How much is enough?
This daily dying, this constant choosing between desires of flesh and constraints of spirit – how much denial of self is enough?
If you are asking that, you have missed the point entirely! The point is not how close to selfish flesh can I get, but how far away from it I can stay! The point is to be so changed within ourselves that His desires now become our desires. The psalmist sang “I delight to do thy will, O my God” (Ps. 40:8). We wake and die daily (see yesterday’s blog) not just as to the plans of our day, but also as to the desires of our heart. Whom today do I desire to obey?
Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14). So we ask for a fast sports car, a million dollars, a miraculous healing, or to pass a test. But nothing happens. Why? James explains, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3). Even some things we deem very good indeed may not be the best things in the unfolding plan of God.
Daily we must not merely set our alarm clocks, but we must set our hearts… set our minds… set our hope… set them on nothing less than holiness.
“…set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God...” (1 Chron. 22:19)
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God… Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature…” (Col. 3:2-3,5)
“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:13-16).
This is a God-made holiness, not a man-made counterfeit. Our job is to not get in the way, not be stubborn clay, not be plastic fruit, but to allow His Spirit reign in us, to produce in us not the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-20) but the true fruit of His Spirit. (Gal. 5:22-23).