Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cling to Christ, Conquer the Flesh

This morning in my quiet time I read Joshua 22, among other things and 22:5 really stuck out to me. It reads, "Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul."

Notice the link between the words observe, love, walk, keep, cling, and serve. Of all these words "cling" grabbed my heart the most. Cling is a love word. You don't command someone to cling to a duty you command someone to cling to a person, in this case "the Lord your God." And in the context of this verse, Joshua was encouraging the people of Israel to finish the job of conquering the promised land and I think his point was that clinging to God is the path to conquering the land. They were unable in their strength to complete the task but with God on their side they could do anything. But he's not interested in ritualistic honor, he's interested in love. He's interested in people who cling to him and refuse to let go.

Now, the story of the exodus from Egypt and the entrance into the promised land is a metaphor, played out on the world's stage, for the exodus from the kingdom of darkness and the entrance into the Kingdom of God. In the former case, the people of Israel were commanded to take the land. The Lord alone had the power to deliver it into their hands, and he promised to do so, but he commanded them to be aggressive and TAKE the land. Passivity would not do. But the key to aggressively taking the land was clinging to God. It was their direct relation to him that would win the victory.

In the latter case, this same dynamic holds. Those of us who have come to believe in Jesus Christ, by grace through faith, have been commanded "to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness"  (Ephesians 4:22-24). As it was with the promised land, the Lord alone has the power to win this war against the flesh, but he has commanded us to be aggressive and war against sin. Passivity will not do. But again, the key aggressively warring against our flesh, and conquering it, is clinging to Christ with all of our hearts.

Clinging is the key to conquering.

So, Father, please teach us to cling to Christ day after day and to love him with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength.

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