“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” (1 Peter 2:21)
Let’s Pray “Daddy, please continue to steady our hearts and minds. We are going even deeper into what it means to carry our cross. Help us to remember our life is a gift from You. Help us to understand that the best way to be grateful for our life, is to give it back to You. Your Holy Word tells us that whatever we give You; You will give back to us a hundred times over. Allow us to invest into Your kingdom. Then we can receive an endless return of Your Blessings.” In Jesus’ precious and holy name, we pray. Amen!
In the last chapter, we covered how baptism is death to self for the believer. We die to the sin from which that the Blood of Jesus washes us. We now no longer live to please the flesh. This way we can live forever with Jesus. We will now continue to go even deeper into this study, as we “carry our cross.” Let us read, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mat 6:24) This point applies to everything in life. We cannot serve the Spirit of God and our flesh at the same time. “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Php 3:3) The Flesh is the enemy as it holds the sin nature. If we live our lives in the rebellious desires of the flesh, we become offensive to a Holy God. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom 8:6-11)
Jesus has given us this guideline to overcome the flesh. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mat 26:41) Our flesh is weak pertaining to the things of God. Sin has tainted the flesh. The Spirit is strong for it is God’s spirit within us. The Holy Spirit lives within, so that we can live, as He requires us to. We have to make a choice everyday to choose the Spirit over the Flesh. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal 6:7-9) We must choose to die to ourselves every day. We must choose life through the spirit every day. If we do not do this, how can we then rise to the occasion? What training will we have participated in to help us do the right thing? It would be foolish for someone who never learned how to swim, to dive head first into a pool. We must train in the ways of the Spirit. “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” (2Pe 1:10) Be encouraged family. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Gal 5:16) This is our key, walking by the Spirit. Jesus tells us; “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (Joh 6:63) We can believe and follow the words of our Lord. When we obey and abide, we will naturally do those things He desires for us. It not a matter of human effort, it is the effort of the Spirit within us. All that we must do is to be willingly guided by the Spirit, and it will happen naturally. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom 8:1) We have this blessed hope; “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Php 1:6)
The Flesh longs to live at all cost. History is full of horrific acts of self-preservation. This kind of self-preservation is the idol of self. When we place our own well being above all precepts, above all others, and above all morality, we sin. This is the temple of ego and self. Many have used the excuse of self-preservation as a license to destroy humanity. It is sinful and demonic to act in this manner. It does not please the God of the universe. This, I believe, is one of Satan’s strongest techniques to destroy our faith. This carcass of sin will fight you at every step to survive. It wars against the Spirit within us. Let us read, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1Jn 2:16) I take the “lust of the flesh” to mean all the provisions the earth can provide. I take the “lust of the eyes” to be all we can look upon and esteem to be and have. Lastly, I take the “pride of life” as the desire to live to continue to consume the lust of the flesh and eyes. The “pride of life” is the enemy of those who want to “Carry their Cross.” Let us read, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Act 20:24) Forsaking the “Pride of Life” should be our daily goal. Self preservation is the enemy of the gospel.
Jesus went to the desert to have His spirit dominate His flesh: Spiritually resisting the temptations of the sin nature that rages in the body of all humanity, though he has always remained sinless. He did this by fasting for 40 days and nights. His flesh desired to live and yearned for sustenance to do so. In doing so, He told His flesh that He was going to live by the Spirit, not the flesh. Shortly after this, Satan came and tempted Him again with life. He presented three temptations. I believe these follow exactly what we just read. They are pride of life, lust of the flesh, and lust of the eyes. Let us review the first temptation: Lust of the flesh. “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” (Mat 4:2-3) Satan wanted Jesus to deny the spirit within and give into His flesh. He attacked Him in an area of physical need. His flesh needed food. His spirit was stronger than His flesh, so He said; “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Mat 4:4) Jesus was victorious so Satan moved on to the next temptation. Temptation number two: Pride of life. I can see it now. Satan thinking to himself, “Oh yea, you don’t need food. You trust God to live forever, well then, prove it.” “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Mat 4:5-6) Satan wanted Jesus to sin by testing God. Too bad Satan, Jesus was victorious, “Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Mat 4:7) Coming to the end of the temptations, Satan tries a little “Razzle Dazzle.” Temptation number three: Lust of the eyes. “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Mat 4:8-9) Again, Satan failed. “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Mat 4:10)
Every time Jesus defeated the desires of the flesh with the Words of God, He quoted the Bible! Side note: every time the scriptures are mentioned in the New Testament. They were talking about the “Older” Testament. There was no New Testament at the time. What we call the New Testament is mainly just letters between the believers. So when it says they, “… and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Act 17:11b) They are reading the exact scripture Jesus used to defeat Satan. The entire Bible is God’s Word. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2Ti 3:16-17) Is it any wonder Satan wanted to undermine the Bible by dissecting it and separating it into good and bad groups? Trying to split the Testaments into so called Hebrew and Gentile Scriptures. Implying only some of it is God and some is not. These scriptures are what guide us to live by the Spirit. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” (Rom 8:5) This is how we are to live; “And Jesus answered him, saying, it is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” (Luk 4:4) Again we read, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17) Without the words in scripture being stored up in our heart and minds, we are weak and an easy target for the enemy. Family, each of the Testaments has been given for our benefit. YHWH and Jesus our Christ own them all. They do not belong to any other than the Family of God.
Please understand that all Satan has to offer you are things in this world, nothing else. His hands are filthy and empty. Look at how he tempted Jesus. How pathetic was this? Jesus is the Holy one of God, the expressed image of the Father. Satan walks up and is like, “Hey; yea you know that stuff you created, yea I will give it to you. Just roll around on the earth you made, and you know worship me. Wait, wait, wait, yes I know. Yep it is already yours, but hey, it is all I have to offer! Umm, that sounded bad. Never mind I have to go.” How absurd is it to offer to the creator of the universe a couple of cities, bread, and a bungee jump off a building? How insulting! Now realize every good and pure thing you have is because Jesus has given to you. Satan might try to offer you again what your Lord already owns. Satan’s offer would be this: “Deny Jesus and I will let you live, and you can have what you already have.” If we realize we already have it because of the great love of our Daddy and Lord, then this offer is insulting! Who thinks that denying the One who gave us everything, to keep what He has already given us, is a good idea? I surely do not. We must follow the example of Jesus to retain all that we have. Be it our family, our house, cars, money, food, anything at all. Let us read, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Php 2:8) Now we will read what the Bible says about those who do not take Satan’s ridiculous offer. “And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb [Jesus], and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev 12:11) Satan has nothing to offer a true believer in Jesus. We have already received every heavenly blessing through Jesus. We already own the entire universe. In our faithfulness, we also reserve for ourselves immortality. Sorry Satan offer denied!
I know I took more of a lighthearted approach to talk about a very serious topic. I really wanted to expose the absurdity of Satan’s offer. Now we will read exactly how God feels about those who become martyrs for their love of God and Jesus. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psa 116:15) Again, we read, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Mat 10:28-32) Be encouraged family, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the daylong; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:35-39)
Let’s Pray “Daddy, I know we have all things pertaining to life and happiness in Jesus Christ. He is our inheritance paid in full. In our Lord and Savior, the completion of promise is revealed. Satan has nothing to offer us. We have a sure word and hope through Your love. Let us never be deceived to forfeit all that You have given us. Satan offers us the world that will soon be destroyed. You offer Yourself and the entire universe, even heaven itself. Jesus offers to share with us everything You have given His highly exalted Name. This is on top of dyeing for us. I ask that we never forget these great examples of love. I praise Your righteous Holy name, and the righteous Holy name of Your Son. Thank You, thank You, thank You!” In Jesus’ precious and holy name we pray, Amen!
~We Shall Be Like Him – 1 John 3:2~