Chapter 7. Christian Growth Series, Part B

7.1. Characteristics of a Christian

Perspective

( Josh. 24:15 ) The choice is yours to either serve Satan or to serve God. You cannot stay halted between two opinions. It’s one or the other – a question of life and death, blessings or curses.

Hope

( John 1:12 ; John 5:24 ; Rom. 10:9-10 ) To receive Christ is to receive power to become a child of God. The power to pass from death to life comes by confessing with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord of your life: that Jesus lived on this earth; that he died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins; that He rose from the dead to give you eternal life. To receive this, to confess this, one commits himself to live totally for the Lord Jesus Christ.

( Col. 1:10 ; 2 Cor. 3:5 ; 2 Cor. 4:4 ; Phil. 4:13 ) Commitment means to progressively to think, to speak, and to act according to God’s principles, no longer by one’s feelings or by one’s past. One is committed now to bear fruit worthy of the Lord: to do all things pleasing to Him, to study His word daily, and to gradually be strengthened by Him in order to live the spirit-filled life on this planet.

Change

( Matt. 7:5 ; Ps. 139:23-24 ; Gen. 1:26 ; Matt. 22:37-39 ; 1 John 2:9-11 ; Gen. 4:7 ) We can no longer blame others, circumstances, genealogy or people for our problems. We will be held accountable for our own actions. We always looked to others to change, but we must do the changing. The meaning of life is for God to live out His fullest in us and through us at the present moment in the areas of relationships and responsibilities. We are to develop our conduct and behavior in such a manner as to give glory to God.

( 1 Tim. 4:7-8 ; John 14:15,21 ; Phil. 4:8-9 ; Phil. 2:12-14 ) We are to live obediently by our will regardless of feelings. This takes discipline and practice involving planning, scheduling and working out the plan. Change demands discipline in our thoughts and in our deeds. Out of the heart the mouth speaks. First comes a thought, then an idea, then action, then habit, then character and finally destiny. Thus, protect the gates of your heart by guarding what you see, what you hear and what you speak.

( Luke 9:23-24 ; Eph. 4:15-32 ; Matt. 5:23-24 ) We are born to die, and to die in order to live. Thus, life begins by denying self, putting-off our old habits and practices, and putting-on new habits and practices based on the principles of God’s word. We learn to become a blessing instead of a curse: forgiving others instead of seeking revenge, forgiving offenses of the past, asking forgiveness of those we offended. Thus, we are to establish a consistent pattern of being reconciled to ourselves, to God, and to others.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Luke 9:23-24

Devotion:

BSAF on Eph. 4:22-32 .

Put-Off/Put-On:

Regardless of what others have done to you or what life has done to you, judge yourself first on how you failed to live godly. Review Rom. 1:18-32 ; Col. 3:5-17 ; 1 Cor. 13:4-8 .

Make a list of what you must put-off and what you must put-on in its place. Evil is not to be restrained but replaced by righteous thoughts and deeds. Accordingly, select one major sin pattern and work it out on Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet” .

 

7.2. Change is a Two-Factored Process

Perspective

( Col. 3:1-7 ; Matt. 12:33-37 ) We are the sum of what we encountered in life and our reactions to life. Being conditioned by life’s experiences, we are prone to react to life impulsively and instinctively rather than to respond on the basis of considered judgment. Man’s words and manner of speech reveal his inner life, where his focus is, and who and what determines his peace and joy.

We are to set our mind on things above, not below. The issue here is spirituality, the capacity to know, to experience, to respond to God. As we do, the Holy Spirit empowers us to live and to work with Christ-likeness, dealing with our character (inner man) and conduct (outer man).

We are challenged to make Christ the center of our lives. All our faculties and passions (intellect, memory, emotions, will, and love, hope, joy, sorrow) are to be at His disposal and direction.

Hope

( Eph. 2:8-10 ; 2 Cor. 5:17 ) All man has to do is to believe what Jesus did for him on the cross. We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son. Man cannot earn, merit or win salvation. He is to believe, confess, repent and by faith receive the gift of God’s grace. His belief places his spirit in union with God’s Spirit. Thus, he is empowered to do good works, to bear the fruit of his new nature.

( Col. 1:15-21 ) Christ lives in us to transform us personally. He wants to affect our individual jobs, our families, our communities, and our personal relationships. By faith in Christ and by our obedience Christ will reconcile all things within us: our minds and emotions, and our relationships with others. Thus, making us holy and blameless and above reproach in His sight.

( Eph. 2:19 ; Phil. 3:20 ; Gal. 4:5-6 ; Matt. 12:50 ) We are fellow citizens in a nation created by God. We have been adopted as children of God, and live in the same house with God and His family. Now, we have the privilege and responsibility to render service for the sake of God’s family.

Change

( Col. 1:10 ; Rom. 12:10-11 ; Gal. 6:2,10 ) It is not enough to ‘know’ God’s will or to possess wisdom and understanding. We are to put what we know into practice, so that our behavior and conduct reflects that of Christ. We must be committed to be fruitful in every good work and grow into the knowledge of God.

( 2 Tim. 2:19 ; John 10:14 ; Eph. 4:22 ) A person who follows Christ does not live in sin. To become a noble person, it takes purging, cleansing self from behavior that is dishonorable and unrighteous.

( Prov. 14:12 ; Isa. 55:8-11 ; Rom. 12:1-2 ) As a man commits his total life for God’s service, he separates himself from the world, the flesh and the devil. He does this by purging himself and renewing his mind from all behavior that is dishonorable, and from teaching that is false and cancerous. Thus, he prepares himself so that Christ may infuse his very being and to use him for every good work.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Eph. 4:22-24

Devotion:

BSAF on Eph. 5:1 ; 2 Thess. 3:6 ; 1 John 2:15-16 .

Put-Off/Put-On:

Examine your life in the light of Col. 3:1-17 . Work out Section A.10, “Change Is a Two-Factored Process” . List all your failures on left side of sheet, and correspondingly what God wants you to do in its place on the right side.

7.3. Turning from Evil

Perspective

( Matt. 12:38-40 ; Rom. 1:4 ; Acts 10:39-45 ) It is human reason that seeks after signs, works and proofs. God wants man to simply believe and love Him because of Who He is and what He has done for man. The true religion of God is not a religion of works and signs, but of faith and love in Christ Jesus. God is finished with signs. He has given the ultimate in signs: He has given His Son by means of His death, of His burial, and of His resurrection.

Hope

( Matt. 12:41 ; Acts 2:38 ; Acts 3:19 ; Isa. 55:7 ) The worst sinners in history repented at the preaching of one man, the prophet Jonah. Now the Messiah Himself, God’s own Son, has come. He has preached and announced: “The Kingdom of God” itself is at hand. Every person is now, beyond question, without excuse. Heavenly doors are now open to those who simply make a decision to repent of the old life in the flesh, and begin a new life in the spirit – a life in union with the trinity.

( Deut. 4:29 ; Prov. 2:3-5 ; Luke 11:9-10 ) The Queen of Sheba went to the farthest extremes humanly possible to seek the truth. No effort, struggle, energy, strain should be spared in seeking the truth. As you do, you will find the truth: Jesus Christ, and the Source of all good things, the Holy Spirit, the very presence of God dwelling within our hearts and bodies.

( Heb. 11:6 ; Prov. 8:17 ) Though it can be put out of a life, and turned from, evil will always attack. As evil is a constant so is my trust in God who enables me to resist. What is needed is a supernatural power to turn from evil, and that power is in Christ. The love of Christ and His mission of redemption is to fill a man’s heart and life. To keep out evil, a man must begin to do Christ’s work of love and care: to meet the needs of others, of the world and community; to look after the orphan, the sick and hungry; be swamped with doing God’s work. Then he will not have time to think and to do evil.

Change

( Rom. 8:1-4 ; Gal. 2:19-20 ; Gal. 5:16-18 ) Christ fulfilled and completed the law. Christ is Spirit, He is life. It is His life that sets the standard and the rule for the believer. It is His Spirit and life that gives the believer the power to obey. A person’s faith in Christ places him in Christ. Accordingly, we are to walk day by day in Christ, and believe that Christ takes care of the past sins, of our present welfare, and of our future destiny.

( 2 Cor. 5:17-21 ) It is being “in Christ” that makes a person a new creature, he no longer belongs to Satan. The believer is sinless and righteous because Christ is sinless and righteous. A spirit of repentance is to be cultivated, that is, to confess and repent each time we fail to walk in the light as He is in the light. Visualize the blood of Jesus cleansing us in order to maintain our godly fellowship on a continuing basis ( 1 John 1:7-9 ).

( Gal. 5:22-23 ; Titus 2:12 ; Eph. 4:22-24 ) No matter how corrupt or how low man has fallen, God longs to make a new creature out of him. All that is required is to believe in Christ, to realize and understand all that He has done. Thus, we are to act on this truth by establishing His kingdom on earth of patience, kindness, and goodness.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Col. 1:12-14

Devotion:

BSAF for Col. 1:20 ; Heb. 2:17 ; Eph. 2:16 ; Heb. 10:19-20 .

Put-Off/Put-On:

Christ has defeated Satan and his evil spirits: all the forces, energies, powers and principalities of the universe. Man now has been delegated power and authority by the word of God to bind and loose: to bind the force of sin, and to loose the foul spirit so that God’s will prevails in the situation ( Matt. 16:18-19 ).

As this is so, list areas in your life where you feel defeated and condemned. Make a failure list of your sins and guilts. Replace this list by what God wants you to put in its place. In Christ practice the put-ons, knowing that you are more than a conqueror. Practice this until a new pattern of thought and actions are established. This takes time. God’s word is more than sufficient to amend, to heal and to deliver you from the evil one ( Ps. 91:1-3 ). If problem persists, seek counsel from a mature disciple.

Accordingly, to assist you to accomplish this, please complete Section A.10, “Change Is a Two-Factored Process” .

7.4. Physical Challenges

Perspective

( Matt. 26:41 ; Eph. 5:18 ; 1 Cor. 6:12-13 ; 1 Cor. 6:19-20 ; 2 Pet. 2:18-19 ) Our physical condition may influence our response to spiritual needs. But regardless of our need, of our being under a heavy load, God can and will give peace and joy to those in need. Recognize, however, that God may not choose to heal the believer.

Hope

( Deut. 32:39 ; Ps. 115:3 ) God does whatever He pleases. He may allow the physical problem to remain to further and deepen maturity and for effective ministry.

( Jere. 29:11 ) Regardless of what has happened to you, keep your focus on the Lord. God will provide for your welfare, to give you a future and a hope. Thus, faith speaks of future events with as much certainty as though they were already passed. Thus, look for the spiritual growth and development of the inner man ( Rom. 4:17 ; 2 Cor. 4:17-18 ).

( Rom. 8:28-29 ) My responsibility is to insure that I am thinking and living according to God’s principles. My goal is not to seek my needs primarily but to accomplish God’s purposes in my life. Regardless of the adversities or the consequences, being obedient to God’s will in all things, I will overwhelmingly conquer through Jesus Who loves me.

( Matt. 5:3-12 ) God’s peace and joy are available to believers regardless of others, of possessions or the lack of them, or of the circumstances of life. The key is to develop the character of Christ, to think as He does, to act accordingly. Though the outer man may perish, it is the inner man that is developing and growing.

Change

( Rom. 8:28-29 ; Matt. 6:7-8 ) Whether I have been born with a physical defect or problem, through carelessness, negligence, or an accident caused by others, my focus is to be on the God, and to approach the situation His way. Regardless of any limitation, physical or mental, work out the situation to its fullest being empowered and energized by the Holy Spirit. Transcend any limitations by maximizing what you do have.

( Isa. 46:9-11 ; Phil. 1:6 ; Phil. 2:13 ) My job is turn any thoughts off of myself and obey God’s commands for the moment that lies just ahead. Allow God to be His fullest through me at the present moment bringing to past His purposes. By obeying, God works in me to complete and to mature me in the image of His Son.

( 2 Cor. 6:3-10 ; 2 Cor. 12:7-10 ; Job 42:1-6 ) Maintain the integrity of God’s word and promises in your life, that despite afflictions, hardships, distresses, beatings, hunger and pain, rely on His presence within. In the midst of sorrows, of dishonor, of evil reports, His Presence within, His strength will fill you with rejoicing. For in Him you are an overwhelming conqueror.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

2 Cor. 12:9

Devotion:

BSAF on 2 Cor. 6:3,4,10,16 .

Put-Off/Put-On:

Meditate on the principles stated herein. Consider your particular situation, develop a contingency plan ( Section A.10, “Change Is a Two-Factored Process” ) or plans to counteract self-focus.

7.5. Commitment is Doing the Word

Perspective

( James 1:22-25 ; Rev. 22:14 ) Christian life is one of commitment to God and His Word. It is not to be part-time, of casualness, of indifference or of neglect. It is one of doing, of practicing, of exercising in the pursuit of excellence, in the spirit of integrity, working through failures time and time again. An effective Christian life thus uses failures as opportunities to grow into a mature Christian in the image of Christ. It is not enough to listen, to hear, to know. The word must be practiced, exercised, and applied until the person is set free from the bondages of sin and death.

Hope

( James 1:19-21 ; Matt. 13:23 ) Be quick to hear the word of God, not hanging on to one’s own ideas, but be willing to listen to God’s word instead of insisting upon what one thinks and likes. Respond rather than react to life by being slow to speak and slow to wrath, developing a gentle spirit as a child. Listen to God’s words and allow God’s words to be born within one’s heart and life, which is the core of healing and growth, of patience, kindness, and goodness.

( Col. 1:9 ; 2 Cor. 10:5 ; Ps. 143:10 ) Nothing is to flow through us nor out of us that is not of God’s will. God’s will involves all of life, everything we do, every moment of the day. Through His word God tells us how to live.

Knowing God’s will involves both wisdom and understanding. Wisdom means a person knows the first principles of life. Understanding means the person has the ability to apply the basic principles to everyday life.

( Prov. 2:1-2 ; Acts 20:32 ; Acts 27:7-16 ; Eph. 1:17 ; James 1:5 ) We secure the wisdom and understanding by studying God’s word and by prayer. Praying is the process by which we are being filled with the knowledge of God’s will, and by which we find union with Jesus. This union is marked by a loving exchange of friendship between God and the soul.

Change

( Rom. 12:1-2 ; Col. 1:10 ) It is not enough to know God’s will, to possess wisdom and understanding, it all must be put into practice. We are to live out the will of God. Christ is the pattern, and our conduct and behavior is to be upon Christ. To face life, death, disease, accidents, we need God’s power. We secure this power through prayer.

( James 3:17-18 ; Matt. 5:8 ; Heb. 12:14 ) Source of true wisdom is God. To be pure is to be free from fault and defilement, from moral impurity, from iniquity and, thus, separated unto God. We must be peaceable and gentle, forbearing with people, being in a state of reconciliation with self and with others, weave with self , with God and with others. The last thing to do is to criticize, condemn, neglect and ignore people. We must be ready to listen to reason and to appeal – being willing to change when one is wrong. We are to have feelings of compassion, affection and kindness, eager to help others, and not show partiality or favoritism, being without hypocrisy, insincerity. The fruit of righteousness is brought about by making peace, being at ease with each other and with God.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Col. 1:10

Devotion:

BSAF on James 4:1-5 .

Put-Off/Put-On:

Study James 3:17 . List personal failures in each of the categories listed in James 3:17-18 . Then prepare a plan of action on how to deal with each item biblically. Use Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet” or Section A.9, “Contingency Plan” as appropriate. In each encounter in life, your basic plan of action is to call upon the name of the Lord by quoting, “Thy will be done”. This unites your will with His will which initiates and insures a biblical response. This is a lifetime endeavor.

7.6. Lifestyle Change is Evidence of New Birth

Perspective

( Eccl. 12:13-14 ; John 3:3-8 ; John 10:10 ) It is necessary to be born-again, a spiritual birth in order to recognize, to admit, and to solve your problems in a biblical manner. Only God’s solutions, grace, empowering and wisdom are completely adequate for abundant living.

Hope

( Eph. 2:8-9 ; Rom. 3:27 ; Rom. 4:2 ; Rom. 5:1 ) Salvation is received by faith, all man has to do is to stretch out his hand and receive God’s free gift of salvation. Man must believe just what God says and accept His word, accept His free offer of salvation. All man can do is accept the fact that God says He will save him, and to accept as true the free offer of salvation.

( Rom. 3:23 ; Rom. 6:23 ; Rom. 10:9-10 ) Realize there is no salvation in or within one’s self or in the world. Salvation is by the word of God, as we confess it and verbally state God’s word and believe. Then faith grows and increases effecting a reconciliation within one’s self, with others, and with God. To ‘reconcile’ means to change, to change thoroughly, to exchange, to change from enmity to friendship, to bring together, to restore, to be related and united with God.

( John 1:12 ; Acts 17:30-31 ; 2 Cor. 5:17 ) God the Father becomes Father of your spirit, and you move from darkness to light. Satan is no longer your stepfather. By the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, you become a child of God, a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. You begin a new existence, and operate now from heaven whence you receive spiritual blessings, power, wisdom and knowledge in order to live a victorious life here on earth.

Change

( Rom. 12:1-2 ; 1 John 5:4-5 ; Titus 3:3-7 ) Christ now lives in your heart by faith. Your spirit has been regenerated, you are empowered to live the victorious life. It all begins by the renewing of your mind, thinking God’s thoughts after Him, removing the garbage of your past life, and developing biblical attitudes and motives to please the Lord.

( Eph. 5:3-6 ) Being led astray by immoral and seductive persons, by false teachings, and false systems of religion, these habits, practices and associations are to be changed. God has taken our unloving nature and made new people out of us, but we must turn from living a selfish and worldly life and turn to Christ and begin a new lifestyle. Thus, we are to guard what we see, what we hear, and what we speak.

( 1 John 2:3-6 ) The change process begins with the mind, and the mind changed, fashioned and molded by the word of God. As the mind changes so does the thoughts, attitudes and motives. What you comprehend, you will be conformed to, and this is what will be communicated.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Eph. 2:8-9

Devotion:

BSAF for Acts 17:30-31 ; Eph. 2:8-9 ; John 1:12 ; Rom. 10:9-10 .

Put-Off/Put-On:

Review the book of 1 John . Note the references and vivid contrast to loving, to fellowship, to light and the dark, to backsliding, to false teachings: to that which distinguishes a child of God from the devil’s children. Assurance that you are a child of God rests upon abiding in Christ and upon the pursuit of righteousness as He is righteous.

It all begins in loving God and the proof that you are loving God rests upon your relationship with others, and your involvement with the world, the flesh and the devil.

Begin a process of change by noting when and where you are harboring grudges, resentments, bitterness. Make plans by using Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet” , Section A.9, “Contingency Plan” , and other worksheets as appropriate, to respond to these situations in patience, kindness and goodness.

7.7. Worried, Confused, Troubled

Perspective

( John 14:1-3 ; John 3:15 ; John 5:24 ; John 11:25 ; Rom. 10:9-10 ) Whenever troubled, disturbed, agitated, perplexed, worried, tossed about, confused, disheartened, continue to believe while in the midst of troubles. This will carry you through to believing that God and His Son will deliver your troubled heart. Thus, through belief and hope for God’s house and its mansions, through Jesus’ work, through Jesus’ return and through an eternal habitation with Jesus – these things will deliver you from a troubled heart.

Hope

( 1 Pet. 1:3-4 ; Titus 2:12-13 ) Earth is only a temporary place, we have a permanent one in a real world in another dimension of being. Jesus knew His Father’s house, the truth and the reality of it. Thus, the one thing essential to inherit these mansions is belief in Christ.

In relation to God, the more a soul hopes and believes, the more it will attain. The more hope it has, the greater will be its union with God. Thus, we are to empty ourselves of all that is not of God. In this way we can purely hope for God Himself. Every possession that is not of God is against hope. In the measure the memory becomes dispossessed of worldly influences: its delights, its honors, its pressures, its oppressions, its fears, its materialism – any semblance of earthly properties… to this extent, one will exercise divine wisdom to reach beyond the earthly to the divine, and from the divine to the earthly ( Col. 1:27 ; Heb. 12:1-3 ).

Therefore, perfect dispossession of all that is not of God opens up the human faculties to be filled with and under the absolute presence and direction of the Holy Spirit resulting in perfect possession with God in union ( Matt. 5:48 ; Matt. 6:10 ; Luke 14:26,33 ).

( Eph. 1:7 ; 1 Pet. 1:18-19 ; 2 Cor. 13:4 ; Rom. 5:2 ) It is through Jesus’ work that our deliverance comes about. Jesus went to the cross to prepare redemption for us by His death, His resurrection and His exaltation. Being raised from the dead, He prepared the conquest of death and a new life and power for us. He ascended into heaven to prepare our access into the presence of God and an eternal home for us.

( John 5:25 ; John 17:24 ; 1 Thess. 4:16-17 ; 2 Cor. 5:8 ; Titus 2:12-13 ; 2 Tim. 4:18 ; Phil. 3:20-21 ) Believers are to be glorified with the Father and Jesus. In an instant, we will pass from this world into the next world, into heaven itself. In comparison, our present afflictions are but slight. Meditate on this and grasp the truth of this statement which will carry your troubled soul through any trial even martyrdom. The Lord will deliver you from any evil work… physical or spiritual.

Change

( John 14:4-7 ; John 8:19 ; Acts 28:27 ; John 3:3-5 ; 1 Cor. 2:14 ; Rom. 8:15-17 ; Gal. 4:4-7 ) As with the disciples, our eyes are to be taken off of earthly things, of worldly position and power, of wealth and possessions, of pomp and ceremony. We are to think on Jesus’ words that all roads lead to God Himself. We dwell on the words of Jesus, and we look through the things of the world and see the way to God is Jesus Himself and the destination of life is God Himself. Accordingly, do not think like the natural man and be caught up into the earthly atmosphere. Our perpetual residence is one of a heavenly atmosphere, having an eternal quality, beyond the senses, realizing that we will be in the Presence of God the Father forever.

( John 14:8-14 ; John 12:45 ; John 16:15 ; Col. 2:9 ; Heb. 1:3 ; John 10:37-38 ; John 14:20 ; John 17:21-22 ; Acts 1:8 ) As with the disciples, the same today, Jesus wants us to walk by faith. We will see the Father in Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus revealed Himself as the full embodiment of God – the very nature, character, substance and perfection of God. As we believe the word as Jesus did, then, we too will walk by the light of the word manifesting the Presence of God in our being and deeds – in the midst of troubles, pressures, and persecutions as with Jesus. We are to believe Jesus as a Person, as the Son of God Himself, believe His claim, that His testimony and witness to Himself is absolutely true. As we believe and live in Him, we can go through any trial and come out victoriously.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Matt. 28:18-20

Devotion:

BSAF for Acts 4:33 ; Eph. 3:20

Put-Off/Put-On:

Meditate on the following verses and make note on what the Holy Spirit is saying to you, and what should your attitude be in your present situation: Col. 1:12-14 ; 1 Thess. 5:18 ; 2 Cor. 3:18 ; Heb. 13:15 ; 1 Pet. 2:9 ; Ps. 29:2 ; Ps. 100:4 .

7.8. The Pure Self Activated

Perspective

( Heb. 4:16 ; James 1:5-8 ; 2 Cor. 3:4-5 ; Phil. 4:13 ) To appropriate God’s gracious wisdom in facing and dealing with your problems, you must ask in faith, that is, to live according to God’s word, and to depend solely on His power.

“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” ( Acts 1:8 ) – not power as a gift from the Holy Spirit, something that He gives us – the power is the Holy Spirit. The life that was in Jesus becomes ours because of His Cross, once we make the decision to be identified with Him. If it is difficult to get right with God, it is because we refuse to make this moral decision about sin. But once we do decide, the full life of God comes in immediately. Jesus came to give us an endless supply of life – “…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” ( Eph. 3:19 ). Eternal life has nothing to do with time. It is the life which Jesus lived when He was down here, and the only Source of life is the Lord Jesus Christ”. (Adapted from [8][Chambers2], April 12.)

Hope

( John 16:7-13 ; 1 Cor. 2:11-13 ) Our human spirit is now in union with the Holy Spirit. Having the mind of Christ, all that Christ is, His fullness is within to be conveyed to our spirit – the wisdom, strength, and ability of God. From our spirit, His grace moves to our mind, and from there to our body to manifest Christ in any and all situations, replacing evil with righteousness. Through us the Gospel of the Risen and Exalted Lord is proclaimed and able to give eternal life to every person who calls upon Him.

“Eternal life is the life which Jesus Christ exhibited on the human level. And it is this same life, not simply a copy of it, which is made evident in our mortal flesh when we are born again. Eternal life is not a gift from God; eternal life is the gift of God. The energy and the power which was so very evident in Jesus will be exhibited in us by an act of the absolute sovereign grace of God, once we have made that complete and effective decision about sin”. (Adapted from [8][Chambers2], April 12.)

( John 15:16 ) We are to bear the fruit of our salvation and witness to others of what Jesus has done. Our job is to be a witness, by our lifestyle, as represented by a solid demeanor of confidence and boldness, and of patience, kindness, goodness. However, it is the function and responsibility of the Holy Spirit to convict and convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. He is the one who persuades and convicts.

( 2 Tim. 3:16-17 ; 2 Pet. 1:3-4 ; 2 Cor. 3:18 ) By the word of God, we live, move and have our being. The life which Jesus gives is a life of energy, force and power. By His word we become conscious of God’s Presence, that we live just as God would live if He were walking on the earth. We receive life and godliness by the knowledge of Christ and His word conforms us to His image. Seed of corruption is sin, and this is replaced by the Holy Spirit indwelling the heart of the believer. We actually partake of the divine nature of Christ and escape the corruption principle and are enabled to live a life of righteousness. We move from glory to glory, and grace to grace, the very energy and Presence of God indwelling.

Change

( 1 Thess. 5:17 ; Heb. 4:15-16 ; James 1:5 ; Matt. 18:18 ; 2 Cor. 9:8 ) God sits upon a Throne, the seat of authority and power, honor and glory. By His grace, we can approach God and He will receive us in Christ Jesus. From His Throne, we receive Grace and in prayer, we receive help to work through our trials, and to receive His strength to undergo any and all situations. In prayer, we bind the sin and loose the foul spirit by God’s directions, replacing evil with righteousness.

( James 1:5-8 ; James 1:22-25 ; 2 Cor. 3:4-5 ; Phil. 4:13 ) To appropriate God’s gracious wisdom in facing and dealing with our problems, we must ask in faith, live according to God’s word, and depend solely on His power.

( Matt. 26:39 ) “The agony in Gethsemane was the agony of the Son of God in fulfilling His destiny as the Savior of the world. The veil is pulled back here to reveal all that it cost Him to make it possible for us to become sons of God. His agony was the basis for the simplicity of our salvation. The Cross of Christ was a triumph for the Son of Man. It was not only a sign that our Lord had triumphed, but that He had triumphed to save the human race. Because of what the Son of Man went through, every human being has been provided with a way of access into the very presence of God”. (Adapted from [8][Chambers2], April 11.)

It is time to be increasingly separated from the world, the flesh, and the devil. Accordingly, place your will in the center of God’s will and maintain what Christ obtained for us: to be His disciples to be His intercessors, to be His ambassadors, to establish His kingdom and His will on earth.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

1 Cor. 2:12 ; 2 Tim. 4:18 ; Heb. 13:6

Devotion:

BSAF for Phil. 4:13,19 .

Put-Off/Put-On:

Realize who and what you are in Christ Jesus by fulfilling His Prayer in Matt. 28:18-20 . Be an example, be a teacher, be an intercessor by binding and loosing. Pray for others to become disciples so that they, in turn, will do likewise. It is about time that God’s Kingdom principles prevail on earth.

Praying for others, you may wish to use Eph. 1:17-19 ; Eph. 3:19-20 ; 2 Cor. 4:4 ; Col. 1:10 ; Matt. 18:18 . To intervene and release those in bondage, you may be disposed to pray the following:

1.         Lord, sprinkle their hearts clean from consciences oppressed with sin ( Heb. 10:22 ).

2.         Lord, we bind the sin over them, and loose the foul spirit that hovers ( Matt. 16:19 ).

3.         Remove the blindfolds over their eyes that they may see the truth ( 2 Cor. 4:4 )

4.         Holy Spirit brood over them until the life of Christ penetrates into their souls ( Gen. 1:2 ).

 

7.9. Holding Self Accountable

Perspective

( Gen. 1:26 ; Matt. 7:1-5 ) Since God created us and we are His own invention, He is our means of life and existence, our only resource. Accordingly, we are accountable to Him and from Him, and we receive whatever we need from Him in order to fulfill His purposes through us on this earth. On the basis of God’s word, we are to judge ourselves by and through our actions especially in the area of critically judging and condemning others. The criticizer is inconsistent, self-righteous, self-deceived, lacks love, a hypocrite, and abuses the Gospel by which our life is to be changed. We are to be an example to the world by expressing the love of God to others. ( Phil. 2:14-15 )

To judge yourself correctly, examine self in the areas of repentance, of renunciation, and of detachment. Life’s effects are deposited in our memories. Our memories are connected to our emotions. Those areas that have not been dealt with biblically, Satan stimulates to bring forth guilt, shame, anger, bitterness, despair, and the like. Thus, keep your memory clean and fresh by being in a constant state of repentance (confess and repent immediately upon conviction), by renouncing all those things that hold you in bondage (vain thoughts, images), and separating oneself from the temptations and the false allure of the world’s enticements ( Matt. 12:30 ; James 2:15-17 ). Now you can be a fit vessel of the Lord to accomplish His purposes on this earth ( 2 Cor. 6:16-18 ).

Hope

( Ezek. 18:20 ; Jer. 17:10 ) I cannot blame my background, my parentage, the circumstances of life to justify sinful actions nor am I controlled by them. God’s grace is available to me from heaven to enable me to live righteously regardless of what others have done. Being free of horizontal controls, God’s grace will break the hold of the past, and He will guide me and lead me to an abundant life.

( Ezek. 18:2-3 ; Eph. 5:18 ) I am not responsible for other’s sins, nor do the actions of others have to unsettle me. Being free of the past, of blame shifting and defensiveness, this allows for the Presence of the Holy Spirit. The believer is to be filled continuously to be conscious of His Presence, of His leadership, and of His guidance. The Spirit’s filling is the personal manifestation of Christ to the believer who walks obediently day by day. He is filled only as he walks in obedience to the word of God.

( John 14:21-22 ; Ps. 119:11 ; Acts 2:1-4 ) To be filled requires that we walk obediently to Christ, as we walk through terrible trials and severe crisis, God will manifest His Presence to provide a deep sense of His love and care: lifting and strengthening us to conform to His Son. Thus, the meaning of life is to allow God to be His fullest in our lives at every moment of the day and night. This consciousness is the believer’s privilege in being aware of His presence, and of His leadership – moment to moment.

Change

( Rom. 12:9-10 ; 2 Pet. 1:5-7 ) To begin to love sincerely, the believer is to hate all forms of evil because evil destroys lives. A godly love desires the very best for people. He is to cleave to the good and to work for everyone to know and experience the good. He loves others in Christ by being kind and affectionate. He takes the lead in esteeming and expressing respect for others.

By faith, the power and provision to live a virtuous existence resides within the believer in the person of the Holy Spirit. But this faith must be worked out and demonstrated and experienced by one’s responses to life. The believer is to add moral excellence, goodness of character, and moral strength and moral courage; he is to add practical knowledge and insight in knowing what to do and say in trials and temptations of life; and he is to master and control the body or the flesh with all of its lusts ( Rom. 5:3-5 ).

( 1 Cor. 1:10 ; 1 Pet. 3:10 ; Prov. 13:3 ; Luke 11:17 ) To reach any situation, one must refrain the tongue in stirring dissension, division, but to bring peace, love, and brotherhood. We are to be restored within ourselves and with others. Union in mind and judgments involves thoughts, reasonings, emotions, motives and intentions. Judgments involve conclusions, purposes, goals and objectives. Restorations begin in and around conclusions that bring unity within ourselves and with others.

( Phil. 2:2-4 ; Prov. 17:19 ; Isa. 14:13-14 ; 1 John 2:16 ) If we don’t get our way or what we want, we are inclined to strive, to cause arguments and divisions. We are inclined to want attention, praise and honor. We are to deny these inclinations for the sake of Christ that we may help others. God works in us to offer ourselves in a spirit of submissiveness and lowliness, not to be high-minded, proud, haughty, arrogant, or assertive.

•           Humility must be developed which is learning of Christ – His disposition and His virtues – who placed everyone ahead of Himself. Humility reaches its height when we lose our lives in the cause of Christ to the benefit and welfare of others. This requires an honest evaluation of oneself because we are always at the center of all that we do. Self-centeredness weakens and limits relationships and achievements.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Ezek. 18:20

Devotion:

BSAF for Luke 9:23-24 ; Rom. 12:16 ; Prov. 21:4 ; Prov. 26:12 .

Put-Off/Put-On:

Read Phil. 2:3-11 , then work out Section A.2, “Think And Do List” . Evaluate yourself to the extent you seek your own interest, using the following characteristics we habitually think about that keep us self-centered:

•           ambition

•           being by-passed

•           being ignored

•           not being recognized

•           desires

•           position

•           wants

•           being neglected

•           being overlooked

•           not being honored

•           not given a promotion or not selected

(See also Section A.5, “Dying To Self” for additional insights.)

For each item replace by what God wants you to think and to do, considering the needs of others before your own, such as: visiting, consoling, ministering, helping, sharing, feeding, clothing, transporting, listening, advising, counseling, teaching, etc.

7.10. Only God Can Change Us And Others

Perspective

( Ezek. 36:26-27 ; Phil. 1:6 ; Phil. 2:13 ) Only God can change people, so you are not and cannot be responsible for changing them. You are accountable to God solely for your own deeds, and to do your part in living at peace with others. Your job is to intercede in prayer, to be a godly influence and set an example to provide an opportunity for God to work in the hearts of others. For God is the one Who arouses, stirs and energizes the heart of the believer to do His will.

Hope

( Phil. 1:6 ; Jude 24-25 ) The believer has absolute confidence in the work of salvation or redemption which God has begun in his life. He has confidence through the Presence of God’s Spirit Who dwells within him. Accordingly, the Spirit of Christ within the believer enables him to fulfill his role and function. For it is God who frees us from blemishes; it is God who delivers us daily when we confess; He, it is, Who makes us blameless and keeps us from falling. All we need to do is to draw near to Him and stay in touch with Him by daily bible study and prayer, and by walking righteously ( Ps. 91:1-3 ).

( Phil. 2:13 ; 1 John 2:27 ) God arouses, stirs and energizes the heart of the believer to do God ‘s will. God is working within us-energizing us-giving us both the will and power to do what pleases Him. God does not leave us alone to work out our salvation and deliverance.

( Rom. 5:3-5 ; 2 Cor. 4:7-18 ; Luke 22:23 ) Do not be surprised at trials, even if they seem fiery; instead, rejoice in them because God uses them to develop Christlike maturity in our lives. If you should endure suffering for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed by the Lord. Trials and sufferings work good for us. Oppressions and afflictions stirs patience, which is the development of endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, constancy. Through these experiences we develop character, integrity, strength. When one endures trials, he becomes stronger as he begins to sense the increasing presence of God. He draws close to God and the closer he draws to God, the more he hopes for the glory of God. All of this leads to the continuous experience of God’s love through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Change

( John 7:24 ; Rom. 14:1-13 ) Do not judge others by your own standards, perspective, or experience. You will be judged in the very same way you judge them. We are to form a just judgment by checking our own spirit and place ourselves in the position to help restore others, if need be, who are at fault ( Gal. 6:1 ).

( Ps. 19:7-11 ; Prov. 30:5-6 ; Heb. 4:12 ) God’s word is to be your only authority for faith and conduct and is to be the only legitimate standard by which you are to be evaluated. You are to rely on no other source, since God’s word provides hope and gives direction for change in all areas of life (thoughts, words, actions). But you must labor to enter God’s rest, that is, to study God’s work and to learn to walk righteously. As you do your part God will do His: It is the word of God that takes man’s earthly, soulish nature and separates it from the spiritual call and promise of God.

( 2 Pet. 1:3-4 ; Matt. 5:1-20 ) Nature of well being comes about by setting aside anger, contempt, lust, manipulation, revenge and payback, forsaking dependence upon human reputation, wealth, possessions. Our memories are to be possessed by God, not by the past, people or things. Thus, by faith, by repentance, we are to add to our faith the virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. As such, we will grow into the image of Christ as ordained from the beginning.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Ps. 128:1-4

Devotion:

BSAF for Titus 2:11-12 ; Ps. 31:19 ; John 6:63 .

Put-Off/Put-On:

The fear of God will be the soil out of which your positive influence will grow and the basic reason your family and others will arise and call you blessed. Meditate on the following Scriptures and read what the Bible says will happen to you as a God-fearing person. In 50 words or so, describe what you have learned from these verses: Ps. 25:12-13 ; Ps. 112:3 ; Ps. 31:19 ; Ps. 103:11-18 ; Ps. 112:1-9 ; Ps. 145:19 ; Prov. 1:7 ; Prov. 8:13 ; Prov. 9:10 ; Prov. 14:26 ; Prov. 15:33 ; Prov. 19:23 ; Acts 9:31 ; Job 2:3 ; Malachi 3:16 ; Ps. 147:11 ; Ps. 128:3 ; 2 Cor. 7:1 ; Rev. 14:7 and Eccl. 12:13 .

7.11. Judging Yourself

Perspective

( Matt. 7:5 ; James 3:1-2 ) To judge means to criticize, condemn, censor – a habit of censorious and carping criticism. To criticize others is to boost one’s own image, at the expense of another. This makes us feel that our lives are better than the person who failed. We justify our decisions and acts by pointing out the failures of others, and this shows that we are stronger than they are. Criticism is really an outlet for our own hurts and desire for revenge. The criticizer will be judged for the very same thing he criticized: it is that for which he shall be condemned, and that by God himself ( Rom. 2:1-4 ).

Hope

( Ps. 19:7-11 ; Prov. 30:5-6 ; 2 Pet. 1:2-4 ) By judging and examining ourselves correctly, we open up and allow God’s grace and peace to flow within to provide a fit place for the divine nature to inhabit. This nature is the power of Christ, the power to save us from death and to give us life and godliness. Just using God’s word itself provides this hope and gives direction for change in deeds (thoughts, speech and action) consistent with God’s nature. The Word is adequate to equip you for very good work, and to develop a Christ-like attitude of servanthood within.

( Jer. 17:9 ; Heb. 4:12 ; Matt. 15:18-20 ) You cannot fully understand your own heart but God’s word is the measure and instrument by which the heart level of your problem is discerned. “’Let not your heart be troubled…’ ( John 14:1,27 ). Am I then hurting Jesus by allowing my heart to be troubled? If I believe in Jesus and His attributes, am I living up to my belief? Am I allowing anything to disturb my heart, or am I allowing any questions to come in which are unsound or unbalanced? I have to get to the point of the absolute and unquestionable relationship that takes everything exactly as it comes from Him. God never guides us at some time in the future, but always here and now. Realize that the Lord is here now, and the freedom you receive is immediate.” (Adapted from [8][Chambers2], April 21.)

( Eph. 5:14-18 ) How the believer walks day to day is crucial to the cause of Christ and to the welfare of society. The wise person knows God personally and he knows that he is on earth to live a righteous and godly life. He walks throughout life exact, strict, disciplined and controlled. As such, people, circumstances or things in life do not cause his problems but only reveal the condition of his heart – the spirit within. By being under control and influence of the Holy Spirit, the believer can assess his heart and biblically respond regardless of the situation, and become a blessing under the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

Change

( 1 Cor. 11:28-31 ; Heb. 12:1 ) Practicing God’s word begins with judging yourself and removing sinful obstructions from your own life. Then, you will have the privilege and responsibility of restoring others to victorious living. We have no righteousness of our own. We can only be counted worthy when we examine ourselves to assure that we are walking in constant fellowship with Him. And constant fellowship means actively thinking upon and talking with Him through confession, repentance, praise and request.

( Prov. 28:13 ; 2 Cor. 7:9-10 ; Rom. 6:12-13 ) Once you have identified sins in your life, you must repent of them, confess them and immediately put them aside. Repentance moves us from the old creation to the new creation, from the flesh to the spirit, from the natural to the supernatural realm.

( Titus 2:11-12 ; Gal. 5:16 ; Eph. 3:16-21 ; Eph. 5:18 ; 1 John 5:3 ) The believer needs to be strengthened with power in the ‘inner man’, in his soul, in his heart, in his spirit – in the spirit that God has renewed. This is the only way he can overcome the flesh with all its weakness. The source of this strength is the Holy Spirit Who provides the energy and the force to live the overcoming life. Thus, the believer is to prepare himself through repentance, through renunciation, and through detachment of all that is of the flesh to allow the Holy Spirit to move one to stretch forward: “for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Ps. 139:23-24

Devotion:

BSAF on verses from above (at least choose 3 verses).

Put-Off/Put-On:

The four anchor posts in Section A.12, “Anchor Posts” provide a method and the means to examine and evaluate yourself in a structured and disciplined manner to insure a firm and godly spiritual foundation. ( Phil. 2:14-16 ) List the people of whom you feel bitter, envious, jealous, and of whom you indulge in negative and critical thoughts. List the circumstances of life in which you murmur and complain. On the basis of your findings, process Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet” .

7.12. True Dying

Perspective

( Matt. 10:38-39 ; Prov. 16:3-7 ) To carry the cross means to practice the Presence of Jesus, and to allow His love to flow through us to others. It means that we are to carry the life of Christ to other people and say to them: “The Kingdom of God has come to you,” that is, God’s approval and peace, as well as the joy the Holy Spirit gives. The work of the Holy Spirit in us and among us is to understand the positive character of what it means to carry one’s cross: He comes into us and empowers us at the point we obey.

Hope

( 2 Cor. 4:17 ; 1 Pet. 4:13 ; Isa. 63:9 ) Christian suffering we undergo in carrying of our cross is when we allow Christ to live in and through us. It is His light in us which collides with the darkness of the world: the ignorance, lies hate, all the delusions of a darkened fallen world. Our suffering is redemptive when we carry His love and forgiveness into the lives of others affected by the world. We should rejoice when we take part in Christ’s suffering because Christ is suffering with us.

( 1 Pet. 3:9-15 ; 1 Pet. 4:12-15 ) When we suffer due to the sins of others or to the corporate sins of others, we can ask God to transform these sufferings into healing power. We forgive those who have sinned against us, and we accept the circumstances of our lives. Then we go on to make prayers of confession and intercession for ourselves and others. As we pray, that which is redemptive is accomplished. Accordingly, righteous actions follow, healing our own souls in the process.

Change

( Rom. 6:3-8 ) Our identity is with Christ and not on our past, the past is in the grave. The abuses of life as a child or adulthood: the depression, intense inner suffering of life as a child or adult; life in a disfunctional family due to alcoholism, sexual addictions, mental illness, overt or subtle evil on the part of parents or others, and similar experiences: all of these violations are afflictions. But it is not the cross we are to bear. We are to take this cross of pain and suffering to Christ’s Cross, and there acknowledge that Christ died to take into Himself this very pain and suffering.

( Rom. 8:2-11 ) We are not to deny or suppress our past and associated pain and suffering: accept them, then offer the pain to Christ, let the pain flow into Him. We die with Him to these sins, we die to these diseased feelings by allowing Him to take them into Himself. By this means, we get in touch with heretofore repressed grief, fear, anger, and shame. To dwell on the past is death, give death to Christ Who kills it. Doing this you come to life to live in the present by practicing the Presence of Christ rather than practicing the presence of the self.

( Col. 2:11-14 ; Matt. 6:14-15 ; 1 John 1:1 ) We are to stand in Christ, identify with His suffering for us, and grieve at the grieves, and yield up our angers, naming them and forgiving others at the same time. Christ’s suffering consists in the fact that He became the way of life. He channeled (by dying) His life to us. Our suffering consists in the fact that we become a channel of His life, His life and Light in us overcomes the evil and pain in the souls of men. This is where the battle lies, and this is where we experience suffering for Christ’s sake: Jesus overcame sin, we appropriate His life.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

Luke 9:23-24

Devotion:

BSAF on Rom. 6:12-16 .

Put-Off/Put-On:

Review and study Section A.5, “Dying To Self” and Section 9.2, “Sin, Self, Suffering” . List in priority areas that need addressing. Prepare Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet” or Section A.6, “Problem Solving Worksheet” .

7.13. True Patience

( Luke 21:19 ) Few virtues provide witness that our life is based no longer on one’s own nature but on Christ.

False virtues

Indolence reflects a lazy spirit, and stoic actions reflect an artificial indifference in regard to all things. Only thing that matters to this person is his own impertubility which implies a loss of response to values. In either case, these conditions lack an ardent zeal for the victory of our God.

Likewise, the Buddhist mentality sees all reality as mere appearance, or is to be detached and to dispense of all obligations of duty and accomplishment. One becomes merely a spectator looking unfavorably to all activity and tension. This makes it impossible for one to encounter reality and work through it to develop Christlike character.

The stoic develops an attitude to things insofar as they affect the mind. The Buddhist modifies one’s basic relation to the world of reality and negates one’s responsibility to do one’s part within its framework.

Traits of Patience

The ups and downs of life challenge the pursuit of constancy and perseverance in the face of stark reality. Petulance, fickleness and quarrelsome aspects come about whenever a n action seems to require a long period of time which is a common test.

Impatience is a form of self-indulgence. When we expect something and don’t get it, we get upset. This involves an element of time. Three varieties of evil related to time may account for impatience: delay in securing of a coveted good; any kind of lasting unpleasantness (boring people); and the boredom inherent in pure waiting.

These tendencies show that one has not yet succeeded in establishing that distance between one’s responsible self and one’s unredeemed nature with the desires and impulses it harbors. This is a test of sovereignty – yours or God’s. Impatience, therefore, is rooted in an illegitimate sovereignty of self.

Roots of Impatience

1.         Self-indulgence – no pain, no waiting, no delays.

2.         Sovereignty of self-egocentric attitude – disregard of others needs but my own. This severs our fundamental link with God which defines our creatureness. Accordingly, this attitude presents a negation and non-recognition of one’s human creatureness; a substitution of a supra-human position of mastery; failure to note one’s limitations and finiteness.

The reality imposed by God is that there is a space of time that exists between our will and decision and the fulfillment of our purpose. The impatient man ignores this reality. We become harsh, petulant, unkind which implies a lack of depth. We are to keep in mind that fulfillment of any aim of man is a gift of God. It is a question of the higher good in contrast to trivial goals. What irritates an impatient person above all is too sluggish effect of his order, his attempt to influence man’s behavior, and the development of a situation.

Virtues of Patience (Hierarchy of Goods and Things)

The patient man preserves the right order on the scale of his interest. The requirement of the moment no matter how imperious, can never displace or overshadow his attention to higher values. This is due to the ‘art of waiting’. He refrains from letting himself go. He checks his nature and its stirrings, and no matter the provocation, bears the cross that he may respond biblically.

He is always aware regardless of the experiences of the moment. He knows he cannot remain in communion with God except his soul is in a state of composure and self-possession ( Ps. 30:16 ). Thus, he never pretends a false position of supremacy over the universe.

( Eccl. 3:1 ) God is the Lord of Time, that He has assigned to the course of events its temporal extension. Thus, it is up to us to realize the interval of time between a decision and the realization of its intended aim as a reality willed by God.

Patience is a life centered in Christ, an absolute dependence on Him, as well as an acceptance of our creature finiteness. He who has patience abides by the Truth. The impatient man submits to the bondage of the moment.

Holy patience means our responses to the Truth reveal that it is not we but God alone Who determines the proper day and the hour for our fruitful performances of certain actions and , even more, exclusively, the ripening of our seed and the harvest labors.

Fullness of Time

To grow in inner and personal holiness requires a passage of time. Need to wait on God’s timing not ours. As Noah in the ark performed his functions, he focused his attention on God, and waited, as God developed and matured the situation. Then Noah was told to depart. Paul spent a number of years in the desert as did John the Baptist before they started their work.

( 2 Tim. 4:2 ) Christ wants us to fight with Him, not to conquer with Him. We are to renounce any pretensions in determining the time of the harvest – ‘not as I will but as Thou wilt’.

( Luke 21:19 ) Holy patience embodies an ultimate act of our surrender to God, a status of consummate self-possession. Only in the measure that we have surrendered our inmost being to God, do we possess ourselves.

Fruits of Patience

Within the attitude of patience, we let God act and allow all things to unfold from above. Accordingly, the fruits of patience are faith, hope and love.

•           Faith: ( Rev. 13:10 ) Faith teaches us that God the Universal Lord is also the Lord of time. He appoints the proper hour to everything. Thus, we place the success of all endeavors in His hands.

•           Hope: ( Rom. 4:17-22 ) Hope keeps us from getting discouraged in spite of all the failures and all the delays in achieving success. With God nothing is impossible.

•           Love: ( 1 Cor. 13:7 ) We are to Love His will above everything. Patience is an offspring of love in respect to constancy and perseverance.

( Matt. 24:13 ) Patience acknowledges man’s creaturely status. We are finite and subject to persevere in the space/time continuum in the midst of obstacles and sufferings. Thus, we give proof of the constancy demanded of God as we hold on to Him to get us through this terrestrial life into the eternal.

( Rom. 6:3-6 ) Thus, only the patient man who lives by and in Christ can persevere to the end. “In your patience, you shall possess your souls” ( Luke 21:19 ).

Reference: [11][Hildebrand1]

 

7.14. Mind Control

Perspective

( 1 Pet. 1:13 ; Col. 3:1-3 ) Gird your mind is to control, guard, select what you are to put into it. Thus, be selective about what you read, hear and think about. All your thoughts are to please God, not self. Consciously thinking to please God allows the Spirit of God to be revealed in your spirit. We precondition ourselves by what we think, by what we believe, and by what we confess ( Prov. 4:20-23 ; Matt. 12:33-36 ).

Hope

( Eph. 4:23 ; Phil. 2:12-13 ) The spirit of the mind refers to the ‘will’ of the mind. By an act of my will, I will my mind to think thoughts pleasing to God, to disregard feelings, but to think on God’s word only, an attitude change. Ask God to make you willing to will to do the will of God, to be strengthened by His presence.

( 1 Pet. 4:1 ; Luke 9:23-24 ) By suffering, I learn to die to self-pity, self-defensiveness, self-concern and self-interests. From that point on I am in the spirit responding to life from God’s perspective, looking for opportunities to be a blessing, putting on the cross and allowing Jesus to live through me being a blessing to others. Arm self is to arm the mind, to set it do what God wants regardless of the pain: then healing comes – the Presence of God in the situation.

( Heb. 7:26 ; Heb. 9:14-15 ; Heb. 10:19-23 ) Once and forever our sins are paid for. No need to try to pay for our sins by self-pity, by promising to do better, going to church more often, giving more time and money, Jesus paid the penalty. We are free now to allow Christ to live through us, and in Him to do those things that are pleasing in His sight because our conscience is cleansed from guilt by His blood.

Change

( 2 Cor. 10:4-5 ) All things begin with a thought. A thought becomes an idea, an idea becomes an action, an action becomes a habit, and a habit becomes a character trait – good or evil. All thoughts develop into imaginations, these lead to strongholds – godly or ungodly.

( Phil. 4:6 ) When anxious moments come, let them come, just fix your mind on Jesus, replace negative thoughts with godly thoughts. Then, in time, confusion ceases, peace comes. What you sow, you will reap.

The key word is FIX :

•           FIX mind on what you will put into your head.

•           FIX mind on will, will to think right.

•           FIX mind to purpose, to determine, not to be moved by anything.

As Jesus set His mind to go to Jerusalem, to die on the Cross, do likewise, die to the old self thoughts, so that the new self in Christ can now live in your mind.

Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)

Memory Verse(s):

2 Cor. 10:3-5 . Devotions on CONSTANCY : Firmness, steadfastness, determination, perseverance, resolution, faithfulness.

Put-Off/Put-On:

Takes time and repeated effort to succeed. When you fall, get-up, and start all over again, regardless of the number of failures, key is getting up and doing it all over again. God promises victory to those who patiently and through longsuffering keep on, keeping-on. Rest will come, then peace ( James 1:2-4 ). Inconstancy is a habit as well. One tries 2 or 3 times and gives up which becomes a pattern. Keep on, keeping-on until you are dominant and have control over your mind.

Example of a think-list: (See Section 5.2, “Transforming the Natural Self” )

•           Each time a negative thought comes, immediately think upon the blood of Jesus washing my sins away, forgiving me, and delivering me from the power of sin, making me white as snow, forgiving me, and delivering me from the power of sin. At the same time, pray for God’s favor and grace also to be upon those who offended, who failed you or hurt you in any way ( Luke 6:27-28 ).

•           This opens the way for the Holy Spirit to be present within me to restore, to cure, and to heal my mind, my memories, my emotions, and my body ( Col. 3:10-14 ).

•           Continuously practicing being freed from the curse of the law, I place myself in the position to fulfill my role as a disciple of Christ by serving and meeting the needs of others ( Matt. 28:18-20 ).

•           God promises success and prosperity to those who read and keep His word. As I meditate on these promises, daily I am being conformed to His image, and daily I am rising above self and life’s circumstances ( Joshua 1:8 ).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s