Archive | December, 2012

Week Seven: The Devils Mendacity

24 Dec

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

James 4:7

I feel that sometimes, in the deep recesses of our minds, we try to act as though the devil shares equality with God. We think of good and evil, love and hate, war and peace, and then God and the devil. It’s seems to be an automatic response to give them a direct and equal correspondence like we do with the above principles, because they are, of course, opposites. But don’t fall into this trap. The enemy wants us to believe that he is God’s equal because he is a liar and he wants us to stumble and fall. When I say that they are opposites, I really do mean it in every way. Down to the fact that God is uncreated and the enemy is creation. This fact alone discredits their equality and should give you confidence in the God that you serve. I don’t want to give the idea that the devil is not a formidable foe and thus pollute your ability to fight him. He is strong, especially if given the opportunity to work in this world that he been given temporary authority and rule over. But Christian, I want you to remember this fact in times of trial, pain, grief, and even prosperity, when you are feeling the devil advance; he has already lost and Christ is victorious. And not only that, but the moment that we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are given the Holy Spirit who then dwells in us. This Spirit gives you the discernment and power to submit to the Lord and fight the devil. The Lord doesn’t just say resist and the devil will flee, He says to submit, resist and then he’ll flee. Submit to the authority of God the Father, Christ the Savior, and the intercessory Holy Spirit and the devil will flee from you. We may be fighting against powers of darkness but we have better armor than our enemy and we know who has already won.

Pray: Lord I ask that You would give me the desire and drive to fully submit myself to You. God, keep me from succumbing to my flesh. Give me the wisdom to flee from temptation and run into Your arms. I pray that Your desires would be my desires and that I would be active in seeking You.

Ask Yourself: In what areas are you not submitting yourself to God and allowing the devil to have a foothold in your life? Why are you fighting submission in this/these area(s)?

Apply: Confront the areas in your life that you have not given to the Lord, and ask God to give you a submissive heart in those areas.  He promises to bless you as you strive to be more like Christ. And once again, don’t forget about the Spirit that dwells within you.

Week Six: Sloppy Seconds

17 Dec

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  

Colossians 3:23

 

As Christians, we know, at least in our heads, that God wants all of us. He wants every aspect of our lives, He wants our full worship, and He wants all of the glory. And once again, in our heads, we agree. In our hearts however, we are singing a different tune. In the back of our minds, at one point or another, we are seeking the glory for ourselves. We are always trying to impress everyone in earshot because we like feeling special. We like to feel like we are better than everyone else, even if just for a moment. It’s part of our nature and it’s a battle that we must fight daily. We are told that we should act in such a way that when people see our good works, that they will glorify our Father in heaven. Who is to get the glory? God. Not you and God, not your church and God, not your ministry group and God, just God. The Lord has given us the opportunity to serve Him and partner with Him in His kingdom but more often than not, we tend to leave Him with our sloppy seconds instead of our first fruits. He is the God of the universe, so why do we think that leftovers are acceptable? Stop trying to glorify yourself because you will always fall short. Glorify the God who is above all things. Stop trying to impress other people. Focus on God and the rest will fall into place. And stop with the sloppy seconds, because it’s selfish and rude. It’s like your stealing the first corner piece of a birthday cake, when it’s not your birthday. God gets the awesome piece of cake, not you. And chances are, if you’re willing to pass Him the piece of cake He deserves, He’ll give you a better piece anyway.

Pray: Lord, give me Your strength to surrender my whole heart to You. Give me the heart to work with only You and Your glory as my motivation. Please bless the work I do for You and Your kingdom.

Ask Yourself: Am I surrendering every aspect of my work to the Lord? Whether it be in ministry, in the workplace, or at home, am I fully dedicated to offering it up to the Lord as worship? Am I focused on glorifying Him or am I eyeing that corner piece?

Apply: If you are seeking to glorify yourself in any type of work that you do, ask the Lord to remove that desire. Actively ask yourself if the Lord is being glorified in what you are doing. If He isn’t then quit it.

Week Five: Flimsy Fingernail

9 Dec

 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”  James 1:22 

It has been said, that there are not four gospel accounts but five: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the life of the believer. Unbelievers will seldom read the first four but focus on the other with intense and critical examination. More often than not, when our lives don’t match the standard that is in the Bible, hearts become hard and the term hypocrisy gets thrown around. Don’t get me wrong, we all fall into sin at times but don’t become comfortable in it. One of the saddest things to see is someone who professes to be a Christian but has not truly accepted Christ as Lord, they know the truth but just can’t bring themselves to act on it. And even more so, their charade turns away others in the process. We are to be His hands and feet, not just a fingernail that grows for a little bit, breaks and falls away, then grows back again and then repeats the cycle time and again. Don’t simply be the person who goes to church on Sunday and doesn’t live for Christ everyday or you’ll be like that flimsy fingernail. Salvation doesn’t come from religion but from faith in Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. Snags will happen because life isn’t perfect, but shake it off and run after Him harder. Christian, love the Lord with everything you have, apply His Word to your life, and be a light in this world. Take heart, He has equipped you with a willing Spirit and an instruction manual; you just have to use them.

Pray: Lord, please strengthen my heart so that I may do what You command in Your Word. Let my heart yearn for You and fix my eyes on the cross. I want to live a life that is pleasing to You and a strong testimony to lead others to Yourself.

Ask Yourself: Am I really following the instruction that the Lord gives in His Word? Am I putting my faith into practice? Am I really letting Him be the Lord of my life?

 Apply: Stay in the Word and when you read it pray for the Lord to give you an opportunity to apply it. If you are confronted with a heart issue, pray He would mend your heart. And if you haven’t truly received Christ, please don’t try to keep up the religious facade, don’t deceive yourself. Ask Him into your heart so that you can live the life He intends for you to live, both now and in eternity.

Week Four: ‘Til My Dying Day

2 Dec

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

This is a really weighty scripture that I cannot properly dissect in this particular post, but I will try to give a glimpse of its beauty and share more on it a bit later. So here goes. Christ desires for us to live for Him and worship Him fully. He honestly wants for us to live our lives in a way that we would please the Father and lead others to Himself. A life of faith. A life of love. A life that is crucified. This is the part of Christianity that people have a hard time swallowing, and understandably so, but it is so important that we strive daily to reach this goal that Paul presents to us in Galatians. You aren’t suppose to simply be religious and go to church on Sunday and maybe attend a midweek service and call yourself a Christian. You are to take a backseat as Christ moves, changes, and shapes you into His image. To put it simply, you have to kill your flesh to be made into the likeness of Christ. We must worship Him in every aspect of life, not just once a week. He is the Alpha and Omega, He is righteous, He is just, and He is everything. He wants all of you, so trust that He has better plans for you that you do for yourself and that He is bigger than any circumstance. Take hold of the life Christ has planned for you because He will use you mightily if you do.

Pray: God, help me to live a crucified life. Help me that I may die to my flesh and sinful desires and seek you fully. Make clear to me the changes that need to be made in my daily walk and convict me of any sin that may be lurking within me. I pray that I would walk by faith and not by sight and that you would create in me a likeness to Christ, so that others may see Your Son shine through me.

Ask Yourself: Am I truly living my life by faith in Christ? What parts of my life am I not giving over to Him fully and why? Am I trying to attain a crucified life where I worship God unashamedly and wholly?

 Apply: Pray that the Lord would show you what area of your life needs to be immediately changed and start working on it. Seek His guidance in the Word and continually seek His face. Fast if you need to fast, weep if you need to weep, and keep your thoughts focused on Him. Do this for every area of your life and He will grow you if your motivation is to glorify Christ.

P.S: This is a lifelong journey. Don’t expect everything to change over night. Just press on and trust that He is faithful and don’t get discouraged if you stumble. Repent and seek Him harder!