Job 2:4-5

Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year! Don't Be Deceived

"Although your goal is to love God purely for Himself, and for His sake alone, you have to realize that in this life it is almost impossible to love God with total unselfishness. God has to do that miraculous work in you, and it takes a long time."

So with the New Year comes the usual resolutions and positive thinking. This is the year you're gonna change, right?

Common teaching from the pulpit will concern topics such as being more devoted and living wholly for the Lord in 2011. Thinking that one day you will turn your life around and everything will be different is a common thought process. Now it is possible to turn your life around, to make a resolution and follow through with it. People do it everyday. The concern in the Christian life is what causes the change.

It is possible to do good works from your own will and strength (outside the will of the Holy Spirit). Even unbelievers accomplish good works in this sense. The difference between an earthly good work and an eternal good work is not that one merely has a Christian label on it. So how do you know when you working from your own will and strength and that of the Holy Spirit?


  1. i believe that as followers we can tell when the spirit pushes us to do something. it all comes down to being an issue of the heart. he searches us and knows if we are doing a good deed to feel good about ourselves or if we are listening to the prommpting inside of us that comes from the holy spirit. plus maybe it is harder to finish something (a good deed for someone, etc.) when we are trying to do it on our own??

  2. I think you bring up a good point. To add to what you said, it's true God always knows when we are walking in the Spirit and when we are walking in the flesh. And there may be times when a believer is unaware of the works the Spirit is accomplishing through them. And there may also be times when a believer tries to force God's hand and accomplish works through his flesh.

    This is why we don't want to rely on the way we feel when it comes to doing God's work. Remember our heart is deceitfully wicked. Your feelings will deceive you, they will also cause you to rely on your flesh. Think about Abraham when he offered up Issac. Was he relying on his feelings or what his mind knew about God and God being faithful?

    In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul tells us what the fruit of the Spirit looks like: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    These fruits can only come from the Spirit. The problem is that our flesh is good at imitating these fruits and creating a false morality. Have you ever met a kind person that wasn't a Christian? But there is a difference! The flesh relies on itself and the things of this world. In contrast when the Spirit works, there is a surrendering and reliance upon God and God alone.

    Now an important side note, in verse 13 of that same chapter in Galatians. Pauls says, "Do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh." One thing to take from this passage is that the Spirit does not give us gifts, like His fruit, so that we may be more comfortable or likeable in this world, but rather the purpose of any gift He gives us is to use it to proclaim God's glory.

    So we want to make sure that our goal is not to make man more comfortable here on this earth, but to make God's name known.

    Anyway the main point I originally wanted to make was that I think we need to make sure we examine ourselves before we go out doing work in the name of Jesus. I think sometimes new and young Christians may have zeal that surpasses their maturity and understanding. They may be more prone to depend on the strength of their flesh rather then depending on the Spirit. They may take on spiritual tasks that are beyond their maturity, which may lead to more harm than good. (See 1 Timothy 3)