Part 3 -
When we ignore the sense we have of the Lord's inward restraint... brings His outer speaking, and then brings consequences.
We must come to know and heed His "NO"! How often I've ridden roughshod over His "NO" only to suffer the consequences. This however is part of us "learning Christ" (Eph. 4:20). The only Christ we can learn or come to know experientially is the Christ who lives and speaks within us.
Christ's YES in us is flowing automatically and known by an OK sense of normalcy, but His "NO" becomes known to us by a sense of distress within. We are free to live according to the liberty we have in our spirit... so long as He does not restrain us by His "NO." We're not free to do as we will. He usually speaks "NO" first by the inner sense of His life attempting to restrain or suppress us from within. However, the Lord's "No" may then come by an outer spoken "NO.
If we neglect to heed His inner speaking of restraint as His "No" to us, He will be faithful to speak louder; by the words of or an incident with others in our path of life, perhaps by our spouse or friends. Often He speaks to us via our circumstances, clearly saying, No! There are no accidents in our life
We should not push through obstructions in our path when He is saying No! If we still do not heed His inner restraint, and if then we don't heed His outer speaking, we may be left to learn by bearing the consequences of our refusal to listen and obey. He will allow us to reap what we've sown by living independent of Him. This is not as punishment, it is meant to be remedial, as of a loving Father, to train us in learning to live by His Seed, Christ's life within us. Thus this kind of sowing and reaping is the real blessing of His life because it usually changes the inward disposition of our soul.
Now, under grace, "all things are lawful" but "not all things are expedient (profitable for us)" (1Cor 10:23). We as believers enjoy God's faithful protection as we abide "under His wings."
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers (wings), and Under His Wings Shalt Thou Trust: His Truth (Heb, met, faithfulness) shall be thy shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4
We must learn to abide securely in what I call the God-ordained "sheep-fold of our life," what Paul calls "the bounds of our habitation," that we have "in Him"(Acts 17:26-28). 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Acts 17:28. Within the perimeter of our bounds we can learn to live and move spontaneously in our new found freedom in accord with the indwelling Christ. Therein we can safely learn by our mistakes and we are never to be "condemned" (Rom 8:1a). These failings will not destroy us or condemn us because His blood ever speaks for us. 1... there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Rom 8:1.
While a young child is free to move about and is safe in and protected his families back yard, he may skin his knee or cut his finger, but not be killed. Butt, if he insist on jumping the perimeter fence he may be in danger of oncoming traffic or other dangers.
Likewise by us refusing to heed the restraining inward "No" and then also the Lord's "outer No" that we hear from Him we will bear the natural consequences of our rebellion, just as a child may when he jumps the fence.
Sadly, suffering the consequences of our rebellious free-will choices may harm us with lingering effect, perhaps all our remaining life-time, or even destroy us quickly in this earthly realm. Yet, all the while, whether in or out of the pen, God is still our loving Father and Christ remains within us with His ever-present loving life.
Jumping the fence is when we may refuse Him and insist on our own way of self-interest. These are life-changing examples of jumping the fence.
- Perhaps it would be to marry someone whom God has not chosen for us and which may then ultimately results in abuse, pain, hurt, and a lifetime of regret.
- Consider the one who against God's No, still chooses to partner in a business venture with someone God has not chosen, only to wind up in prison together.
- Consider one who will not listen to His inner spoken No and outer circumstantial No, and then puts a needle of drugs in his arm only to get HIV. This likely will lead to unnecessary harm, pain, and quite possibly a premature physical death.
Hopefully our consequential suffering will turn us back to a dependent union with the Lord. Whenever we turn back to Him He find that waits with open arms to embrace us. We are forever His child, "nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ" (Rom 8:39), not even our failures.
Paul does warn the Ephesian believers to "put off" the remnant habitual memory of their "old" nature and to "put on" the "new man... renewed in mind" (see below).
17 ... henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling (sensitivity) have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation (manner of living of) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Eph 4:17-24
The words "put on" here is not a work but rather a trust in the Lord. The Greek word for "put on" here is "enduo," which is "in the sense of sinking into a garment; Strong's Greek & Hebrew Dictionary. Its hardly a laborious work for us to sink into a garment as if letting it embrace you. Our "old man" is and remains always "crucified with Christ," (Rom 6:6, Gal 2:20). This is the matter of "putting on" the new "Christ-you." This is simply a matter of letting go of your old-self ways of independence and trusting "Christ in you" as your life. We must cease living our lives separate from "Christ's who is our life" (
Thus we as believers regenerated by Christ's resurrected life are absolutely free to live spontaneously within the protective sphere of our life in union with Christ. We're also, however, Paul cautions us to heed the inward sense we have of "hearing Him" (v21). We are to adopt the "renewed" mind (v23), "created in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:10). We are free to deny or "put off" the former soulish self-desires of the remnants of our "old man" (v22). And all this we do by learning to trust and heed Him by "walk in accord with the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." Thereby we yield to Him within, abiding in His resurrection life, as our "new man." We then are living as a proper co-operator with Christ in all His purposes.