Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Flesh and The Spirit

“So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Rom 7:25 (ASV)

I’m sure by now you must be thinking I’m a saint. I wish! Believe me; sainthood is very far from me. From the time of my salvation right through my baptism of the Hoy Spirit up till this very moment, it has been one hurdle after another. I have sinned so many various sins. Even came up with some new ones I wasn’t into before my salvation. Some are unintentional sins, some willful and deliberate. I have fallen more times than I can count.

Sometimes, I wonder why God doesn’t just pick me up by the scruff of my neck and lock me up in a room to keep me out of His hair. I’m sure I’ve tried His godly patience more than once. You remember the teaching about His grace being more than sufficient? I believe I’ve used up more than my allocated share of that grace and then some.

It’s not as if I don’t want to be good and it’s not as if I have not been given the power to overcome but the call of the flesh is still so tempting sometimes and its usually easier falling than resisting. Not to talk of the ‘temporary bliss’ (but eternal loss) it offers. My carnal mind is being renewed on a daily basis by the Holy Spirit and I’m having a clearer understanding of the Word and cannot plead ignorance. I have revelation knowledge but…………………………..The ‘BUT’ is my flesh!

Because I still acknowledge my flesh, I still have the consciousness of sin and until I can be free of that, I will still subject myself to the law Christ died to put away. It is a vicious cycle that says for as long as I believe I am doing something wrong, I will continue trying to do something right but will fail and do something wrong and will continue believing I’m doing something wrong!

That is the law Paul wrote about in Rom 7:7 – “Howbeit, I had not known sin, except through the law: for I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” And that is the very law Christ came to set us free from “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death” Rom 8:2.

If I believe I can sin, I will sin! But if I know and believe that Christ has taken the Sin Nature away from me and given me a new spirit, then I will know I cannot produce a fruit different from the seed in me and consequently, it is not possible for me to sin then I will truly be free from that sin consciousness and the law and will then discover I am instinctively and unconsciously living a ‘sin-free life’. “Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God” 1 John 3:9

This is one of the greatest mysteries the church has not fully understood. When we know and understand it is impossible for us to sin, then it will be impossible for us to sin and we can become who God says we are – OVERCOMERS! It is only in knowledge we can defeat the flesh and carnal mind. If we know, we won’t have to struggle to overcome ‘sin’. Christ has already done that. Why fight a battle that has been won? Why try to defeat an already conquered enemy?

The only battle left for us is between the flesh and the spirit and that battle is to be fought in our minds. That’s why the bible mentions our mind again and again. “And that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind” Eph 4:23; “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” Rom 12:2; “Wherefore girding up the loins of your mind” 1 Pet 1:13.

We gain nothing by being constantly aware of sin. It is the enemy’s tactic to keep us distracted and focused on something else apart from Christ. It keeps us guilty and fearful of our father. Let us not allow anything to affect our relationship with our heavenly father.

“Hereby shall we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before him: because if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have boldness toward God” 1 John 3:19-21.

I have not reached there yet. I’m still struggling with the awesomeness of it. With the thought that I am actually the same as Christ – sinless and perfect, unable to do anything wrong! My physical sense, my human intelligence is still grappling with it. My spirit knows the truth of it but until my mind accepts it, I cannot live it. But I know I will get there. I will know and accept and become that truth. Soon!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Spirit of Truth

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, [these] shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come”. – John 16:13 (ASV)

There is no Christian who can live a successful life without the Holy Spirit. Until the Holy Spirit steps into the picture, we will remain saved but powerless. That’s why Jesus said in Acts 1:8“But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you”. But it’s even worse than being powerless when we don’t have the Holy Spirit in us. I found that out in the few years after my salvation. I was tossed to and fro on the wings of different doctrines. I labored under great misconceptions because I didn’t know better.

God knew exactly what I needed. I had reached a point where I knew I was searching for something but didn’t know what. I was looking for help to make sense out of it all. To understand. Understand what exactly? I didn’t know. I could not put my finger on what was wrong but I knew there was a great yearning in my heart for more than I had.

God answered that yearning in the form of another wonderful friend. A man who is now my pastor and teacher. He asked me one hot afternoon if I had the Holy Spirit. I said no. he held my hands and asked me if I wanted Him. All I knew about the Spirit was that He is the third part of the Trinity but as long as he’s associated with God and Jesus, that was okay with me so I said yes. My pastor held me and asked God to give me His Spirit. That prayer was answered instantly.

I opened my mouth and strange words started flowing out. I felt a thrill run through me and I felt again the joy in my spirit as when I just got saved. All through that day, I kept sneaking off to be alone and try the new ‘language’ thing. Each time I did that I experienced the same joy. I was so happy.

But God still wasn’t through yet. A few days after, I came across a training school about the Holy Spirit and I felt this instant conviction that I must attend. I did and that day marked a 180 Degree turn in my life. I learnt who the Holy Spirit is, how real He is and how personal He should be to each Christian. I couldn’t wait to find that out myself.

I got home and locked myself in my room. I wanted to talk to the Holy Spirit alone and have him prove His existence to me. I had the whole prayer planned out in my mind. I never got beyond the first two words. I only had time to say “Holy Spirit………..” when this overwhelming rush pushed me to my knees and the most beautifully strange yet seemingly familiar words began to tumble over themselves from deep in my heart, deeper than my heart. They seemed to come from the very core of me.

I was laughing and crying at the same time. The joy in me was beyond anything I had ever felt before. It was as if I could reach out and touch God. As if Jesus was right there beside me (He was actually and has always been and will always be) My spirit connected with the Holy Spirit and I suddenly knew  who He was. He had become real to me.

That day was just the beginning. I have not had that first day experience again but I’ve not needed it since that day. The Holy Spirit had become a part of me. Every day since then I know exactly who He is to me. I talk to Him, I walk with Him, I learn from Him, I hear Him! We have a personal relationship.

The first thing He started with was teaching me the Word. The Truth! Not the hogwash I had been fed but the Truth that sets free. With Him, I learned to stop trying and start trusting; to stop striving and start leaning on grace; to stop thinking with my senses and start seeing with my spirit. I learned faith is simply believing God. He taught me to call God, My Father; Jesus, My Lord and My Brother and the Holy Spirit? My Best Friend, My Confidant, My Teacher, The Spirit of My Father and My Lord. My Dearest Holy Spirit!

Monday, February 9, 2009

700 Things To Do To Attain Righteousness

“By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight” Rom 3:20 (ASV)

The euphoria of salvation did not last long. I soon came back to earth with a loud thump. I had to start living as a Christian or rather as I had been wrongly raised to believe Christians lived. All my life I had been taught to be sinless meant not having one wrong thought, dressing right (no trousers or clinging clothes!), being holy (& holiness was equivalent to being dowdy and passive), read my bible twice daily, pray without ceasing, start each prayer with confession of sin, plead for God’s forgiveness and mercy for my sinful unworthy soul, be humble, give to the poor, help the needy, pay my tithes, fast regularly, obey the 10 commandments. The list was endless!

I was told repeatedly that “narrow is the way to heaven” and that “the kingdom of God suffereth violence”. I had to work hard to get there. If I was found wanting in the smallest thing, I would lose my salvation and be a candidate of hell once again.

How horrible for a young Christian! How was I to attain perfection and be counted righteous by God by doing good deeds? All I heard were fire and brimstone preachings. About how dreadful it is to know God and then backslide over a little sin; the dangers in the world; what not to do; how not to do them; what to do and exactly how to do them; how to know and understand the devices of the enemy etc. My dear friend had travelled far by then and I could not talk to her but I was determined to be a very good Christian by the time she returned so I redoubled my efforts on striving for holiness.

What a hopeless cause! How unnecessary! I was already righteous! Righteousness was already bestowed on me as a free gift when I accepted Jesus as my Lord. – “…………………even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction” (Rom 3:22) and it goes on in Vs 24 – “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. There was no way man could ever attain righteousness – “all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment” (Is 64:6). And if we could attain that impossibility, then Jesus came to waste his time on earth – “for if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nought” (Gal 2:21).

I do not know where such stupid teachings came from but we should all read our bibles and know the truth. Just as it wasn’t our sinful deeds that condemned us – “For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one” (Rom 5:17a) so also it is not our good deeds that makes us worthy before God. Righteousness was freely given to us by God through Jesus – “and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, [even] Jesus Chris” (Rom 5:17c)

“So then as through one trespass [the judgment came] unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness [the free gift came] unto all men to justification of life.” (Rom 5:18) We are saved once and for all. We do not earn our salvation, we received it through faith. Neither do we earn our right standing with God; we also received it through faith! “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom 10:10)

To try to do otherwise or try to earn it by our own doing is wasting time and rejecting God’s gift – “For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Rom 10:3) We have been freely given righteousness by God, we should freely accept it and enjoy it!

I do not mean to preach but this is a problem in the Church that agitates my mind. Young innocent Christians are made to focus on an impossibility instead of learning to love and know God as a loving and caring Father. Attention is diverted from Christ and turned to stupid ‘dos and don’ts’ when Christ has already replaced law with grace.

I wasted a lot of time trying to be good. I was completely robbed of my joy in Christ and feared my Heavenly Father as a stern, unyielding, impossible-to-please, slave-driving, punishment-loving, faraway absentee God. I was only set free when I learned the truth. And I only learnt the truth when I received the great teacher, my companion, my comfort, my friend, my helper, the spirit of truth – The Holy Spirit!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Double-Edged Sword

“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Heb 4:12 (American Standard Version)

I have experienced that double edged sword many times. I have been a beneficiary to the Word at different times and in various ways. My first experience of the awesomeness of the Word was what led to my salvation. I grew up in a Christian home but I wasn’t a Christian. It was just a religion to me.

There was a time some friends and I were arguing about religion and a question was popped at me ‘Why are you a Christian?’ My answer was immediate and honest ‘Because I was born into a Christian home’. That was all being a Christian meant to me. It was just something that was as a result of my birth. Same as I’m black coz I have black parents. If I had been born into a Muslim home, I would have been a Muslim or Hindu home, Hindu religion.

But it all changed a few years later. I met this wonderful woman. A Christian and a teacher of the Word. It was a chance meeting that changed my life. She had come into a town for a program in the campus and I was on campus visiting a friend. It was raining cats and dogs, yet at 5pm, students started trooping out in hundreds. Right under the pouring rain! I was amazed. I wondered who could actually get students out in the rain for a Christian program!!! This piqued my curiosity. I just had to see who it was.

So I dressed up and joined the multitude in the rain. I did not hear a single word of the sermon. All I could do was stare at this beautiful charming woman, radiating so much joy and confidence and I was enchanted. After the service, I went up to her. There were lots of people around waiting to see her and she was graciously attending to all. Normally, I’m not a patient person but that day I waited.

She got to me and I told her ‘You are amazing!’ She threw back her head and laughed and said thank you. Then for a reason, she took my hand and pulled me after her. We started talking about books and discovered we both loved reading. She asked if I had read the bible. I said no and mentally braced myself for the blablabla. She surprised me. She looked stunned and asked “how can you love books and not have read the bible?” she waved her hand dismissively and added, “forget about the bible being the Word of God and just read it as you would a normal novel. It has so many stories inside”

She went on to tell me some of the stories, funny ones I didn’t know were there. Like the story of Shibboleth and Sibboleth. Not once did she ask if I was saved or not. She gave me a Today’s English Version and I got home later that day and started reading the bible. She was right. It had so much history and culture and stories. All the things I loved. So I read and read and finished the whole bible from Genesis to Revelations within three weeks. I deliberately kept my mind off any God idea and read it like she suggested – A Novel!

But the Word is ever living and ever active. God’s word can never fail. I called her when I was through and we had great times laughing and discussing the stories. About five months later, the same religion argument came up again with the same friends and the same question was directed at me. I opened my mouth to respond as before but what came out instead shocked me. “Because I believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the son of God and the only way to God. He came to live and die to give me life”

To say I was shocked is an understatement. My friends stared at me like I had grown two heads and I could only stare mutely back. The discussion soon petered out but I could not get my mind off what I said. I walked home in a daze and locked myself in my room. I sat down on the bed and thought of my words. I thought back on all I had read in the bible. Words that I had tried to ignore but could not silence.

I was sitting alone in that room all through the night. Thinking! As dawn neared, I realized I did believe it! It was all true! Jesus is the Son of God! He did come in human form! He lived! He died! He rose! He lives! The logos had become rhema to me.

I opened my mouth to pray but the only thing that could come out was “Jesus” and then I burst into tears. I didn’t know why and I still don’t. But I cried deep heaving tears that morning. For more than two hours. When I could finally talk, I was just repeating over and over again ‘Jesus, I believe! Jesus, I believe!’

Later that day, I called that dear preacher woman and as I heard her voice, I started crying again. She knew without being told that my life had changed. And she said “Welcome to the Family!” I started laughing and she joined me. We laughed for no reason but the joy bubbling in our hearts. It was beautiful.

That double-edged sword had crept into my body and cut through bone and marrow to divide my soul from my spirit and restore life to me. I didn’t know when it happened but I felt its impact. A new life had begun in me. I had left religion far behind in the river Jordan and emerged from its banks, a new creation. I had found the life of Christ, the abundant life He died to give.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Sometimes i feel i live the most exciting life in the world. I have such a great time walking with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that i have to share it with the world. It has truly been 'a walk in grace' and it keeps getting better. I'm growing from grace to grace!

This blog is about my christian walk. Its about the things I have seen and learnt in God and how every step of the journey has been so far. It is to honour the Saviour who came to save me; the Father who loves me and the Holy Spirit who has made my life beautiful.

Being a christian is a deep and wonderful thing. It is life and truth and power and glory. I've had my ups and downs but the thing with God is that even when you are down, you are actually up! That can only make sense to you if you are a christian.

People who think christianity is a religion have missed it big time! Christianity has not and will never be a religion. It is Life! An Abundant Life. It is THE LIFE!

Join me as i take you through my faith, through my life in Christ. I pray "the words of my testimony" will touch your lives and make you want to 'taste and see' that my God is good!