Friday, October 5, 2012

What is our Escape Velocity?

Recently, I was thinking on the idea of we, as Christians, being in the world and influenced by it.  Thinking about how the world is so enticing, and to different degrees, all Christians are entangled in its snares.  Even Paul said, "Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect..." (Phil 3:12).  But we can and should be working towards becoming free of those entanglements with the world.

As I was thinking on this, I remembered something I hadn't thought about since my college Physics class.  Escape Velocity.  That's it.  It's kind of like Escape Velocity.  Yeah, I'm a nerd.  What is Escape Velocity?  Here's the Wikipedia article for a proper explanation, or you can take my word for it.  It's the velocity required for an object to overcome the gravitational pull of a planet and make it to outer space.  It tells you the energy required to "break free" from what you're leaving behind.

That kind of sounds like what we need to know, right?  What do I need to do to "escape" these entanglements with the world that attempt to enslave us, and as a result, torment us greatly.  There is not one person who can't relate with this struggle.

So what does Scripture say?  Does it give us a 3 step plan to fix this problem? 

Well, the only real fix is separation from sin, which happens at the death of the believer, but Scripture does give us wisdom on how to battle against it.  Paul talks a little about it in a few places, but to set the scene, let's go to Romans 8:1-9

1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. ... 
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 
And now for the home run, from Galatians 5:16-17:

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
Easier said than done, right?  There's a reason we have to be instructed to do this.

There are many methods of applying this simple truth (Reading Scripture, prayer, etc), but the root is still the same.  Let us always seek to set our minds on the "things of the Spirit".  As we do, by God's mercy, snares and entanglements will drop away, one-by-one.  However, even Paul was left with a thorn in his flesh; as a means to keep him humble and boasting in God's strength, grace, and mercy.

There is nothing sweeter to a redeemed soul than to think on and praise our God.  By God's great faithfulness we will eventually "escape" this world, but until then, the battle rages on.

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