9 So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? – Gal. 3:9 NLT
Before we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we were enslaved by our sinful flesh, just as the Galatians were back then. Before Paul came into Galatia, they worshiped idols made by men and were in bondage to all sorts of immoral acts. Once, they accepted the Good News, they were free from that bondage. Paul had started churches in the area earlier. After he left the area, the people started to fall back into their old worldly ways, practicing useless traditions of men. Eat this , don’t eat that, do this on this day and not any other day, etc. Paul was writing to them to encourage them to continue on their new Spiritual journey. We see the same thing still happening today when the founder of a new church retires or moves on. We have to focus on Jesus and the Gospel message, not on the messenger. Except for Jesus, there never has been, isn’t now, and never will be a perfect man. We all fall and come up short. Just don’t make falling a lifestyle. Ask for the forgiveness that Jesus has already paid for and move on. Let’s learn to be “Jesus conscious” and not “sin-conscious”. If satan can keep us focused on our failures, he has won the battle and we will live defeated lives, Focus on Jesus, our Champion and our Defender. We can be more than conquerors. He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.—2 Chron. 20:15 (NIV)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Because of His great love for sinners, such as us, God made His salvation plan very simple and free. Just believe! Once we are saved, we start on a journey that will require everything and every part of us. It is not easy to love all of God’s children. Even so, it is not a choice we can make, it is a command given to us by our Father. Then we must learn to obey His commandments. Through this obedience and faith in the work of the Holy Spirit in us, we can become over-comers. The flesh alone can not defeat satan in the smallest battle, we have to depend on Jesus to fight our battles. Our job is to “trust and obey”. Instead of worrying and being filled with fear, we just need to lean on Jesus. The world says “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Jesus says something totally different.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”–Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us, just rest in His arms and praise Him!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Oftentimes, when we have sinned, whether intentionally or unintentionally, satan uses that as a spiritual weapon against us. He tells us how unworthy we are and from a human viewpoint, he is correct. But we should never let satan’s lies defeat us. God does not see us as unworthy. In fact, God sees us as worthy because His Son paid the price for our redemption. Without the blood of Jesus, we are just as unworthy now as we were before Jesus died for us. But the Trinity determined before the foundations of the earth that Jesus would die for God’s enemies. It is not a question of our worth, because we are not saved by our worth or works. It is a statement of the worth of Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord, God will never leave us nor forsake us because that would be saying that Jesus did not complete His work at the Cross. When Jesus said “it is finished”, it was finished, satan was and is defeated and satan can’t change that. So, like the wounded lion he is, satan goes about roaring lies and accusing Christians. But we should feel no condemnation and we should have no fear, because the battle is not ours, it is the Lord’s! Hallelujah!!
Spiritual battles are fought in our minds. The thoughts that we allow to linger in our minds long enough will turn into words and actions. That is why the mind must be guarded at all times. In the early days of computers, there was an acronym that was used quite frequently when computers spit out garbage or nonsense. That acronym was “gigo” , garbage in, garbage out. Our minds are the most fantastic computers imaginable. It is said that most of us never even use ten percent of the capacity of our brains. So, if we feast on visual and oral garbage for hours every day, then that is what is going to come out of our minds. We need to be God-focused, not sin-focused. Don’t fall into the enemy’s trap of remembering and rehearsing your sins and mistakes. Rather, focus on what you know to be true. God fulfills every promise. He forgives us every time we fail. When satan tempted Jesus, Jesus responded with scriptures. We must fight evil the same way. That is the example we are to follow. If satan whispers in your ear that you are not forgiven, just quote 1 John 1:9 to him.
9 If we tell Him our sins, He is faithful and we can depend on Him to forgive us of our sins. He will make our lives clean from all sin.
Psalm 25:1-7 NLT When we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to abide within our hearts and minds. God has sent Him to be our guide and our teacher. If we are sincere about our repentance and listen to His teachings, we will soon discover that Jesus wants to be not only our Savior, but also our Lord. If we are going to allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives, there will have to be some changes made. We are becoming new creatures and that requires tearing down the old. We have new hearts inhabited by a new master. He also wants to renew our minds. Jesus, better than anyone, understands that the true battlefield is the mind. It is where our thoughts and ideas originate. We have to learn to control our thoughts and imaginations and bring them all into the obedience of Christ Jesus. Once our thought patterns change, our words and actions will change and our words and actions will let those around know which God we serve.
7 For the Lord your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”’ — Deuteronomy 2:7 NLT
If you have ever taken a road trip with your kids then you have heard the question, “when will we get there?” or “how much longer?”. One Mother’s answer was “Your Father is in charge, he will take care of us and we will arrive safely. We can just enjoy the trip.” That is a lesson that the Israelis never seem to learn. Their stubbornness and refusal to learn it changed a trip that should have taken only eleven days into an adventure that lasted over forty years. Because of their attitude, we read in Hebrews, that the original generation of Israelis never entered the rest that God had prepared for them. Instead of enjoying the trip, the Israelis continually moaned, groaned and whined. How many days have we wasted whining when we could have just relaxed and enjoyed the trip? How many more days will we waste moaning and groaning because, like the Israelis, we don’t trust our Father to provide for us and bring us safely home? Moses told the children of Israel “during these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.” They wanted a lot of things they ddin’t have, but they had everything they needed to make the journey. The Lord our God is still with us and we lack nothing that we need. If we could ever learn to rest and enjoy the trip, it would not matter when we got there because each day would be a new experience enjoying the presence of the Lord. Remember that God is our provider and our shield, rest in His presence and repeat as often as necessary.
6 So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God.7 So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. — Hebrews 4:6, 7a NLT
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. — 1 Peter 2:11,12 NIV
As sons, daughters and heirs of God, we should act accordingly. Jesus gave up all of His glory in heaven, came to earth and lived as a human and an exile here. He did this so that He might become the first born of the new covenant and the head of the church.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. — Col. 1:18-20 NIV
As the first born, He is our example to follow. He lived a sinless life. We, as humans, cannot obtain perfection as long as we live in these fleshly tents. We are in a daily battle to overcome our fleshly desires. It should be our hearts’ desire to get as close to that goal as we can. Not only are we foreigners and exiles, but we are amassadors of God and our home country, heaven. Our thoughts, words and actions should reflect the character of the leaders of that country. If we strive to do that on a daily basis, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, God will be glorified. When we do this with humility and love, it will cause others to want what we have. As souls are added to the Kingdom, God will receive more and more glory. When a soul is saved, it is as if God has visited us because there is a little more of heaven on earth.
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. — Titus 2:11-14 NIV
When we repented of our sins and received God’s forgiveness, it was the first step of a journey that will eventually take us to heaven to spend an eternity with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our salvation is secure because we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The change in us, at this point, is internal. Unless that change in our hearts’ desires is manifested externally those around us may not know that we have accepted Jesus. True repentance changes our hearts and our minds. Jesus set the example of what our lifestyle should be. The Holy Spirit, which now dwells in us, inspired the writers of the New Testament to write verse after verse telling us how our lives should change. We now say “no” to those fleshly desires that were once our way of life. Now we say “yes” to the Holy Spirit. Every day is a battle between evil (our flesh) and good (the Spirit). We are in a war and there is no neutral ground. If we aren’t moving forward, then we are losing ground. So, every day, we must arm ourselves with the full armor of God and fight the good fight.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong,firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen — 1 Peter 5:8-11 NIV