Friday October 26, 2018
Spiritual over material: The way of God says that everyone who can work must work. And it even gives a reason, EPH 4:28:
This is in our study because the spiritual must command the material of our own bodies. We are commanded to work if we can. Certainly, because of certain handicaps, a small percentage of the population cannot work, and children up to a certain age should not work.
The Bible has a lot to say about laziness vs. energy and production from our bodies. The fruit of self-control is directed towards our bodies. Paul said, “I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest after I have instructed others, I myself should be untestable.”
EPH 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
EPH 4:26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
EPH 4:27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
EPH 4:28 Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.
Rather than taking, we are to be giving. We must have something to give. It is obvious that Paul is referring to money in this instance. As is the case in the NT, we are not told how much to give to others. No percentages are given to us. But, we are to work so that we have something to share with those who are in need. If I can work, and I do not, then I am either lazy or lusting after something that work would interfere with. In whatever the case, the spiritual blessings from God the Father are not the center of my life, but rather, I am the center of my life.
By entrusting our lives to a faithful Creator, we lose our lives for the sake of Christ. What we lust for, what we desire for ourselves is far, far lower than what pleases God to give us.
It is made clear that if we lose our lives for His sake by doing His will exclusively, living only in His plan, holding tight the spiritual blessings in faith, then what will be given to us will be beyond dreams. They constitute a life that we cannot give to ourselves.
EPH 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
EPH 3:21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
We must give away our lives and desires and ways and take the Lord’s upon us, and we’re all scared to do it. God in great grace and patience is leading us to that place.
The spiritual over the material is also the spiritual in control of our bodies. Each man should work in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.
The great initial attack against the church, as we have noted many times, was Gnosticism. It has many forms, but in almost all of their ideology, matter is evil, which leads to the conclusion that the body, being composed of matter, cannot be used for anything good. This is convenient for the flesh and for the lazy, but it is completely untrue.
2TH 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat.
2TH 3:11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.
Each man wants to make out that his own modifications to the original plan from God to mankind is in fact the original. These people leave in some things and take out others.
Each believer must obey the entire plan without modification. His flesh will resist this cleverly.
“We are sinners and can’t be perfect. How dare you say, obey the entire plan.”
“We like some parts of the plan and struggle with other parts. We will ignore the hard parts and call it good.”
“Such declarations are legalistic. We’re under grace, not works.” That is not what grace means.
Such objections have been heard within many Christian hearts but none of them are allowed in the Scripture.
Spiritual over material: Obedience to God in all things is non-negotiable.
When you train to use a thing that demands learning and skill and you are a novice, it is always true that you will assume that some things are right to do when they are wrong. You listen to your instructor and you begin to do and then you always assume that you know how to do the next thing, and the instructor says, “not like that,” and he shows you the right way. What if that particular step or task is difficult for you while other tasks and steps are not? You are happy to do some of the steps and hope to avoid the tricky ones. Yet it is the tricky ones that you must return to often and it will be clunky and you will feel uncomfortable. But eventually they will become as easy as the rest of the steps. It’s okay to do the easy things and enjoy them, but it’s not okay to avoid the hard things. If you avoid the difficult then you will never advance.
1CO 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
1CO 9:25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1CO 9:26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
1CO 9:27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
As a very practical application, when you are tempted to think, do, or say something sinful, resist for as long as you can and then resist longer.
Every minute of resistance in faith to sinful temptation is building perseverance, and perseverance makes character, ROM 5:3-4.
The material of this world is all temporary, while the spiritual is eternal because it is a part of God the Father.
Material blessings without these spiritual blessings are not blessings at all.
God is Spirit and those who worship Him must do so in Spirit and in truth. Spiritual blessings are the only source of happiness, love, and peace. They are the only source of unity, graciousness, faithfulness, patience, gentleness, kindness, and goodness, without which, no two people can coexist in love and peace and happiness.
Man must pursue nothing else. Seek first His kingdom. All the other stuff will be added to you.
The believer who seeks first the understanding and use of these spiritual blessings will fully submit to the will of God for his life.
This doesn’t mean that he does nothing else but study the word of God, but that the word of God, meaning his relationship with God, is first and foremost in his life. All believers are new creatures in Christ and we are no longer to live for ourselves, but for our Lord who died and rose again to make us who we are.