When you become aware of an attitude or action that displeases the Lord, such as jealousy, covetousness, lying, lust, malice, slander, etc. what do you do? How do you handle it?
I very much understand what you’re asking for it was an integral part of my so-called Christian Life at one time. As you well know, my understanding has taken a radical turn. I wonder, however, if you have considered the demand of separation between us and God that is inherent in the questions you ask? Yeah, I know Paul wrote things that sounded similar, but his comments are so part of his insistent message of UNION in Christ that you cannot truly extricate - that is, separate - one from the other as you seem to want to do.
Somewhere along the line the meaning of “displeasing the Lord” (as written by Paul and the others) has lost its sense of Christ within us only to find its meaning tied up back in the very separation of those under law. In other words, we feel guilty from having transgressed a command and project the displeasure upon a God who must be — despite any professed doctrine to the contrary — on the outside looking in. In truth, such attitudes and actions taking place within me displease ME. For such things grate against my very being. For I am alive to God! He is in me as I am in him - not in theory or in position - but in reality.
Acceptance and love instead of jealousy, giving from the heart instead of covetousness, truth instead of lying, living as fulfilled instead of lusting, instead of malice, good-will words that build up instead of slander - THIS is all part and parcel of who we truly are. This is what our life truly is … which is why it all speaks to our hearts. But to ask, “What are we supposed to do about it?” or “How are we to handle it?” - all demanded with a view as to the correct “grace” solution to fix what’s wrong with us comes from the same mind that keeps demanding that our poor pathetic lives are in the most real way separate from Christ.
You can know that when your life is filled with such things, especially in view of a striving for the how-tos of dealing with sin, you are in fact struggling with the futile battle between flesh and law. You cannot win that fight, for all that can be produced is more flesh-works … religious flesh-works being the more subtle of the batch. Perhaps a more appropriate question to ask would be something like, “Did I really expect to get life out of the dead thing again?” This is the very core of Paul’s message to the Galatians (Galatians 5-6).
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8
Contrary to popular teaching, this is not the how-to it’s been made out to be. It is a simple statement of fact. All things produce after their kind … you know, from Genesis. What comes from the flesh, what is appealed to through fleshly motivations (whether “good” or “bad”), what finds its substance in the flesh produces only more of the same. In view of the rest of the letter it is directly connected to the Galatians’ temptation to justify themselves according to legal performance. Don’t let anybody fool you into thinking you will please God by doing the “right” stuff according to formulas and principles because God is not going to be mocked by the “godliness” of one’s fleshly motivations.
Recognize the life that calls from within you!