Two paths – it makes all the difference

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Galatians 5:16 NKJV

I love you, friend. But I hate your sin. I hate my sin. I see what it has done in our lives, the tricks that it plays – offering sweet promises while providing sickness and wickedness and death and harm to ourself and others. Most importantly, it dishonors the name of the Lord when we say we are His with our mouths but deny Him in our lives, when we are a stumbling block – hindering others from recognizing the true spirit of Christ alive in His children.

Yes, I believe that everything the Lord calls sin IS SIN. Yes, I am more confident in the truth of His Word than in the lies of my own deceitful heart and opinions. I trust in God’s divine wisdom over my own feelings and justifications about what is right and wrong, because I have proven to myself that my way is foolish and lands me in unexpected consequences for myself and others. I survey my life and it is clear that obeying His guidelines is the best life both now and for eternity.

And I expected it to be heavy and burdensome like before when I found that I was a rebellious law breaker. But the Lord sent me the Helper that He promised, and when I have my eyes set firmly upon demonstrating His way to the world around me – when I am bold enough to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and long suffering – when I walk in the Spirit, I no longer break the law and I’m no longer under the law.

This is because I’m not longing to fulfill my own will, but I’m longing to fulfill His will. Yes, He gives me a new hunger – a hunger for His ways, His righteousness. And when we hunger for righteousness we do not hunger to be involved in sin – we love righteousness and hate sin.

This does not mean that we only love people who act or want to appear righteous – No! There is not a one of you (especially not in you arrogant and religious ones) who is righteous of his own works. And if you stand with the testimony of your own works as righteous, you are both a liar and an abomination before God because of your pride and arrogance.

Such an abomination, such a blaspheming of the work of the Holy Spirit as being their own – I fear that it will bring desolation to many who would not give all the praise and honor to God for the opportunity to walk as a new creation. And the same can be said for those who turn away from such a blessing as grace,  and blaspheme it as a license to sin freely and openly,  with no love for God or His ways. Lord, save us!

Help us, Lord! Come live in us and guide us so that it will be you living out these days in our vessel – quickening our lives as you take over and abide with us and walk with us. Let them see you more and more and us less and less.

Our hearts on display

“Blessed  are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:3-12 NKJV

Many days,  I feel like a dead man walking. I examine myself to show myself approved and I find myself unworthy – I realize where I fall short of bringing glory and honor to God. I look at His perfect, blameless example and in comparison when I examine close enough, there always seems to be a blemish to be found in myself. So if perfection is my goal, I am doomed,  and my life is worth little more than being a warning to others about the wrath of God. Yes, this is the mentality that religion plants in our heads when we only get as far as measuring ourselves.

He searches the world for those poor in spirit, not those standing proud and strong under their own type of “goodness” under their own striving – because our works are filthy rags before a perfect, holy, and righteous God.

What do the proud, perfect, comfortable and secure of this world have to mourn about? But His Saints, we have much to mourn about as we walk this foreign land as strangers trying to swim against the current of a multitude of sinners chasing their passions and addictions and vices and pleasures in this world. I say trying because we too will slip at times when wearied and distracted and caught with our eyes off of the prize.

So we are humbled by our need for mercy,  and in realizing our own need for mercy,  we can keep ourselves level at the foot of the cross with everyone else. We can extend mercy instead of condemnation towards those who are trying, who are trusting God even when they cannot trust themselves.

Yes, it is our hunger and thirst for righteousness – a hunger for it, not the full possession of it – that leads us towards that eventual goal where our hearts might be profited so that we could see the face of God. But we are not discouraged by our constant measuring and examination and finding our shortcomings one after another. We are praying for the refining fires, the trials, the persecutions where we can demonstrate peace, where His Holy Spirit can be manifest in our life in face of the enemy traps.

The world would say, you fool, pray for wealth and success and health and a long life. But that prayer is for those who love their lives and love this world. We long for our Lord, and He is the only portion and prize that will satisfy our hunger and thirst. We have nothing of worth but our testimony about His Good News and our garments washed by the Blood of the Lamb – because this life is of no value to us until we are in His presence where we will be judged for every word and action.

We will be judged by our heart itself – by the source of our true desires – because faith does not exist in our words or even in our works. Faith exists in the truth about our guiding Spirit – and everything hidden in darkness will be brought into the light. Every secret, every hidden thing of our heart will be laid bare upon the altar of the Lord to reveal who we really are that day.

Lord, teach us, change us. Don’t let us remain in those old ways. Kill this old man of flesh that battles us daily, overcome these enemies that attack is from the shadows daily, and feed, nourish, and strengthen our Spirit to be in agreement with your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Will we choose peace?

We can have the peace that God wants us to find in His guidance and example, or we can participate in the evil rebellion that hurts us and others around us. He offers us delivery from the traps of our old ways, and the strength to overcome and be set free, it is our choice that remains and that will determine the fruit of our lives.

The old way of the flesh:

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,  thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Mark 7:21-23 NKJV

The promise of peace:

Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.
Psalms 119:165 NKJV

The strength offered:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 NKJV

The fruit to be born in our lives:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-25 NKJV

Lord, we imagine how much brighter this world would be if filled with lives bearing your fruit abundantly. And even as we hope for a move of your Holy Spirit across our city, our state, our nation, our continent, our earth – even as we pray for and lay claim to your territory – we realize that we are the vessels carrying your Good News, your nourishing fruit, out to serve the world around us. Let our lives shine brightly reflecting your glory, Lord. Let us continue loving each small opportunity to show your love to others, not to just talk about you, but to live like you, too follow in your footsteps, sharing our life as a testimony, walking with you, and not loving our own lives even unto death. Rescue us, Lord, from that old man, that flesh, that enemy of your ways that wants to cling to us like burdensome chains of sin, death, guilt, shame, bitterness, unforgiveness, or unbelief. Free the captives, Lord, starting with us – equipping us, and guiding us, and using us for your glory and honor, forever and ever, Amen.

His Touch

For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:24 NLT

There is an important difference between ritual and worship, between religious practice and communing with God, between learning about God and getting to know God personally.

If someone hasn’t been called by God, surrendered their life to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, received the baptism of the Holy Spirit – they can participate in religious practice and ceremony, and they can even gain knowledge about the laws of God and see benefit from the divine instruction of His Word, but they are not yet entering into worship – they have not yet uncovered Truth – because they are only examining with their minds, not yet growing in their hearts from the touch of Christ living in them.

Continue reading “His Touch”