Two individuals came to Jesus, each with a deep spiritual problem. One found life, but the other lost it. What was the difference? The first person was a rich young ruler who approached the Lord with the most burning question of his heart: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18).
He was not seeking a religious debate as so many others did. He honestly wanted to know. When Jesus listed five of the commandments, the young man replied that he had a perfect record in keeping them all. Christ simply responded to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor . . . and come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22). Scripture tells us that the rich ruler went away sorrowful (Matthew 19:22).
The second man (Luke 19:2 – 19:8) was also rich, but he had gained his wealth by shamelessly defrauding others. Zacchaeus was a well-known crook and most people hated tax collectors. When Jesus came to his house, He said nothing to the man about selling his house or giving his money away. Amazingly, Zacchaeus freely made the decision to give half of his possessions to the poor and restore four times the amount he stole to everyone he had cheated.
Both the rich young ruler and Zacchaeus were rich. But what was it that compelled Zacchaeus to respond so differently than the rich young ruler?
When Zacchaeus saw Christ, he saw the pearl of great price. He saw in Him everything, all things, completion. Zacchaeus realized that all things pertaining to life is in Christ alone. He realized, If I have Him, I can easily give away everything. What else do I need?
2 Peter 1:3 – as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
But when the young ruler saw Jesus, he didn’t see that pearl of great price in Christ Jesus. If we could know what his thoughts were that day, I imagine most of them were focused on what he would be giving up, more than what he would gain in Christ.
We very often make the same mistake as the rich young ruler. We truly want to follow Christ and experience His abundant life, but we focus on what we may have to give up and are afraid to let go of those things we have relied on for so long. The things of this world gives us a "false sense of security" which we cling on to. We call it "being wise" "being practical", and other terms to explain it away. Ever tried "being foolish for the Lord"? Ever tried "letting go of the things this world clings on to for security"?
I challenge you to try it. Try walking out into the street and pick a random person who appears to be lonely. Invite him/her to lunch. (Be careful, for there are some dangerous criminals out there too). For a change, don't worry about the money you'll have to spend on a stranger. Don't worry about what your friends will think. Just be foolish and do something contrary to the world. Treat the person to a sumptuous lunch. Just sit with the person and talk about life and display the love of Jesus towards the person. If you get a chance, talk about your faith in the Lord and what He has done for you. Bless the person and leave. Tell me thereafter that you don't feel more alive for having “given” away your time and money!!! Examine yourself thereafter. If you are cringing at the money you spent and feeling guilty for having done so, then you know where your heart is. On the other hand, if you are feeling alive and joyful like never before, praise the Lord. You've got it!!! You have found that precious pearl of great value in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 10:39 – He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Acts 20:35 - I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
I believe the Lord looks for that “one thing” we grasp so tightly and depend on. It could be anything: our own strength, our abilities, our education, a meaningful relationship, our years of Christian experience, our connections, the good reputation we have established, our position, our extraordinary discernment and other spiritual gifts, our plans for marriage, our financial status, our net worth, or the things of this world like the rich young ruler.
As long as we hold on to that one thing in which we trust, we will never be able to surrender fully to Christ. Such a lack of intimacy with the Lord results in frustration and discouragement on our part.
In addition, that one thing will be a constant hindrance for the rivers of living water to flow freely out from us and give life to others.
How do we recognize the “one thing” still lacking in us? We will know it by the discouragement, tension, bitterness, frustration and irritation that fill our hearts, when that “one thing” is tampered with. God will open our eyes, and we will recognize it if we truly desire to. We will then have the grace to surrender it to the Lord, not by looking at what we are letting go, but by looking at all that we have in Christ— the pearl of great price.
You see, if “our riches,” that which we value most is, our relationship with the Lord and what we have in Him, then no raging storm can cause any disturbance. I believe the Lord wants us to live in a continual state of seeing Him as "all sufficient" and being content in Him alone. Those whose life is full of joy and in the unhindered presence of the Lord are the ones who experience a continuous feast on Him. Nothing else will matter to them, and abandonment to Christ alone is their obvious choice.
Blessings to you.
We are not of this world. We have been translated into the kingdom of light. We are citizens of another kingdom. Read more...Not of this World
What is (or was) your New Year resolution? Many people have resolutions at the turn of every New Year. Most of these resolutions last for perhaps a week or maybe a bit more…isn’t it? Some plan to lose weight, some plan to stop smoking or drinking, some plan to give up some other bad habit, some plan to be wiser in spending or saving up and some others plan to regularly go to the gym. How long these resolutions last is anyone’s guess!!
There is nothing wrong with having resolutions and giving it a go. They give you a sense of purpose and motivation albeit temporal. In fact, they can be really good, only if you have the will power to consistently do it. As simple as that may sound, that exactly is the problem too, isn’t it? Will Power! People boast about their will power, their strong determination to do something. Will Power is a great gift from God and sometimes it can save your life. You’ll know that’s true if you ever watched any episode of “I shouldn’t be alive” on TV. But man’s will power is really weak when it comes to giving up something pleasurable. It seems a lot easier to give up something you don’t like anyway. It is a lot easier to donate a shirt or a jacket that you don’t much like or wear, than to donate the one you like the most.
Likewise, when you are pursuing holiness, you may find yourself easily giving up things you don’t much like anyway. But you will struggle giving up something that you find pleasurable or something that is a source of comfort to you when you are upset, depressed, and stressed. And “will power” is not of much use then.
When it comes to giving up a pleasurable habit, when it comes to giving up something we know is wrong, there seems to be a struggle. We try to suppress it for a while because our conscience tells us it is wrong. But we all know that it’s just a matter of time before we get exhausted with the mental battle and give in. Then there goes the resolution out the window.
So….what is going on here!! Why is it that we find ourselves so weak?....Does God has an answer? And if He does, then it should be there in the bible somewhere.
And yes indeed…Read Romans 7:15-25 - “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law of God is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is the sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life – that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” NLT
Wow! What a profound truth that we all can relate to, isn’t it?
The fact is that we are all sinful and the sin nature in us wars against our will and mind. This life of ours here on earth is dominated by sin and death. This war will always be there and many times we lose this battle. Could this be a reason why resolutions and freedom programs don’t last? We try to win a spiritual war with human strength. We come up with clever strategies and action plans, but it only goes so far. The root cause of our problem is not the habit or the deed itself, but guilt and condemnation. As long as we have guilt in us, we will always lose this battle. It only takes a moment of disappointment or stress or even a moment of success that leads to indulgence in something we know is wrong.
Is there no solution to this inner struggle? Yes, there is. The solution is in getting rid of the sin nature in us. If we had no sin nature in us, then we would not have a problem. But we do not have the power or ability in us to rid ourselves of our sin nature. We were born with it. But the bible says “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” And chapter 8:1 starts off with “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” NLT
I urge you to set you mind on Romans 8:1,2 and meditate on it for the next three months. Your firm belief in the fact that Christ has set you free and that there is now no condemnation, will EMPOWER you to be free from anything you want to be free from. Nothing will have a hold on you. It is not that Christ has paid the price for your sin and therefore you can just remain to be you and keep sinning without feeling guilty or making any effort to be free. It is quite the contrary.
Romans 8:3 – The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So, God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
Because sin has no control over you that believe in Christ, therefore you can now pursue holiness. You did not have that ability before, but now you do. You now have the ability to be led by the Spirit and not led by the flesh. You could not do that before, but now you can. When you make an attempt to resist, a war begins. Your sinful nature begins to war against your spirit, but now because you believe in Christ and you have the Holy Spirit in you, you can now win that war. At first, you may find the war overwhelming and may lose the battle. But stand up and fight again. God will ensure that you never stay down. The gift of “no condemnation” will give you the strength you need to stand up once more and fight the next round. As you keep doing this, you will begin to see progress. You will begin to experience that you are getting stronger, and the flesh (your sinful nature) is getting weaker. As days go by, you will be walking in victory, and you will have slain your giant.
Keep feeding your mind that you are the righteousness of God in Christ. There is now no condemnation for you because you belong to Christ and watch yourself be filled with immense joy, gladness and most importantly, liberty from all bondage. Christ has set us free and whom the Son sets free is free indeed. You will KNOW the TRUTH and that knowledge of the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.
If you are trying to be free from sin and intend to pursue holiness, then let your resolution be to feed your mind on Romans 7 & 8. I believe you’ll not only be free, but also begin to experience an amazing influx of revelation on the truth of the real gospel message from God’s word. This is the gospel, the Good News. We are free from the power of sin. We are free from guilt, and condemnation. We are free not because God decided to be soft on us and sweep our sins under the carpet, but because Christ His Son took ALL of our sins upon Himself and already bore the wrath of God on our behalf. That's why there is now no condemnation for us. When you understand this truth, guilt will have no hold over you and when guilt has no hold over you, sin has no hold on you, sinful habits have no hold on you. Oh! What a wonderful news. That is the gospel my friends. That is what compels me to share the gospel with others struggling with sin. Do you see that anyone who does not know Christ is under bondage to sin? How can anyone who is a slave to sin be happy? He/she is not free at all.
Our Lord came for this one reason. To set us free from the power of sin. To save us from sin. Adam and Eve lost fellowship with God just because of sin. And sin led to all kinds of immoralities, idolatry and evil. So it is quite obvious that Jesus came to get rid of the root, which is sin. And that He did of course. Yes, He came to save us and grant us eternal life. Yes, we are all being transformed into His likeness. But none of that will be possible if we are still in sin. The bible says “Without holiness no one will see God – Heb 12:14”. But praise God! He has made it possible for us to be holy.
Blessings in abundance to you in the name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Have you ever wondered why every prayer we pray ends in "Jesus Name" Amen!! ? What does that really mean?
We must “KNOW” the power and authority in the name of Jesus. If we DON’T KNOW this, then ending all our prayers in Jesus name actually has no faith attached to it. It becomes a memorized jargon.
Luke 10:19 – Behold, I give you authority/power to trample on serpents and scorpions and over ALL THE POWER of the enemy. Nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Here the “power of the enemy” means “ability of the enemy”. So it can be read as “I give you power over all the ability of the enemy”.
Authority is always greater than ability. Satan has the ability to mess with you, but Jesus has given us authority over him. Just like a traffic policeman. An 18 wheeler truck speeding has the ability clearly to run over a mere human being/policeman. The truck is massive and huge. The policeman’s strength is no match for a speeding truck. However, because of the authority the policeman carries with his uniform, he is able to simply hold up his hand and command the truck driver to stop. Even when the lights are green, if the policeman asks you to stop, you stop. Right!!! Likewise, even though Satan with all his demons are powerful and have much more ability than you and me, yet Jesus says He has given us “authority” over Satan’s ability. Jesus said I GIVE YOU, not lending it you, but I GIVE YOU. It’s yours to keep.
Jesus said “Nothing by any means shall hurt you”. Praise God! Isn't that wonderful?
We can have the authority in the name of Jesus, and never exercise it and the enemy will keep messing us up. And that’s unfortunately how many Christians live. By and large the Christians in today’s world use Jesus’ name so loosely without understanding the authority behind that name.
John 14:12-14 - "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [works] than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do [it].
These verses are not really about prayer. In verse 13, Jesus clarifies this by saying, whatever you ask in His name, He will DO, not He will give. Verse 12 is talking about doing the works that Jesus did. Hence verse 13 says, whatever you ask in Jesus name, He will do.. Verse 14 again, If you ask anything in Jesus name, He will DO it. Wow! How amazing is that!!
John 14:10 - "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own [authority]; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
Interestingly in verse 10, Jesus says the “WORDS” he speaks are not His, but His Father who dwells in Him, DOES the WORKS. Likewise, if we ask anything in Jesus name, that He will DO, not give. And then He says in verse 13…."that the Father might be glorified in the son".
So whatever it is that we are asking is not about making us look good, but that the Father might be glorified. So when I pray for you to be healed or when I cast out demons in His name, it is not so that I can look cool or impress people, but so that the Father might be glorified. That takes absolute humility. It takes dying to self and doing the works of God out of love and compassion. It’s not my asking as a Christian that makes it work, but asking in "Jesus Name" that makes it work. But I must be able to exercise faith in my “asking in Jesus name” and that is only possible when I understand the authority I have over the spiritual realm in using His name. It is also only possible if my inner life is holy, pure and broken of all pride and self.
Matt 28:18 – All authority has been given to me in heaven AND on earth.
Jesus said ALL POWER or AUTHORITY, not some of it, not most of it. ALL POWER has been given…(past tense). He HAS it already. Then, He says Go therefore and teach all nations….Why? He has the authority, not us. But He says“Because He has ALL authority in heaven AND on earth, go ye therefore…” Nobody has any power, but Jesus. And Jesus LOVES to exercise that authority and power through us (His body) who truly "believe" in Him. No reverend, no evangelist, no so called holy man of God has any power except that which he/she exercises in Jesus name. All power has been given to Jesus.
What is authority for? To use it…..isn't it? Now what good is it for someone to have authority over some place and he’s not there? What good for you to have authority over the moon, but you are here on earth? What good that Jesus have authority over all the earth and He is not here? So, it is obvious that He delegated His authority to us the church which is His body, so that we the church may use the authority Jesus has and do the things Jesus did whilst He was here on earth. When you understand this, it gives you a boldness that is indescribable. You begin to walk in the newness of life. For example, youKNOW that you need to RESIST something that you are experiencing because you KNOW that it is NOT of God and now that you know YOU HAVE the authority to overcome it, you can. And you begin to resist it, fight it with a sense of authority not because you are super strong in your own strength, but because you know the authority in Jesus name. Apart from Him, we can do nothing, but with Him, all things are possible.
Paul says "It is no longer I that lives, but Christ who lives in me". How profound and how true!! A truly born again believer should be able to say the same, not because he/she likens to apostle Paul in faith, but simply because that is the very nature of being born again. Our life now is in Christ. Just because we received Christ and became Christians doesn't make us super human beings. We on our own are just as dead as we were before we got saved. It's Christ IN us that gives us the New Life. It's Christ IN us that gives us strength to do the things we do. It's Christ IN us that gives us the hope we now have.
People sing songs about Jesus….Halleluiah Jesus….there is something about that name…and so on. Those songs will make you feel good, but that will not help you live out your Christian life. However if you KNOW and UNDERSTAND the reality of the power in Jesus name, then it’ll have a huge impact on your prayer life and your faith.
Acts 3: 2-7 --- in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Peter said Silver and Gold I do not have, but what I do have…Wow! That means Peter knew he had something…Silver and Gold I do not have, but what I do have…Peter knew he had something and that something had the power to overcome the man’s infirmity. Peter knew he had the delegated authority that Jesus gave. Peter was actually doing John 14. Ask anything in my name and that I will do…Jesus said. Peter did exactly that. Peter ASKED and the Lord did for the glory of the Father. Peter was simply exercising his delegated authority. Peter was not praying a lengthy prayer for healing. No, he just exercised delegated authority. But when you do that, you need to do so in faith and that is only possible when you really, I mean really, know and understand in your heart, the authority that has been given to you. Again, it is also only possible when the Holy Spirit truly lives in you. The bible says, "Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit". And the Holy Spirit does not live in bodies practicing sinful life styles. I say this in love. Often times, many Christians put up a "lovable" and "christian" front, but have quite a different private life. Their thoughts are impure, they watch movies with swearing and sex scenes for entertainment, some watch pornography, they get angry with their spouse or children and say rude and hurtful words, they gossip, and are very little different to any body else in the world. But, they expect to use Jesus name and heal the sick and cast out demons and speak in tongues.
My dear brothers and sisters, I speak in love. If an evil spirit makes you evil, shouldn't the Holy Spirit make you holy? Overcome every known sin in your life and then you can truly experience the power of using Jesus name.
When we exercise that name of Jesus, that name is understood really well in the spirit realm. It’s not Father God withholding your blessings, withholding your health and healing or anything else good. Its demonic forces that withhold them. And so, when you exercise authority over them in Jesus name, they know it, they hear it and they surrender to the authority that Jesus has been given over heaven and earth. But only when they have nothing to accuse you of.
John 16:23-24 - "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."
John 16:26-27 - "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God."
Here we see that we are told by Jesus that in that day, we’ll not ask Him anything. Whatsoever we shall ask the Father, not Jesus…asking the Father in Jesus name. He will give it to you.
When Jesus was walking on the earth, you never see in the gospels where the disciples are praying for something. Why not? Because Jesus the Son of God was right there with them. They had Emmanuel with them. They ran to him for anything that they wanted. They didn’t lack anything whilst Jesus was with them. Even when the storm arose on the sea and it looked like they were drowning, they didn’t pray that God would do something to save them. They ran to Jesus and said “Wake up, Lord, wake up, don’t you care we are drowning? And it was Jesus who calmed the storm saying Peace Be still.
But now look at the verse we just read, In that day, (which day?) the day after Jesus is glorified (after His death and resurrection and ascension to heaven), you will ask me nothing, but you will ask the Father in Jesus name…And why will God give whatever you ask for? So that your joy may be full….not just to excite you and make you feel a bit happy and comfortable, but that your joy may be FULL.
But be careful…watch out for motives. God gives us all things so that we can be a blessing and that His covenant might be fulfilled, not so that our selfish desires might be met.
Matt 28: All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples…
Jesus said ALL authority was His and He delegated that authority to us, His body, and the church to exercise that authority and do business here until He comes again.
Phil 2:9-10 : Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…
God has given Jesus “THE” name and not “A” name…If Jesus name is above every name, then the name of Jesus should be above your favorite preacher's name or Hanuman, Mohammed, Buddha, any other man made Hindu Gods and any other name that you can name on earth. Even sicknesses like Cancer, High Blood Pressure, curses like poverty, anxiety, depression, addiction, (you name it)…is just a name and God says Jesus name is above every name. That’s the authority in the name of Jesus. So when you pray in Jesus name without knowing the authority by which you are praying, then your prayers will be weak and merely words because you don’t know the authority and influence your prayer has in the spiritual realm.
We tend to pray so much with so much effort that we begin to rely on our prayer rather than on Jesus in whose name we are praying and when we don’t see answers we begin to feel sad, continue to cry out to the Lord or sometimes cover it up with comments like God is trying to build my character, He is trying to build patience in me, my faith is being put to test, etc… Some of those might be true, but above all our Father is loving and gracious and WANTS for us to KNOW His Son Jesus. There is nothing more deeper and higher than getting to KNOW His Son Jesus and the authority He has been given.
But on the other hand, now that you know the truth; when you pray and know the authority by which you are praying, demons flee, and you begin to experience the power of God Almighty right here on earth. Only make sure you are pursuing holiness and fighting to overcome sin in your life.
Mark 16:17-18 - "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Isn't that wonderful? Signs will "follow" those who believe. It doesn't say "believers" will follow signs.
Hebrews 1:1-4 – God who in various ways in times past has spoken to us through the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.
Jesus has a name that is above the name of the angels in heaven….a more excellent name. That name has been given to us to use and exercise authority with.
Here is an example of how the church exercised the authority in the name of Jesus….that became a huge news in the early church days in Jerusalem…
Acts 3:16 - "And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which [comes] through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Here's another one of those "I command you in the name of Jesus..."
Acts 16:16-18 - Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation. And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And he came out that very hour.
Please read Acts 19:11 – 16 --- They did not have the authority….They were not Christians…They had not believed in Christ and received salvation or redemption…But contrary to them, you and I have the authority to use that name and you have just the same amount of authority as I do, or evangelist so and so does, or apostle so and so does. And its not because of who you are or who you are not, but because of what Jesus has done for you and me. He redeemed us, saved us and reconciled us to God. God does not show favoritism to any man. God responds to faith in His Son Jesus Christ. If you believe, these signs will follow.
Mark 16:17 – 18, 20---- in my name, they WILL cast out demons,
This is Jesus, the head of the church speaking. In His name, we the church will cast out demons, we’ll lay our hands on the sick and they will recover….
Mar 16:20 - And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with [them] and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
In verse 20, we see that the Lord was working WITH them and confirming the WORD (not confirming His power in answer to emotional prayers), but confirming His WORD. Amen!! Praise the Lord!!
Ever asked yourself this question!! Why do you follow Jesus? It's interesting to note that most people will give you different answers, though in reality the answer is only one.
John 1:50 - Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe?
John 2:23-24 - Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men,
John 6:26 - Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
Why do you follow Jesus? Is it because He did a miracle in your life? Is it because you saw someone getting healed miraculously? Is it because your prayers got answered when you were desperate for it? Is it because of the many signs you saw which led you to believe that this Jesus is probably real? Here’s a good one….Is it because you have seen that most professing Christians are somewhat good, kind, don’t swear and mostly helpful? Is it because you find friends in church and you sort of love the music and the band? What is the most forceful motivator that causes you to believe in Jesus?
Yes, signs, miracles, healings and answers to prayers do cause unbelievers to draw near and examine the reality of the gospel message we preach, but our faith in Him shouldn’t be as shallow as that. Friends, faith in Jesus our Lord ought not to be for any of the above reasons. Have you come to a realization of how sin has affected mankind and us? We are sinful people. We think and do sinful stuff..…by nature!!. The bible says that our hearts are desperately wicked by nature. We don’t even have to make an effort to be sinful. It’s in our nature to be sinful. Yes, most of us probably don't murder, rape, and commit adulterous acts. But we are proud, greedy, envious, angry, unbelieving, trusting in our self efforts, get lustful thoughts, evil desires that are purely for self gratification and the list goes on.
The bible says “Everyone has fallen short of the glory of the God. There is not one righteous. Not even one”.
Have you ever felt convicted of something in your life and tried to stop it and found you couldn’t? Perhaps an addiction maybe. You found it to be a struggle, sometimes a seemingly unending struggle? That’s because of our sinful nature. Our sinful nature wars against our new born again self. We have a genuine desire to live a pure and holy life pleasing God, but our sinful nature prevents us from doing what we will to do. Sometimes it is also because of the evil forces of darkness that have had control over us for very many years.
We need to realize that we desperately NEED a savior. Without this realization, we’ll find ourselves following Jesus for either one or all of the above mentioned reasons. And when we pray, we feel like we deserve answers to our prayers, we feel like we deserve the blessings of God, we feel like we’re doing everything right and God HAS to bless us. That somewhat sums up much of todays “Name it, Claim it” gospel message isn't it?
The truth is we don’t deserve anything from God. The only thing we deserve is His justice. He doesn’t have to answer any of our prayers. He doesn’t have to work miracles for us. He doesn’t have to consistently entertain us to keep us interested in Him. Yet in His abundant grace and mercy, He does love us, care for us and provide for our needs.
I encourage you to read Isaiah 6:1-5 and get an understanding of how HOLY God is.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.”
Now compare yourselves to Him. Think about Him for a couple of minutes. Visualize yourself approaching such a God seated on His throne in prayer. How do you feel? Proud? Bold? Confident? I didn't think so…Even the angels in heaven who are holy and always in His presence had to cover their face. We see in the book of revelation when John saw Him in a vision, he fell down as though dead.
The bible says “No man has ever seen the face of God”. He lives in unapproachable light.
Yet in His abundant mercy and love; because of His son Jesus' sacrifice for us, He tore the veil that separated us sinful men from His Holy presence and made the way clear for us to enter into His presence. In the book of Hebrews, we are reminded to approach this throne of grace with boldness and with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). That’s because we normally cannot be confident and bold to approach His throne. We can only approach His throne with confidence and boldness because of our faith in what our Lord Jesus has done for us.
Let’s not water down the significance of what Jesus Christ has done for us or who He actually is. He is God, the creator and the very same person we see in Isaiah 6 seated on the throne, living in unapproachable light. The very reason the whole bible story happened is because of "SIN". Jesus came to destroy the power of sin in our lives so that we can once again be reconciled to Him, without sin. He did not come to solve our problems in life and give us a more prosperous and healthy life. He came to save us from SIN.
When we don’t realize our sinfulness in comparison to His Holiness, His magnificence and splendor, we tend to casually approach Him in prayer with an attitude of “our right” to get whatever we ask for. I thank God for his love because the bible says “He chastises those whom He loves”. If I get chastised, it’s evidence that I’m in His good books. Praise God!!
So I encourage you, let your faith not be shallow based on signs, healings and miracles. Let your faith not be based on anything that Jesus can give you. Let it be based on the fact that you need a savior and He is that savior. Rejoice in the fact that you are saved. Be glad and content with the fact that you now belong to God and are reconciled to Him. You now have eternal life. You now have God on your side. He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Rejoice and seek after intimacy with Him.
Remember Jesus said “Don’t rejoice because the demons are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in the Lamb’s book of life”. Jesus was glad that He gets to be with us, but we seem to be glad because of the power and miracles we get to see. That ought not to be. We need to rejoice because we get to know Him and be with Him and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him.
There’s so much more I want to say, but I will end here with this encouragement. No amount of miracles, healings, signs, wonders and financial blessings can replace the satisfaction you get in simple intimacy with Jesus. Signs and wonders will follow those that believe…..not run ahead of those that believe.
So why do you follow Jesus?
I was radically transformed by the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ back in 1997 in a most unusual way and unusual place. Read my testimony here. Over the years of my walk with God, I have come to realize a few basic truths that have altered my life.