16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.– Romans 6:16 NLT
We were all born in sin into a sinful world, We live in a fleshly tent that desires to sin. In our own strength, we will never be free from those desires. The flesh lusts after money, power, and pleasures. When we lived a sinful lifestyle, we were being obedient to the flesh and the flesh was our master. Though we didn’t realize it at the time, we were slaves to sin and we were held in bondage by satan. But Jesus died and rose again that we might be free from that bondage. Now, we can make a choice to live a life that is obedient to Jesus Christ. We are covered with His righteousness. But our freedom does not give us license to live a sinful lifestyle. We will all still sin occasionally, but our focus should not be on sinning, but on living a Christlike lifestyle. We used to have a carnal mind and followed after carnal things, Now, we have the mind of Christ and follow after Spiritual things.
14 When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”15 When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself. – John 6:14-15 NLT
After Jesus had miraculously fed the multitude with a few loaves and a few fish, the people realized that this man was different from anyone they had ever seen before. Jesus knew with their misunderstanding of His purpose here on earth at this time, that they would try to make Him their King. This was the same situation Jesus had with the Pharisees and Sadducees. After all, the Messiah that the Jews were expecting, would build His Kingdom here on earth and be an earthly king. Jesus knew this was not the time for that, so He slips away to be by Himself. The Jews were not looking for a Suffering Servant, they wanted a King to free them from the rule of the Romans. Because of their traditions and their current situation, they wanted a King and they wanted Him now. So, they missed all the blessings of being with Jesus in His first advent here on earth. How many blessings do you and I miss because we have preconceived ideas about when and how God should answer our prayers? How many times do we miss God’s answer because it isn’t what we expected or wanted? How many times have we been upset or angry with God, because we thought He wasn’t listening and answering our prayers? God knows exactly what we need, how much we need, and exactly when we need it. There has never been a prayer that God didn’t answer. No matter what we are going through here and now, Jesus is fully aware of it and He never asks us to go through anything alone. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He has never failed on any of His promises.
8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake.–2 Peter 3:8-9A (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
This song of praise and thanksgiving was composed by David after the successful movement of the Ark of the Covenant from Obed-Edom’s house to the tent David had prepared especially for the Ark. On the first attempt at getting the Ark to Jerusalem, a man had died because he touched the Ark. David and his men had attempted to do the right thing the wrong way. This time David appointed priests to carry the Ark. They researched the proper way to transport the Ark and were able to bring it safely to Jerusalem. How many times in our lives have we failed when we were sure we were hearing from God and doing what He wanted us to do? When God gives us a work to do, we need to inquire as to how we are to accomplish this work. When we are sure that God has given us a specific work and we fail in trying to do that work, we need to stop and listen to God to determine how He wants His work done. We make a lot of mistakes because originally, we want to do our thing, our way. When we are saved, we want to do God’s thing, our way. As we listen to the Holy Spirit and mature in our walk with God, He brings us to the point that we want to do God’s thing, God’s way. So, when we are sure of God’s purpose for us in life, but we keep failing in our attempts to accomplish that purpose, we need to stop, look and listen. We don’t give up, we give in. When we do this, God is able to use us to accomplish His work His way. Then, we will be successful in His eyes whether the world recognizes it or not.
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God. — Luke 12:20, 21 NIV
Riches are neutral, being neither good nor evil. It is our attitude about those riches that causes us problems. In the parable of the “certain rich man”, Jesus shows us the real issue with riches. When we have the wrong attitude about money and possessions, we spend too much time and money in trying to obtain more of each. The rich man decided to build more barns which would require more of his money and time, so more possessions and money causes us to spend more time and money protecting what we have bought. It becomes a vicious circle that destroys relationships and eventually destroys us. God blesses us so that we can bless others. If we hold onto those blessings too tightly and don’t use them for His work, they can become our god. We become dependent on them for our self-worth and happiness. When we have the right attitude about riches, we use those things to advance God’s Kingdom here on earth and to lay up rewards for ourselves in heaven. Jesus did not instruct the disciples to pray for riches, but rather to ask just for what they needed today.
4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” 7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. — Hebrews 13:4-8 NIV
God warns us over and over not to participate in immoral sex because it is more than just a physical act. It involves the intertwining of the body, mind and spirit. Those illicit desires quickly become much too strong for the flesh to handle. Those who continue to participate in these sins will soon learn they have become captive to their fleshly lusts. It will become an abomination to our bodies, the very Temple of the Living God.
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.Therefore honor God with your bodies.– 1 Cor. 6:18-20 NIV
We need to flee from this sin and God always opens a door for us to leave if we choose to do so. The lust for money and power is almost as strong as the lust for sexual immorality, so we must be sure that our choices of how we use our finances and our positions honor God. It is very easy to become addicted to any of these sins. We don’t have to be millionaires or CEOs to misuse the resources God has entrusted to us. We can sin in finances by refusing to help those in need around us. We need to watch for the opportunities that God gives each of us to do good in His name. It isn’t the amount or the “bigness” that impresses God, it is the willingness and the attitude with which we perform the tasks.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” — Mark 12:43, 44 NIV
15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.–1 Cor. 2:15,16 NIV
If our spirits are in tune with the Holy Spirit, we have access to all the wisdom of heaven. Since that is true, we should be able to make wiser decisions than those who do not have that access. The decisions we make and the actions we take will not always bring us worldly acclaim. Why? Because the world does not understand the wisdom of heaven. There is no way to explain to a person without the Holy Spirit explaining it how we gain our life by giving it up. How we can have more by giving away what we have or be free when we are in voluntary servitude to Jesus Christ. That is not how the world thinks or operates. “But we have the mind of Christ” which means we think differently. It means that we can have joy in our hearts even though the world around is decaying and we can have peace when we are surrounded by violence and rioting. We can have hope when it appears that there is only hopelessness. We can forgive even when we are the ones that have been wronged. We have a future worth living and dying for because we are redeemed. We can praise the Lord in the worst of situations. 1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.–Psalm 103:1-5 NIV