Posts Tagged ‘spiritual discernment’

Into Faith

When we struggle with doubts, we as Christians should crave Scripture as God’s stabilizing force in life. We establish our faith in Christ when we develop a real hunger and thirst for the Words of God and they begin to bubble up within our minds to refute doubt.

At Jesus’ temptation experience He made the most clear identification of a truly sincere follower of God when He said,

“man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4).

All too often when we try to tackle our doubts, we want something tangible that we can see and taste or something emotional that we can feel. We would rather have Jesus just put His arm around us and tell us how everything will be all right. That might make us feel better, but I’m under the opinion that Satan loves that routine, because it makes us trust more in our “feelings” than in God.

Some things are not right and we must avoid deception that causes us to sow to the flesh and reap a harvest of corruption (Gal 6:7-9). Our spiritual discernment grows when we realize that being equipped to overcome doubt isn’t just about feeling better; it’s about getting back “into faith”!

Remember that Christian faith or the “God kind” of faith, only comes from the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).

There are at least two times recorded in the Bible when Jesus marveled at real faith. Once He marveled at a woman’s faith to receive healing for her issue of blood (Mk 5:34). In this story we notice that she took the initiative, because she heard about Him. She was coming to Jesus with an expectation of His authority being more powerful than her sickness. That was what she heard inside of her heart and mind that registered as a hope or expectation. She had endured 12 years of doctor visits which left her poor and in worse shape and she was not going to let this opportunity pass her by. She touches His garment “in faith” and is made well at that very moment, because she pulled upon His authority by believing rather than listening to doubts, fears, reasoning or feelings. Hope had put her into faith… it was Jesus Himself who acknowledged that her faith had made her well.

In another story Jesus marveled at a Gentile soldier’s great faith. A faith that Jesus called “great” because the centurion said,

“…speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority” (Matt. 8:8-9).

The centurion had a faith that was in Jesus’ Word alone. Because he understood “authority” (the power to enforce a word or command)- he understood faith (those actions that follow trust). It was expectation and his ability to recognize authority that gave him great faith. He didn’t need to have Jesus come to his house and wave His hand over the sick servant… he was not looking for drama or some big intellectual explanation. He was only after the results, because of a concern for his servant. If Jesus would just give him a word… it was all he needed.

Recognizing this authority places us into faith, because it engages our hope in God’s good will, purpose and plan for our lives. God’s Word is powerful and effective to crush doubt and move our hearts into faith (Heb 4:12).

Value Your Anointing!

“Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us – Eternal Life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (1 Jn. 2:24-27)

Allowing the knowledge of God to abide in you, is more than just theology or Church Doctrine being understood. Our minds are incredible in so many ways. God has given us the capacity to process facts, but spiritual truth requires spiritual discernment… an anointing of the Holy Spirit. The anointing is an abiding Presence of the Holy Spirit that offers influence (Exousia or authority) and power (dunamis or dynamic impact). Those benefits go beyond the natural realities of our five senses. We have by way of the anointing, a supernatural ability to see, hear and move in the spiritual realm. The Apostle John is trying to help us understand the value of this anointing, as we process Eternal Life.

1st) We need to Experience Eternal Life…

The Anointing within us is designed to turn spiritual knowledge into fellowship with the Father and the Son. This is fellowship in the Glory of God at its best! When we are saved, we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light; whereby our lives are no longer held by the power of sin, but the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It is a process, recognizing the influence of our new abiding “Helper” (Holy Spirit); but it is also, an awesome and powerful freedom that allows Eternal Life to be released into all of our decisions. Its by the anointing that we know spiritual truth and have power to overcome the enemies of our soul (Isa. 10:27)(1 Jn. 2:20 & 27). If you desire to see deliverance and breakthrough in your life, then you must value the anointing! Even Jesus was aware of the impact the anointing carried upon His life and ministry. He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for He has anointed Me…” (Lk. 4:18).

2nd) We must Hold On to Eternal Life…

The Apostle John warns us that many are trying to deceive and lie about the truth of God. They are jealous or intimidated by the life they see in the Believer and aim to discredit the Child of God, because they walk in rebellion to a Biblical world view. There are so many hostile environments in our world, that it requires us to value the anointing above any other influence in life. We must have a fresh anointing abiding within us to build ourselves up and carry a bold testimony of God’s goodness and power in our lives. Without question, trouble is always knocking at our door and we cannot give in or make room for the enemy’s lies or perversions. We give no place to the Devil… by standing firm against his schemes (Eph. 6:11-13), his approaches (Jms. 4:7) and his accusations (Rev. 12:10-11). It is the anointing that destroys the demonic strongholds and offers freedom in the midst of spiritual battles (2 Cor 10:3-6)(Acts 10:38). We must value the anointing if we want to continue to receive the blessings of Eternal Life… in ourselves and for those within our reach.

3rd) We are called to Advance Eternal Life…

Believer’s are called to become Ambassadors for the Message of Eternal Life. We are like the mouthpiece of God, flesh and bone, but anointed with the Word of Hope. Our declaration is that God has set His love upon the world and lifted up His own Son in the place of the sinful. We cry out with trembling voices, “Be reconciled to God!” Because He made Him, who knew no sin; to become sin for us, so that we might become His righteousness, by the pure blood shed at the cross (2 Cor 5:19-21). We must value the anointing of the Holy Spirit, because it is not about the eloquence of our preaching or the depth of our experience. It’s all about the One who abides in us, speaks through us and empowers the message… so that it is “good news”. As Kingdom Agents we advance Eternal Life with the anointing, through the anointing and by the anointing. Jesus said, “All authority, and all power has been given unto Me, therefore go… preach, teach and disciple the nations of the Earth… and I will be with you!” (Mt. 28:18-20 -my paraphrase).

That is the anointing defined… “I will be with you – I will be upon you – I will abide in you and live through you!” Why would you have no need of a teacher? “For He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world.” (1 Jn. 4:4)

No Intimidation

...could I, just, um, maybe?

Wow... those look tempting

Sometimes being tempted makes us feel dirty, unworthy or defiled. Those crazy spontaneous thoughts of hatred, lust, envy or pride, can shock us and overwhelm our sense of personal accountability. Like being on a diet can make you hate to see cupcakes with that awesome fluffy frosting. We may not have committed any sin; but when tempted, we can feel like we have already failed, because of the thoughts in our minds. Satan loves to pull us in, to intimidate us with shame and false guilt!

Not every thought is ours:

We must choose not to empower our thought life. Don’t own every thought that comes into your mind! We sometimes react with thoughts like, “I didn’t know that was in there.” But we have to ask the question… “was it really in there, or did it come from outside?”

Our Thoughts:

Most of the time our thoughts are not coming out of a dirty soul that needs to repent of its filth. Temptations are often fleeting images stirred by our natural emotions. They gain entrance through the gates and doorways of our physical house; our eyes, ears, tongues, noses or sense of touch. The five senses of our human body are wonderful sources of information, but must be guarded with spiritual discernment. Satan aims to lead us into temptation so that we desire sinful behaviors.

Temptation is not sin!

Although thoughts and images can effect our desires, they must have a conception process to actually create a platform for sin (Jms 1:14). The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in the same ways we are, yet was without sin. James makes it clear that temptations must have an enticing element in them to drag us away into sin. An important lesson for our discipleship is the realization that temptation is not sin; therefore, we must not be intimidated by it. Satan may tempt us by putting evil thoughts into our mind, but we can push them right out again with God’s help. I have always enjoyed this quote attributed to Martin Luther: “You can’t help it if a bird flies over your head, but you don’t need to let him make a nest in your hair.”

Focus Your Faith:

Hebrews 12:1-2
“…Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…”

Jesus is the ultimate model for every Christian; yet for His life to be released within us, God urges us to fix your eyes upon Him as the “Author and Finisher of our faith”. Heaven invites you to set the lens of your heart on the real character of the Savior. Make Him the object of your delight. When we do this strength arises and temptations are melted away. The Apostle Paul tells us to war in the spirit not in the flesh arenas of life. (2 Cor 10:3-6)(Eph 6:10-12)

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