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Living Stone posted a topic in DevotionalsWe Christians have two natures one utterly corrupt the other totally divine Eph 4:22-24 (Written to Christians) That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man (human nature) which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts… and that you put on the new man (divine nature) which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. What the old man, human nature really looks like, The truth about the characteristics of my human nature, this is what the Bible refers to as my flesh, and this was the nature I lived in until I was born again. This nature is inherently selfish, self absorbed, self promoting and self pitying. It’s most dominant characteristic is pride, which man defines as boastful but which God broadens to mean a rebellious independence from Him. This nature secretly envies, covets and lusts after what others have. It lives entirely in the material visible realm, living by faith in God is foolishness. It makes all it’s choices and decisions by physical senses, human intellect and reasoning abilities, therefore it can only be content when all its circumstances are favorable. It falsely assumes that the accumulation of much stuff will result in happiness. Since these desires are seldom achieved it is prone to constant worry and anxiety over the potential lack of things. Even when they are achieved it is prone to worry and anxiety over the loss of those things. This nature, since it can’t find contentment within itself, is touchy and irritable about many trivial things; it is very easily angered and offended by others, and virtually incapable of truly forgiving them. It will bear grudges for a lifetime. It struggles to keep its basic animal wants in check and they often become compulsive or addictive. It tends to be lazy unless motivated by gain or glory, it is deceitful and manipulative. Because its core nature is so rotten it becomes a master at concealing and camouflaging itself with all manner of outward false airs and graces, that mask its true inner motives. If you ask me did God make me with this horrible nature? The answer is no. Where then did I get it? I got it from my parents who in turn ultimately got it from Adam and Eve. And they in turn got it from Satan when they believed his words – that’s how his nature got into them – instead of believing God’s words to them, so that His divine nature could have remained in them. We all, if we’re honest would agree that even if these characteristics don’t always manifest themselves outwardly, they are alive and well in our thoughts, Eph 2:2-3 In which you once walked according to the course of this world, NKJV/AMP according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God]. Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh, our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature, obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind. We were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind. Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells… Rom 7:21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me… Jer 13:23 Neither are you able to do good—you who are accustomed to doing evil. As a Christian I will live in and continue to be controlled by this evil human nature, unless: (1) I consciously and very deliberately choose to live in, that is, for my will continually to be controlled by, my new nature. This nature is my spirit or heart, and it was created in Christ the moment that I was born again. However to live in this new divine nature requires that I remain in continuous submission to God’s Holy Spirit, as He directs all of my steps. Eze 36:26-28 I will give you a new heart…put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, (God) responsive heart…I will put my (Holy) Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes (words), and you keep my judgments (words), and do them. NKJV Rom 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if…the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. Acts 5:32 …The Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him. Gal 5:16 So I say, walk in (every step directed by) the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (2) I consciously and very deliberately allow God to grow my new nature with more of that nature, by daily feeding me more of His words, by His Spirit, which words are that nature. However for this to happen I must continue to live in my new nature and to fully believe with that nature, my spiritual heart, the words that God personally brings to me each day. The genuineness of my belief will always be evidenced by my own words and actions being consistent with those words of God. A mere mental acknowledging or memorizing of His words keeps their life from my heart and makes me falsely assume that I know them. Jer 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them (believe them in my heart), and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart… ESV 2 Cor 4:16 …The inward man is being renewed day by day (or God intends it to be). Jam 1:21 …Receive with meekness the implanted word (from God), which is able to save your souls (your will from being captive to your flesh and so to sin). 2 Pet 1:4 …There are given us exceedingly great and precious promises (God’s words), that by these you may be partakers of the divine nature… Unless I choose to do both (1) and (2) above I will remain, that is, my will or soul will remain, under the continuing dominance of my corrupt human nature. This is what the Bible refers to as a Christian who is carnal, born of the Spirit but has returned to his flesh, 2 Pet 2:22 But it has happened to them…“A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” What our inward man, new divine nature looks like, If I do consciously and very deliberately choose to do (1) and (2) above I will be living in my new and ever growing divine nature, in which Jesus Christ, by His Spirit and by His words, ever increasingly lives. Let me share with you what this new nature is like: It is always forgiving just as it is forgiven; it is loving, but with a purer divine love rather than a highly conditional and often impure human love. It is increasingly patient and considerate of others and constantly thinks about their spiritual and eternal welfare. It is humble, in the sense of knowing its total dependence on God, therefore it isn’t envious of what others have, even what they have spiritually; instead it is charitable without any need to be given credit. It is not easily angered but rather seeks peace as it keeps getting stronger in faith toward God and bolder in its witness of Jesus Christ to others. Because it trusts God it is free from worry, it always wants to please God so it doesn’t sin. It is immensely joyful often for no apparent visible reason. This nature is “supernatural” it is the very nature of Christ, Col 1:27 …God willed to make known…this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. John 15:7-8 (Jesus) If you abide (live) in Me, and My words abide (live) in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. 1Cor 15:49 …just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the likeness of the Heavenly Man (Jesus Christ). KJV To live permanently in my new nature requires my becoming dead to my human nature, If I consciously and very deliberately choose to do (1) and (2) above then the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, will guide me to certain specific truths in God’s word. Truths that tell me Christ, by dying to His flesh on the cross, has already provided a way for me to die, in Him, to my flesh. As with the initial gospel truths, this deeper truth of the gospel simply needs to be revealed to my inquiring heart, and then just believed, so as to become mine, Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Rom 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon (believe) yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Then in order to stay dead to my corrupt human nature I simply need to continue to believe, each day, that I am dead, in Christ, to my flesh. This is taking up my cross daily, Luke 9:23 Then He (Jesus) said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me”. My human nature will not want me, that is, for my will, to be dead to its sinful influence; nor will the devil; and nor will unconverted people and fleshly Christians around me. But my love for and gratitude to God, my knowledge of just how evil my human nature is, and the powerful growing nature of Christ in me, will both motivate and easily enable me to overcome my enemies and to be made conformable to Christ’s death - which was for me, Phil 3:10 That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, Gal 5:24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh… These two natures of ours, one evil and one good, are in total conflict with each other. The conflict ends when we choose to die to our evil human nature and live with our will under the continuous influence of Christ’s nature within our hearts. This is what it means to be a disciple of Christ, now we will bear much fruit, through our words, into the lives of others. And our heavenly Father will be glorified and our eternity will be secure, Gal 5:17 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, NIV 2 Pet 1:8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Pet 1:10-11 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you Father, You keep us, You water us every moment, so nothing harms us, and all this by faith!
From the book “The Master's Indwelling” By Andrew Murray Chapter 2 – THE SELF LIFE Matt. 16: 24. (Jesus) If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. In the 13th verse we read that Jesus asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” When they had answered, He asked them, “But whom do you say that I am?” And in verse 16 Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus answered and said unto him: “Blessed are You, Simon Barjonas, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in Heaven. And I say also to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock (of the Father’s Spirit revealing through His word, to a person’s spirit, the knowledge of Me) I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Then in verse 21 we read how Jesus began to tell His disciples of His approaching death; and in verse 22 how Peter began to rebuke Him, saying, “Be it far from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You.” But Jesus turned and said to Peter; “Get behind me, Satan; You are an offense to me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” We often hear about Christians who compromise their lives and the question arises, what lies at the root of it? What is the reason that so many Christians are wasting their lives in the terrible bondage of the world instead of living in the manifestation and the privilege and the glory of the child of God? And another question perhaps comes to us: What can be the reason that when we see a thing is wrong and strive against it we cannot conquer it? What can be the reason that we have a hundred times prayed and vowed, yet here we are still living a mingled, divided, half-hearted life? The Root of the Trouble To those two questions there is one answer: it is self that is the root of the whole trouble. And therefore, if any one asks me, “How can I get rid of this compromised life?” the answer would not be, “You must do this, or that, or the other thing,” but the answer would be, “A new life from above, the life of Christ, must take the place of the self-life; then alone can we be conquerors.” Let us consider from these words of our text the one word, “self.” Jesus said to Peter: “If anyone wants to come after me let him deny himself, his own self, and take up the cross and follow me.” This is a mark of the disciple; it is the secret of the Christian life. Deny self and reckon you died to self through Christ’s crucifixion, which you share in when you abide “in Christ”; and all will come right. Note that Peter was a believer, and a believer who had been taught by the Holy Spirit. He had given an answer that pleased Christ wonderfully: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Do not think that this was anything but extraordinary. Peter knew it; and Christ saw that the Holy Spirit of the Father had been teaching him, for He said: “Blessed are you, Simon Barjonas.” But note how strong the carnal man still is in Peter. Christ speaks of His cross; Peter could only understand about the glory, “You are the Son of God;” but about His cross and His death he could not understand, and he ventured in his self-confidence to say, “Lord, that shall never be; You cannot be crucified and die.” And Christ had to rebuke him: “Get behind me, Satan. You are not mindful of the things of God.” You are talking like a mere carnal man (governed by your human nature), and not as the Spirit of God would teach you. Then Christ went on to say, “Remember, it is not only I who am to be crucified, but you as well; it is not only I who am to die, but you also. If a man wants to be my disciple, he must deny self, and he must take up his cross and follow me, in death.” Let us dwell upon this one word, “self.” It is only as we learn to know what self is that we really know what is at the root of all our failure, and are prepared to go to Christ for deliverance. The nature of the Self life Self is the power with which God has created and endowed every intelligent creature. Self is the very center of a created being. And why did God give the angels or man a self? The object of this self was that we might bring it as an empty vessel unto God; that He might put into it His life. God gave me the power of self-determination, that I might bring this self every day and say: “Oh, God, work in it; I offer it to You.” God wanted a vessel into which He might pour out His divine fullness of beauty, wisdom and power; and so He created the world, the sun, and the moon, and the stars, the trees, and the flowers, and the grass, which all show forth the riches of His wisdom, and beauty, and goodness. But they do it without knowing what they do. Then God created the angels with a self and a will, to see whether they would come and voluntarily yield themselves to Him as vessels for Him to fill. But alas! they did not all do that. There was one at the head of a great company, and he began to look upon himself, and to think of the wonderful powers with which God had endowed him, and to delight in himself. He began to think: “Must such a being as I always remain dependent on God?” He exalted himself, pride asserted itself in separation from God, and that very moment he became, instead of an angel in Heaven, a devil in hell. Self turned to God is the glory of allowing the Creator to reveal Himself in us. Self turned away from God is the very darkness and fire of hell. We all know the terrible story of what then took place; God created man, and Satan came in the form of a serpent and tempted Eve with the thought of becoming as God, having an independent self, knowing good and evil. And while he spoke with her, he breathed into her, in those words, the very poison and the very pride of hell. His own evil spirit, the very poison of hell, entered humanity, and it is this cursed self that we have inherited from our first parents. It was that self that ruined and brought destruction upon this world, and all that there has been of sin, and of darkness, and of wretchedness, and of misery; and all that there will be throughout the countless ages of eternity in hell, will be nothing but the reign of self, the curse of self, separating man and turning him away from his God. And if we are to understand fully what Christ is to do for us, and are to become partakers of a full salvation, we must learn to know, and to hate, and to give up entirely this cursed self. The works of Self Now what are the works of self? I might mention many, but let us take the simplest words that we are continually using: Self-will, self-confidence, self-exaltation. Self-will, pleasing self, is the great sin of man, and it is at the root of all that compromising with the world which is the ruin of so many. Men cannot understand why they should not please themselves and do their own will. Numbers of Christians have never understood the idea that a Christian is someone who is never to seek his own will, but is always to seek the will of God. He is someone in whom the very Spirit and nature of Christ lives, so he too has the nature of Jesus that cries: “I come to do Your will, Oh, My God!” (Heb 10:9). We find Christians pleasing themselves in a thousand ways, and yet trying to be happy, and good, and useful; and they do not know that at the root of it all is self-will robbing them of God’s blessing. Christ said to Peter, “Peter, deny yourself.” But Peter through his actions said, “I will deny my Lord and not myself.” Christ had said to him the night before, “You will deny Me,” (Mat 26:34) and Peter did. What was the cause of this? Self-pleasing. He became afraid when the woman servant charged him with belonging to Jesus, and three times said, “I do not know this man” (Mat 26:74). He denied Christ. Just think of it! No wonder Peter wept those bitter tears. It was a choice between self, that ugly, cursed self, and that beautiful, blessed Son of God; and Peter chose self. No wonder that he thought: “Instead of denying myself, I have denied Jesus; what a choice I have made!” No wonder that he wept bitterly. Christians, look at your own lives in the light of the words of Jesus. Do you find there self- will, self-pleasing? Remember this: every time you please yourself, you deny Jesus. It is one of the two. You must please Him only, and deny self, or you must please yourself and deny Him. Then follows self-confidence, self-trust, self-effort, and self-dependence. What was it that led Peter to deny Jesus? Christ had warned him; why did he not take warning? Self-confidence. He was so sure: “Lord, I love You. For three years I have followed You. Lord, I refuse to believe that I could ever deny You. I am ready to go to prison and to death.” It was simply self-confidence. People have often asked me, “What is the reason I fail? I desire so earnestly, and pray so fervently, to live in God's will.” And my answer generally is, “Simply because you trust yourself.” They answer me: “No, I do not; I know I am not good; and I know that God is willing to keep me, and I put my trust in Jesus.” But I reply, “No, my brother; no; if you trusted God and Jesus, you could not fall, but you trust yourself.” Do let us believe that the cause of every failure in the Christian life is nothing but this. I trust this cursed self, instead of trusting Jesus. I trust my own strength and wisdom, instead of the almighty strength and wisdom of God. And that is why Christ says, “Self must be denied and die.” Then there is self-exaltation, another form of the works of self. How much pride and jealousy is there in the Christian world; how much sensitivity to what people say or think of us; how much desire of human praise and pleasing men, instead of always living in the presence of God, with the one thought: “Am I pleasing to Him?” Christ said, “How can you believe, you who receive honor from one another and don’t seek honor from God?” Seeking honor from each other renders a life of faith impossible. Self started from hell, it separated us from God, and it is a deceiver that always leads us astray from Jesus. Getting rid of this cursed self Now comes the third point. What are we to do to get rid of it? Jesus answers us in the words of our text: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Note it well. I must deny myself and take Jesus himself as my death and my life. I must choose. There are two lives, the self life and the Christ life; I must choose one of the two. “Follow me,” says our Lord, “make me the governor of your existence, the ruler of your conduct; give me your whole heart; follow me, and I will take care of you completely.” Oh, friends, it is a solemn exchange we have set before us; to come and, seeing the danger of this self, with its pride and its wickedness, to cast ourselves before the Son of God, and say “I deny my own life, I take Your life to be mine.” Look at Peter again. Christ said to him, “Deny yourself, and follow me.” Where was he to follow? Jesus led him, even though he failed; and where did he lead him? He led him on to Gethsemane, and there Peter failed, for he slept when he ought to have been awake, watching and praying; He led him on towards Calvary, to the place where Peter denied Him. Was that Christ's leading? Praise God, it was. The Holy Spirit had not yet come in His power; Peter was yet a carnal man; his spirit willing, but not able to conquer due to the weakness of human nature. What did Christ do? He led Peter on until he was broken down in utter self-abasement, and humbled in the depths of sorrow. Jesus led him on, past the grave, through the Resurrection, on to Pentecost and to the Holy Spirit, and in the Holy Spirit Christ with His divine life came, and then it was, “Christ now lives in me.” There is but one way of being delivered from this life of self. We must follow Christ, set our hearts upon Him, listen to His teachings, give ourselves up every day, that He may be all to us, and by the power of Christ the denial of self will be a blessed, unceasing reality. Never for one hour do I expect the Christian to reach a stage at which he can say, “I have no self to deny;” never for one moment in which he can say, “I do not need to deny self.” No, this fellowship with the cross of Christ will be an unceasing denial of self every hour and every moment by the grace of God. We are called upon to live the life of Christ, and Christ comes to live His life in us; but one thing must first take place; we must learn to hate this self, and to deny it. Let us pray fervently: “Lord God, self changed an archangel into a devil, and self ruined my first parents, and brought them out of Paradise into darkness and misery, and self has been the ruin of my life and the cause of every failure; Oh, reveal it to me.” And then comes the blessed exchange, that a man is made willing and able to say: “Another will live the life for me, another will live within me, another will do all for me,” Nothing else will do. Deny self; take up the cross, to die and live with Jesus; follow Him only. May He give us the grace to understand, and to receive, and to live the Christ life. 2 Cor 5:15 He (Christ) died for me, that I who live should live no longer for myself, but for Him who died for me and rose again. Be Blessed