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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Battle Within

In every believer’s life there is a battle going on: the battle of the carnal nature (our nature that is opposed to God) verses our new nature that is being renewed in the image of Christ (the nature that pleases God).  These two natures within us are in complete opposition to each other and will always be in opposition. 

The Bible says in Romans 8:6-8  The mind controlled by the sinful nature (carnal nature) is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit (our renewed nature in Christ) is life and peace.  The sinful mind is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 

As a follower of Christ, our highest priority should be to know Christ (His character) and to grow to be more like Him...to live a life that pleases Him.  A person that pleases God is someone who obeys God and pursues Him faithfully.  Most of us from the moment we are born are consumed with pleasing ourselves and not God.  This was the case with me for many years.  I remember several years ago in college there was a season that God was refining me.  He took me through a very difficult questioning time which eventually revealed to me just how self-centered I was.  One day during this difficult time I was thinking to myself:  I need to do this…I am sick of that…and I don’t want to do this. Just then the Holy Spirit made me aware that I was consumed with pleasing my carnal nature.  I was dissatisfied with life, but I didn’t know what was wrong.  Remember, living according to the carnal nature brings death, frustration, and sense of dissatisfaction.  Here is an illustration that will help explain my dilemma.     

There once was a man who had a field and one day he decided to use his field to produce a crop.  As he began to survey the land he noticed that the field was covered in weeds.  The weeds were so prevalent that nothing good could grow in it.  The man decided to start pulling the weeds, but the more he pulled them the more they came up.  He was frustrated and tired of working so hard with little results.  Then one day his father called him up to talk.  During the course of their conversation the son asked, “What must I do to keep the weeds from coming up in my field?”  The father told him, “You need to get some weed killer and fertilizer and spread it out on the field.”  The son took his fathers advice, and over a period of time the weeds started to die and eventually the field was ready to plant good seed.  The man continued to fertilize and apply weed killer and preventative and eventually the weeds were eliminated completely.  To the man’s amazement, a great harvest was reaped. 

In a sense, our lives are just like the man trying to get a great harvest with little or no results.  I had a desire to live a rewarding life, but the more I lived the more frustrated I became with no positive outcome.  I produced little godly fruit because I was being controlled by my sinful nature.  I was continually sowing seeds that were reaping a harvest of WEEDS.  It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit made me aware that I was selfish that real change began to take place in my life.  The father in the parable represents the Holy Spirit who offers wise council to our lives.  He showed me where I need to come up higher and with His help, I began to change. 

The bible says in Romans 12:2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will.

Again the bible says in I Timothy 4:7b-8   …; rather, train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 

We must learn to train our minds to think on things that are pleasing to God and take captive every thought that is in opposition to Him.  The man who owned the field listened to his father’s advice and went out and bought some fertilizer and weed killer and began applying it to his field.  The weeds began to die, and in time, the man planted good seed that produced a rewarding harvest.  In the same way, God brought it to my attention that there were weeds in the field of my life that needed dealt with.  As I disciplined my mind to think on being other’s centered, in a sense, I was putting weed killer on my carnal nature…I was choking it out of my life. 
You too can be changed by God.  It will take discipline on your part to think on right thoughts, but with God’s help you can overcome.  Remember, thinking on wrong things is like planting weeds in a field.  Nothing good can come up because the weeds choke out the good vegetation.  But as you think on what is pleasing to God, little by little you are putting weed killer on the weeds in your life.  Then over time a good harvest can grow.  To find out what is pleasing to God you must be willing to spend time with God by reading the Bible and praying.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you.  He will begin to teach you the truths about who Christ is and how you can become more like Him.  Maybe you feel like you have made too many mistakes for God to love and accept you, or maybe you feel like nothing good will come your way.  Those negative thoughts are sowing bad seed into your life.  Begin to agree with God that He has a good plan for your life, that you are highly esteemed by God, and that you are forgiven for your past mistakes.  The battle within you is over your carnal thinking and the Truth of who God is and what He says about you.  You can fulfill your God given Destiny.  Be determined not to quite if and when you don’t see results right away…over time the results will come and you will be amazed at what God has done in and through you!

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