Last summer, through no doing of my own, God woke me up. He began to teach me that indeed we could look like the Spirit filled people of the Bible and we could walk with God like they did. In fact, the Bible tells us that to see God we must walk like they walked. We must be Holy. 1 Peter 1:16 “for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
At a time in life when everyone was saying community, community, community, God has had me somewhat withdrawal and just abide in Him the last few months. Some pastors and teachers say we can’t grow without community but God has grown me more over this time period than any other time in my life. It’s great to be around born again believers but isolation can and will bring about a dependence on God to fill your every need. Without this dependence, we can’t know God. Dependence is faith.
Isolation to those without the Spirit could be disastrous but periodic isolation to those filled with God can be glorious. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert for 40 days to be tested. Was Jesus in community during this time? Of course not. Jesus was alone and hungry and He had to rely on His Father for everything. His faith was tested and He grew through that testing. Hebrews 5:8-9 “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Community does not draw us closer to God. God draws us closer to God. James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
During my time of isolation, I have had my own time of testing. God has used this time to teach me obedience. I have not gone without food or water but I have had to do without other comforts. God has been watching to see if I would give into temptation and turn back to my old life or if I would stay firmly planted in His Word of Truth. I have seen that the longer this time has went on, the greater the temptations have been. Without the power of God, I would have failed long ago.
For years and years I was stuck in sexual sin. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get free. Today, by God’s grace(enabling power), I am free. I didn’t need therapy, community, or support groups. I had to surrender my heart and life to Jesus Christ and He provided the power to overcome. If we obey Jesus’s teachings, we love Him. If we love Him, we will have His Spirit. If we have His Spirit and walk in the Spirit, we will be free of habitual sin. How can a Spirit filled Christian go on sinning? There is no sin in Christ. If they continue to habitually sin as I did, either they don’t have the Spirit or they have not denied themselves. Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” If we don’t deny ourselves, we are not a disciple of Jesus Christ. No slave of sin will go to heaven. Will we occasionally mess up? Yes. Can we live in it? No.
John 8:31-35 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.”
What about Romans 7? Doesn’t this show that even Paul couldn’t turn from sin? God was pleased to write the Bible in such a way that has caused division on the topic. Romans 7:14-18 “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Notice in the versus Paul says He is unspiritual and that good itself does not dwell in him. He couldn’t possibly be talking about his present state because we know Paul was powerfully indwelled with the Holy Spirit. To say that, would be to lie and to speak blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in him. Do you think Paul had the power to heal people (symbolism for spiritual healing) but no power over sin in his own life? One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is self-control.
In Romans 7, Paul is speaking of the sinful nature in man before the Holy Spirit came, and how no matter how hard they tried, they could not follow the law, an external covenant. Romans 7 does not talk about the Holy Spirit. Romans 8 talks about the Holy Spirit, an internal covenant, and how if we have the Spirit inside us, we no longer live in the flesh (passions, pleasures, sin nature). Romans 8:12-14 “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” How are misdeeds of the body done away with? The Spirit. The Old Testament law caused them to do what they didn’t want to do because the law gave sin it’s power. 1 Corinthians 15:56 “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” Until Jesus came, everyone was a slave to sin. Jesus died to give us freedom from sin. When His Spirit came, His power over sin came to those that received it. To have His grace, His enabling power, we must turn from the world, obey Him, and have faith that what He said is true. John 16:7 “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” It is better for you to have the Holy Spirit then have Jesus in the flesh in your living room. Why? Because His Spirit gives enabling power over sin and death.
1 John 2:6 “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
Romans 6:11-14 “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
1 Peter 2:16 “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.”
1 John 3:8-9 “The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the very start. This is why the Son of God was revealed, to destroy the works of the devil. Anyone born of God refuses to practice sin, because God’s seed abides in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.