The Christian walk is one of continual struggles. We are at war in the spiritual realm and are fighting in the physical realm at the same time. This is the Christian battle and it is our lot in Christ as we walk with him.
Today’s scripture is a recognition of the battle that we undertake as Christians.
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict which you saw and now hear to be mine. (Philippians 1:29-30)
The highest point in our walk with Christ that all Christians are or should be aiming for is to walk in love as Christ walks in love.
God is love and He is perfect, and as we are instructed im Matthew 5:48, “You MUST be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
To be perfect is to be perfected in love and without sin. Jesus has done the work to already set us free from sin through His death, but to walk in love is to learn all He gave to us and to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The Holy Spirit has a dirty job. He has to dwell within the people of God for the purpose of transforming us into the image of Jesus Christ.
But consider the nature of that job. It is the ultimate janitorial role. A major cleanup of the passions, lusts, desires and sinful attitudes of mankind. His role is to expel all of the filth from our nature so that we are as clean as Christ and perfected into the nature of God the Father.
Like I said, the Holy Spirit has a dirty job, and that is why it is important that we do all we can to help and not grieve the Holy Spirit as He goes about His work.
One of the great questions to be understood by Christians is what is and is not sin?
There are a multitude of things that people call sin, but are they really sin?
Today I want to look at this issue to try and nail down some aspects of what is and isn’t sin, partly because it is important that we know, and partly to help you and others stop condemning yourself over things that are not directly sin.
At the most basic level, Christianity is about change. We are called to change from the old manner of life driven by sin and the passions and lusts of human nature, to be changed into the image of Jesus Christ.
We are being called to a renewal in the Spirit so that our thoughts, our actions and our desires match those of the Lord, because our desire is to please Him and not ourselves.
Renewal in the Spirit is critical, as this scripture today points out. But the burning question is: How do we do it?
As Christians we are called to change our lives in many ways. Right from the very beginning of our walk with Christ when we first repent, the change commences.
Indeed the word “repent” translated from the Greek word “metanoia” means to “change your thinking.”
And that is the essence of our call to Christ: to change the way we think and to change the way we act. As we walk with Christ and grow, that growth is built on the foundation of change. And as we change we should begin to show the attitudes and attributes identified in these first few verses of Ephesians chapter 4.
As I read these few verses at the end of Ephesians chapter 3, I am struck by the fact that most of the matters Paul is writing about here are to do with the working of the holy spirit within the children of God in Christ Jesus.
He talks about strengthening in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith, and being rooted and grounded in lve. He speaks of being able to comprehend the fulness of the love of Christ and being filled with the fulness of God.
All of these things and much more come to us through the working of the Holy Spirit within. None of these are things we can achieve by ourselves, but only by the Holy Spirit working through the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the grace of God. So let us briefly examine some of these matters.
What are the passions of the flesh and what is the impact of the passions of the flesh on people?
This verse gives us some insight into just what the passions of the flesh are and how humans are driven by them.
More importantly though, this verse shows that as Christians, the passions of the flesh can become a thing of the past. It suggests that the passions of the flesh can be beaten and it is through the working of the Holy Spirit in us that we can overcome the passions of the flesh.
These few verses give us the two opposing views of life in the Spirit versus life in the flesh. It shows us a dramatic contrast and what we must do to receive the good gifts given by the Holy Spirit that will overcome the passions of the flesh.
The passions and desires of the flesh shown in this list are not exhaustive by any means. But it does give us a flavour of the types of issues many people, ourselves included, face in their battles with the flesh.