Troubles that Confront Us

November 12, 2014

Philippians 1:19-24
…for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.d 20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Troubles that Confront Us

Throughout life, those near us or ourselves personally, are touched by tragedy, disappointments, hardship, setbacks, hurts, sickness and trials of various kinds. If we don’t have a revelation of what our life purpose is we can become discouraged, bitter, unforgiving and even blame God for what touches our life or the lives of those around us. Paul gives us a perspective here of a life that is lived and dedicated to Christ. No matter what adversity befalls him, Paul has one goal and purpose. His life, he does not consider his own, but Christ’s and the life he now lives, he lives by faith, not for himself, but for Christ who died and gave Himself for Paul. Whether in life or death, Paul’s life is about living for Christ and fulfilling his purpose in Him. We all need to get a greater revelation of how Paul lived his life. Most of us still see our lives as being mostly about us. In that place of giving life to self there will always be things that we are struggling with that will touch us through our emotions, feelings, mind and will. Things that we struggle with because we are rationalizing them with the natural mind and understanding. For the person that is truly dead in Christ all that really matters is that Christ is fully living through them. Rather good or bad, it His will and destiny that directs their lives and gives them the purpose for living and being. The body and earthly life are but a tool in the hand of God to work His greater work and will through. We are the callused hands of His working in the earth to make a difference in the lives of those He touches through us. We are also the gentle touch of compassion and grace that leads others to repentance. We are His precious hands and feet to bring the kingdom of God into the earth and we do that as He lives and has expression through us. The more of self that is in the way, the more of that purpose is hindered and His true nature is polluted.
Bad things do happen to good people, Bad things happened to Jesus, the Son of God and bad things can happen to us. It is not the bad things that happen that define our life, but rather the goodness of the God that lives within us. We don’t always see the ultimate and long-term purposes of God. The disciples couldn’t see the purpose and goodness of God when Jesus was crucified. When, we, like Jesus are willing to pour out our lives for others then we can have assurance that God will take the seed of sacrifice that we planted and bring forth a harvest. Let us not be so concerned about this current life, but rather living out of the eternal life that inhabits us. Fear God and not the things you may suffer, for as Paul says in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” All of this is the preparation for the revelation of the sons of God who will set creation free. Our rest is in our death and His life, so when this life is spent it only gives place to a greater place of glory. It is not the physical death that we must fear, it is the spiritual life or death with which we must be concerned. The purpose of our life is to perpetuate that spiritual life. No matter what confronts us we live out of His life and not our physical strength and being or natural understanding.

Blessings,
#kent

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What’s Under the Surface

January 10, 2013

Ephesians 4:29-32
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

What’s Under the Surface

No matter how long you are around the “Christian” community it never ceases to amaze you what can come out of outwardly godly people. There are a lot of “Christians” that talk the talk, quote scriptures, praise the Lord, preach the gospel, but if you step on their toes or push their buttons they can totally come uncorked on you. That precious godly appearance and demeanor can suddenly turn into something totally unrecognizable and manifest some of the most ungodly words and behavior. Suddenly that person that was so sweet and kind to you can become your worst nightmare. It is amazing how we as “Christians”, who are suppose to be carrying the love and nature of Christ can suddenly become so unChristlike and so easily offended.
The test of a true believer and the character of what is in them is best revealed when they are under pressure and persecution. Their response is a window into the heart of their character. Do they respond with kindness and compassion, forgiving the other as Christ has forgiven them, or do they respond in bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and every form of malice?
One of the first things that we need to realize and get a revelation of when we come into Christ is that we died to the natural man. Many of us have no clue about the death to self, we have only candy coated our exterior to look “Christian”. If we truly grasp “that it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me”, then why are we so easily offended when we don’t get our way, when people don’t meet our expectations or they step on our toes?
It is an interesting dynamic in churches to see how many people come and go. Many come in thinking it is the greatest church in the world until something doesn’t meet their approval and then they are out of there, continuing their quest for the Holy Grail of churches that will meet all of their expectations.
People are human and by nature, many of them will offend or fail you at some point in life. Your response to their offense or failure in your eyes, speaks to the maturity of where you at in Christ. Are your eyes on Jesus or are they on people? Are you covering others in love or are you finding fault and taking up offenses?
What I find even more amusing is that most of those who become so indignant with their offenders, no matter how they, personally may act or what they say, they are totally justified, righteous and feel they have been given the God-given mandate to judge and condemn those they are offended with. They become totally blind to their own conduct and unChristlike nature. We become God’s fruit inspectors while ignoring the fruit of our own actions and words. Nothing reveals a religious spirit more than this.
How do we respond when others purposely or accidentally push our buttons? Is Christ in control or is the flesh unleashed? Many times our own households are the proving ground of what our true character is. We are most unguarded around the ones we love and feel safe with. How do we respond to them in times of irritation and testing?
“Christianity” isn’t a new suit we can take on and off. It is a lifestyle of growing up into the very nature and character of Christ. One of the things that works that nature in us is in practicing His presence in the midst of adverse situations. Responding out of the Spirit and not out of the flesh. Practicing love and forgiveness where we might feel justified to dislike and hate.
Thank God for your enemies, your offenders, those that step on your toes and push your buttons. They can do a work in you that your friends never will. They are the ones that test the metal of what you really carry within you and the character you are living out of. When you don’t see Christ, then it is time to repent and ask the Lord to help you go deeper, abiding in the Spirit and not just looking spiritual. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Blessings,
kent

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