without meaning, value and purpose. Don’t let what you have, a treasure that can’t be found in this world, be reduced to that.”

God deserves better from me…He is more than worthy. I should want better out of myself than to settle for giving the bare minimum. I would want more than the bare minimum from the man He’s set aside for me; I should be giving the Lord the same that I expect from someone else.

And as I thought on this, He stressed this point, “Relationships are not time wasters, and if that’s what you think they are then you need to find something more productive to do with you time than play with people’s hearts and emotions.” You don’t get into a relationship with someone because you’re tired of being by yourself. You don’t start dating someone because it just “feels right.” That’s just as bad as claiming Jesus as your savior because you don’t want to go to hell, but have no desire to actually fellowship with Him.

Too many times I’ve heard a person or two say that sex is just sex or that they’re just having some fun. They don’t see the harm in what they’re doing and it’s really more simple than what we make it out to be. As that thought crossed my mind, I heard the Lord tell me, “Any time hearts and emotions are involved it gets messy, and hearts and emotions are always involved.” If the damage isn’t being done to you, then that means you’re doing it to someone else…

And if that’s the case, I’ll refer you to Matthew 18:6,

millstone

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6 KJV)

Remember that we are all God’s children. When you mess with God’s children, you are asking for trouble. As brothers and sisters in Christ, some of us are guilty of leading one another on or using each other to appease our bouts of loneliness. Once we’ve had our fill of each other, we throw that brother/sister away. We continue to do it over and over again until we’ve drained that well dry and then we move on to someone else. We continue to leave a trail of broken people and broken hearts behind us…I’ve written a couple of poems about this: Euphemisms and Such, Echoes. I know what it feels like to have your heart toyed with, and yet…

…I’m an offender. And I was setting myself up to continue down that same path.

I do not want to be the reason I caused someone to stumble, nor do I want to feel God’s wrath because I hurt one of His sons due to selfishness. This stuff is not as innocent as you think, and if you keep using and abusing His children in that manner, then be ready to answer for every person you have destroyed emotionally/mentally/spiritually along the way.


Alright. Let’s review over those three points again:

  1. Commitment is more than just showing up or showing face. When I spend time with the Lord does He have my full attention? Does He completely have my heart?
  2. I am under the Spirit of grace. God has extended mercy to me. This doesn’t mean I don’t live by the Word of God, but rather it means even when I don’t make the mark in pursuing God, His grace and His love lifts me up.
  3. Relationships are not time wasters. People’s hearts and emotions are not meant to be toyed with like some sort of game. I need to find something more productive to do with my time if I believe otherwise; this kind of thinking is toxic [see Matthew 18:6.]

Well, that’s it. I hope that you’ve gained something from this study and I hope that you’ll go and study these scriptures for yourself. This is what God had for me; He might have something else to say to you. Feel free to read and meditate over those three points and take some time out to reflect.

Take care and God bless.

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One thought on “Attacking the Root: Commitment

  1. Pingback: (Sept. 16) Vol. 6, No. 19 – shnewsletter

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