Unless

Colossians 3:9-10Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”

Who wouldn’t like a second chance at life? A do-over. Mistakes we’ve made. People we’ve hurt. Opportunities missed. Investments, career choices, and something so simple as words spoken.

The Christian life is not a show or an act. The new life that has been bought and paid for by our Lord Jesus Christ is one we cannot mimic in the flesh. Religious acts and activity can only do so much. But when it comes to matters of the heart, selfishness reveals itself and pride rears its ugly head.

Unless…

Unless we follow the path set for us before the foundation of the world, we can never be delighted, or experience the fullness this life has to offer.

Unless we have taken on new behaviors; new attitudes; new perspectives; we will try to live a life, only the Holy Spirit can live through us.

Unless we submit our whole being to be made new, we will end up fighting God for possession of what is already His.

Unless we follow the model set before us, we will flounder and fail miserably at something God tells me I can be more than a conqueror.

That new man God calls us to become is modeled after Himself.

Romans 8:29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Charles Sheldon was inspired to write a fictional book called “In His Steps” that, at its core, bore the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” based on:

1 Peter 2:21For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”

Those steps; that life we are called to live is not something natural, unsaved man can become. We can reform our actions toward others, but they will never go beyond our preferences, prejudices, and opinions.

Our love can widen to some extent, but it is only the love of God than can do what God commands us to do.

Matthew 5:44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

There are some things that my Heavenly Father commands me to be and to do, that I just cannot do.

1 Peter 1:16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

Ephesians 4:32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

When I trusted Christ as my personal Savior, I began a battle that never before existed. You see, as an unsaved man, I followed what I wanted to do. I went where I wanted to go; said what I wanted, and basically lived at the whims of my own desires.

But when I accepted Christ, I became a new creature.

2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

I am still learning what God meant by “all things.”

The depth, the breadth, and the height of what God desires to do in my life are more than I can fathom. It is more than I can comprehend. God’s will for my life is still unfolding before me. I genuinely believe that if He revealed it all at once, I would have been so scared to even begin the journey.

But, in patient, lovingkindness, and much longsuffering; God has taken me places, shown me the miraculous, done things in and through me, I could never have imagined. All these things could not have happened unless…

Unless I had trained my mind to accept and believe that God is always right, and I am always wrong. I needed to teach myself that though I may see a more expedient path, God’s way is still best.

Unless I had submitted wholly to the Holy Spirit’s leading, I would never have known sobriety. It was attainable in the flesh – for a time. Jesus Christ gave me the power I did not possess to fight my flesh on that battlefield. I would win – for six months or a year or so; but then, a crisis came, and I ran to the world’s comforter.

In Christ, I found comfort and peace that passes all understanding.

Most saved, children of God flounder in mediocrity because they want their form of Christianity instead of taking the path of being more Christ-like in all things. Only Holy Spirit-filled, and Holy Spirit led lives can do that. We want the ability to experiences the worldly pleasures and live godly lives as well.

The old man raises his ugly head, declaring just how it’s going to be. We must ask God for the character we lack to ‘mortify’ or make dead and subdue that old man and his desires.

Unless we settle into the mindset that this battle between the flesh and the spirit will not be done until my soul rises up into glory and this body is finally put into the grave, we will succumb to our fleshly desires.

It is only by God’s grace that you and I will say like the Apostle Paul:

2 Timothy 4:6-8For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Unless we stay in the fight; commit to the long haul, we will never see the victory or know the sweetness of God’s presence when He comes close to carry us through the battle.

So, unless we decide we need to turn; to change, to allow that old man of ours to die; we will never know the sweet peace that comes when we yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit in us. There is no need to fear – God is right beside us for the duration – He promised:

Hebrews 13:5 “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

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