July 20th, 2019
It’s easy to be lulled into a state of spiritual slumber when we become distracted by the enemy. He will throw at us everything he can find that will take our attention off of our intent to follow the Master.
Distraction is the first wedge that is used to draw us away from God’s will in our lives.
It can be in the form of troubles that come at us from every side; financial, political issues, social unrest, demands of the job, our families, and everything important to us.
See, that is the thing. Our greatest vulnerability is that which is important to us. When our service to the Master loses its prominence at the top of those priorities, then our ability to respond effectively and intently to His will is diminished.
The more we place ahead of our relationship with God, the more we become complacent in our walk with Him. It becomes less and less critical that we listen and obey. If we aren’t listening, then are we really being disobedient? Yes, we are! When we do not seek the direction of the Spirit living in us, we are being disobedient in that act alone, which leaves us no excuse when we don’t ‘hear’ His Word telling us that which we are to accomplish for His kingdom.
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT)
Who is in control in that passage? The Spirit dictates and guides. When we yield to Him and that which he leads us to, there is no opportunity to let our sinful nature creep in and circumvent His will.
If Christ Jesus and our dedication to Him, sits at the top of our priorities in our lives, then we simply will not be doing what our sinful nature craves. Just the opposite will be true, and we will maintain vigilance and focus on abiding in what the Spirit desires for us.
We cannot get away from the fact that we are existing now in the flesh. But the flesh only has power over us if we don’t continually surrender our will to God’s. The very moment that we swap out those priorities in any way is the moment that the enemy has formed a breach in our armor. He’s pierced a small hole from which he can then focus and expand, causing damage to our ability to walk with the Lord and perform to our intended purpose.
We as the bride of Christ Jesus must remain awake and ready for His return. Make no doubt about this, our main focus is Him, our primary goal is to remain in the will He has for us. This is our top priority.
We are called to be disciples of Jesus. Disciples learn from and imitate their Masters in every way possible so that over time and dedication much of what the Master does and who the Master is makes up the being of the disciple. Even to the level of their attitudes and mannerisms.
One of the songs I loved as a boy in church was written by Fanny Crosby. My mother loved the songs written by Fanny and I learned to love them as well.
More Like Jesus I Would Be
More like Jesus would I be,
Let my Savior dwell with me;
Fill my soul with peace and love,
Make me gentle as a dove;
More like Jesus, while I go,
Pilgrim in this world below;
Poor in spirit would I be;
Let my Savior dwell in me.
This single verse outlines so much of what being a true disciple of Jesus is about.
When our hearts desire is to emulate Christ in every way we can, then we quash the attacks of the enemy because he can’t establish that first chink in our armor. As soul filled with peace and love is impervious to doubt and fear. We are nothing more than reflections of Jesus passing through this life, intended to affect the life and passage of every other person we encounter.
This is regardless of how they appeal to us socially. It is regardless of their intent for us being good or evil. There is no contingent for the one that disagrees with us politically. There is no carve out that we can point to where we become exempt from being ‘More Like Jesus’.
First place is not enough
It’s not enough to just put Jesus first and then let everything else fall into place under Him. There are gifts that the Spirit bestows upon us and we have an obligation to not just enjoy those gives but to use them to be tools to emulate Jesus as well.
So God’s provided a standard that is His Son, Jesus. His Spirit provides the tools to equip us to properly be the disciple that we are intended to be. First priority is our focus on Jesus and being as much like our Master as we can be (be his disciple). The second priority is to seek spiritual gifts, develop, and use those gifts for the magnification and honor of God.
Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy.
1 Corinthians 14:1 (NLT)
Love is our highest goal with our focus constantly on Jesus, but at the same time desire and seek out spiritual gifts as well. This means that God intends to fill our minds and hearts with His purpose for our lives. Who and what we focus on primary are all His!
Some get confused about the word ‘prophesy’ used here and associate it with foretelling the future. During the age of prophesy those major and minor prophets didn’t foretell the future. Instead what they did was relate what God had imparted to them about future events. As you read the scriptural accounts of the prophets you will see that they are not just saying what is going to happen but what to do with that information NOW. They are teachers of the words God gave to them.
We likewise have the Word of God. We should seek to have God bestow on us the ability to convey these words to teach others about what God has said about future and present events. It is in His Word. We are the witness of His Word Just as the prophets of old were the witness of the Words of God.
I cringe a bit every time I hear of someone claiming to be a “Prophet of God”. Scripture tells us that there will be prophets of old in the end times. Specifically, about two who will be witnesses during the tribulation and become martyrs. Be very leery of anyone that calls themselves a prophet.
Focus on the gifts of the Spirit as your second priority.
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11 (NLT)
Each of us have some, no one possesses all of them. They are given to us to exercise our role as disciples of Jesus, to glorify God, and to proclaim the Good News to all.
Remember the parable Jesus told us of the three servants to whom he gave varying talents. The charge and expectation of their master was that they would take those talents and invest them. Developing them into a greater benefit to the master.
Two did exactly that. One squandered the talents and considered it good that he return to the master that which he had been given.
The master was not pleased with the one who hadn’t turned that which he’d been trusted with into more.
He took the talent from the servant and entrusted it to the one who had performed well for him.
We have been given so great a gift in our salvation and the talents he imparts upon us.
So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?
Hebrews 2:3 (NLT)
It falls to us, the benefactors of His Grace and Mercy to follow the master and make every effort to be his true disciples. It also is critical for us to use and develop those Spiritual gifts that are given to us.
Both serve a specific purpose; to bind us as close as possible to our Master until when He brings us home; it is to be his representation in a world that he gave his life to save; it is to proclaim the Good News he gave us and the good news that he has done for us in the transformation of our lives from the old to the new; from the corrupt to the incorruptible; and the temporal to the eternal.
Don’t be a bride found, “Falling Asleep”.
In the Grace of Jesus!