My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is
sinking sand. (Edward Mote and William B. Bradbury, The Solid Rock, Public Domain).
When I began reading God's Word to understand Him, I was asking Him to define Himself to me. Instead of coming to His Word with my own expectations and definitions, I came to His Word with nothing. Nothing but a heart that wanted to understand, that wanted to be changed, that wanted to know Him.
Up to that point, my life had been built on an unstable foundation. It was unstable because it was built on a belief system that was not totally based on God's truth. I had come to my own conclusions about God, about how He should do things in my life. Because of this, much of my life was built on misconception, thus on sinking sand. My life needed to be built, as the song says, on "nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness".
I recognized how much I needed God, but solitary recognition of my own poverty of spirit was not enough. My spirit wanted to be controlled by God's Spirit, my flesh did not.
The flesh, striving for control, coddles our feelings and strokes our pride. The flesh flaunts assets, virtues and ideas, telling us that we are self-sufficient, that we are good, that we need to live for ourselves. But God alone is good, there is nothing good within us. Once we are in Christ, our life is not our own. The voice of our flesh should not be our guide, but when we live for our own definitions and expectations, our flesh is our guide. Recognition of faulty definitions and expectations is a necessary starting point, but we must go a step further: our definitions need to be replaced with God's definitions.
Romans 12:2 says: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." (NIV) We are conformed to whatever we believe. What we believe shapes us, defines us.
Our flesh is conformed to the pattern of the world, it is built on the foundation of sin and self-gratification. Our fleshly instinct is service to the flesh, but because we are in Christ, we no longer have to fear or serve the flesh. The Spirit will enable us to live in His power and deny the flesh. Yet we must understand that the flesh will not die graciously, it does not want to surrender power. The flesh will constantly try to raise the scepter of its power and get back its control. In order for the Spirit to rule our flesh, we must conform (align ourselves) to God's truth instead of our own fleshly definitions and instincts. Every definition of our life must be built on "nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness."
More than anything, I want to be controlled by God's Spirit. As I believe God over my own feelings, emotions and expectations, my mind is slowly but surely being renewed: flesh-minded is becoming Christ-minded.
Part III will soon follow...