Today we will continue our series entitled “God’s Grace & Our Faith.” We are looking at The Law given under Moses vs. the Grace provided by Jesus. Our primary scriptures are John 1:14 & 17. In our last message, we also looked at Galatians 5:17. We will go back to these verses today.
(John 1:14 NIV)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:17 NIV)
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
(Galatians 5:17 The Passion Translation)
For your self-life craves the things that offend the Holy Spirit and hinder him from living free within you! And the Holy Spirit’s intense cravings hinder your old self-life from dominating you! So then, the two incompatible and conflicting forces within you are your self-life of the flesh and the new creation life of the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:17 New Living Translation)
The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. You need God’s grace to win the war within.
The Apostle Paul teaches us that after being Born-Again, while it is true that God’s Spirit takes up residence INSIDE of us, it is also true that our old mindset will war against the Holy Spirit. Conversely, the Holy Spirit will lead us to do things that are clearly against our old mindset. Paul calls these two (the Holy Spirit and our old mindset) “incompatible and conflicting forces within us” (Gal 5:17). These forces create a war within.
If we don’t win the war (by dying to self, submitting to the Holy Spirit, and placing God’s will above our own selfish desires), we risk missing out on God’s best. We run the risk of NEVER fulfilling our destiny. We risk getting to heaven, only to realize that we spent our lives becoming someone God DID NOT call us to be.
I don’t know about you, but I am determined to become the man God called me to be from the foundations of the world. I know that I must die to sin, self, and selfish desires to become that person. I must place God’s will above my own. I must win the war within! I pray you feel the same way. I trust you are with me on this journey.
By the way, this has everything to do with God’s grace. Without the grace of God, you can never become the person you are destined to be. Without the grace of God, you can never win the war within. I talked about discipline yesterday. Well, guess what? Without the grace of God, you will fail to have that discipline. Without the grace of God, you won’t have the power to live free from sin.
I teach you all the time about FINDING, FOLLOWING, and FINISHING your divine assignment before you die. I teach you about leaving a legacy of righteousness that will impact your 2nd and 3rd generation. To be clear, this type of impact only happens by the grace of God!
2. Change is possible, just don’t expect it to happen overnight.
The Apostle Paul said, “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” (Galatians 5:17).
When you first come to God, you accept His Son Jesus as Lord, and you are Born-Again, everything is new. The Holy Spirit is new to you, so He begins to lead you to do things you never had the urge to do before. You find yourself with desires you never felt before and impulses to do things you would not “normally” do. Let’s say someone confronts you, and your previous natural tendency would have been to fight back. I was raised on the streets of Brooklyn, so I was programmed to fight back. But all of a sudden, you sense something (actually someONE) inside of you telling you to “let it go” and to pass on the opportunity to retaliate. You find this weird at first. This is an impulse that goes contrary to your perceived “norm.” But it’s actually the Holy Spirit, and He is trying to get you to establish a new “normal.” His normal is a place where God’s desires and His ways are normal to you.
I will give you another example. Let’s say you go to do something you have been doing for years (something you did not give much thought to), and suddenly, the pleasure you used to get from that thing is no longer there. God then begins to speak to you about it and leads you to STOP doing it because it is not good for you. You know the voice in your heart is right, but you have been doing this thing for so long that you keep doing it anyway. The voice in your heart is the Holy Spirit speaking, and your old nature is the voice telling you to override His voice. This goes on for a while. You continually have urges to do things that are pleasing in God’s sight, only to have those urges contradicted by thoughts against them, especially in areas where you have built up bad habits. This is the war within. This is what the Apostle Paul was talking about.
In order to win this war, you must spend time with the Holy Spirit in prayer, and you must spend quality time in the Word of God. The Word of God contains the character, attributes, and nature of God Himself. The more you meditate and medicate on the Word of God, the better you get to know the God of the Word, and the more apt you will be to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. To be clear, this type of transformation will not happen overnight. But if you have the discipline and determination required to study God’s Word and spend time with His Spirit, you will become the man/woman you are called and destined to be! Over time, the desire to do right will grow, and the impulses to do wrong will become more and more muted. If you continue down the path to your destiny and you maintain spiritual discipline, you will wake up one morning and realize you have changed. Your old man will be dead, and the life you live, at that point, will be the life God destined you to live.
I came to this realization years ago, and I pray you experience what I am talking about. It is a blessing to know that your old man (old nature) is dead and gone, and the life that you now live is the life God destined you to live from the foundations of the world. When you get to this point, everyone notices it. You will run into people who knew you years ago, back in your “BC” days, and those people will attest to the fact that the person they knew is no longer around. You have become a new person by God’s grace and for God’s glory.
Abram, the idol worshipper, died so Abraham, the Father of Faith, could live. Gideon, the scared farmer, died, so he could become a Mighty Man of Valor. Simon, the fisherman, died so the Apostle Peter, a fisher of men, could live. Saul of Tarsus, Pharisee of the Pharisees, died so the Apostle Paul, servant to the Gentiles, could live. And Rick Piña, the young, brash, angry, and arrogant young man I was when I came to Christ, died, so I could become the man God has called me to be. I pray you experience your own transformation. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen if you don’t give up. Discipleship is not a one-time event. It is a lifelong commitment to becoming the man/woman God called you to be!
3. Walking with God is a journey, not a destination.
— One of the reasons I am teaching you about the differences between the Old Covenant and the New is becuase I want you to be FREE from the pressure to perform. This freedom (in the Holy Spirit) liberates you to become the person God called you to be.
— If you live your life focused on obeying a bunch of rules, you will inevitably fall short, and you will beat yourself up for your inadequacies. The problem with living that way (living performance-based) is that the spotlight is on YOU and what you are doing instead of God and what He has already provided.
The Apostle Paul went to great lengths to teach about the war within, in Galatians 5, after teaching four chapters about the grace of God. In context, Paul was saying, “The only way to win the war within, the only way to overcome the impusles of the flesh, and the only way to fully give yourself over to the Holy Spirit (to lead you), is by embracing the grace of God.”
Without the revelation of God’s grace, you will never win the war within becuase you will never see yourself as anything but a conflicted person with hypocritical tendencies. You will have moments when you do things right, and you will have others when you succumb to the temptations of the flesh. You will hate yourself for doing the things you tell others NOT to do. You will beat yourself up for being wishy-washy and inconsistent. But when you finally DIE TO SELF, and you realize you are simply NOT GOOD ENOUGH (on your own), you yield to the Holy Spirit, He begins to live through you, and you begin to walk in a level of holiness, godliness, and consistency that exceeds anything you ever experienced when you were focused on human effort. Do you know why? The answer is simple: it’s the GRACE OF GOD!
— My prayer for you is that you embrace the grace of God, so you are FREE to be the man/woman you are called to be, and that you ENJOY THE RIDE! I want you to go to heaven, but I believe God wants you to win the war within so you can ENJOY THE JOURNEY as well!
That’s enough for today.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die in my place. Jesus took on my sin. I now take on His righteousness. Not only am I made new in Christ Jesus, but I embrace the grace to live in the newness of the life He provided. By Your grace, Father, I win the war between the leading of Your Spirit and the pulling of my old ways. I declare that I win the war within!
Your grace is on me to live as the person YOU destined me to be. I embrace Your grace, and I live as the best version of myself. To do so, I meditate and medicate on Your Word day and night. I spend time with the Holy Spirit in prayer. By Your Word and Your Spirit, I am changed to the point where I can reflect heaven on earth daily. When people come in contact with me, they come in contact with You because I am changed, and I am living as a human conduit of the divine.
My old man is dead. I am alive in Christ. Not only does Christ live IN me, but He lives THROUGH me daily! As Jesus is, so am I in this world! Living with a revelation of Your grace, I know GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.