Murder in the 1st degree is a serious, serious crime; probably the most hanus of all killing crimes. It’s devastating when someone takes the life of another individual. The murderer must be charged with the harshest of penalties in this type of case. Most District Attorneys seek the death penalty for this crime and I’ll tell you why. The element of intent. The murderer intentionally killed another person. It was no accident. One person meant to kill another and carried out the plan as he/she predetermined, or premeditated (or thought thoroughly about beforehand). Regardless of the weapon used, whether or not the murderer tried to hide the body, or whether the crime took place in the city or country is of no relevance once intent has been established. One person intently took the life of another person and it really doesn’t matter why in a court of law.
As a believer, we are commanded not to murder another person. Yet, in a spiritual sense, we must commit this act. We must murder the sin nature within ourselves daily. It is the flesh that corrupts our thoughts. In saying flesh I am referring to our sin nature. It is the flesh that battles against the Spirit of God within us each day. Galatians 5:16 says, But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For he desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
The sin nature within you must die today…moment by moment, which means you must commit the spiritual act of murder upon yourself. Sounds a little harsh doesn’t it? Most of what Jesus said during His earthly ministry was abrasive to others. However, the task is before us and we must intentionally take the life of our sin nature.
OK Pastor Jamie, so we must “crucify the flesh daily.” How in the world do we do that!? Like Murder in the 1st Degree, certain elements must be present in order to classify it as such. In the spiritual sense we are talking about, the same applies. The first element that must be present to successfully murder the sin nature is desire. You must desperately want to live according to the Spirit because you love God. I cannot emphasize the last part of that sentence. You must want to because you love God and for no other reason. He must be the center of your affections. If you desire to live a Spirit-led life, murdering the sin nature daily, and yet you are attempting to do this because you want to be more spiritual or less sinful, you will never succeed. At that point you are doing it for the wrong reasons. So what makes those reasons wrong? They aren’t for God, but for some other reason. If God does not need your works and you cannot earn your righteousness, why are you attempting this type of Spirit-led lifestyle. You must desire to murder your sin nature because you love God!
It is not enough to simply have desire. I’m in Starbucks looking at a muffin. I want it really, really bad….yet….it’s not on my table. The second element to committing the act of murder upon the sin nature is intent. You must be intentional. I’m wanting the muffin, but unless I get intentional, which means getting up, ordering it, paying for it, and putting it in my mouth, I will never, ever, ever eat that muffin. God could send ravens, but I’m not counting on it. You must be intentional. Isn’t this word so overused in Christian circles? lol But its overused for good reason! You must intentionally place protection software on your computer to prevent access to porn sites, you must intentionally cut-up your credit card like Dave says to stop spending money, you must drive another route to work so the opportunity to stop by his/her house for extra-marital activities dissipates, you must intentionally go to another coffee shop and remove the opportunity for “harmless” flirting, you must be intentional! If you desire to live a Spirit-filled life, but are unintentional in carrying that desire out, guess what? You don’t truly want to live a Spirit-led life, you want to live a self-serving life. And I’m not putting you down. Many people who are reading this resonate with this.
Friend, today that can change. If you have discovered you truly desire to lead a Spirit-led life because of your love and affection for God, surrender your lifestyle to God right now. Decide to intentionally do some practical things that battle against the sin nature. Set aside the way you’ve been doing things and begin doing something different and new.
Or maybe you don’t have a desire to change your way of living or your way of being led. Perhaps the sin nature seems more enjoyable or maybe you don’t see hope in a change. I’m here to say to you that your enjoyment will be short-lived. The desires of the sin nature lead to destruction and emptiness. You will only find wholeness and satisfaction in a relationship with Jesus. He loves you so much. You don’t have to change before you approach Him or before He’ll listen to you, but just simply come as you are. You and I are sinners and need God’s forgiveness. And God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross, paying for our sins, and rose again from the grave so that you and I could be forgiven and spend eternity with Him. He did this for you and I. Place your heart before God and ask Him to renew your mind, heart, and soul. Ask Him to help you lead a Spirit-led life. Friend, there is no better life. If you have questions, you may email me in confidence. Email: PastorJamie@Live.com
Heavenly Father, give me the desire and the courage to deny my sin nature moment-by-moment, living a Spirit-led life. I surrender control of my life, my circumstances, my worries, and my hopes to You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.