Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

November Fast is Coming

Romans 8:6

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

Photo on 10-9-18 at 2.15 PMI’m challenging all of our readers and my congregation to join me in the month of November on a fast. Fasting is not a spiritual discipline many pay much attention to these days. Fasting is a time of spiritual control over something in the temporal world. I plan to place this challenge before the congregation. I will encourage them to find something in their life that either controls them or deters their walk with Jesus – and fast from it for one month – the month of November.

I want us to be challenged to think spiritually rather than with our natural minds. Let’s begin with today’s passage in partial context. Romans 8:5-8 – 5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

I want to bring up one more Scripture for our devotional thought today – 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  The old is the human – carnal – natural – sinful self. There are many things that we feel drawn toward – maybe genetically – maybe environmentally – maybe a combination of nature and nurture. The point is – not all things we might be drawn toward in our natural human self can be considered godly or acceptable as Christians. I could make an argument that my physical structure gives me every right to be heavy – I mean I am big-boned – I have broad shoulders – I have an appetite that is enormous – always have and always will I assume. From my earliest remembrances I have had a big appetite. As a young adult I could down two double Whoppers – two large orders of fries and a large milkshake as a nighttime snack. And while I was active – officiating sports all year round – playing basketball every free moment and keeping otherwise busy – it never showed up in my weight. But this sinful desire – this over active appetite (a human desire) – has shown itself in significant ways as an adult who has slowed down. I gained over 100 plus pounds since my young adult days. I maxed out a few years ago and have been on a journey to find me inside this fat man.

Something that seemed so natural to me – so me – had produced a sinful result and acting on it was sin for me. My body is the temple for God. God lives in me and I had allowed my body to go to pot. For years I rationalized that I was still able to do the things I wanted to do – like play basketball (and well) – even with the weight. But a few years ago the weight became a burden and a health issue. With my weight I was unable to play with the grandchildren the way I desired. So what felt so natural to me – became sin. What feels so natural for you – what desire – what lifestyle – what choice – what practice seems so natural to you – yet according to the Bible is the opposite of what God desires for His creation? Everything genetic – everything that seems natural – is not good and acceptable. Everything that seems to be part of our very makeup – things we couldn’t change if we tried even – are not necessarily godly. We can’t fall into the trap of rationalizing that God made us this way so it must be OK. God created Adam and Eve and they were perfect. Yet – they fell from that perfection and so the offspring of Adam and Eve – humanity – became imperfect – a product of that original sin – our sin and a sin nature. Things that we deem natural could very well be sinful my friends. I’ve always known that about my appetite – but tried to rationalize it away.

We need to examine our lives – our choices – our natural self (which may feel so inbred in us we can’t imagine them being wrong) in light of God’s Word – the Bible. As Christians – it is not good enough to allow God to be Lord of most areas in our lives while holding back some areas for our control. You know what I mean – we’ve all heard people say – but they seem so committed to God in so many ways – surely we can overlook this one area of their lives. That is a good picture of what I had been doing. I allowed God to be Lord over a vast portion of my life – while holding onto my sinful – albeit seemingly natural – appetite. Read once again a few verses surrounding today’s passage. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

We cannot please God while trying to get God to accept our sinfulness. We cannot say I am faithful in so many ways God – overlook this sinful area in my life. Sanctifying grace is never satisfied with part of me – God wants all of me – and wants me to reflect His perfect plan – not some hybrid form I have tried to live – battling my natural verses my spiritual self. Don’t get me wrong – we all battle – in different areas – but we shouldn’t accept sin in our life – ever! The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace while the mind controlled by the human self is sinful and leads to death!

Pray about joining me in November for a fast. Find one thing that seems natural but you know through a study of the Bible to be sin. Prayerfully consider fasting from that item for the month of November. I’m praying about my item now.

By-the-way – I am down 59 pounds from my max weight and feeling much better. I haven’t arrived yet – but taking control of that sinful appetite – has helped physically and spiritually. Oh – I would still love to eat a whole Pizza or those aforementioned Whoopers – but – I will not! More on this as we go.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

October 15, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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