Monday, January 16, 2012

A Willing Spirit

"...the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak". (Matt. 26:41) So often I've used this verse in the past to cry out to the Lord for His strength to be strong in my weakness.  But what happens when the Spirit is not willing?  I would call that a double whammy.  A weak flesh unwilling spirit combo which results in certain defeat.  In my quest for polishing personal disciplines, I've found the deeper problem lies in my desires, not in the struggle itself.

I've asked God to give me an intense longing for Him, to sway the cravings I have for selfishness . . . even diminish them altogether.  All my longings are really rooted in my search for my Maker.  I want to truly desire Him.  He is completely righteous and so I also want what is right and good for me.  I cannot use a weak flesh as an excuse when it is really my spirit which is not willing.

As I've faced my desires honestly, I've discovered a renewed freedom. I've found this hunger vacuum doesn't have to be an empty void which I seek to fill with relationships, food, networking--you name it, but one which is filled with a longing after God.  I know this is a basic and familiar concept, but to actually  put it into practice has empowered me to be okay with denying myself certain things, primarily because my desires have shifted. And I'm finding cravings for God are more intense.

But I don't just sit here passively waiting for my desires to change.  No, I actively embrace suffering be it ever so little, and it becomes my cross which I take up every day, sometimes every hour.  And in that acceptance find my longings are changing to His.

As I continue my reading through Chronicles I am fascinated with the correlation between the Temple of God and these bodies of ours, the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Solomon made a decided choice to build the Temple for the purpose of honoring the Lord.  (2 Chron. 2:1)  So I would make a choice to discipline my body that I might honor the name of Christ.  If even the highest heavens cannot contain Him, who am I to consider building a house for Him, except as a place to burn sacrifices to Him.  (2 Chron. 2:6)  Denying myself is the burnt offering, which leads to leaving and cleaving.

To become one with Christ in my desires, I must leave certain things in order to cleave, just as a marriage leaves father and mother to become one. When I wake in the morning, I leave a comfortable bed and greet the brisk air in a moonlit jog so I might pray alert . . . to commune with Christ.  Or I leave a good book, so I might cling to the Living Word.  I leave my computer, yes, even my blogging, so I might keep first things first, cleaving to what God has called me to be and do.

He took the initiative and first knit me together in my mother's womb, every part of me touched by the hand of God.  Now my life would be woven into the empty spaces . . .  my cravings. . . in a static cling by leaving behind my desire for other things to fill me, even good things, and earnestly seeking after God.

This is where I've been the last two weeks, moving mountains in my own personal life through an honest look at my desires.  Yes, my flesh is weak and it is only by the power of Christ that I am victor of any battle but an unwilling spirit sometimes seems the far greater obstacle.  I lean on Him to empower me with His desires.

When Solomon finished the Temple the presence of the Lord filled it and the glory of the Lord illuminated it.  Glory. . .God made big.  Likewise, as God continues to conform this temple into the image of Christ, I pray His presence would be so glorious that no manner of darkness may enter in.
(2 Chron. 7:1,2)

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."  Psa. 37:4

1 comment:

  1. Steve Brown says, God will grease the skids of whatever direction you choose. "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you" James 4:8
    Good post full of truth!