WHEN WALKING AFTER THE SPIRIT IS TOUGH
Romans 8:12-13 (NKJV)
12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Walking after the Spirit does not always mean you will like the places He leads you or the way He leads. God’s definition of living is not usually the same as ours. When men say, “You have not lived until you have done this.” They are most often referring to fleshly pleasure which they enjoy. God says, “You have not lived until you have died.” He recommends we put to death the deeds of the flesh in order to live. But when we try to do this we find out that our flesh is weak. It cannot put its desires and deeds to death, because the truth is, it dies in the process. The flesh does not want to die.
Romans 8:10 (NKJV) And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
So we cannot look to the flesh to put itself to death. We must look to the Spirit; “. . . if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.”
Romans 8:14 (NKJV) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Jesus did not start His ministry with miracles and signs and wonders. Those who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God. Jesus, as the only Divine Son of God, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days of fasting. This was the first place the Spirit of God led Him. Our flesh would not want that. His flesh may not have wanted that. He was tempted in all points as we are. But by the Spirit He put to death the desire of His flesh.
When we are led by the Spirit, before there can be powerful signs which may lead us to think too much or ourselves – God leads us to a wilderness where we see what and who we are without Him – and what and who we are “In Him.” Once you begin to know you can trust Him with your life, He begins to bring up subjects you would rather not discuss.
I have discovered that God knows what is on the road ahead of me. Some of those things I am ready for and some I am not. Some of those things could be disastrous for me, if I arrived at that moment and place in the same state of mind I was in at an earlier point in time. Therefore, if I am ready to listen to God and follow His direction, He asks the tough questions I need someone to ask. He challenges my perceptions of things and shows me His way of thinking and doing. If I will be honest and repent of my way and by faith implement His way, I will discover His way is better and I avoid disaster and get blessed instead.
I remember such a time which was very challenging for me. In 1989 the Lord began to remind of things I did not want to remember or think about. In 1973 I joined the US Air Force and I lied to them about my drug history. I told them I had experimented with marijuana three times when, in fact, I had smoked it almost every day for a year and a half. And three times I took a white capsule I believed was a derivative form of marijuana. It was actually something much stronger. Much of my memory of those days was very hazy for a long time.
The Air Force gave me a Top Secret clearance while I was in training which meant they investigated my background. Then I thought they missed it, but now I think they ignored the facts because they needed recruits.
Then in March of 1975 I was shown the gospel and accepted Jesus into my heart. Things were great and I was growing in the Lord. Yet, He never brought this up to me until 1985. I was applying for Officer Training School (OTS) and He dealt with my heart about this. I told the Air Force then as much of my story as I remembered, including what I believed about the white capsule. I thought, “They will put me in jail or take away my clearance at least.” They did not. Instead they let me into OTS and let me keep the Top Secret clearance.
Then in 1989 the Lord started to open up scenes in my memory that I had forgotten and did not want to remember. I had sold marijuana to my friends several times and that made me a drug dealer. This was very threatening to me. I feared the Lord’s purpose in this. Why clear up my memory of this now? I thought, “They will surely put me in jail and my wife and children will go back home in shame.”
I remember putting fleeces before the Lord asking Him to do certain things to confirm if He really wanted me to tell the Air Force. He never answered those fleeces. Finally one day He simply said, “You know the answer.” I did. I had to reveal this new information. I decided to trust God and do what had to be done.
Again the Air Force ignored my history, let me keep the Top Secret clearance and sent me to Korea. While I was there, a new investigation form had been finished and all those with Top Secret clearances had to answer a new set of more detailed questions which was more threatening. You had to have already told them everything or you could suffer dire consequences. I looked at the questions and saw that I had just told them everything these new questions were asking. I filled out the papers and handed them in. This time I knew it was okay. God had moved me to fully reveal all the facts of my drug history before this questionnaire came out and they had all this information
on me in their files.
God knew this was coming and had moved me to trust and obey Him in advance to protect me. He is a wise and wonderful God.
God is good! It is good to know Him and walk with Him. We were designed by God to know Him and to walk in His way. There is nothing better.
Micah 6:8 (NKJV)
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Your way is always easy for your flesh. His way always requires faith. It requires you to trust His wisdom and love. Go His way! You will be glad you did.