We Have the Mind of Christ

September 22, 2015

1 Corinthians 2:14-16
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ

We Have the Mind of Christ

What a bold statement that the apostle Paul makes here when he says, “But we have the mind of Christ.” If you or I were to come out and say something like that many Christians might consider us heretics. It is made clear by what is written preceding this that we can’t make this statement if we are walking and reasoning out of the natural man. It is after we live and walk in the Spirit that we become spiritually minded and put on the mind of Christ. We can discern that the man who is not centered in the mind of the Spirit is often one that is a mixture of flesh and spirit. Most of us have seen or heard of someone who thought they were “the Christ” and were caught up in a God complex where they spoke as God. We all know of Jim Jones and David Karesh, for example, that led many astray and to a tragic end. Paul is not speaking in this context, because we never see ourselves as “the Christ”, we see that we are in Christ with the Lord Jesus being our head and yet He is bringing us into His likeness in mind and in being. Many are so afraid of identifying with Christ that they rob and deny the power of what He has called us to be in Him. Apart from Him we can do nothing, but as a part of Him all things are possible. Our faith is taking what God’s word says and counting it as so, even when the physical world and natural evidence doesn’t support it. Faith is what bridges the gap of time and space and the eternal. In Christ and in the flesh we stand between two dimensions and we are trying to reconcile who we truly are. In the natural we often see evidence in us that is often contrary to what we know we should be, but our faith renounces the old, repents of the shortcomings, sins and mistakes and then embraces God’s word and promise as to our true identity. Satan is always trying to convince us of who we are not, through feelings of unworthiness, condemnation, keeping our eyes on the natural man. Christ is saying to us, “Count that former man of the flesh as dead, as crucified with me upon the cross. Identify with me in resurrection life, for the power of sin over you is broken. You are a new and spiritual creation that no longer has to be subject to the law of sin and death. You have been called to be the children of God who walk after the Spirit and put no confidence in the flesh. As a part of your faith in identifying with me I am imparting my life to you and through you by My Spirit that dwells in you.”
God’s word provides our pattern of thinking and living. His Spirit is guiding and leading us into all truth. He is exploring our inward parts and revealing those areas that still need to line up with His nature and character. The difference is that the Spirit doesn’t bring conviction in us to condemn us, but to transform and change us. It is the man of the soul that must come into submission and obedience to this man of the spirit. As this happens our spiritual mind becomes more and more a way of our daily thinking and reasoning, for the natural gives way to the mind of the Spirit.
We have the mind of Christ, but it is our choice to embrace it and put it on by faith that leads to good works and righteousness.

Blessings,
#kent

Drawing Near

February 17, 2015

James 4:7-10
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Drawing Near

James gives us a strong admonition here reminding us prior to these scriptures that our friendship with the world is enmity and rebellion against Him. His Spirit is jealous over us as His possession. It is His will and desire that we honor Him with the fidelity and faithfulness of our hearts. If we wonder why we are in such a state of disconnect with our God this may well be why. A sanctified people are a separated people. We are disassociating with the world, its standards and its ways as we consecrate ourselves to the Lord’s service and His purpose.
James now admonishes; do you want to get back into right relationship with your Lord? Do you want to know His fellowship and closeness again? It first starts with submission. Until we are willing to submit our self-life to Him we are going to be double-minded and adulterous in our thinking and doing. First, we must submit ourselves through repentance and consecration of our lives and wills to Him.
We should know up front that if we have been allowing the devil access into our lives then just because we change our minds and hearts doesn’t mean he easily gives us up or leaves us alone. Temptation will come which brings us to Jame’s second admonition, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, He resisted the devil by speaking the Word, “It is written…”. Our power to resist the devil is never in our reasoning or rationalizing with him. He knows how too artful twist the Word to pervert it to his own ends. Resist the devil by standing on the truth and declaring it over your life and circumstances. As an example, do you know that Romans 8:37 declares, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” This word, “more than conquerors” in the Greek is hü-per-nē-kä’-ō. This word indicates no small win, but a great, pre-imminent and surpassing victory. This word indicates you just kicked the stuffing out of your adversary. It wasn’t even close. Your victory in Christ is so superior, overwhelming, and indisputably complete. In your resistance of the devil come into complete identification with the Victorious One and stand on your complete victory through Him who is completely and utterly victorious over all the powers of sin and the devil.
Thirdly, “come near to God and He will come near to you.” This passage is all about the restoration of that fellowship and unity that has been broken because we have been double-minded, trying to please ourselves and please God also. It is like dating another while you are married to your wife or husband. Your spouse is jealous over you because you have entered into a covenant with him or her, promising to forsake all others. If you want right relationship, you have to be single in your love and affection for that spouse. We are espoused to Christ and our covenant, sealed in the blood of Jesus and the earnest of His Spirit, is with Him.
Fourth, purify your hearts and wash your hands. Separate yourself from all impurity of spirit, soul and flesh. Renew your mind through the washing of the water of the Word and put away from you all impure and unholy things. The hands speak of our works and doings. When we wash our hands we are separating and cleansing them from the works of iniquity. We are choosing rightly and doing the works of righteousness.
Fifth is the change in the attitude of our heart. In verses 9-10 we are reading about a true attitude of repentance, not just in our heads, but in the inner depths of our heart. This is a deep cleansing act of repentance where we become very grieved over our sin and rebellion. We have a true revelation of how we have called ourselves Christian, but have been anti-Christ in our behavior and compromise. This is an attitude much like Peter had after he realized he had just denied and forsaken his Lord. Because of the repentance of his heart and his willingness to humble himself the Lord forgave and restored Peter. He will do the same for us if we will get our hearts right before Him.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, but recognize, acknowledge and do what is required so that you may have a right relationship with your Lord again. God is in the business of restoration, so no matter how far you have wandered or how much condemnation you may feel, Jesus wants to restore you to right fellowship and relationship with Him again. Just honestly, completely and without reservation give back to Him your whole heart, mind and soul. His blood will wash you. His Word will renew your mind and His Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth if you will turn your back on all of the past darkness. He loves you with a complete and unconditional love. He abides faithful, even when we are faithless. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you!

Blessings,
#kent

Wise Counsel

January 2, 2014

 

Wise Counsel


Proverbs 24:6

For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors [there is] safety. 


Most of us appreciate wise counsel, especially in the hard decisions of our life, but we have a choice of who we choose to hear and receive counsel from.  Essentially all of our decisions are made from counsel that we gather mentally from different sources, then evaluate and arrive at our decision.  Where are we going to get our counsel?   

The fruit of our lives will reveal the source of our counsel.  If we are walking in the counsel of the ungodly, then our actions, decisions and choices are going to be ungodly.   Psalms 1:1 exhorts us, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”  

Most all of us want and need wise counsel.  We realize that we are not all wise and experienced in many of the areas of life we must make decisions, so it is quite common that we would seek out those who are wiser and more experienced in these areas of life.   Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established” 

Proverbs 19:20 exhorts us, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.”  As Christians, most of us have come to realize that our best advice and counsel comes from the Word of God and His people who are skilled and experienced in His Word.  One of the reasons we go to church and bible studies, listen to tapes and read Christian books is to hear the counsel of the word of God and it’s interpretation.  It is a resource we can use to make wise decisions for the direction of our lives.  

One of the names of God and Christ is “Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6).  One of the seven spirits of God spoken of in Isaiah 11:2 is “counsel”.  God is our greatest resource of wise counsel and direction for our lives if we take the time to seek it out.  Too often we are in a hurry with the decisions we make or we have preconceived notions about what we want.  As a result we don’t take the time to wait on the counsel of the Holy Spirit or pursue the counsel of wise and godly men.  This is difficult for many of us because we are not given to patience.  We want our answer right now.  With God, His requirements are often that we wait upon Him, that we are “anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6).”   Proverbs 20:5 says, “Counsel in the heart of man [is like] deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.”  I believe the same is true of God.  We have to take the time to draw out what is the wisdom and counsel of God for our lives and the decisions we must make along the way.  Proverbs 19:21 tells us, “There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.”  We have to discern in our hearts and sort out what is of God and what is of natural reasoning and thinking.  We do that by connecting the points that make a straight line through the things that line up with the Word and counsel of God.  God’s counsel shouldn’t be confusion; it should bear witness with itself all along the way.  

It is most important, if we want wise counsel, to keep our hearts in tune with the Holy Spirit, seeking His counsel and wisdom through prayer and the Word.  It is equally important to check the attitudes and the condition of our heart and motives to be sure they are pure and submitted to Him.   Proverbs is a wonderful resource concerning the wisdom, understanding, knowledge and counsel of the Lord. Let’s conclude with a passage from Proverbs 2:1-8 “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,

2turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—3indeed, if you call out for insight

and cry aloud for understanding, 4and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,

5then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6For the Lord gives wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  7He holds success in store for the upright,

he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”  

 
Blessings
kent

Fullness

November 25, 2013

Fullness

Ephesians 1:22-23
And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Some of us are pessimist and some of us optimist. Some of us see the glass half-empty and others see it half full. Many see what they can’t do while a few see what they can do. I would probably tend to categorize myself more on the pessimist side. I believe one of the reasons for this is that we see things often through the eyes of our perceived abilities and capabilities. While we don’t wish to be pessimistic, we see ourselves as more pragmatic and practical. While that may be of some advantage in the natural world as we move into the spiritual dimension of God’s calling and purposes that ideology becomes often impractical to our call of faith. As we read the Word and understand more and more of God’s high calling for us who believe, it demands that we leave off with our natural reasoning and thinking. This takes place as we begin to put on the mind of Christ and by the Spirit comprehend and lay hold of the mind and will of God. The Lord can often lead us in some very impractical ways according to our natural reasoning. Our faith begins to lay hold of God’s thinking and His plans and promises rather than our own. This is often difficult for us to do. The Lord says in Isaiah 55: 8-9, “For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” As some of us are truly grasping who we are in Christ and the high and holy calling and plans He has for us, it strains the natural mind to fully see ourselves in that place. We comprehend the concept that we are the body of Christ, but sometimes it is not as easy for us to comprehend that the body becomes the full expression of the head. We often try and see, as well as understand, this concept in terms of our immediate lifetime, but God sees it in the light of His eternity. While that may tend to put it out of the realm of our immediate grasp and concern we need to realize that the body of Christ is a culmination of Christians throughout the ages and that the body of Christ is not a function of time or space. It is an embodiment of the All Mighty, a holy temple of His divine presence, and as it says here in Ephesians 1, “the fullness of Him that fills all in all”. The divine destiny of each believer is incorporated in this truth. How we live out our individual lives in connection with the will and purpose of God is what determines what part we are in this plan. As we are yielding our hearts and lives to the life of the Spirit we are being incorporated into the fullness of Him that fills all things. “Christ in you” is your hope in glory. It is what takes you and translates you out of the perishable and corruptible into the incorruptible nature and life of God.
If we do one thing today, let’s take a moment to step outside of our natural thinking and religious reasoning and begin to grasp what it is that our God has called us too. It is that place that is so far beyond us and what we could ever hope to be in ourselves. The Lord our God has adopted us into His bloodline through Christ. The blood that flows through His body ebbs with the life of the Father of all eternity and creation. What a humble and awesome privilege to grasp that He desires to make us so much a part of Himself. Is it of little wonder, in light of these things, that He has called us to a place of separation from the world and the unclean things of this life? We have become a part of a different bloodline and lineage than that of our natural man. With the eyes of faith and confidence we must lay hold of the revelation of who we are in Christ and live our lives accordingly. Our growing and abiding relationship with Him is causing us to grasp in an ever increasing way the high calling that is ours in Christ Jesus, that even as He walked, lived, suffered and died all of those things are incorporated in our lives as we live by the Spirit. He is that hand and we are the glove in which it moves and ministers it’s divine service.
Let us open up our hearts and minds to what the Spirit wants us to comprehend right now. We need the vision of who we are and the calling that is upon us in order to pursue with our whole hearts the high and precious promises of His Word. Begin to imagine the fullness of Christ in you, for Ephesians 3:20-21 concludes with, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

Blessings,
kent

Lust

September 11, 2013

Lust

Psalms 81:12
So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: [and] they walked in their own counsels.

Lust is an area where we all struggle. Many of us automatically associate lust with sexual lust and while that is one arena that it greatly works in, it is by no means that only one. Lust, is much the same as covetousness. It is the strong desire, passion and delight in a desirable thing or object. Typically, what do we have a strong passion and desire for? Usually it is for the things that we can’t have or that we ought not to have. This is what we commonly phrase, “lusting after the flesh”. It is our flesh that is at enmity with God or at war with Him. It is a battle that we fight in our souls, but finds expression through our flesh. Now, lust could have a good connotation, in that “I lust after the Spirit”, or have a strong passion and desire for God. Certainly this is the direction we would want our lust to take us, but more times than not it is taking us in another direction, the way of the flesh.
In our scripture today the context of what is being talked about is when God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and was leading them through the wilderness. Lust was a condition of their hearts that led them away from God and the higher purposes that He had for them. It continues on after our theme verse to say in Psalms 81:13-16, “Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, [and] Israel had walked in my ways I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.” If we want to be fed with the finest wheat (the bread of Life) and the honey out of the rock (the truth and revelation of Christ), then we have to hearken unto the Spirit and not unto our flesh when the lust of our desires and want to’s conflict with the Spirit within us.
What is the first thing we want to do when our desires or lust conflict with our spirit? Typically we begin to reason, justify and compromise. Let’s put the old mind to work on it, he’ll come up with a way to make it all right. Isn’t that how we generally try and find peace with ourselves, by rationalizing something in our mind? Or we compartmentalize it and justify it by saying to ourselves, “this is okay in this area of our lives, but not okay over here.” We develop different standards depending on whether we are dealing with family, or business, or social engagements, or spiritual activities. The truth is, God has one standard that applies to every area of our lives. Daniel, in the Old Testament, didn’t cease to pray routinely, just because it wasn’t the politically correct thing to do. He was consistent in every area of his life. We must be no different.
What happens when we start shutting the voice and the conviction of the Holy Spirit out and continue on in the way our flesh wants to go? For one thing, we grow hard of hearing and hard of heart. We have a free will and God will let us go our own way, but the more we go our way the more estranged we become with Him and the less clearly we hear His Spirit’s leading and direction.
Temptation is merely the incitement of my passion, desire or lust for something. James, deals with this issue in a very straight forward way when he says in James 1:12 -16, ”
Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.” He lays out the progression of lust from beginning to end and then exhorts us, “don’t fall for it precious saints.”
Again, James deals with lust in James 4:1-5, “From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” It is the lust of our hearts that entices us away from God to pursue our own passions that are in opposition to His will for us; thus we become His enemy rather than his friend. Our desires become our idol and God is saying, “Don’t you know how jealous I am over you?” God is envious and desirous of us, of our hearts, our affections and our faithfulness to Him. We become like the adulterer that forsakes his relationship to pursue another lover. We grieve the Holy Spirit in doing this.
The apostle John gives us this exhortation in 1 John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” Peter makes the remark that the corruption that is in the world is the result of lust and the whole reason that God has given us such wonderful and divine promises is to help us escape out of that snare and stronghold that is taking the world to judgement. He says in 1Peter 1:4, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” God desires that our desire be first for Him. He loves us with a jealous love and desires that we are faithful. He wants to give us a divine nature that has escaped the corruption that lust brings to our hearts and lives. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free so that we would no longer be in bondage to our lust and former desires. We need the Holy Spirit’s power to help us break the strongholds of lust off of our lives. The more our eyes are fixed on Jesus, the more our hearts are set upon Him and the more we are walking after the Spirit, the easier it will become to overcome these areas in our lives. The Holy Spirit will help us, but He will not act against our will. Only we can submit our will to His.

Blessings,
kent

Wise Counsel

March 29, 2013

Wise Counsel

Proverbs 24:6
For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counselors [there is] safety.

Most of us appreciate wise counsel, especially in the hard decisions of our life, but we have a choice of who we choose to hear and receive counsel from. Essentially all of our decisions are made from counsel that we gather mentally from different sources, then evaluate and arrive at our decision. Where are we going to get our counsel?
The fruit of our lives will reveal the source of our counsel. If we are walking in the counsel of the ungodly, then our actions, decisions and choices are going to be ungodly. Psalms 1:1 exhorts us, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
Most all of us want and need wise counsel. We realize that we are not all wise and experienced in many of the areas of life we must make decisions, so it is quite common that we would seek out those who are wiser and more experienced in these areas of life. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established”
Proverbs 19:20 exhorts us, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” As Christians, most of us have come to realize that our best advice and counsel comes from the Word of God and His people who are skilled and experienced in His Word. One of the reasons we go to church and bible studies, listen to tapes and read Christian books is to hear the counsel of the word of God and it’s interpretation. It is a resource we can use to make wise decisions for the direction of our lives.
One of the names of God and Christ is “Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6). One of the seven spirits of God spoken of in Isaiah 11:2 is “counsel”. God is our greatest resource of wise counsel and direction for our lives if we take the time to seek it out. Too often we are in a hurry with the decisions we make or we have preconceived notions about what we want. As a result we don’t take the time to wait on the counsel of the Holy Spirit or pursue the counsel of wise and godly men. This is difficult for many of us because we are not given to patience. We want our answer right now. With God, His requirements are often that we wait upon Him, that we are “anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6).” Proverbs 20:5 says, “Counsel in the heart of man [is like] deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.” I believe the same is true of God. We have to take the time to draw out what is the wisdom and counsel of God for our lives and the decisions we must make along the way. Proverbs 19:21 tells us, “There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” We have to discern in our hearts and sort out what is of God and what is of natural reasoning and thinking. We do that by connecting the points that make a straight line through the things that line up with the Word and counsel of God. God’s counsel shouldn’t be confusion; it should bear witness with itself all along the way.
It is most important, if we want wise counsel, to keep our hearts in tune with the Holy Spirit, seeking His counsel and wisdom through prayer and the Word. It is equally important to check the attitudes and the condition of our heart and motives to be sure they are pure and submitted to Him. Proverbs is a wonderful resource concerning the wisdom, understanding, knowledge and counsel of the Lord. Let’s conclude with a passage from Proverbs 2:1-8 “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
2turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—3indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding, 4and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”

Blessings,
kent

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