WFW & Advent Devo - Sacrifice the Natural

ADVENT ~ Day 25
December 23, 2009

Scripture Passage:
READ Galatians 4:1-31

Today, I'm combining my Word-Filled Wednesdays post with the Advent devotional, as the Key Verse for today's devotional has really impressed upon my heart who we really are - without Christ.

As I read our Scripture Passage today, my heart rejoiced in the fact that I am a child of The Promise. An adopted child, born of God, through faith in Jesus Christ's first coming, His virgin birth, His perfect sinless life, His atonement for my sins, His death, His resurrection and His second coming.

And then my eyes and heart stopped and rested on two verses: "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:4-5)

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, left Heaven. In Heaven, Jesus was rightly worshiped and adored, He was unconditionally obeyed and lived in the splendor of His own glory. He left that, to come here and purposely allow Himself to be bound by human flesh. I don't know what Heaven looks like because there is nothing we know of here on earth that's even comparable, but I do know this for certain: When we all get to Heaven, we'll ask, "Jesus, YOU left this for me?" I am humbled and overwhelmed by this truth.

"Abraham had to offer up Ishmael before he offered up Isaac. Some of us are trying to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God before we have sacrificed the natural. The only way in which we can offer a spiritual sacrifice to God is by presenting our bodies a living sacrifice. Sanctification means more than deliverance from sin, it means the deliberate commitment of myself whom God has saved to God, and that I do not care what it costs.

If we do not sacrifice the natural to the spiritual, the natural life will mock at the life of the Son of God in us and produce a continual swither. This is always the result of an undisciplined spiritual nature. We go wrong because we stubbornly refuse to discipline ourselves, physically, morally or mentally. 'I wasn't discipline when I was a child.' You must discipline yourself now. If you do not, you will ruin the whole of your personal life for God.

God is not with our natural life while we pamper it; but when we put it out in the desert and resolutely keep it under, then God will be with it; and He will open up wells and oases, and fulfill all His promises for the natural."
~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Have you ever tried to sing a praise song and worship God while you're still in angst about something here: Whether it's something with your spouse, your kids, friends, or just plain 'ol anxieties about how you think things ought to be? I have, and you know what? It doesn't work! When I get this way, our gracious Father is always so kind and gracious to remind me that I must first choose to mortify the desires of my flesh and resolve to know nothing but Christ crucified. It is only then that the same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, will also raise me to walk in step with Him (Galatians 5:25).

Thoughts to ponder:
Much like this little boy in today's Scripture-picture, we were once lost orphans, hungry and poor. But in God the Father's infinite love and abounding compassion, He chose to adopt us, to pay for us - with His own Son's blood. In order for this poor, hungry and homeless child to live with his adopted Father, he'll have to leave his worldly possessions and comforts behind. What do you think they would be? His dirty coat? His filthy clothes? Charms or trinkets he's collected to make him feel special? What about you? What natural affinities, natural comforts and natural attachments will you have to leave behind, both tangible and intangible, in order to live as if you are truly an adopted child of the King of kings?

Merciful Father, my glorious Love, You have captured my heart!

Why have you called me Your own? Why did you choose to touch me when I was stained with all my guilt? Why did you choose to wash me with the blood of Your one and only Son? Why Lord? Why such a great sacrifice, for such a lowly and wretched soul?

My eyes have never seen You. Yet my heart knows You. Thank You Father, for working the impossible in my life. Thank You for choosing me, so that I could choose You. May this Christmas be different. May my celebration of Jesus' first coming be founded in why He came. And may I live as if I believe You.

Word Filled Wednesdays