Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Life that Follows Jesus


II Cor.10: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Sometimes I get some kind of insight into which I was not seeking but from which I could not hide. I do not wish to sound like someone who God gives special revelations, no, not at all. But regardless of how convicting it may be it still has entered my heart and my mind. It began with a thought and began to unfold until it was a spiritual admonition.

Why is it we get so easily frustrated, angry, worried, or depressed? We are the recipients of eternal life and the King’s cup bearer and even the living tabernacle of God Himself and yet we are tossed about with the slightest wind of inconvenience, to say nothing or adversity. Here I am sitting in an automobile and the line is moving slowly and I am frustrated. I have an automobile, I have gas, I have life and health, and I have eternal life and yet I get frustrated over a little inconvenience? And why is that? It’s because I am thinking of me, plain and simple.

Do I languish in my frustration or do I cast down such things and bring my heart and my mind into a place where Jesus is honored and lifted up? In fact, if Jesus had been the center of my thoughts and the controlling power of my heart would I have so easily succumbed to frustration and irritation? Let us take it a little further. If I am walking in the Spirit and filled with a sense of the eternal would every little inconvenience or aggravation so quickly invade my walk or would I defeat those temporal struggles purely by the power of His presence and the focus of my spirit?

Rom.8: For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

There it is. Life and peace is our when we dwell upon and walk in the Spirit. We think we know what peace is all about. When all around us is crashing waves of fear and disappointment there is a stalwart of unshakable peace that wells up inside of us. It has been strengthened by God’s Word and the faith that has been deepened by that Word. And when we have a real peace in the midst of incredible circumstances which should break us those around us must take notice and indeed God is glorified.

But the Word says “life and peace”. So what does the Spirit mean when He says “life”? It does not mean just the beating of your heart since that is common to all living people. In the Spirit life is sacred when it is birthed and sustained through Jesus Christ. Now capture you mind and dwell on this: Jesus is not just sitting on a throne in heaven and He surely is not just a figure in history. No, Jesus is here with and in you right now through the power and Person of the Spirit. Now when that becomes a reality then what can move us?

When that becomes a “reality” I said. I do not mean a doctrinal reality or a verbal reality or even a reality in our imagination. When the presence of the Person of Jesus becomes a tangible reality in our hearts and minds then we will be walking in an eternal realm which will always consume the temporal. You think I am speaking of some lofty philosophical experience which cannot be realized in our everyday lives? Then you are mistaken. Most of us have experienced a taste of that from time to time. Perhaps it was on the mission field. Perhaps it was in an extended prayer gathering. Perhaps it was in a crisis during which you were given an unusual portion of grace.

But what we failed to understand was that the power of that experience is available to us in ways much greater than just in a fleeting experience. And here is a though about which we hardly ever comprehend. The power and presence of the Risen Christ can be actualized many times without the usual emotions we have come to expect. All of us have felt overwhelmed and emotionally consumed during a worship gatherings before. We might have wept and been immobilized by the sheer weight of His presence and power and just who He is and what He has done. And when we left that service we could not help but speak of Christ and the grace He had given us during our broken worship. And those are wonderful and thrilling times of being caught up in the sense of His eternal presence. Yes, wonderful indeed.

But our flesh can even deceive us with those kinds of wonderful experiences. We tend to view those times as extraordinary and in some ways they are, but in so many other ways we can walk with Christ and be controlled by His presence even when we do not feel those same emotions. Have you ever been consumed with His sacred presence and were literally consumed with Him and yet you were not in a worship service or time and there was such a powerful sense of Christ but without those usual emotions? It is difficult to describe. The Scriptures call it walking by faith.

Gal.2: 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

This is a verse that every Bible college student memorizes and one that almost every believer has heard. It sounds so spiritual and we have come to understand it on a doctrinal basis and somewhat on a practical basis as well. But there is an eternity of truth contained in these verses. When we are crucified with Him in salvation then we have been redeemed. But when we live as crucified pilgrims of faith that truth takes on a power that soars high above the church norm. When that sense of His presence and control is a reality both in a worship service as well as on the gallows then it has become a reality. When you can weep for your wayward child and yet still have your mind and heart dwelling on the things of the Spirit then it has become a reality.

And when the mundane testings of this present life are barely noticed much less elicit carnal responses then His crucifixion as well as His resurrection has become a glorious reality. It has moved off the pages of doctrine and found an abiding place in our hearts and lives. And when that frustrating thought knock of on minds we cast it down and out and return to the sanctuary of our hearts which must come under the obedience of Christ. And that does not just mean we stop thinking of irritating things, but it means we quickly retreat to the glory of His presence and grace.

You may sing a song or you might not. You many speak with the Master right then or you might not. But regardless of what you do you are well aware of His overwhelming presence in the heat of battle or the temptations of this wicked world.

You see, a reality has become manifested deep into your heart and life. You have died and He now lives and he has overcome the world. All of it. Every single distraction or frustration or circumstance. He has overcome them all. And your life now awaits you in heaven and you are now His living conduit, His living epistle who walks upon this earth to reveal more and more of Him. And if you can walk fully invested in that reality when all hell breaks loose in your life then His glory will be revealed in your earthen vessel. And that IS the Christian life.


Annette said...

Praise to the LORD oh my soul...and to Glory only in Him while we were/are still sinners. Such is the greatest love the world could ever know.

Amen, Pastor Rick and what a wonderful, uplifting blog to ponder throughout each living day!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lord.

I have some strongholds, and imaginations, and I need to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. It's so true that it's so easy to get frustrated, angry worried and depressed. Going through a dry time these past few years, I long for the days when I was first baptized and could really feel the presence of the Lord. I know it can return, but, it's so nice to be reminded here that even when we don't feel that well of living waters, because flesh gets in the way, He is still in control and He is the High Priest that we can return to.

I believe I had to go through the season of dryness - it's a test of faith. He still is on the throne even though I don't "feel" or discern like I used to. As soon as I start to worry or get deeply frustrated, it's easier now to remember, no matter what, I focus on Him. And this a practice I've learned from reading here. Since I've read here this past year, I am feeling more equipped me to be stronger, all praise and glory to God.

I'm gleaning the teachings here that I have to remember the cross, and the shame and when I complain I just quickly am reminded that I have no right or privilege to complain when the Lord has done everything above and beyond for us. I have become much more appreciating, well that isn't even the right word, but more thankful to God for His mercy. I've developed more of a peace in accepting things and not panicking; well' so far anyway and I still have farther to go. It's a day to day walk.

One thing I remember being taught from a Pentecostal preacher once, was the verse "today is the day of salvation" - which he believed meant that we can only concentrate on 'today' with our faults and weaknesses. He taught that we should never make a pledge, because if we break it, we are worse off than saying yes or no. (sorry I can't find that scripture right now). If we think we will never sin, then we might succumb to it tomorrow. I'm not talking about premeditated sin, but the kind where imaginations and anger get the better of us.


Cherie c. said...

Hey J,
Is this the Scripture you were referring too?

Matthew 21:27-33

King James Version (KJV)

27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.

29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Anonymous said...

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Is it really any wonder that our soul is dependent upon the Spirit of Jesus for life. All things that were made or came into being before man were made by God saying “Then God said”.

I know in my life I was able to do a lot on my own with little help from others. Now God has shown me that He wants me to be totally dependent on Him in everything. And when I say everything, I am saying even the small things. Most of you here at Rick’s website take a shower daily and you think nothing of it, 3 or 4 minutes and you are done. For me it is a different story, last year when I would bathe I would have a bronchial spasm that is when the bronchial tubes in my lungs would seize up and swell shut. No air going in or out. It was panic time. I would have to use a rescue inhaler 3 to 6 times just to be able to breathe.

Today when I am bathing I ask the Lord to give me the strength to complete this task. Every time. Something as simple as bathing. Is it any wonder that Jesus wants us to be totally dependent on Him in ALL THAT WE DO. Asking for the direction of the Holy Spirit no matter what we are doing. Giving God the glory for everything we accomplish, because it is not us doing these things it is Him.


Anonymous said...

Cherie, no, it was Matthew 5:33-37 where Jesus said, "Again ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, "thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths. But I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is 'the city of the great King'. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay, for whatwoever is more than these cometh of evil".

I believe the message this preacher was giving was that it's better not to make an oath and not be able to keep it. It would be wiser not to make declarations and oaths in public, lest we break them. Instead, I think remembering the Lord's sacrifice every day puts things in perspective for me and every day is a new day.


Anonymous said...

May I correct the verses of Matthew 5:34 that got erased while I was typing....

34: "But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne. 35 Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King."



Anonymous said...

Cherie, I believe Gpd wants us to put our trust in His voîce and Word. When we teach for example that all who are regarded by the world as celebrities are unsaved we have set ourselves up as judge in place of God.

God always knows who are saved. This is not the case with Christians. And even if a a true believer did know that someone was unsaved God commands them to love them as themselves not to write dismissively of them in a blog.

God bless you