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The Four C=s for Overcoming Weaknesses

Ephesians 5:17-18 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled [controlled] with the Spirit. (NIV)

 

Galatians 5:16-18 16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. (NIV)

Of all the commands in the Bible, these two passages most explicitly direct us to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.  Every Christian would be wise to concentrate on implementing these commands in his everyday life, for in so doing he will automatically overcome his weaknesses.

But how do you do it?


Confess

 

The confession of sin is always the proper starting place whenever a person desires a closer walk with God.  The psalmist has said,

 

Psalm 66:18 18  If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened [when I pray]; (NIV)

If you cling to sin in your life, you will be conscious or it, for the Holy Spirit always convicts his children of heir transgressions

John 16:8 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: (NIV)

He will not be nebulous either, but will point out the specific sin with which he is displeased - for example, hate, jealousy, covetousness, fear, lust, selfishness, or disobedience (See Gal. 5:19-21).

The clearest verse in the Bible on forgiveness is 1 John 1:9

1 John 1:9 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)

This verse assures us of immediate cleansing and forgiveness, but the word confess is often mistaken to mean just admitting with our mouth that an evil habit is sin.  That is not true.  Confess literally means to agree with God that something is sin.  In other words, we are in accord with a holy, righteous God that a particular practice or habit is an ugly sin and should have no place in our lives. Such confession does not include the carnal practice of divulging to God a sin that we have no intention of discontinuing.

The whole purpose of confession is to acknowledge that what he has convicted us of is contrary to his will for our lives and should be eliminated, just as the Lord told the woman caught in adultery, AGo and sin no more!@  That kind of confession is always greeted with forgiveness and cleansing.

You can be forgiven of a sin if you commit it again, of course, for God knows your frailties and weaknesses.  At the moment of confession, however, your attitude of heart is to acknowledge both the sin=s repugnance and your intent to expunge it from your life with God=s help.  After all, he knows the power of habit in your life and recognizes that a significant change will take time.  But if your intent is to not eliminate it, you will never walk in the Spirit.


Communicate

 

Christians need to converse with God and hear his voice regularly.  We need to hear from God through his Word and he wants you to talk to him in prayer.  There is no way a Christian can Awalk in the control of the Spirit@ until he develops that two-way communication with God.

 

Of the two methods of communication, the more important involves daily reading of the Word of God.  Some Aprayer warriors@ will challenge me but I feel that it is more important for us to hear from God than for God to hear from us.  Certainly we are not going to tell him anything he doesn=t know, but reading his Word regularly wil lflood the searchlight of his truth upon the pathway of lafe along which we walk.

1 Peter 2:2 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, (NIV)

That kind of spiritual growth will help you ovecome your weaknesses and walk in the Spirit.

The othe half of communication necessary to walk in the Spirit is prayer.  No facet of your life can be exempt from prayer.  Paul instructed us to Apray without ceasing@(1 Thess. 5:17).  That is communicate with God as you move through every experience of life.  This is an excellent habit to develop, for it makes you sensitive to his leading.  As we walk in  the Spirit, we remain in constant touch with our heavenly Father, apprising him of both big and small decisions.  Pray about direction for the moment, hour, day, week, month, and the future.

Too many Christians stagger from crisis to crisis, most of which could have been avoided by steadfast reading of God=s Word and by prayer.  That two-way communication is essential to walking in the Spirit.


Commit

 

A 100% commitment to the Holy Spirit is extremely difficult for most Christians, particulary strong-willed and analytical types.  A 90-97 percent commitment is probably the primary reason many sincere Christians do not walk in the Spirit.  They fail to understand that God required 100 percent commitment to him.  This shouldn=t come as such a surprise, for he commands total surender frequently throughout the Scruptures.  In Colossians 2:6 he says:

 

Colossians 2:6      6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, (NIV)

How did you receive Christ?  Was it your works plus his grace that saved you?  Absolutely not!  It was a total commitment of your sin and worthlessness to the Christ of the cross that redeemed you - not faith in Christ and Buddha or Christ and your education, but total faith in Christ alone.  The same is true of walking by faith through life.  Anything short of that 100 percent commitment is unbelief, a sin that quenches the work of the Holy Spirit.

Two verses spell out total commitment or surrender:

Romans 6:13 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. (NIV)

Romans 12:1 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship. (NIV)

 

There is something we should understand.  God wants your body!  He created you.  He saved you through the gift of his Son, and he wants you to surrender the control of your life to him. That means your talents, education, ambition, vocation, children, relationship to your partner, church, hobbies, even your sin and weaknesses.  A 97 percent commitment for the Christian leaves ample margin for error to make us a casualty.  A 97 percent commitment to God continues to destroy the effectiveness of most Christians= lives today.


 

No pet habit, sin, desire, or rebellion can be worth a second-rate life of powerlessness.  Sure you will go to heaven when you die, but a non-Spirit-controlled life is a far cry from the abundant life of fulfillment that Jesus Christ promises his children in John 10:10, and it is no formula for overcoming your weaknesses.

 

John 10:10 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (NIV)

Many Christian fear that if they surrender 100 percent of themselves to Christ, he will make them do something they don=t want to do.  I=ve known some that even expected him to take every ounce of joy from them.  That is nonsense!  Such fear stems from an inadequate view of God and his love for us.  You should get one thing very clear right now: God is for you, not against you.  Romans 8:31-32, which makes that crystal clear, inquires,

Romans 8:31-32 31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all -- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (NIV)

Example: If your son greeted you at the door, threw his arms around you, and said, ADaddy, I love you and I=ll do anything you want me to.@  Would you respond, AGreat Now I=ve got you where I want you.  I=ll sell your toys and shove you off to to grandma for the next week?@  Of course not.  You would be so moved by his love that you would heap blessings upon him.  God responds to us just this way but on a divine level.  I have never seen God take anything away from an individual if it was not for his good.  And when he does take somehthing, he always replaces it with something better.

Have you ever formally committed 100 percent of your life to Christ?`

Romans 12:1 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship. (NIV)

  On the basis of Rom. 12:1, picture yourself lying on that altar fully committed to God.  Place upon that altar the biggest thing in your life that seperates you from God.  Perhaps it is your hobby; golfing, swimming, running, antiques, travel.  Maybe it is possessions like a boat, cars, stocks, cigarettes, alcohol - you name it, for things come in all shapes and sizes.   Of one thing I am certain, every Christian shoud fully commit himself and all that he is or has to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Only then will he be filled with or controlled by the Holy Spirit.


God guarantees that the best bargain you will ever make in life is to give yourself 100 percent to him.  Surprisingly, many Christians don=t live as though they believe that.  It seems they thin they have to help God by holding back something for their own use.

Our Lord said in Matt. 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NIV)

God always does Aexceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.@


Comply

 

Once a Christian commits to the leading of the Holy Spirit he must follow the directions he recieves, for otherwise he is no longer Acommitted@ to them and will go out of control.  To maintain our commitment to God, we must obey what the Holy Spirit tells us, starting with the Bible.  If a committed Christian obeys the Scripture, he will submit to the Spirit and not the the shackles of self-will.  What-ever the Bible says, he will do it by faith.

 

When the Bible says;

 

Matthew 28:18-20 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (NIV)

what are you going to do with this verse?

When you find such instructions in the Bible, your attitude should always be AI am going to comply with whatever God says to do.@  No one can violate God=s principles and enjoy the benefits of the Spirit-controlled life.

There is a new awakening in Christians today that is a new desire to serve him and to walk in the Spirit.  Many are excited about Abeing led by the Spirit,@ Aannointed by the Spirit,@ or Aguided by the Spirit.@  And it is true; God the Holy Spirit will chart our course, but be certain of one important predept: he will never lead us to violate the Bible=s teachings!  Otherwise he would be the Aauthor of confusion,@ which is contrary to his nature and judged as impossible in the Scriptures.

2 Peter 1:21- 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (NIV)


The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible - through prohets and holy men of old so his leading today will always be in agreement with the Scriptures.  That is another reason you should be careful to rread the Word of God daily; otherwise you will have nothing to test that voice within you.  Whenever the voice directs you to satisfy a principle that is in agreement with the Word of God, comply with it.  But if it contradicts the Scripture, reject it.  Clearly the inner guidance that people receive today is not exclusively of the Holy Spirit.  Make sure your is.

Colossians 3:15 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (NIV)


The Proof is in the Pudding

You may be asking A How can I tell when I=m controlled by or filled with the Spirit?@  The answer is simple - examine your actions.  Jesus said,

Matthew 7:20 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (NIV)

In other words, what you od reveals what you are.  That is certainly clear from those two great passages in the Scriptures that command us to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18) and walk in the control of the Spirit instead of the flesh (Gal. 5:16).  The deeds of the Spirit and of the flesh are distinctly rendered in these passages.  Be sure of this: Your spiritual nature will never lead you to sin.  Your flesh nature is fully capable of sparking any numbe of the eighteen works of th flesh, plus many more.

When you are not controlled by the Spirit, resort to the Four C=s for Overcoming Weaknesses.

1.       Confess the action as a sin.

2.       Communicate to God that it is a sin.

3.       Commit yourself again to God.

4.       Comply by bringing your thoughts, feelings, and actions into conformity to his Word and will.

At times you will have to navigate through the fog of life with only the Word of God and the indwelling Spirit of God to guide you.  Friend, that is enough.  When you cannot see the next day or the next dollar, trust God, his Word, and the Holy Spirit.  He never fails, and is always best.

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