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Chapter 6 - Waking up
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. - Ephesians 5:14
The first step in walking by the Spirit is to recognize that we need to. There are many life experiences that can serve to jolt us out of complacency such as the death of a loved one, loss of employment or reputation, health problems, divorce, or some other calamity. What these sometimes violent upheavals can do is shake our view of life and the world to its core. At these times a person can be more open to changes in the orientation and habit of the heart.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. - Psalm 51:17
Sometimes God will use an intense calling, as he did with David, to shake us out of a faith grown cold. However, it would be more to our advantage if we were to rouse ourselves from the spiritual lethargy to which we are all too often inclined.
His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. - Isaiah 56:10
We all tend to drift into the comfort of the familiar. This is in part due to our desire for ease and comfort. It is also a result of the favorable distortion of truth through which we often see ourselves.
The plans of the heart belong to man; All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; - Proverbs 16:1a-2a
Truth is key to walking by the spirit. Humility is the key to receiving truth. Yet before it all, we have to have a spark that drives and motivates us. It is when this spark dies out and becomes inert that we drift into complacency and disinterest in the things of the Spirit.
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. - Romans 13:11
One way to ignite a spark or awakening is to call to mind what Jesus has done for us .
Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; - 2 Peter 1:13
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. - 2 Corinthians 5:21
Gratitude can be a component of stirring a spark of motivation. However, a dynamic that is solely reactive soon runs out of steam. What is needed is an ongoing and growing force that brings us out of our slumber.
Much of our life is spent in the pursuit of that which we value. We endure the labors of each day to obtain that which we need to sustain us. When we remember Christ and what he did for us, we can see value, but it is a sort of value in the rear view mirror. It can feed gratitude, but perceived distance diminishes even that.
It is the perception of present and future value that can more strongly draw us closer to our Savior. Many people would be willing to pay almost any price for a diet pill that actually reduced hunger. The reason that they would be so willing is that they see great and immediate value.
It is when we can recognize in Christ a present value that we can begin to awaken the motivation to leave the comfort of the flesh and start to walk according to the Spirit.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. - Philippians 4:13
Here we have an example of something that would have great value. 'Strength' is something that we can all benefit from. While obviously not describing physical Sampson-like strength, we should also consider that the 'all things' is not anything we might choose, but rather anything within the will of God. Part of the process of awakening is to recognize true value, verify this value through use, and come to rely on it as we draw nearer our Lord.
This exposes a critical limiting factor in getting a spark to be motivated to seek after the Lord. To be able to see value in the Lord, we have to be able to value the same things he does. For example, the Galatians were beginning to value something that the Lord does not.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. - Galatians 5:4
The real value we can see in Christ lies not so much in his granting our wishes, but in helping us repudiate the flesh and the world so that we can become useful for him in the work God has for us. We will not be able to truly value Christ until we can reject the false value of the flesh and desire the real value of surrender to God and the sublimation of self.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. - 1 John 2:15
We really start to awaken when our value for the things of the Lord becomes a growing passion. We can see with the example of David how that passion can become a foundation for a deeper walk with the Lord.
Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. - Psalm 86:3
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