Track 1: Strengthen Your Inner Being
God referred to King David as a man after my own heart. The Apostle Paul reminds us:
When he had removed Saul, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.’ (Acts 13:22)
David had a driving force to implements the commandments of God. But there was another force working within him. Reading from 2 Samuel:
It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.” (2 Samuel 11:2-5)
David’s desire for Bathsheba caused grave consequences. David attempted to get Uriah, her husband, to sleep with his wife. But Uriah would not do so while he was on military duty. David’s act of adultery would lead to another crime:
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.” (2 Samuel 11:14-15)
Adultery led to murder as David tried to coverup his sin. How could this happen? How could a man after God’s own heart do these things?
Our flesh is a very powerful force.It is a desire to gratify ourselves at the expense of others. In fact, the flesh does not even consider others. Apostle Paul write::
For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. (Romans 7:18-19)
This is not Paul writing about his days as a Pharisee. As a Pharisee Paul wrote:
If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. (Philippians 3:4-6)
As Christians, we are not exempt from the temptations of the flesh. In fact, we are in a spiritual battle with the flesh. The Apostle Paul wrote:
Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. (Galatians 5:16-17)
We cannot defeat the flesh on our own strength. We are no match for it. But the flesh has been defeated already at the cross, just as sin, hell, and death have been defeated. The Apostle Paul reminds us:
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-24)
How do we crucify the flesh? We must decide to whom do we belong. We must choose the Spirit over the flesh. And we must do this daily. Jesus died for our sins on the cross once and for all. Thus he giv3w us the power to defeat sin. But we must take up our cross daily. Jesus said:
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
The Apostle Paul wrote:
I die every day! That is as certain, brothers and sisters, as my boasting of you—a boast that I make in Christ Jesus our Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:31)
What is our desire? Each day we must choose. The Apostle Paul prayed:
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. (Ephesians 3:16-19)
God will strengthen or inner being when we pursue him. Once we taste God’s riches in glory we will not want to choose the flesh. Let us keep seeking Jesus. We are living in the time when God is pouring out his glory on all flesh. Let Pentecost become our Pentecost.
Both the Old Testament and Gospel reading involve miraculous healings. What do they have in common? Both involve skepticism. The task of feeding so many people seemed impossible. Yet the people followed the instructions that Elisha and Jesus gave. It took an act of obedience as well as faith for God to do his miracle.