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A Warning From the Dungeon

dungeon

Today I received a copy of a letter written by an acquaintance of mine from a jail cell in Mexico. He is a strong Christian man who has been involved in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ for many years. He is extensively involved in missionary work in Latin America. Since being discovered to have a large amount of cash in his possession while trying to cross back into the U.S., he has been incarcerated in Mexico for several months. He has refused to pay bribe money to be released. We can only imagine the terrible conditions he is living in as he writes to us. I would like to share a portion of his letter.

Dear beloved family in Jesus Christ,

I write to you from the bed in the jail in Puerto Vallarta due to a bacterial infection I’m suffering from at the moment.

I continue to thank the Lord that he is taking care of me in the mist of these trials that have been so difficult for my body and my soul but in my spirit I rejoice because I know that I will spend eternity with Jesus and the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit amen and amen!

I am very certain at this moment that the Lord, the God of heaven’s armies is the one that has brought me here and has separated me for his service and he’s preparing me for a glorious task. I know that suffering in the body and the flesh is nothing that we always willingly welcome but I feel that this is the only way to get closer and touch the spiritual realm because the word of God is clear that everything from the flesh opposes the spirit, and in my case I confess that I did like to satisfy the fleshly desires just like food, comfort, peace of financial stability etc. But our father has shown me that you can just simply not serve the Lord and serve the flesh at the same time, whether it is money, complacency, self-gratification of any form, even though sometimes we fool ourselves and think that we are trying to serve the Lord while doing these things at the same time. I feel from the Lord to tell you to not be deceived because God cannot be mocked. Whatever we sow the same shall we reap and by our fruits He shall know who we are.

 

Many of us try to live with a foot in both worlds, satisfying the flesh while serving God. The Bible tells us that the flesh and the spirit are in a constant battle for control of our will. If we are living spiritually, we will not give in to the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16-17 I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. After having every comfort and convenience stripped away from him, this man has found that much of what he had before was hindering his walk with God. Often it is not the nature of the thing itself that is evil but rather the excess to which we indulge ourselves in it. Food is given to us by God to nourish and strengthen us but when we allow our sinful nature to pervert its’ enjoyment and eat excessively, it destroys our health. This is true of many elements of life. If we live our lives to please our desires rather than pleasing God, our spirit suffers. Our relationship with our Father in Heaven and our ability to please him is hindered.

Even though we may have many pleasurable things available to us, we must discipline our flesh and keep it under control. Our focus must always be on strengthening our spiritual nature and weakening the carnal nature. Doing this will produce eternal life in us. Romans 8:5-8 For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. We must continually evaluate ourselves to see if we are living according to the spirit or the flesh. We need to monitor our actions and attitudes to determine which nature has control. Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

A Mexican jail is a harsh remedy to indulging the flesh. I hope we can hear this man’s warning and reevaluate our lives without such a drastic event. Jesus said, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul.”(Mark 8:36) Let’s begin to put limits on our carnal nature so we can live for God.

 

 

All scripture is from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

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