PrayerConnect for September 13, 2016
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”. ~ Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
My prayers have often included pleas for God’s help to keep me from sin, to cleanse my mind, and turn my heart from a sinful nature. In my desire to be holy I would “crucify” my flesh and set my mind to not sin against Him. I would alter my behavior to try to be the person He wanted me to be – which wasn’t as easy as I wanted it to be. But the Lord spoke to me one day while I was praying on the Armor of God, and altered my understanding.
The breastplate of righteousness is something that we put on, and becomes a part of us. We aren’t to shed our humanity (flesh), rather, we are to clothe our humanity with Him. Where we are weak, He is strong. God spoke to me and said to change my focus. Instead of fighting sin and its power, I was to focus instead on Him, and His righteousness. I was to pray for a love for holiness. Pray for a hunger to do right. Pray to desire His level of purity. I was to focus on His glory to the point that my focus on sin would fade from view because all I would see is Him. What I focused on I was feeding, and if I focused on His ways, His ways would grow in me. When this happens, my actions would naturally change to become like Him because I would be transformed. Rather than trying to alter my behavior to fit the Spirit, His Spirit will alter me (my spirit) and thereby my behavior (my flesh).
Maybe a different understanding of “crucifying the flesh” isn’t to deny its existence or beat it into submission, but rather to become so enthralled with the Spirit that the Spirit in me naturally rules over my flesh.
Think about it…have you ever become so captivated by something that you forgot everything else around you? Nothing else mattered in that moment; it completely had your attention. Imagine if we did that with Him. Suddenly we find ourselves walking towards Him, drawing closer, and in the process becoming holy and righteous just like the One we are looking at. There’s no struggle in those moments. My understanding of the Armor changed that day, and in that process, so was I.
Shift your focus to His magnificent glory as you gaze on Him – a glory that makes you strong in your weakness. Bind the armor of His righteousness around you and you’ll find yourself naturally loosed from the struggle of sin.
Kids and Youth Prayer Coordinator
World Network of Prayer