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Friday, April 6, 2012

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13

"kill the flesh."

Those words, when spoken, sound harsh. "Kill the flesh."

What does it mean to kill the flesh?

Is the flesh our humanity, our bodies, our natural inclination towards selfish desires?

The times I have felt most alive are the times when I have humbly learned to surrender self.

When I have the heeded in obedience to give let let God..

Who are we to say we are Christ like if we have never really "killed the flesh."

There is no Christ without a sacrifice, without a death, without the surrending of the flesh.

love abounds when self is put aside..and laid upon a cross to die.


I long to be the arms of Christ. I long to see myself standing over a precipe..throwing out loaves and fishes..watching beauty and love and hope multiply.  I long to be the humble hands of Christ..and the only path to fruitfulness is "TO kill the flesh." so that the spirit can rise up in a fuller and more perfect way.

Christ is so very real to me. Lately, I have had a very real desire to kill the flesh.

I want to go through my closets and clothe the naked with my excess. I don't just want to give away the old useless clothes. I want to give away some of the finer pieces.  The pieces that say, "you are important." You are dashing. You are beautiful. I want someone to wear something that I had a hard time letting go of..and say, "Maybe there is something to this God thing after all."

I want to come to a place where I would walk barefoot through a desert if it meant having a spirit that sees and knows Christ and recognizes him in the sweat of the sacrifice.

I want to be able to give up a meal in the spirit of fasting and prayer if it meant sitting at the table and communing with the King of Kings.

There is no true beauty apart from Christ. And on days when I feel like following my natural selfish inclinations...I find Him gently nudging me back....replacing in me the need to kill the flesh.

I think about Christ. His ministry began after he killed his flesh for the first time. He walked in the desert for 40 days and nights..He fasted..He had no food...Satan temped Him during this time. During one of the most difficult seasons of His life, the enemy reared His ugly head and tempted Jesus. It must have been a harrowing time because it says that the angels ministered to Him ... but yet He endured.

And when He emerged from the desert...He emerged vicorious. He had mastered His humanity. Jesus killed His flesh.  The spirit of His father, the living God, was so alive in Him..that He healed the sick with the touch  of His hands. He spoke to the darkness and it disappated. The darkness saw the power of the Cross long before Christ was even crucified.

Is that why we are called to kill our flesh?  So that we can emerge victorious from our deserts and truly walk Christlike..

There is no greater love than a man lay down his life for his every sacrifice made toward love a step toward dying and killing the flesh? 

...The other day I read about Palm Sunday. On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem. When He arrived, people honored him. They cheered and applauded and lay palm branches in His path.

Isn't this how we are to live daily? Laying down our palms at the feet of the Savior? Is there any other way to please Him than with our sacrifices?   By letting go of our stubborn inclinations and giving Him more of our time and more of our resources?  By giving Him more of our selves?

Dear Lord, Let me lay down my branch to you..daily.  Let my bended knees be like a palm that stretches before you...let this sacrifice of self be like those branches of honor that were laid in the street...

Soon after the branches were laid...Jesus was killed.

Today is Good Friday. I have reflected on the Savior's death all day long. This morning I saw a group of people carrying a cross along the side of the road and I couldn't help but become a little teary eyed.
If we would all learn to carry our crosses, and kill our flesh, the world would look so much different.

More children would be clothed and adopted. There would be less excess and less hunger. Lives would be changed and God would be glorified.

As Christians, we need to realize the importance of sacrifice. Perhaps it could look like less facebook time and more prayer. Less televison and more time with a loved one. Less money spent on indulgence and more spent on feeding the hungry.  The key to killing the flesh is grasping the concept of "less"

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, I
"Never will I leave you; I will never forsake you."  Hebrews 13:5

This verse is hard to hear because our flesh wants more. We want nicer cars, gadgets, luxuries. We more more things to make our lives easier. We want to feel good because in the back of our minds, we deserve it.

I'm preaching to myself now. I struggle. I want a new, shiny red European scooter. I  just got pretty new highlights in my hair. I want a trip to Spain and a semi decent, humble home...  but my  spirit..

my spirit longs to come the place where Christ is enough.  He is....  Joy is realizing that Christ is enough..even the disciples realized the key to joy was being content with what you have and realizing that Jesus is enough!

I don't think it is wrong to want things...but I want to come fully to a place where I completely content with what I  have and not continually feel the need for more.  .....

knowing and trusting that he will clothe as the lilies of the field like He says in His word.

What desert are you walking through?
I will pray for you.


One more brief afterthought that isn't even really related to this post..

I often struggle with trust. I have a hard time trusting certain people. Today, I thought about Peter.
I was saying a prayer on my knees and someone was coming into the room and I quickly got up..I wasn't ashamed that I was praying, but I guess I can be rather shy sometimes. I thought of Peter.
Peter denied Jesus three times on the day of His death.
I prayed never to become like Peter. Peter probably had excuses as to why he denied Jesus.
Let us never deny Jesus. On the day He died,  he was faced with betrayal... He knew He would be betrayed and yet He still walked towards His death. 
Could we do the same? March towards death for people who betray us?
Christ is wonderful in so many ways.

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