Some people say that opposites attract. You know that saying, right? Like the couple where one person is outgoing and the other is very shy. Or when one likes to stay around the house and the other is always itching to get out and go somewhere. Well, I am not so sure I agree that opposites attract. I believe that successful relationships are more dependent on the shared values of patience, kindness, selflessness, respect, commitment, forgiveness, etc. as expressed in the Bible (see 1 Corinthians chapter 13).
Within all followers of Jesus Christ, there are two opposite natures. These natures are not attracted to each other – they differ in every way and each wants complete control. They are constantly battling to dominate our thoughts, desires, actions and words. These two natures are our flesh (the sinful desires, passions and attitudes that define our human nature apart from God) and our spirit (the supernatural union of our nonphysical essence and the Holy Spirit of God living within us).
- Galatians 5:17 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.
- Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
The Bible explicitly declares the opposing natures of the flesh and the spirit.
- Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
- Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
So why doesn’t God do away with our sinful human nature when we surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? The Bible states that we are new creations in Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
How awesome it would be to live with no desire or inclination to sin!
Or would it?
I would never claim or pretend to fully comprehend the mind, nature and depth of God as presented in His Word. It’s quite the opposite. The longer I know Him and the more I learn, the more questions I have. But this I know, in His infinite and perfect wisdom, God chose and ordained that His children must deal with the odd couple of flesh and spirit from the moment of salvation until the end of mortal life. And since He is all-knowing and all-powerful, I know He did this by design.
- Romans 8:5 those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
- Galatians 6:8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
I believe that part of the reason He did this is choice. Just as God would never force a person to surrender their lives to Him, He does not force those who do surrender to Him to live a Godly life. Each person must decide how they will live. For God or against Him. Serving and honoring Him or rebelling against Him.
- Romans 8:13-14 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. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
- Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
How does a perfectly programmed robot that has no choice but to obey bring glory to God? It can’t.
- Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
- John 6:66-67 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
The church of Jesus Christ is not calling
the lost people of this world to perfection in this life.
We are calling them to trust Him for salvation.
We are calling them to surrender all they are to Him.
We are calling them to love, obey and follow Him.
We are calling them to make choices that honor Him.
The first choice a person makes to honor God is to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ. As part of our spiritual rebirth, the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence in us and is the guarantee of our eternal life in Heaven.
- John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
- Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
From then on, it is a life of choices; you have to deal with the reality of the odd couple inside you moment-by-moment and day-by-day. Will I obey Him? Will I wait for Him? Will I respond to His Word and the promptings of His Spirit? Will I reject my human nature? Will I give Him the glory for my victories and confess my failures to Him?
- Romans 8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
- Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
- Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
What choices do you need to make?
Father, I praise You for Your wisdom, love, patience, knowledge, plans and so much more. I also thank You for giving us choice! Please Father, draw many to You through salvation in Jesus. I pray for those who haven’t decided to follow Jesus. I pray that Your Word and Your Spirit will lead them to the right choice. I pray for those who have given their lives to You. May they make choices every day that bear witness to the new creation they are in Jesus. I pray all these things by choice, and in the name of Jesus. Amen.