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“Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is, and do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.” Eph 5:17-18 Amp

Sometimes improving our spiritual walk is more about refining our focus than improving our stride. Sometimes we need to hone our aim – if we truly become what we behold, then improve your beholding!

The force of the word of God can focus us and it can empower us. Let it do so! So as Ephesians above instructs us – Stop being vague and thoughtless and foolish! We dissipate the force of our lives by doing so.

Often we think of the end run and where we would like to be and we try and focus on that as the target to hit. But a better plan might be to focus our heart and to aim with the force and provision of the word.

Hear what I am proposing: Ephesians gives us a glorious target. Exact, definitive, perfect as a target, and a singularly refined point that will ensure not just the focusing of our heart but rather that all things will proceed along that same line! What I place my heart to pursue, ensures the rest of me will follow.

So what is our improved focus? What is our better aiming point? To grasp firmly what is the will of God – and to do this by ever being filled and stimulated by the Holy Spirit!

As I agree with God in this, as I incline myself towards that goal, and release myself by faith into His hands – He aims and shoots us like an arrow to an unseen destiny of a time and duration of His choosing. But in His hands we can be certain we will hit His mark! Propelled in trust and rest and confidence in Him, I can be certain all things are corrected for – thrust, wind, velocity, etc. –He will get us to where He wants us to be!

What I have to give up is control, and that seems to be the hardest part. If I realize, however, that not knowing what we are going to look like in our final state (1Jn 3:2) means it is impossible to aim at that target, then perhaps I can begin to trust the trajectory the Lord is aligning for me…

My part, my responsibility… is to be ever filled and stimulated with the Holy Spirit. Even as I may not particularly know how to do that, again it is accomplished by faith, and trust, believing in the Lord, and placing myself in His hands, in His authority – that He will bring me to such a place because His word says that is His desire and will for me, and He can make it happen.

Even though that may seem a vague thing because it is a spiritual target, and not seen by natural eyes, it is not a vague thing and requires a deliberate, ongoing effort of trust and faith from us!

Saints, launch out in this! Press into Him by faith! Place yourselves fully in His hands! Without vagueness, thoughtlessness, or foolishness, let Him hone you and shape you! Your destiny, your life, your fruitfulness and your joy will reach a level in Him that you cannot even imagine, but He can do it!

The way is His, be the arrow in His hands, and FLY! To God be the glory!

“For I tell you, unless your righteousness (your uprightness and your right standing with God) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

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Are you aware this very day you have available to you righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees? You also have before you relationship with One Who dwells ever within the kingdom of heaven, and it is available without price, without penalty, already purchased for you.  But there are demands that will be made of you: to submit, to obey, to trust, and primary to all …BELIEVE in the One Whom the Father has sent and to cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His messenger (Jn 6:29).

But the demands that are asked of us are far eclipsed and exceeded by the delight of knowing the Lord here today, and of course in eternity that we get to enjoy in Him and dwell with Him.

But how can we have the righteousness required to even enter the kingdom of God? How can little old you and me meet the standard required?

Under the Old Covenant, the scribes and Pharisees possessed a righteousness that was of a legal, performance-based, external nature. They personified the cup that was cleansed on the outside, but inside is full of greed and robbery and extortion and malice and wickedness. Their own righteousness had a limitation, it could not penetrate into the heart of man because the covenant could not cleanse the inside of man.

Hebrews 9:9 portrays the situation this way: “Seeing that the first [outer portion of the] tabernacle was a parable (a visible symbol or type or picture of the present age). In it gifts and sacrifices are offered, and yet are incapable of perfecting the conscience or of cleansing and renewing the inner man of the worshiper.”

This Scripture is saying that under the Old Covenant, cleansing of a person could not penetrate to the inner man or conscience. Rather, it cleansed only the outside and was to tide mankind over until the New Order of the Messiah came that would bring a better covenant (Heb 9:10-11).

But the Good News is that the Messiah has indeed come! He has enacted a better covenant, by which no area, especially the inner man, is left uncleansed. Rather, all of man is cleansed – especially the inner man, the heart, the conscience, the seat of man’s thinking and personality – all are cleansed.

This then is what makes the way for man’s righteousness to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees… to receive Jesus Christ as the Messiah, to enter into covenant with Him as Lord and Savior – and to receive His cleansing that penetrated to the very inner man! It is only “in Christ” that we can possess such righteousness – because this righteousness is of His very own nature that comes to dwell within us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In so entering into relationship with Jesus, you then also enter into His Kingdom which He Himself has advanced. You are now a new creation where the old has passed away – and the new has come!

It is important to understand a basic requirement for walking in such righteousness, for it is not automatic. The need is to not only be saved, but it is to remain responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is only those who are led by the Spirit that are called the sons of God (Rom 8:14).

The difficulty which remains after salvation is that you have a continual choice. Sometimes even a moment by moment choice…to obey the new resurrection life of Christ now in you, rather than your old nature which has technically been made dead with Christ by being nailed to the Cross with Him (Rom 6:6).

It is in the failure to recognize this need and to exert proper self-control that people fall into a life-style of ignoring this truth – and thus become perpetual “sons of disobedience” (Col 3:6). It is here that people deify themselves and only obey their earthly nature and appetites and fail to rest in faith in the new nature of Christ that should be in headship over their lives.

These are in fact people who have received Christ as Savior, but have never worked out their salvation with fear and trembling, nor have disciplined themselves to rid themselves of things like anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from their lips!

In essence, their old nature (which has been nailed to the Cross- and which they should reckon as dead) has retained rights and place and status that it should not, and so it still makes demands. They continue to respond to these demands and thus lead a rollercoaster life … sometimes having victory, others plummeting deeply into sin and failure.

The real problem is they have not become servants of righteousness (Rom 6:18). Instead, they have continued to cater to their flesh. You must understand, this is a very dangerous place! A new choice is needed here, and every power that is needed to make that choice has been already given!

Listen to Romans 6:19 as Paul instructs: “I am speaking in familiar human terms because of your natural limitations. For as you yielded your bodily members [and faculties] as servants to impurity and every increasing lawlessness, so now yield your bodily members [and faculties] once for all as servants to righteousness (right being and doing) [which leads] to sanctification.”

If you have received Jesus as your Savior there is a need to have reflected a corresponding change in your life and the way it is lived! If you do not see such progress and change, then you should question the reality of your salvation! You should not delay but resolve the issue today!

If your current vehicle for transportation is undependable for a trip across town you would not set out on a journey across country with it. Likewise, if your current relationship with the Lord is weak and undependable in your eyes, how is it that you would trust it to usher you into eternity safely? The Lord would have you rectify the situation even today!

So today, is your righteousness more than that of the scribes and Pharisees? Is your relationship and interaction with the Lord such that you are ever seeing progress in how you live your life? Are you tender and humble before the Lord, or is a two-by-four the implement of choice to get your attention?

Warning. You are too far away from the flame of the Lord in your life. Move closer! Seek Him continuously! Pursue Him in love! Be responsive and able to be moved by Him easily! Live and move and have your being in Him – there is no counter-fitting this! Press in with all your heart. It is to your benefit – not His!

Last thing. A servant of righteousness conforms to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action. Like dentures lacking enough adhesive bonding, are there big gaps between your thinking and the Lord’s? Your actions and the Lord’s? Your purposes and His? If so …ask Him to bring you in line.  Ask Him to bring what is needed.

Today, become the slave of God with your present reward in holiness, and your end in eternal life with Him! Have His righteousness that exceeds and far surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees!

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“A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church].” Gal 5:9 Amp

“Sacrifice and offering You do not desire, nor have You delight in them; You have given me the capacity to hear and obey [Your law, a more valuable service than] burnt offerings and sin offerings [which] You do not require. Then said I, Behold, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me; I delight to do Your will, O my God; yes, Your law is within my heart.” Ps 40:6-8 Amp

“For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.” Rom 8:29 Amp

 

If I believe that one of the pivotal traits that Jesus brought to earth as the Word made flesh is the capacity to hear and obey the Father and to do His will, then to depart from that same likeness would be to entertain deception, rebellion, lawlessness, and even the spirit of antichrist…

If pursued without repentance, this course of rebellion ends in destruction. It resists truth, embraces error, and attempts to defeat in this age the very testimony of the Kingdom of God that is to come as the body of Christ walks in submission and obedience that is of Christ. It is this very same obedience and submission of the church that will defeat the enemy, Satan.

This then is the difficulty at hand…

A teaching is circulating in the Body of Christ as Biblical truth that actually has no Biblical grounds or legitimacy.  In fact, it is leaven: rebellious overreach disguised as passionate zeal, with a nature much closer to that of the “five I wills” of Isaiah 14, than “here I am, coming to do Your will, O God.”

What is this teaching? It is the concept of Activating Angels – that somehow, since Angels are ministering servants (to those who are to inherit salvation) that the Body of Christ has command authority to direct them in their tasks.

This is a leap of error, incited by those who foster false teaching – leaven which misleads the whole church!

Here are some pivotal Scriptures which directly contest and contradict this teaching:

1. Mt 26:53  Jesus Himself says He can appeal to His Father to provide Him with more than 12 legions of angels – but He would not command them Himself directly. Jesus relegated all His actions and words under the authority of the Father. Yet do we as His body have authority vested in us to command angels which Jesus Himself would not exercise? I think not.

2. Gal 5:5-6  These Scriptures emphasize anticipating and waiting for the blessing and good which our righteousness and right standing with God cause us to hope. What IS TO BE ACTIVATED is our faith, which is energized and expressed and works through love. No where in the Word is there an example, a description, or demonstration of saints activating Angels or directing them in any manner. We instead look to God, without fretting or being anxious, and in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make our wants known to God (Phil 4:6)  This is the walking out of the same nature as Christ Jesus, Who looked to the Father with faith for everything, constrained Himself to that, and demonstrated that to us!

3. Luke 10:19-20  The authority that is given to us through Christ is to stand against the enemy, it is not to dispatch angelic forces of God. We see in this passage that we can rejoice because our names are written in heaven, not because we command heavenly assets.

4. Jn 1:53  We indeed shall see heaven opened with the angels of God (note of God – they are His) ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.  We are called to be witnesses of Jesus, and to manifest His Name through the Holy Spirit. To witness of Jesus I must be conformed to His image – not an independent operator trying to command angels – which even Jesus deferred to the Father.

The greatest witness to the power of God in my life is a changed life. It is an inside job (that reflects a changed heart and mind and an enlivened spirit with the Holy Spirit dwelling in me), and the Word of God dwelling in me richly. It is in fact a life of obedience, even unto death.

If I operate in an external demonstration of power that is not mine, not legitimately given to me by God, and seems to contradict the very nature of Christ (here I am to do Your will Oh God) there is difficulty in that witnessing to Jesus Christ in any manner.

That is perhaps the greatest disparity with this particular teaching. With a zeal for acclaim and demonstration it seeks power displays that carry none of the love of Christ that remain as His hallmark. On the contrary, how can power and authority usurped achieve anything except the furtherance of rebellion that Christ died on the Cross to put down.

It is in obedience that worship offered to God is accepted. We see in the word no place where the rebellious offerings of King Saul find any acceptance with the Lord.

Likewise, I find no obedience to Scripture, to Jesus, or the Father in this teaching concerning Activating Angels. To quote Watchman Nee: “Satan is not afraid of our work so long as we act on the principle of rebellion. He only laughs in secret when we do things according to our own thoughts.” (Spiritual Authority 1972)

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“For [you seem readily to endure it] if a man comes and preaches another Jesus than the One we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the [Spirit] you [once] received or a different gospel from the one you [then] received and welcomed; you tolerate [all that] well enough!” Amp 2Cor 11:4

“Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;” Amp Eph 4:22

“We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] and of the love which you [have and show] for all the saints (God’s consecrated ones).” Amp Col 1:4

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are enrolled in heaven.” Amp Lk 10: 20

 

We can never lose sight of the fact that on our best day we can quickly become a great liability if we wrest free from the moorings of Christ and the likeness of His Name, His Spirit, and especially His Word – His Gospel.

We are still living in a flesh container even while housing the Name and the Presence of God through the Spirit. But we must remain vigilant. 

Humility is how we do that.  Like the disciples when they saw the power of God working in them – were cautioned to rejoice because their names were written in heaven.  That is a practice of humility needed as we increase in the operation of the power of God and in the Spirit.

Think of the Apostle Paul – he was given a thorn in his flesh as he says: “…to keep me from being puffed up and too elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations there was given me a thorn ( a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.” Amp 2Cor 12:7

Though this thorn was described as a messenger of Satan, the fact was – it was providing an important function: it was deflating the natural tendency of the flesh to puff up and move Paul into error and pride (the opposite of humility).

Our flesh (soul and physical body) – all that we essentially had prior to salvation, must be continually yielded up to Christ as a living sacrifice. We daily reckon ourselves as dead to sin – but you see all our flesh has not engaged in sin. It is that part then which happily likes to the lead in walking out our Christian life. But it cannot!

We all have strengths and weaknesses. Natural passions, and proclivities. We are cracked pots at best that the Lord chooses to work through for His glory! 

However, I am called to not only continually reckon myself as dead to sin, but also by my faith in Jesus, lean my entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness – and to stay in His love. This leaning is me laying my natural life continually on the mercy seat as a living sacrifice. We are never to depart from that posture.

This becomes an anchor for my soul which otherwise has great potential to want to add, assist, help, interpret, and participate with the Lord’s work – but is always wanting to run ahead of God, to anticipate rather than obey, champion rather than submit.

This is why Moses had to be trained in the wilderness so long before being of use to God. I am the same way! But the blessing for us is that we now have the indwelling Spirit that provides another anchor of safety, another protection against spiritual drift.

So we see that we have an anchor for our soul (leaning it constantly on Christ). We also have an anchor in the Holy Spirit – Who constantly applies the work of the Atonement of the Cross to my life – bringing me to all Truth as He continues to reveal, disclose, and transmit to me the very life of Jesus Christ.

There is also the foundational anchor to which the other two are vitally linked and which forms the critical anchor of agreement – that is the Word of God: or more specifically here, the Gospel. These three in operation: Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Gospel are critical in keeping me from drifting into error or excess (which would all come from the liability of my flesh with assistance from enemy agents stirring up my flesh). James relates this liability as he comments: “But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).” Amp Jam 1:14

An important underscoring is needed here about the Gospel. It is written. It can be studied, reviewed, meditated on, and it can dwell in us richly with exactness that we ourselves employ to enforce truth. The Gospel and the word carry definitiveness that can renew our mind and protect us from drift. Like a runway provides safe landing and lights for an approaching aircraft, the word lights up our path – it is a lamp illuminating the way to proceed.

Here is the issue of concern. Without healthy vigilance and distrust of my flesh, and without a gracious dose of humility in recognizing that constant liability… exaltation, puffed up-ness can happen to the most committed saint (recall Paul here). We all can be vulnerable to the danger of drifting. We each have the same issue and liability. None of us are exempt!

So the question to be asked is: what is currently ruling over you?  Is what is ruling over you aligned with the Jesus of the word, the Spirit of the word, and the Gospel of Truth?

Romans 6:16 asks a probing question:

“Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will you are the slaves of him who you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?”

Check your six according to these three anchors: Jesus, the Spirit, and the Gospel.  Has exaltation crept in via your flesh that has become puffed up? Are the doctrines you are embracing and practicing in full agreement with the word? Or have you slid into receiving teachings for itching ears that mask themselves as truth but about which the word is silent?

While these three anchors are perfect and vital, they are only as good as your humility and submission to them will allow.

Take a moment. Submit yourself before the light of God’s truth: let the Holy Spirit reveal where you are “out of G” with Him.

There is a reason why the word is settled in heaven, and why the Lord has elevated it above His very Name.  It is the place where you can know and trust unequivocal truth. It is also the place where Jesus forever displays His own submission to the Father and the words the Father has given Him to utter.

Yes, it is by Jesus you are saved – but it is by the word spoken by Christ that spirit and life have gained entrance into you. Ps 119:130 says: “The entrance and unfolding of Your words give light; their unfolding gives understanding (discernment and comprehension) to the simple.”

Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not work exclusively, but cooperatively with the word, and in unity and redundancy – providing a three-fold anchor for your safety against the overreach of your flesh into things that are not of Christ, and against pride which has demonic likeness.

There is no good thing that is withheld from those who walk uprightly, but even your hunger and thirst for spiritual progress must be yielded to the Lord. It is indeed the tactic of the enemy to work in subtleties – convincing you that you are simply pressing in to all the Lord has for you when in actuality, you are pressing beyond the bounds of truth and doctrinal accuracy and are kindling a fire of passion and hunger that is in danger of burning down the house because it will not submit to God.

Be on your guard Saints… for the enemy is afoot like a devouring Lion… withstand him!

“And try to learn [in your experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him]. “ Eph 5:10 Amp

The Importance of Being Dealt With By God…

We all like feedback.  We all want some manner of knowing that we are pleasing God and that the substance of our lives is tracking with Him.

Often I have wondered if the Holy Spirit could not provide us with something like the “playback” of football plays all marked in color squiggles of how the play fell apart. Maybe He even could provide footage of our lives with His evaluations to improve our “swing!”

Have you been guilty of too tight a grip?Worse, have you been resisting His move in you? I have for certain!  But the Lord has been actively loosening my grip and perfecting my swing – something I could not begin to do for myself!

Here is what He has shown me: His Love! He has shown me my total inadequacy, and even lack of compatibility in my flesh for His love to move and animate my natural life. Like trying to put nuclear power into a small Tupperware container – my own self is that inadequate.  It is not the leaning of Him on me, it is rather the leaning of my entire personality on Him that He calls for!

Here is where I had the problem.

Through particular set of experiences I had run amiss of His ways…and indulged opinions and emotions of self and the flesh. He allowed me to “feel” in my spirit the hardening, the coldness, the growing remoteness from Him. I could not stand feeling so locked up.  I had to go to Him and ask, “What is this Lord?”

But before that, I was holding wounded thinking, and feelings of betrayal, I could not move forward in His love. I became stuck. So for a short time I was frozen, unable to cooperate with His love, but also unable to process the problem. I became uncomfortable.

Output of His love was stilled. I wasn’t blocked, I was blocking, stifling Him! I was like the proverbial Dead Sea with no outlet. And with no outlet for the life of Christ through me, there was indeed a backup.

We are so good in the natural to sense a physiological problem. Not so good in the spiritual realm. But we must get better! Thankfully the Holy Spirit is always on task, and His discipline and disclosure are effective. In His grace He answered me and provided diagnosis, in His mercy He provided a way of remedy!

Then I was led to repent and renounce those thoughts and perspectives…

Here is the thing. He will not force you. He is a Gentleman. But He will allow you to become very uncomfortable, because your resistance is rebellion. Your refusal reaps death.

The difference between disobedience and death is time…. It is important to understand that. Only when I am aligned with Him in His doctrine, in His will, in His way – in His love being manifested …am I in life. When I balk against that, I balk against life.

But the great news is He does clarify for us where we are drifting away. Where our own “pudding” is deviating from His perfect blend and consistency!

Here’s how: 2Jn1:1-9…

– He recalls to mind the command to love one another

– He shows what this love consists of: that we live and walk in accordance with and guided by His commandment.

– Specifically, that we continue to walk in love (guided by it and following it)

– Then verse 9 is the clincher: “Anyone who runs on ahead [of God] and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ [who is not content with what He taught] does not have God; but He who continues to live in the doctrine (teaching) of Christ [does have God], he has both the Father and the Son.”

You see this is the Lord’s perfect recipe, and His perfect checks and balances. Better than any handbook on improving our stroke, the Lord has provided His word as a yardstick, even a litmus test of our hearts, like a template reflecting His perfection we can unequivocally know – either we are approved or disapproved in our conduct – our likeness to Him.

Not because I am checking my pulse against His and analyzing it.  But because the Holy Spirit brings us to awareness in our spirit man we register a distance and a loss that causes recognition — something is very wrong.

This spiritual perception is the Lord’s grace and His truth at work by the Holy Spirit! He shows us where we are not abiding and brings us under conviction.

It is the Holy Spirit Who continually reveals, discloses, declares, and transmits to us the truth of Jesus Christ. And as He transmits to us all that is of Christ He is not bringing forth just a thought – He is bringing forth into us the very substance of Jesus!

It is in this manner, in the abiding Presence of the Holy Spirit, that righteous fruit grows – because of the work which His Presence accomplishes in us! This is the very “Pudding” of the Lord!

The Lord has One Pudding Recipe. It cannot be counterfeited! There is only One thing that is Christ-like, and that is Christ Himself! He alone with the Holy Spirit can validate the substance of His life in you – His pudding! Be open, unveiled, and fully submitted.

“Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the Presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exaltation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight] –…” Jude 1:24 Amp

Amen!

“Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and pleasures and delights and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.” Mk 4:19 Amp

“For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith.  Who is it that is victorious over [that conquers] the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on that fact]?” 1Jn 5:4-5 Amp

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If you happened to find yourself out to sea and in the water, separated from any immediate support system, but you saw a boat in the distance would you not begin to swim, wave, yell, and if possible exert every means at your disposal to propel yourself towards that vessel?  You would fight to survive, you would not be passive. It’s a no brainer!

However as believers once saved, we seem to adopt the attitude that we now can coast…all need to fight is over. But in that we misjudge both our safety and our need.

As I look at that Parable of the Seed found in the Gospels, four conditions are presented concerning the seed. Only the fourth example of the seed sown on good soil meets conditions to bear fruit and be prosperous.  Some may try and conclude that only one out of every four people hearing the word will successfully continue in the faith and become fruitful for the Kingdom. I would disagree.

For all of these situations: seed along the path; seed on stony ground; seed among thorns; and finally seed on good soil — Jesus presents truth by which to overcome! He tells them all: if you have ears to hear be hearing, perceive, and comprehend. (As the Lord has said this it is not only an imperative … it is made possible by His words).

He further goes on to say: “Be careful what you are hearing.” Read that as what you are giving entrance and power to and force in your lives.  He then proceeds to describe every believer’s ability to affect their spiritual progress in any situation…by filling up on Truth.  He says: “The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you – and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.” Mk 4:24

You see for every seed situation described the same thing applies. You can overcome every adversity you find yourself in by posturing yourself to actively engage with the Lord and listen and give place and force within you to His word of truth. By the measure we hear truth we will begin to reap truth as spiritual knowledge within our spirits and souls.

Now let us focus on just the seed sown on thorny ground.  These believers are in a serious fight that is seeking from the get-go to actually steal the impact and life-giving force of the word within them. Here is the problem. In living in the world the things of this world have a great value and place within their hearts. Their thoughts are actually captive to cares, distractions, fleshly pleasures, and passionate desires. This manner of thinking not only causes them to love the things of this world, but the attachments to this mode of thinking actually begin to choke the light of the word out of them so that the life of Christ fails to bring forward fruit, or it doesn’t develop to maturity.

So why am I even addressing this, and the seed falling on thorny ground in particular? For two reasons: ONE, too often we have held the notion that seed other than that sown on good soil was doomed to futility, that its condition was sealed as lost. (I already mentioned I disagree with that.) TWO, the days ahead are already shaping up to be challenging, and it is more important than ever to be aware of the worlds’ situations, but to counter what we are seeing with the stabilizing force of truth.

Listen to what Jesus said to His followers: “For whatever is born of God….” Stop right there for a second. He didn’t say, “Whoever” was born of God!  This is vital to see.  Whatever is in you that is born of God is ignited to life by His Spirit and His Words. Where we agree with the thought of God and the Word of the Spirit, we are united in life with Him.  This then is about your thinking!

So: “…whatever is born of God is victorious over the world … and he who believes (actively) in Jesus and sticks to Him, trust in Him, and relies on the fact that He is the Son…” this person will have victory over the world.

Especially as it pertains to the cares of the world which will try and choke the word within you. The provision is already made for your victory!!! But your thinking must be more and more aligned with truth!

This victory is also even more sure than your current faith!  So are you gripped by fear over things impending, or threatening, or things to come? Are you being distraught over your living situation, financial hardships, relationship struggles, your failures, health issues, the world picture, the political landscape, corruption, disappointments, etc.

You see there is no lack of worldly fodder that the enemy will not lob at us.  But we have the power of God’s word to deflect those threats and even to rest in. Jesus doesn’t want us to be consumed or choked by the cares of this world, he wants us to remain in faith, be confident in Him, and to be fruitful!

John 16:33 is clear: “I have told you these things so that in Me you might have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you will have tribulation and trials and distresses and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”

“…in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do yourselves].” Phil 2:3 Amp

“But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.”  Phil 2:7 Amp

“David said to Saul, Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?”  1Sam 18:18 Amp

“I will be still more lightly esteemed than this, and will humble and lower myself in my own sight [and yours].” 2Sam 6:22 Amp

 

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There is a great distinction between a state of humility and a state of oblivion. Humility is careful for others, oblivion is not only careless – is it self-focused to the point of being actually thoughtless about others.

Each of these states of mind exert a great deal of influence on us. Therefore it becomes beneficial to note to which frame of mind we tend to default.

The Lord’s frame of mind as He walked the earth was exceedingly humble concerning Himself: exceedingly bold as He lived for the zeal of the Father. 

The Lord’s frame of mind is not something we can counter-fit. It is something we submit to, over and over again. As the Lord’s redemptive life is given rule and place, and freedom in us, we grow closer and closer to the orbit of the Lord in humility concerning others. But this process of teaching and training, of making us what we ought to be is like spiritual orthodontics.

We submit and surrender, often in vagueness, not really grasping the Lord’s target or end game in us… Until we begin to feel the pressure of change in submitting to a new focus. You will notice when this begins to happen, you just may not understand why, or what it is. This is what this is!!!

It reminds me of having had braces and the pressure exerted upon teeth to move. Except this is in our soul – our very thinking and perspective that now is being called to shift once again. There is a great sense of destabilization as you are called to a different place, to live differently, to embrace humility on an even deeper level.

It calls to mind the life of Joseph, and the massive reframing work the Lord did in his life. Every encounter served to exert God’s changes in him until humility was fully established. Only then would he have forgiveness for his brothers and not seek their destruction. Only then would he qualify to be called “Zephenath-paneah.”

As Joseph languished in prison, convicted wrongfully…the jail served to immobilize Joseph like concrete needs a framing assist. But the final work was done when his own efforts to expedite his release (by interpreting the dreams of the baker and cup-bearer) failed.  It was as if the Lord was saying, “Don’t seek to prove your worth or establish yourself – it is I Who will establish you! Wait on Me!”

You see this is the tide-turner. This is the final bit of us that needs to be broken so the Living Water of the Fountain of Life can burst through into and through a vessel that has been refurbished in the Lord’s own likeness.

This process is not without discomfort and tears. But it is profitable, because the Life of the One Who made us can now have His way in us – delivering us from selfish agendas, small perspectives that may not have room for others, and attitudes that often are ultimately focused on self-preservation. The Lord will preserve you, by MOVING IN and LAYING CLAIM.

It is helpful if we wake up to the oblivion we have walked in. What or Who are our words declaring: ourselves; or the Son?Are you someone that is so focused on something (maybe ministry, worship, the great things the Lord has been showing you, great insights) that you walk without noticing the ones needing attention on the path before you?  Are you so self-focused that you are often inconsiderate and even unkind (even if only in your thinking)?

The word shows us that the fruit, the effect of walking in the light (or the Spirit) is every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life. Eph 5:9  This is definitely not our normal disposition.

So cooperate with the Lord and His work in you. Be quick to notice the not so subtle tension as your spiritual furniture is being moved, pressed, re-upholstered, or perhaps sold into slavery (for the Lord’s purposes).

Be quick to notice, are you noticing others – or not. Lift up your heart now, in this moment, and listen to what He would tell you. He’s taking you out of oblivion, into the place of His likeness. Jail-time optional.