“It is by Grace we are saved not of works lest any man should boast.” Salvation is a gift of God. God has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His son. Once we become saved it is a continual growing process?
The process of salvation was designed by God to redeem us from the curse of sin and death. Due to the original sin of Adam and Eve we have inherited a sin based nature. We have inherited a natural proclivity towards sin. When we begin to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord and Savior we can begin learning how to overcome our weaknesses. Not in our own strength but only by His power. Psalms 84:11 says “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Jesus overcame sin in the flesh as an example. To demonstrate and model to us that when we are obedient to God we can overcome flesh weaknesses. We must make a conscious effort to live lives that are pleasing in the sight of God. The Old Testament is full of examples when God’s children lived Holy lives. We are to live Holy. Holy does not mean we are sinless. It means we consciously choose to be governed by what God says. We are set apart for His use. There should be a definite difference in the way you live. It should reflect change eventually. Your life should reflect some evidence that you have surrendered. God does not ask us to do anything that we are not able to do. God has said, “Be ye Holy because I am Holy”.
When we choose to sin there are consequences. Salvation does not exempt us from the consequences of sin. The law of sowing and reaping is true. You do reap what you sow. Begin to sow seeds of righteousness before your sin harvest overtakes you. The world embraces sin. It continues to lure the believer to think that walking the broad road is safe. God does love us unconditionally but He allows us to be impacted by sin. The world is currently experiencing the consequences of sin. Jesus who was without sin died in shame on the cross for us. He bore the weight of our sins. He died; He gave His life to atone for the consequences of our sin.
We have been justified. This means we have been declared righteousness. We have been sanctified. Pardoned from the guilt and penalty of sin. This still does not give us an excuse to sin. God’s grace shields us from the total impact of our sins. Roman 5 says; “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into His grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of GOD and not only that, but we glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation produces patience and patience, character and character hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Why do we continue to encourage sin to prevail? When we condone sin we are doing just that. Scripture tells us ” If we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive us of our sins and His blood will cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. We must begin to move to a higher level of functioning. Our works do not save us. But our works are supposed to display our faith. If we allow sin to recycle and reign in our lives we water down the effectiveness of salvation. We must implement self- control over our sin weakness. Jesus was strong yet compassionate. Breaking unhealthy cycles can be painful. The old cliché’ no pain no gain is warranted.
God’s grace is the equalizer. It reminds us that he has given us salvation in lieu of who we are! No one deserves or can earn salvation. Each of us must develop a personal relationship with the Lord. This is where your personal strength comes from. If we hide God’s Word in our heart it helps us not to sin against Him. The scriptures are designed to shine the light on our sin so we can be convicted. When truly convicted we can feel remorseful. This is the process that leads to true repentance. “Grace and peace is multiplied by the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” According to II Peter 1:2
Quite often people don’t know the difference between persecution and conviction. Persecution is to harass in a manner to injure, grieve, or afflict. Convict means to find or prove guilty! The two are often confused. When you allow someone to feel convicted they may often see you as negative. Why? Because they will often associate you with the guilt they are feeling. They quite often feel you are persecuting them. It is very important to know your motives. You must learn to be a guardian to your heart. When you know your motives and you are aware God knows your motives you will have inner peace. Take time to study the prophets. You will be able to clearly see that they were considered as very negative. You see God’s grace is crucial for the Christian. It will sustain you when you are misunderstood.
Life is full of many valley and mountain top experiences. The casual acceptance of sin has allowed many to be deceived. Dysfunction has been sanctioned and embraced. Weakness nourished and comforted. Dysfunction has become an unhealthy comfort zone for many. God does not want any of His children to be a slave to sin. When you are a slave to something or someone it or they control you! Abandoning unhealthy cycles can be painful. But it actually leads to freedom! We begin to embrace freedom when we learn to take responsibility for our actions. Abandon the tendency to blame someone else. This will also begin to free you from the difficult merry-go-round of dysfunction. Did you know it is much easier to blame someone else for your unhappiness? If you take an honest examination you may possibly be able to determine the origin of your unhappiness. Quite often it was there long before you met your current accuser. Begin to take control by taking responsibility. Find healthy ways to meet your physical emotional and spiritual needs. Hebrews 4:16 tell us to”Come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”
Paul had a thorn in his flesh but God told him his grace was sufficient! We today still don’t know what that thorn was! Perhaps it was the very thing that brought Paul in such close fellowship to the Lord? God allows people, situations, and things in our life for a reason. Discipline is not usually something we naturally welcome. Why? We would really rather avoid pain! Many times we would actually rather discipline someone else. But for the child of God discipline is absolutely necessary! A little acronym I learned long ago; Grace is actually Gods, Riches, At, Christ, Expense!
Christ did not need to suffer to learn obedience. He suffered for us! He humbled Himself for us! He fulfilled all of the requirements of righteousness for us! Roman 6:1 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? We as children of God must strive to continuously discipline ourselves to His principles! Ask your self have you died to sin? Or should I say or you dying daily to sin? Is sin reigning in your life? Have you ventured onto the broad road? Or are you sitting on the fence? Begin to lay aside any sin that hinders your walk with the Lord! Commence living and standing on the Word of God! Jesus sacrificed his life for us. The blood sacrifices of animals would not do. God said if you truly love Him you will keep His commandments. In Roman 12 we are told to; “Present your body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of GOD.”
Have you ever had a situation when you did not know what to do? Have you ever had a problem that you thought was so big you did not know how it could ever be resolved? Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you tried to explain something no one would understand? Have you ever felt so discouraged that you felt as though the weights of the world were upon your shoulders? Have you been physically ill or near death and felt that you were at the point of no return? Has death knocked on the door of a friend or love one unexpectedly? On the other hand has God freed you from narrow minded and shallow view thinking religious folks? Have you ever been persecuted, forsaken, maligned, misunderstood or unappreciated? Or have you just been so spiritually blessed you can just not express it in words? ( I am sure there are a few scenarios I forgot?) If you have ever experienced one or more of the above I have some great news for you! Nothing happens in your life that God is not aware of!
I want you to know that there is absolutely nothing that is too big, hard, and deep or complicated for GOD! More important all of the above are reasons to really get to find out what He is really all about “God is Love.” As a matter of fact in I Corinthians 13 the Scriptures tell us “Love never fails”. Never as a truism meaning never; it just won’t happen! Now don’t get me wrong. I said have you ever felt like? Did you know that your feelings can transport you into a realm of thought that you really do not have to enter? If you do enter you do not have to stay there? How do I do that? You must pluck some good ole spiritual fruit? Take just a slither of “self control”. Gradually digest it’s nutrients. This will help you take the helm. You must begin to get in gear. Shift by not allowing your feelings to get the best of you? How do I do that? Begin by acknowledging how you feel. Good, Bad or indifferent? Do not lean to your own understanding. Remember God is a Spirit of Truth! The Truth truly sets you free! Did you know that God will do exceedingly above and more than you could ever wish when you are obedient? He can, wants to and will direct your path. This is why it is important that you do not get bogged down in your thoughts nor into what someone else thinks. As simple as this might seem all you must do is shift your FOCUS!
For a moment let’s just imagine life as an obstacle course. Always keep in view, that at the end of your course your reward(s) awaits. To help you keep focused just know; your rewards are guaranteed and determined by God. Nobody can change or alter that fact. How many, much or few those rewards are is actually between you and God. God created you for a purpose. Each individual has a purpose. Once you embark into existence there is no way out unless you finish. Each individual has a time in which to complete their course. That time can be premature; prior to birth or instantly, after birth. That time can span a few minutes, days, weeks, years, decades or a century plus. There are no two paths designed that are exactly alike. Therefore you cannot navigate in the same manner as someone else. The Holy Spirit as the ultimate guide wants to and awaits too direct your path!
God who is all wise and all knowing has given us guide lines and instructions. This is why His Word is so very important. Now, just know that you can select some, all or part of His instructions. But are you ready for the consequences? You can practice them legalistically or even disregard, modify, add your own, or totally ignore the instructions. But are you ready for the consequences? Keep in mind there are actually some instructions that you do not have to do any more. Why is that? When Jesus came He left us with a better way. He is our only perfect example. He actually fulfilled the law. We are now free from the law. You must become familiar with His Word. It is full of history and wisdom. It is important to know what they were and what they are now! When you read His instructions you will be fed spiritually. This way you can really appreciate all that He has done for us! This will also help you when someone else gives you direction. You will know the difference when you have faithfully studied the instructions. Always remember you can opt to ignore all of them. But, again there will be consequences. Free choice was designed so we are not mechanical robots. Your intellect was actually designed for you to think intelligently. How do you think Adam named all those animals? It is crucial that you intellectually as well as spiritually yield to the Lord’s way. Yielding helps you to subscribe to His will being done in your life. Here is where you will find true freedom. You will also know “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” But He tells us not to use our liberty to cloak maliciousness! Remember absolutely nothing is hidden from God! God is sovereign! This also helps you to keep focused!
God has given us the opportunity to have an internal guide. But you must first acknowledge Him as Lord of your life. To shift to this level of functioning you must invite His Son as your Savior to come and abide in your heart! Now you are ready! When all or any of those feelings I talked about earlier come what do you do? You shift your Focus to God. God our Father, our Creator and Maker of all things. Colossians tell us that there is not anything that was made that was not made through Jesus Christ. This world as we know it was spoke into existence. The Word, became flesh and dwelt among us! His Word is Jesus! He really does know all about your Troubles, Temptations or Trials. He really does have a way. That is why He says “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.” Jesus is the only door to Him!
When your life becomes burdened down with the troubles of this world remember it is only a test? Life wants to distract you from your purpose. You were created to worship and praise God. I also have a little secret that just might help you? It does not matter how much or little someone thinks of you? It does not matter how much or little you have? It does not really even matter how many, or few titles that are in front of or behind your name. It does not even really matter what others say; especially when it is just not true . God knows the intent as well as content of our hearts. Hallelujah! Many will draw conclusions and make assumptions based on little or no factual data. Problems and situations are seasonal. God is eternal! He always was and always will be! This is why it is so important not to get drawn into how you feel. Feeling is a good thing, anyone that does not feel is ready for the grave. Just don’t let your feelings control you. It’s never too late to change. Begin to learn to take in several bites of self control. It really goes a long way. You can learn to be objective when you deeply examine situations. Many are often deceived. Remember, you must learn to focus. This will give you the proper motivation to do the right thing at the proper time. It will also give you a taste of another fruit which is inner peace. This will also let you know what is important. What really is important is; that you know and obey God. God will never lead you to do anything morally, physically or spiritually that goes against His principles.
Start today by incorporating in your daily diet His fruit. Galatians 5 will teach you all about the fruit of God’s Spirit. It also lets you know by contrast the works of the flesh. You have as much tine as you need to accomplish what He wants you to do. Oops! By the way it might seem to others when you take a bite of patience you have, or are………whatever? Patience often does work tribulation. Oh but HOPE will take you through tribulation. Hope helps you not to be ashamed. It will definitely help you keep focused! But your hope must lie in God! Did you know your mind can bring you down and confuse you when it is not properly focused? It can allow you to distort the facts. Remember God’s Love never fails! Now if you have not confessed and believed in your heart you may or should I say will have a problem with all of this. Why? It so simple that it is difficult. Be careful who and what you yoke yourself up with. There are those who major in worry. Have you ever heard the expression “If you are going to worry why pray?” God’s yoke is easy and His burdens are light. His burdens are not to weigh you down. They come so you can what? Put it all in His hands.
Always remember who and what awaits you. Better yet who is with you? His precious Comforter, the Holy Spirit! The way this world is going, it’s just no telling, you might just be one of those who ends up being caught up in the air with Jesus? Either way at the end of this course God has reward(s). Keep your faith and trust in Him. He really does have it all under His control. This is why it is very important to always keep in view; God has a purpose for you! This is why He says be anxious for nothing! But in “all things through prayer and supplications let your request be made known… “If your mind is stayed (focused) on Him He will keep you in perfect peace.” All you must do is “PUT IT ALL IN HIS HANDS”
To God be the Glory!