When I was younger I was involved with some churches that were very enthusiastic in their evangelism. In fact, they were so enthusiastic that some of the things they did crossed what I thought were some ethical boundaries. The result was that they had some short term gains. Some people responded and came to church. However there were some other negative consequences.
In Biblical terms when we do things according to God’s ways and promptings we are walking in the spirit. When we do things that are either against God’s ways, or against his promptings we are walking in the flesh.
In the story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar in Genesis 16 we see Abraham and Sarah trying to make God’s promised heir through their own ways. They were walking in the flesh. The short term results were good. Hagar had a son Ishmael. Abraham now had an heir of his own ‘flesh’.
The long term results weren’t so good. This wasn’t the way God wanted to do things. And although what Abraham did might have been culturally appropriate for that time and place, it wasn’t God’s way. Ishmael and his descendants became trouble for Isaac and his descendants. Some suggest even today.
It does make me think about what things I’m doing my ways and what I’m doing God’s ways. It can be easy to get short term results in a blog by being critical of others, or writing about big contentious issues. But I don’t believe that is what God wants from this blog.
When raising children, sometimes it is tempting to take short cuts which make my life easier in the short term, but what are the long term consequences? Which are the right fights to have with my children?
Are there any other areas where I’m walking in the flesh and not by the spirit? I guess it is a question I should continually be asking myself.