Thursday, August 14, 2014

Keeping Up On Our Focus

     Notice the relationship between overcoming sin and focusing on Jesus.  The first few words of this scripture express the most significant challenge we face:  "Lay aside the sin which so easily ensnares us.  Paul knew that sin strikes a responsive carnal-cord in our hearts.  We naturally tend toward sin.
     Yes, Paul does say it will take personal endurance to gain the victory, but not endurance of itself.  he joins endurance to something else-- looking unto Jesus.  By focusing the hearts affections, sympathies and understanding on the Savior, who endured the cross out of His great love for us, the exercise of the will in dealing with temptation will be made effectual.  It is the abiding sense of Christ's love that makes the heart strong to conquer sin.
     The concept is simple:  The more distance from our thoughts is the cross of Christ, the stronger will be the appeals of temptation.  The greater is our conscious appreciation of the cross, the mightier will be the heart's will to vanquish sin.
     Or we could say it this way: The more motivated we are by God's love, the less tempted we will be by sin.  In the light of God's love, sin loses it's attraction and all of God's ways become beautiful in our eyes.
     So Paul's basic formula for dealing with temptation is this:
    *  lay aside sin,
    *  with faithful endurance,
    *  by looking unto Jesus, who endured the cross.
    Trying to lay aside by personal endurance, of itself,  will eventually tucker out even the most self-willed.  It is absolutely vital that we combine with our efforts a constant, progressively deepening focus on the life and love and the cross of Jesus
     Unless Jesus is made the all in all of our Christian experience it simply will not work.  No matter how sincere we are, no matter how hard we try, we can never live the Christian life apart from Christ.  If we don't learn this lesson by the testimony of Scripture, hopefully we will learn it by experience.  If not, we will eventually cast Christianity to the wind as an illusive dream.  And it won't be because we didn't know the rules, but because we didn't know the One who made the rules.
     Yes, Father,  Ive experienced the futility of trying to deal with temptation in my own strength. I've tried to make myself do right and resist wrong on my own.  It's an endless round of failure.  I so need the new heart, a heart that moves at the impulse of Your love.  As I look to Jesus who endured the cross for me, please renew that heart in me day by day.  In His mighty name I pray.  Amen.

(Won't you join me in offering this same prayer for yourself and let God work in your life, I want Him to work in my life every moment of every day, don't you? Grandma Joan)

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