“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Loud and proud. The words burst out of my mouth one day. I was confessing to a friend the struggle I face daily. I am certain I am not alone in this. My flesh, my humanness, my sin nature, is LOUD and PROUD. My flesh pridefully believes I should get my way and do what I want and make decisions and live my life according to what I feel and what I think will satisfy my self-centered desires. How can I possibly be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ if I struggle daily with loud and proud flesh? Isn’t this impossible? Doesn’t this mean I’m not a Christ follower? No! This is the battle every human faces who repents of a lifestyle of sin, places his or her trust in Christ as Lord, and genuinely commits his or her life to Jesus Christ! For when we are born again by believing in Christ and truly devoting our lives to Him, to God and His Word, we still are every ounce human. Our flesh remains. We still live in LOUD and PROUD bodies that were born into sin, into a sinful world, into a world riddled with darkness in which temptations are endless to live contrary to the Lord and His ways. Into a world that is all about SELF. But God HATES pride, and we who profess to believe in Christ as Lord need to learn how to have victory over our flesh and to truly live for the Lord!
We need to not condemn ourselves for having the wrong thoughts and feelings, but instead to receive the Spirit of God’s correction, purge ourselves of them when they come, and replace them with God’s Word and what He commands us to believe, think, and do instead. It may sound pretty on paper, but in my experience it’s everything but. It truly is a vicious battle, but it’s a battle we can win in Christ. Here’s an example.
God is sending me back to Virginia for a season for ministry. My LOUD and PROUD flesh desperately does not want to go for numerous reasons. Most of all because I feel safe, comfortable, and secure exactly where I am and where everything is familiar. God’s Word tells me as a Christ follower who is promised now and forever with God in heaven that I am His daughter – AND servant. I am here to love Him – AND to obey Him. He commands us to die to ourselves and to live for Him. So I choose to repent of my pride and selfishness and to humbly come before Him and go where He sends me because I am His. And when His Spirit convicts me I have fallen back into my pride and self-centeredness, I commit to repenting again and choosing to love, worship, obey, and praise Him instead! Oh, what joy comes in pleasing God and growing ever closer to Him! What untold beauty there is in living for Him! Oh, the beauty of the Lord!