I was going to name this post: “What We Allow Can Kill Us!” and yay, if we don’t die daily, our spiritual man (our true identity) can’t live. That carnal man is a beast that fights us hard and I don’t know about you, but I’m still having a strongman to deal with. I can see you shaking your head, pointing your finger at me and shouting: “But YOU’RE the one who told us that it’s not you, but CHRIST that’s your identity, and today you’re telling us the beast is alive!”
I’m shaking my head, too, and crying out as I wrestle for the truth that is still hidden in the deep recesses of my being. This morning in my bewilderment that the knowledge I need seems so far from me, the name “Popeye” jumped into my mind like a stick in a busy beaver’s mouth ready to build a dam to stop the inflow of destructive thoughts.
As most of us know who loved cartoons as children, Popeye was a miracle worker who got his power from eating the right food: In His case, it was spinach, and in ours, it’s fruit from the tree of life, not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Oh yes, whatever is troubling us is eventually meant to become bread for us, but it usually doesn’t “pop” right away like in a bread toaster… We gotta make the dough first.
There’s no doubt that without a vision (an eye that pops in our spirit,) we perish. Well I’ve got a lot of things in my mind today, like scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms not fully cooked yet…. So here we go beginning with runny eggs: The Bible states that “The time is coming and is NOW”…. How can that be, huh?… In our thinking it’s either now or is coming, but in God’s mind, it’s both.
He speaks to us always as if something is already done, and we seem like liars when we repeat what He tells us…. There we are screeching in pain in our bodies, and God says we’re “healed!” Who are we going to believe: God or our bodies? But thankfully, we have the record of the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land that gives us understanding: “This land is yours!” God told them-…. NOT “will be,” but they had to drive out squatters before they could experience the reality, and as we know, except for Joshua, Caleb and finally the new generation, the old generation DIDN’T deal with the giants. The question is: Will we be like the old generation or the new one?
So my mind is going now to what Paul said about his flesh… It was obvious that his flesh hadn’t been eradicated, but He told us his flesh wasn’t who he was. He said that with his mind, he, himself, served the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” ( Romans 7: 25)…. that he, you and I are NOT our flesh,…. BUT then he said: “If you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live and as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8: 13, 14)
Okay: So here’s my scrambled-up eggs: We are called to be like Jesus not imputing sins to anyone, yet we have brethren in our lives who are committing all kinds of evils. How do we see them? How do we treat them? When Jesus was on earth He didn’t just wink at the Pharisees, lawyers and hypocrites. Yes, on the cross He cried out that they know not what they do, but when He was on earth He took a whip to the moneychangers on one hand, and on the other hand, he called the most treacherous of all men, Judas Escariot, “FRIEND!”
I know that I know we are not to have “aught against anyone”… and yes we can judge actions, but not people. I know that there’s nothing good in my flesh,… in anyone’s flesh,… and that I mustn’t look at people’s flesh, but God help me: I’m still experiencing what Paul cried out: “Oh wretched man, that I am (and OTHER people, too!) Who shall deliver me from this body of death?”… Yes, it’s the same me that in other moments hears the Lord say who I am in Christ… even the manchild born caught up to the throne, (yay, my risen spirit,) yet the woman (my soul,) is fleeing in the wilderness being persecuted at the same time. I have heard the Lord speak directly to me in these past two years, more than in all the other years I’ve known Him, and I am very much alive in Him, BUT something still needs to be changed….
Oh dear Popeye: My mother is dying! Give me some of what you got,” lest I die!
Author’s note: The name of Popeye’s girlfriend is “Olive Oyl” (OIL)! Don’t tell me that God isn’t in everything!…. even in cartoons. Our mother represents the old way of thinking and doing, so what can I say now, but “Lord: Give us oil!!!”