Have you ever found yourself struggling in your faith? It may be that you're going along real good and the 'old man' pops up! Yes, I'm talking about the flesh man! Perhaps you committed to watch what you say. But one day, it's like you reach the end of your rope, forgetting that pledge and let it rip. Then before you know it, you've crossed the line and said or done things you didn't want to. I just imagine we've all been there at one time or another. The battle between the flesh and the spirit can become strained when we decide it's too hard to walk the straight and narrow. Difficulty comes when we refuse to move forward in our spiritual walk of faith. Thus we return to the previous lifestyle believing it's easier than the spiritual conflict of flesh versus spirit. And now instead of confronting faith, we're up against bad habits, feelings of depression, guilt, anguish and the like. Of course our 'flesh' friends are all trying to encourage us by saying "you're ok, it's not as bad as it used to be". And our 'spiritual' friends tell us that we need to let go of those former associations that pull us back. The problem is, that we keep asking ourself, "If I leave my old friends or old ways, what's going to become of me?" The comfortability we sense with the previous seems to outweigh the desire to move forward.
How can one get out of this kind of rut, you ask? The following are some steps that will help re-enforce spiritual strength and gain the momentum to keep on the right path.
#1. Romans 12:1 & 2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
In order to find peace, joy and the perfect will of God for our life we first must be a living sacrifice to God. That means we must be in a continual state of surrender and consecration to Him. To do this requires that we desire His will more than our own. Whatever we yield to is what our body will cooperate with. It's important to present our bodies to God and not to sin or addictions.
Reading and studying the Bible is a small step toward the renewing of our mind, which reveals the will of God. That causes us to become a 'doer of the Word'. (James 1:22) A renewed mind takes on the thoughts of God and lives in compliance everyday! Kenneth Hagin Sr., once said "the mind doesn't stay renewed any more than the hair stays combed." Renewing of the mind demands effort and discipline, which will then transform our life. But its a daily application.
One way to find out if we are altering our life, is by what we're doing. Any unforgiveness, selfishness, anger or resentment toward others could indicate that we need to remain steady in the Word. It's the 'doing' that shows that our mind is renewed, although quoting of the Word is important. It won't matter what we cite if we're not living life in accordance with the Bible.
#2. Romans 10:17 "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." In the verses just prior to this verse, the writer asks, "...how shall they hear without a preacher?" This hearing comes from the preached Word of God.
God established and set the local church into being for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ. (Eph. 4:12) Plus we must remember that "every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose and action), so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Tim. 3:16-17
Find a local church that is preaching the uncompromised Word. Locate a church that will take you as you are, but won't leave you there! If they are really teaching the Word it WILL change you, IF you receive it and DO it! Going to church regularly should never be optional. By acquainting ourself with God we find what matters to Him and our fellowship with Him is strengthened. But remember, we're not acquainted with God, just because we are in the place with people who are. It may be important, however, to forfeit any prior relationships that will tug on your heart to return to your old ways. New found friendships with people who are endeavoring to walk with God will be a good influence to you.
Remember that just because our mind is renewed doesn't mean we won't have fleshly desires appear, it just means we won't run away with them. Eph. 4:22-24 says, "that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man, which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." We have to put off the old and put on the new to become a master over situations, over the enemy, old habits or emotions. It's a continual effort to keep our life in line with the Word of God. Quit cooperating with your flesh and put forth the energy to renew your mind!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."