15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. — John 15:15 NLT
Jesus gave His disciples (that includes us) a direct command: Love one another. If we look at our attitudes and lifestyles, it sometimes appears that we think we have a choice in the matter, we don’t! We can’t choose to show love for just one season each year, it is a 24/7/365 proposition. Jesus tells us that, as Christians, we are no longer slaves to our fleshly desires. We are free to make a choice. Jesus chose us and if we respond to that call and choose Him, then we are His friends. If we are His friends then we follow His commands out of our love for Him, not because we are commanded. That love requires us to go and produce fruit with the same power and authority that Jesus used. We have access to that power when we speak the name of Jesus. The question we need to ask ourselves and other Christians is not “How are you doing?”. The question that Jesus would ask and the question we should be asking is this: “Am I being fruitful?”.
John 15:4-8 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. — Galatians 5:1 NLT
God is love! Because of that love, a love that is incomprehensible to humans, He gave us His Son to redeem us from our sinful state. Jesus was obedient, even to the Cross, because He is also love. He is our example of how to serve others in love. If we focus on Jesus and His service to us, we find that our joy will be restored. Fulfill this one command: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and body and your neighbor as yourself”. Practice this by doing small acts of kindness to others each day. It isn’t necessarily something overt or costly. Forgive before they ask, don’t verbalize that unkind thought, smile and say hello to a stranger. Ask God’s Holy Spirit to prompt you and give you the words of encouragement that those He puts in your path need to hear.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. — Romans 6:22 NLT
Romans 3:23 tells us that we have all sinned and our attempts to live without sin or to be like God have failed. We were born as slaves to sin and the desires of the flesh. We were in bondage to that kind of lifestyle. But the Trinity had laid a plan to free us from that bondage long before they laid the foundations of the earth. That plan was for God Himself to come to earth clothed in a human body. So, we see that the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus was not some johnny come lately plan nor was it a knee-jerk reaction to what satan was doing. It was a secret, well-laid plan that the enemy could not defeat because he knew nothing about it. God never had any thoughts about leaving His creation without a Redeemer. Now the mystery of salvation has been revealed to all of us. We have a simple choice to make. Accept Jesus and be freed from the bondage of sin. Before we accepted Jesus, we had no choice about sin, now that we have accepted Him, we are free to chose to do right and live a holy lifestyle. We now have a new Master, one who gives us freedom to choose what we will do and how we will react to situations. We can choose to work ourselves to death (the wages of sin are death) or we can reach out and accept that free gift of life today.
30 And do not make the Holy Spirit sad. The Spirit is God’s proof that you belong to him. God gave you the Spirit to show that God will make you free when the final day comes. — Eph. 4:30 NCV
Maybe because His name is Holy Spirit we tend not to think of Him as a person. But the third person of the Trinity is just as much a person and just as much God as Jesus, the second person and God the first person. Each has a different office and duty but they are One and the Same. When we ignore God or reject Jesus, we are doing the same thing to the Holy Spirit. When we grieve God, we cause sadness in the whole Godhead. When we are obedient and faithful, we bring joy to the Trinity. There is a person living inside of every Christian who feels grief, sadness, pain and joy just as we feel those things. None of us like to be ignored, neither does He. How long would a friendship last if we walked with a human friend 24/7 and never acknowledged his/her presence or spoke to them? What if we never invited them to join in our conversations and our mealtimes? What if, for all practical purposes, our words and actions denied that we had a friend with us? Yet, hour after hour, we treat the Holy Spirit exactly this way. We deny that He is within us by our actions but more often by our lack of actions. How many times and places do we have an opportunity to introduce our Friend but we don’t? How many times does He asks us to introduce Him by that little nudge we feel but we won’t? If we say that we have never felt that nudge, what does that say about our relationship with our Friend? Let us all pray that the next time we feel that nudge, we will have the boldness to introduce Him to our other friends and acquaintances.
24 God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act. — Exodus 2:24, 25
God never forgets a promise. He had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would one day free the people from Egypt and that time had now come. He had listened to the groaning of His people long enough. God never fails to deliver on a promise, but He has His own timetable to do so. He used Moses to fulfill this promise. If God has made a specific promise to us, individually, He will fulfill it but it may very well be after we have gone through a period of groaning and travail. He has made a specific promise to all of His children. The first part of that promise was fulfilled when He came in the flesh to redeem us from sin and free us from our bondage to satan. We and all of nature are now in a period of groaning, waiting for His return to take us out of Egypt (the world). When He does come back, we will fly away with Him to our Promised Land. A land flowing with living waters and filled with the light of the Son. No more groaning, no more sorrows, no more pain, a land where the lamb will lay down by the lion.
22 If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come! — 1 Cor. 16:22 NLT
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. — James 1:13-15 NIV
When we were born physically, we were born into a sinful world. We live in bodies of flesh that have carnal desires. Because sin is still in the world and we are all infected and affected by it, we follow(ed) after those fleshly, carnal desires. The lifestyles that we live(d) are/were not pleasing to God. Jesus sent His Son to redeem us from this fallen state. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are born again spiritually, we become new creations in Christ Jesus. We get a new heart with new desires but, the flesh does not just automatically and instantly give up and die. The old desires are still there and it is a constant, second by second battle to defeat the desires of the flesh. To kill those fleshly desires, we not only need open heart surgery, but we need major brain surgery. Our mindset and our attitudes have to be changed. When carnal, evil, unkind, sinful thoughts “pop up” in our minds, we can be sure that those thoughts do not come from God, but, rather from satan and his minions. We must always remember that they are liars and they are here only to destroy us.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. — 1 Peter 5:8
We are tempted by these evil thoughts. If we allow ourselves to be enticed and follow those fleshly desires, they lead us to sin and sin eventually leads to death.
But we have a way out, we have a redeemer and a High Priest who has suffered those same temptations and understands our weaknesses. He defeated satan at the cross, so that we could live full, abundant lives.
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. — John 10:10 NKJV
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.—Romans 6:15-18 NIV
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.
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus– Philippians 2:3-5 NIV