So, here it is…my panel presentation, as promised. If you are not sure what I am referring to, please read my post entitled Wilderness Experience.
Theme: “The Importance of the Spirit Filled Life”
Topic: “Undertaking the Spirit Filled Life”
There must be a willingness to:
- Separate from all sin – 2 Corinthians 6:14-17
- Surrender to his service – Romans 12:1-2
- Saturate with the Scriptures – Psalm 1:1-2
- Stand upon his saying – John 7:37-39
There are those special preachers, teachers, missionaries and evangelists of the Gospel who are called to lead a larger group of individuals; then there is this group called “us’s” who God uses in our smaller circles of influence and that is the direction or focus that my topic has taken for this evening. So, I hope that it is beneficial to someone in the room.
My Topic is: Undertaking the Spirit Filled Life.
In order to undertake the Spirit filled life, there must be a willingness to SEPARATE FROM ALL SIN.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 (NLT) says:
The Temple of the Living God
14Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:
“I will live in them
and walk among them.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
17Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
and I will welcome you.
When we confess our sins to God and accept Jesus as our personal Savior, we are free and separated from a sinful life. We are not someone who cannot sin, but someone who is no longer a slave to sin. We belong to God. We have chosen to turn from sin and to accept the gift of Salvation that is offered to everyone. True repentance of sin means to turn 180 degrees and not look back. It is a change of heart and we need the Spirit of God to cause that change to occur.
Christ, in dying on the cross, took on our sin, and our punishment for that sin, so that we would not have to. Then He rose from that grave and is alive and living among us and within us today. Because of what Christ did, we are able to take His righteousness as our own. Jesus died in our place to make a way out of what seemed to be inescapable for us. We transfer our trust in ourselves over to trust in Christ alone for our salvation. We cannot do anything in and of ourselves. It is impossible. But with God all things are possible.
Romans 10:13 says that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”.
John 6:47 says , “Most assuredly…..he who believes in Me has everlasting life”.
Now, sin may still or I should say WILL still attempt to enter our lives and may even find its way into our hearts and even into our actions, but it is no longer to RULE our lives. We are not to practice sin. This is how it should be as quoted from this Bible Study called, “If God is For Us” by Trillia Newbell.
“Once we taste the goodness and grace of God, we are motivated to say no to sin and empowered by the Spirit to do it. Yes, our sin is forgiven. Yes, it is not held against us. But we have died with Christ and been raised to life. We are a new creation– we are in Christ. This leads to newness of life, not greater death in sin.”
“Knowing how deeply sinful we are should allow us to focus all the more on Jesus and produce in us a grateful heart. But it shouldn’t allow us to forget that we are in Christ and that we have the Spirit dwelling in us, that we are a new creation. The flesh may be dead because of sin, but the Spirit is alive!”
It goes on further to say,
“God freely chooses to see Christ’s righteousness in us when we choose to come to Him. And then we have the pleasure of fighting sin by the Spirit, secure in the grace that comes with our salvation.”
Romans 6:6-7 (NLT) says,
6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.
Romans 6:14-16 (NLT) says,
14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
We must daily choose to resist sin by choosing to obey God. In order to be forgiven, sin must be acknowledged and confessed. It begins with daily repentance, asking God to forgive us of our sins and to continue to guide us through this walk of righteousness. Sins that enter our lives can be those we may have purposely stepped into, or those we may have fallen into against our initial will through temptation, or even those we simply were not aware of at the time, be it a thought or an action. Oh yes! This occurs in the life of every believer. That’s why it’s an on-going process of sanctification, being sanctified and set apart for God’s use, and we must be found receiving the strength of God day by day.
Colossians 1:21-23a (NLT) says,
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
23a But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.
So, it is possible to drift away from the assurance we received when we heard the Good News. So what do we do about this? Each day, we should make an honest evaluation of our situation, confessing when we have missed the mark and have gone our own way. God can show us, through His Spirit, what those sins are and remove them from our hearts and lives, but we need to ask him to do so each and every day.
“God, today I give you everything that is not like you. I need your help and I put my total trust in you. Forgive me of my sins and continue to transform me into who you want me to be, for your Glory.”
Sin can be as close as the next step we take, BUT (DO YOU SEE OR HEAR THAT TRANSITION WORD THAT WE KEEP HEARING), but, we can make choices in our lives to stay clear of those situations.
One of those choices as found in 2 Corinthians 6 (which we read maybe 5 minutes ago), says, we must separate ourselves from unbelievers; coming out from among them. Now, we live in this world and there is absolutely no way that our path is not going to cross with unbelievers. Unbelievers need us in their lives to pray for them, to direct them to Jesus, the Savior of the world, and also, so that our lives will be light in their dark places. We will be in the presence of unbelievers in such places as in the house of the Lord (among those seeking to find Jesus and come into this marvelous light), in our work place, in educational settings, at family gatherings, or even right in our homes with our spouses or children or grandchildren. This is inevitable. However (ANOTHER TRANSITION WORD), we do not have to team up with them as 2 Corinthians 6 verse 14 says, and participate in the activities that they participate in, if it goes against the will of and commands of God. We have to protect our Salvation and be willing to SOMETIMES even forfeit some of the activities here on earth, if it means backtracking or backsliding (FALLING BACK INTO SINFUL ACTIVITIES OR PRACTICES OR THINGS THAT MAY NOT BE IN DIRECT DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD, BUT THAT DRAWS US BACKWARD IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM) or even in some cases, completely causing us to walk away from God. For some, that can be a lonely place if they are a really outgoing individual or someone who loves being in the presence of others. For others, it is easier because God created them with a personality that prefers the calm and quietness of being more to themselves. So, everyone’s walk or journey in this area will not be the same. BUT (THERE GOES THAT TRANSITION WORD, AGAIN)—But, God is living within us and walking with us. He is our strength to avoid sin and to say no to it. He should be our focus and priority in every situation that we enter into. Walking in his ways brings blessing upon our lives.
We may not be able to be free from interacting with unbelievers, but they are not to influence our walk with God. Our life should be influencing them and causing them to see something different in us. We are to be that “BRIGHT LIGHT”. People will look to us to see how we handle situations.
Even if, or I should say even when we sometimes stumble, when we fall, let us not focus on that, but choose to focus on a God who loves us, who, when we repent and confess our sins, is there with loving arms to receive us. He is a God of good intentions for our lives. He wants us to be successful in our walk with Him. Although we may endure a moment or a season of discipline as a result of that falter, it is not the time to give up and throw in the towel and say, “Forget it! I messed up. I can’t be forgiven. Why bother. Why keep trying.” No! We confess, repent, and ask God to help us not to walk in that again. It is a process. A daily renewal. A daily focus on God. We are to separate ourselves, even when it is not possible physically, but in our actions and in our representation of who Jesus is to us and in how we show that to others each day. Will we effect change in everyone’s life who crosses our path? Absolutely not? But, for those lives that God chooses to use us in, they must see a difference, a light within us. This is part of undertaking the Spirit filled life and being willing to separate from all sin. It starts with a change of heart; a willing heart. That is what God desires of us.
Next, in order to undertake the Spirit filled life, there must be a willingness to SURRENDER TO HIS SERVICE.
Romans 12:1-2 (NLT) says:
A Living Sacrifice to God
1And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
My prayer each day for the last 33 days has been….
Lord, as I move forward in life, knowing that in your sovereignty, you have a plan for my life, help me to cooperate with that plan and see the providence, which are the things you set up and connect or intersect together to make things happen, let me see that every step of the way. Transform me to receive what you have for me and to be ready for the miracles you are about to perform. Overwhelming Victory!
As Romans 12 verse 2 states, we can be that living sacrifice for God, when we allow God to change our thinking. When we ask God to transform us into a new person by changing the way we think, he will begin to show us the bigger picture and allow us to see that, you know what, “It’s really not about me.” This can sometimes be or lead to a Wilderness Experience because we are being transformed through tests and trials that God may allow in order to produce spiritual growth. We must surrender to his service and his plan for our lives even when we do not see the whole picture. We must walk by faith. This is not easy, at all, but is a part of the journey to our Overwhelming Victory!
Isaiah 43:1b-3a says, (CSB)
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior.”
God is sovereign, which means he possesses supreme or ultimate power. His sovereignty is simply what God wants to happen. His providence is God setting things up and connecting/intersecting those things so that it (His sovereign will) will happen. (This greater understanding of God’s plan for my life came from reading a book called “Pathways: From Providence to Purpose” by Dr. Tony Evans.) We have to remember (and constantly remind ourselves) that it doesn’t all happen at once. We must, through the Spirit, let Christ rule within us each day and allow him to order our steps. In doing so, with the help and guidance of the Spirit, we are surrendering to His service.
In this book that I was reading called, “Stronger than the Struggle” by Havilah Cunnington, the author said something that really stuck with me so I want to share it with you, just as a reminder of the big picture. It may not seem to initially fit with the scripture or topic, but we will somehow tie it all together.
God’s mission is to gather as many souls on earth as are willing to live with him for eternity. He is passionate – no, vigilant – for everyone to have an opportunity to choose him. When we give our lives to him, his mission becomes our mission, though we don’t see the whole picture as he does. We get caught up in our nearsighted natural and cultural realities.
So, when we ask God to do something for us, our asking isn’t wrong: in fact, he wants us to ask. But often he will answer with a “no” or “not yet.” If we don’t agree with his answer or don’t want to wait, we struggle. (Boy do we struggle – that’s my personal thought added to what the author is saying.) We battle with his no. Sometimes we wonder if the Devil is withholding what we want from us. Sometimes we wonder if we lack the faith to move the hand of God. But in these cases, God is actually saying, “I’m going to do what’s best for the rest. I have a plan. Trust me.”
SO, IN TRYING TO TIE THAT IN TO OUR TOPIC…We have to allow God to transform the way we think. It’s not about us! Our lives are used by God for his Greater Purpose.
It goes on to say,
“Everything in our lives counts. No matter what we feel, what is happening around us, or how grand or quiet the moment is, the Lord hears what we say to him every single time. When you are praying and it seems as though you’re not being heard, God is listening and taking you seriously. He hears that cry in your voice, in the deepest longing of your heart.”
God hears our every cry. It further says,
“As his children, we can be sure that on the battlefield of life, regardless of our current circumstances, he hears us. Faith is what matters to God, and if we reach out in faith, he will respond.”
So to summarize this “kind-of” side bar in our topic, continue to have faith in what God can do, even when you do not have faith in others or in what you see.
GETTING BACK TO OUR SCRIPTURE AT HAND…Romans 12 Verse 2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Going back to what I said earlier…Us forfeiting something that can be a hindrance to someone else or cause sin to be prevalent in our lives, which can be a stumbling block for an unbeliever, we have to remember that sometimes it is not even about us. God has a plan and everything in that plan is for his Glory. ONCE AGAIN…In his Sovereignty, God has some things that HE wants to happen, the way HE wants them to happen. And so, God sets up things and connects and intersects those things to bring about his Sovereign will. Even when it doesn’t make sense to us, we must follow that plan so that God’s will may be done. We must ask God, through His Spirit, to change our way of thinking so that we are willing to surrender to his service.
Next, in order to undertake the Spirit filled life, there must be a willingness to SATURATE WITH THE SCRIPTURES.
Psalms 1:1-2 (NLT) says:
Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
2But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
A careful reading of Scripture always calls for a response to these questions:
- What should we do with this knowledge?
- How should our lives change?
We must do something about what we have learned if it is to have real significance for our lives. In many cases, it’s not that we don’t know what God expects of us, but we need to be reminded and have a fresh look at his commands. It’s not so much about what we can’t do, but about what God wants us to do in order to walk with him and be joyful in that.
As Nehemiah 8:10b says, “…For the joy of the Lord is your strength!” So, in being saturated with Scriptures, we are able to successfully walk with God by following his instructions and applying His word to our daily lives, which causes us to be joyful in that, which gives us strength. And boy, do we need strength! LOL
How do we apply this to our life? Salvation is for all who will receive it. But, each person’s walk with God is personal. Let’s take a look at the following scripture.
Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT) says:
17For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
This is a Scripture from God’s Word, that if you are saturated with Scripture, you will at some point come across this Scripture Text. And this, when applied, helps you to do what we began speaking about earlier, which is being separated from all sin. The Life Application Study Bible says, “We sin when we pursue happiness by cutting ourselves off from fellowship with God – the only person who can make us truly happy. Zephaniah points out that gladness results when we allow God to be with us. We do that by faithfully following him and obeying his commands. Then God rejoices over us with singing. If you want to be happy, draw close to the source of happiness by obeying God.” So, when we saturate ourselves with Scripture, we are reminded that God is living among us. He is a mighty savior. He takes delight in us with gladness. God loves us and with his love, he will calm all our fears. He will rejoice over us with joyful songs.
That should bring us some peace and help us not to feel alone in the on-going circumstances that we may face in life.
On a personal note, which may help someone else (this is where the preachers, teachers, missionaries and evangelists can take a quick nap), I would like to say that my brain is fried. LOL What I mean by that is, sometimes my poor little brain is overloaded with the cares of this life, with the things that I must accomplish on a daily basis, and sometimes my recollection abilities are somewhat on the fritz. This is nothing new in how my brain has always functioned. I retain the information that I need for the moment and the rest is pushed to the recesses of my mind. That is the case with work, with God’s Word, and even with what just occurred on yesterday. LOL As it relates to this topic, this is something that used to frustrate me because I would start to study God’s Word and start to try to memorize Scripture, and because of the type of individual God created me to be and how my brain functions, I thought that I had to have every word memorized just right and so it became a frustrating process when I missed an “and” or a “thus” or a “henceforth” when trying to apply God’s Word to my life situations. But, what I have learned, and I don’t consider this to be an excuse but a revelation that God doesn’t need me to have every word recited perfectly, but rather for me to daily focus on Him and His Word and apply it right there in that moment when it is fresh in my mind and fresh on my heart. As a result, although I may not remember everything that I read on yesterday or everything that I heard on Sunday, or quote Scripture verbatim, it keeps me going back each day for a fresh revelation of Biblical application for the moment. So, when I forget because my brain is overloaded, because I am daily saturating myself with Scriptures, and daily seeing how that fits where I am on “this day”, in “this moment”, in “this situation”, I am growing and making better progress than if I have every word right and can quote every book of the Bible but am not applying that to my daily walk. I am making it work for me in the moment (application), which is what this walk is all about. That is my personal revelation. Perhaps you are one who knows the Bible front and back and can quote it verbatim in different Bible translations. That is wonderful and note that you have received a special gift from God and God has a special calling upon your life for the masses. But for those of us who fall short in this area or I don’t even want to say fall short, but just have a harder time in this area, not from lack of trying, but for whatever reason our brain can’t hold everything, or what’s in our brain does not always flow out of our mouths with great revelation and illumination “for the people”, God honors how we apply the Word moment by moment and day by day and week by week and month by month and year by year in our daily walk with Him. Some are called to be teachers of the Word. But we are all called to walk this walk for ourselves and to bring along with us who we can; those who may fall under our level of influence, be it one person, three people, 50 people, 100s or even thousands.
We should be joyful in that!
On another note, sometimes we come up with a reading plan or a schedule of what we want to accomplish as it relates to Bible study, and for me, I’m big on lists and order. And at times I have become frustrated because I wanted to read more than what could fit in my day. As a result, I gave up and didn’t complete anything. But God has shown me, through his example, that He rested and if I cannot complete my man made list for the day, then I can rest, then readjust and keep on going.
It’s not about the quantity of time or the number of chapters or verses you have read, but about the quality of that time spent in God’s Word. “What am doing with this one verse that I was able to get to today? How am I able to apply that to my situation right now in this moment? Thank you God for giving me revelation right where I am.” When you wake up tomorrow, that Scripture may have a different meaning to you or rather, may not be applicable to today’s “stuff”, so you move forward as God leads you to what he has for you next. I am also learning that every day, that may not be the “Bible” in and of itself. Sometimes the Spirit of God will lead you to a certain commentary, study notes, religious book or blog or devotion, because he has a certain message that he wants for you to receive in that. As long as there is Scripture content that goes back to God’s Word, it is still saturating yourself with Scriptures. You just have to make sure that it does all go back to the Word of God. That is no different from when you listen to Sermon’s or Podcasts that explain and reveal, through the Spirit, God’s Word and application for your life. So don’t become discouraged because you didn’t get through 10 chapters today. You can ask yourself, “What knowledge did I receive through Words of Scripture? How was I able to apply this to my day? Hey, is there anyone else who God is directing me to share this with so that they too may have the opportunity to apply God’s Word today?”
Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message Bible) says,
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
If you are ready to receive it, it’s there for the taking. And sometimes, it takes going through things in life to put you in a place to realize, “God, you know what, I really don’t have any control over anything in my life. God, you are in control of all things, and if you don’t do this; if you don’t lead and guide me in this situation through your Spirit, I’m not gonna make it. So, God, speak to me, show me something, give me something to get through this very minute in the day.”
Now, an hour from then, you just might be struggling again with something else, but then he has something more for you to get through that next hour until you realize, “Hey, God you are transforming me. Hey, I see how that Word fits into my day. Wow, God you are real. Wow, God your Word does teach me and give me peace to make it through the next step of my journey.” His Spirit will guide you to the truth in His Word that you need. And so, we must have a willingness to Saturate with Scripture as part of undertaking the Spirit filled life.
Lastly, because I have been talking wayyyyy too long, in order to undertake the Spirit filled life, there must be a willingness to STAND UPON HIS SAYING.
John 7:37-39 (NLT) says:
Jesus Promises Living Water
37On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” 39(When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)
As a result of believing and accepting Christ as our Savior and receiving his gift of life, we are promised and are recipients of Living Water. This living water is the Spirit that allows us to live this type of life. This is something that only God could offer, this gift that satisfies the soul’s desires; our souls, being our mind, will and emotions. This living water, His Spirit that flows within us, helps to keep our minds focused on God and his good intentions for our lives, even when our eyes can’t see it, even when we do not know what the next step is or what the next step will reveal. His Spirit allows us to forgo our own will for His will because we know that he has a plan for us and that his plan cannot be thwarted or stopped by satan, but can be delayed if our will is not His. His Spirit calms our wandering emotions and gives us peace in the midst of our storms. This living water, settles us and helps us to look at the big picture and come into the realization that everything that happens is meant for God’s glory. We are a part of his greater purpose, so even through our test and trials, his Spirit is there to guide us and bring us to the place where his glory is revealed. When only God can do it, you know that His spirit is guiding you in the right direction. At the end of ourselves is the beginning of God and it is when he can move by His Spirit to bring us into our Overwhelming Victory!
No matter what’s true in your life at this moment, I want to remind you that God loves you, he loves me, right now, no matter what’s going on around us or inside us. Keep moving forward. God will lighten the load and make everything okay. Don’t Give Up! Keep Believing! Keep Fighting! You can successfully undertake the Spirit filled life and be separated from all sin, surrender to his service, be saturated with Scripture, and stand upon his saying. This is for everyone who believes and receives, for everyone is someone to God.
Thank You For Reading My Blog!
“I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.”
Psalm 89:1 NLT
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