Day 26 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Growing through Temptation
When temptation becomes powerless.
In yesterday’s blog we examined a caricature position in our belief system. The temptations of this world grow increasingly weak as a result of our spiritual growth in God.
Our souls birthed, by the midwife Christ, materialises us as babes in the spiritual world of the heavenly realm. The miracle of that realignment, in unison into the family of God, gives us a surety of a new life, a new beginning, and a new dawn.
That rebirth is never forgotten.
When Jesus enlightens Nicodemus about the spiritual rebirth it is an earth-shattering moment in the history of mankind. This simple phrase is a pivotal point between the old and the new in so many ways. If I were to make a summary of Christ’s law I would put this at the top of the list. Without the rebirth, God internalising his law on your heart, you cannot be set free.
In John 3:3 Jesus in replying to Nicodemus informs us, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
One of the analogies that remains true as de facto is that we are set free by the rebirth.
As I record this today I am drawing from my own experiences of the rebirth.
The rebirth may be a shattering moment when you are converted by release of the Holy Spirit at a rally or when attending a sermon. The way that the rebirth happens is not consistent and in many ways only defined into reality by the experience of the individual convertee.
Jesus intimated, “Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”” John3:7 – 8 (BSB)
Spiritual rebirth has a mind of its own. Again and again God creates, God’s creativeness manifests itself in abundance and glorified diversity. There is no one size fits all.
God will fashion your seekership cloak of Glory according to the shape of your malformed Spiritual existence, to complete His perfect workmanship in your realignment and growing righteousness.
“For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (BSB)
When I was seven years old I experienced some of the realities of the crucifixion whilst listening to a sermon in our local church with my family. At that moment I committed my life to Christ. That bond has been maintained by God. We were living in the then Southern Rhodesia.
Due to the remoteness of our farm I had to attend boarding school. God started by changing my life at that stage. I can remember clearly how I went back to school on the Sunday after my conversion and starting a Bible group in the hostel. A group of us boys used to get together in our dormitory before going to bed, we read the Bible together and prayed.
My awareness of God in my environment made it necessary, through the Holy Spirit, for me to learn about him and I developed a growing relationship with God. During my whole school life I was in boarding school, God was faithful in so many miraculous ways. I have always believed that we have to be part of the world but not of the world. sin and its temptations will always be there. Every time we turn our back on doing something wrong there is a victory in our hearts as Christ’s children.
Our awareness of sin and temptation is sharpened as we become more and more victorious.
“Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1 – 2 (BSB)
Have I fallen and made mistakes? Absolutely! But Christ has always come and dug me out of the mud. The rebirth, our alignment in God and the heavenly realms, changes our attitude to this world and sets us free.
Salvation sets us free from the drawcard of temptation. Maybe not totally at first. But often gradually as we become victorious in declining temptation.
Whilst reading this Day 26 in The Purpose Driven Life it highlighted for me Jesus’s spoken truth about not having to be religious but living in freedom;
“and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:20 7b – 30 (BSB)
As our relationship grows with Christ, listening to the indwelling spirit, the shackles of temptations and sin fall away from our lives. And in many cases, we have no affinity to participate and will simply turn our back and walk away in disgust.
No matter how far you fall, it is Christ’s hand that will reach out and drag you back into the presence of your God. If you are trying to dig yourself out of that pit you will end up pulling the sides of the pit down on yourself.
“The disciples asked, “Who then can be saved?”. Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”“ Matthew 19:25b – 26 (BSB)
There is a brilliant series on the Rebirth by John Piper at DesiringGod.org.
Full series of sermons can be found here ; http://www.desiringgod.org/series/you-must-be-born-again