Pastor Tim began his new series entitled “Dear God…” – beginning the responses to some of the questions you submitted. There was one question that someone sent in that seems to be foundational for most of the other questions.
“Dear God, why is the world in such a mess?” My abbreviated summary boils it down to what the Bible calls, a “sin nature”. We all have a sin nature. We inherited it from our original parents, Adam and Eve when they fell, they passed it along to the entire human race. It’s called “original sin”. As David wrote in Psalm 51:5, “I was born a sinner.” Because the sin nature resides in each of our souls – even as followers of Christ – to one degree or another, we are all “contributors” to the mess in the world.
Considering this foundational piece to the puzzle, Pastor Tim addressed question #1.
“Dear God, Ephesians 4:31-32 says, ‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ Why is this so hard for some people?”
Pastor Tim believes that the answer that God would give is this: “It’s so hard, because you have a very powerful and active sin nature within you, redeemed or not, that seeks to produce in you things like: “bitterness, rage, anger, slander, malice, and for that matter, gossip, lust, envy, pride, selfishness, greed, lying, immorality, hypocrisy, etc. That’s why.”
Galatians 5:16-26 encourages us to fight your sin nature with the Holy Spirit! Through these words from Paul, we hear the message: “Fight the ‘sinful nature’ with the Spirit of God who lives in you! That is why I gave him to you when you became a follower of Jesus! He lives in you to help you fight back, unleash him on your sin nature!”
When a person is controlled by the Spirit, he/she starts acting out of character and it shows. How is a Christian filled with the Spirit? By asking the Spirit to take control! (Regularly, often, daily, and depending on circumstances, more often than that.) Asking the Holy Spirit to take control of our minds, tongues, actions and to produce in us what is un-natural to our sin nature, our normal reaction to a particular situation; give us his character, not ours…
Pastor Tim closed by offering this prayer from Chuck Swindoll’s book, Flying Closer to the Flame.
“Lord, I pledge my allegiance to you today. Enable me to have the discernment to walk in obedience, to sense wrong when I encounter it and to stay away from it. Keep me strong when temptations come. Guard my tongue from saying the wrong thing or saying too much or speaking too quickly. Enable me to resist outbursts of anger. Fill me with Your Spirit. I want the fruit of the Spirit and new nature (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) to show in me today. Take my eyes, my tongue, my emotions, my will, and use me, Lord.”
I hope you will apply Pastor Tim’s challenge, praying the prayer above, or one similar, asking for the power of the Holy Spirit to consume you daily—and throughout the day. I look forward to hearing testimonies of what God accomplishes through all of us this week!
Considering prayers, keep in mind that this Thursday is the National Day of Prayer. Carve out some additional time on Thursday to seek God, along with many across this nation. Pray specifically for our country, our Government, our schools, the media, River Oaks, our homes and families.
If you are looking for places of connections, consider signing up for this summer’s “Group Grill.” This is a one-time per month commitment, meeting with other River Oaks’ families for great food and great fellowship! You can register at www.riveroaks.org by clicking on the “Group Grill” button on the bottom of the page.
There are many opportunities to serve right now. Check them out by reviewing the buttons on the bottom of the page at www.riveroaks.org.
Pursuing a Spirit-filled life this week!
Scott Tilley, Adult Ministries Pastor / 574.875.1152 x103 / email@example.com