Obedient children and children of disobedience (2) – Femi Aribisala
By Femi Aribisala
How can you tell if you are an obedient child of God? If you are, then you are. If you have to be, then you are not. If you have to obey rules in order to be obedient, then you are not. “The law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate.” (1 Timothy 1:9).
(God) made (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). If you are an obedient child, recognise the new you. Identify with it.
How can a girl tell if she is a woman? If she has to prove she is a woman then the devil is at work. For example, the devil says she can wear a very short dress that shows off her curves. By the time she walks down the street and heads are turning or she receives cat-calls from men working on the building site, will she then know she is a woman?
Or he tells her if she succeeds in seducing her boss, that should really tell her she is a woman. But even more conclusively, he says if she gets pregnant and has a baby, everybody will surely know by then that she is indeed a woman.
This kind of thinking is not only designed to shipwreck faiths but also to destroy souls: “Then the devil took (Jesus) up into the holy city, set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give his angels charge over you,’ and, ‘in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” (Matthew 4:5-6).
But if you have to jump from the pinnacle of the temple in order to prove you are the son of God, all that will happen is that you will become a dead son of God.
Fight of faith
The modern church has identified one enemy and has virtually ignored the other, even more potent, one. Paul says: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12).
Therefore, we put on the whole armour of God. We put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of evangelism, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God), and we watch and pray with all manner of prayers.
But fighting the devil is only half the battle. There is an even more difficult and more ferocious battle raging. That is the battle of Armageddon. That battle is not against an external enemy. It is a battle against our own bodies. It is a battle against the flesh; and in that battle, the enemy “is in me.”
Again, Paul identifies the dilemma inherent in this:
“I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7:18-23).
New wine: old bottles
The redeemed man is made subject to vanity. He is a new man in an old body. Jesus says: “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:16-17).
So why did God put the new creation in an old body? Since the redeemed belong to another kingdom, why are we still living in this world? Paul says: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
If all things have become new, why am I still in this old body?
Paul answers his own question: “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:19-21).
That is the reason why we fast. If we don’t live a fasted life, we cannot mortify the deeds of the body. If we don’t live a fasted life, we will walk according to the flesh. If we don’t live a fasted life, we will be carnally minded.
“The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7-8). “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).
Therefore, it is incumbent on us to put to death the deeds of the body. The body must be seen as an enemy and not as a friend. From today, recognize this: Your body is your enemy. Don’t take any nonsense from it. Treat it very harshly. If it asks you for a soft drink, tell him: “No!” If it asks you for snacks, don’t oblige it. If it asks you for illicit sex, deny it. Remember this: “We are debtors – not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.” (Romans 8:12).
God is spirit and he despises the flesh and everything that is flesh. He did not even redeem sin in the flesh. He condemned sin in the flesh. Since God hates the flesh, you can be sure he hates the desires of the flesh and of the mind.
“And you he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Ephesians 2:1-3).