26 Oct 2019
The reason why those who are in Christ Jesus are not condemned is that the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. God has done what the Law, because of our unspiritual nature, was unable to do. God dealt with sin by sending his own Son in a body as physical as any sinful body, and in that body God condemned sin. He did this in order that the Law’s just demands might be satisfied in us, who behave not as our unspiritual nature but as the spirit dictates.
The unspiritual are interested only in what is unspiritual, but the spiritual are interested in spiritual things. It is death to limit oneself to what is unspiritual; life and peace can only come with concern for the spiritual. That is because to limit oneself to what is unspiritual is to be at enmity with God: such a limitation never could and never does submit to God’s law. People who are interested only in unspiritual things can never be pleasing to God. Your interests, however, are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you. In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him. Though your body may be dead it is because of sin, but if Christ is in you then your spirit is life itself because you have been justified; and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.
Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.’
He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”’
Through His spirit that dwells in you
It is certainly difficult to act as Christ does and to give life in situations where people have made mistakes. Yes, the situation at work is still bugging me and I am struggling to find a response to my team that would reassure and encourage, rather than reproach and discourage. I know I need to convene a meeting this coming week but what I tell them and how I do it is going to be crucial so as not to deepen the rift between the new joinees and those who have been with me for the past two to three years.
Like the man in the gospel who wonders if he should cut down the fig tree, I too need to ascertain if I continue letting people make mistakes and learn from them, or ‘lay down the law’ and tell them how I want certain things to be done. My heart is telling me to be like the gardener, who prefers to nurture and encourage growth, rather than to destroy what God has probably ordained. For who are we to interfere with God’s plans? But my head continues to tell me to just solve this problem and move on because there is still much to accomplish, and time is ticking by quickly.
The Lord says, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man…but rather in his conversion that he may live.’ (Ez 33:11) Therein lies the answer for me. Jesus Christ always approached every situation with Love for his fellow man. He gives each and every one of us a choice to make. Over the years, I have made many wrong choices and have had to deal with the various consequences. But as I look back, I can discern the hand of God supporting me and carrying me through the many crises which I brought upon myself. Such is the extent of God’s love for us that no matter what choices we make, He is always there to hold our hand so that the moment we are ready, He sets us free like a soaring eagle.
Brothers and sisters, we are all weighed down by our daily affairs and our individual crosses. And when we come to a major decision point, or a crossroad, many of us automatically rely on our ‘head self’ to weigh the pros and cons, analyse possible scenarios and outcomes, as well as seek the opinion of others before we take a decision. How many of us actually retire to a quiet corner or go to an adoration chapel to listen to what God has to say in the matter? I know of many who do, and I also know that many a time, we don’t have that luxury. But when it concerns the lives of those around us (and oftentimes, a decision will have an impact on others), just lift up a prayer to our heavenly Father and ask for his guidance and to speak to you. I humbly ask for your prayers as well.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for your spirit to speak to us and to prompt us in our daily lives so that we may truly act from our hearts, wherein Christ dwells.
Thanksgiving: Lord, we give thanks to You for the precious gift of free will. Remind us of the tremendous responsibility we bear when exercising that privilege.