Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Lifestyle Of Being Led By The Spirit

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God,"
Romans 8:14 (NKJV)

What is the difference between breathing in air and flying through the air in an airplane?  One is something you do continuously from the moment you are born and the other is something that is not done all day, every day, by anyone.  Breathing in air is something that everyone can do because of the lungs we were born with; flying an airplane is something that only specially trained people can do.  Many Christians view being led by the Holy Spirit in a similar way; some see it as something natural that every believer can do, but some think that it is something that is only possible for a select few.

When someone accepts the salvation that Jesus provides they are born again and they receive the Holy Spirit.  As Christians we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).  The question is, what is the Holy Spirit doing in us?  We know from John 14:26 that He is our Helper and one way He helps us is to lead us and guide as it mentions in Romans 8:14.  The good news is that we can be led by the Holy Spirit every day; in fact we should have a lifestyle of being led by the Spirit of God.

So many Christians struggle in life and make wrong choices because they are not being led by the Holy Spirit.  One big reason many people do not have a lifestyle of being led is because they have not taken the time to develop their relationship with God through reading His Word and spending time in prayer.  If we want God to lead us then we need to get better acquainted with Him.  God wants to lead us and guide us in life, not just once and a while but every day.  We all need to make being led by the Holy Spirit a way of life and not just a rare event.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Qualified For Blessings

"Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light."
Colossians 1:12 (NKJV)

Did you know that not just anyone with athletic ability can compete in the Olympics?  There are athletes who train for years trying to earn a spot on a team or in a certain event to compete in the Olympics.  But to compete at that level you first have to qualify for a position.  The same is true in other sports where people must first compete to qualify before they can actually participate in the sporting event.  We can see the same thing in other areas of life like in qualifying for a home loan or in being eligible to go to a certain school by having the necessary grades.

There are a lot of Christians who think they still have to earn the blessings God provided through Jesus; they are still trying to qualify themselves for something that already belongs to them!  Through Jesus we have already been qualified to receive all of the blessings of God.  Too many people focus more on the work they do than on the work that Jesus did.  The truth is that none of us could ever be good enough or work hard enough to qualify ourselves for anything that God has.  That's why it is good to know that through Jesus we are already qualified for blessings.

We need to know who we are in Christ and what belongs to us.  If you don't know what Jesus provided for you then you can't take advantage of it.  The Bible tells us that God will supply all of our needs (Philippians 4:19), that God will guide us and direct us (Psalm 32:8), that God will give life and strength to our body by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11), and that through Jesus God gives us a peace that passes all understanding (John 14:27; Philippians 4:7).  Whatever you need, find out what God said about it in His Word and know that because of Jesus you are already qualified for the blessings!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Receive The Word And Do The Word

"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hears only, deceiving yourselves."
James 1:21, 22 (NKJV)

What would happen if you needed to wash some clothes and you put the clothing into the washing machine but did not use any laundry detergent?  The results would not be what you intended because you wanted clean clothes not just wet clothes.  What if you instead put the detergent into the machine and even turned the machine on but never put in your dirty clothes?  Again, you would have a problem.  Many times we have failed to succeed in something because while we may have taken one step or done one thing we have neglected something else.

In James we see two things, we must receive the Word and we must put it into practice; first you take in God's Word and then you do something with it.  That is simple enough, but there are also two potential problem areas.  The first is if we don't know what the Bible says and the second is if we don't act on what we know.  You can't use what you don't have and you can't do something that you don't know about.  James talks about receiving the Word of God but he first mentions laying aside something else.  To receive the Word we often also have to reject things that are not in line with God's Word.

We must receive the Word and do the Word; we need to learn more about Who God is and who we are in Christ.  We need to find out what belongs to us in Christ and what God's plan is for our life.  When we learn these things and then put that knowledge and understanding into action it will change our life!  This is how we can make an impact for God in the world and help people around us.  Wherever we are in our walk with God we need to do what we know to do and continue to grow in our relationship with God and our knowledge of His Word.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

First Things First

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)

As far as I know most people put their socks on first and then they put on their shoes, that is pretty normal.  But what if you reversed the order, what if you put your shoes on first and then tried to put your socks on?  The result would be a mess, which is why people put on their socks before their shoes.  This is just a simple example of something we see all around us in our natural life and it is also something that applies to our spiritual life.  There are some things that need to be put before some other things or there will be problems.  An easy way to understand this is with what we call priorities.

Everyone has priorities, choices about some things they do first before they do other things.  Sometimes our priorities are dictated by natural circumstances, like the shoes and socks, and sometimes our priorities are just our choice.  We all make decisions about what things are important to us and we make those things priorities.  But if we put the wrong things first, negative consequences can result.  For Christians we must keep our relationship with God, His plan for our life, and spending time with Him through His Word and prayer a priority.

We are all busy and have a lot to do; this makes priorities vital for our success.  We might feel pressured from things we need to do and allow that to create a priority in our life.  People can make demands on us and we might allow that to create a priority for us.  But if we don't keep first things first, if we don't keep God's plan and our relationship with Him first, then it will show up in the rest of our life.  Personally I have found over and over again that if I put God first, then everything else works out well.  Let's all make the decision to keep first things first and keep our relationship with God, His plan for our life, and spending time with Him through His Word and prayer our top priority.