A Measure of Faith

January 30, 2014

 

A Measure of Faith


Romans 12:3

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith


This experience we call being a Christian and partaking of God’s salvation through Christ has one key element that we all have to start with, and that is faith.  It starts with faith to believe upon Christ and receive that which we cannot see into our hearts.   We start our walk with God and we enter into His saving grace because we heard a Word and by that Word we believed in our heart and acted upon it by praying a sinner’s prayer, asking Christ into our hearts.  For all of us to have taken this first step into a Christian walk we had to have a measure of faith.  The Word says here in Romans 12:3 that, “God has dealt every man the measure of faith.”  Now this faith will be common in many ways to the faith of other believers, but it will also develop its own personality because each of us has been given different gifts and abilities by the Holy Spirit.  All of us grow and function out of the faith that works through our lives.  As we begin to grow in faith and act out of faith we learn a reliance not on ourselves and our abilities, but upon God’s ability to channel Himself through these earthly vessels as we yield and trust Him to do so.  

Jesus, in His ministry and walk upon this earth, told us that He didn’t do His own will, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me (John 5:30).”  Even Jesus is demonstrating through His earthly ministry that His life is functioning not in self-will or purpose but as an extension of the Father to do His will and speak His Words into the earth.  In Christ we see the full measure of faith in operation as the Godhead is channeled through His life through the full surrender of His will to the Father.   In the wilderness the account of Matthew 4:3-4 says the tempter came to Jesus and told Him He could turn these stones into bread, but Jesus knew that His life was not about what He could do, that would have only given place to pride and self-reliance.  Instead, He said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” He is communicating a profound revelation that my life is not about me; it is about the Father.  His Word is life, substance and reality.  At that moment, that statement didn’t make Jesus any less hungry, but Jesus knew and expressed that the spiritual realities of God’s Word superseded the natural realities of His hunger and present physical condition.  Throughout the trial Jesus faced, in a place of great physical exhaustion, His focus was on the Father and His strength and confidence was in the Word.  

We live in a natural world where we are constantly assaulted with trials and tribulations.  Whether they are physical, financial, emotional, family, work or any number of other things, problems are a part of our lives.  We have an enemy whose sole purpose is to rob, steal, kill and destroy.  Our faith is at the top of his hit list.  Our reality, as children of God, must be based foremost on the Word of God.  The enemy’s strategy is to divert our attention from what God’s Word says to what our circumstances and natural reality is telling us.  Jesus didn’t deny that He was hungry, but the basis of His obedience and trust was based on the Word of God, not his hunger.  We have to exercise our faith to exalt God’s Word above our circumstances and natural realities.  2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”  Spiritual reality is first to the spiritually minded, natural reality is second and subject to the first.  If ‘faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,’ as Romans 10:17 declares, then God’s Word is what we listen too, His promises are what we rely on, His Word is our declaration and profession over the obstacles in our lives that we face.  Our hope and confidence in that Word stands in the gap, our profession of His Truth and our praise in the midst of our battle, release the forces of heaven till faith has its manifestation in the natural.  Ephesians 6:10-13 tells us, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”  

As we exercise the measure of faith that God has given each one of us we will see His faithfulness, but it will not come without it stretching us from where we are to where He wants to take us.  Fix your eyes upon Jesus, set your heart upon His Word and rest upon His Promises.  That measure of faith will grow as you mature and exercise that daily and constant trust in Him. 

 
Blessings,
kent

Strife

November 22, 2013

Strife

1 Corinthians 3:3
for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

Isn’t it unfortunate that this statement so often defines us as we try to walk and live spiritual lives? Strife comes into to pollute so many of our relationships, both spiritual and natural. Really it is the outward manifestation of an inward condition. James 3: 14 and 16 in the King James version speaks of strife with this: “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth… “For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work.“ The Amplified version identifies more of the root causes of this strife, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth… For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” Verses 17-18 of the Amplified version goes on to say, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” We all know what it is like to be around a contentious person that is trying to provoke strife. It is often difficult to ignore and continually walk away from because it is continually antagonizing and provoking you. Strife is described in Galatians 5:20 as an attribute of the flesh, but it is one that has a hard time existing by itself. It needs someone to partner with. It needs an adversary and someone to contend with. It loves company and to get others caught up in the fray.
What are strife’s root causes? James has already identified bitterness, envy, selfishness and self-seeking. Proverbs 15:8 says, “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to anger appeaseth strife.” Proverbs 16:28 says, “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:14 tells us, “The beginning of trouble is like letting out water. So stop arguing before fighting breaks out.” Have you ever noticed how strife can result in a diarrhea of the mouth? We get started and before we know it, all kinds of putrid things are spewing out, which usually only serves to bring the same vile venom out of the other’s mouth.
We know that the perpetrator of this strife is demonic in nature and spirit, and yet we so easily fall into the snare that serves to only hurt, divide separate us. Disunity and strife strikes at the heart of family, fellowship and community. It has destroyed families, marriages, churches, and nations. It is at the root of our wars. In spite of its immensely destructive power we continually allow ourselves to be manipulated by it. Perhaps it is destroying the relationship you have with the person or persons you started out loving. It can only be stopped as we realize and acknowledge within ourselves the weakness and the flesh that is giving place to this deceptive destroyer. It needs our flesh to feed off of to even exist. The more we can enter into Christ and walk by the Spirit, the less power and influence it can have. It needs our ego, our pride, our selfishness, our jealousy and envy. It needs our anger, meddling, gossiping, and tattling to fan its flames.
Philippians 2:2-4 says this, “2Then give me true joy by thinking the same thoughts. Keep having the same love. Be as one in thoughts and actions. 3Nothing should be done because of pride or thinking about yourself. Think of other people as more important than yourself. 4Do not always be thinking about your own plans only. Be happy to know what other people are doing.” Strife has very little to build on when our motives are based in unselfish love toward one another. If we all have this mind to live for and bless one another, then the flesh has little place because our selfishness and pride aren’t in the way. Love the person that is so intent on striving against you. Return good for evil, compliment for insult and be of a gentle and quiet spirit. It is a spiritual battle waged through human agents. See it for what it is and let the weapons of your warfare not be natural, but mighty through the Spirit to the tearing down of strongholds.
Moses lost his entrance into the promise land because he responded out of the flesh to the strife of the people at the waters of Meribah in the wilderness. Responding to strife in the flesh will always cause us to lose by robbing us of the higher way. Let love rule in your hearts, mercy and peace in your actions and willingness to count others above yourself in your thinking.
“Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).

Blessings,
kent

A Heart Perfect with the Lord

November 19, 2013

1 King 8:61
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

A Heart Perfect with the Lord

If a heart is perfect it is at unity and oneness with the Father. Its ways, desires and ambitions are in alignment with the Father’s will, purpose and plan. It is at the center of where He wants us to be in Him today. All that the Father is working in you is to bring you to this place where it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me.
I had a young lady tell me the other day that she was finally at a place in her life where she was finding herself. As I thought about that, I thought I am in a place in my life where I am losing myself, for it is no longer self that I want, but Christ. Who I want to be is no longer me, but Him.
It isn’t even about me keeping the written laws and ordinances, not that these aren’t valid and right, but there is the law that He has written in our hearts on tables of flesh. The Holy Spirit indelibly writes them so that as I observe them I can walk after the spirit and no longer after the flesh. Even the efforts of righteousness and right doing are not my doing but the Spirit of Him that is living through me. Maybe that just sounds like semantics, but I believe it is more than that. The former righteousness spoke of my self efforts to please and walk before God, but in Christ it is the rest in His divine life and presence that we enter into by faith, ceasing from our efforts as we simply yield to His life living through us. This is a progressive work. Certainly not one done in a day, but it is accomplished in a lifestyle of living through Christ. It starts with the first order of the day being to submit our life unto Him afresh. We ask Him to order our steps in His purpose, to establish our ways, empower us to live in His will and purpose and to be the power that energizes our mind, will and emotions in conformity with His righteous directives.
Have we arrived there yet in practice and in deed? No, but we are daily conforming our heart to an attitude that is perfect toward the Lord. John 7:18 says, “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” Let us be of this latter one who works for the honor of the one who sent us. For we are a people of truth. May there be no false way about us because our hearts are perfect toward Him who has called us into His marvelous light and truth.

Blessings,
kent

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