Friday, 20 April 2018

T The aim of tribulations

Character and Authority (Part 3)

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Everyone has made mistakes. Everyone has sinned. There was and is no human being, except Jesus, who is without sin. John emphasized this in 1 John 1:8, when he said: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” That is heavy language, but it is what it is. I’d rather spend my life believing the Truth, than wasting it believing a lie. Since we don’t want to have sin in our lives, we need to know what it is that is producing these sins. 

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
Matthew 15:18-20

Basically Jesus is teaching us two important lessons here. First of all, it is our heart that produces sins in our lives. It is our heart that is the opposite of everything God stands for. That needs to change. We all know that. If the heart remains unchanged, it will remain producing sins in our lives. Since Jesus was very aware of this problem, He did not leave us alone when He left the earth. He has sent us the Helper, the Comforter: the Holy Spirit. 

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Ezekiel 36:26-27

It is the Holy Spirit Who will help you the change your heart. But at the same time He will only go as far as we let Him. We have to realize that it is satan who makes slaves. God makes sons. That means that He will always give us a free choice and that He will never force Himself into our lives. We must continuously choose to let Him proceed and to follow His lead. Only then the process of change will continue in our hearts. How can we know the condition of the heart? That is the second lesson Jesus taught in Matthew 15: “those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart”. So we can test the condition of the heart by listening to what proceeds from the mouth. That is not something we say once or twice, but the sayings that keep returning. Everyone now and then says stuff they regret. It is not only about what we say or do wrong, it is also about how we respond to that. Do we let it be, or do we allow the Holy Spirit to convince us of sin and do we act accordingly? Because that talks about character and our character is way more important to God then what we do. Our character tells everything about our motivations and our focus. 

We are all born into a world of lies. I really don’t have any other way to describe it. The longer I live, which at this moment is only 35 years, the more I realize the lies we all believe in. Lies about God, about Who He is, lies about ourselves and about who we are, lies about our actions etc. Those lies are keeping us at the place where we are. It is only the Truth that can set us free. And that brings us back to the knowledge of the Word of God.

If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:31-32

It takes character to admit that we’re wrong. It takes character to humble ourselves and to lay aside all of our feelings of pride. It takes character to admit that we know nothing of our own and that we are depended on God. It takes character not to judge until the Truth is revealed by God. I’m not saying these are easy things. That’s why it takes character. And character is built by following the lead of the Master. By allowing Him to change us, even when it hurts and feels very uncomfortable. That is a price we have to pay in order to grow in character. It is a slow process by which we are build according to the image of Jesus. But although it can be painful at times, we have to realize that every step God takes with us is for our own benefit. He always has the best intentions for us, including a hopeful future. All we can see at this point is the here and now. He sees where the road you’re now following in ending. And if that leads to pain, destruction and other bad things, He will stop you. Even if it hurts. He will do that because He knows it will hurt you more when you follow that road. 

By allowing Him to work in us and through us, the process of change will continue. It also means that we learn to abide in His Word. That is more than just knowledge. It is asking, searching and knocking until we know exactly what He means, until He opens our eyes for what He says and why He said it. A huge part of understanding comes forth from knowing the motivation and intensions behind it. People can tell you, but you will only be able to truly understand when He reveals it to you. And that revelation only comes when you set your heart to it, when you ask for it, when you search for it and when you knock on the door for it. Like Jesus mentioned in Matthew 7:7. And when you do that, the promise of Jesus will come to pass and He will give you (Matthew 7:8-11). 

At the moment He reveals His knowledge, insight and wisdom, He gives you one of His secrets. These are the secrets that are hidden for the world, but are available for His children. With that revelation the Truth about that part is revealed to you. With that revelation comes another part of spiritual growth. But with His revelation you’re not only growing in knowledge, but also in authority. 

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
Deuteronomy 29:29

The secret things that are revealed are no longer a secret for us. It also can’t be made a secret again. Once we know it, it is ours forever. From that moment we have gained authority. From that moment satan can no longer deceive us on that area, because from that moment we know to recognize the lie and to expose it with the revealed Truth. That is power. 

Prayer

Dear Holy Spirit, I ask You to reveal my deepest motivations and intensions. I ask You to bring everything into Your Light and to expose every area in me that You want to change. Help me to find Your Truth and to search for it. Let Your will be done in my life. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ.

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