May 27, 2012
For several days I have had the words of a hymn running through my mind. The hymn is "Is They Heart Right With God?" by Elisha A. Hoffman (1899). Here are the questions this hymn asks:
"Have thine affections been nailed to the cross?"
"Does thou count all things for Jesus but loss?"
"Hast thou dominion o'er self and o'er sin?"
"Over all evil without and within?"
"Are all thy powers under Jesus' control?"
"Does He each moment abide in thy soul?"
Each of these questions is followed by the refrain, "Is thy heart right with God?" These are good questions to consider with regard to our life. What has the dominion or power in and over us? Do we exercise self control?
The worldly approach to living is to allow the desires of the flesh to have control. That is the basis of the philosophies of "If it feels good do it." or "If it makes you happy do it." Those who live in such a manner may even think they are really living "the life"! However, according to the Scriptures the converse is true.
In his letter to the church at Rome Paul stated. . .
"(12) So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. (13) For if you LIVE ACCORDING TO THE FLESH YOU WILL DIE, but if by the Spirit you PUT TO DEATH THE DEEDS OF THE BODY, YOU WILL LIVE." ( Romans 8:12-13 ESV)
In Paul's letter to the church at Galatia, he noted that "the works of the flesh are EVIDENT." ( Galatians 5:19) The Greek word translated "evident" is "phaneros" which means "open to sight, visible, manifest". Looking at the list Paul provided in that verse and the next two should make it easy to see how evident or clear they are. ( Galatians 5:19-21) Paul emphatically declared that "those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." ( Galatians 5:21) Have those "affections been nailed to the cross?"
Again, in his letter to the church at Rome Paul exhorted. . .
"(17) But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin HAVE BECOME OBEDIENT FROM THE HEART to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, (18) and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness." ( Romans 6:17-18 ESV)
It is not merely what is taking place on the outside that needs our focus, but what is happening within! Our walk with Christ is not merely to be one of outward conformity, but a life with the heart involved. It is from the heart that our actions arise.
Following his mention of the fruit of the spirit in contrast to the works of the flesh in his Galatian letter, Paul declared. . .
"(24) And THOSE WHO BELONG TO CHRIST JESUS HAVE CRUCIFIED THE FLESH WITH ITS PASSIONS AND DESIRES." ( Galatians 5:24 ESV)
"Have thine affections been nailed to the cross?" The earlier in life the flesh is brought under control the better. May we surrender our life to Jesus so that its powers can be brought under His control. In this way we can experience the truly happy life now as we look toward a blessed eternity with Him.
Have a great day BLESSED IN SURRENDERING THE LIFE TO CHRIST!
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