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Hearts At War

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thanks for praying with us for our prodigals and for revival. Your support in this continuing burden is most appreciated. 

Last week we considered the importance of knowing our position in Christ. Paul presented it as a three-part process of being crucified, buried, and raised with Christ. (Incidentally, this is also shown through water baptism.) Through a divine act of miraculous power, upon our believing, God set us apart from the world and sin and put us into a new position of nearness with Himself. This position allows Him to further His work of ongoing sanctification in our lives.

Being sanctified doesn’t mean that our lives are automatically perfect. Salvation is just the start of the process. Think of all the problems, weaknesses, and failures of the Corinthian believers, and yet Paul opens his letter to them by saying, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours” (1 Cor. 1:2). The sad reality of the Corinthian church was that many were living carnal lives, which was incongruent with the reality of their being sanctified. 

What God desires is that we yield ourselves to Him in the truth we know. “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness” (Romans 6:13). The word “present” is translated “yield” in the KJV and means to exhibit, to prove, or to surrender. The reality of what God has done needs to be put into practice by us. The one feeds into the other. It is the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit that enables us to say no to sin and yes to righteousness. 

Yielding to God is not as easy as it may sound. One of the reasons for this is that we have a sinful nature within and will have it until we get home to heaven. This sinful nature, which is referred to as “the flesh” in the New Testament, is at war with our new spiritual nature. “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Gal.5:17). 

There will always be a certain tension in our lives, with desires for both evil and good. As we surrender our wills daily to Christ, the Holy Spirit will enable us to live in victory over sin. Paul writes about this in Romans 12: “I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom.12:1-2). The presenting, the conforming, the transforming, and the discerning all go hand-in-hand. As we yield to God, as we turn from the world, as we allow the Spirit to renew us through the Word, we will discern what the will of God is. This growth process must happen on a day-to-day basis.

May God help us to do His will today,

Love in Christ,

Bryan and Rachel


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