Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Standing Alone

For those of us who actually attempt to let go of worldly interests there is often an attempt to stand alone amongst life's difficulties. However we do not have the power alone to resist the devil. Our constant source of strength must be the Lord.

In the same way that Christ did not rely on his own strength but surrendered to the Father so too we must make a complete surrender to Christ. It is his choices to do right that will enable us to overcome. Literally the old self must die and the new creation born of God must be allowed to live without the fetters of the habits that we have nourished. God gives us a new nature when we surrender to him, but the habits formed in our old life are still there.

God does not take away the tendency to sin, because in this life he cannot. Yet we can resist sin through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. By allowing the Holy Spirit to keep alive the new nature that was given to us when we first believed we can put to death the habits that are left over from our old nature. These habits are the result of the character that we built in our previous life. If we will continue to surrender to God each day He will help us to cultivate new habits that will strengthen our characters.

Many people attempt to crucify self by living an austere and ascetic life. However that is not possible. Love is the only principle that can change the soul and love does not exist in the vacuum of isolation. Countless monks throughout the ages have thought themselves wise by removing themselves from the world. Their decision only removed the mechanism by which they might be truly changed. In a dynamic world loving those whom we can see is a tool of God to develop love for what we cannot see. 1 John 4:20

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