God wants us to spend quality time with Him. God desires that we dedicate at least part of our day with Him; one-on-one; just YOU and GOD alone.
You see if you love someone whether it’s your child, girlfriend or husband, you always want to spend time with them.
Luke 5:16 NKJV So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
How often do you spend time with God?
There was nobody who was as busy as Jesus during the time when He was physically living in the earth. Multitudes of people wanted to be around Him and with Him for various reasons during His ministry. Yet despite the attention that was demanded of Him by the people who followed Him, Jesus always found time to spend some quiet time with God the Father. Jesus would withdraw from the people OFTEN so that He could spend some one-on-one quiet time with the Father.
Matthew 14:23 NKJV And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
There are so many distractions out there in our ordinary day such that if we are not careful, we can seize to have any time alone with God. You can never be too busy for God. Jesus would DELIBERATELY MAKE TIME for God the Father so that He could be alone with the Father to pray.
The scriptures say Jesus “sent the multitudes away” (Matthew 14:23) and that Jesus also “often withdrew” from the crowds in order to pray and spend time with the Lord (Luke 5:16).
So Jesus MADE time despite the demands of the day to spend time with the Father.
Are you consciously telling yourself in your mind that you are too busy for God?
Be like Jesus – MAKE time. Withdraw temporarily from the things that would take your time away from God.
Be like Jesus – FIND a quiet place to spend time with God.
God loves you and He wants to spend time with you too. A relationship is two-way; it requires both parties to participate. If you want to know God more, then you need to spend more time with Him. If you want to hear His voice, the you need to make time for Him.
James 4:8 NKJV Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…
If you were to sit down and write down the things that you are thankful to God for, how many things would you write down? Are you generally a person who is always thankful no matter what your circumstances or environment is like?
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
According to Paul we are to be thankful to God IN EVERYTHING.
I take that to mean that God wants us to be thankful in good circumstances and also IN bad circumstances. No matter what challenge or what problem you are facing at any particular time, God wants you to have an attitude of gratitude.
There are many reasons why we should be thankful. Having a thankful attitude is “the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”
Why You Should Have A Thankful Attitude
1. When we are thankful to God even in a bad situation it helps us to keep our focus on God and not on our problems. Focusing only on your problems leads to worry and anxiety. However, when you are consistently thankful, God’s peace and joy will dwell inside you
2. When we are thankful to God we acknowledge and demonstrate that God is STILL in control of our lives, our situation and our destiny.
3. When we are thankful to God, it means that we don’t need to complain and sulk because our trust is in the Lord.
4. When we are thankful to God, it means that we are focused on the GOODNESS of the LORD and not on the size of our problems. We realize that the GOODNESS of the LORD in our lives will overcome any bad circumstance we may face.
5. When we are thankful to God, He is pleased with us because it demonstrates that we love and appreciate Him during ALL situations. We are thankful in EVERY season in our life.
6. When we are thankful to God, we demonstrate by FAITH that the devil is ALREADY defeated.
Philippians 2:14-16 NKJV Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
We currently live in a generation that wants everything at the press of a button. So when things don’t happen so smoothly, our generation starts complaining & disputing.
God wants us to do ALL things without complaining or fighting. Instead we must replace such negative attitudes with a thankful and rejoicing heart.
God has given us such grace that if we only see, we will know that there are MORE THINGS to be THANKFUL for than there are to be complaining about.
Philippians 4:4-7 NKJV Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS. Again I will say, REJOICE! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Do you know that a lot of Hollywood movies have hoodwinked us into believing that love is this overwhelming feeling or emotion that you have in your heart? Is love really just a feeling or a strong emotion?
What is the meaning of true love? How does the Bible define true love?
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…
According to Paul while writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Love is an ACTION; Love is WHAT YOU DO; Love is HOW YOU BEHAVE; Love is HOW YOU THINK; Love is WHAT YOU SEEK; Love is WHAT YOU REJOICE IN; Love is WHAT YOU HOPE & BELIEVE; Love NEVER FAILS.
Love is a way of living; it’s a character that you show and do.
Why is the divorce rate so high around the world? Why is there so much strife among people? It’s because most people don’t know the meaning of love according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
We are more inclined to want to FEEL the EMOTIONS of love rather than to show ACT and BEHAVE the characteristics of TRUE LOVE.
If LOVE was only a feeling and an emotion – then love wouldn’t require us to “endure all things” or “bear all things”. TRUE LOVE sometimes requires you to do things you wouldn’t necessarily feel like doing.
LOVE IS A COMMANDMENT
Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV Jesus said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great COMMANDMENT. And the second is like it: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE your neighbor as yourself.’ On these TWO COMMANDMENTS hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
We are COMMANDED to love by Jesus. Love is NOT a suggestion; Love is NOT a choice according to Christ.
The definition of the word “commandment”is an order or injunction given by authority; a command; a charge; a precept; a mandate.
Therefore we are called to not only to love God and to love our neighbor – but we must also TEACH others the TRUE meaning of LOVE and we must TEACH others to LOVE according to what the word of God teaches us.
LOVE isn’t just a feeling. Love is God’s desires in action.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NKJV Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have NOT love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have NOT love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have NOT love, it profits me nothing.
Whatever you are doing in your life – what is it that motivates your thoughts, actions & deeds? Are your thoughts and actions motivated by the LOVE of both God and man? Or are you secretly motivated by wanting the praise of men or other self seeking reasons?
In Matthew 6:1-7 Jesus said that we should do our acts and deeds with the motivation of pleasing God and not so that we become glorified by men. The Pharisees, Sadducees & hypocrites were motivated by power, position, fame and they were after the praise of men rather than the praise of God.
I believe that when God does ANYTHING – His primary motivation is LOVE because God IS love (1 John 4:8)
When God sent His only begotten Son to be crucified for the sins of the world – it was out of LOVE (John 3:16)
Matthew 22:35-40 NKJV Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”. Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus when asked which is the GREATEST commandment responded immediately by telling them that they must LOVE GOD with our entire being, that is ALL our HEART, ALL our SOUL and ALL our MIND.
Today, are you loving God with everything in you? Today are you motivated in all your thoughts & actions by the LOVE of God?
Paul states in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, that we can do a lot of things that are good on the outside – but with the wrong motive inwardly. If we DO NOT have LOVE INSIDE US, “it profits nothing.”
God wants us to be motivated firstly by our LOVE for HIM, and our LOVE for our NEIGHBOUR. When we act in LOVE, our reward from God is awesome.
1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the GREATEST of these is LOVE.
Do you know that if you want to know what a person’s character is like – you need listen closely to what they talk about. It’s not only what a person does, but it’s also what a person SAYS that reveals to you a person’s thoughts and nature. Whatever issues that are dominating in a person’s mind and heart will eventually come out when they speak and will therefore give you revelation of the person’s character.
Matthew 15:18-20 NKJV But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.
Jesus is saying when we fill our hearts with issues that are ungodly, for example: evil thoughts, blasphemies, gossiping, adulterous ideas and the like, we begin to speak words associated with such and then we become defiled and the defilement is reflected by the words we speak.
What are you filling your mind and heart with today? Are you thinking thoughts that glorify God; Are the issues in your heart about things that reflect a love for God and for your neighbor?
Philippians 4:8 NKJV Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.
If you are to speak life, encouragement, joy and the like, you need to first work on what you are filling your heart & mind with. You need to MEDIATE on good, Godly thoughts and issues. Then you will see the change even in how you speak and in the issues that you speak about.
If you used to enjoy gossiping, you will see a change; if you used to speak negatively about many things, you will see a change; all because you have changed what you choose to think about.
Your faith is tested by your trials and challenges that you face in your life. How you react to your trials and challenges is a reflection of your spiritual maturity.
So when you encounter a trial, a challenge, a TEMPTATION – even though you may have MENTAL knowledge of God’s word, are you Christ-centered in your effort to overcome the situation or do you try to find a non-Christian solution to your problems?
Luke 8:6 NKJV Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture.
Luke 8:13 NKJV But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have NO ROOT, who believe FOR A WHILE and in time of TEMPTATION fall away.
Are you the type of Christian or church-goer who is hyped up, happy-clappy & joyful ONLY on Sundays during the church service? And then from Monday to Saturday you are a totally different person who’s struggling to find joy and victory because of the weekly challenges?
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus said that “the seed IS the word of God”. The seed is not money or anything else but it is God’s word.
YOU are the SOIL. But what type of ground or soil are you?
Jesus explains that the seed that fell on rock are people who receive the word with joy but these people do not have any strong foundation to stand on when they face temptation.
Jesus himself was tempted by the devil, but when tempted, He was rooted in the word of God and He gave us an example of how to overcome temptation by responding to each temptation by the written word of God. Are you doing the same?
How to be Rooted in God’s Word
1. Meditate on God’s word DAILY. Psalm 1:2-3 says “…But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he MEDITATES day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper”.
A tree planted by the river will obviously have its roots benefiting from an abundant supply of river water.
2. Trust & Believe God ALWAYS. Do not believe only when there are no problems, but believe God’s word despite the circumstances. Jeremiah 17:7,8 says “Blessed is the man who TRUSTS in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
3. Walk in the Holy Spirit and NOT the flesh. Galatians 5:16-18 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
Therefore in order to be rooted firmly in God’s word you need to Mediate Daily and Believe God’s word all the time no matter what your circumstance. Also allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and will give you strength to overcome.
Do you find yourself looking at the bad state of the economy around the world and thinking to yourself: “Lord WHERE are You? Lord WHY is this happening?”
Or perhaps you are looking at all the suffering, the killings and all sorts of strife that are happening and somehow it’s very difficult to convince an unbeliever that God exists – or sometimes you are trying to figure out what God’s overall plan is through the chaos that goes on around the world.
Judges 6:13 NKJV Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, IF the Lord is with us, WHY then has all this happened to us? And WHERE are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has FORSAKEN us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
Gideon had doubts about God’s love and God’s good intentions towards the children of Israel. Gideon had witnessed so much suffering amongst his own people that he just felt that God had forsaken them and that God didn’t really care about them anymore.
Gideon looked at the state of the children of Israel and the poor, miserable and hostile conditions they were living under because of the Midianites.
The truth is this: It’s NOT God who had forsaken the children of Israel, but it is the children of Israel who had forsaken God by worshiping other gods and doing evil. Judges 6:1 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years
The children of Israel did such evil as worshiping idols and other gods like Baal. (Exodus 20:1-5) God had already told the Israelites that they shall worship only ONE God but they didn’t listen; God had already told them that they shall not make for themselves a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, but they did not listen; God had already told them that they shall not bow down to idols but they did not listen; God had already told them that He was a jealous God who refused for them to worship any other God, but they did not listen to the ONE TRUE GOD.
SO WHO WAS FORSAKING WHO? Gideon got it wrong – the Lord had not forsaken them – but they had forsaken God and then God allowed the Midianites to overpower the children of Israel temporarily – at least until some of them realized that they need the ONE TRUE GOD and not Baal to save them from the Midianites. Judges 6:7-8 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel CRIED OUT TO THE LORD because of the Midianites, that the Lord sent a prophet to the children of Israel…
So Why Do We Experience Suffering?
Sometimes when we see suffering, chaos whether in the economy or socially or spiritually – we must ask ourselves – “Who has forsaken Who?” The type of suffering that the children of Israel were experiencing during Gideon’s time was NOT primarily caused by God, but it was caused because the children of Israel did evil in God’s sight AND also because the Midianites had no respect for the Israelites and their well being.
If EVERYONE loved his neighbor as himself – then there would be no strife and killings against one another. If EVERYONE was focused on being a blessing to other people then may be the social and economy situation around the world would be in better shape because NOBODY is being selfish.
Yeah right!!! Don’t be so simplistic!!! Only in a perfect world!!! – you might say.
That’s why EVERYBODY NEEDS JESUS. That’s why EVERYBODY NEEDS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. It’s the perfect solution.
God already promised that He will never leave or forsake us.
It is the duty of every Christian to speak to unbelievers who do not know God or who have forsaken God and bring them back to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
It is the duty of every Christian to make disciples of all nations in the name of the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit.
What a wonderful place it would be to be in a place where EVERYONE is a child of the Most High God.
When you are facing trials in your life – who do you decide to praise? When you are facing a financial challenge or you can’t seem to get a new job – who do you decide to praise?
Do you know that whenever you complain about your problems, trials & challenges in life – you are actually pleasing the devil? When you complain, or when you are depressed, or when you are anxious because of life’s challenges you validate to the devil that he is succeeding in his evil plans against you. Remember that “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” John 10:10 NKJV.
Therefore when you have an attitude of complaining, anxiety, depression and such, you are conceding the devil is conquering you in the various areas of your life. The devil has therefore stolen your joy and in doing so, he also destroys your ability to overcome.
Therefore whenever you are facing life’s challenges, WHAT DO YOU DO?
James 1:2-6 NKJV My brethren, COUNT IT ALL JOY when you fall into VARIOUS TRIALS, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
James says that you must have an attitude of JOY when you face various problems or challenges in your life. In other words, don’t let the devil steal your joy; let the joy of the Lord remain in you; thank God for the challenge in your life and thank God IN ADVANCE that He has found a way out for you to overcome and grow through the challenge you are facing.
According to James, the challenges you face are a test of your faith and that the testing of your faith produces patience & endurance. When God allows trials to come your way, it is because He wants to build your character and make you a better person.
The most important thing to understand about God is that His thoughts of you are good and He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you (Jeremiah 29:11,12).
God is your Father and He would not allow you to face challenges in your life unless He wanted you to learn from it and become stronger through the trial.
THE BENEFITS OF JOY
• Studies show that joy triggers healthy physical changes in your body.
• Joy and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain and protect you from the damaging effects of stress.
• Joy also shifts your perspective of how you see your life challenges. You begin to see your challenges from God’s eyes and God’s light and you will not see your problems from a threatening or overwhelming perspective.
• Depression has the opposite effect of joy in that you feel weak, sick, unmotivated and the like.
Therefore even though it doesn’t make sense to do so, TRUST God & trust His Word and obey Him. If God says be joyful in your trial – then DO IT.
John 16:33 NKJV “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Jesus clearly states to His disciples that as long as we live in this world, we will have tribulation / trials / challenges in life. However Jesus says “but be of GOOD CHEER. I have overcome the world”.
In other words Jesus is saying even in your tribulation & challenges – continue to be joyful because in Christ you will also overcome the world.
The world teaches you to react and rely ONLY on your feelings ONLY. The world says “If it feels right – do it”.
But God teaches that you must BELIEVE and rely on His word FIRST. Then after you have believed and obeyed God’s word, your feelings will then follow the direction of God’s word in your life.
JOY is a FRUIT of the HOLY SPIRIT. When you have the joy of the Lord, you are walking in the Spirit.
ASK FOR WISDOM
James says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him…” James 1:5 NKJV.
When you have the JOY of God operating in your life (even in your trials) and PATIENCE is working inside of you, then you can ask God for WISDOM to help you find a way out of your trial.
Finally don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying hat there is no place for mourning or grief – like when you lose a loved one – but you cannot be depressed forever; you cannot mourn forever – otherwise you will be overwhelmed by negative emotions which will then affect your health and daily life.
Psalms 50:23 NKJV Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”
Do you know of anyone who dislikes you? Are you being persecuted even though you have done nothing wrong? Are there people in your life who are just trying to do anything in their power to make sure that you don’t succeed? What are you doing about it?
Is it right to pray for the damnation of our (human) enemy? Should we pray AGAINST them or should we pray FOR them? What does Jesus say?
Matthew 5:43-48 NKJV “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.‘ But I say to you, LOVE your enemies, BLESS those who curse you, DO GOOD to those who hate you, and PRAY for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, THAT YOU MAY BE SONS OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? THEREFORE YOU SHALL BE PERFECT, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT.
Jesus clearly says we should LOVE, BLESS, DO GOOD and PRAY for our enemies or persecutors.
But why would Jesus command such a thing? It’s not an easy thing to love and do good to those who persecute us. But remember that the Lord knows everything and that He is wise.
WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE YOUR ENEMIES
Jesus wants you as a Christian to be different from the world. The world teaches that you must “love your neighbor and hate your enemy”. GOD teaches that you must not only love your neighbor – but you must ALSO love your enemy – because to do so shows that you are “sons of your Father in Heaven”
Jesus Christ the begotten Son of God came to earth to save and die for the sins of ALL people INCLUDING those people who shouted “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” just before He was nailed to the cross (Luke 23:20-22). Jesus was being persecuted yet He was innocent. Out of LOVE, Jesus died for US ALL WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS (Romans 5:8 NKJV). Therefore, though we deserved damnation to hell, God by His love, mercy and grace sent His Son to die for us so that we may have eternal life. Shouldn’t we show the same love to those who are lost?
While Jesus was hanging on the cross for our sins; experiencing the most excruciating pain known to man He cried “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do…”Luke 23:34 NKJV. Jesus was the perfect example of a man who whilst experiencing great pain and persecution which had been caused by others, could still PRAY to the Father and ask the Father to forgive the very people who were crucifying Him on the cross.
When you LOVE, BLESS, DO GOOD and PRAY for your enemies it shows that you have FORGIVENESS in your heart. It means that you are not ruled by a spirit of bitterness and hatred. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
As a Christian you are supposed to BE LIKE Jesus. You must be a VESSEL TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE LOST – EVEN YOUR ENEMIES. In Luke 9:53-56 we learn that the Samaritans at a village would not receive Jesus and so James & John asked Jesus if they should “command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did”. Jesus had to rebuke them for wanting such a thing to happen to other people and so Jesus responded by saying “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”
JESUS DOES NOT DESIRE THAT YOU PRAY THAT MEN’S LIVES BE DESTROYED. JESUS DESIRES THAT YOU PRAY THAT MEN’S LIVES BE SAVED – INCLUDING YOUR ENEMIES.
• There was a man named Saul in the book of Acts 9:1-19. He used to persecute and kill Christians. One day as Saul came near Damascus, Jesus appeared to Saul and said “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul had no idea that when he persecuted Christians, he was also persecuting Jesus. Nevertheless Jesus didn’t want to destroy Saul even though Saul had persecuted so many Christians. Jesus wanted to save Saul and to use Saul for God’s glory. So Saul was blinded when Jesus appeared to him and he couldn’t see for several days. Jesus appeared to a man called Ananias to go and find Saul so that he may pray for Saul. Now Saul of course was already well known for his persecutions against Christians and Ananias didn’t understand why the Lord Jesus was asking him to go and pray for Saul, an enemy of Christians. The Lord then told Ananias the plans that He had for Saul and of course Ananias obeyed and Saul got his sight back.
Saul later got his name changed to Paul. This is the same Paul (Saul) who wrote most of the New Testament in the Bible through the inspiration of God.
What’s my point? Like Ananias we need to obey the Lord Jesus and pray for our enemies, for Jesus may have a plan for them. We are NOT called to pray for the DESTRUCTION of people, but we are called to PRAY FOR their SALVATION. It is an act of LOVE.
I’m not saying it’s easy. Jesus praying to the Father: “Forgive them…” whilst hanging on the cross wasn’t easy. I’m not saying be naïve and let people take advantage of you. I’m simply saying obey Jesus, be more like Jesus and let the Spirit of God teach you to love and do good in every situation.
Romans 12:14-21 NKJV Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”* says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”* Do not be overcome by evil, but OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.
Jul. 18Holy SpiritComments Off on The Role of the Holy Spirit in Your Life
Who is the Holy Spirit? What is His function? Why do we need Him? How do I receive the Holy Spirit? How do I know the Holy Spirit lives in me?
Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions?
Who is the Holy Spirit
He is part of the Trinity or Godhead. He was there in the beginning when the heavens and the earth were created (Genesis 1:1,2).
He is a Person. That means He has a personality. He is the Spirit of God. He is the Spirit of Truth.
The Holy Spirit is NOT mysterious; NOT mystical; NOT an apparition; NOT magical.
Functions of the Holy Spirit
What did Jesus say would be the functions of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life?
He will be your Helper (John 14:16)
He will abide WITH YOU forever (John 14:16)
He is the Spirit of Truth who is meant to dwell in believers or Christians only (John 14:17)
Not only will the Holy Spirit dwell WITH you, but He will dwell IN you (John 14:17)
The Holy Spirit will function IN THE NAME OF JESUS (John 14:26)
The Holy Spirit will TEACH you all things (John 14:26)
The Holy Spirit will BRING REMEMBRANCE of all things that Jesus has taught us (John 14:26)
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and will TESTIFY OF JESUS (John 15:26)
The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin (John 16:9)
The Holy Spirit will guide you into ALL TRUTH (John 16:13)
The Holy Spirit will GLORIFY JESUS (John 16:13)
The Holy Spirit will tell you of things to come (John 16:13)
The Holy Spirit helps you to be SPIRITUALLY MINDED (Romans 8:6,7)
The Holy Spirit witnesses and affirms that you are indeed a child of God (Romans 8:14-17)
The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses and makes intercession for us so that we pray according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27)
The Holy Spirit helps us to overcome the flesh (Galatians 5:16-25)
The Holy Spirit enables us to bear fruit so that you may glorify God (Galatians 5:22,23)
The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts so that you may glorify God (1 Corinthians 12:1-12)
How Do I Receive The Holy Spirit (1) All born again Christians receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. It is by the Spirit of God that we are sealed as being children of God in Christ. Romans 8:14-17 NKJV For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22NKJV Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Therefore to receive the Holy Spirit you must become a born again Christian.
(2) If you desire to receive the Holy Spirit just SIMPLY ASK & BELIEVE. Ask by PRAYING to GOD and He will DEFINITELY answer. Luke 11:9-13 NKJV “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, HOW MUCH MORE will your heavenly Father give the HOLY SPIRIT to those who ask Him!”
(3) REPENT – Acts 2:38-39 NKJV Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Repent is from the Greek word “metanoeo” which means literally: “change one’s mind.” In practical terms, it means ‘to do an about face’. You must consciously and practically change from sinful living. Remember that God looks at the sincerity of your heart to see that indeed you have repented.
The Evidence of the Holy Spirit in Your Life You begin to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit are the characteristics of God which are LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, HUMILITY, SELF-CONTROL. These 9 fruits from the Holy Spirit show that the Spirit of God dwells in you and is working with you for the glory of God. Galatians 5:22-26 NKJV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
You will begin to use your spiritual gifts for God’s glory. (1 Corinthians 12:1-12).
Therefore in order to glorify God by your life and for you to be able to bring others to a saving knowledge of God, you need the Holy Spirit in your life. The Holy Spirit will help you in your weaknesses and He will give you strength and the ability to fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
Are you facing spiritual warfare? Do you find yourself listening to the word of God but never actually believing or understanding it? Do you find challenges in applying the word of God in your life because you are forgetting what is written in the word of God?
What do you do when the devil takes the word away?
Luke 8:5 NKJV “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it.
Luke 8:11-12 NKJV “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
From the seed that fell on the wayside; to the seed that fell on the rock; to the seed that fell on the thorns; to the seeds that fell on good ground – these scenarios that Jesus gave are both a picture of spiritual challenges / warfare and also the level of one’s relationship with God.
The word of God is spiritual food. The word of God is meant to make you spiritually healthy and it is meant to help you to grow spiritually in your relationship with God.
When Jesus was tempted by the devil to turn stone into bread, Jesus responded from the word of God by saying: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 NKJV. So the word of God is food for your spirit or heart.
So therefore in the parable of the sower Jesus says “The seed is the word of God”. Therefore YOU are the RECIPIENT of the seed (which is the word of God).
The seed mentioned is NOT money. But the seed is THE WORD OF GOD. And it is YOU who must RECEIVE this WORD. The word of God must be PLANTED in YOUR HEART so that you GROW and bear GOOD FRUIT.
WHAT IS THE CONDITION OF YOUR HEART?
Is your heart; mind; soul; attitude and spirit in the right condition to receive God’s word so that you can bear fruit? Or have you hardened your heart so that when you hear the word of God you neither understand it nor receive it? Are you so set in your own ways and in your own way of thinking that the word of God cannot penetrate itself in various areas of your life in order to help you to grow?
Any seed that is planted must have the right soil conditions for it to germinate & grow. Other factors include the right temperature, light, oxygen & water. In the same way if your heart is not in the right condition to receive the word of God, Jesus says that the devil will come and he will take the word out of your heart before the word can have a chance to make a difference in your heart.
The thing you must know is that even the devil knows the VALUE of the WORD OF GOD in a person’s life. That is why the devil will come and try to take the word from your heart. Remember that Jesus said “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” John 10:10 NKJV.
Therefore a thief does not steal something unless he believes that what he is stealing has value.
So if the enemy sees the value of God’s word, then YOU too must see that value and ensure that the word of God is enabling you to bear fruit and to have a close relationship with God.
And Jesus says that the devil steals the word from people’s heart because the devil is afraid that they “believe and be saved”.
So ultimately the devil doesn’t want you to believe and to be saved in your life or in whatever specific situation you might be going through. The devil knows that if he can hide the truth of the meaning of God’s word for your life, then he can prevent you from being freed through the knowledge of the word. Hosea 4:6 says “My people perish for lack of knowledge…” so you need to ensure that you have the right heart; that your heart is like good soil.
HOW DO YOU GET THE RIGHT CONDITION FOR YOUR HEART
Your heart must always be ready to receive the truth; that is the word of God.
The following verses below teach you how to condition your heart
Proverbs 3:5-8 NKJV “TRUST in the LORD with ALL your HEART, And lean NOT on your OWN UNDERSTANDING; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. DO NOT BE WISE IN YOUR OWN EYES; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.”
Psalms 1:1-3 NKJV Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he MEDITATES day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that BRINGS FORTH ITS FRUIT in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
To make the conditions of your heart right, you must
1. Trust in the Lord; believe God even if you do not fully understand; Have faith in God.
2. Don’t lean on your own wisdom or understanding; you don’t know everything; only God knows everything
3. Revere the Lord; Don’t live as if God does not exist
4. Delight in the word of the Lord
5. Meditate on God’s word – day and night
6. Hide the word of God in your heart
7. Submit to the leading and will of the Holy Spirit in your day to day life
The results will be that
1. You will be healthy spiritually
2. You will bring / bear forth fruit because your heart is like the good soil
3. Whatever you do shall prosper
When you do the above, the devil will fail to take the word away from you.
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Bible Verse of the Day
And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.