The purpose of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection not only concern the salvation of soul but the transformation of life. “To reveal his Son in me…” (Gal.1:16). The cross not only secures eternal life but also enables the transformation of present life: “to be conformed to the image of his Son.” (Rom.8:29). The goal is to develop “Christ-like character”…a total change of HEART, OUTLOOK, and PRIORITIES “…by the renewing of your mind” (Rom.12:2). “The entrance of thy words giveth light…” (Ps. 119:130).
This involves a process of yielding, by which we allow the truth of God’s word to reshape our thinking, restructure our priorities and refocus our outlook…so that our way of thinking, living and responding lines up with His. Many are the believers who seem to be ignorant of this foundational truth, failing to fully comprehend the purpose of salvation. It does not mention the soul as the container that houses all the goings on which is the salvation of soul.
Faith is the catalyst which transfers knowledge into experience. Many fellowships step back from experiences in one’s life. They say, “we do not live by our experiences, but rather by the Word of God only.”That is highly commendable, but “Really”?
In our daily walk as Christians do we not experience being transformed by the presence of the Holy Spirit within us? Do we not go through the growing pains of character transformation and look back and behold the wonder of His work in us. Living is a daily experience in that we should seethe effect it has on us as Christians.
What is the ability to discern?
Read Heb. 5:12-14-emphasize in 14 full-age (mature) and by use (practice). It is vital to the Christian’s spiritual welfare and usefulness to the Lord, that he/she learns to discern…refuse the evil and choose the good.
There are two types of wisdom in the world. One is born of Light the other of darkness; one is from above the other from below. The new man is animated (made alive) by the wisdom from above; the old man by the wisdom from that is from below. Spiritual growth depends on discernment and choice. The first challenge is to discern between the two types of wisdom. The second challenge is to choose between the two.
What is discernment? Read list. Discern, to separate by the eye, or by the understanding. To discover by the intellect; to distinguish; hence, to have knowledge of; to judge. “So is my lord the king to discern good and bad. 2 Samuel 14:7. Solomon said, in 1 Kings 3:9 “Therefore give to your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil…”
Discern, verb. To see or understand the difference; to make distinction; as, to discern between good and evil, truth and falsehood. The errors of youth often proceed from the want of discernment.
Learning to discern the nature and source of our beliefs and thoughts and be willing to make the necessary changes is pivotal. “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” [defenseless] (Prov.25:28). If you don’t control your thoughts your thoughts will control you. “…bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” “How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?” (Jer. 4:14).“…choose you this day whom ye will serve.” (Josh. 24:15).
Therein lies the power to resist temptation. Self-determination, in and of itself, is incapable of overcoming the flesh. Self-discipline is, of course,important but it can only carry you so far; it is insufficient in the sense that we cannot will ourselves spiritual…we can only “yield” our will to God’s will “…not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42). Concerning spiritual matters, sheer determination, because it is rooted in the flesh is inadequate. Flesh cannot over come flesh…only the Holy Spirit can do that. “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3)
No matter how hard you try you cannot serve God in the flesh“the flesh profiteth nothing…” (John 6:63). Inconsistency is the enemy of spirituality; in order to consistently guard our hearts and overcome our enemies, we must ask the Lord to supply the spiritual wisdom and necessary grace to live a life pleasing to Him. “Ask and it shall be given you…”(Matt.7:1).
The Eye Gate.
In order to guard our hearts, we must control our eyes. The eye gate is the primary entrance to the mind. Eighty-nine percent of what we learn comes through visual stimulation,ten percent through audible stimulation, and one percent through the other three senses. Therefore, the eye gate is of foremost concern and must be strictly guarded.
The eye gate is the primary pathway of enticement…the trigger of temptation. Temptation is a struggle between desire and reason which begins (activated) when (stimulus, influence) on the outside connects (through the eye gate) with something on the inside (old sinful nature) setting off a lustful response.
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:14-15)
You must guard your heart by learning to recognize and “abstain from all appearance of evil.” Avoid that which provokes negative stimulation…identify and shun your areas of weakness;abstain from every form of evil 1 Thess. 5:22. In those things to which you have little resistance. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” (Rom. 13:14). Acknowledging and shunning our vulnerabilities goes along way to guard our hearts.
Remember, the “eye-gate” is the primary entrance to the soul. In order to guard your heart, you must control your eyes; a glimpse will lead to a gaze; imprinting an indelible image on the heart. “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes…” (Ps. 101:3).
To illustrate: Eyes the projector, heart the screen and mind the computer (memory). The eyes project indelible images upon the heart, which are then stored in the mind.
A definition of indelible means it cannot be removed, washed away, or erased except by the Holy Spirit in true repentance, confession, and coming out of agreement with the image. The Holy Spirit removes the lust or passion out of the memory. It is still there, but the image has no power; only God can do this.
One of the most amazing features of the human mind is the memory, which is in effect, an incredible living computer. Man’s memory not only has the capability of recalling information and reviving past images but also has the capacity to create its own scenes in the form of dreams and imaginations from information stored in the subconscious.
Whether prior to, or after salvation, all evil which has entered through the unguarded eye-gate is permanently stored in the mind; thus,providing the enemy internal poison with which to hinder the Holy Spirit. As each sensual, thought-provoking scene passes unchecked through the breach, the will to resist is weakened until the eye gate becomes the failed floodgate. The effect can be profound and lasting, adding much resistance and frustration to the battle for God’s control of the total being. Henceforth the postle Paul’s exhortations in 2 Cor. 10:3-5 & Rom. 12:1-2: read.
The Essential Exchange (“Put off” “Put on”)
Real spiritual growth is a choice; depending on a willingness to be changed…submission born out of sincere gratitude; a heart felt desire to obey the will of the Lord as revealed in His word. Spiritual development requires retreat from self “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). The deciding factor, which determines whether we are carnal or spiritual, hinges on a crucial exchange:
(Eph. 4:22-24). READ.
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation [manner of living] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
This putting off or yielding,initiates an essential lifelong process whereby changed people learn to live changed lives; a gradual transformation which causes that which happened on the inside to become evident on the outside “Christ be formed in you…” (Gal.4:19).
Spirituality is the fruit of resistance; the more you choose to resist self-life (flesh) the more spiritual clarity and supply of God’s power you experience. However, it is of utmost importance to realize, in and of ourselves, we do not possess the power necessary to overcome the influence world, flesh, and devil.
Undoubtedly one of the greatest impediments to resisting the flesh and guarding the heart is to rely on our own strength…attempt to go it alone. The surest path to defeat is to forget, or be ignorant of, the fact that “…our sufficiency is of God” (2 Cor. 3:5). “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7) “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and do of His good pleasure.” (Phil.2:13) The power is in you yet not of you. There is a vast difference between a work “for God” and a work “of God.”
As far as living the Christian life successfully and overcoming the flesh the most important thing to realize is that Jesus Christ lives in you in the person of the Holy Spirit “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27) “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his son into your hearts, crying, Abba,Father.” (Gal.4:6) Consider the Apostle Paul’s declaration in Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”
Therein resides the power to resist temptation. Self-determination, in and of itself, is incapable of overcoming the flesh. Self-discipline is, of course, important but it can only carry you so far; it is insufficient in the sense that we cannot will ourselves spiritual…we can only “yield” our will to God’s will “…not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42). Concerning spiritual matters, sheer determination,because it is rooted in the flesh is inadequate. Flesh cannot over come flesh…only the Holy Spirit can do that. “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3)
No matter how hard you try you cannot serve God in the flesh“the flesh profiteth nothing…” (John 6:63). Inconsistency is the enemy of spirituality; in order to consistently guard our hearts and overcome our enemies, we must seek the Lord to supply the spiritual wisdom and necessary grace to live a life pleasing to Him. “Ask and it shall be given you…”(Matt.7:1).
God dwells in the spirit, self-dwells in the soul, and senses dwell in the body.The battle between good and evil is a tug-of-war for the control of man’s soul.