Saturday, July 14, 2007

Doing Hard Things Starves the Flesh

Alex and Brett Harris have chosen ¨Do Hard Things¨as the motto, or ¨battle cry,¨of The Rebelution. You can read more about what Do Hard Things means here.

As I was musing on the subject of Hard Things recently, I thought of a practical reason to Do them.

What's the opposite of Doing Hard Things? That's right: Doing Easy Things.

Doing easy things feeds the flesh. Playing computer games in free time when I could write to missionaries, tinkering on the guitar instead of cleaning my room, even building a web site instead of following up on that business lead I got—all these feed the base desires of the flesh for pleasure and self-satisfaction.

Regular election to do easy things builds a habit of feeding the fleshly pleasures. Therefore it hinders my fellowship with God throughout the day.

It's analogous to desiring good health and nutrition. Eat a fruit at breakfast or be sure to include a few carrot sticks in lunch, but otherwise eat sugary, frosted, refined-grain, and deep-fried foods. You still wish to be healthy, but by choosing all the foods that "taste good," you are actually choosing not to have good health.

Doing Hard Things, on the other hand, is choosing to eat healthful foods. It builds habits of starving the flesh, suppressing that hindrance to a closer walk with God.

Paul even did this in 1 Corinthians 9:27—
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Why do Hard Things? To keep the flesh in subjection (or at least to keep out of fleshly habits that keep you from God) so you can have a more effective relationship with God. Doing Hard Things in mundane aspects of life also builds discipline for doing hard "spiritual"* things like sharing the gospel with strangers.
Galatians 6:8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

*I put spiritual in quotes because all of our lives ought to be spiritual! See Romans 8.


Holly said...

Mmm, I hadn't thought of that aspect, but it's so true. It is a hard thing to starve the flesh. Thanks for posting that!

Grace said...

Thanks! I needed to read this. So much can take away and distract our focus from what it really should be - Jesus Christ!

God bless


EmotionalPurity said...

When you think about starvation, you think of death, which we are called to be dead to our flesh. Ya know you can't made a dead person do anything...they're dead to any reaction. What a goal we as christians strive be totally dead to our sin!

Good thoughts and a good reminder to press towards the things that please God!

Kelsey Hough said...

I just wondered over from "The Rebelution" blog. Since you were the one who wrote the post it seemed better to reply to it on your blog.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I enjoyed reading over your thoughts, and I also apperciated a post from someone who isn't in the teens. It's wonderful to see Christian teen who are serious about their faith blogging, but for whatever reason, when it comes to younger bloggers, there doesn't seem to be as many who aren't still in their teens.

Keep up the good work.


a humble servant said...

Saw your guest post on The Rebelution. A good word! It is often easy to forget that when we arn't starving the flesh, we are feeding it. Yet another reminder that it isn't enough to not do easy things, we have to stand up and do hard things.

Your sister,

Gracie said...

Ryan, I read your post, and have some questions.

You asked, “Are we feeding or starving the flesh?” Is it not true that we are dead to sin? How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (Rom 6:2) Is it not true that our flesh when we became a Christian was crucified on the cross with Christ? Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. (Rom 6:6-9) Is it not true that since our flesh is dead we no longer struggle against it? For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:12)
When we became Christians our old man was crucified with Christ and we were given a new identity. I am not saying we do not struggle with sin, we do, Satan is still the prince of this world. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. (John 14:30) Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Rom 6:11) Now when we are tempted to sin we can say, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal 2:20)
Christ cannot sin. If we no longer live and Christ lives in us then we are incapable of sinning. Christ will not force you to let Him live through you. You can try to do hard things by yourself and you might even succeed at first, but eventually you will fail. You said that you learn and think visually, so do I and stories always help me wrap my mind around things.
Yesterday me mom left me and my 18 year old sister to clean the house and install two ceiling fans. She asked us not read or to get on the computer until that night when she would come home. Now I hate to clean, and I have never installed a fan in my life and neither had my sister. I would much rather read one of the five books I am in the middle of or look at blogs, including the Rebelution. When she walked out of the door I knew what she had asked me to do was impossible for me to do alone.
I told Him, “I cannot do this I need you to do it through me,” and He did. While I was installing the fans and came to frustrating parts I knew I could not do it, and would have to come to Him again and let Him do it through me. When my mom came home the ceiling fans where up and the house was clean, but it was not because I had won a battle against my flesh. It was because He worked through me. If it had been up to me I would have wasted the day in reading, not that the books I would have read were bad books or time wasters, but that is not what God had called me to do for that day. Indeed I did nothing. He did it all. Without Him I am nothing and can do nothing. My flesh is crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.
The best part about this is that when God looks at me He no longer sees a 16 year-old sinful girl. He sees His son. My history is no longer that I was born in 1991, in America to a middle class family. He sees a perfect sinless person who was born around 5 B. C. in Bethlehem to a low class carpenter. My history is now that I lived a perfect 33 years, died on a cross, rose again, and am at this very moment seated at the right hand of the Father. This is also your history, and any one else’s who chooses to believe.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ryan! I stumbled over to your blog just to see if you had anything new. This is a really great post though, thank you for sharing it brother! It's something I needed to hear... Sometimes in the course of current events in our lives at present I just feel like taking a really long nap , etc... !! :) Of course we need those types of things just like we need our sugary foods, (just kidding!! :)) But this was a really good reminder to make sure that I don't get lazy in flesh and spirit when I do come back from the farm. Thanks brother! See you Sunday LW.

Ryan said...

Gracie, It's been too long that I haven't replied to your comment! I am sorry about that.

I can understand some of where you're coming from in what you wrote, and there was more discussion on The Rebelution about more fundamental theological issues regarding what we both wrote. It isn't my intent to delve into that except to say by and large I agree with what Brett explained in his reply.

The rest of my thoughts which your comment prompted are now in a new post.