Dear Heavenly Father,
How mighty, infinite and holy is Your name. I humble myself in the idea that You are above all things and beyond what I could ever comprehend. Never let me put You in a box. Allow me to see You at work in all things. Please reveal more of You to me every day. Let me rest in this thirst that can only be quenched by You. May it never be quenched until the day I join You in eternity. Please give me the wisdom to see things from Your vantage, the discernment to see Your work and determine Your will from anything else. Guide my steps as I hold Your right hand. Make me strong in my weakness, wise in my ignorance, joyful in my struggles, and faithful in my doubt. Be the only provision I need and the foundation on which I stand. Let me seek You first always so that it is always You that I fall upon. Allow me to be closer to You every day as I sit at Your feet, growing in faith and righteousness. Draw close to me as I draw close to You so that I may be filled with Your love and grace. Let Your praise always be the first on my lips. I submit to your will and ask that you shape me like clay so that I may be fit for the purpose I was created for. Thank You for calling me out of the darkness and choosing me to be a child of the living God as I walk in the salvation and sanctification available only through my Savior Jesus Christ. It’s in His precious and holy name I pray.
Amen, Amen and Amen
Many people who come to know Jesus as their Savior feel that once they’ve accepted Him, they have reached a point of completion. In terms of salvation their faith has brought them into relationship and reconciliation with God. It is sad when they stop at that point and miss out on the opportunity to submit to God and let Him take control of the life He created for a specific purpose, greater than they can imagine. They don’t acknowledge the new life given to them through Jesus. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Reconciliation to God through faith in Jesus tears down the house we’ve built for ourselves with the fleshly materials of this world and allows the construction of a Spirit based house on the foundation of our Savior. The problem arises when we try to build that new life in our own power. For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. (Galatians 2:18-19) We must rely on the Holy Spirit of God to bring lasting change to our lives. We fall victim to legalism and religion when we try to do God’s work for Him. As we dwell in this world we only have access to worldly materials to build ourselves. It’s important that we let God sanctify our new hearts and draw us out of the slavery to this sinful world. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? (Galatians 4:9) The laws that guided people in the Old Testament to rely and focus on God are just shadows of what we have in the light of Jesus Christ. I’m not referring to the moral laws that Christ fulfills in His call for us to love God and our neighbors. I refer to the sacramental and ritual laws that kept eyes and dependence on God until His chosen could be reconciled through faith in His Son. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24) Don’t fall backward into trying to work for God. Humble yourself to His will and what He wants to do in your heart. Let His infinite power create lasting change, and let that power fight these battles to completion. Live by the Spirit and let your works honor God because of His love, not to attain the love you already have. Let God do the work in your heart and your life that you are unable to accomplish because we were designed to live in reliance on our Creator through faith and love for our Savior. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
Jesus gave communion at The Last Supper so that those who follow Him would later receive those elements and remember what He sacrificed as God’s lamb for us. I see that the feelings that are supposed to be invoked from communion according to (1 Corinthians 11:28-29) Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves, are feelings we would do well to consider every time we sit to nourish our bodies. As we sit to nourish a body that is slowly returning to dust we can take a moment to glorify the savior that gives us spiritual nourishment and eternal life. We are meant to remember Jesus any time we eat. We honor God in all things. Because we always have to eat to sustain our bodies, Jesus desired that we remember Him so that we can sustain ourselves spiritually. We need to remember to dwell in God’s word and listen to His spirit at least as often as we eat. Just imagine how much closer you can walk with the Lord if every time you sit to fulfill the hunger of your body you also take the time to allow Jesus to fulfill the hunger of your spirit. There are many things we do that keep us from feeling hungry: appetite suppressants, busy lifestyle, or allowing our bodies to get use to not eating. Sin acts in the same way to reduce our connection (appetite for) Jesus. Just like eating less lowers our metabolism so that our body needs less food to operate, falling away from a focus on Jesus reduces our hunger for His Word and provision. Glorify Him in all things and take a moment as you sustain your body with food to thank Him and nourish your spirit with His all sufficient provision.
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:26)
How many times have we met someone that knows there must be a God? How many people do you know who say they believe in Jesus, but their life doesn’t show signs of His presence? The bible says: You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder (James 2:19) There are times in the ministry of Jesus where the demons refer to Him as the “Son of God.” Even the demons know who He is which means that knowing is not enough. We are called to know Jesus through a mutual love. We are meant to know Christ with our hearts and not only our minds. Christ dwells in our hearts and the deceiver dwells in our heads to continue the battle between our spirit and our flesh. The closer we get to God, the more familiar His voice becomes and the less effective the deceptions in our minds become.
Many people seek God through knowledge. They read and study in an attempt to know Him and get closer to Him. They miss the opportunity to experience the true glory of God only found in love. It’s only possible to know God through what He reveals to you about His infinitude, through His love and grace. We are meant to grow in Christ through love and not knowledge. God’s Word says: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. (1 Corinthians 8:1-2) God reveals to the humble believer everything they need to know. The Holy Spirit came to lead us to all truth. Let love lead you to communion with God and let God’s Spirit lead you to the knowledge given by God for you to accomplish your purpose.
We also influence those around us as we walk with God in the process of sanctification. Focusing on knowledge over love leaves us in a position to lead others in knowledge over love. We have to be careful to bring new believers along at a pace based on God’s timing. Don’t let your head hurt a believer where your heart can show them the Lord. And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. (1 Corinthians 8:11)
Let your spirit of love draw you closer to God as it also draws those around you to the truth of Jesus Christ. Let love be the basis for your testimony and what you call on to show Jesus to this dark world. Let your knowledge come from the Holy Spirit. It will be designed for you at each moment of your walk and it will always prove a trustworthy as the Source.
5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:5-12)
In the scripture above I found a part of Christ’s character that made me smile and after reading it over a few times thought about what this passage says to me specifically. I see two stories unfolding at once. The room was full of stories being written that would unfold and cause a ripple that spread the gospel from that one moment throughout the world. I want to focus on two, although I hope you’ll see the beauty of how the Gospel exploded from each of the witnesses we have a tendency to overlook.
I see the scribes and I see the paralytic. We have scribes whose job was to interpret the law for the people. They were experts on the Old Testament law. They would be considered experts on laws. They were as full of head knowledge as anybody during that time. What they missed was when the fulfillment of those laws walking into a room. The God they followed walked into the room and looked into their eyes and they missed it. What good is all of the biblical knowledge in the world if you don’t recognize the author? I am drawn to the character of God that starts small, draws our attention, and then opens our eyes to His love and faithfulness. Jesus forgives the sins of the paralytic and allows the scribes to take notice in their questioning of Him. Then, knowing their hearts, He shows His authority to all. He draws in the people hardened to faith and then brought the whole room into a moment of glorification to God. He has their attention and then heals him so that when he stands, ‘all and amazed and they all glorify God.’ I see the heart of God and the patience He takes in helping us in our hardened state. What love and faithfulness we are called to serve.
I see the paralytic being lowered through the roof in such faith. Then the Lord takes notice of him and forgives him of his sins. There is now a moment where he lays there forgiven and still paralyzed. There was a time that his faith had to continue in order to be healed. God’s wisdom decided to use his trouble (paralysis) to save those around him. He then decided to use that moment he remained faithful to save the teachers of the law. I’m sure that moment felt like an eternity to the paralytic, but I’m positive it meant eternal life for those to who he was blessed enough to bear witness.
7) Walking in The Spirit
The freedom found in walking above the hold of the earth is available only in God, through Jesus Christ. What a breath of fresh air to walk in the Spirit after we have allowed God to help us die to our flesh. This is a position that is inspiring but the process can be painful and take a long time. It all depends on what God knows is necessary to move you into complete submission and reliance on Him. There are so many things in this world that have the opportunity to snare us and keep us from where God designed us to be and that’s reconciled to Him. Walking in the Spirit is walking in God’s perfect love. In that love there is no fear or anxiety. We are in reliance on the Creator of the universe. We are dependent on our Heavenly Father who gives us all of the provision we need. We have a life available to us that far surpasses our greatest expectation and dream. Let your life be a testimony to the power of God in His children. Reflect the light of God as He fills you to overflowing with His Spirit. Walk in a way that is only possible because of God’s power in you. We are called to be holy, meaning set apart from this world. If we walk in the Spirit we will be sure to stand out, and be sure to draw to God those who are lost and called by Him. You now can watch them walk in the steps that come with walking in Christ.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:19)
6) Rising Above
As a believer walks in the Spirit and their spirit matures and grows they become aware of how dark the world is. They see how fallen this world has become. It becomes clear how content people are with their sin and how normal sin has become. Believers who continue to grow realize they are in a foreign place. A place that they were never designed to walk. Man was made to walk with God in the garden. They were never designed to taste death, or experience fear, or feel angry. All of our cares were meant to be in God. He was meant to guide our every step in His Holy Sovereignty. Original sin went against that design. Sin created separation from a Holy God. The grace and mercy of God kept His heart for His creation in tact. He always looked to keep a living testimony in the lives of His people. He used laws to guide and protect His chosen and then became man to fulfill that law and reconcile everyone to Him who chooses to accept Him as Lord. His Spirit indwelling in us allows us to rise above this sinful world and walk in the process of sanctification with God. As growth occurs and the separation from the things of this world become so great we must fight the desire to return to the comfort of our past and continue to follow God into our greater purpose. Continue to rise above when friends and family can’t see your path and some may fall away. Look to God for your support because the things of this world can’t support the growth toward things that are above this fallen world. Learn to lean on God and continue to rise. Focus on the Father that created you, knows you, loves you, and looks to make you live above your greatest expectations.
We have been set apart as holy because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do by sacrificing his body once and for all. (Hebrews 10:10)
For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:7)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)