Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Flesh Dog is Dead

Recently I was asked to recall all the areas of God's faithfulness to me. Like you, I'm sure, many things came to mind. I felt it necessary to blog about one thing in particular, this is mostly for my benefit but I hope it helps someone else recall His faithfulness too.

About 7 years ago (really 7 years?!!) I attended Domata School of Missions in Tulsa at Mark Brazee's World Outreach Church. During one lesson the speaker was talking a bit about his wife and her testimony. He said as a young adult she believed what she was told, that she had a "spirit dog" and a "flesh dog" and that whichever dog she fed the most, ie: reading the Bible/watching TV, going to church/going to a wordly party, would win when it came time for them to battle. Consequently, she lived a life always trying to "feed" her spirit dog but invetibly when she would fail she would feel worthless, condemned and unloved. No matter how hard she tried she would always end up doing the wrong things until finally she quit trying.

Then the speaker read from Romans 8:
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 

And Galatians 2:
20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 

I don't know what happened to me in that moment but it was like I was brought to life. I'm sure most of you have heard the "spirit dog, flesh dog" story. I know there is a measure of truth to it. But when you live your life like I did, weighing every action, hoping your good deeds are enough that when you come to a cross roads the "spirit dog" in you will win out, it's all about works and worthiness and condemnation. I was set free as I listened to the speaker tell about his wife.

She learned that there is no great battle within herself. The flesh is dead. The Spirit is a live. We were crucified with Him, dead, buried, and we rose with Him and are now seated with Him. We didn't deserve it. Nothing we could ever do could make us worthy of what He's given us. Through Christ we were made righteous and because of that we are worthy. I'm worthy of this Spiritfilled life. I don't have to live in condemnation every time I fail. I'm washed in forgiveness.

When I think of the transformation that happened in me that day. It reminds me that I have a faithful God. 1 Corinthians 15:3 says that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He laid out His plan in the Scriptures long before Jesus was ever born. It happened just like He said it would because He is faithful.

A few years ago (less then 7) I was at a women's retreat and in a small group one of the ladies spoke up. She shared that she had just learned that her salvation and relationship with the Lord had nothing to do with her worthiness. She had the same look on her face that I know I did when I discovered this truth. She said "He just loves me. I don't have to do anything. Out of that love I am moved to learn more about Him, to read His word and do those 'right' things."

There is no battle. If you've accepted Christ as your Lord and His Spirit is in you, you are a live in Him. That flesh dog is dead. The life which we now live in the flesh we live by faith in the Son of God, who in love, not our good works, gave Himself up for us.

Oh He is faithful.