Not really sure how many Rocky movies there are now--several! But boxing oughta remind us of the ongoing fight we are in--the good fight of faith.
There’s a point in there where the now older sage, Rocky Balboa, says to young Adonis, “See this guy here” pointing to his reflection in a mirror, “That’s the toughest opponent you’re ever going to have to face. I believe that is true in the ring and I think that’s true in life. Now show me something.”
That was a key line and those words reminds me and my Dallas friends here of what I.. yes, what we each as Christians, must deal with. That is until the day we arrive home with the Lord.
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:1-4
It’s so easy for me to get unfaithful–so self-confident, depending upon my own flesh if ya will. I hate that.
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” 14-15
What are the three enemies of every believer?
1.) The old fleshly nature–that sinful nature inside that tells ya to do what it tells ya to do. It’s in opposition to the Holy Spirit at work inside of you by His anointing.
2.) This world system–all about this life here that opposes the Lord and the work of Christ.
3.) The devil, including all his fallen angel minions.
Is there anything good in your fleshly nature? Nope. The Bible, Gods word clearly says so. The Bible says...
“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that [it is] good. But now, [it is] no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but [how] to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will [to do], I do not do; but the evil I will not [to do], that I practice. Now if I do what I will not [to do], it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” Romans 7:14-20.
I’ve heard false teachers error by tellin’ me, “No Kurt, there is no fleshly nature in the Christian now. You just need to confess it better and receive your blessings.”
Now it’s true that when we repent and are reborn..you know of the Spirit.. we each get a brand new nature inside us from Christ. Free of charge--don’t have to earn anything. And that’s why it’s way important for each of us to have the fear of God as we sow to the Spirit ......instead of sowing to the flesh. I mean choosing right.. to live disciplined and built up spiritually so that we can win over that black dog (old nature) inside us so to speak. Read your Bible daily, pray everyday, fellowship with growing Christians, avoid sin and all those places where you used to, and sharing your faith. No time for mixed sowing to the world or dead religion which is part of this world’s system etc.
And other people have told me, “O Kurt, our flesh is good not bad.” Well, to me it’s kinda like my car, and I am indeed grateful to God that He gave me this body to get around in down here. I love to explore places.. and one day soon I’ll have a brand new body, an updated 2.0 version, but I’m really talking about my old sinful nature here. Don’t wanna walk in the flesh but in the Spirit. Ain’t nothin’ good in my flesh, or in yours. See what God says about it…
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” ~ Paul, v. 18
Think about it. Go do a study on this looking at these verses in their whole context. You know that people sin in three areas of temptation: 1.) The lusts of the flesh, 2.) The lusts of the eyes, and 3.) The pride of life. Go look at those in the Bible who sinned and see that each involved.
So, what is it that draws us toward God over and over again? It’s His grace. The Spirit gives this grace to the humble, not to the proud or rebellious. It’s by grace–that’s how we get saved aka born again, and how we daily walk in victory by the Spirit ..instead of walking in defeat according to the flesh.
Submission is so important with this as well. But submission to the right Person instead of to the wrong persons. We submit to Christ, and to delegated authorities over us (short of doing sins). Yes we appeal to them so we can to things the right way instead of spiritually compromise.
How can you or I expect to have peace and joy and love, or expect to influence others in the right direction if we are not strong in the Lord?
We are to resist the devil and all his fallen-angel-buds that keep trying to tempt us. We deny ourselves. We run to the Cross so to speak–we mortify the works of the flesh and then receive newness of life. Resurrection life to not remain dead here. Submission brings order, not problems so let’s apply the word, pray the word, meditate upon the word, and daily speak the word when tempted. Jesus did that. Enjoy winnin’ in life this way--and winnin’ others to Him.
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Kurt W. von Schleicher