Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Too Much Like Us - February 9, 2011

Good ummm Wednesday morning! Had a bit of trouble deciding what day this was. Hopefully, I'll wake up here before too long since typing the devotional while I'm asleep could make for a rather strange devotional. How strange? I dreamed last night that I saw a Cabela's 90th Anniversary sticker on the wall of an elevator. Their 90th anniversary would occur the year I turn 88 so that leaves us a bit of time (40 years) to prepare in case my dream was prophetic.

There are times in a man's life when he wonders at everything. Usually those times occur at right around 0300 when sleep has for some reason been shattered by a strange dream or an unusual noise in the house. Often the noise isn't repeated to ears straining to catch the encore. In my case the noise is seldom repeated because the cat knows that trouble comes from repeated noises in the night. One noise, however, is good for keeping the big guy on his toes in a manner of speaking. The cat knows this and takes advantage at irregular intervals to keep the household in tip-top shape. What does one wonder about at 0300 on a cold winter night? This morning the subject to wonder about was just how bad things could get when the Comforter is withdrawn as foretold in the Bible.

One example of this is the treatment of prisoners or POW's. Some have been treated with respect, others not so well. The treatment of Allied POW's in the Pacific during WWII is an example of the not so well. But before we get a self-righteous attitude toward our own nation, we have the example of the Abu Ghraib incident in Iraq just a few years ago. I won't go into specifics in either case to turn your morning sour, but what might disturb us most is how like us the actual persons involved were. The attention has since shifted elsewhere in the world because more stories of that type have appeared since then. Police beatings are always good for the prime time news, especially with video. We don't get a video report of the 99 plus percent of police officers doing a good job at the same time, just the one or two who "went off" for some unknown reason. What scares us though is that again, in the same situation any of us might commit the same heinous act of beating on a helpless person. What is even more frightening? The people who read something like this and say, "No way I could ever do something like that! I'm too good..."

We can read about it small ways too. A Marine colonel is charged with shoplifting about $65 worth of stuff from a Wal-mart near Camp Lejeune. A colonel's pay certainly is more than enough to cover a purchase of that size; the act the man is charged with makes no sense. Wealthy celebrities have been caught doing similar things. People who are not in financial distress have been caught embezzling. What do you and I have in common with these folks? The capacity for doing the same thing exists in us too! We would rather not face that, but there it is.

Didn't Jesus clean all that up in us when we were saved? Have you left your flesh yet? Then no, not all the lusts of the flesh have been removed. We were born into a fallen world, and in a fallen world we still walk in our flesh. The sexual urge is a case in point. Certainly God could remove that lust of the flesh from us, but when used properly between a man and his wife, children come into the world. Without it, you might hear tales of honeymoon nights that went something like: "We watched a couple of Hogan's Heroes reruns, then she read War and Peace while I read the first Harry Potter book again, and then we went to sleep." You would probably wonder why the couple had rushed to get married. The world population might be stuck at a few hundred thousand or so, most of them conceived by accident. While many of the problems we face in the world would be gone, the blessing of children would be left to random chance. Kind of hard to procreate and populate the earth when no one is interested.

What God does give us at salvation is the Holy Spirit, a counselor and guide who gives us the power to resist the wrong urges and temptations. You and me are not left alone to face the trials that will come our way when Jesus moves in to our hearts. We need God's help to resist the wrong lusts and urges we feel. It isn't that you or I might not resist the one time, the one urge, but that we face the same lusts of the flesh day after day. Without the Holy Spirit, we get worn down and resistance in our own strength becomes weak. Come to God in prayer and get a recharge of resistance to continue the fight. Resist the devil and he will flee from you! Just don't try to resist on your own.

Have a wonderful Wednesday in Christ!


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