Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Foot Dipped in Oil

“And of Asher he [Moses] said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.” (Deut. 33:24)

            In a day when sources of energy are of high premium, you and I might be tempted to see Moses’ blessing on Asher to be a wish for prosperity, and indeed, it may well have been. But to those who remember that oil is often associated with he Holy Spirit of God  (1 Sam. 16:13), this would tell us that not only should the head with which we think be anointed with oil, but so should the feet with which we walk. As Paul admonishes in Galatians 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” The child of God, redeemed by the Blood of the Son of God, will have a holy inclination to walk in the Spirit of God. It’s that simple. The walk may be uneven, even intermittent, at times; but there will always be, to quote Isaiah, “…a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isa. 30:21).

            “How do I know if I’m walking in the Spirit?” you may ask. I could take you to books on my bookshelf and send you scurrying from place to place in your Bible, but I think you could worse than just to stay right in Galatians chapter five to look for your answers. There we find out that freedom from the curse of the law doesn’t give us liberty to disobey it; but outward keeping of the law will be meaningless, unless the love of God and our neighbor is the overriding rule of our lives (vv. 1-15).

Not only that, walking in the Spirit is not all fun and games. As the little chorus goes, “It’s a battlefield, brother, not a recreation room.”  All the time the Spirit is leading one way, the flesh is pulling another (v. 17). Paul elaborates on this ongoing tug-of-war in Romans seven, boiling it down quite nicely in verse twenty-one: “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.”

Finally, in the remaining verses, Paul gives us a fairly comprehensive list of the characteristics of people who walk after the flesh and those who walk in the Spirit. (I’ll save any elaboration on these for another time, when I really want to meddle.) Suffice it to say, the difference between the two lists are stark; and it was eye opening to me to realize the works of the flesh, for the most part, involve actions, while the fruit of the Spirit is a reflection of attitudes. One is what we do; the other is who we are. This is not to say that a Spirit led Christian is unrecognizable. Far from it. It’s just that it isn’t always seen immediately. Charles Spurgeon told the story of such a person who was described this way: “Well, sir, he is the kind of man, if he comes to see you, you know he’s been there.”

I have come to the place in my Christian life that when I am perplexed, despondent, tempted, or weary in prayer, it is the Blessed Holy Spirit to whom I go to teach me truth (Jno. 16:13), restore my joy (Acts 13:52), remind me /who owns my body (1 Cor. 6:19), and pray to the Father for me when I don’t know what to say (Rom. 8:26). I do this, not because I’m holy, but because I’m unholy. I do it because I have to, and (Praise God!) I can. By the grace of God, I want to walk through this life leaving footprints of “oily feet” wherever I go.

He who dips his foot in oil will leave a mark behind him as he walks through this scene. It is walking in the Spirit that causes any life to count for God.   — Harry Ironside

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