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Viewing articles tagged 'new zealand apologetics'

Devotional Part 6

25 Mar 2021

Mark 9:24


“I believe, help me in my unbelief”


The cry of the heart of every disciple, I believe, but there’s a constant battle between my belief and my unbelief, between the flesh and the spirit.


My unbelief may, as with this man, evidence itself by asking me to take a step of faith further than what my understanding enables me to. But it may also manifest itself as areas of my heart, my affections, and life where Christ is not submitted to as Lord.


That unbelief will manifest itself in terms of behaviours which are sinful, however, no amount of behaviour modification can address the issue. The real issue leading to sinful behaviour is an issue of my affections, my loves, my desires, my heart. It is therefore an issue of false worship and idolatry. It is a spiritual issue manifesting in the flesh.


No amount of behaviour modification can can change that, because the flesh cannot drive out the flesh. You may be able to control your behaviour for a period of time, but then, just when you least expect it, you are right back embroiled in that same sin.


This process can go on for years, and inevitably leads to a feeling of deflation and defeat.


You can’t overcome the sinful desires of the flesh by simply changing your behaviours. The behaviour is a symptom of a deeper problem. Until the root cause is dealt with the symptoms will continue to emerge.


Sometimes, we manage to overcome a certain sin through behaviour modification and think this to be a victory. However, in these instances, the sin simply manifests itself through a different behaviour. It becomes like a game of whack a mole where we take the hammer of behaviour modification and whack the sin wherever we see it pop up. But the reality is that, just like that pesky mole, sin will rear its ugly little head somewhere else. We’ve got to reach under the game table and disconnect the arm that the mole is attached to so that it can never pop up again.


The flesh cannot overcome the flesh. What resource does it have at its disposal, in its armoury in order to do that? Furthermore, why would it want to? Surely the flesh represents all that is in us that is fallen and sinful, and as such opposed to God. So where would the flesh get the will, desire, and motivation to overcome itself? It simply cannot and will not.

Behaviour modification only deals with the fruit of our unbelief, idolatry, and sin. We must get to the root, understand it and name it for what it is if we are to ever overcome it.


It takes a new spirit dwelling within us in order to drive out the sinful desires of the flesh. The new spirit, the Holy Spirit, ushers in new affections, new loves, new desires, and ultimately new (and true) worship.


We will never overcome the sinful deeds of the flesh until we have lost our taste for our sin. We will only find new and more inventive ways to justify those sins.


The only way to overcome them is by having a greater desire and affection for Christ than we do for our sin.


The secret to overcoming our sin is in pursuing Christ, by fuelling our desire for Him and for all the promises guaranteed to us through Christ. By meditating on His word and teachings, to have His word dwelling richly in us at all times, which is also to be filled with the Spirit whose role it is to lead us into all truth, teach us all things, and remind us of what He has said.


Jesus offers us another clue in the overcoming of these areas of unbelief in vs 29.


“This kind cannot be driven out but by prayer (and fasting)”


Perhaps we need to be paying greater attention to the spiritual practices recommended to us by our Lord if we are going to follow in The Way.

Devotional Part 5

17 Mar 2021

Mark 8:34-9:1. “Take up your cross” We must lose our lives in order to save them.   Christ’s call to the disciple is to come and die. Take up your cross… so visual, so visceral.... continue reading...

Devotional Part 4

16 Mar 2021

Mark 7:6-23.   Left to his own devices, Man always attempts to worship God out of his own flesh, which always ends up as nothing other than self worship.   In setting up doctrines of his own making, Man also creates the god to whom these doctrines are directed and supposed to appease.... continue reading...

Devotional Study Part 3

10 Mar 2021

  Mark 1:14-20.   Jesus comes out of the wilderness experience and comes to Galilee preaching the Gospel with power and authority. He then calls His disciples.   What has this to do with overcoming the flesh you might well ask? I did, however, I think it is important.... continue reading...

Devotional Part 2

08 Mar 2021

In the Wilderness? Jesus is baptised not merely with water but also with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:10-11). Whatever Jesus relationship was with the Spirit prior to His baptism, this event marks a change in that relationship and a turning point in Messiah’s life and ministry.... continue reading...

Devotional - Part 1

28 Feb 2021

  The Flesh and How to Overcome it By the Spirit. A Devotional Study.   By way of introduction:   I resolve this morning to make a study of the New Testament, searching God’s word as to what He teaches regarding the flesh, by what means it is overcome, and what practices I/we can implement in life in order to do so.... continue reading...

An Invitation to Discipleship

11 Feb 2021

  A New Project. Dear friends. I’m writing this by way of invitation. But before we get to what it is exactly I’m inviting you to, I would like to set the scene, as it were, for what follows.... continue reading...

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