Friday, September 1, 2017

Normal Behavior

Have you noticed that normal behavior for the natural man is to fulfill the desires of the flesh.  The base human nature, seemingly right from birth, wants whatever our fleshly body needs to feel good.

We are completely fallen creatures, and without a spiritual rebirth you will be controlled by the appetites of the unregenerate soul and flesh of your natural man. 

That spiritual rebirth used to be called being Born Again … hopefully in most churches it still is.  If you are normal (whatever that is) then you know that this planet and all life on earth didn’t just happen … everything that is … was created by God.  Including you.

The problem with the natural man without this spiritual rebirth is something called "Sin" … resulting from our base normal behavior.  Like … "If it feels good do it."  

Have you heard of the "Jesus Story?"  That’s where after creating man and knowing how he would live by following after only the sinful desires of the flesh instead of obeying God’s rules for life, like the Ten Commandments for example … and being the loving God that He is, sent Jesus to bring that spiritual rebirth called being Born Again. 

When God created man, He gave him a body of flesh and placed within that body a living spirit.  The joining of the flesh and spirit together as one, produces what is called … our soul.

There is a misconception that the soul is just another name for your human spirit … the part of you that lives forever.  It's not the same thing.

We are a spirit and we live in a body made of flesh.  Some say the soul is your mind and thoughts … which is partly right.  I like to think of the soul as a compartment, or a battleground inside where the flesh and the human spirit fight over which one gets its way, including the control over your actions.

I’ll get back to the Jesus story in a moment, but first … here is the on going problem as I see it.

From my observations of life in general, as well as what I have experienced in my own life … the soul is tied more closely to the flesh … which includes the mind and the reasoning process than it is to the spirit of man.  It's in the soul where your thoughts, desires and appetites of the flesh, if allowed will grow and develop in strength to the point where they can win the battle and defeat what your spirit, heart and will wants to do.  And so your body yields to sin.

Your free will … that’s another part of our make-up that God has given us.  Let me just say quickly here, your will is free to make choices of the heart as to follow after things of the spirit or the natural man and the desires of the flesh.     

Now back to what Jesus does for us.

That spiritual rebirth I spoke about, is allowing Jesus into your life.  Really it’s allowing His Holy Spirit to contact your human spirit and start the new birth process.

Being born again is really an awakening of your human spirit within your being that was controlled by the appetites of the unregenerate soul and flesh of your natural man.  This body of flesh is never born again.  It is only trained to live a new lifestyle by your newly awakened human spirit.  The new birth is a spiritual rebirth so to speak, an awakening to spiritual things that only affects the heart of your will not your flesh.

Normal behavior for the natural man is to fulfill the desires of the flesh; but after being born again and making Jesus the Lord of your life, the Holy Spirit strengthens your will to follow after God's ways and you learn to start saying no to the sinful desires of the flesh … with the Lord's help.

I want to touch on one more point … concerning our new found Christian walk following Jesus.  

Right in the middle of Hebrews 12:1, the writer says, "... let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us ..."

The first thing we are instructed to do is to ... "lay aside every weight" ... which means any burden you carry or anything that becomes a hindrance to you.  Whatever it may be, we are exhorted to lay it aside.  

Next it says to also lay aside ... "the sin which doth so easily beset us."  

Notice it doesn't say, if you have sin.  The author of Hebrews is being honest with you.  Be honest with yourself.  We sin.  And some sins, beset us easier than others.

There is something born naturally in our flesh, some natural tendency or propensity, a disposition to behave in a certain way, a strong inherent inclination to yield to whatever personal temptation you were born with. 

By ... "the sin which doth so easily beset us" ... we need to understand that sin to be, the one to which we are most prone, or to which we are most exposed, from habit or circumstances.  And it may be more than one. 

So, we know there are two things to be cast off ... every weight or burden that would occupy our heart causing us to take our eyes off Jesus.  

And then there's the sin problem.  

Every man has one or more weak points in his character where he is exposed to sin.  Each one of us have certain problems, things, or should I just say it ... sins ... that we struggle with.  Repented of and prayed over … yes ... and yet there they still are. 

Nicholas Herman, the seventeenth century Carmelite monk from French Lorraine said 400 years ago … "We should seek to learn the sins that do most easily beset us and the times and occasions, when we do most often fall."

Know who you are and what you are.  A sinner saved by grace.

So do as Solomon said in Proverbs 4:23 …

"Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life."  (Amplified Bible)