Recalcitrant, Dead and Inert

ID-100159550The first word in the title stopped me  — what does it mean ? In this wonderful age of devices and gadgets, I just highlight it, and, bingo, there’s the definition: having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline.

So, when the call comes that a funeral has derailed our plans for Bible Conference, I find myself a bit recalcitrant, and that, my friend, is not an attribute of holiness!

Lately, the desire for holiness in my life has moved to the front burner. Am I living a holy life, and what does that mean? A recent quote said, “Think not on a holy life, but on a holy moment as it flies” (John Kitto).

Holiness is a lifelong process of making right choices! So, when I read this devotion, I felt that perhaps it could be a help to you as it was to me! R.C. Sproul has a way with words, even if they are big ones ! 🙂

Becoming a New Creation

As Christians, we are new creations. Our hearts of stone have been turned into hearts of flesh. In this metaphor, flesh is used as a positive figure, not a pejorative one. Where once my heart was cold and recalcitrant, dead and inert to the things of God, now it throbs and pulsates with spiritual life. Once I was biologically alive but spiritually dead. Now I am biologically alive and spiritually alive as well. I am a new person.

There is radical discontinuity between my new self and my old self. This radical discontinuity, however, is not total discontinuity. A link between the old man and the new man remains. The old man has been dealt a mortal blow. His total destruction is certain, but he is not yet dead.

The conflict of the Christian life is a struggle with sin. Sin no longer has dominion over us if we are in Christ, yet sin is still in us. Regeneration liberates us from the bondage of original sin, but our corrupt nature is not totally annihilated this side of heaven.

Paul speaks of the warfare that goes on between the flesh and the spirit. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:17).

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Thank God for the new heart of flesh He has implanted in your spiritual being.

Copyright © Ligonier Ministries. Get a free book from R.C. Sproul

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Leaving the Comfort of the Womb

 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.John 3:3Samuel

As I held our newest grandchild in my arms, I was once again amazed at the creation of God!  One line from one of my favorite songs says, “Creator of the galaxies—You hear the baby cry…there is none like You.”

Little Samuel can see very little. He can’t bring his own hand to the place that itches.  He would starve without the wonder of his mother’s milk.  Each little finger and toe is perfectly formed, and I read someplace that his intestines are no bigger than the lead of a pencil.   His brain, which is soaking up an incredible amount of information, cannot tell his lips to form words.  His smile is just a reaction to a good feeling, like passing those little gas bubbles. And ye he has all the capacity to become all that God wants Him to be.

Until three days ago, his normal was complete darkness.  His home was a cozy, albeit cramped, cocoon floating in water.  He rode around on his head, but it didn’t matter, because that’s the way God designed it to be.

Then, within a matter of minutes, his entire world changed.  Now he must breathe air to live and his food must be digested and leave his body.  His skin is exposed to the elements and he MUST get used to wearing clothes. He can see and touch the one whose voice was as much a part of his live as life itself.

I’ve often thought that this life is just a longer version of pregnancy.  We are on this earth for seventy years, much like we’re in the womb for nine months: we “see through a glass darkly.”  (1 Corinthians 13:14) Then, through the sometimes painful event of death, we are thrust forth into a new and totally different world!

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!

And yet, the real reason for this post is another parallel: How much did your life change when you were born again?  Did you step out of the darkness and into light?  Did you begin to hunger for the milk of the Word?  Did you put on clothes, not only the clothes of righteousness given to you by your Savior, but the clothes of holiness as well?  And have you come to hear and see the One Who sustains your very life—the One whose voice was as much a part of your life as life itself, even though you didn’t know Him?

After just three days, I can’t even imagine Samuel back in the womb!  As I watch him flail his arms and stretch his little legs out straight, I doubt seriously that he would choose to reenter the womb.  ( I know his mother wouldn’t!)

Dear Christian, why do you long for this world?  Why would you ever go back it’s darkness when once you’ve walked in the light? Why do you starve yourself?  There is no direct pipeline from God to His creation except the Word of God. If you are a babe in Christ, allow other’s to feed you!  Learn from them and grow until you are able to feed yourself!

And dear older Christian, do remember that babies are messy!  All your shouting and looks of disapproval are completely lost on them! They cannot get it any more than Samuel would understand the admonition not to throw up on Mommy’s shoulder!  Just love them, and hold them, and care for them, and PRAY for them, and help them to grow in their timetable–not yours.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.John 3:7

Finally Home 

When engulfed by the terror of the tempestuous sea,
Unknown waves before you roll;
At the end of doubt and peril is eternity,
Though fear and conflict seize your soul.

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home.

When surrounded by the blackness of the darkest night,
O how lonely death can be;
At the end of this long tunnel is a shining light,
For death is swallowed up in victory!

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!

~ Don Wyrtzen

 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God,
which liveth and abideth for ever.
1Peter 1:23