“IF” is a very small word which carries huge significance.  Romans 8:11 – 13 declares:  “But   IF   the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.  Therefore brethren we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  If you live after the flesh, you shall die, but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body,  you shall live.”

Verses 7 – 8 challenge:  “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then those that are in the flesh cannot please God”.                   

So then……IF…. the Spirit of  Him that raised Christ from the dead dwell in you…….    IF is the challenge.   Does the Spirit of Christ dwell comfortably in me?  He is the Spirit of truth and if I am not living and walking in the truth God has revealed to me, then I am carnally minded and what comes out of my mouth demonstrates how alive my “flesh” life is.  This is the place where the “mighty hand of God” points to and requires humbling and surrender to Him.  Death to the flesh!

How we appreciate and esteem the family of God who love and support us.  Let us not forget the words of warning that Jesus gave us:  “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you….”  Luke 6:26.  Jesus knew the danger here and how easily this can change with the fickleness of men and the headiness of blessing.

How do I react when all men do NOT speak well of me?  If God allows this to come to me through His divine grid, I must need this ballast in my life to keep me humble.  Here my thorny circumstances keep me looking to the Lord who is seeking to do His work in me through them.  Do I recognise that what comes, in His permission, through His grid then is holy ground!  Selah…..   The thorns in the flesh do not have to be a final position for me.  Do I trample roughshod over this holy ground in fleshly demonstration of anger, frustration, judging others, finding fault with them?…….or do I bow before a Holy God who has permitted the “thorns in the flesh” to do a work in me to keep looking to Him, my All-Sufficient One, Almighty God, El-Shaddai?

Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done”.  Holy ground.  Remove the shoes of your understanding and bow.  God will vindicate, (not the man), but God’s truth he lives and walks in, for He cannot deny Himself.  When He sees the life and character of His Son, Jesus, in me, God will uphold that life.  He will not commit Himself to my carnal nature and is very conspicuous by His absence there!

Paul speaks about “dying daily”, 1 Corinthians 15:31.  I cannot commit spiritual suicide to deal with “death to the flesh”.  God will arrange my circumstances whereby I will die at the hand of another.  Believe me, there are many “anothers” that Father permits to cross my path and will, to assist me in this task of daily dying.  Herein lies the exercise of the refining work of the Holy Spirit in heart purity.  Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”, Matthew 5:8.  I need to get God’s perspective on how He views my life.  Do I see God in all things, or only some of my choosing?  Only as I die to my will does the life of Jesus manifest in me and gives me His character of heart purity.  It is the only way it will happen.  I trade my will for His, and then His divine character displays through me and to God be all the glory!  It is truly all about HIM!

If I am experiencing thorns in my present walk, don’t pray for their removal but see how God is seeking to use them to draw us closer to Him through them.  When the work is done in me He is well able to remove them.  In His great love plan, His desire is to replace all my waywardness with the divine life of His Son and take me into His Promised Land of fullness.  He is only limited by my daily choices and I am the only one who can change that.  When I cry to Him in my weakness and inability, He strengthens me with His divine ability.  The royal exchange is His enablement, His supply of everything that I am not.  The “have nots” and “are nots”  of 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31 are redeemed, made righteous, divinely strengthened and sanctified through the finished work of Jesus Christ our wonderful Saviour……to God be all the glory!  This is the glorious consequence of surrender, living and walking in the Spirit comfortably dwelling in me.

Naturally speaking, no-one wants to die in the flesh.  But the measure I surrender to the Lord, is the measure He lives in me.  As I go out, (die), He comes in.  We cannot skirt around this deep issue with a few spiritual quotes.  God has supplied us all with a divine tool, an axe, that is our free will and choice.  Only when we lay the axe to the root of the problem is the tree of self cut down, (Matthew 3:10).  The axe must be put to the root of the problem.  If I remove the shoot and leave the root, the tree will grow again.

Jamie Buckingham described the difference between reaction and recovery.  Humanly speaking, we react in judgement to a situation.  The time distance between reaction and recovery from that position should greatly be reduced as we mature under the instruction and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  When I am convicted by the Holy Spirit of a wrong thought or spoken words, do I immediately repent and recover , by God’s grace……or do I sulk, complain for hours, days, weeks even?…….and suffer loss…..the lack of God’s peace and the conscious awareness of His presence.

How long is the distance between my reaction from my natural judgement to my recovery?  Delayed obedience is disobedience!

The resurrection life of Jesus Christ in His fullness is our birthright.  It is within me but lies dormant every time I choose my life over His.  The wilderness of life’s circumstances is our School of the Spirit, our holy ground.  Let us raise our “hallelujahs”, learn and embrace God’s perspectives and ways, loving our beloved enemies coming to us through the holy grid of a righteous God.  As our journey onwards progresses to our land of Promise, we will go forward only in the enabling power of His might.  We do not know what our tomorrows hold, but we do know WHO holds them.  That is all that matters, whatever life befalls is not important.  We are safe in His hands!  He holds all our tomorrows.