John 12:24-25 “Truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, but whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Jesus words are both compelling and convicting. His kingdom is an upside down kingdom to the popular voice of self-centeredness and self-absorption that we are saturated with in our culture. Jesus says that in order to truly live, you must love this temporary world less for the sake of others eternities. A life surrendered to Christ doesn’t exist for ones self but for the benefit of others. Following Jesus isn’t “me first” but “Christ first” and the application of that is in the way we relate to and treat others.
1 Corinthians 13:13 “These three remain: faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love.”
Many books, sermons and insights have been shared over the centuries on the force of faith. But the Apostle Paul highlights to us that Love is a greater force than faith. If a mustard seed of faith can move a mountain, how much of a greater impact can a mustard seed of love make? In fact Galatians 5:6 says, “Faith works through love.” Love is the signature of Christiantiy. Jn 13:13 says, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another”. The culture around us has distorted the idea of love by equating it with feelings and tolerance. Love is a choice, not a feeling and love doesn’t tolerate everybody’s preferences and behaviors just because society says we’ve got to be politically correct. Love is defined by the truth of Gods Word (1 Cor 13) and not the shifting sands of culture. Without the plumb line of truth, Love becomes whatever we define it as. We are not self-governing autonomous agents but human beings created in the image of God. We are therefore accountable to God for how we define love and steward love towards others. Choose love as God intended it, knowing that love makes its greatest impact when freely given for those to whom we find the most unlovable. Explosive Insights!
You might have heard the comment, ‘There’s a black dog and a white dog in your life and depending on which one you feed, will determine which one wins the battle.’ Nice thought. Problem is it’s not the bible. This philosophy reflects more of eastern mysticism (Yin & Yang) than Christianity.
Dualism is a theory that the world consists of 2 opposing fundamental entities and is not consistent with Christianity. Christianity is Christ-centric, not two equal opposing adversaries. Unfortunately a dualistic mindset has crept into the church over the centuries and has duped Christians into believing that after we are born again we have two natures at war within us – a Sinful Nature and a Divine Nature.
Romans 6 and 7 teaches, however, that once we are saved, we are dead to sin and alive to God. We have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. After we are born again our spirit which was dead in sin, comes alive in Christ Jesus and our sinful nature is erased. In Christ Jesus we are new creations, the old has gone, the new has come and we are now partakers of a divine nature. However, our minds have a memory of our old nature that needs to be reprogrammed and renewed to think according to the divine nature we have received.
What makes us vulnerable to sin and spiritual attack is not a sinful nature because that’s been done away with, but our un-renewed mind and spiritual lethargy. These two have a massive bearing upon our response to temptation. When the external fiery darts of Satan come our way, we have a choice, do we exercise our shield of faith or do we partner with the temptation and rebel against God. If we as believers do sin, it’s because we are exercising our will to do so in disobedience and rebellion against God, just as Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden, whilst having a divine nature pre-fall (Genesis 3).
The mind truly is a battlefield and needs to be reprogrammed and renewed because it has a living memory of old patterns of thinking and acting. That’s why Romans 12:2 says, ‘Don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’
Christianity is not dualistic. It’s Christ-centric. There are not two equal opposing forces at war within you. You have been born again. Your spirit has come alive with a divine nature and now begins the process of being transformed in your patterns of thinking to think like God thinks, according to your divine nature in Christ.