Spirit or Flesh? You Decide - Saturday, April 15th 2017
But God said to Abraham, "Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.
In Genesis 21 we see Isaac, who was likely a small toddler, was being thrown a great feast for being weaned from Sarah. What started as a celebration ended up becoming sour as Sarah asked Abraham to cast out Ishmael and Hagar because of Ishmael's scoffing at the feast. Ishmael was the son born when Sarah, who was barren, offered her bondwoman Hagar to her husband Abraham to try to fulfill God's promise of a son in their own efforts.
Oh what a painful moment it is friend, when that thing that we value, that relationship we held on to, that we deemed precious to us is discovered to be a product of our own will and flesh. Our new birth in Christ through the Spirit is like that moment when Isaac was being celebrated. The flesh, represented by Ishmael, despised and scoffed at this child of the promise, Issac. In the same way our sinful nature tends to rebel when the Spirit is being celebrated. We need to not be displeased with what God is doing but rather hear the call of the promise of freedom and dismiss the bondage of the flesh.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman." 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.
It seems like a harsh contrast but it is very relevant for us who seek to live according to the Spirit. For us to dismiss those tendencies that were our normal or natural response according to our flesh can be an uncomfortable experience. Our rationalization, reasoning, and keeping and providing for our flesh will always fight against the Spirit at work in our lives. It's only when we respond as we hear the Lord say for us to dismiss, that habit, that person or that mindset can we begin to experience God's freedom in the Spirit.
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Life Lesson: As children of God you are indeed children of promise, put away your fleshly desires to adhere to the law, and choose to live in the freedom of life found in God.
Lord, please forgive me when I allow the flesh to rule in my life. Please let me continue to dismiss my fleshly tendencies to do things in my own reasoning and wisdom. Please continually empower me to walk in the Spirit and enable me to be empowered by the Spirit to pursue and walk in Your precious promises all my days. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Living to tell what He died to say,
Pastor David McGee
Cross the Bridge
Scripture quotations marked 'NKJV™' are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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