Sitting with the Shepherd
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit," (1 Peter 3:18 NKJV)
In his book, "The Return of the Prodigal" Henri Nouwen described Jesus Christ as the ultimate prodigal. Though He never sinned, Jesus left His Father's home, travelled to a far distant land, became totally desolate and found His way back to the Father's side. The way that He accomplished this, according to Peter, in today's verse was by being put to death in the flesh and being made alive in the Spirit.
Such is the trek of the newly converted believer as he begins his lifelong journey into the arms of Father God. This lifelong journey is being led by the Holy Spirit through the wilderness of this world, and back to the Promised Land of God's blessing. And we in a sense also, following the path of our Redeemer, must be put to death in the flesh that we made be made alive in the Spirit.
The carnal Christian is the believer full of self, operating under his own power, and directing his own steps. He is the Peter in all of us, boasting that he will never deny Christ simply by an act of personal resolve. And until we like Peter weep bitterly over our own failure and inadequacy, God cannot use us mightily. So my brothers and sisters if God is showing you today, your own utter weakness and the insufficiency of your own fallen flesh, you are no longer lost, but on your way home!
"We must be taught of God, and teaching is sometimes very gradual, and even slow; but "He will guide us into all truth," and "perfect that which concerneth" our education and preparation for His work and will; and the mind that the Holy Spirit quickens and uses shall accomplish results for God which all the brilliancy of human genius and the scholarship of human learning can never approach." A. B. SIMPSON
"Learning is very real work, and there is no maturing without it, and I do not believe that anyone matures brilliantly who does not learn sufferingly. Easily got—easily gone, is never so true as in the highest things." J. B. STONEY
Harrison, Nick (2010-12-21). His Victorious Indwelling: Daily Devotions for a Deeper Christian Life (p. 144). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Questions for Meditation or Discussion
1. How has a life lived in the flesh caused you to become desolate and travel to a distant land?
2. Why is it important for the Holy Spirit to show you the depravity and insufficiency of your fallen flesh?
3. As God brings you to the end of self and causes you to be made alive in the Spirit, what is the work He is preparing you for?
My Father in heaven, my God Your grace is amazing and never so evident as in the light of my insufficiency. Your arms open wide at my approach and the robe of righteousness is more attractive than any garment designed by man. There is no counselor so wonderful or guide more competent than Your precious Your Holy Spirit. As a pilgrim once totally lost and now found I pray that You will lead me along the pathway of righteousness for Your Name's sake. Amen