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Miranda Writes: Spiritual Physical, Part 6




by Omar Miranda



Well, you made it! This is our last week together discussing this very important topic of living a truly Christian life, totally surrendered to Jesus. We are living in earth’s very last days, and Jesus is coming back soon. As Christians we need to be seriously focused on working for Jesus to complete His vision, mission, and goals, not our own. The only way that we can do this is if we’re totally sold out to Him.

We’ve learned a great many things through the careful study of the Bible, but there are still several more things that I want you to remember. The three most important things that we’re going to discuss during our time together today are (1) don’t be Jesus’ enemy, (2) God expects great things from you, and (3) you can do greater things with God.

Listen to what Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi about certain people among them who called themselves Christians but who lived for something other than Jesus. “My friends, I want you to follow my example and learn from others who closely follow the example we set for you. I often warned you that many people are living as enemies of the cross of Christ. And now with tears in my eyes, I warn you again that they are headed for hell! They worship their stomachs and brag about the disgusting things they do. All they can think about are the things of this world” (Philippians 3:17-19).*

The cross of Christ represents sacrifice, humility, and self-denial. Paul says that many Christians are living as enemies of these very things. Are you an enemy of Christ by the way you are living your life? There are lots of things in this world that can take our focus away from God. Paul spoke about people who live for their stomachs, and what he meant by that were people who live for the here and now, people who live for excitement and the next big thing. They have no shame, and they’re constantly on the search for the next big thing that will give them the exciting, me-focused “high” that they want. They don’t care how crazy or weird or disgusting or sinful that thing is (remember our discussion of Romans 1:18-32 several weeks ago?).

These people are constantly focused on how they can have fun. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having fun, but Paul is speaking about people whose whole focus is on themselves. These are people who aren’t interested in being serious about anything but themselves! Getting for themselves, taking care of themselves, and making sure that they get what they need—or what they think they need. These types of folk are immature and selfish, the total opposite of what God wants you and me as Christians to be.

God has tears in His eyes when He warns of what the consequence for choices like this will be: HELL! If you’re one of these people, you’re going to be burned up! That’s not what He wants, but He loves you too much to have you live in a place that you wouldn’t be happy in. You’d be miserable in heaven because everybody there is focused on others and on God, not on themselves.

Ellen White, in her classic book Steps to Christ, says this interesting thing about what would happen if sinners got to heaven: “The sinner could not be happy in God’s presence; he would shrink from the companionship of holy beings. Could he be permitted to enter heaven, it would have no joy for him. The spirit of unselfish love that reigns there—every heart responding to the heart of Infinite Love—would touch no answering chord in his soul. His thoughts, his interests, his motives, would be alien to those that actuate the sinless dwellers there. He would be a discordant note in the melody of heaven. Heaven would be to him a place of torture; he would long to be hidden from Him who is its light, and the center of its joy. It is no arbitrary decree on the part of God that excludes the wicked from heaven; they are shut out by their own unfitness for its companionship. The glory of God would be to them a consuming fire. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them” (pp. 17, 18).

These types of people are selfish and focused only on their feelings and sensations. It’s all about what makes them feel good. They use and abuse people. They are not ashamed or sorrowful—they may even be proud—of doing and saying evil things that may shock you and me. Their reason for living is not Jesus; it’s the things of this world! If this describes you—and you don’t want to change—I say to you, eat, drink, and party, because if this is all you’re living for, what’s the point of self-control? But remember, once it’s done, it’s done! You’ve got only one go-round. But if you want to change, you haven’t gone too far. God will accept you just as you are. Remember, you can’t get clean to take a shower. You can’t be perfect to come to God, because if you were perfect, you wouldn’t need salvation!

The apostle Paul in Romans 7:14-25 pretty much sums up the sin problem and highlights a very important fact: if we’re Christian and seeking to live a godly life, we will actively fight this sin within us with all we’ve got. Plus we can be assured that God’s Holy Spirit will give us both the motivation and the power to win. Read this passage of Scripture for yourself, and then we’ll finish discussing it.
Here’s the deal: if you’re a Christian who is serious about remaining converted, not losing your salvation and you’re striving for holiness, then you’ll struggle with your sinful nature until the day you die. However, God promises that you can, through a daily relationship with Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, overcome your flesh! You don’t have to give in to that sin. The crucial question is: Are you putting up a fight? Are you wanting to fight against the evil that dwells inside of you?

The temptations, impulses, and thoughts that you struggled with before will still be there after you accept Jesus, but now, you’ve got a new weapon to deal with them. A weapon that Jesus used very effectively and that enabled Him—as a human being (just like you and me)—to overcome His flesh nature, temptation, the world, and the devil. Do you know what weapon it was? It was a constant, daily, moment-by-moment relationship with, and total dependence on, God. That’s how Jesus did it, and we can do it too!

The apostle Paul, writing from prison, probably in the second to last letter of his life, writes to a young, introverted, unsure-of-himself pastor named, you guessed it, Timothy. In 1 Timothy 4:12 Paul rebukes and encourages him at the same time in response to Timothy’s feelings of being unsure that he can accomplish the task before him. Paul boldly tells him, “Don’t let anyone make fun of you, just because you are young. Set an example for other followers by what you say and do, as well as by your love, faith, and purity.” Do I even need to say anything else about what Paul said? There are many believers in this world, but many today are either discouraged, tired, lack faith, lack vision, lack strength, or just are straight-up hypocrites! Jesus is reminding you today that if this job of evangelism is to get done, it’s going to start with you! You can set an example for other Christians. Don’t let other people—no matter how old—look down on you and treat you with disrespect. God has saved you for a purpose and given you each at least one spiritual gift. Use it for Him! Don’t let anything or anyone stop you.

Jesus, immediately following the Last Supper, drops all sorts of emotional and spiritual bombs on His disciples, including this one: “I tell you for certain that if you have faith in me, you will do the same things that I am doing. You will do even greater things” (John 14:12). This not only applies to them but to us as well! WHOA! I know you said it too. That means that you and I don’t have anything that can stop us. In fact, we have a promise directly from Jesus that He will give us all the power to do even greater things than He did! Now, this isn’t saying that the things we do will be better than what He did; it’s not talking about quality. Rather, this is saying that we will be able to do His work in greater quantity, to a greater extent. We’re not confined to first-century Palestine; God is giving us the power to take the work of Jesus worldwide, to do big things for the kingdom! I hope that, given this information, you will be emboldened to give God and others your all.

I told you at the beginning of this series that I was going to be honest with you—because I love you and want you to be saved. Neither God nor I want you to live a mediocre Christian life. Listen to me: Give God all of your life! Don’t hold anything back from Him. Let the light of His love, holiness, and the power of His Holy Spirit totally cleanse you from all sin! Sell out to God; you won’t be sorry you did. True salvation must first begin with full conversion and be followed with daily sanctification. Then and only then are we guaranteed God, heaven, and glorification! But when we do, we’ll want to tell everybody about the love, peace, forgiveness, and indescribable joy we have.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

*Scripture quotations in this article are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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