So you, my son, be strong (strengthen inwardly) in the grace (spiritual blessing) that is [to be found only] in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1 AMP)
When I first read this verse in the NIV, I wanted to know more, what did Paul mean by saying being strong in grace, so I dug a little deeper and discovered the Amplified which clarified this a bit more and then found in Hayford Bible Handbook that the Spiritual blessings are defined as grace, mercy, peace and even life itself, reside in Him (Christ) and are derived from Him [2 Tim 1:1-2, 9-10, 13, 16, 18; 2:1].
Upon accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior we became new creations IN Christ. That means our inward self is new, clean, made of God for God with only one desire to serve God. Which as you know puts ourselves in constant conflict with our flesh, our flesh is of this world - and remember who is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) so our flesh wants everything that is unclean and against God's very nature. How often have you sat torn between doing one thing and another, sometimes it's something that seems so insignificant - for example: so many times I sit down and say I should read my Bible, but what's on TV or let me check the internet (this is classic Flesh [worldly] vs Spirt [holy]). The battle is ongoing 24/7, that's why we were told about our Armor of God and how to use it - we can't win if we're not prepared for the battle (Ephesians 6:12-18).
I believe Kenneth A. Hagin said it best, "Man is a spirit, he has a soul, and he lives in a body.". If you follow the link, you can read all the scripture that explains each part of that statement and if you can, I highly recommend reading his book, 'How You Can be Led by the Spirit of God'. To break it down even further, we are a spirit (new creation in Christ), we have a soul (our mind), and we have a body (our flesh). That's why it's so important to renew our minds with God's Word - we have to re-train our minds and take control of our flesh!
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2 NKJV)
Notice how Paul told us to not be conformed to 'this world' - this world belongs to the devil and we are not of this world, so that's why we must immerse ourselves in God's Word. We're surrounded by a world of decay and immorality and unless we acknowledge this and take action, we will succumb to the flesh.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. (Galatians 5:22-26 NLT)
I admit this is something I struggle with, even sitting down to write my blog, I feel God's leading to write, but I find other things to do (fleshy laziness). I know God's will is for me to write these posts and yet I can always find an excuse; can I share with you that when I do write, I almost always get a response from someone that they needed this or I get blessed with something I've been praying for - obedience to God's Word isn't just so we can win against our flesh, it's so God can bless us and others as well. We are Christ's Ambassadors, we are to be the example - when Jesus was in the desert for 40 days and the devil tempted His flesh - Jesus responded each time with the greatest weapon, "It is written...". Jesus used scriptures to defeat the devil and we have the same arsenal at our fingertips and that's how we can defeat our flesh.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. [Matthew 12:37] (Proverbs 18:21 AMP)
Renewing our minds with God's Word changes our thinking and our response to situations. When we then speak God's Word over our life and over our circumstances; we begin to speak praises and thanksgiving to God, it becomes second nature. And this is how we have been given the same power over our flesh; it IS the power of life or death.
Labels: death and life, decay, flesh, GOD's Word, spirit, spiritual warfare, temptation of Christ