So, I have started work on my e-book devotional, “Love Done Right.” Knowing where to start with these things is always the hardest. There are so many logistics that go into organizing a fragmented book like a devotional. How many devotions? How long? Where do I start?
I still don’t know that I have an answer to any of those, but as God leads, I want to share some of them on here with you. Sunday, I attended my old church for the first time in six months. As a whole the governing body of that church is not supportive of Beggar’s Daughter. They love the idea of having an author and speaker in their church but can’t accept the fact that I want to tackle such a touchy issue. But Sunday, I was blessed to listen to the Sunday School message given by a man who is like a father to me and who has told me many times, “Someday, when you’re on TV, I’ll say I knew you when.” He finished a study on Galatians 5, and it drew me back into a part of the Bible I had long neglected (because I loved Romans more). I invite you to journey with me.
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (KJV)
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (ESV)
I don’t know about you, but I find such power in that verse. It hasn’t been ripped out of context and misapplied to the context of this ministry, either. In verse 19 of the same chapter, the ‘works’ of the flesh are listed which include (as the first four in the list): adultery, fornication, uncleanness, and lasciviousness. In the ESV, these are listed as sexual immorality, impurity and sensuality, so yes, it applies.
Look at the power contained in this verse. Right off the bat, I am reminded of my personhood in Christ- I belong to Him, as His child, I am, in fact, His. I am Christ’s. That is such an important part of our identity, because so often we forget that and feel that we are in this alone, without Him.
Second, this verse tells me that something has been crucified. It does not say “should crucify.” It does not say, “Those who say they belong to God should crucify…”- no. It says, “…have crucified…”
Ready for a Greek lesson? (I love this stuff and have a Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible because I love this stuff). The word for crucify in this verse is the Greek word stauroo, which yes, is the same word chanted by the crowd when Jesus was facing Calvary. It means “to impale on the cross” or “to extinguish.”
What a picture for us! For some reason, for me, impale carries this mental picture of driving a stake into the heart of a vampire (no, I have never seen or read Twilight). It is talking about the nails being driven into the hands of those who were crucified.
And then extinguish, well, think fire extinguisher. What does a fire extinguisher do? It puts out the fire. If you extinguish a candle, you are blowing out the flame.
But what has been crucified? What has been extinguished? My flesh.
Well that’s interesting. I still have my skin, right? Obviously my flesh, as in my blood-bearing muscles, bones, ligaments, etc is still intact, so this is referring to the nature of my flesh. My human nature, my sin nature. That has been crucified along with all of the passions and desires.
So get this, when we fall to sin, when we give in to sin, we are living under a dead ruler!
Years ago, the story was told of a WWII soldier marooned on an island. When he was finally found, he fought those who would rescue him. In his mind, the war was still in full swing and he was still defending his post, though the war had long since ended.
We can get in the same rut! We get so used to fulfilling the desires of our flesh because, before Christ, that’s the only thing we know how to do. Non-Christians don’t understand purity. They don’t understand self-discipline. They don’t understand what it means to live a life for Christ. For those of us who have developed a habit of sinfulness, it does become a habit for us, but like that soldier we are stuck in a war that is over!
Our sin is crucified. Done. And when we walk in that truth we know the freedom of victory, but if we choose to ignore that truth, we will only ever know defeat.