Can These Two Walk Together?

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Can two walk together, except they are agreed? (Amos 3:3, KJ2000)

Do not keep company with those who have not faith: for what is there in common between righteousness and evil, or between light and dark? …for we are a house of the living God; even as God has said, I will be living among them, and walking with them; and I will be their God, and they will be my people. (2Cor 6:14-16, BBE)

God has always hated a mixture. According to the law wool could not be woven with linen, meat and dairy products could not be cooked together, they could not intermarry with foreigners and in the New Testament we read that believers are not to be unequally yoke with unbelievers. Oh, the misery that has been caused in the Church and marriages by that!

God feels the same way about the work of the Spirit and the work of the flesh. The work will either be instigated by Him and done by His Spirit as it was with Christ or He will withdraw until we figure out that our flesh profits nothing! As Paul said said, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” We can struggle by our own strength to be righteous, but He backs away until we figure out that apart from Him, we can do nothing. Paul wrote,

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Gal 5:16-17, ESV2011)

Watchmen Nee and some other Christian men were swimming in a river when one of the men got a cramp in his leg and began struggling and was sinking. Mr. Nee motioned to one of the other men, who was an excellent swimmer, about the drowning man. To his astonishment, however, the man did not move. He just stood there and watched the man fight to keep his head above water.

Mr. Nee was angry to say the least, but the swimmer was calm and collected. Meanwhile, the voice of the drowning man grew fainter and more desperate. Mr. Nee hated the good swimmer who just stood and watched him suffer from the shore when he could have jumped into the river and rescued the drowning man. As the drowning man went under for what looked like the last time, the swimmer dove in and was there in a moment, and both were soon safely on shore.

After the rescue, Mr. Nee accused the man of loving his own life too much and being selfish. The response of the swimmer revealed, however, that he knew what he was doing. He told Watchman that if he had gone too soon, the drowning man would have put a death grip on him and they would have both drowned in the river, and he was right. He told Mr. Nee that a drowning man cannot be saved until he is utterly exhausted and ceases to make the slightest effort to save himself.

Such is the case with our salvation. When we stop trying to save ourselves, then the Lord can step in and save us as we fully surrender to Him. The same is true about our efforts to be righteous. He will allow a temptation to beset us that is beyond our strength to resist unless we cry out to Him to deliver us. He leads us not into temptation for as James says, we are drawn away by our own lusts. But God DOES deliver us from evil if we cry out to Him, though we may have to become totally exhausted in the process to reach the level of desperation that He is looking for. You see one of the desired outcomes is to get us to have mercy on all sinners and KNOW that “except for the grace of God, there go I,” by first hand experience.

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:24-25, KJ2000)

Thank you to Susanne Schuberth for her encouragement and inspiration. See her latest blog: https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/death-and-resurrection-or-i-need-a-savior/

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18 comments on “Can These Two Walk Together?

  1. Pat Orr says:

    Michael, thank you for the encouraging in the Way of the Lord that your writings are.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Elle says:

    Love that illustration of the exhausted swimmer. That’s so helpful!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Elle, ever since I read that in one of the books by Watchman Nee it has stuck with me. God does not need our help, only our surrender.

      “For this reason I make request to you, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you will give your bodies as a living offering, holy, pleasing to God, which is the worship it is right for you to give him.” (Rom 12:1, BBE)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Michael, I am so glad to see that you reshaped your great reply on my blog into a whole Spirit-breathed article and that you included the Scriptures that have been on my mind too lately (esp. Galatians 5). I would not say that I fully understand how the same Paul once says we should walk by the Spirit so that we won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh and goes on to say that those who are Christ’s have crucified their affections and lusts.

    It seems to me that between these verses there MUST have been a change of heart through divine intervention. At first it appears to be a struggle (as described by him in Roman 7, too) since we, outside of the spirit, are still confronted with the desires of the flesh (Gal 5:16). If we are led by His Spirit, we feel no condemnation since the law cannot accuse any longer (Gal 5:18 plus Romans 8:1-2). However, if there has been indeed a spiritual crucifixion of our fleshly affections and lusts, then, consequently, there MUST follow their death too. And what is DEAD, cannot be revived anymore!! Honestly, my brother, a crucifixion without a subsequent death would make no sense to me at all.

    I assume that this same Paul made such a dying and resurrection experience where the grip of his old nature finally disappeared and being found in HIS new Creation, i.e. IN Christ, Paul could eventually say,

    “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:19-20 ESV)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for giving thanks to me, Michael. It has been a great joy to seek the Lord together with you and to observe how complementary His work in and through us is. Sometimes He gives us the same thoughts at the same time, sometimes one of us has a question and then the other one is able to answer as God inspired him. God is so good! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, I wish I had all the answers to your great and probing questions, dear sister. I know how you struggle with your old nature and so long to be set free and be found totally walking IN Christ all day every day without being effected by the assaults and temptations of the enemy. I pray to our Daddy for you and I every day that all that holds us back from our past lives would be severed and that we may grow up into the fullness of Christ and that the eyes of our hearts may be fully opened to the great things that Father has done for us through and in His Son. Oh, to walk daily in heavenly places in this life in Christ’s unity and love! Please Daddy make it so. Amen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amen!!! Thank you very much, Michael. ♡

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ken Dawson says:

    Yes we are alive by Gods being inside of us and we will show the evidence out of our daily living come hell or high water–or else we are just fooling ourselves.Oh those poor Islamic men that crashed the planes into the twin towers fifteen years ago expecting to get their 72 virgins.

    Like

  5. Wanda Collins says:

    Hi Michael,

    I married a man who was not Christian and I have suffered for it. I did not realize it was wrong. My marriage is rocky and I am alone with no children, but I do not blame anyone but myself! We do not live together, but I cannot find it in my heart to divorce him because I still love him. Having a human companion is not for me I guess but I have a heavenly one thank goodness, and like I told you before there is great JOY in my heart all of the time! I have carried that around for so long and I have been judged by other Christians, yet they were right. It felt really good to write about it to you.

    Your sister in Christ,

    wanda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Wanda,

      So many of us got married before we had any spiritual awakening or understanding. I am convinced that the only way that two people can have a good marriage is for both of them to have their old natures crucified and then to share the Spirit and love of Christ together, made one in not just their bodies, but in their souls and spirits as well. Frankly, I know very few couples that have both made this challenge a priority in their lives. 😦

      May Father take you up into His lap and hold you close, dear sister.

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sue MAY says:

    This is also true not just for ourselves but for people we are trying “to save”. We can pray that the Lord open their eyes and ears to His truth, but we have to step back and allow Him to work it out His way and in His timing. That is a lesson I just learned, I had to let go of my plan how things were going to work out and give it to God.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Oh Sue, I am glad you have learned this. I still find myself having to let go of my wishes and plans and laying them on the altar for God to either nullify them or change them to happen in HIS timing and not mine. This is really hard when it involves the ones we love. The older I get, that harder it is to believe that He will still fulfill my deepest heart longings that I have had for a lifetime. Imagine what Abraham went through in His late nineties when God told Him to offer up Isaac, the child of God’s promise, and go against everything that He thought was of God in His life! Yet, I have found that even the things we know He has given us have to be held in open hands raised up high to Him to bless or to take back. He will have nothing come between us and Him for He is a jealous God.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sue MAY says:

    Thanks Michael, it’s taken me awhile to learn this, hopefully I’ll be quicker to give things to God in the future and not drag them off the altar and work on them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Sue, I used to know a brother that often said, “The trouble with being a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) is that you can always crawl down off the altar when it suits you.

      Dying to self seems to be a long slow process for most of us, but God is up to the task to get us past this death into LIFE IN Christ so that when He appears, we shall be like Him.

      God bless you, dear sister. ⭐

      Liked by 1 person

  8. If we live (are alive) by (through) the Spirit, let us also walk by (in dependence upon) the Spirit.

    All throughout the Scriptures we find the many contrasts that separate the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of men. Everything from the rulers to the participants to the resources are each in opposition to the other. As new believers we are often directed by others to discover “who we are in Christ” which amounts to an understanding of what happens to a person when they are transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Although as Christians we are in a process of sanctification, we are in Christ, therefore “the old things” passed away- not will pass away but have passed away already. It is my or our responsibility to live consistent with not just our profession of faith but through the truth that encompasses that profession.

    I’m relatively sure most of us reading this have grappled with these things as God revealed to us these distinct dividing lines. I talk regularly to young people who wrestle with these things, those who often attempt to keep these distinctions in the old covenant and label them as somehow under the law.

    Now I don’t go around and tell people they have to stop going to movies, hanging out with old friends, stop going to church or worship on some particular day of the week. But do you know what I know? I’ll bet you do. There are things that are beneficial to my walk with Christ and things which are not. There are things which will hinder my devotion to Christ and affect my testimony adversely. I have to choose daily whose ruler and kingdom I will serve and that comes with a cost to me personally and at times even to others.

    For a variety of reasons I have chosen not to walk with some others professing believers in my area. At first it may be because I believe they are justifying sin in their lives. For others, because I see them trying to build something for God and exalt themselves in that process. Maybe they have a warped view of the gospel, maybe they are making friends of this world or tampering with other spirits. I know these things and these people will hinder if not shipwreck my own faith if I embrace them or even make light of them.

    If I am to walk by the Spirit, I must make decisions which correspond to the Spirit’s leading. A parallel passage to the one Michael posts here is in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. But here’s what I needed to see- the two verses that surround these ones, 2 Corinthians 6:12 and 2 Corinthians 7:1. Talk about a contrast!

    You see, God has requirements and even commandments which if not obeyed will adversely affect us and severely disrupt our intimacy with him and our effectiveness among others. I have to choose daily (by a willful neglect of a daily cross) whether I will be restrained by my own OLD affections (vs.12) or whether I will through the promises of God cleanse myself from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (7:1) (by dying daily to my selfish affections).

    “Not that I have already obtained it or already have become perfect, but I press on so that I may hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12)

    “Honestly, my brother, a crucifixion without a subsequent death would make no sense at all” (I love it!)

    Liked by 2 people

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