Are there areas of your life where you have failed to have victory? Are there some habits of the old man (what my old friend Pastor Morgan used to call the old idiot) that have crept back in or never fully left?
Joshua 13 & 14
Is the Old Man Still Hanging Around?
Joshua 13 & 14:
Pockets of Resistance & the Old Man
Verse 14.15b, “Then the land had rest from war.”
This was a time of relative peace, though as I said yesterday, there were still areas that needed to be fully occupied. There were also pagan tribes they never fully destroyed as God commanded. Those groups would be thorns in their sides for generations. They would draw them into false worship, attack their cities, and create a multitude of problems.
Isn’t that the way it is in our lives? He saves us, puts our feet on the Rock, gives us new righteous desires, and many things in our lives change. But, even though, we may have quit doing a lot of the things we used to do (sometimes because God has supernaturally removed the desire for those things), there are still “pockets of resistance”—areas of our lives where we hold on to “old man” habits (Eph. 4.22).
Maybe it’s a tendency to gossip, to harbor unforgiveness, to give someone the silent treatment, or to respond in sinful anger. Maybe it involves our thought lives … “After all, (we think) I’m not doing anything wrong!” We mistakenly believe we can play around with a thought or a fantasy without it showing up some where in our life or walk with God
The added danger is that as months and years go by without dealing with that area of sin and as we push conviction away, our consciences are seared and we become blinded.
So, what can we do? We can pray like David did in Psalm 139.23-24:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Then when God shows us things, we can confess them to God and cry out for His help. It may happen as we read His Word, listen to a sermon, or through the words of another person. We may need to go to other people and seek their forgiveness, as well.
So, let’s pray that God would “… unite [our] heart[s] to fear His name” (Ps. 86.11) and let’s eliminate those pockets of resistance.
TODAY’S OTHER READINGS:
Be Very Glad!
Verse 26, “Arise for our help, and redeem us for Your mercies’ sake.”
Sometimes we go through desperate circumstances without understanding why.
When the disciples watched the events unfold from that “Last Supper” with Jesus, through His arrest, beating, torture, mockery of a trial, and finally the Crucifixion, it could not have looked good and probably didn’t make any sense to them. But God was laying the groundwork for the greatest victory of all—redemption for all who put their faith and trust in Him!
Sometimes we suffer simply because we live in a sin-cursed world, but sometimes it’s because we belong to Him. The world hated Him. Should we be surprised when men hate us, as well?
Paul told Timothy, “… in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Tim. 3.1). And Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation” (Jn. 16.33).
Perilous times will come. We will have persecution. But it’s important to keep an eternal perspective.
Matthew 5.10-12 (NLT):
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
Did you see that? “Be happy about it! Be very glad!” … because, “a great reward awaits you in heaven.”
Fools End Up Beaten by Their Own Words
“In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.”
The fool’s mouth contains a rod that he uses to strike others, but eventually it will come back to beat him. A wise man (or woman), on the other hand, guards against such foolishness and avoids those consequences.
Living in a Clean “Well-Lit” House
Verses 24-26, “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
It’s not enough to be delivered from the powers of darkness without filling ourselves with the light. If we only put off the habits of our old nature without filling our hearts and minds with His truth and without putting on new righteous habits, we’ll soon find ourselves in worse shape than we were before.
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
What About You?
Are there areas of your life where you have failed to have victory? Are there some old habits that have crept back in or, maybe, never left. Are you dealing with things you thought you had walked away from forever? How do you need to pray? Do you need to make yourself accountable to someone?
Sit down and ask God for His wisdom. Then make a plan to work on those areas.
Spiritual maturity is not a level of growth Christians achieve, but the passion to press on in Christ. In these concise chapters, J. Oswald Sanders explores the primary source of continual growth. As we embrace God’s providence, hardship, and more, we can move from infancy toward the fruitful maturity we were created to enjoy.
This new edition of Spiritual Maturity includes a “For Reflections” section, making it an ideal resource for both individual and group study.
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