Let us think about our story, the path on which we are walking, as firstborns of God, grown and mature and ready to go into the real world. Apostle Paul is speaking of the spiritual world and the path we need to take as followers of Jesus Christ. It is a path and a life where we are afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Once again let us ask ourselves: Are we looking at the things which are seen? Or things which are not seen? No matter how splendid our life is on this earth, no matter how much wealth and riches we may have, these are all temporal. John 6:63 is spoken of in Romans 8 by Apostle Paul that the spirit leads us to life and the flesh leads us to death.
1. We need to be resolved / resolute in walking the spiritual path
It is not an easy path. When Jesus tells His disciples about His suffering, death and resurrection, Peter who represented all the other disciples spoke from his fleshly zeal and affection for Jesus, fleshly thoughts. Jesus was actually speaking of the spiritual path He needs to walk. Matthew 16:20-24. Jesus called Peter, Satan. Why? Because God’s path for Jesus is the spiritual path, and Peter tried to stop it with fleshly thoughts. Peter was called a stumbling block to Jesus, stopping Jesus from taking the spiritual path. Again we are asking ourselves, “Are we setting our minds on God’s interest?”.
Throughout the History of Redemption, God has been choosing a person who will choose the spiritual path. (Luke 18:8)
During Noah’s time, the righteous people were mocked. Is it any different today? People were seeking fleshly wishes and desires, God was persecuted and rejected by people when God’s Word says you shall not do as according to your sinful desires and wishes. 2 Peter 2:5-8. Noah preached righteousness.
The time of Lot was a time when people were spiritually blinded and driven by sinful desires, without conscience. If we don’t discern between the spiritual and fleshly, to choose the spiritual over the fleshly, we will be vulnerable to Satan’s attack. During the time of Lot, angels came to tell Lot the truth about the times, to save him out of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah which will be destroyed very soon. How did people take the Word of God? They took it as a joke, words that just passed them by. The people wanted to sexually violate and abuse the angels. Lot offered up his 2 daughters to be abused instead of the 2 male guests. We may not understand from our physical perspective, because we think about it in a fleshly way. He has seen something in those angels who came to deliver the Word of God. He saw something in the Word of God and came to understand the times. He knew this was a spiritual thing, the path of the spirit.
Modern-day today, is a time of complacent faith, we get busy with worldly things and desires of the flesh, tied up with materialism and self-centred life. How much are we affected by the ways and trends of the world? What do we pray for daily? Is it really for God’s will or merely for my wellbeing and my success? Lot understood God will protect his family, his daughters. But if he rejects the Word of God at that very moment, everyone will be destroyed.
We need to make our resolution and become more resolved about walking this path. Apostle Paul said there will be suffering, persecution and difficulties in every aspect. But if we keep on falling back on our fleshly desires, we will continue to be defeated. (Romans 8:17, 1 Corinthians 9:27)
2. Satan will sabotage those who walk this path
Satan will attack us in every way. The spiritual path of faith is like a maze, sometimes we are confused, sometimes we cannot even see clearly ahead of us. Sometimes we wonder why we are going through the suffering again even after suffering in the past. We need another set of eyes to see from the above. We need to see from God’s perspective. In order for us not to get lost, we need a lifeline, a guideline, so we can come back to the origin every time. We need to tie our lives and our bodies to the Word of God. We need to ensure it is the Word of God that guides our path. When you sense that Satan is trying to afflict you and bother you and cause trouble at work and different things, that is when you have to give thanks to God that God I must be on the right path, God help me on this problem, help me to overcome and don’t let Satan defeat and overcome me.
The reason why we take this path that apostle Paul introduces to us today, the path of following Jesus, is because we believe in the greater world. We believe there is eternity. Faith is not something that depends or succumbs to conditions, circumstances, environment or situations. Faith has the power, power in the Word, to control and change our conditions, circumstances, environment, to follow His will.
If we have doubts and scepticism, unsure faith, we cannot go forward and yet we cannot give up. It is like walking on the spot, not making progress forward. That is called a complacent faith. Outwardly you feel like and act like and believe like you have faith, but you are not making progress. It is an undecided faith, half-hearted faith. Once we are comforted by the Word of God, the next step is to graduate from this cycle of weakness and complacency. The bible tells us what happens to those with complacent faith. (John 12:25, Galatians 5:24, Galatians 6:14, Isaiah 32:9-11, Amos 6:1, Isaiah 24:1-13)
How do we get out of complacency and being spiritually lazy? The flesh needs to do the spiritual work also. Just as Apostle Paul says he makes his body a slave, we need to also make our flesh and our bodies and our life work, get up and walk the path of the spirit too. (1 Corinthians 9:27, 1 Timothy 2:15)
People of faith in Hebrews 11, are already the firstborns of the covenant. They were recognized for their faith, but every verse from Abel onwards, is that “by faith Abel… Noah… Abraham” and their actions were described. They not only believed virtually or mentally or just through words, but their faith led their bodies to follow and do the work. Through all kinds of suffering and hardships, blood and sweat, these people follow this path of faith. Romans 15:4-7. We need to invest our time, our effort, our work. We need to invest spiritually and physically.
Conclusion: Is this spiritual path, a good path?
(Hebrews 11:36-38) We too are ploughing through and running, and sometimes we feel like dying, sometimes it is agonizing and we don’t know why we are on this marathon, but we cannot get out of it not by force but because of the seed of hope. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether we finish first or last. I believe God has put many of us on this path, which leads to eternal life.