“In the Flesh”–fleshing out excuses

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) Romans 8:9

I used to know this guy who would praise and worship God during the week, but then on Saturday night he would carouse and cavort in unsavory ways, often getting drunk and doing foolish things. He sometimes hurt people during these respites from piety. When he did these things that are outside the bounds of acceptable behavior for those professing Jesus as Lord of their lives, he would say that he was still redeemed, but acting “in the flesh”.

This excuse for bad behavior always troubled me. I would think, “How close can you dance to the edge of disaster without falling into the pit?” I never understood how he could walk with one foot in glory and the other in mud.

I still don’t understand it today.

Those of us who are sold as slaves to Christ are no longer controlled by our sinful natures. Those natures might come calling once in the while, and they might influence us to step off the path for a little while, but because of Christ we have the right, nay, the obligation to slam the door in sin’s face. We don’t live under sin’s roof any more, and we should not be inviting it in, cozying up to it, and asking sin to rest and relax around us for a spell.

Heaven’s no.

The Apostle Paul called us to run the race of righteousness with all we have in us. His advice was that we exhaust ourselves in the process.  He couldn’t see the point in leaving anything at the end of that race, any excess reserves, unused or wasted.

Doesn’t Jesus deserve us to spill it all on the racetrack of life?

Here’s the thing:  We don’t have time to dilly dally with sin, or hang out with apathy. We need to stay focused, keep running, heed the narrow path and steadfastly approach that finish line where Jesus stands to greet us with the words, “Well done. Well done!”

Why don’t some people seem to care about that?

Today, if you’re tempted to take a hiatus from holiness, please reconsider. Think of the nails, those nails that held Jesus to the tree. They lay in piles at the bottom of sin’s trick bag. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can pick them up, hold them in your hand, feel the icy metal they are made of and not cause Jesus pain.

We all need to focus on being the best us we can be, and serving others with the strength God gives. Do good to your fellows, now and always. And be good.  If not for your sake, then be mindful of what you are teaching others by your actions, perhaps your own children.  Pray for strength to stay the course and do right.

Prayer brings victory.

Prayer Changes Things!

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