A personal walk with God and stuff learned on the way

Posts tagged ‘Ephesians’

Don’t fight half a battle

As Christians we are always conscious of the need to avoid sin.  There are numerous scriptures that describe those practices that we are to stay well away from and every believer knows that it is a constant battle.  Often we can find ourselves losing the battle again and again and we can give in to despondency when nothing seems to be changing.

Paul describes this battle very well in Romans 7

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. (Romans 7: 15)

There can be a number of reasons why we seem to be constantly stuggling, but one of them, I have learned, is that we are only doing one half of what we need to do.

A regular theme in the Bible is the command not just to reject evil, but also to replace it with good. Put simply, if we’re not replacing our bad behaviour, thoughts, speech or attitudes with the right thing, we are only fighting half the battle, as the scriptures below show us.

Psalm 34:14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4: 22-24)

Eph 2: 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands

Rom 12:9 Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Rom 12:11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord

Rom 12: 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Col 3: 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things

Deut 15:7-8 do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted towards your poor brother. Rather be open-handed and freely lend him whatever he needs.

Ephesians 5:4 There should not be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving

In Matthew 12 Jesus describes this principle of replacement. Although the context here is demonic possession, it does show the importance of replacing evil with good in our lives.

When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.
Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. (Matt 12 43-45)

As we replace what we shouldn’t be doing, saying and thinking with what God wants, we give sin less room to operate.

Fight both sides of the battle.

The lesson of the cheese and crackers

I heard this story several years ago as an example of how we can miss out on God’s blessings.

A guy goes on a journey on board ship, but since he only has enough money for the ticket, he takes with him some cheese and crackers to sustain him during the voyage.

At first they seem ok, but as time goes on he notices the other passengers enjoying a huge banquet every night and soon his measly cheese and crackers don’t seem enough after all.

After a while, when the cheese has gone off and the crackers have gone stale, he realises he is left with nothing to eat.  At last he can stand it no longer and he goes to the ships captain and begs to be allowed to be employed just to clean the kitchen and the cabins of the other passengers, if only he could have some of the leftovers from the banquet.

The captain looked at him in surprise.
“You bought a ticket to board this ship didn’t you?”
“Yes I did”, said the man.
“Well on this ship, the price of all the meals is included in the ticket”.

We miss out on God’s blessings and provision for us because we just don’t know that we already have it and are not required to pay our own way, but accept and receive with gratitude what has already been provided for us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ –  Ephesians 1:3

Tag Cloud