These three passages we have read (1 Corinthians 15:31-34; Psalm 44:22; Romans 8:36-39) tell us about how we are to die to the fleshly things of the world, lest they separate us from God. However, the Apostle Paul is convinced that they will not separate us from God. The Ten Commandments we have been studying on Wednesdays symbolize the sovereignty of God, which Adam and Eve rejected in the Garden of Eden. The work of restoration thus begins with the restoration of God’s sovereignty in our lives. Unless God’s sovereignty is restored and His Word holds authority in our lives, we cannot be the church. Let us thus ask ourselves, “How sovereign is God’s Word over my life?” The most difficult fight is the battle within us, between that which longs to obey God’s Word and that which resists God’s Word.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, whatever that is within us which resists the Word of God will stay dead. We will be like a jar of honey that is filled to the brim, and nothing else can enter to contaminate it. Satan tries to sow the seed of evil and whatever gets us to resist the Word of God within us. Jesus taught that what defiles us is already within us (Matthew 15:17-20). That is why God tells us to keep His Word. What is our focus? If we let greed, strife and enmity rule over our lives, we would resist God’s Word. We live in different situations every day, but we need to focus on the Word of God.
Who/what is this enemy of ours? (1 Chronicles 29:15; James 4:14; 1 Peter 2:11)
Greed is the greatest enemy. We need to fight against this greed, which the Apostle Peter calls ‘fleshly lusts.’ Satan sowed this seed of greed into the heart of mankind, causing mankind to reach out for the fruit. Greed dulls our spiritual senses in the same way a serpent’s venom causes us to lose our sight and hearing first. Greed causes us to perform actions incongruent with love (1 John 2:15-17). Following after the lusts of the world seems fun and enjoyable, but it all will pass away. If we follow these lusts, we will also pass away with the world.
How can we overcome greed?
We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. When we try to overcome our greed and temptations on our own, we will fail. We can only overcome this through the power of the Holy Spirit. And so we need to keep trying to be filled with the Holy Spirit. King David failed to resist his temptation, but he repented thoroughly (Psalm 51:7-12). He asked God to create (bara) within him a clean heart, because he realized, through this sin with Bathsheba, that he was born with sin (Psalm 51:10). David knew how important it was to have the Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:12). We have to also realize this truth: without the Holy Spirit, we have nothing.
We need to be sealed with thanksgiving. True thanksgiving comes from realizing that God has given us all that we need. Many people seek God for blessings, but happiness from other things. We need to learn to seek happiness from God Himself, instead of from the world. If not, we would be prone to addiction and dependency on the things of this world. The physical things matter, but most important is whether we find our joy in the spiritual things first. We can overcome our problem of greed when we discover the blessings of heaven. People who seek happiness from material things also make their happiness contingent on worldly love from people, rather than love from God. This is called idolatry (Colossians 3:5). When we receive the Word of God, it will fill us with the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Are we true Christians who depend on God? We must depend on God in true repentance and dependence.
We need to be diligent
The message of the world is to accept sin and celebrate it as part of human nature. We must not be like dead fishes, swept away by the current of the water. We must give our efforts in going against the tide of secularism (1 Corinthians 9:27). We cannot seek both God and the world (Matthew 6:24). We must only seek God’s grace.
Conclusion: What motivates us to get up in the morning to work?
What gets us up in the morning? What excites us about the day? Are we excited to satisfy our greed? The Bible describes such people (Micah 2:1-5), but we must find our excitement and satisfaction in the Word of God. Jesus speaks to the churches in Revelation, saying, ‘to him who overcomes.’ May we be the people who overcome our own greed and find satisfaction in God alone.