Read: Proverbs 20
Key Verses: Proverbs 20:3. “Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.”
Devotional: Proverbs 20:3 paints another picture of a daily choice that you and I often face. Everyone loves a good argument right? We love it, especially when we win right? I think sometimes we assume that silly struggles like this are things we will grow out of. Like once we’ve been following Jesus for over a certain amount of years the right choices will be effortless. We can all agree that over time we grow and mature in our faith but we have to always be vigilant in our decision making. We have to always be purposeful. We have to always be intentional. Becoming more like Jesus doesn’t just happen with age and time served.
Really what’s happening inside of us is the battle between what the Scriptures call, “the old self” and “the new self”. Paul tells the church at Corinth like this, “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun.”
As Christ followers, do we live as new creations or do we fall back in the old way of living? These are decisions that need to be made on a daily basis.
Listen to Paul again but this time from the book of Galatians 5:16-18.
Galatians 5:16-17 says... “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 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.”
Here’s my desire, I’m hoping someone reading this just had a lightbulb go off over their head. I’m hoping someone, maybe a bunch of you for the first time are realizing that this is why you’ve been struggling to live out your faith as you know God wants you to. There’s a battle raging in your heart, my heart, all of our hearts.
There’s one force that is drawing us towards the “New Life”, this idea of living by the Spirit and it’s leading us to demonstrate characteristics like, love, joy, peace, patience and self control, what the Scriptures call the, “Fruits of the Spirit”. At the same time the other force, what the Scripture calls, the sinful nature is drawing us towards envy, anger, selfishness, jealousy, drunkenness, sexual impurity, etc.
We step back and we see these two choices, we hold them up and compare them to one another and the differences become pretty obvious. With even a little critical thought, it becomes very clear that one path takes us towards Christ and the other takes us away from Christ.
You know for the vast majority of us, it’s not about better understanding Scripture. It’s not about not understanding that living the way we selfishly want to live leads to destruction, we get that. It’s not about not knowing the benefits of living by what Paul calls, “by the Spirit”. We understand all of that, we get it.
What it really boils down to is choice. It all comes down to the daily choice of either living for ourselves or living for Christ.
Take Action: Jot down your answers to the following questions on a scrap of paper? Why is it difficult to be new? Why is it so easy to slip into old habits? When was the last time you sensed the Holy Spirit’s guidance in your life? Is your life directed more by the Holy Spirit or more by your old sinful nature?
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