I am dying of thirst by the side of the fountain. – Charles D’ Orleans
I am reminded today of the two thieves who were crucified next to Jesus. A death sentence to both for crimes they committed. Both had been found guilty and executed, but one received an eternal pardon.
Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be executed with Him. And when they came to the place which is called The Skull [Latin: Calvary; Hebrew: Golgotha], there they crucified Him, and [along with] the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus prayed, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And they divided His garments and distributed them by casting lots for them.
One thing we can be certain of, as long as we are in this flesh there will always be a battle going on. The Bible says the flesh and the Spirit are at constant war with each other. What your flesh wants to do is at constant opposition with the Holy Spirit.
We want to have our own way, we are a selfish people, the flesh can never be satisfied. Give it an inch and it will take a mile. (Stay tuned for another post about fasting and bringing the flesh under submission)
Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t give the devil a ride, because then he will want to drive“?
Your flesh and the Spirit are wrestling back and forth.
Your flesh say’s, “I want that! Feed me! Give it to me!”
You say, “No. I can’t do that. I can’t have that. It’s not good for me.”
Your flesh say’s, “Oh, come on, just this one more time!”
You say, “But I can’t, I promised I wouldn’t do it again.”
Your flesh say’s. “No one will ever know, it will be our little secret.”
Back and forth it goes. The more attention you pay to the unquenchable appetite of the flesh, the weaker you become to resist. Then you are right dab in another battle.
And this argument sounds like this…
The Accuser, “Ha! You call yourself a Christian? Look at you now.”
The Accuser, “You might as well give up. Clearly you will never amount to anything because you can’t even control yourself.”
The Accuser, “You disgust me! You are worthless! You should be ashamed of yourself!”
The Accuser, “God will never forgive you, He is tired of your whining and crying and fake apologies. You might as well stay hidden, because everyone is going to look at you and know you are nothing but a hypocrite.”
So then you begin to withdraw. You hide from everyone, you avoid fellowship with other Christians, you stop praying, you can’t even read the Bible anymore, you feel depressed, you begin to believe maybe the accuser was right, and you slowly slip…
Now, I don’t know what the two men on the cross next to Jesus did, but it was apparently something worthy of execution. I do not claim to know what you are going through, what your secret battle and defeat is, but I do know this…
There is no temptation that you face that is not common to man. Jesus was in every way tempted the way we are tempted, yet He was without sin. The temptation in itself is not sin, it is what we do when we respond to the temptation that leads to sin.
Paul himself said, “that which I want to do, I do not and that which I don’t want to do, I do.” This is a tale as old as time.
The devil is the accuser of the brethren, Jesus called him the father of lies and in him there is no truth.
When we are faced with temptations there are three voices we hear, our voice, the accusers voice, and then the Holy Spirit. We MUST learn to discern the voice. Only ONE voice is the voice of TRUTH.
Because of what Christ did for us on the cross, we now have an advocate. He is our mediator. He is our lifeline. Through Him, and ONLY through Him do we have a pardon.
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39
Does this mean there will be no consequence to our actions? No, when we do things in the natural there are consequences.
Listen to the voice of Truth. The voice of Truth say’s, “I love you. I forgive you. I will never leave you. I am not ashamed of you. You are accepted. Now, go and sin no more.”
My dear friend, you reading my words right now, this message is for you. Come out from your hiding place. You can’t hide from God. He has searched you out, He found you, now find Him. Forgiveness is there for you if you ask. Do not be afraid.
Now, back to the two thieves on the cross…
One of the criminals who was suspended kept up a railing at Him, saying, Are You not the Christ (the Messiah)? Rescue Yourself and us [from death]! But the other one reproved him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you yourself are under the same sentence of condemnation and suffering the same penalty? And we indeed suffer it justly, receiving the due reward of our actions; but this Man has done nothing out of the way [nothing strange or eccentric or perverse or unreasonable].Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingly glory! And He answered him, Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. He came to set us free and who He has set free is free!
There is no magic formula, no twelve step process, no drug, no substitute, for what Christ has given us. He has made salvation available to all who receive.
In this world you will have tribulation, you will have struggles, you will have heart ache, you will experience rejection, temptations, and sometimes you will fall down, you will fail, but get back up. What we experience now is nothing compared to the Hope we have in Him.
I pray you hear and receive His calling to you. I pray you lay it all down and walk into His embrace. God is big, He is strong, there is nothing He can’t handle. There is no sin so great He can’t forgive. No matter what anyone has ever told you, He say’s He loves you. No matter who left you, He say’s come, I accept you. No matter what sin you have committed, how dirty and shameful you feel, He say’s let Me wash you as white as snow and give you a new garment. No matter what your past was, in Him you are a new creation.
Come to Him while He can still be found.
Be Free & Stay Free