The Perfecting Work of Patience – He Who Began a Good Work

Is our salvation and sanctification our responsibility, or is it the work of God’s Spirit within us? Some will say, “We are to work out our own salvation.” (Philippians 2:12) Others will counter with, “It is the Holy Spirit who gives us both the desire and the power” to do that (Philippians 2:13).

Most people agree that salvation is through grace by faith; but believe that we have to work for sanctification (Ephesians 2:8). Yet, the foolish Galatians were reprimanded by Paul for attempting to perfect themselves through their own self-efforts (Galatians 3:1-3).

Paul was amazed that they actually believed they could sanctify their life by their works. Paul constantly reminds the early Saints that nothing in our Christian walk is by works, because then we could boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

God is not interested in our ability, but in our availability to His Spirit. The works of the flesh can only be crucified by the work of the Spirit (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16). We live and walk only by the Spirit of God; otherwise, we spin our wheels and end up exhausted (Galatians 5:25).

We boldly claim that we can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13); but when we put the emphasis on “we” can do all things, we fail time and again. We pull our self up by our boot straps until they are totally worn off.

This verse is actually saying that we cannot do anything except “through Christ”. When we completely capitulate to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to both save and perfect us, we enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:10).

It is the Spirit, not our self-effort, which transforms us from one stage of sanctification to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18). Even the armor of God, which Paul encourages us to wear, is the work of God’s Spirit in our life (Ephesians 6:10-18).

God’s Spirit transforms our mind to the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2). He also renews our character with the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4). He who began the work of salvation in us, will continue to perfect us through His work of sanctification (Philippians 1:6).

Prayer:
Father God, we humans do not want to admit that we are helpless without a Savior. We want to believe that even if we cannot save our self, we can attempt to perfect our self through our diligence and self-discipline by obeying Your Word.

Remind us that we can do good works only as we abide in the faith of Christ within us (James 2:17). We could not justify our self by keeping the law and we cannot sanctify our self through self-effort either. Keeping the law never gave us life prior to salvation and there is no way that walking in obedience to the law can perfect us after salvation. Without Your Spirit doing the sanctifying work, we are totally lost and undone.

Thought for the Day:
When we do choose to obey, the desire and ability is generated by God’s Spirit within us; God has a perfect plan for our life, and we find it only when we walk in the Spirit each moment of the day (Ephesians 2:8-10).

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Living in Praise

Did you ever notice that Paul was the eternal optimist? The man worked hard, almost died several times, was stoned, shipwrecked and in the sea a day and night, constantly in danger, sleepless, hungry and thirsty, and exposed to both hot and cold elements (2 Corinthians 11:22-28).

Yet, he told us to rejoice always; to pray without ceasing; not to quench the Spirit; and to give thanks in everything: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19).

Does this mean to give thanks, because everything that happens to us is God’s will for us; or that giving thanks is God’s will for us? Either way, it is worth paying attention to this verse.

If giving thanks is God’s will, then when we praise the Lord, we are in God’s will; and when we do not praise the Lord, we are out of God’s will for us.

If Paul is saying that we should give thanks in good times and in adversity, because all of these circumstances are the will God for us, then when we do not praise Him, we are missing out on part of the miracle, which God has for us through this trial.

Recently, our air-conditioning was out for two days during the hottest November on record in southwest Florida. I was dripping sweat, irritable and claustrophobic – because the heat imprisoned me and I could not escape it.

This caused me to remember my childhood and first pregnancy; when we had no air-conditioning at all, because of our lack of income. My mom used a wet wash cloth on her neck, so I did too. It helped this time too.

As I prayed during this inconvenience, God brought Paul’s exhortation to my mind. I realized that I was not to grumble or to allow my flesh to get the better of me; and I was to walk in the Spirit and praise God, even in the suffocating heat.

Easier said than done; but I have been learning to live through my spirit and not my flesh and this was just another opportunity to practice. I truly was thankful that the circumstances were not even more dreadful.

Prayer:
Father God, I really wanted Your permission during this trial to be grouchy and to feel sorry for myself. I wanted to complain and gain sympathy from family and friends. However, I knew this would only make others miserable too, and I would not grow in my spirit with negative behavior or remain in Your will without praising.

I know that You were building character in me and preparing me for future events in my life; therefore, I chose to change my focus and to praise You with each drop of perspiration. I was even able to thank You that it cools down in southwest Florida on November evenings, and that I still had electricity and could run the fans. Thank You for living through this trial with me.

Thought for the Day:
Regardless of the circumstances, we are to do all things without grumbling and complaining (Philippians 2:12-16), and to walk in the Spirit each moment of the day (Galatians 5:15-25).

I GIVE UP

“I can’t!” and “I quit!” are two powerful statements. They denote a desire and decision to stop trying in our human efforts. They lead us to realize that we can, only in Christ (Philippians 4:13).

They help us to die to our self and to rise to walk in the new life, which God has planned for us (Mark 8:34-35; Ephesians 2:10). His peace in our spirit confirms His will, and His joy is our strength (Philippians 4:7; Psalm 28:7).

We are dead, and our life is now hidden with Christ in God. Christ is our whole life (Colossians 3:3-4). We empty our self of all of our plans, goals and dreams, and live according to God’s counsel (Ephesians 4:11).

God changed us from sinners to Saints, His adopted children who will inherit His Kingdom. All that is His, now belongs to us as well (1 John 3:2; Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 3:26). We are no longer strangers and aliens, but we belong in God’s family (Ephesians 2:19).

The Christian life involves much less striving than many Believers think. There is no need for us to use our humanity to accomplish anything in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We walk in the Spirit and exhibit His fruit in our character (Galatians 5:15-25). This enables us to trust in the Lord with every fiber of our being and not to depend on our human reasoning at all (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Jesus died for our salvation from sin and eternal death (John 3:16 -18). Offering our life to His service in our vocation and calling is our daily commitment to Him in return.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for validating our worth through Your presence in our life. You set us free to live, move and have our being in You (Acts 17:28). Your mercy and love granted us forgiveness while we were still sinners (Romans 8:5), so that we in turn can forgive our self and others who wrong us during our lifetime (Matthew 6:14).

Teach us to discern the difference between the carnal or satanic voices and Your voice in our mind; so You can lead us throughout our day. Remind us not to expect certain results when we obey Your promptings, because Your ways are so much higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Thought for the Day:
We do not allow success or problems to approve or negate God’s will for us, because we may not see the eternal plan, which God accomplished through us regardless of the results. – 1 Peter 4:12

God’s Wondrous Love

There is nothing in the created world or in the supernatural world, which can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). God’s love is not one dimensional; it is four-square.

It has height, depth, width and length, and is an abundance of all-encompassing love. God’s love fulfills our life and endows us with non-paralleled, unfathomable gratification (Psalm 107:43).

We not only know about His love in our mind, but we can also feel it and experience it through His wondrous gifts and blessings, which He showers on us each and every day.

God’s love accompanies His presence within our Born Again spirit. We bask in His fullness each moment of the day, and we walk in His Spirit throughout our lifetime (Galatians 5:15-25).

Even though our King Jesus sits on His throne at the right hand of our Father God, He also lives in us by His Spirit (Mark 16:19; Colossians 1:27). His love frees us from fear and anxiety (1 John 4:18).

We maintain our faith in God’s faithfulness, and we look for the seed of a miracle in the midst of every trial. We know without a doubt that He will work out everything for our ultimate good (Psalm 118:1; Romans 8:28).

We prove our love for God by obeying His commandments (John 14:21-23). They are not constructed to restrict our life, but to keep us healthy, joyful and in the center of His love.

The fruit of our obedience is an open door between us and God, so that His love pours over us like a waterfall every day of our life. Our joy is full, because Christ dwells within us (Psalm 16:11; Colossians 1:27).

Prayer:
Father God, in the abundance of Your love for us, we live in contentment regardless of our circumstances (Philippians 4:11; Ephesians 5:20). We gratefully count our blessings, which never end, rather than taking them for granted (Psalm 103:2).

We surrender to Christ in us and enter into Your rest. We resist the human tendency to interrupt our joy, shatter our serenity or rush the fellowship of our time in Your presence (Hebrews 4:10). We effortlessly float in the river of Your love and allow Your Spirit to move us along according to Your will and purpose for our life.

Thought for the Day:
When we realize that nothing this world has to offer is more fulfilling than the gift of love from Calvary’s cross, we fall on our face in repentance and then rise up to worship our living God. – John 3:16-17;

God Receives the Glory

As Believers, we never make our plans and ask God to bless them. God receives no pleasure from our religious activities, which He did not inspire.

Using our gifts and talents for our own advantage is hollow and vain. We may receive personal acclaim for our skill and accomplishments, but the effects of these commendation will not last for eternity.

God calls us to walk in His Spirit every single moment of every day (Galatians 5:15-25). He only blesses our efforts birthed in His will.

We listen to His Spirit direct our every task, every decision, every opinion and every thought. This way, we have much less stress and many more blessings in our life.

Think about it. Christ dwells within us and He has to be a part of everything, which we think, say and do. We grieve God’s Spirit more often than not by our behavior and choices (Colossians 1:27; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 4:30).

Our body is the temple of God’s Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 3:6). He embodies our life and lives His life through us, touching lives in more ways than we could ever imagine.

We simply ask, and receive His guidance, wisdom and strength to accomplish with our life everything, which He pre-ordained for us to do (Matthew 7:7; Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 2:10).

Prayer:
Father God, we want You to receive the glory for all of our words and actions. As we abide in Your presence, our countenance will glow with Your radiance of the Lord shining through us. We want to walk in Your His presence every moment of every day (Exodus 34:29).

Your Spirit is transforming us into the likeness of Christ in stages of maturity and perfection (Exodus 34:33; 2 Corinthians 3:18). We look forward to seeing Christ work in and through us throughout the day.

Thought for the Day:
We discover the true potential for all of our talents and human abilities only as we surrender them to God’s will. – Romans 12:1-2

Perpetual Freedom

When we come to Christ, He immediately frees us from the snare of the flesh. Then, He puts His Spirit within us, so that we can inherit God’s Kingdom as co-heirs with Christ (Ezekiel 36:25; Galatians 4:4, 5:19). By His grace, God forgives our sins; and as His children we surrender to His Spirit, who crucifies the desires of our flesh, and teaches us to live in and walk in His Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25).

We are filled with the Spirit’s fruit and our entire personality and life change for the better (Galatians 5:22-23). Whom the Son sets free lives in perpetual freedom (John 8:36). Anyone who prefers to walk according to the dictates of our flesh is living in disobedience to God and will reap earthly destruction and eternal damnation (1 John 3:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).

As authentic Believers, it becomes normal to reject the dictates of our flesh, and to follow the Spirit instead. The more our intimacy with God increases, the less we would think of using our liberty in Christ as an occasion to sin. We prefer to walk in the Spirit, so that we reap God’s blessings and please Him with our life (Galatians 5:13).

We cannot perfect our self by our human effort, but according to God’s mercy. His Spirit helps us to walk in holiness and to inherit eternal life (Titus 3:3). The more we feed our spirit by Bible study, prayer, fellowship with other Saints and sitting in the presence of God, the stronger our spirit will grow and the more we will live in perpetual freedom (Romans 8:6-7).

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for enabling us to walk toward perfection in holiness (1 Peter 1:16). We still make mistakes, but You always give us a choice and a way out of the temptation to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). When we do fall, we do not allow Satan’s condemnation to belittle us. Instead, we submit to the conviction of Your Holy Spirit and we respond in repentance for our sins (Romans 8:1-7). Eventually, sin grieves us and has no more dominion over us (Romans 6:14-18). Thank You for providing Jesus as our atoning sacrifice, as our Savior and as our Lord (1 John 2:2; Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:11).

Thought for the Day:
Living according to the dictates of our flesh is not profitable for us at all; but walking in the Spirit guarantees us a joyful, fulfilled life drenched in love and peace. – John 6:63; Romans 8:6

The Separated Life

God gave His Church, His Bride, His Holy Habitation, the dynamite power of His Spirit who dwells within us. There is nothing that we cannot do. If we rely on our human resources, we will fail more often than not. If we walk in the Spirit, we will not need the lusts of the flesh to make us happy (Galatians 5:16-25). If we begin walking in the Spirit and then give up, we will live a miserable life.

Many Christians have no idea that at Salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us (1 Corinthians 6:19).It is not a separate experience. We have the fullness of the Spirit dwelling in us from the moment that we believe only on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. We have daily fillings of His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), but He is resident within us from the point of our salvation.

We do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit by entertaining sin in our life (Ephesians 4:30). We can occupy our time with religious activity, control our flesh and our sinful desires and meditate on God’s Word continually, but if our spirit is still dead in sin, none of this human activity reaps any benefit for us other than a more peaceful life on this earth.

All of our efforts reap no eternal reward for us because they are all done in the flesh. We give our human will the place of the Holy Spirit in our life (1 Corinthians 3:1). Let’s give up everything we hold dear in the natural world, which stands between our Living Lord and us, and walk in God’s Spirit each moment of the day. What we think we will lose will be returned to us in a way, which is a million times better.

Prayer:

Father God, help us not to attempt to perfect our self in the flesh, rather than submitting our will and our life to Your Spirit. We do not want to fail You in this life and end up reaping hell in the process. We prefer to serve You wholeheartedly and to give You the praise and the glory for all of the works, which Your Spirit leads us to accomplish for You.

Thought for the Day:

We gain no return on what we sacrifice in the flesh. So let’s lay down our human will, character, wisdom and efforts, and fully embrace the thoughts and works of Christ instead.