Overcoming Sin

The more often we surrender our thoughts, choice and feelings to temptations from the flesh, the devil and the world, the stronger the temptation is the next time it comes. When we shut out the warning from our conscience and God’s Spirit, we arrive at the place where we can no longer hear from God at all (Hebrews 10:35-38).

Our sin separates us from Him and diminishes our resistance to sin. We lose our peace and joy. We no longer experience God’s pleasure in us. We feel the conviction of God’s Spirit and struggle with our decisions and their consequences. The Holy Spirit within us is always ready to empower us to break the cycle of sin so that we can walk in God’s righteousness (Philippians 2:13).

When we stop expecting our self to overcome sin, and focus on the fact that Jesus already won the victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15: 56-57), we have stronger will power to resist the temptation in the first place. Jesus walked in sinless perfection, and He abides in every authentic, Born Again Believer.

He helps us to remember the promises of God and to trust Him to provide us with everything we need to live a successful and fulfilled life (1 John 2:17). We no longer feel the need to protect our self, because God works miracles from the seed of every trial. We lose all desire to defend our self, because God’s opinion of us is the only one which matters. We live in freedom from sin through God’s Spirit in us.

Prayer:
Father God, give us Your eyes to judge between right and wrong, so that we never lose the joy of our salvation or the comfort of abiding in Your presence. May we always see sin for the degradation it brings and desire less of the comforts of the flesh and more of the ecstasy of the spirit, which comes from walking in your presence.

Thought for the Day:
May we never become so accustomed to sin that we consider it normal behavior.

The Call to Salvation

Due to the first Adam’s sin, we are all born with a spirit dead in this sin (Ephesians 2:5). Our spirit must be Born Again for us to be a fulfilled human being with a living body, soul and spirit. Until we experience conviction for our sin, we live in self-righteousness. In our self-righteousness, we will never recognize our need for a Savior. We try to live a good life, earning our own salvation (Acts 4:11-12; Ephesians 2:8-9).

This prevents us from realizing our need for the indwelling Spirit of God. Though we live a moral life, we still need Jesus as our Savior. Unless our spirit is Born Again, we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:7). When this conviction finally comes to our conscious awareness, then we do not need to listen to friends and family who try to talk us out of it.

Salvation requires more than a formal, mental relationship with Jesus. We cannot connect with Him personally if we rely only on church services. We need a heart-changing revelation of who He is and what He means to us. Once this occurs, Jesus takes all of our sins, all of our fears, all of our needs and earthly cares and turns them into blessings.

God calls us to know Him intimately on a daily basis. He heals the deepest recesses of our soul and gives us His new life, one day, one moment at a time (Psalm 23:3). When we see Jesus, we see Calvary. We recognize the world for what it is, a cursed place. We no longer belong to this world, but are accepted into God’s beloved family (Ephesians 1:6).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for revealing to us that salvation has nothing to do with our human effort or human love at all. When we base our salvation more on feelings than Biblical truth, the devil takes advantage of us and draws us away from You. Teach us to provide discipleship classes and to intercede for all new Believers. The intercession of Your Holy Spirit for the Saints in this present evil world can only be made through authentic Believers filled with Your Spirit (Romans 8:27). Remind us to pray diligently for them.

Thought for the Day:
As authentic Believers, we cannot help but to speak about the things that we hear and see Jesus do in our own life.

The Purpose of Suffering

A life in Christ has nothing to do with self-effort (Ephesians 2:8-9), and everything to do with ceasing from our labor and entering into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10). Life no longer includes our choices. As we take our delight in Him, God puts His desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4). Like Jesus, our only desire is to the do the will of Him who sent us (John 4:34).

 

We submit to God’s Spirit, who leads us to function in the work, which God prepared for us to do before we were born (Ephesians 2:10). We may experience pain or suffering in this work, but God is using it to strip away our fleshly tendencies, such as inordinate affections, excessive expectations or unholy desires for riches, fame, success and the world. God’s conviction sheds light on every area of our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

 

Jesus already suffered for us in the flesh; but when we suffer also, it may be because we are clinging to our flesh in some area and following its desires. This causes us to sin (1 Peter 4:1-2). Eventually, we realize that, in Christ, we are actually dead to our flesh, and risen to walk in a new life in Him (Colossians 3:2-3, 2:12). We set our affections on eternal, godly aspects rather than on worldly, carnal issues.

 

Satan often arranges the worst conditions for us, with one trial after another, and some are even rather devastating. However, if we remain faithful to the Lord, He works out all of them for our good (Romans 8:28; Revelation 2:10). Suffering reveals to us our true nature, as well as the nature of our loving, Sovereign God within us. We say with Jesus, “Father not what I want, but Your will be done in me (Matthew 26:39).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for reprimanding us when we swerve from the straight and narrow path of Your righteousness. You do not want any sacrifice from us except humility and a repentant heart (Psalm 51:17). Thank You for loving us and caring about us (Hosea 6:1; Matthew 7:13-14). Even though Satan stalks us, trying to devour us, You teach us to be mindful of His wiles and to take spiritual warfare seriously (1 Peter 5:8). We cast all of our concerns on You, because You absolutely care about us (1 Peter 5:7).

 

Thought for the Day:

We heartily serve the Lord with our whole spirit, soul and body, knowing that He will reward us with the inheritance of His Kingdom (Colossians 3:23-24).

God Is On Our Side

God became to the earth as Immanuel and redeemed everyone humble enough to trust in His name. We live by faith in Jesus and according to His living Word. Tribulation, trials and persecution occur in everyone’s life. The difference between a Believer and unbeliever is that God is on our side! He wants to reconcile and bless everyone who calls on His name (Revelation 22:17).

If we are persecuted for Christ’s sake, He rewards us both now and in eternity (Hebrews 11:26). Those who persecute us are probably under conviction. They hate us because we remind them of their need to surrender to God. Our stance on Biblical Truth judges their actions and they blame us rather than repent. They turn against us, but they are actually rejecting Jesus, not us.

Satan uses our negative emotions, such as anxiety, grief and lust, to draw us away from God’s chosen path for our life (2 Timothy 3:12). We get so wrapped up in our circumstances that we neglect God. We lose our focus and our peace at the same time (Isaiah 26:3). In case you had not noticed, God did not die and leave you in charge.

You cannot possibly fulfill every perfectionist goal you create nor can you save the world single-handedly. Living as a martyr does not impress God or anyone else. You can never twist God’s arm in order to force Him to do your will. God holds all the cards, has all the world’s resources at His disposal. He does not need us at all.

Our only hope for a fulfilled life is to return to our first love (Revelation 2:4). Tribulation helps us to straighten out our priorities and to put Jesus first in our life. Rather than resist the trials God brings your way, look for God in the midst of them. He may have a message for you in them, a miracle for you at the end of them, or time to spend alone with Him through them. He loves us and has a perfect plan for our life.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to resist Satan’s temptation to pull us away from full devotion to You. Reveal to us the lies Satan uses to keep us under his bondage. Obliterate his deception with Your truth. Forgive us for putting other people, places and things ahead of You in our life. We know that You do not need us, but we thank You for caring about us so much.

Thought for the Day:
The question is not if God is on our side, but if we are on His side. Repent and believe in the name of Jesus Christ and be saved. – Acts 16:31

Falling Away from God

Many people reach a plateau in their walk with the Lord. The increasing highs, which transitioned us from sinner to saint, level off. We experience a dry time of struggle, questions and doubts. We attempt to substitute some facet of life in this world to mask or to try to improve this perceived loss in our life. Human success is very deceptive. It gives us a false sense of power and ability.

We stop patiently relying on God and we strike out on our own again. Like the Israelites we remember the provision of the world and forget the trials (Numbers 11:5). The prodigal son did this too. He ended up in the pigpen, until God humbled him enough for him to return to the Father’s house (Luke 15:17). Only the living water of life flowing from the throne of God can quench our interminable thirst (Revelations 22:1).

Satan sits by our ear and whispers convincing lies and doubts. Satan’s words have negative connotations. They tear down, discourage and condemn (1 Peter 5:8). Satan’s words bring bondage and criticism. However, we also have a spiritual ear, able to hear from God Himself (Matthew 11:15). Pay attention to the thoughts in your mind and change them to positive thoughts (Philippians 4:8).

God’s words are positive. Even His conviction brings repentance and does not make us feel despicable and dispirited. His words bring freedom to our soul and spirit. The closer to our deadline we get, the more our faith falters. God’s timing may be slower than we would like it to be, and we may get nervous and fearful. We forget that God always works out even the worse scenario for our ultimate benefit (Romans 8:28).

Prayer:
Father God, even when we view our future through a foggy window (1 Corinthians 13:12), and we have no idea why You are acting as You are, we can still trust You to give us the victory and to use us for Your purposes in the earth. Your Word is full of incidents where You used unconventional methods to bring about your desired results. We can always trust that no matter how bizarre the events get in our life, You are always there, right inside of us (Colossians 1:27), experiencing the trial right along with us.

Thought for the Day:
Remember God’s past victories in your life and draw faith from His provision and faithfulness for this new trial.