By Neil Anderson
“…thus says the Lord God, ‘Remove the turban and take off the crown; this will no longer be the same. Exalt that which is low and abase that which is high (Ezekiel 21:26, NAS).”
“Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matthew 11:29, KJV).”
“I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit… (Isaiah 57:15, NAS).”
“For though the Lord is exalted, yet He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar (Psalm 138:6, NAS).”
We who are within the Body of Christ are not here to be served, but to serve. Those who desire to be great will be brought down. Christ states that those who serve are the greatest among His people. Those who purpose in the name of Christ Jesus to serve the Body will be highly exalted in due season. Many misunderstand, but there is a huge difference between a slave and a servant. A slave is in bondage to his master and has no choice, therefore becomes easily embittered. A servant, on the other hand, is employed by choice by his superior. He serves with diligence because his payment is eminent.
A bondservant is a person who is released from slavery by their master, yet chooses to stay from a heart of dedication and love. Therefore this person is willing to do anything they are asked without hesitation or grudge. God’s bondservants who serve with a grateful heart will be rewarded by the Kingdom of heaven. The lower we humble ourselves before Christ and His people, the higher we are moved toward Christ. We lend more service as time goes by, not less. This honors God.
Our only purpose in this life is to glorify the Father. When we are focused on ourselves, we take the focus from God. Pride can be very subtle. Remember what I said about those most at risk? It is very easy to find ourselves out of spiritual sync with God because we forget whom we serve and the One who gives all ability to do what we do. We can easily allow the praises we receive from those around us to puff us internally.
When we are in a place of servitude, we must remember that there is no good but God, as. Therefore, if there is good coming from us, it is not us. We can tend to look down in judgment on those not doing what we are or how we are. To be judgmental comes from a spirit of pride. We all pass judgment. The key is being so aware of it that we don’t allow it to remain and take root. We must be quick to repent of a judgmental spirit and remove that foothold of the enemy. Keep in mind that we as the Body of Christ are to judge things according to the Spirit of God; this is righteous judgment – discernment. That differs greatly from being judgmental (viewing ourselves as better than another).
We, God’s holy people, also need to be careful about starting a testimony wanting to exalt God yet talk endlessly about ourselves and what we did or said in a certain situation. Human nature is to glorify self and get people to be in awe over how humble and selfless we seem to be.
Obviously, according to the Word, pride is an issue everyone somehow, somewhere, needs to deal with. Pride takes constant pruning. It grows like weeds and spreads itself as fast and as far as it can. It is unrelenting! It cannot be assumed that, once we have dealt with pride, it is never to be faced again. Our hearts require constant supervision. The fleshly nature is driven by pride; therefore, we all need to be alert to it on a regular basis.
I hope you’ll come back next week as we continue to explore the subject of humility. If you’re interested in reading more on this subject, please go to my website and check out my books.
Peace and blessings,
Alexys V. Wolf
By Neil Anderson
By Neil Anderson
- Are You A Sin Addict? (pastorchadetaylor.wordpress.com)
- Blood of Jesus Christ (meanlittleboy2.wordpress.com)
- Are all sexual perverts going to Hell? (924jeremiah.wordpress.com)
- Sin, choices, freedom, and a NEW life! Romans 6:1-14 (nottheapostle.wordpress.com)
By Neil Anderson
Ecclesiastes 8:5, 6 NIV
The wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter
I had dear friends who were being used by the Lord in full-time ministry. Some difficulty developed in their marriage so they consulted a pastor/counselor. The wife’s response after the initial meeting was negative, but they continued with this particular counselor because other people they respected said he was a good man.
Over the next year, the ministry my friends were in, as well as our relationship, deteriorated. A short time later their pastor/counselor was exposed for having sex with a number of counselees. The damage he did to several women was incredible. He justified his behavior by explaining, “What we do in the flesh doesn’t matter. Only what we do in the spirit counts!”
My friends were confronted with an ultimatum by their ministry group: “Choose your ministry or choose him.” They chose to stay with him!
Why won’t people judge righteously? “Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:7, 8). The authoritative, arrogant spirit of this man had some kind of hold on many since half his church stayed with him. The initial discernment of my friends was correct, but they ignored the warning of the Holy Spirit.
I believe discernment is a critical part of our walk with God. This divine enablement is our first line of defense when our ability to reason is insufficient. Jesus demonstrated spiritual discernment throughout His earthly ministry. We need to learn how to develop our ability to discern good from evil, truth from lies.
Prayer: Dear Father, I want to have a wise and discerning spirit. Teach me to be responsive to Your leading so I can have my senses trained to discern good and evil.
- Satan Knits Ornate Webs of Confusion (vineoflifenews.com)
- Worthy of Salvation? (fruitbearersoutreachministry.wordpress.com)
- Righteous Living – Bible Verses about Righteousness (pbsministries.wordpress.com)
So many things in the circumstances around me lately have been confirming how absolutely wise and true the bible is. It is so clear to see that when we are self seeking, we reap chaos, disorder and destruction around us and for us. Yet, when we choose to seek peace with others and allow ourselves to die, righteousness is sown.
James 3:13-18 is clear on sin and its consequences; as well as what is righteousness and its consequences. Godly wisdom puts others above ourselves. Demonic wisdom is self-seeking, seeking only to satisfy ourselves. Being at peace with others, sows righteousness. Self seeking sows disorder and every evil practice. In order to follow Jesus, we cannot seek to satisfy ourselves; on the contrary, we need to die to ourselves so that all that Jesus represents and is will live in us. We see this in John 12:24 & 25 where Jesus says that unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it will not produce life; and a man who seeks to save his own life will lose it but if he loses it, will keep it forever.
To our human logic, it makes terrible sense. Our whole sinful nature is to preserve ourselves at all costs, especially our desires, lusts and envy. Yet, here is the Master teaching that to be self-seeking will bring us death while to allow ourselves to die, we will live. No human logic can understand that, only one who walks by the Spirit and has his mind renewed by the Word can understand this.
A seed or a kernel of corn can remain all its life on a shelf in a pantry; dry, cool, comfortable. Nothing needs to change in the course of its life on the shelf. But, it could get eaten by mice or go all mildewy and stale. Apart from that, it could remain all its life on the shelf; comfortable and thinking that it is living its life the way it should.
Yet, it is not living out its purpose.
A seed’s purpose is to become a plant, a bush or a tree. It was never meant to sit on a shelf and be there forever, no matter how comfortable it is. However, to become a plant means it has to get off the shelf and become really, really uncomfortable.
It has to get into soil; dank, dark and damp. No light, no one to keep it company, just the insects and slimy worms. It will be all alone. When it gets wet, as it will, the seed will have to change. And change is not comfortable. It has to allow itself to become something else, it has to agree to be distorted, to burst out of its skin and lose all semblance of its former self. With it getting wet, it will bloat up, and then its outer covering will start to rip at the bottom and roots will start to push out. Later on, shoots will start to come forth from its top. The seed will be disfigured and changed to become unrecognizable as this other form takes shape.
While this takes place, the seed as we know it will be completely destroyed and unrecognizable.
A plant will take root where the seed died. A plant that will produce seeds of the same fruit and perhaps be shade or food to some small animals will have come from the one seed. From that one seed, much life will come forth but in order for that to happen, the seed had to get into an uncomfortable spot and die to its own self seeking desires.
We do not like to be uncomfortable. We like to be “safe” and to each of us that means something different. Yet, to follow Jesus is not to be safe. It is allowing ourselves to be uncomfortable and to die to our self seeking desires so that Jesus’ character can grow roots and sprout shoots in us. We, like the seed in the ground, need to break; and most times when we have to go through a transformation in our lives and hearts, we go through it alone with only the Master Gardener and many ugly insects that come to scare us while we are vulnerable. When we go through this transformation, we tend to focus on the pain or the cost to us as well as the loneliness and the scary surroundings. We mourn the demise of the seed, now unrecognizable, but we fail to recognize that roots have formed and tender shoots and leaves are being pushed out upwards towards the light to give life.
As human beings, we are self seeking and the wages of this nature is death. Life comes only when we become like the One who gives life, when we allow our self seeking natures to be destroyed, so that our purpose to bring forth life will be fulfilled by Him.
So many who come to faith in Christ seem to want to return to where they were before. Why? They think it was better or “more fun” to live in slavery to sin. As I have shared before I call this place a “Christian’s Spiritual Egypt.” Obviously I am referencing when Israel wanted to return to slavery in Egypt instead of continuing to the Promised Land. They thought they’d be safer and more comfortable there. So a Christian (I am not referring to all believers) thinks their old life was better and they want to return. They want to return to their slavery to sin. That comes from a lack of trust in God which is exactly what the Israelites were suffering from at the particular time I’m referencing. My message here is to those Christians who are on the fence. I pray the Holy Spirit draws you close before you fall back into the vicious cycle of an utterly sinful life.
“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”- 1 Kings 18:21
In this passage of scripture Elijah is establishing to the people of Israel this same message that I’m trying to give to you: You can’t truly serve more than one god. You need to either choose the One True God or you can choose the worthless gods who will do nothing for you. I’m talking about money, popularity, power, sex, relationships, etc. Those are all idols when you put them before serving the Lord.
Elijah isn’t the only one who spoke this message in the Bible. Jesus told us that we can’t serve two masters. We’ll hate one or the other (Matthew 6:24). Sin is rebellion against God. And that is ultimately hatred towards God. Also, God can’t go against his own character. If you choose to live in slavery to sin, God will be forced to withdraw His presence, His Holy Spirit from you. We saw that happen to Israel’s first king, Saul.
“Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul…”- 1 Samuel 16:14
Saul chose to disobey God and lead a life of rebellion. He paid the price for it. God doesn’t change, so He is required to do the same today because He is just.
Sin is so deceiving and it sneaks up on you like a predator. You begin to tolerate one little thing and that gives a foothold for the enemy. Sin then slowly takes over your life. Finally, you feel trapped and you can’t get out. No matter how much you want to and how much you try you can’t. I’ve been there. Then, if you don’t confess your sin to the Lord and repent, you begin to love your sin and you’re back to where you were before Christ. Finally, you’ll begin to plunge deeper and deeper until you are destroyed by your sin unless you turn back to Christ. That is the downward spiral of sin.
“How come every time we buy into an idol, we’re the ones that get devoured?”- Jefferson Bethke
Because as Jefferson Bethke states in the video I just quoted, “An idol takes, it never gives.” When you’re so wrapped up in what people think of you that you’ll do anything to gain their acceptance, you are a slave to acceptance. You have now put that before God. It’s the same way with anything else. Popularity isn’t bad, unless you turn it into an ultimate. Money isn’t bad until it’s turned into an ultimate. What are your idols?
“This day I call the heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live”- Deuteronomy 30:19
Life is found in Jesus Christ. Death is found in sin and the ways of the world. It’s as simple as that. Your choice. No one else can make it for you. God’s not going to force you to choose life, but he wants you to. If you turn your heart away from God and choose to be disobedient and serve your idols, you will surely be destroyed (Deuteronomy 30:17-18). Choose life (that is: Jesus) today.
You know who you are. If you are on the fence and are falling into the idol trap, you haven’t gone too far. The grace of God can reach you. No matter what you’ve done you can be made new. If you repent and turn back to your faith in Christ, you will be saved. God promises us that. If you have been ensnared by sin, pray to God and repent now. Don’t wait. Do whatever measures it takes to crush your idols.
Make this declaration:
“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD”- Joshua 24:15
Here is the video of Jefferson Bethke that I quoted. This poem is inspired by what true manhood is, but I believe everyone can get something out of this.
God bless you!
Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:34-36 NKJV)
Our “ticket” to heaven or hell is given by God himself. There are no “get-by” passes or a friend standing at the pearly gates “hooking you up” to live in comfort and leisure up in heaven when you leave this earth while you have not done a self check and most importantly given your life to Christ for the sake of receiving salvation and forgiveness from He who is our Lord and Savior. It’s not that kind of party. God does not operate like that.
We choose the route we want to take in life. As well, we choose to do either right or wrong. The decision is ours. Scripture tells us “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13, 14 NKJV)
I need to be squeezed. Don’t you?
Often I find myself asking of the Lord in regards to reproof and correction. I surely am not one who is perfect and I claim to not be perfect though I am made perfect in Him. We all have sinned and continue to sin in some sort whether in word, thought or action consciously and subconsciously. I want to know the error of my ways so that I can change. I want to be forgiven of my sins. I want to be made over daily.
I NEED TO BE SQUEEZED.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16, 17 NKJV)
Many succumb to the ways of the world without fighting for what right. It’s easier to pleasure and please man because we don’t want to hurt their feelings or because we want to fit in rather than stand out for God who has been nothing but good and merciful toward us, who loves us without conditions and who gave us a way out and a way in that we may be washed, cleansed and approved to be united with Him forever where no more tears and sorrow shall reign in eternal glory in heaven. As believers and followers of Christ we are not called to life a life of such. We are not to conform to the ways of the world. (Romans 12:2)
We were made to stand out. We were made to let our light shine for the world to see. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (I Peter 2:9 NKJV)
Unfortunately this place we live in is full of evil and lust. Temptation is always knocking at our door. Will we answer?
Not one of us came into this world without sin so I pray we don’t walk around as if we have never done wrong. God knows all and sees all. He’s merciful and forgiving. He’s loving and patient. This is how we should also be towards others who have committed sin who are in the Body of Christ as well as the sinner who has not turned from his ways and who has yet to receive Christ into their life. The Word tells us:
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16 KJV)
Are you feeling the squeeze yet? I’m not here to condemn one soul but I will not shy away from the truth. I will not accept what God says is wicked and abominable in this world and the ways of it so if I have to walk it alone to be seen as righteous and holy before The One who holds my life in His hands then I will. Temporary pain in this life is far from comparison to the eternal joy I will have in my Fathers kingdom.
I pray this for you too dear Reader. Fight the good fight and don’t give in. You can do it and come out victorious in Christ Jesus. He is our strength, shield, deliverer, protector and provider. Nothing is too mighty for God to do. Amen? Amen!
“Thank you Father, Son and Holy Spirit for being my path and light. I thank You for being my all and leading me in truth. May I cling to Your truths and convictions and lead a life that’s pleasing and honoring. You work as one but in unity giving leadership to all who will receive. Praises I sing on high for You are worthy my God to be praised! In Jesus name I pray. Amen”
Preach the Word
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (II Timothy 4:1-4 NKJV)
During this summer, I have spent some time clearing out a worship spot at my house in the back of our woods. I must say, I really enjoyed doing it. I wanted a spot that I could go and spend time with God in solitude. I gathered old down trees to use for seating, found various pieces of old furniture to place back there, and Tiki Torches to help keep away bugs. In the middle I built a good-sized fire pit for bonfires. The other evening I went out to that spot to spend some time with God. My brother was with me and we were trying to light the fire. The pit had quite a bit of wood in it so if we ever got it lit, it would be a very big and nice fire. The problem was we couldn’t get the fire lit. Granted the top pieces were a little wet, but the rest of the pile was dry, so we didn’t think it would be much of a problem. We had pieces of cardboard to help start the fire, but it didn’t work. We lit some of the dry leaves in the midst of the sticks, but it didn’t work either. We even found some straw to light to help with the process, but all it did was burn. It didn’t stay lit and the fire died quickly. So finally after much frustration, we got the gasoline. Now, I realize this is not the smartest choice nor safest, but I wanted a fire! Luckily nothing bad happened! So we light a few more pieces of cardboard and paper just enough to keep it a flame for a few minutes. Then we doused the places we didn’t have lit with some gasoline so with the fire caught it, it would light up. The finally we applied the gasoline on the flames that were going and instantly, the fire went ablaze. We experienced the thrill of getting our fire lit and the fire was glorious…for about ten minutes. But soon, that gasoline had burnt away, the wood had never really caught a flame, and the fire died out again quickly. Now I realize that there are better ways to light a fire, and if I did some other things I could have probably got that fire going. However, I’m glad I tried to light the fire the way I did because God used it to teach me something.
When the fire began to die out again, I was getting kind of irritated. Then I felt God speak to my heart saying, “I need people who will tend and stir the fire, not just light it.” I immediately knew what God was saying to me. In order to keep a fire going, you have to constantly add fire to the pile, you have to stir the fire to keep the fire going, and you have to watch it. Gasoline is a nice help, but it is only a temporary fix. It only lasts for a moment. It looks glorious and the flames are huge, but they don’t have much life. God doesn’t need followers who will be like the gasoline. Who will become very passionate and devoted to God one day, and have a devotion to Him that dies at the end of the week. He wants followers who will fan the flames. Who will keep the fire going, even if that means taking longer steps in doing so. Followers who will spend the extra time in prayer, reading of His Word, and living out the life He calls His people to.
I think you would be very hard pressed to find a church, if you asked them, would not want to see people come to know Christ. I mean, that’s just a ludicrous thought. The Church may have many different denomination and beliefs of theology, but I don’t really think there are many people in the Church who do not want to see souls saved. In fact if there are any, I really think those people need to evaluate their life and see if the are in step with the Spirit. But all too often the Church tries to witness to the world with gasoline. With big and glorious displays of various ministries, emotional appeals, etc. Those of you who serve the Lord know exactly what I’m talking about. But those things don’t last. People who come to the Lord on those terms won’t last unless that fire is cultivated. Unless their flames are stirred and wood is added to the fire. If the Church and Christians want to set this world on fire, we first have to cultivate the fire in our own hearts, then also be willing to take the time to minister properly and effectively to help keep the fire lit the hearts of others as well. Jesus told His followers that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them and they will be His witnesses. The Holy Spirit gives Christians the power to witness to others about Jesus powerfully. God is the source of that fire. I pray that believers everywhere will submit to the Holy Spirit and allow God move in their hearts. I also pray that Christians all over the world will fan into flame the gifts of God and take the steps necessary to keep that flame going. When the fire rises true and proud, the world around us will catch fire too. Don’t use the gasoline. Cultivate that fire.
“Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands.” ~2 Timothy 1:6
“Fire must be kept burning on the altar continually; it must not go out.” ~Leviticus 6:13
May God be with you.