An excerpt from Jealousy for God by T. Austin-Sparks:
I have told you all this so that you may find your peace in Me. You will find trouble in the world – but, never lose heart, I have conquered the world! (John 16:33 Phillips)
When the spiritual stands to confront the merely formal, traditional, nominal and “natural,” then there is going to be trouble. This is not now merely the reaction from the world: it is the reaction from religion. I would go further, and say it may be the reaction from Christianity. There is a very great difference between formal, traditional, nominal, “natural” Christianity, on the one side, and spiritual Christianity, on the other; a great deal of difference. So much so, that this also becomes a battlefield – the battlefield of a lot of trouble.
Leave formalism alone, and everything will go on quite quietly. Leave traditionalism alone – that is, the set order of things as it has always been; that framework of things as it has been constituted and set up and established by man; that Christianity which is the fixed, accepted system of things – and you will escape a great deal of trouble. But seek to bring in a truly spiritual order of things, and trouble arises at once. And YOU are the trouble maker! The truth is that the trouble lies in the existing condition, the situation, the state; but it is only brought out by your action.
And so spiritual men and women, and spiritual ministry, are called “trouble makers,” because the two things cannot go on together. That is where Israel was. They had the traditions, they had the oracles, they had the ordinances, they had the testimonies; they had the forms, they had the system – they had it all; but, in the days of the prophets, there was ever this vast gap between the “externals” and “internals” of life in relation with God. The heart is far removed from the lips. The spiritual reality is not found in the formal. You may have it all – but then bring in the truly spiritual meaning of things, and trouble begins in that very realm. It is the trouble which arises when what is external and traditional comes into conflict with something which is truly spiritual.
The definition of leadership as “influence” has misled and destroyed the faith of many leaders in the past but is even now, destroying many more especially among the younger emerging folks. This is because there are few things that can boost one’s influence without it necessarily being from God. This, makes influence a suspect word and not befitting for describing Godly leadership.
In the bible, there is no gift called leadership—but as the various gifts in the body function, leadership flows through Christ by the Holy Spirit to the whole body. It’s clear from scriptures that Eldership is not a spiritual gift but an appointed function which is done by Elders in the exercising of their gifts Acts 6:3, 14:23. Their gifts can be within the five-fold ministry seen in Eph 4:11 or spiritual gifts shown in 1 Cor 12:4-11. So, it is by exercising their gifts that they lead, which makes their authority to be subject to the scriptures.
The scriptures lay out the practice and the source of the power flowing out from those who lead at any given time and it is amply different from the practice of sorcery and its occult powers 2 Cor 4:7. Many undiscerning Christians may be vexed to read an article that associates sorcery with many a leadership in the Church but, is because they are unaware that sorcery has long left its crude form. In our time, it has become most sophisticated having been re-branded as management packages and simplified practices which can be waded on an individual or congregations without the victim(s) being aware. This has made it appealing to religious leaders and elders given it can be used discreetly and unfortunately, it works (gets the job done) though, it remains an abomination to God as it was in its earlier forms.
How do we answer to the following questions:
(a) Are you in any secret society or fraternity that you are not proud to declare membership to other fellow believers in Christ Jesus?
(b) Do you read any book(s) including on-line, you would rather no one in the Church know about?
(c) Do you attend any secret meetings including on-line (excluding governmental/national security official meetings) or receive any magazine(s) you would rather no one in the Church know about except of course those in it with you?
(d) Do you have practices or habits you’ve painstakingly learned and rehearsed by which you “harmlessly” INFLUENCE people to do things (even good things) without them even knowing they’re not acting on their own God given volition?
If your answer to any of the above is yes, God is waiting for you to bear fruit worthy of repentance Acts 19:19. God does not call anyone or group of persons to equip His people by using any blessing or power outside of Him (God). So, every attempt to enrich the lives of God’s people by employing devilish techniques is totally condemned by God’s word. If we worship other gods with our minds or serve as their embodiment while claiming to be His temple and modeling Godly leadership, we are practicing self deceit, evil and abomination.
There is need for us to constantly remind ourselves that, there is nothing anyone or any group of people who have flesh and blood does in natural darkness with their body or out of their body in spiritual darkness that escapes the light of God. His light is everywhere to save those who will call out to His love and mercy. No one needs to come out of darkness before God can save him or her—He reaches out to you where you are, to redeem you Heb 4:13, Jer 23:24, Acts 2:21. Just call out to Jesus Christ!
To be in the gospel and to model gospel leadership is to abide in Christ Jesus, Who, as the bread of life is expressed to us as biblical teachings or doctrines Heb 6:1b which helps renew our minds Gal 1:8. Those in leadership functioning at any given time, preoccupy themselves more with renewing their minds (laying down their minds for that of Christ) MORE THAN those who are not 1 Tim 3:1, 3:2, 12. However, close examination of the criteria for leaders/elders, shows that the same lifestyle is required of all Christians.
The babes, adolescent and the matured in Christ depend on the Bread to live John 6:33, 48, Heb 5:12 & 14, Psalm 119:9. This Bread is unleavened! Everyone who eats it consistently, while prayerfully relying and focusing on Christ, progressively gains grace and inspiration. The out-flowing of the grace and unction is what leads the person through whom it is flowing and others who are in contact with him or her. The mixture of grace and unction is the leadership Spirit and it cannot be referred to as influence.
Every human has influence or (aura as some call it) to varying degrees which can be accentuated by manipulation of the mind or by pledging allegiance to evil spirits who then sell their bread to the person(s) Eph 5:11-12. The bread they offer is leavened and we MUST reject it steadfastly because, it is poisonous and subtle while forcefully taking the mind to anything but Christ. It pushes one to Idolatry and spiritual death. It is false bread though it looks the same as the unleavened Bread (Eph 5:6).
We need to be Alert
While eyes are on overtly secret societies, international governmental bodies and prominent world personalities to produce the anti-Christ, havoc is raging within the coven in the temple. The temple that is supposed to be a plain city of light set on a hill has become a place of darkness where lies are being prophesied and lying wonders are being originated to deceive as many as would be led astray Ezekiel 8:1-18.
What is a Temple
It is important to note that a temple typifies the mind of an individual and the gathering together of people for worship— not the physical building. In 1 Cor 6:19, the temple is referred to as an individual person, in 1 Peter 2:5, it uses the plural form (Ecclesia) and Rev 2:9, references false worshippers as the synagogue of Satan. It’s what comes out from the temple that shapes us and our environment. This is not just about speaking but also, actions— it either blesses God or defiles us Mark 7:20, Rom 12:2. This has nothing to do with positive thinking and confession! Rather, I am talking about us yielding our minds to Christ not manipulative development of our filthy minds. The mind gives birth to the actions of the flesh (body) which is why when the mind is sick, it affects the body— so much so it is used interchangeably Col 2:18 NKJV, Matt 6:22, Luke 11:34 Rom 12:1-2.
Protection for your mind
In Eph 4:30, we are admonished not to grieve the Holy Spirit Who is suppose to reside inside each believer 24 hours and 365 days of the believers’ mortal life in other to teach, guide, help and comfort the believer. This is to prevent believers from eating the leavened bread (false teaching-mind development).
When leavened bread is presented even to a new born baby in Christ, the unction inside him or her notifies them that something is not right with the bread 1 John 2:27. But unfortunately, because of the false hierarchical structure of the institutional Church and the lack of reading and meditating on the scripture, many believers ignore this protection God gives by the Holy Spirit due to their undue respect to positional leaders of their denominations or theological camp. This is not the case with the matured in Christ, by reason of use, they are more capable to respond more swiftly to error and save their souls and if they are not selfish, they warn the babies and even the matured who have become blinded— encouraging them to escape with their souls from the net (false teaching/practice) of the devil Phil 3:15 Heb 5:14, 1 Tim 4:16.
It is unfortunate that so many fine brothers who have enjoyed the ministry, spiritual gifts and God’s awesome grace are rethinking Christianity. They need to be confronted, but be sure you have first had a think of Christianity because, if you are not grounded in the faith (Jesus Christ), His word and have a close consistent walk with the Holy Spirit, you would be INFLUENCED before you realize it—that is, if you are blessed to realize you’ve been taken in by them. The times are indeed perilous and glorious at the time!
Over several decades, some foremost brothers in Christendom have been targeted to be derailed by strategically and powerfully wooing them through corrupting knowledge acquisition and threats to expose their secret sins. The purpose is to persuade them to consider compromising the teachings of the bible. If you’re in this type of situation, confess your sin openly, receive God’s forgiveness and reject the group(s) holding you hostage. You need to do this! Free yourself and return to teaching the pure word of God to which you have been called!
John the Apostle, tells us by God’s word that a Christian can sin and there is room for repentance and cleansing by the Blood of Christ. So, never let your public reputation become a snare such that anyone or group will threaten to use your sin(s) in the past or present to hold you up in bondage in order to force you to preach and teach error. Repent, be ridiculed publicly than deliberately pervert Christ’ teaching 1 John 2:1-6. It is a lesser evil that you are humiliated in man’s sight than face God with evil conscious because you knowingly twisted His word and deceived those who looked up to you because of God’s grace in your life.
If you still love Jesus in your heart, be faithful to call a spade what it is— spade, not an agricultural implement. Call pragmatism and materialism, which easily lends itself to sorcery its proper name—humanism. And, its implication will become immediately clear and those who love Jesus will have nothing to do with it. Influencing the mind of man is easy and Satan loves it because he has always flawed man there. But, praise God our relationship with Him starts not in the mind but our spirit Eph 2:8. Christ calls His people to lay down their minds for His.
Take this article as a word from God and act now and free yourself from their oath—nothing will happen to you because of Christ’s Blood. Amen.
All through the history of the Ecclesia not Church organisations, it is men and women who have yielded their minds to God that have caused Satan and his cohorts’ nightmares. After all is said and done, reformation is not to the credit of the smartest, holiest, most studious and prayerful men and women though not without these qualities but, to the men and women who were overwhelmed by the love and Spirit of God and therefore were broken as they increasingly yielded their minds to that of Christ Jesus— to Whom be all the glory and honor for all eternity. Amen
Many well-intentioned young vibrant men and women have been misled to hold unhealthy ambition that makes them partisan, attached to their camp and pay blind allegiance to leading champions of their lopsided theology or movements in order to gain recognition and promotion within their sphere of influence. This is regrettable!
The game is this; “serve” but (who?) and then you will qualify to be given opportunity (by who?) in order to lead within the sphere of people under their sway. This evil done in the name of protecting God’s sheep is rampant within large and small gatherings.
Our gracious God is watching and laughing at this craftiness and poor wisdom invented for churchy life. His word to us is this; “repent for everything must be judged by My justice. Fear me again with sincerity!” 1 Samuel 16:7, Hebrews 4:12-13. Rather, be “a no-body” than get involved in the religious politics of this present world that is raging like a wild fire amongst those who nickname their “theological camps” in direct disregard to God’s admonition via Paul and the other Apostles.
The wisdom of religious politics is not good for the gospel of Christ, advancing in the wisdom of how to call a spade an agricultural implement is no wisdom. It does not come from above, at best, it is from selfish ambition and past hurt experiences. Those who practice this kind of wisdom will keep hurting innocent people like the Pharisees, scribes, Sadducees, chief priests etc, who were so sleek in manipulative oppression against their followers and the disciples of Jesus. Those who indulge in it will not be guiltless Luke 17:1-2, Phil 1:10.
The presumed “I am working for the gospel” that makes man compete with Christ for the soul of men is the gospel of the anti-Christ.
From the foundation of the earth, God has never intended for man to have rule or dominion over man and, that is the reason He did not want His people in the Old Testament to have kings and still does not in the New Testament.
The desire in man to rule man no matter how good intentioned is devilish. God gifted Lucifer that he may use the gift to arouse praise in himself and the heavenly beings specifically to worship and serve Him (God) the only one true God. But, through pride, he desired to rule over man so that man will worship him but to do that, he must contend with God.
In the same way, every gift (spiritual and physical) God gives to man is meant to be used to arouse the bearer of the gift and others to submit, reverence, worship and serve God alone as their only king and ruler.
But, the nature of the devil man acquired through the fall makes man want to rule, be worshiped and served by his fellow man. Anyone (pagan or Christian) who desires worship from man will contend with God even when using the gift he or she received from God. This is why, God calls on man to die to self-life.
The refusal to die to self-life, is the reason we have a lot of renowned “excellent bible teachers”, crowd pulling, miracle workers, charismatic leaders who are “helping” Jesus build an earthly Kingdom in this age. He has not ask them to because when He first came to establish the foundation of the kind of kingdom He wanted, He did it IN the heart of men in preparation for the new earth yet to come.
Anyone in the true gospel understands well that, the word “lead” in the New Testament means to serve not rule. This is the reason God requires that the sheep who wants to serve His sheep must first show they have submitted themselves to the divine rulership of God. Put more accurately, that they participate in His divine nature through Christ by the help of the Holy Spirit and anyone who does, never lays claim to God’s sheep.
When the devil fails to capture the soul of a man he does not give up rather, he attempts to share it with God. Again, this same evil plagues man. Man, also tries to share man’s loyalty to God with God when he fails to get a soul to totally worship him. This is why many people fail to understand Paul’s statement that, he is an Apostle to the Corinthians and not that, he is their Apostle like many claim today of being the Pastor, Apostle, Prophet and Teacher of another Christian or Church.
Unfortunately, we live in an era when majority of believers (gospel people) give higher priority to reading books by “excellent teachers” than the bible and to depend on its teacher (Holy Spirit) like the Bereans. May be, in their opinion, the Holy Spirit is a less excellent teacher. As a result of this appalling anomaly, all kinds of occult and new age teachings (myths) are masquerading as the gospel of Christ.
Dear friend, what kind of gospel do you have and preach? Consider!
God’s way or gospel is in conflict with the gospel of the devil which is not a gospel but a lie. This battle between the gospel of Christ and the gospel of the anti-Christ is raging in the hearts of man and is fiercer than any war man has ever fought with physical weapons or will ever fight.
But, Praise be to God as we see the resurrection power of the gospel in us, swallow up the false gospel that confronts us daily; He is helping us live graciously in the midst of mercilessness, live a forgiving life in the midst of unforgiveness, do justice in the midst of injustice, live in love in the midst of wickedness.
Praying consistently, working hard and enduring much are all geared specifically/singularly to point the unbelievers to Jesus and encourage God’s sheep to devote themselves to Jesus and not to ourselves- that, they may worship and reverence God and Him alone. Hopefully that is your testimony!
At the end, godliness will culminate to love and love to godliness; the two, shall be married Rev 19:7-10. They inevitably live and shall live forever in the same place 1 John2:17. The true gospel deals with our tree (heart) and is budding good FRUIT Matt 7:17
Also, mercilessness, unforgiveness, injustice, and wickedness originate together, live and shall live inevitably together forever in the same place Rev 19:20, 20:10, Rev 21:8 NLT. The false gospel also deals with the tree (heart) and is budding evil fruit.
No man can stop his tree (heart) from producing its kind of fruit (deeds). No amount of self-pruning (adjustment of character) can be helpful. Every tree on the earth is under pressure to forcefully yield it’s kind of fruit (good or evil fruit).
The only salvation from the undeniable approaching axe on all trees on the earth is found only in Christ Jesus Rev 3:10, Acts 4:12.
Every tree (heart) in Christ has the gospel and the exhortation and admonition of the scriptures is this: Hold on to the gospel to the end. Keep on shining and pointing the blind to the good Shepherd.
The exhortation and admonition to persevere in the gospel is relevant because the devil will attempt as is his nature and mission to continue to blind the world that they may not see the true way or light of the gospel of Jesus on the one hand and on the other hand, derail the people who are in the way (gospel).
We need to hold tenuously to the scriptures and have very low regards to philosophy. Things of faith towards God are simple and certain and must not be abandoned for philosophies that are uncertain Col 2:8, Jude 1:3.
God does not want His Life in His people to rest on empty human philosophies but on the old rugged cross and the wisdom taught by the Holy Spirit.
Philosophy is the reason deviation happens and that is how the spirit of the anti-Christ enters a gospel person or people.
The devil blinds the world by his gospel of lies which the Apostles of Christ by His Spirit described as another gospel. Anyone who has the gospel of Christ but, embraces “another gospel”, that individual part of the body will stand the danger of apostasy- falling away, being cut off from the book of life (Christ) because a branch MUST abide in the Vine to live.
The dangerous and wicked doctrine of once saved ever saved is “another gospel”! The danger of false gospel is this: it gives no grace and it robs from believers the grace (power) of God that helps keep believers eyes on Christ.
Can A Branch (part of His body) Be Truly Cut Off
Let us read 1 Tim 3:6, notice the following points: -A person to be appointed as an elder must not:
Be a new convert- by implication, must be a convert at the least.
Then it says, “He may become puffed up” this clearly shows that a convert can be tempted to be puffed up and actually succumbs to temptation.
It further says, “And falls into the condemnation of the devil” indicating the judgment the devil received from God for his sin of pride and, the effect of the judgment was separation from God. This assertion is correct because the devil can only accuse converts or believers but he has no power to condemn a believer.
Look at Matt 3:10, and note, that the axe is laid on the root of the trees. Axe represents judgment and trees typify hearts. Judgment is neither good nor bad word. It is the outcome of judgment that can result to it favoring one person and serving as a disadvantage to another person.
The result of the axe is undeniably associated with the kind of fruit the tree has produced. So, the fruit of any tree is a judgment already on the tree.
Rom 8:1, tells us that there is presently no condemnation on them who are in Christ. The term IN CHRIST signifies those who have, not just received Christ but are abiding in Him Matt 11:30, Luke 9:62.
The abiding in Him is equivalent to walking in the Spirit, who produces the good fruit Gal 5:22. Please note, the term; “the fruit of the Spirit” is an emphasis that the Spirit produces fruit where ever it resides no matter the circumstance Jer 17:8.
The statement “there is therefore now no condemnation” in Rom 8:1 is a judgment on its own because Christ has changed the tree into a good tree (good heart) by regeneration which is making it bear good fruit.
It is the Spirit in the believer’s that produces the fruit and not the believer’s power to keep the law Eph 2:8. Because a believer is saved by grace (God’s Spirit) and not the keeping of the law, he/she must keep or stay his or her mind or eyes on Christ which is the meaning of, to abide in Christ Heb 12:2.
So, “the abiding” is actually “looking to” rather than doing something. It is the looking to or relying on the Spirit of Christ that causes us to avoid insisting on our own ways when the Holy Spirit graciously persuades us directly and indirectly through another believer and very importantly the Church (body of believers).
Having said the above, it is wise we remind ourselves that a believer who fellowships on the internet but has no local assembly of believers he or she gathers regularly with is creating his or her own way! The danger is extremely huge though it may not be apparent at the immediate. I am certainly not knocking internet fellowship- it’s a great resource and I am all for it but, it must not replace the clear pattern in Acts of the Apostles.
In Rom 6:1-9, Paul, indicates unequivocally that grace makes the people of God bear fruit inspite of any constrain they may face. For example, in this case, they were in lack- yet they gave generously from the little they had. So, lack could not stop the Spirit in them from bearing the fruit of generosity.
If the Holy Spirit has revealed to you that tithing deviates from the doctrine of grace and as such, is a false teaching, I hope He has also revealed to you that not giving (being generous) is sin- evil fruit!
Grace makes anyone who has it to bear the fruit of heaven!
The Spirit dwells in heaven and is on the earth (in man) to produce the same fruit (love) as it is in heaven Matt 6:10. This is why Christians (those in Christ) are already heavenly citizens.
God’s Spirit on the earth is not hovering aimlessly like the demons but, He has residence in His people purchased by Emmanuel’s Blood. Are you one of those housing God? If yes, the scripture invites you to meditate on this mystery day and night, “….. Christ in you, the hope of glory” Col 1:27.
Meditate daily on Matt 22:37-40, 2 Tim 2:15 KJV, Acts 17:11, Col 3:16— the result is amazing!
The question everyone needs to answer for him or herself is this; what kind of fruit is my heart producing? If it is good, then I am walking in the Spirit or abiding in Christ but if it is bad, then I am in the flesh. And, no one in the flesh has grace, walking in the Spirit or abiding in Christ.
So, the focus should be the tree not the fruit because the type of tree we have determines the type of fruit you and I see daily in our lives.
The truth is this- there is only one remedy and surely it is not feeling guilty but, being contrite and broken (repentance) Matt 12:33, Psalm 51:17.
Feeling guilty has never been and will never be an option to remedy our state of falling short of the gospel because guilt leads to shame and shame drives man far away from a loving Father Gen 3:8.
Thank you for reading through “The falling away” series. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you and sustain you by His grace in the gospel. Amen.
The secret to healthy Christian growth lies with recognizing, keeping in mind at all times what Christ has done in you, doing in you and for you Col 3:2, Rom 8:5-6.
What He has done in you? Regeneration- Salvation
This fundamental gift, has been received because of our belief in Christ’ sacrifice that jump started our relationship with God. God commands man to worship Him in spirit and in truth but without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ it would have been impossible Mark 10:27.
By His gift of regeneration (Christ coming to indwell in your heart), you have been forgiven the sin (Adamic sin) and your sins. You have now been presented to God blameless before the mercy seat called the throne of grace or the holy of holies where only the high priests in the Old Testament could appear. And, they could only enter after many sacrifices, obedience to the law and a rope tied around his waist. A lot of “work” had to be done by the high priests. This is appearing before God by works.
Yet, the high priests was not totally accepted by God because their purification was done with a less than a perfect blood which, had to be repeated over and over again Heb 10:1. This cleansed their outward sins but “the sin nature” was still there. Their consciences were not sprinkled Heb 9:9. They didn’t experience regeneration. They needed Christ! Yes, a Savior.
All the high priests who died before Christ’s sacrifice, waited for Christ to come down to Hades to save them. Praise God for his faithfulness! Jesus did after His sacrificial death and eventual resurrection.
You and I have not worked hard for our salvation (regeneration) we have only received this gift by His grace through His gift of faith Heb 9:14. This call for joyful dancing more than gaining the whole world Matt 16:26. Christ has taken you into the most holy place as the new and true high priest forever.
What He is doing in you: Teaching and Propitiating
Through the Holy Spirit, He is teaching those He has brought into the father’s presence how to imitate Him to love the father. He is not bringing ungrateful and rebellious people into God’s presence—those who will live without loving God. Remember that the conscience of the old high priests, the priests and all the people was not sprinkled clean but ours is and it affords us grace in an increasing measure to love (fellowship intimately) with God as He desires.
Recall that rope was tied around the waist of the high priest when he must appear before God in the most holy place. This signifies the law of commandments reminding him to tip toe and obey without any possibility of mistakes or sinning else he dies instantly. This is so because the sacrifice he did before entering God’s presence covered him only once—it did not continue to propitiate while he is in God’s presence.
But, in your case and mine, the once sacrifice of Christ, presents us totally accepted and yet continue to propitiate for us. Praise and thanks be to God! Therefore, the new rope (law of the Spirit of life-Jesus Christ Rom 8:2) is still around our waist not as a law of commandments by which we may die and be drawn out but rather, as a lamp to our feet– teaching, reminding and enabling us to walk in love with our God and with men Mark 12: 30-31, Gal 6:10. All of these, bring the fulfillment of Deut 6:5-6 in the heart of those regenerated in Christ Jesus John 4:23-24 .
See what great and awesome thing Jesus has done for you and me. His power is exploding inside us (His people) and, if we don’t grieve the Holy Spirit—He’ll live out the beauty of Christ through us. The devil cannot stop it but we surely can by having no regards for His Treasure in us. That is the reason we’re admonished not to grieve or deny Christ. How will you respond?
What did God require from the high priests and all who could appear before Him? Love
You shall love the lord your God with ALL your heart, your soul and body. Jesus Christ did exactly that! Submitted His spirit, soul and body to God on our behalf so that He might bring many sons (those who will submit spirit, soul and body) to God because of their love for God. A love the power of Christ has put in their hearts towards God. This is a love that utterly hates darkness and actively resist it.
When God demanded love from His people, He actually demanded many things e.g., patience, kindness, hope, justice, long suffering, endurance in faith, truth, humility and casting off of jealousy, boasting, pride, rudeness, irritability, and unforgiveness 1 Cor 13:4-7. The core that holds those things together is this “does not demand its own way” (1 Cor 13:5) but follow after the way of the Spirit (which love) Rom 8:6. It will mean, when the Holy Spirit says to us to react in this way or that way, we will obey without minding how it makes us feel or appear in the eyes of others.
The way of our soul (self), must surrender to His way and ways. This is the reason Christ has sprinkled our consciences. Pure conscience exudes the grace of God.
When we unwisely relate the great passage on love in 1 Cor 13 to only our human relationships and leave out God who is our first love, we end up with our own interpretation of what love is and use it as a weapon for selfishness, trickery and sin.
If we fail to practice those virtues towards God, we cannot practice it rightly towards men.
Therefore, we can see the following counsel from 1 Cor 13 for a healthy growth:
1. Be patient with God for His due season to fulfill the things He has promised.
2. Trust in Him at all times under every circumstance.
4. Don’t be rude to God. We don’t nickname Him (the man upstairs).
3. Walk humbly with God.
4. Forgive God. This may sound funny but many get mad with God Luke 7:23.
5. Set self aside— give up your own ways for His ways.
He that loves God abandons his or her own way of doing things and aligns to God’s way. This leaves us with a total dependency on God which is, exactly what He wants from every one of His sons. Those who grow in this, God call them friends.
With fresh understanding, let us apply 1 Cor 13 to our relationship with God and then to the household of faith and beyond. This way, we will be in for a great season of faith, hope and love that last forever 1 Cor 13:13. Amen
There is a lust in the nature of man to please and satisfy himself. Yet, sad to say, one will measure the level of his success by the response of others. This produces many, many illnesses, for, usually, self is not satisfied until it gets its desired response from others who have their own expectations in mind. What a vicious circle! It is no wonder why so many say, “It is a dog-eat-dog world. Get all you can. I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine.” In this, we ought to clearly see the spirit of this world in direct opposition to the spirit of the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is impossible for man to admit to this problem, unless he truly has a love to be free from it. Even freedom from it then is not attainable, unless there is a heartfelt love for the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. He who seeks to save his life shall lose it. In such a walk it is needful, in this sense, for one to be in opposition to all that is of self.
After we do all we can do in an attempt to live the Christian life, we must face the reality that we are not able to. We must lose our life to gain eternal life. It is at the point of desperation for more of Christ that we see the futility of our own ways.
Today, we see so many thousands of “Christians” busy working for the Lord. Even the world admires what they term to be the sacrifice of their life for this or that “good cause.” Yet, even in all of our business for God, there often remains something very deep within our souls that is left untouched. The sad story is that many have served their whole life FOR the Lord, and gone to the grave never having done the works that are OF the Lord. There is a vast difference.
It is said of so many that this one or that one is really used of the Lord. Or better seen, yet when one dies after years of service, you hear many say how he or she was really used of the Lord. There is no question that many of these people were of those who loved the Lord. To be used of the Lord does not speak of intimacy with Him.
In the mind of man, there is very often a desire to do for God and help Him out. The problem with this mind is that the believer, very often, is the one who decides how to go about helping God out. Such a one determines the approval or disapproval of the Lord upon his labors by the means which men measure success. The acceptance or rejection of others is very important when self is alive and well. I am certain that most believers live in this mind from time to time, if not all of the time.
Here we are faced with a tremendous challenge. That is: I can work hard and help God out, or I can surrender to Him and allow His mind to be in me, in order that His Kingdom come in earth as it is in Heaven. Only the anointing which comes in the mind of Christ knows the things that are pleasing to the Father.
The reason that we so often fight against the mind of Christ is because it is not a mind that seeks the glory and acceptance of man. (This includes self-acceptance). This mind needs no approval from men and it diminishes self. All of our personality traits — the things which we and others enjoy so much about us — is in jeopardy when the mind of Christ is at work.
It is no wonder why we have an entire age where Christians find no pleasure in the cross of Christ, but only in singing about resurrection victory, while living a life which differs not from the world. This also explains why we have an entire church age which longs to be entertained. It cheers them to live on with no cost on their part, all under the guise of Christianity.