Thursday, January 2, 2020

To Be Master of Sin

From the beginning of the fall of man, we have been tasked with being master over sin. God said to Cain, "If you do well, will you not be accepted? If you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. It's desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it." Gen. 4:7 In other words, if we do well, and listen to and follow what we know is good (living into our true created selves)-- we will be right with God. But if we allow sin or evil to linger in our thoughts and actions it will rule over us. God's advice is to rule over or be master over sin. How many times have I allowed sin to master me? Food used to be master over me in the form of gluttony. The Holy Spirit power has helped me overcome that. Now I find myself being mastered by pride and vanity. This too, I will pray and attempt to give over to the Lord Jesus and have mastery over this sin. When we allow sin to master us and act in us, we follow Cain and this is what God said to Cain, "Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened it's mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you it's strength. You shall be a fugitive and wander on the earth." Cain's reply, ". . . You have driven me from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden." Are the two connected? Cain could have the voice of sin in him and be in relationship with God, be in community with God. God is so merciful this way, even after the Fall, God was showing His face to His people, but as soon as man allowed sin to dwell in him, when Cain started listening to the advice of evil and acted on that evil, or let the evil master him, he could no longer see the face of God. Salvation from our sinfulness is extended to us all through the blood of Jesus for free, but then after we are saved, we have access to a journey called sanctification. This is the journey of having mastery over sin. God warned us, when speaking to Cain, that sinfulness is contrary to our very being, we should not allow it it master us, but we must enter into the fight against it. The beautiful thing that God has offered us is access to the Holy Spirit, the very Spirit that dwelt in Jesus. This Spirit will help us in the battle. I can say from experience, when I tried to battle the sin of gluttony on my own, it was too hard, again and again, I gave into it's power over me. Finding a false sense of comfort. I would think it would comfort me and go to food, but feel guilt and loneliness even as I consumed, only to feel more guilt and discussed with myself soon afterwards. Only when I started praying and asking God to deliver me from this sin that had mastery over me, did the Holy Spirit release me from it over time. I cannot say that during this lifetime we can have complete mastery over all sin, but I am in the fight and hope for as much. Sometimes we don't even know the sin that is mastering us. That was pride for me, I didn't even know until this year, when I asked to Lord to expose my sinfulness to me that I was so utterly Prideful. So now, I pray, and ask the Lord to deliver me too from this sin.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Tree of Life

According to the passage in Genesis 3:22-23 I will extract some meanings. “Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the three of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” After the humans ate from the tree of knowledge of food and evil, if they would have then eaten from the tree of life, they would have been able to live forever. God did not want that. Why? I think he simply did not want humanity to live forever with the knowledge of good and evil. Other places in Scriptures the word “know” has a very intimate meaning. If a man is to “know” a woman, he is to lay with her intimately. When humans ate of the fruit, was that symbolic of allowing evil into our hearts? Knowing “evil”? If that is true, we should also know “good” intimately. With that understanding, God did not want us to live forever with the battle of good and evil in our souls. But He does want us to live forever, he just needed to come up with a way for good to win over evil! His plan is that Jesus would come, 1.) give us another chance at the fruit of the tree of life. If we are to accept Jesus as our savior, that is like eating of the tree of life! And at that point we will have eternal life. But it doesn’t stop there. Jesus didn’t say just to accept Him as the way, Jesus also said to follow him. I will not make any claims that accepting Jesus but not following him will not get one eternal life. But Jesus taught that we could have access to the Kingdom of God here and now! Following him is the only way to have access to Kingdom freedom and Kingdom life. After accepting Jesus, we are promised access to the Holy Spirit which is our guarantee of eternal life. Channeling the Holy Spirit is a life journey called sanctification, where when given the lead, the Holy Spirit will refine us and make our hearts like they were meant to be; helping us forget the evil forces within us and leaning into the forces of good is the work of the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that was residing in Jesus when he walked on this earth. The same Spirit of power, and of love and of self-control. Jesus’ ways are hard, but if we truly believe this story of God the Creator and Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit our guide, then what other choice do we have.