Posts Tagged ‘common sense’

I Am Strong

Biblical Truths often seem backward and contrary to common sense… even crazy. Sometimes this is because they are stated in paradoxical ways, like the parables Jesus taught. Even when these Truths are stated in a straightforward way; they still strike us as odd, because they do not conform to worldly thought patterns we have to negotiate.

Perhaps our greatest challenge as Christians is to understand the Biblical principle of strength being released through weakness… notice the following verses.

“Consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that he might nullify the things that are, that no one should boast before God.” (1 Cor 1:26-29)

“(God) has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:9-10)

Worldly wisdom says that power is rooted in natural resources like money, good looks and intellegence. Since these resources are limited, true power is always limited to just the few individuals with access and favor.

God’s wisdom says that true power comes from the Holy Spirit and has no correlation with prestige or riches, that are hinged to natural resources. A persons influence in this world is not some kind of license to heavenly influence. True power; as it relates to the Kingdom of God, is accessible to anyone who depends on God. Jesus was the personification of this principle… anointed as the “Christ” or “Messiah”. He was the Prince of Peace; even without religious ordination or title, yet His power was directly connected to His anointing from heaven. His perfect obedience to the Heavenly Father released His influence in the Earth.

The early Church had great power, not because they had access to money or political influences; but because they were filled with the Holy Spirit! It is dependence on God; through faith, that lays hold of real power. We must believe and place our trust in the Holy Spirit to release power into our lives.

God longs for people He can wear like a glove!

Living His life through us, is how the power of heaven comes into the natural realities we so much want to see change. By the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, He demonstrates His power, He transforms culture and makes His Kingdom visible in the Earth.

It might just sound a bit strange to boast in weakness, until you begin to participate in the transformation first hand. Then you begin to see how something as simple as prayer, praise or thankfulness, can tear down walls and crush strongholds of fear. Only when we begin to understand spiritual realities; though unseen, are more powerful than the natural, will we become convinced that… ”when I am weak, then I am strong”.

Reasonable Service

I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy (and) acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”  (Rom. 12:1)

This verse from Romans not only tells us the nature of true worship, but gives us the context for its success. Success is tied to an awareness of God’s mercy! As we are called to live for God, we must discover a mercy that goes beyond our sense of frailty. We need to know how to do all that He requires, all that is “holy and acceptable” to Him. This verse is a model that all Christian leaders ought to meditate upon. It offers us one of those key spiritual truths that reveals His heart to us.

Mercy is… God not giving us what we deserve! 

In my work of discipling nations, I see so many good spiritual leaders stumble and fall looking for their identity, only to become frustrated by the way religion has put faith in a box. If you are like me, you need mercy consistently because you live with limitations. Most of our limitations are between our ears, but sometimes we carry around pride and selfish ideas like they offer us hope in ministry. I find more questions than answers in the ”church culture” of today. So I would rather approach God from a fresh view of His mercy, than rules or institutional religious formulas.  

Reasonable Means Logical:

Rather than getting into a whole mess of Greek definitions, we need to look at one phrase. The Apostle Paul says that to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice… is “our reasonable service”. A service that would be reasonable sounds good. It would make “common sense” and be logical. The New International Version of the Bible says something interesting. It says this presentation of ourselves is our, “spiritual act of worship”. That means it is a functional lifestyle.

Here in this verse; the Apostle Paul uses the phrase, “logikan latreian”. The word “logikan”, kinda makes us think of our word logic or logical, refers to “thought out” or “well reasoned” - reasonable, if you will. ”Latreian” means “to serve, to render religious service or homage”.

Be Devoted to God’s Purposes:

“To worship” then as the Apostle Paul seems to be speaking of here means, “to be devoted to”. It speaks of who I serve with my life or who governs my life. Worship is more than just praising with words, as sincere as those words might be. Its about God’s purposes! It means more than just acknowledging God’s greatness! To worship God means service and activities that honor His priorities!

Devotion’s Foundational Pillars - Mercy & Logic:

We need to be devoted to God in all we do, because of His mercy, and because it is logical. To be devoted to God means allowing the Holy Spirit, at work in our lives, to govern us from a perception of mercy. We must yield ourselves to His leading.

Our spiritual journey is a walk of faith, a sacrificial one; but in light of mercy it becomes an effective one as well. Our spiritual journey is a walk holding on to our Master’s hand; but when led by the Holy Spirit a logic begins to emerge that guides us in all Truth. This is the renewed mind that we can expect from God (Rom. 12:2), for we have the Mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

Therefore, what we  must know, if we have seen the mercy of God and truly value it, you and I will present ourselves to God as devoted followers. We will lay aside all that would get in the way of pleasing Him. Doing so is our reasonable service… it is our worship. We are responding to the God we worship by giving ourselves to Him… and in turn we become filled with hope and faith.

He is faithful – His Mercy is New Every Morning!

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!” (Lam. 3:22-24)