As we come upon another year’s recognition of our Savior’s resurrection, let us pray for peace, love, and security for all. Jesus’ resurrection saved us from eternal hell. Let us vow to uphold peace, kindness, patience, gentleness, self-control, and goodness. Pray God’s Spirit prevails in our lives and the world. Our desire should be eternal life and not eternal damnation, the path of evil. We have been set free.
The world is oblivious to God’s power and love for us. The traits of the world are working desperately to create a world of idol worship, placing things in our path that draw us away from Christ. Embrace Christ’s Resurrection Day to the fullest throughout the year. This is not a one day event, we should celebrate Him and what He accomplished for us everyday.
“His death was a gift of eternal peace. We all have sinned and fell short of God’s perfection, holiness, and glory…He was prosecuted for the sins of humanity…He triumphed over death and redeemed us from sin, which is the core of our belief and foundation of our faith that stems from Christ’s resurrection.” (6 Reasons Why Easter is Celebrated. Bibilium.com.)
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV, He him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
Galatians 5:1 ESV, for freedom Christ has set us free; standing firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (sin, idolatry).
Psalm 40:8 ESV, I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.
Galatians 5:16-1 I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, sexual immortality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, ethnicity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and all things like these. I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God…The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such things there is no law, and those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit let us also keep step in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, or envying one another.
John 15:10 ESV, If you keep my Commandments, you will abide in My love; justice, I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
The Resurrection of Christ means I have eternal life. He bore my sin so I could live.
When we are instructed to wait on the Lord in Isaiah 40:31, God is not instructing us to sit and twiddle our thumbs or coil, writhing in pain over what we should or should not do. The phrase ‘wait on the Lord’ means to wait in expectation, trust in Him, and put your hope in Him, not the circumstances you may be experiencing. If the farmers experience low crop yields, do they say, I will not plant seeds this year and I know God will supply a prosperous crop. No, they plant their seeds, care for the crop and pray that it will be bountiful. If we need a job, should we sit paralyzed or should we search for work and pray that God will direct us to the perfect position and give us favor in the employers eyes.
I am certain many may have experienced God’s work when seeking employment and the opportunities seem to be in conflict with your skills and education, yet that particular type of work seems to be calling. Quite often, God is sending you to a place where He needs you to be His messenger, or it may be a place that requires you to turn to Him and place all confidence in Him (a lesson, not a punishment). Is it easier to follow His direction in this instance, or to remain spirituality paralyzed? I submit, God controls everything, to assume He cannot direct your path is offensive. He created all in the world and universe, His architecture for our lives was completed long ago. He knew and knows all that we will go through in life, the good and the bad, as well as times of comfort and extreme discomfort, therefore He knows His expectations of how we are to approach Him; it is an act of defiance when we fail to reach out to Him. He expects us to firstly ask Him for direction(pray), then listen for His answer (seek), and thirdly act (respond).
God is our only prospect for deliverance. Consider your options and listen to the directions God shares with you. It may be as you hoped, and then again it may be something completely out of your purview. For many, attempting to make a decision creates paralysis and indecision; taking the path less traveled may also cause (temporary) paralysis. But, consider this, if we operate outside of God’s Will or chose our own path, we are not honoring God. God gives us strength when we seek Him. He directs us when we abide in His Word. His hope energizes us when we seek Him. When we wait upon Him, trusting He will answer and direction, we begin to exhibit strength, a peace of mind, and deliverance from the storm that rages and attempts to sink us, and consequently seeks to weaken and destroy our relationship with the Lord. Psalms 25:5 advises us to ask God to lead us in His truth and teaches us learn to wait on His reply. Only God is our salvation. Psalms 27:14 implores us to wait on the Lord; to be strong and let your heart take courage as you yield to His direction. We are, according to Webster’s Dictionary, (commentary on Wait on the Lord, word search ‘wait’) stay or rest in expectation until the arrival of His answer is clear. We can rest in the knowledge that His provision will be better than anything we force.
Waiting on the Lord is active, not passive. It is preparing us to act when it becomes clear that He is directing our path. It urges us not to be indecisive and writhing in paralysis. Psalms 37:7 (ESV) shares “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.” Rest in God’s love, be active and wait on the Lord. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” Roman’s 12:2 (NIV) Continue to plant your crop, in the case of farming, send out your resume, share with others your need for employment, seek out communities of those also searching for employment and ask God to show you direction, ask for a sign that you are on the correct path even when His path may mean lower income that you are accustomed to, he is plotting your path. He will reward you for relying on and obeying Him.
Waiting on the Lord is an active and decisive practice. Indecision is passive and inactive. It is a form of spiritual passivity that creates spiritual paralysis and weakens your relationship with the Lord, our Father.
Images in order: 1) LAB Photos; 2) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.com; 3) m.lovethispic.com
Resources: Barnes Notes On The Bible, biblehub.com
Colossians 3:13 instructs us to bear with each other and forgive one another…forgive others as the Lord forgave you. I believe most of us know this scripture but practicing it is more difficult.
I know this feeling and have been plagued with unforgiveness for years, yet I repented and asked for forgiveness from God over and over again. I am certain He shakes His head and says, Lisa, Lisa, my child, you must forgive as I have forgiven you. Do not replay the situation or action that takes you back and negates your repentance.
How often have we vowed to others and ourselves that we have forgiven someone, yet the situation or act continues to arise and consume our thoughts? All too often we fall prey to the wiles of the evil one who ensures we cannot let the hate, anger, and fear go.
Satan knows that if he keeps us focused from truly forgiving, we are separated from the Lord. As long as we are separated from the Lord, we are under his realm of influence. We are operating in his sinful nature and not the Lord’s righteousness.
We cannot move forward if we cannot forgive. I do not mean life stands still, but our prospects are tainted by hate, anger, and uncertainty. We are not free to love as the Lord loves us, we are not able to receive the Lord’s forgiveness as we have not forgiven others. We are gripped in a vise.
Well, many years later, I think I am getting the message and when past experiences arise, I can honestly say, I have forgiven and will no longer focus on the past. I recite the last part of Colossians 3:13 and pray that I can release the thought for good, separating it as far as the east is from the west and placing it in the land of no return. Standing on the Word has lessened the attacks, weakened their venom, and provided a peace that once evaded me. I pray you will experience the same. Our Lord forgives us. He is our example of how to forgive. Christ cried on the cross, forgive them. We are equipped to do the same and forgive those who have harmed us. There is peace in forgiveness.
I am listing scriptures that focus on forgiveness that you can use as your sword against the evil one. Read these scriptures and use them to help you overcome unforgiveness.
1 John 1:9
Scriptures – 20 Hopeful Bible Verses About the Power of Forgiveness, by Ian Palmer, updated June 9, 2022. Countryliving.com
Images – Forgiveness, Gotquestions.com; Forgive and Move On, Scott Prichard.com
Note: Forgiveness does not mean you must stay in an unhealthy situation. You are forgiving so you can be forgiven and restored, you are forgiving because God has forgiven you.
Welcome to 2023. May you continue to become more like Christ this year. My goal is to do just that. To continue to be transformed and more like Christ in my every thought and action. Over the last couple of days, l’ve listened to several sermons from a variety of pastors. The central theme conveys what I have termed application season. See previous Application Season posts on this site and youngchristianwarrior.com
Learning to become more like Christ and then applying what we learned results in becoming more Christlike. The goal is not to choose what traits fit your needs and desires as our own, but to morph into His character as much as humanly possible. When we invite Christ into our life, the Holy Spirit takes residence in our being and the characteristics of Christ replace our own selfish traits. “ the Spirit’s moment-by-moment infusion of power allows a believer to live a transformed life – to obey God, out of love and gratitude for his abounding grace…The Holy Spirit’s presence and power reveal God’s personal love, in incredibly tangible ways.” (Kingdom Divided. BSF. Page 210) This is the basis by which we are all given life.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT), declares that we should produce the same fruit as the Holy Spirit. Before we can produce them, we must learn how to apply them in our walk. These fruit can be referred to as character traits. Christ represents love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. He is all of these things yesterday, today, and forever.
Application is difficult, our human nature often obstructs our growth. My pastor explained his experience this way. He was leaving the grocery store and there was a woman holding a sign which read I am hungry, any help is appreciated. He like so many, turned his head to look away. We often do the same telling ourselves, this person is a scammer, they are not hungry, why don’t they get a job. But that is not what God expects of us. In fact as in the case of my pastor the Lord admonished him saying, how dare you turn and and in a few hours preach on just this subject. Well, the Lord may not admonish us in the same way but the guilt speaks for itself.
We should not judge others anymore than we want to be judged by others. God placed that person in your line of sight, observing their condition tugged on your heart strings and you felt guilty. Why? As Christians we are taught to become more like Christ everyday. Christ did not turn from the poor or needy. He addressed their needs.
Deuteronomy 15:11, clearly directs us to help the poor, “Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor,” (whoever they may be). This is another example of being like Christ. What happens when a coworker or intern does not meet your expectation? Are you patient with them? This is another characteristic that often gets way from us. Christ is patient with all of us everyday, 24 hours a day, He knows we all fall short of the glory of God, but He is patient with us regardless of our behavior, see Romans 3:23, NIV proclaims, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This scripture refers to sin, and yes, sin is any act that does not align with the Word of God.
The Bible instructs us how we act and who we belong to. These two articles of faith should inform how we act. They stress that Christ’s nature is the only acceptable nature in the eye of God. So, let’s look at two situations that occur in most of our lives. How do we initiate interaction, and how do we respond to situations?
When you awake in the morning, do you get up and greet those in your home or wait until you are ready to leave for work, school or meeting friends? When you are on the way to work do you smile at passerby’s or say good morning? What do people see and near as you head into your office building? Are you genuinely pleasant? Do they see Christ in you, or a self centered curmudgeon? Being pleasant, treating people with the love of Christ quickens your continence as well as those around you, and it address three of the characteristics of Christ: love for others, kindness towards others, and gentleness to the world around you.
What small things can you think of that will change your life and those around you this year? Will others see Christ in you? Often your actions are the only thing they will see of our faith which may be foreign to them. Do they see Christ in you?
Important note, when we take on the characteristics of Christ it is not a salvation exercise. We cannot earn our salvation. Salvation cannot be achieved through works. Taking on the characteristics of Christ is our responsibility that we accepted when we received Christ as our Lord and Savior. Responsibility is defined as, the state of being answerable, or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management. (Dictionary.com) When we accept Christ, we become more like Him. When we become more like Him, we become accountable because acquiring His character traits, and acknowledging that He resides in us in the form of the Holy Spirit empowers us to control our actions, to harness our human frailties, to eliminate sinning before it occurs, and most importantly to love everyone as Christ loves us.
Supporting Scriptures, Bible.com
“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16: 14
“Love is patient and kind; Love does not envy or boast; It is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes in all things, hopes all things, endures in all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4: 8
In essence, all that we do should be ensconced in love. Love is at the heart of everything Christ did, does, and will do. He exudes love and so should we. This is my project for 2023. Will you join me this year is becoming more like Christ?