Today may be the most important Proverbs to date. It deals with how we have victory in our lives over sin and self.
(32) Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.
As we begin today, let’s get a couple of things straight:
- We are always moving either up or down in our spiritual walk. If we stop moving, we drift. It’s like walking on a moving sidewalk or rowing upstream.
- The Spirit calls to us constantly to keep moving. He promises the desire and the power if we will assent to His control.
The Apostle Paul makes an outrageous statement:
I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. (3) For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. (4) The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (5) We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:2-5
What?!! How?!! Paul gives us the information we need in the previous chapters.
Let’s begin with our salvation: 1:21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, (22) set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Christ called us; we answered. But, the covenant (contract) set up by Christ is different than the old covenant in that He carries the responsibility of BOTH SIDES of the contract. He saved us and now He will make us like Himself: Holy, righteous, blameless, transformed into His image, and conformed into His likeness. THAT’S what the Spirit is doing in our lives.
But, if He is working in our lives, why don’t we feel Him all the time? Why do we struggle so with sin? THE FACT THAT WE STRUGGLE WITH SIN IS CONFIRMATION THAT HE IN US AND WORKING IN US. Sinners don’t struggle with sin. In fact, they enjoy it with no regrets. Christians don’t. And the regret we feel confirms the fact that we are not as we were; we are different on the inside. Why? BECAUSE WE HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT.
3:6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
We are not talking about following rules; we’re talking about following a Person: Jesus. The Spirit IS Jesus in us. The only thing we have to do is whatever He tells us. We are Spirit-driven. We shouldn’t make a move without direction from Him. We shouldn’t say a word without hearing His whisper of what to say. Our thoughts should lead us to Him–especially when they are not godly thoughts. He WANTS us to turn to Him as we learn to deal with those thoughts in a godly fashion.
Here is what we know: 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (7) But we have this treasure [the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ-verse 6] in jars of clay [our bodies] to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (8) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; (9) persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (17) For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
His Spirit in us gives us our Modus Operandi, our MO: 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all and therefore all died. (16) And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again [Christ].
We are now back to our original question of how.
- We KNOW that we are His. His Spirit lives in us.
- We KNOW that we no longer live by following the letter of the law (rules), but by following the Spirit and His leading. Obedience first; questions later.
- We KNOW that He renews us daily. We are fresh each morning in our relationship with Him. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger in our faith in Him.
- We KNOW that the glory we are achieving is us being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory (3:18).
Based on what we KNOW, we have “divine power to demolish strongholds” of sinful habits, lustful thoughts, judgemental attitudes, and anything that “sets itself up against the knowledge of God (what we KNOW).” “We take captive every thought,” bringing it to Christ, “to make it obedient to Christ.” We know what He will do: He will transform those sinful habits into exercises of faith, that lust into compassion, those judgemental attitudes into opportunities of prayer, and our lives into vessels of His grace.
Abba, thank You for loving me so much! What You have done for me is beyond comprehension. It will take Eternity for me to grasp how much You love me and have done for me. The work You finished on the cross created a way for me to be in a closer-than-close relationship with You, and I love it! Being in Your presence is what I desire all the time! Fortunately, You live IN ME. I bask in Your love and joy and peace constantly–when I can see Your face and sense Your presence. Help me to remember when I DON’T feel Your presence and look at the wind and waves that You are always with me, holding me up and carrying me when necessary. I glory in Your ultimate goal for me, that I become JUST LIKE CHRIST. Have Your way in me, O Lord. Amen.