"...Then I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statues, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” Ezekiel 36:25-26
Upon our baptism as adults, after we have been baptized of the Holy Spirit, we are cleansed of all filthiness and idolatry in our lives. It means that we have received a fresh start to our lives and no stronghold will imprison us again. It means we have received power from without to eliminate anything God does not want within. That was the good news!
The issue is, we must now make a conscious effort to call on the Holy Spirit to continuously aid us in resisting the temptations which can haunt our memories. We must call on the Spirit to guide us in overcoming and resisting the memories and weaknesses of the past. The more we do this, the more we learn to resist past temptations. The more we practice, like everything else, the better we become at it. It may also mean that we will have to change those people around us who are still caught in the ravages of the things we left behind. Because, either they will continuously remind us of our past, or they will attempt to pull us back into the same pathology we elected to leave behind when we decided to follow Jesus Christ. Furthermore, keep in mind, those who attempt to pull us back into the things we left behind are not bad. Many times they just do not believe that we have changed, and/or they simply fall into the old adage of, “misery loves company.” Either way, it becomes a level of power and control on your life that most people will not relinquish easily.
Also keep in mind, many times you will not be able to have both; the thing you left behind, and the new thing God is enacting in you. We can relate it to an attempt at keeping both eyes focused on two cars going in opposite directions. Although easily achievable for most birds, it is an impossible feat for humans; we must make a choice to only follow one car.
It will not matter who or what it is you leave behind when you decide to follow God; God is “no respecter of persons, powers, or principalities.” If it is someone who truly loves you, he/she will understand your need to transition your life in the direction God commands. If they do not understand, they will not be able to help you in the process anyway, so let them go. Eventually, when you have gone through God’s transition period, and you are strong enough to resist the temptations of the past, God may use you to lead others lost in the ravages of your former pathology back to Him.
God expects us to call on the Holy Spirit to strengthen us in righteousness and truth. Jesus knew and understood how difficult it was going to be for us to remain on course after our baptism, so He gave us help. He is our Comforter; the One who aids us in overcoming temptation or any other battles we may face. Remember to ask for guidance and the strength to overcome; because, no matter how terrible things are, or how horrible you may be feeling, The Comforter will come to you when you call on Him. L.
Study Reference: Ezekiel 36:25-26, John 16:4-16
From: "Accepting Power!" In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell