7 So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you. – James 4:7 TPT James 4:4-7 TPT
The Greek word (moi-kho’s) that is translated as adulterers has more than just a sexual connotation. It is anyone committing an act of infidelity or unfaithfulness to God. These actions are what depict us as “friends” of the world. If we live a lifestyle that is filled with these kind of actions, then we show by our actions that we are “enemies” of God. Our flesh is constantly warring against the Spirit that God has placed inside us. We need to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit not by our fleshly desires.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.–Gal. 5:16,17 (KJV)
We cannot win the war by ourselves, the flesh is too strong. But God gives us grace and mercy. He is made strong in our weaknesses. If we are faithful to walk “in the Spirit”, God will fight and win every battle for us.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Now that we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, God’s Holy Spirit abides within us. God’s Spirit wants us to live a lifestyle modeled after Jesus, the flesh does not want to give up its old pleasures. As Paul said, there is a war going on inside of us. Once we were not free to choose a Holy lifestyle, but now that God’s Spirit abides within us, we are free to choose. What we want to do (spiritually) we don’t do because of the flesh. And what we don’t want to (spiritually), we do. But thank God, Jesus died to set us free. Free, yes, but not to do as we please, we are free to follow the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit. If we follow after the Spirit, we will have right thoughts and right actions.
We need to remember that everyone, regardless of their lifestyle, bears fruit. Wrong thoughts, motives and actions produce the bad fruits. Right thoughts, motives and actions produce fruits for the Kingdom. When people observe our lifestyle, what kind of fruit do they see? If we are to produce the kind of fruit that Jesus wants us to produce, we must get our sustenance from the True Vine. Stay connected to Jesus by daily prayer, Bible reading, meditation, and singing praises. Then, we can be sure that we will produce good fruit and our actions will draw people to Jesus Christ.
We should always remember that all of us were once sinners and slaves to sin. We lived ungodly lives satisfying the ungodly desires of our flesh. We wasted our lives chasing after earthly pleasures that fade away with the dark of night. But, Jesus Christ, through His mercy died for us and we have been justified by His grace. We could not and can not do anything to save ourselves. So, we need to keep those thoughts in mind and always live our life remembering that we owe a debt of love that we can never repay. We need to thank God may times every day for all that He has done and is doing for each of us. We can show our gratitude by telling the old, old story that is still true today. We were born in sin and needed a Savior. Jesus is our Savior and our Lord. The story never changes. Tell it to those God puts in your path today. And tell it with love. Let our thoughts, words and actions lift up Jesus. We live in a fallen world filled with lost people looking for an answer to their feelings of loneliness and worthlessness. Our lifestyles should show them that there is only one answer and that is Jesus.
Trying to figure out what day Jesus is coming back is futile. He didn’t come back yesterday and so far, He hasn’t come back today. There are three things that we can know for sure. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised but we have this very moment. When Moses asked God, “Who shall I say sent me?” God said “I AM”. Not “I was” or not “I will be” but simply “I AM”. When God says “I AM”, our response should be a simple “YOU ARE”. When we reach that point of understanding that “HE IS” means that He is everything we need then and only then will we start to understand that “when He is coming back” should be of little or no concern to us. The important thing is that “HE IS” and He is coming back. Our concern is “to be” ready. God did not call us “human doers”, He called us “human beings” because He wanted us to understand that “being” is more important than doing. What we do, our external actions, are only a small part of who we are. Our words and our actions are a result of how we have spent our time up until now. Do they show that we have spent our time being in His presence? If so, we will be ready when He comes back.
13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.— Acts 4:13 NLT
“For they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training”. Using these ordinary men, God had drawn over 5000 men (plus the women and children} to Jesus. Ordinary men and women are the ones that Jesus uses every day to draw others to Jesus Christ. Ordinary men and women, people like you and me, are His choice to spread the Gospel. Here are two ex-fishermen that Jesus has turned into “fishers of men”. It is good to study and learn as long as our knowledge does not become our god. It is good to study and learn as long as we remember why we are doing it. Our studying and learning should be obedience-based and not outcome-based. It is good to study and learn as long as we don’t use that as an excuse for not spreading the Gospel. The time is here to put all that studying and learning to the use for which God gave us the ability to do it. We, as Christians, should have only one goal in our lives that overrides everything else that we do. That goal is to do everything for the glory of God. If we concentrate on that goal each and every day. perhaps we will one day receive the same compliment that Peter and John received here — “They recognized them as men who had been with Jesus”. Do our lifestyles show others that “we have been with Jesus”? Do people notice the presence of Jesus in our lives? There is no higher compliment that we could pay a person than to tell them that we recognize they “have been with Jesus”.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,And renew a steadfast spirit within me.— Psalm 51:10 NKJV
What is a clean heart, how do we get it and why is it important to be sure that we have clean hearts? An unclean heart is a heart that contains bitterness, hatred, deceit, lust, envy, covetousness and the list goes on and on to including anything that would cause us to sin. The opposite of that would be a heart that contains only love. It is impossible for us to clean our hearts. We need the Holy Spirit, who is love, to do that for us. We can make all the resolutions and follow all the self-help programs we can find, but in the end, without the Holy Spirit, we will still have unclean hearts. Those programs may remove the filth from the heart but they will leave it empty. An empty heart is what the evil spirits are searching for.
24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”– Luke 11:24-26 NLT
Our hearts must be filled with love and that only comes from the Holy Spirit. Once we accept Jesus and His Spirit abides within us, He will keep our hearts clean, if we allow Him to do so. Clean hearts are necessary because it is “out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks”. It is also where our thoughts come from, so we must be sure that the source is clean or our thoughts, words and actions will be displeasing to God.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous