Light My Fire and Move Me into doing Uncommon Things – Agreeing to Walk in the Spirit - Purity 628
Purity 628 01/14/2022 Purity 628 Podcast
Today’s photo of a roaring fire on what was a 16 degree night last weekend comes to us from a friend who did the uncommon thing of having a campfire meal of steak and local vegetables on a January night where few would follow his example. But the company of their significant other and the heat of the fire seemed to enough to warm their bodies and hearts as they felt cozy with what they called “low key relaxation”. I would have said it was low degree relaxation. But seriously, I have a lot of respect for people who do the uncommon thing and don’t let their surrounding circumstances prevent them from enjoying their lives.
Well, it’s Friday and we can thank the Lord for the day and the weekend ahead and I invite you to consider doing something with your weekend that isn’t common.
Last night I had the honor of leading a Zoom meeting with a group of men who have all decided to do what has become an uncommon thing. They have decided to follow the Lord’s will for their lives by trusting Him to help them to overcome their personal and spiritual conflicts to experience their freedom in Christ. They begun the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course from Freedom in Christ Ministries and although we are only in our second week, one of the participants already has given a testimony of achieving a victory over a personal struggle because they put into practice what they learned from the course. Before ending the meeting last night I encouraged all the men that they could experience their freedom and have similar victories if they would apply the teachings, which are based on the word of God, to their lives.
I also encouraged them with the knowledge that when they came to faith in Christ they received the Holy Spirit, and He communicates with us in three ways:
1. Communion – When we come to the Lord in prayer, worship, or Bible Study and we feel the presence of the Lord or especially close to God the Holy Spirit is manifesting His presence and moving us into closer relationship with God by revealing things about God that we didn’t fully grasp or understand.
2. Conscience – After coming to Christ, sinning ain’t like it used to be! Our consciences tell us that our sinful behaviors are in opposition to who we are in Christ. And if we commit ourselves to follow the Lord, we have a heightened sensitivity to sin and have a motivation to forsake it. The Holy Spirit is the one that is convicting our consciences to turn to God’s ways.
3. Intuition – Who ever said that our faith walk was one sided communication? If we are walking in the Spirit, we will receive intuitions that will lead us to do good works or do uncommon things like talk to someone about Jesus or to pray for someone. The leadings of the Holy Spirit never lead us into sin. They lead us to do good things or to impart knowledge to others and when we follow the Spirit’s lead we never regret it because we have the assurance that, regardless of the results, we were faithful to the Lord’s call.
I encouraged the men that although the choice to follow the Lord may result in negative responses from the world, and even family and friends, their choice to agree with the Lord about how they should live and actually apply it to their lives may be uncommon but it will be the choice that leads to the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.
To end the meeting we read through the Who I Am in Christ resource (https://www.ficm.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/who-i-am-in-christ05.pdf) that is a list of statements that proclaim the truth of God’s word about our condition of being accepted, secure and significant when we are in Christ. I read the scripture references for each statement and discovered that for many of the verses there was a condition to the promises that God would fulfill. The condition was to be faithful and to live according to the Lord’s ways. The condition was to follow Him.
Many times Christians live mostly in the world and rest on God’s forgiveness of their sins and remain unchanged and struggle with the same things they did before coming to Christ.
Christian Counselor, J.E. Adam’s note on Proverbs 28:9 provides some hard truth regarding seeking the Lord’s favor in prayer when your heart is not His or if you are not following Him. He writes:
“It does no good to urge an unbeliever to pray about his problem. Because biblical counselors seek change that pleases God, nothing that an unbeliever does (short of repentance) will be accepted by Him (cf. 2:14b, 22; Rm 8:8). The prayer of rebellious believers is likewise ineffectual (1 Pe 3:7).”
I hate to be blasé about this but to quote the NY State Lottery: “You have to be in it to win it.”
So in order to experience the abundant life that Jesus wants us to live, we have to do the uncommon thing and stop living for ourselves and start to live according to our new Identity in Christ.
So light the fires, and kick the tires, and make a decision to follow the Lord every day, It doesn’t have to be complicated, It starts with the decision to surrender some of our time to draw close to Him in prayer and Bible study and to continually meditate on who we are in Christ to shape our thoughts and our behaviors to be conformed to the image of Christ.
When we do that we will experience the peace, love, joy, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience, and self-control that the Lord has already poured into us with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We just have to start living like we should as a child of God to see those fruit grow in our lives.
So do the uncommon thing and keep walking and talking with God. People might think you have gone off the deep end but, brothers and sisters can I tell you, that’s where the living waters of the Holy Spirit really flow and they will move you to the abundant life you always wanted but never thought you could have.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Proverbs 28:13 (NLT2)
13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
Today’s verse tells us of the mercy we receive that comes to us from God when we confess them to Him.
Brothers and sisters, if you are new to the Bible and want to take a crack at the Old Testament, I would recommend reading the Book of Proverbs. It is loaded with pithy spiritual nuggets of truth that are definitive about the way we should go if we want to live in harmony with God.
No matter how rich and famous you may be, if you conceal your sins and do not confess them and bring them under the atoning work of the cross by making Jesus your Lord and Savior, you will not prosper.
The verse for evangelism, John 3:16, is a beloved promise for the believer but is a harsh warning for those who don’t.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
That one word, perish, says it all. If you conceal your sins, or don’t believe in sin, it doesn’t matter, you ultimately will not prosper; you will perish.
But as today’s verse points out, God has made a way for us to receive mercy. By putting your faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, you are forgiven and are mercifully given a place n God’s eternal kingdom as an adopted child of God.
This verse also has real life application as well. Hey, we are not perfect, and we will make mistakes and do things we shouldn’t. If we hide what we have done we will be tormented by guilt, shame, and fear but if we confess what we have done we may receive mercy here on earth.
Confession, as we taught yesterday, means to agree with God. So in our daily lives, if we mess up or do something stupid we need to throw ourselves under the bus, rat ourselves out, and tell the truth with the full knowledge that we may have to suffer some negative consequences, but if we do that we will be honoring the Lord’s will for our lives to repent and we can have the conviction and motivation to forsake the ways that led us astray.
But there is a way not to suffer. Don’t do anything you will need to conceal or confess! There is great freedom when you have nothing to hide and nothing to confess. So follow the Lord and know how good His mercy feels when you apply His wisdom to your life.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 4.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.
GETTING TO THE EMOTIONAL CORE
As you pray through your list of names, stay with each individual until you are sure you have dealt with all the remembered pain—what he or she did, how he or she hurt you, how he or she made you feel (rejected, unloved, unworthy, dirty, etc.). This process is important because facing specific issues is what enables you to get to the emotional core, where the damage was done and the healing takes place. Forgiving superficially results in superficial freedom and healing.
Many people have sincerely tried to forgive but weren’t able to because they didn’t understand the real source of their bitterness and the subsequent lies they have believed about themselves. Feelings of abandonment would fit into this category. Forgiving someone for hurting you may only be dealing with the symptom. You may need to ask yourself, “What specifically happened to me?” “How did I respond at the time?” and “How has it affected me today?” Anger, sadness, and depression are only the emotional consequences of what happened.
Physical, emotional, spiritual, and sexual abuse can also severely damage your self-concept. Your identity becomes wrapped around the abuse. A rape victim may feel like a whore, and the emotionally battered person may feel worthless. Forgiving the person for making her feel like a whore or feeling worthless will not get it done. She would need to forgive like this: “I forgive that man who raped me, for forcing me to have sex with him against my will, and for violating my body, which is a temple of God, when I wanted to glorify God in my body. And I renounce the lie that I am a whore or that my body is dirty.” (More will be said about this kind of renunciation in Step Six.) Or you may need to pray,
“I forgive my mother for saying I will never amount to anything and for constantly putting me down by saying ___________________ (be specific), because it made me feel ___________________ (state how it made you feel, i.e. incompetent, inferior, worthless, etc.). I renounce the lies that I have believed about myself. I am not the terrible person my mother said I was; I am a child of God, and I choose to believe what God says about me.”
Hurtful experiences in early childhood shape our self-perceptions. It is common to hear people tearfully pray: “Lord, I forgive my father (or mother) for beating me, for never caring about what was happening in my life, for not believing me when I told him about the sexual abuse. I forgive him for what he said and did that caused me to feel dirty, unloved, and worthless.” Such negative programming contributes to a distorted sense of self. Forgiving others connects them to a loving Father who sees them as His children, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.
Mental strongholds are torn down as people forgive those who have offended them. They have lived under the condemnation of those labels for years. For the liberated Christian, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”85 Lies are exposed so they can live according to the truth of who they really are in Christ.
PREPARING YOUR HEARTS
Bitterness is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person will die. It is to the soul what cancer is to the body. If you knew that you had a form of cancer that could be removed by surgery, wouldn’t you say to the doctor, “Go for it! Get it all!”? Bitterness, like cancer, affects every part
of your being. Forgiving from your heart those who have hurt you is God’s way of removing the cancer.
Tragically, this cancer of the soul is a communicable disease that can be spread to others. That is why the Word of God says, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”86 Entire families and churches can be defiled by roots of bitterness.
God may bring to mind offending people and experiences you have totally forgotten. Let Him do it even if it is painful. Remember, you are doing this for your sake. God wants you to be free. Don’t rationalize or explain the offender’s behavior. Forgiveness is dealing with your pain and leaving the other person to God. Positive feelings will follow in time; freeing yourself from the past is the critical issue right now.
Don’t say, “Lord, please help me to forgive” because He is already helping you. Don’t say, “Lord, I want to forgive” because you are bypassing the hard-core choice to forgive, which is your responsibility. Stay with each individual until you are sure you have dealt with all the remembered pain—what they did, how they hurt you, how they made you feel (rejected, unloved, unworthy, dirty, etc.).
Are you ready to forgive the people on your list so that you can be free in Christ and so that those people and your past no longer have any control over you? If you are ready, then for each person on your list pray aloud as follows:
Lord, I choose to forgive ____________________
(name the person) for_______________________
(what they did or failed to do), which made me feel
(share the painful memories).
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship