Week 3 Obey and Partake
What Do We Want Most?
You cannot satisfy your soul’s craving with half a Christ…he who would have Christ must have the whole of Christ—not only Christ as your Substitute, but Christ as your King! Not merely Christ to trust, but Christ to obey!
rowing up in the Lord requires partaking of Him, and partaking grants us the Holy Spirit fueled energy we need to obey. It is desire for God that spurs us to His table, but if we continue to feed our desires for other things ahead of the Lord, we remain immature. This kind of immaturity was the reason Paul spoke so firmly to believers in Corinth, chastising them for their status as babies who refuse to grow up.[ii] They should have been ready for meat, but instead Paul was forced to provide them food fit only for infants.
How do we grow up in Christ? How do we become spiritual adults, able to partake of solid nourishment from our Lord? We are in need of a strengthening diet, sustenance that will fuel our ability to obey God, but what prevents us from being able to stomach the truth that frees us from bondage to sin?
Are we still struggling with jealousy? Do we compare ourselves to others? Are we contentious and rude to people we ought to treat with God’s love and acceptance? According to 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, these are indicators that we are walking according to the ways of the flesh and not the Spirit.
Our human desires are the culprit; wrong longings pull us away from finding satisfaction in the Lord’s provision. It is very easy to worry more about what our fellow human beings think of us than what the Lord thinks. We fret about how things look, but the Lord’s concern is for how things truly are, and we must trust His vision of spiritual realities our physical eyes can’t see. This is what it means to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. By an act of will we place our trust in the truth as God reveals it through Scripture and to our hearts via the Holy Spirit. These are not things that can be seen, so we live by faith and not by sight.
We are so afraid of not belonging, and indeed, Scripture refers to us as foreigners here, strangers who can expect rejection from people who walk according to the world’s ways.[iii] But when our focus shifts to the astounding promises of Scripture, we find a better belonging in Christ. Through Him we are… a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession[iv]… fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.[v]
We can pray to desire the Lord above all else, and then we must act as if it is so. Appetites don’t change until the diet changes. As we discipline ourselves to put Jesus first, our desires will not initially be in line with the change of habit and direction. We will long for the old ways just as the Israelite slaves longed for Egypt even as Moses led them to the Promised Land.[vi] But when we set our hearts and minds upon Him, our desires change so that we conform more closely to His pattern; we are transformed into people who walk by the Spirit and not the flesh.
Pray: Lord, make me into a person who wants You most of all. Help me to set my hopes upon the future You have promised in Your Holy Word. Change all of my wants into desire for You. Help me as I discipline my flesh for Your sake. Help me to walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
… You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like the people of the world?
1 Corinthians 3:3 NLT
…be transformed by the renewal of your mind…
[i] From Sermon 2727, Bitter Herbs, delivered by C.H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, on Lord’s-Day Evening, July 25, 1880. Available online at http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols46-48/chs2727.pdf.
Charles Spurgeon’s works are in the public domain.
[ii] 1 Corinthians 3:2
[iii] Hebrews 11:13, 1 Peter 1:17, 1 Peter 2:11
[iv] 1 Peter 2:9
[v] Ephesians 2:19
[vi] Exodus 16:3