Thursday, April 14, 2016
Jesus And The Discipline To Live
I Thessalonians 5:4-8
But you aren't in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won't be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day. We don't belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.
Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded (sober minded), protected by the armor of faith and love, and waearing as our helmet, the confidence of our salvation.
Lot of phone calls this week (so far) from people who are not doing well in their recovery. Some are doing nothing for their recovery. Why would we expect things to be different if I've given up on following the discipline that recovery requires. As a mentor of mine once told me...."Jesus will save your soul....but He won't keep you sober."
What does this mean? it means that we are given the power and ability to live a life of following Jesus. But the power and ability have to be played out under certain conditions that are defined by the discipline I adhere to.
I attend church, not because I have to....but because I have a desire to.
I attend a church where I have found like-minded people who are supportive and encouraging to me to keep on, even when life gets hard.
I study the Scriptures. As John Wimber stated on many times..."The Bible has to be a practical book to instruct us in practical living." In other words, the Bible gives me understanding that the Holy Spirit living in me will use to point me in my choices, and in my daily life.
I pray. I talk to God. I learn to hear Him speak to me. That little voice in your head that sounds a lot like you....sometimes God speaks through it. He speaks in our dreams (not all dreams are God dreams....sometimes they are just Pork skins and Mt. Dew that you ate and drank right before you went to bed). God speaks through others we run into. God speaks to us in natural events that happen around us. Bottom line is that we open our hearts to receive what it is God is trying to tell us.
Part of this discipline of a recovered/saved life is to allow the Holy Spirit to change our character. Notice what the Scripture says in Galatians 5:19-23 in describing the character of a life lived outside of God's will.
"When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: Sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God."
Pretty bad list, isn't it? And this is what happens when we try and live and rule our lives outside of God's will for us.
But look what happens to us as we turn will and life over to the care of God. Look what happens when we allow God's Holy Spirit to work in us and through us.
"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is not law against these things!"
What a drastic change....
A transformation that happens as we turn loose of our own ways, wants and desires to control everything, and simply allow God to work in us.
This is the heart of recovery.
A change of heart and will brought on by God's Holy Spirit....
Is evidenced by the change in our behavior toward others and ourselves.
Maybe this is food for thought today...
Does your life resemble the first list (sinful nature)
Or do you find yourself in the second list (Fruit of the Holy Spirit)?
God on you...
Step # 1 We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable. Romans 718 - I know...