“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
Glory, Honor, and Thanks to God indeed! He ALWAYS leads us in TRIUMPH in CHRIST. That statement should reverberate completely to the marrow in your bones and be the joy in every thump of your beating heart! Why would you choose to be led by anyone or anything else when you already know those ways are fruitless? Being led by God THROUGH Christ is THE triumphant way! Isn’t it astounding that He chooses to manifest HIMSELF through us ~ that sweet aroma in every place He inspires our feet to tread? Hallelujah! So what is it we are going to manifest? Count on the Spirit’s fruit, for one thing, ~ Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.
God does not lead us to one single place hoping for a good outcome. He leads us in triumph every single time…because…He….is…..GOD! As followers of His leading, if we have this triumphant mentality we will not only walk differently but we will wield the Sword of Truth differently. Through us He manifests this fruit we are speaking about and it is, by all means, a sweet aroma of Him in every single place.
Before we witness the Lord manifesting Himself through us, we first must yield ourselves to the Spirit. It is when we completely submit and surrender to the Spirit, that we discover His anointing on us becomes stronger. In addition, the more we mature IN CHRIST, the more fully we will be able to yield to the Spirit and remain yielded. As you will discern, the biggest barrier to this yielded life is your own nature or flesh.
We also must discern this is not a 5-minute process, it will require time and effort. Please be careful and don’t allow what you seek to be strictly an emotional response during your alone time with God. It is a time of yielding YOUR will, emotions, and mind to the Spirit of God who is in you. Spending time alone with God in prayer will develop the spiritual maturity that is required. If a fresh anointing on your life is what you seek it will come by the Spirit of God, not by religion nor by works. Yielding to the Spirit will be found through persistent prayer, persistent Scripture reading, and a persistent desire to crucify the flesh.
I modified the length of the challenge from eight weeks to nine because I felt it was important to include in our fast a week to consider what it means for our flesh to yield to the Spirit so we will begin our challenge today. For a refresher on the outline please see the Oct. 24th post.
“Therefore, dear friends, since we have such promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, completing our sanctification in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
Now, a word about fasting. This Thursday is the called day to fast. You can eliminate food completely or merely abstain from certain foods. If you are unable to eliminate food then consider eliminating something you enjoy doing. It is important to remember that during this time of fasting to combine it with prayer. Expect your flesh to not respond well and tempt you to end the fast because it is ‘difficult’. Don’t give in. Set a time in advance that you plan to end your fast and stick to it. If you fill yourself with food before you fast to ‘hold you over’ your fast will not likely be successful. Thank God in advance for what He will reveal to you and for HIS power and sustenance to be successful. I suggest fasting at least one meal but if you desire you can fast breakfast and lunch and end your fast around 4 or so. I also suggest drinking water during your fast as needed.
Jesus instructed us to put oil on our head and wash our face so that our fasting was not obvious to anyone but God. (Matthew 6:17-18) Let’s consider this. When we extend mercy to someone we do it with joy (a work of the Spirit) and not with any hint of frustration (work of the flesh). It is in this way the person can experience the impact of the fragrance of Christ. When we fast ‘with oil on our head’ it signifies our joy (work of the Spirit) as opposed to our suffering (the result of crucifying the flesh).
“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.” Galatians 5:24-25
But what is the “flesh” referring to? We are told our bodies can be used as weapons/instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13) so looking at Galatians 5:19-21 we can determine that the “works of the flesh” are attitudes like idolatry, strife, anger, and envy; not just the many immoral acts of the body the verse speaks about and that we often hear about. In summary, we are putting to death immoral acts of the body as well as attitudes of the heart that do not honor God.
Fasting is one way we crucify the flesh. We are choosing to say we desire the things of God more than we desire to meet the demands of our flesh. The Lord recently brought this verse to my remembrance regarding fasting. “Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) During a fast, we do not hunger for food or thirst for drink and fulfill that need by our own hand but we hunger and thirst for righteousness that is supplied to us by God alone. He has already promised that when you do you ARE blessed because you will be filled. Is there anything better?
The persistent challenge in our lives is to not merely pursue righteousness but to prefer righteousness above all the other pursuits this world presents to us. Ask the Lord this week what it means to yield to His Spirit so that He can manifest His fruit through you.
Be the aroma of Christ sweet things.