If you are a new believer, this might not be for you. Don't take that personally, but if you aren't seeking God daily then there are still things in your life that need to be cut away to separate the new you from the old you. If you'd like prayer or someone to talk to then just reach out to me on any social media account and we can talk more about this. With that being said, follow along as I do my best to share what the Spirit has been telling me about the environment I am currently walking through. Everything I write now is in fact an extension of my testimony, so if you haven't read that it might help you understand who it is that is writing now.
We are so quick to judge...
Stop judging people for who they are today and start loving them for who the Spirit will make them tomorrow. If we have no relationship with the Spirit then we will never submit to the authority and power the Spirit has in our life and in the lives of others. God so loved the world…not the church, so let us get over ourselves and out of the way of what the Spirit was gifted to us to overcome.
- That is healing the sick, not just praying for them
- That is breaking addictions in a blink of an eye, not telling someone they better finish a 12 step program
- That is mending broken marriages through understanding the love of Jesus who never leaves us
- That is feeding the homeless, instead of adding another hole on our own belts
- That is taking care of single mothers, widows and orphans who the world only cares for in commercials
Who in the Bible that was sick, possessed, broken or dead went through a church program to be delivered after they came in contact with Jesus or the Holy Spirit?
I understand that this entire list isn't found in every church across America, so it doesn't look like what should be normal. We have to focus more on complaining about the news, arguing on social media, and deciding where we are going to eat - so who has time for any of this? This should bring conviction from the Holy Spirit into the heart of every true believer, so much so that we fall on our face and repent before our Father. How His heart breaks every time the church ignores its responsibility to our lost and dying world. Yet we spend plenty of time judging others, comparing what we have with who ever, and complaining about how we are never treated fairly. If this is our mindset each day, then this is how we will live the rest of our life unless we focus on who we are in Christ. Jesus never meant for there to be a such thing as a complaining, judging Christ-ian who lived with one foot in the light and the other in the dark. So if the shoe fits, kick it off.
Jesus was baptized...
Jesus didn't start His journey until He was baptized in the Spirit, yet the churches would rather create more "programs" instead of teaching the authority that comes with it. There is nothing wrong with having programs to help people, but if hearts aren't being changed to seek God while learning through the teaching of the Holy Spirit then you'll need a program until the day you die. The church might be scared that if people understood the power of what the Spirit will do inside them, that people will be too busy saving souls in the streets instead of sitting in seats. That statement will only bother leaders who need to find their self worth from the praise of others on a Sunday morning, or someone who is just in it for the paycheck.
What is interesting about the next chapter in Matthew is that after Jesus was baptized He went straight into dealing with temptation. Wait, He didn't just go there, it says the Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Wow, if Christ-ians read their Bible enough to come across this mind blowing fact we wouldn't have to break bread to talk about how we are struggling daily. Instead we would resemble the first church in Acts who prayed for boldness and courage to change the community around us. Churches would multiply without a marketing plan and people would be unashamed of the Gospel and no one would need anything outside of what God provided.
So hold up Jesus, you're telling me that with the Spirit in me I can resist all temptation of sin just like You did in the wilderness? Are you telling me that I don't have to get caught up in my anxiety, doubt, fear, guilt, shame or disbelief since you already took all of those things on your shoulders for me? EVEN worse, it says Jesus was hungry?!? That was the first temptation after fasting!? How on earth are Christ-ians in America supposed to compete with that? Food controls our lives just as much as the news, social media, jobs and families...come on Jesus, how are we going be like you?
It is the Holy Spirit’s role to produce such a Christ-like character in us. The Bible says, “As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT). This process of changing us to be more like Jesus is called sanctification. We cannot reproduce the character of Jesus with our own strength, understanding, or gifts. Our good intentions, yearly resolutions, willpower, and to-do lists are not enough. Only the Holy Spirit has the power to make the changes God wants to make in our lives. The Bible says, “God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13). So much for making excuses every day on how I'm just human.
If we live with sin every day, and accept that we will do so until the day we die, then the grave is your savior, not Jesus.
Dual citizenship through the Spirit
Paul said he was a citizen of Rome (earth) and Heaven. Why don’t we? I’m not talking about being in a prayer circle or needing something so we decide we have a minute to talk with our Father. Do we live from earth towards Heaven or the other way around? Is this why our minds are always focused on the problems we have now, or worried about problems that don’t even exist? Honestly think about it. We have a gaping hole of emptiness in our human souls that is big enough for a throne. If we realize that the Father speaks to the Spirit sitting in that throne to communicate to us everything we need to know, then we begin influencing the world to look like Heaven. Instead we water down the gospel, turn Jesus into our prayer vending machine, and let the world influence us.
As Jesus said, “Flesh gives birth to flesh. The Spirit gives birth to spirit.” We are natural born sinners, doomed to die and caught in the domain of the devil. We need a new citizenship, a new birth, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. This happened when we were born of water and the Spirit. In the waters of Holy Baptism, the Holy Spirit came into our life and sealed us with the new birth. That was our citizenship day, when we became a “supernatural born citizen.” The heavenly Father claimed us as His child. The blood of Jesus, His Son, washed away our sin. The Holy Spirit worked in us the gift of faith, so that now we trust in Jesus our Savior for all our righteousness, forgiveness, and everlasting life.
Paul explains further and applies what he wrote in Romans 8:6, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” The death in 8:13, like that of 8:6, is not physical death, which we all must face, but spiritual death, eternal separation from God. In other words, Paul is saying, Kill your sin or it will kill you!
He is saying here what he says in Galatians 6:8, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” There are only two ways to live, with only two outcomes: To live according to the flesh ends in eternal death; to live according to the Spirit ends with eternal life. Charles Simeon (Expository Outlines of the Whole Bible [Zondervan], 15:269) put it, “Either sin must be our enemy, or God will.” So this is serious business! From Bible.org