Stepping Up

September 17, 2013

Stepping Up

Ephesians 4:15
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:

Our walk in Christ is a progressive one; it is a journey that each day should bring us a little more into His character and likeness. If we charted it on a graph I doubt that for very many of us it would look like this smooth sloped line starting at zero and going up. The truth is we would probably see dips and rises. Sometimes it is like we go two steps back to take one forward. Some days we can be so discouraged with life or ourselves that we just want to give up and sometimes we may even do that for a time. Life is a series of ups and downs and we all know that on the surface it is easier live a sweet Christian life when things are going well. When we are caught up in the Spirit and we are feeling and experiencing the Lord’s presence and blessing in our lives it can be like we have heaven on earth. The reality is, we know that we can experience hell on earth well. There can be those times in life when all that we know and held dear is pulled out from under us. Our world can be turned upside down in a heart beat. One thing you can count on in life is that nothing stays the same. It is these experiences in our lives that are the testing and proving grounds of our faith. The adversities in life are what exercise our muscles of faith and sound the depths of our character and integrity. Often it is when we feel spiritual the least that we grow the most. Our Father always sees the big picture where we can only see the next hundred feet. The one thing we have to be committed too is that come heaven or hell, our lives are wholly His. We are His garden, to prune, to dig around, to water or however He decides to deal with us individually. What we can hold fast too are the facts and truths that ‘He loves us with an everlasting love’, ‘He is able to complete the good work He began in us’, ‘He will never leave us of forsake us’ and ‘all things work together for the good of them that are called according to His purpose.’
The important thing for all of us in Christ is that we maintain a focus and vision of continual faithfulness toward the Lord. The enemy of our souls has continual roadblocks, diversions, disasters, and snares to discourage, get us off track and get us back into that mindset of the flesh and the world. We must maintain a continual vigilance of our souls and we need one another to help us see the things that we often don’t see in ourselves. Our spiritual transformation and progression is not something we accomplish in and of ourselves. Romans 8:3-4 tells us, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” That is why our walking in the Spirit is so important. Walking in the Spirit is where we experience His righteousness, His freedom, His strength and power through us to overcome sin and temptation and deliverance from evil. It is where we walk in the company of the Strong One, the Wise One, and the Faithful One. It is in Him and our continual union and fellowship with Him that we experience growth from glory to glory as 2 Corinthians 3:18 puts it, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Every day should be a progressive walk in the Spirit, irregardless of what life circumstances are. Each day should be a stepping stone of faith and trust that brings us up higher and transforms us into His likeness. Keep your eyes upon Him and your walk in the Spirit. Let each day be another step up into the glory that is before us.

Blessings,
kent

A Heart of Vigilance

October 9, 2012

1 John 5:18-21
We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. 19We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

21Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

A Heart of Vigilance

I love this scripture, because it tells us the truth about who we are and where we are. It lets me know that “in Christ” I have been delivered and set free from that state of sin that I used to live in. That it is no my residence or state anymore as a believer in Christ. We all really need to know and acknowledge that in our hearts. We are not sinners any longer we are saints. We don’t continue, as we used too, in sin. We are in the safety of Christ, and in Him there is no sin. We now abide in the life and the vine of Christ. He is the tree of Life. Sin, which has its fruit in death, cannot abide there. We are still surrounded and living in the midst of a world that is enveloped and living in the evil one. Sin and temptation do surround us, but that is not where we live and that is no longer who we are.
Romans 8 tells us, that in Christ we have been delivered from the lower law of sin and death, which resulted in condemnation and fear of judgement and have come into the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. What that tells us is that His Spirit has come to indwell our beings. In the light of that truth we are no longer subject to the lower law of sin and death if we abide in the law of life in Christ Jesus. When we said “yes” to Jesus coming into our hearts, we said “yes” to his Lordship and His control of our life, but understand that His Lordship and Life working within us, He has still made subject to our will and choice. We understand that we were saved that day in our spirit, but the process of salvation is an ongoing work of grace that is transforming us spirit, soul and body into His will and likeness. Our residence, as believers, is now living out of His Spirit within us, but every day we make choices to yield to His spirit when our soul may still experience that drawing of the darkness and world that surrounds us. Every day we need to be solidified in our identity “in Christ”, because the devices of the enemy is to pervert and rob that identity from us to bring us again under that former identity of the flesh.
Let’s refresh ourselves again on who we are as spiritual beings in Christ and no longer that former person of the flesh. Romans 8:5-17 draws a contrast of this picture for us. “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
You may notice that a lot of what is being said here deals with th state of mind, what spirit controls it and where we set it. What we all, as believers, need to be mindful that the Spirit of God is there with us to help us abide in Him, but we still have the choices and the will to open our hearts to other influences.
It is like when someone comes to your home and it is secure and locked, but someone rings the bell and through a compelling plea, you unlock the door and let them in. That is temptation. They seem nice and friendly enough, but once they gain access they begin to steal from you and take your mind and heart from Christ. They begin to refocus you on to their agenda, which, secretly and deceptively, is to rob you of the peace and security of your home. They steal your identity in Christ as they give you there’s. Oh, did I mention the friends they brought in with them. When we open a door to the enemy he wants to come in like a flood. He is always looking for the those avenues of access to distract and appeal to our former affections.
This is why we walk daily in the Spirit, maintaining vigilance as we keep our eyes on Christ who now is our life and identity. We are the instruments of His glory and righteousness and each day we submit ourselves afresh, not being conformed to the world, but transformed through the renewing of our minds. Our minds are the gateways of life and death. It is where our hearts are.
“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21) Those things and affections that would turn hearts from Christ. T
True repentance and the blood of Jesus allows us the access to return if and when we stumble in sin. Father is never there to condemn you, that is the doing of the accuser, He is always there to restore you to wholeness and right relationship.
Guard your hearts.

Blessings,
kent

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