Proverbs 10:22 - The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it.
This is not a promise from God. This is a statement of fact.
Sit back for a moment and think. What really do you WANT in your life? I think you cannot make a list more than 10 max., even less than 6 perhaps. Normally you would want the following:
1. Someone who loves you and cuddles you and cares for you.
2. A peaceful and loving family where there are no arguments, fights or misunderstandings.
3. Enough money for all your needs with no debt and no lack
4. Some reasonable material possessions like a good house and a means of transportation.
5. A worry free life with good health and plenty of laughs.
Ok I am already struggling to go past 5. I think I would have everything I need in life if I had the above 5 things.
Question is "Does the world and its systems give you all of this? " The answer is "YES!, it does", but it also gives you along with it, cancer, pneumonia, heart attacks, depression, addictions like alcohol, drugs or sex, worry, fear, anxiety, divorces, unhappy families, angry husbands and fathers who physically abuse and more.
Now, ask yourself, "Does God's kingdom give you all of the above 5 things?" The answer is "YES! it does", AND the bible says "HE adds NO SORROW with it". How wonderful is that!!
The truth is that all things you need in life is found in Jesus Christ our Lord. He is truly the way, the truth and the LIFE.
When you believe in Him and choose to walk in obedience to His word (the bible), then you have all things you need in life and with NO SORROWS.
The bible also says "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you". This does not just mean you believe in Jesus, call yourself a Christian and go to church every Sunday. This means, you actually leave the world's way of doing life behind and choose God's way of doing life. This includes, living a pure and holy life, being loving, being kind, compassionate, generous towards the poor, sharing the gospel with others and actually living out the faith you confess to believe in.
When you do this, all things pertaining to life will be added unto you and He will add NO SORROW to it.
The answer to all things pertaining to life is in Jesus alone. Are you aspiring for the 5 things in life mentioned above? You can get it. You can live it and experience all of it when you believe in Jesus and make Him the Lord of your life. The bible says,
His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, - 2 Peter 1:3
And He adds NO SORROW to it. How amazing!!
The word “religion” is derived from a Latin word which literally means “to bind fast”. Therefore, a religious person is bound under an obligation of some sort. Religion can easily hold us bondage when we determine our lives and actions based on fear of hell and judgment from an angry god. In addition, when under the influence of a religious mindset, every person’s idea of god can be different; and it is.
From the earliest of times, humans have looked around and wondered about the universe, the complexity, and the perfection of creation and the meaning of life and their purpose. To realize the true potential of your capabilities and to fully grasp that for which you and only you are gifted, requires you to walk in absolute freedom. Freedom from all bondages that have the potential to hold you down and your religious beliefs can be one of them.
Galatians 5:1 – So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
Religion causes you to live by other’s convictions instead of your own.
Let go of religion and seek to get into a real relationship with the true God. Apart from God, you can do nothing because He is the very source of your life. He is the vine, and you are the branches. A branch detached from the vine just shrivels and dies. Be reconciled to God through belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. God cannot be contained into an idol in a room or on your desk or into a picture in a photo frame in your car. God cannot be contained by man’s imagination of how He might be, and He is not a set of moral teachings either. God is way too big for that and holds the entire known and unknown universe in the palm of His hands. Yet, He is loving, compassionate, merciful and forgiving. And He has made it possible for anyone keen to know Him personally and intimately through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Contrary to popular belief, Christianity is not a “religion”. Yes, people have made it a religion and unfortunately many churches have portrayed it as a religion, but it is not. True Christianity is a personal “RELATIONSHIP” with the one true God, our Father. Yes, such a relationship is possible and it is only achieved through the knowledge of Jesus Christ who laid down His own life for our sins and paid the price for our sins. He didn’t stay dead thereafter. He rose from the dead and is alive today and will return soon. His resurrected life is proof that our sins are washed away. His resurrection is proof that we are free from religious bondages. His resurrection is proof that we are healed from our sicknesses. His resurrection is proof that we are free from addictions. His resurrection is proof that we can KNOW God our Father and live in peace and harmony, with a genuine love for one another.
An intimate relationship with God through the knowledge of Jesus Christ brings true transformation to your life.
John 15:5 - Apart from Me you can do NOTHING!!!
Jesus said apart from Him, we can do nothing. The emphasis was on the word “nothing”. That means, not only those things which we find difficult or incapable to do or when we are in need, etc, but also when things are easy for us and things that we often do on our own without involving God. Just because we can. Eg: taking up a new job, moving to a new country or city, marrying someone or getting into relationships, friendships, making large purchases or small purchases that we think we can afford, etc. Just because we can.
But Jesus said apart from Him, we can do nothing. But we do? How is that? Its because He/God sees us as separate from the world, dead to the world, redeemed and saved. So our new born again life that we now live CANNOT be lived apart from Him. Because we can’t do anything apart from Him (as His children); we have been given a Helper; the Holy Spirit. That means we actually DON’T NEED to make any decisions or do anything apart from Him. But if we still do, then this is the pride of life issue.
1 John 2:16 - For everything in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--comes not from the Father but from the world.
Romans 6:11 says “Consider yourselves dead to the power of sin….”
Romans 14:23 says “Whatever is not from faith is sin”.
So when you operate in the flesh, you are not operating by faith and that is sin according to this definition. This is why we need to “consider ourselves dead..”so that we can live by faith in Jesus Christ.
No one in the cemetery is considering themselves dead; are they? They don’t need to because they ARE dead. Because they ARE dead, the devil has absolutely NO power in the cemetery. Contrary to popular belief that cemeteries are where dead people's ghosts often wander, in fact the devil has absolutely no power there. He cannot oppress anyone there. The dead graves cannot be tempted, they cannot be lied to or deceived, they cannot be addicted to anything, they cannot watch nude movies and be affected by it, they cannot succumb to alcohol or drugs. The devil cannot do a thing there. Why? Because they are dead. The bible says, we need to consider ourselves dead to the sinful nature in us and to the worldliness or the system of this world. If we just did that, much of life’s problems are solved.
Let us assume that we all consider ourselves dead to the world and its systems. The next part of the verse says “and alive to God through Jesus Christ”. So how, does such a kind of life look like? This could well be the answer to whatever challenge you are facing.
“Being dead to sin, dead to the world and alive to God”?
Learn to see yourself as God the Father sees you. He sees you redeemed. He sees you as “not of this world”. He sees you as over comers. He has given you the Holy Spirit not just to guide you and lead you into all truth, but also to seal you as His. We need to learn to see ourselves as God sees us. Then live out that kind of life. I have 3 points or factors to experience such a life.
Eternal Life – Live with an eternal life mind set. John 3:16 When you received Jesus, that same moment you received eternal life. Eternal life BEGAN when you got saved and got born again. The new life that you got is eternal already. It’s a wrong mindset that people have. They think one day in future they’ll live forever and they will be in the presence of God. Nothing wrong with that, but that mindset causes you to separate out the spiritual life from the physical life in the flesh. This is why some people struggle with temptations and addictions. They have separated out their spiritual life from the natural life but haven’t understood the concept of being dead and being born again anew. And then you try to satisfy both flesh and you spirit which causes the struggle between flesh and spirit. Gal 5:17 says “the flesh wars against the Spirit”. So consider yourselves dead and then there is no war. Right? The moment we believed, at that very moment we became the offspring of God. One that is born of God. Because of that, we were born immortal and all things are ours. We are joint heirs with Christ. The New Testament is all about showing us our identity (who we really are) and teaching us to live the life of righteousness.
When you separate out the spiritual and the physical, then you live in fear of death and become enslaved to this world and its affairs. Everyone in the world is trying to prolong death as much as possible so that they can live a fuller life; longer. And we believers have got into that rat race as well. Instead, Live with an eternal mindset like as if you are never going to die. Why? Because you are already dead to the world and alive to God.
Hebrews 2:14-15 says Since, therefore, [these His] children share in flesh and blood [in the physical nature of human beings], He [Himself] in a similar manner partook of the same [nature], that by [going through] death He might bring to nought and make of no effect him who had the power of death -- "that is, the devil and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
In other words, this is why Jesus came. When we live with an eternal life mindset and consider ourselves already dead, then the things of this world don’t matter to us that much. We just use the material things as tools to live life. We are dead to the world, but alive to God.
Live in righteousness – God gives us His own righteousness as a gift giving us the confidence and boldness to stand before Him. That position of being right with God not only justifies us but also empowers us to live godly. When you know you are righteous and when you BELIEVE that you are righteous, then you will live that way as well. The main problem believers have here is guilt and self-condemnation. Whenever they do something wrong, guilt sets in and they condemn themselves. If it doesn’t, someone near them will make sure they feel guilty by pointing out their mistakes. They feel that they have fallen short of the glory of God. Why? Because that’s how the flesh/sinful nature reacts. People say “that’s natural to feel that way”. No, its fleshly and worldly.
You say, “but the bible says everyone has fallen short of the glory of God”. True, the bible says that; but that is exactly why Jesus came. So if you are a believer now, you can never fall short of the glory of God except by your own will by rejecting Jesus Christ. So when you are dead to the world, but alive to God, then you can never ever begin to think that you don’t deserve to be in God’s presence or you are unrighteous or have fallen short, etc.
Romans 8:1 – There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
2 Cor 5:21 – He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God.
John 17:16 – Jesus Himself says “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” . Wow! Jesus is making me equal with Him in this statement.
If that is the case, then why do we live like as if we are of the world?
The people of this world say “Be realistic”. “Be practical”, etc. What they are actually saying is “Adhere to the worlds system”. The worlds system is to better your life through prosperity, luxury, better homes, cars, maintaining your position of success in the world, carry a persona of being successful and so on. The worlds system teaches that there will be ups and downs in life. We need to be strong and face challenges in life, etc…All of that comes from a built-in sinful nature that rebels against God and want to achieve things in life apart from God. The biggest struggle of man is being drawn to the world and also being drawn to God. The Christian doesn’t want to give up either, but the way to true life is giving up one obvious one. Cutting off your flesh. Consider yourself dead to the sinful nature and the world and live a life alive to God alone. So if you consider yourself dead to the world and are alive to God alone, then what ups and downs in life are you talking about?
Fellowship with God = Don’t do anything apart from Him
James 4:4 says “Friendship with the world is enmity with God”. You cannot have an intimate fellowship with God if you are friends with the world.
People think friendship with the world means drinking, partying, gluttony, indulging in all sorts of pleasure, etc…No, friendship with the world includes all of those and also the worlds way of living life.
Eg: People imagine an ultimate godly life with a happy and peaceful family, no arguments at home, no misunderstandings, always having enough, no financial debts that steal their sleep, and they all want that life, but they also want money, they also want a car they dream of, they also want to show off and maintain a fake position of success, etc. Instead, just love fellowship with God and love your family members with the love of God. You will have that happy and peaceful family. But you have to give up love for the world and love for any self-indulging pleasure. Seeking self indulging pleasures and recognition in the world are not of God.
People ask and pray for the anointing of God on their lives. How are you going to get that? Many times you see people lifting their hands in worship services or conferences wanting the anointing of God. Then the preacher prays and they SEEM to get something, sometimes they fall down, etc…Next second, if someone asks them if they want the anointing of God, they ask again and lift their hands again. Like as if God is pouring out something little by little by little. No!!! We have the fullness of God in us according to the bible. Christ in us, the Holy Spirit in us. The bible says “Be led by the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh” – Gal 5:16. If we can be led by the Holy Spirit, then we have the fullness of the Holy Spirit in us.
If we consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God, then we can live the God kind of life and we won’t go seeking after feelings and Goosebumps experiences.
If you consider yourselves dead to the world and the sinful nature, then in effect you are saying you are not going to rely on your sensory perceptions to live life. In other words, you are not going to go by feelings or by this worlds way of doing things. What!!! But that’s the only way to live in this world. So how else can you live?
To be alive to God, you need FAITH. Romans 1:17 says “The just or righteous shall live by faith”. That’s a life style. Faith is not something that you use to get something from God. It’s a lifestyle of choosing to die to the world and live for God.
2 Cor 5:7 says “We walk by faith not by sight”. Why? Because if you are walking by sight, then you have not considered yourself dead to sin and to the world.
People think or the devil has deceived them into thinking that if they chose to live a life fully surrendered to God, then they are going to miss out on the pleasures and luxuries of life. They say its’ not practical and not realistic. That’s a lie from the devil. The apostle Paul lived with an eternal life mindset. He said “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”. He considered himself dead to the world. To the Philippians he said “I have learnt to be content in all circumstances.” (or independent of circumstances). It is a lie from the devil that you’ll miss out on life.
The bible says in 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,”
Firstly, all things pertaining to life and all things pertaining to godliness has been given to us. That means we don’t miss out on anything both in life and godliness. Secondly, it comes through fellowship with Him. Its not through fellowship with the world and adding on a personal quiet time or prayer time or meditation time. It comes through knowing Him.
What does one want in life?
Peace, harmony, provision and love at home? – It comes by making Him the Lord of your household. As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord. Having family prayers together, etc..
Enough finances to live comfortably? – Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down and shaken together… The answer is right there…
A fully content and satisfied life? – If you lose your life for my sake, you will find it. In other words, consider yourselves dead to sin and to the world and alive to God.
Isaiah 26:3 - You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You
Perfect peace means nothing missing in life. But it comes out of fellowship with God, doing nothing apart from Him.
Bless you all my dear family in the Lord.
John 13:1-5 : It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
This is remarkable. Jesus KNEW who He was, He Knew He was the son of God. He KNEW that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He was going back to God. At that time, and in that context, He decides to do something, ie. Wash the disciples’ feet and wipe them dry. What was the significance of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet? Why did He do it? What was He trying to communicate?
Many a times, we have heard it being taught that this was Jesus teaching about humility. Yes, there is a lesson about humility which you can learn from this. It’s true that there are many teachers who think of themselves higher than the students and expect/demand respect. In fact, that’s the norm in this world’s education system. Here, by Jesus washing the disciples feet, you could indeed learn a lesson on humility, considering how Jesus didn’t think it below his dignity (knowing who He was, the son of God) to stoop down and wash his disciples feet.
However, that was not what Jesus had in mind when he did this act. He was trying to demonstrate something much deeper. The bible teaches about humility quite directly on many other occasions. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6, Proverbs 3:34, Proverbs 11:2, Proverbs 15:33, Proverbs 18:12.
There are plenty of verses in the OT and the NT that teaches about humility and contrasts it with pride. So if Jesus wanted to teach on humility, He would have simply told them to be humble. There wouldn’t be a need to perform an act like this and leave them wondering why He was doing this. He washed their feet to remind them of something very important.
Let’s read verse 6 and 7 again:
Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you
will know after this.”
Now, why would He say “What I am doing you do not understand now”, if it was about humility. He also said “You will know later”.
There was a much deeper message than just humility here. In effect, Jesus was demonstrating to them that by His death and resurrection, they were cleansed from their sins and no longer separated from God. He was demonstrating that His blood had cleansed them from all their unrighteousness. But though they were cleansed completely once and for all, they still lived in a sinful world and they would end up getting their feet dirty, or defiled every day.
Feet represents your daily walk..
Watching TV and movies, listening to people talking, your own thoughts, walking through the mall and seeing images and pictures, listening to negative people, listening to angry people who speak foul, etc. In other words, whatever you do daily as part of your normal life in this fallen world brings in daily defilement's. Things such as negativism, wrong beliefs, news, medical news, etc. For example, all you need to listen on TV is some medical professional say "one in 10 people drinking coffee are bound to get cancer at some point in their life" and you suddenly feel fearful. These are all faith killers and little foxes that affect your identity in Christ. Your mind is defiled every day and leads you away from who you actually are as a child of God. This sinful world always leads God’s children away from righteousness to unrighteousness and from NO condemnation to guilt.
How do you keep yourself clean from all of this? The bible answers this question and says "By cleansing yourself by the Water of the word". Washing your feet is a form of preaching. Whenever you are listening to the gospel being
taught or reading a blog post or Gods word by yourself or a daily devotional, etc…you are exposing yourself to the basin of water. That is what washes your feet and cleanses your defiled mind and thoughts and any other “faith killers”.
Jesus washed them and wiped them with the towel with which He was girded. Towel in the greek (original Latin) is Linteum, which is linen cloth. And Linen is representative of righteousness in the OT. The priests wore linen garments.
Isaiah 11:5 – and righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
So by Jesus wiping the disciples feet after washing, He meant the following. After you read the word or after you listen to the word being taught, you should leave with a sense of righteousness. You should leave with a reminder that you are indeed the righteousness of God in Christ. You should feel clean, accepted and loved by the Lord. You should leave reminded that you are a new creation in Christ, you are a citizen of heaven, you are not of this world, you belong to Gods family and you are His child. You are seated together with Him in the heavenly places. No weapon formed against you can prosper. He that is in you is stronger that He that is in the world. Whenever you listen to teaching or preaching of God’s word, you should leave with a sense of acceptance. You are accepted in the beloved. That’s what gives you hope, faith and makes you experience the (zoe) life of God.
When Jesus said in John 10 – The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly. In the original language, it says “zoe” of God which is the God kind of life, divine life and have the completeness of that zoe life.
Expose yourself to the water of the word, as often as you can. If not, you will accumulate dust and dust is a representation of the devil’s food. God said to the devil, dust you shall eat all the days of your life. Gen 3:14
John 13:7 - Obviously Peter understood the physical washing….but Jesus wasn’t referring to that when He said, what I am doing, you do not understand now. So this is not so much about humility. It has a much deeper significance. You have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ. This is what he meant by saying, you are clean already. Those who have bathed need only to wash their feet.
Peter then says “Not only my feet, but my hands and head also. Then Jesus responds to Peter in John 13:10:
Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you
are clean, but not all of you.” - The "not all of you" was referring to Judas who would later betray Jesus.
But you my brothers and sisters are cleansed by the blood of Christ. All you need is washing of your feet everyday due
to the exposure to sin/dust in this world. And you clean your feet by washing with the word.
When your feet gets dirty, (or when your mind gets defiled due to everyday living in this sinful world), It does not mean you have lost your standing before the perfect and holy God. The blood of Jesus Christ has washed you clean once and for all. You are righteous. You are a citizen of heaven. You are a joint heir with Christ. You are seated together with Him in the heavenly places. When God looks at you, you are blameless because of Jesus and you are still His new creation. But your feet is dirty. You might be someone who doesn’t read the bible a lot or spend too much time every day in the word other than on Sunday at church or maybe once or twice a week. If this is you, maybe that explains why you don’t experience the love and grace of God in your life. Maybe this explains why you don’t experience the goodness of God in your life. Maybe this explains why you are constantly in need of prayer by someone else who DOES spend a lot of time with God and in His word.
But then maybe your friend calls you and says something encouraging or shares a testimony, or you read something on facebook or a blog post, and all of a sudden you experience this washing of your feet. All of a sudden, you feel accepted by God and loved by God. What happened? Your feet just got cleansed…
Jesus says "You are completely clean."
In villages (in our home town) people go down to the river or lake to bathe. After they have bathed clean, they step on to the muddy ground and walk back home. Do they bathe again? Of course not. No…they just wash their feet. So also, washing of water by the word (Ephe 5:26) cleanses your feet, whilst you are already clean. This is why it is important for us to spend time in His word everyday as often as we can. Meditate on His word. Wash your feet every day.
John 13:14 - “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
So how do we wash one another’s feet? How do I wash your feet and you wash someone else’s feet? Obviously, we don’t see anybody doing this in the bible from the book of Acts onwards or at least it is not recorded.
Each time you remind someone else about the forgiveness of their sins through Christ, when you encourage them, when you lift someone up from their depression or discouragement, you are washing their feet as well. This is how you wash others feet.
Ephe 5:19 says speak to one another in psalms, hymns, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Each time you remind a brother or sister about the Lord, about who they are in Christ, you have just washed their feet.
When your feet gets dirty and you don’t clean it for a long time, it affects your life. Many Christians who are walking in defeat or are discouraged, depressed, struggling with issues, always wanting someone to pray for them, etc. Their feet might be dirty. In other words, they have forgotten how much the Lord loves them. They have forgotten that they are completely clean. Their feet needs cleansing. The longer you stay away from the word and the longer you stay away from prayer and worship and church, the longer it takes to feel clean, free and full of faith again. It’s a lot easier to consistently walk in victory, peace and full of joy when you keep washing yourself with the word often.
Jesus was giving them an assurance that they never need to feel like they have lost fellowship with God. He who is bathed need only to wash his feet. John 13:10
So my dear brothers and sisters, stay blessed, stay clean and wash one another's feet as often as can.
Self-Discipline – How important is it to deal with our bodies and its cravings in our walk with God?
We are born again as a “NEW” creation. (2 Cor 5:17)
We are born of an incorruptible seed. (1 Pet 1:23)
We are not of this world. (John 17:16)
We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor 5:21)
We cannot sin. (1 John 3:9)
We cannot be condemned. (Romans 8:1)
We are citizens of heaven. (Phil 3:20)
We know we are righteous. We are born again and this time of an incorruptible seed. We are not of this world. We cannot sin. We cannot be condemned. We are citizens of heaven. We are a new creation in Christ and more. This is all true of course. Jesus has done everything that was needed to be done to ensure that we as His children are given ALL things pertaining to life and ALL things pertaining to godliness.
We know all this and believe it too. We do have faith. Yet, in practicality, there still seems to be a struggle in experiencing all that in real life. Why is this? Christians still struggle in their prayer life. Everything is a spiritual warfare for some. People still struggle with sinful habits and addictions. In other words, there are many Christians who are little to no different from anybody else in the world, except that they believe in Jesus and go to church. Why is this? I mean, if Jesus removed sin from us, if Jesus set us free from condemnation and bondage to the devil, if Jesus has given us a NEW life and called us His brethren and made us joint heirs with Him, then why this struggle? If we really are not of this world, if we really have access to the throne of God and can address Him as our Father and if we can really ask whatever we wish in Jesus name, then why do things not work that way in our lives?
The fact is this. When we became new born-again creatures, not only did we become new, our desires changed too. We now want to live new lives that are in line with the incorruptible seed of righteousness in us. Our spirit man has come alive and we want to live the God kind of life. We want to be like who Jesus was. And that is natural and expected because we are indeed born of Him and are like Him in every way. We were not like that before.
But, everything that Jesus did for us has only affected our spirit man or our inner being; our true self. He always addressed our spirit. Jesus said “The words I speak to you are spirit and they are life”. Our spirit was dead. Our being born again has made our spirits alive. Our bodies didn’t get born again though. The corruptible has not put on incorruptible as yet. That will happen upon our Lord’s return. Our bodies will be transformed to glorious bodies in the twinkling of an eye without any flaws when the Lord returns. But for now, we are here on earth with an “unsaved” body with all its cravings, desires and lustful passions, which upon death will return to dust.
Galatians 5:17 – For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
1 John 2:16 - For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
Anything that is not of God in your life will hinder the fullness of God in your life. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. These are not from God. And these are the very reasons for a struggling Christian life. Let me explain.
Lust of the flesh – This can be explained as a deep desire for food, for sensual pleasure, for ungodly entertainment, sex, nicotine, alcohol, drugs and whatever else your body (or feelings) craves for. You think fulfilling the lust of the flesh will satisfy the lust, but it only hungers for more. It is never satisfied.
Lust of the eyes – This can be explained as a deep desire for something in the world that is appealing to your eyes. For e.g.: jewellery that could enhance your social status, furniture, larger homes, cars, etc. In short, anything that you look at and desire for yourself either to satisfy your greed or to maintain a social status. Let me clarify that God is not against His children having good things in life. But a worldly lust for them is not from God.
Pride of life – This can be explained as anything you think you can do without God. When you say “I will call out to God in prayer when I need help, but these things I can manage on my own”, then you have just displayed the pride of life. E.g.: You have enough money and can afford to buy a piece of jewellery or a car that you are aspiring to buy. Then you say to yourself “I don’t need to pray about this. I only need to pray when I have a desire and I don’t have the means to get it”. That attitude is pride of life. And the bible says its not from God but of the fallen sinful world.
Ezekiel 16:49 is a great example. “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”
When you think of Sodom, you would think of sexually immoral and perverse people. But see where it all started…It started with the pride of life.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have any desires at all. Desires are in fact from God and the bible says if we delight in the Lord, He will grant us the desires of our heart. Desires are different from lust. Lust is impulsive.
Anything that is not of God in your life will hinder the fullness of God in your life. We are called to cut the flesh off from the equation to experience the fullness of God in your life. Do not give in to the desires of the flesh. We are in fact encouraged to put to death the lusts of our flesh. That takes effort and self-discipline on our part.
Romans 8:13 - For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
It’s amazing how many verses in the bible teach us about our responsibility in controlling our bodies so that we can experience the fullness of the God kind of life. And all these verses are addressed to Christians, believers, followers of Christ, saved people. Paul has had amazing revelation in this area.
1 Cor 6:19 – Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit….
Most people respect a church building. When they come inside the church, they never smoke. When they enter a church, they don’t swear, or drink alcohol. Because in their mind, they think the church building is a holy place. But the bible says, our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. So, if we don’t do certain things in a church building, how come we allow those things in our bodies?
1 Cor 6:19-20 – You were bought at a price…
The value of something is determined by the price that was paid for it. Because such a huge price has been paid for your body, glorify God in your bodies.
Here are some more verses that talk about self-discipline if that wasn’t enough:
James 1:26 – if you won’t control your tongue, your religion is useless
Colossians 3: 1-6 – Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
James 1:13-16 – Do not be deceived…Sin and the desires of the flesh are deceptive in nature. They lie.
Romans 13:13-14 – Make no provision for the flesh
Romans 8:5-14 – Carnal mind is enmity against God. Do you see that when we are in the flesh, we can’t experience the God kind of life? Verse 8 confirms it.
Verse 9 says “We are not in the flesh…to remind us that we are born again. New creatures in Christ. Our spirit is alive and born of the incorruptible seed of righteousness if the Spirit of God is in us. Well, “if the Spirit of God is in us” is a pre-requisite of course.
Romans 8:12-14 – by the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the body
1 Cor 9:24-27 – I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. This passage is addressed to Christians in Corinth. In our walk with God (race), we can all come first and obtain a prize. But as an athlete disciplines himself to win, so also, we must discipline ourselves to win. Run in such a way to win.
The living bible says, “I make my body do what it should do and not what it wants to do.” Paul said that.
This is critical to make progress as a Christian. We need to add discipline to our faith and that takes effort on our part.
Ephesians 5:3-5 – But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, not covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
1 Peter 1:13-16 – Rest your hope fully upon the grace, BUT ALSO be holy
Romans 12:1 – present your bodies as living sacrifices -
Galatians 5:19-22 – The works of the flesh are evident
Ephesians 2:1-5 – We once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling desires of the flesh and of the mind. But God made us alive together with Christ and made us sit together in heavenly places…
Why say this if God didn’t want us to live or knew that we cannot live in the fullness of godliness?
Romans 1:24-26 – Very important to note here is that “they exchanged the truth of God for the lie”.
1 The 4:4-5 – you should KNOW HOW TO POSSESS your own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust
2 Tim 3:1-13 – Paul admonishes Timothy that in the last days saying, many men will have a form of godliness but deny its power. They will become lovers of pleasure.
1 Peter 4:1-2 – Therefore since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
Friends, there is a place in God where you do not have to always be struggling in prayer trying to get what you want. There is a place where you don’t even have to ask. You instinctively know the Lords will. There is a place in God where it is no stress to walk with God. His burden is light. His yoke is easy.
So how do you put to death the lusts of your flesh, the lust of your eyes and the pride of life?
We need to stop thinking that our bodies are us. It is not. The new born-again self is us. The body is our temporary home and the bible even calls it our “tent”. 2 Cor 5:1
Erroneously thinking that our bodies are us causes us to also own the selfish desires of our bodies. And that includes the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. But our bodies are not us. So we don’t need to own its desires.
So, we need to look at our bodies as a tool outside of us that we “use” as children of God. Its something we use. Its not us. Just as you use a hammer for a purpose and lay it aside when you don’t need it, or a microwave or a car. But all these are non-living things and don’t crave to be used. Our bodies have lusts and crave to be fulfilled. Therefore, we need to learn to say NO and discipline ourselves. The apostle Paul said, “I beat my body and bring it to subjection”. In other words, he refrained from giving in to the cravings of his body. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Gal 5:22-23 This is why you should get into a habit of fasting. Fasting greatly help in denying your flesh the cravings. Consciously control the cravings of the flesh. Do not give a foothold to the lust of the flesh or the lust of the eyes or to the pride of life.
A suggestion for those who need practical help: Pray and tell the Lord that you intend to consciously make an effort to put to death the lusts of your flesh, the lusts of your eyes and the pride of life. Ask him for grace and start out in faith. Mark the date you decided to start on your calendar. Then mark dots each day for the number of times you think you failed that day in any area. Don’t feel guilty about it at all. Just ask the Lord for forgiveness and to grant you the grace to continue. He is faithful to forgive and will definitely bless you just because you have started out this walk of self-discipline. Ask Him to give you the “gift” of self-discipline. Then continue on. Watch the number of dots reduce in a few weeks’ time and before long it will become your life style. When nothing stands between you and God, everything about your life will miraculously change.
I wish to encourage you to start to put in an effort to discipline your bodies friends. Do nothing without talking to God first. Even when you have the money and the means to buy something, pray about it first and ask God if it’s the right thing to do. Don’t treat God like a genie and approach Him only when you want something and you don’t have the means to get it. Instead, know that He is your loving Father and walk in intimacy with Him. When you spend your money on something “after” talking to Him, your joy is so much multiplied.
The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. These are not from God but is of the world. Anything that is not of God in your life will hinder the fullness of God in your life. It will steal your joy, your happiness, your health and your prosperity. On the contrary, when you have nothing standing between you and God and you are able to stand before Him with a clear conscience, you will truly experience life and life more abundantly.
I was radically transformed by the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ back in 1997 in a most unusual way and unusual place. Read my testimony here. Over the years I have come to realize a few basic truths that have altered my life.
True freedom is freedom from self-centeredness. Dying to yourself, your wants, your desires and to what gives you pleasure for the sake of others is more liberating than you think.