Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!Romans 11:33 ESV
You and I have much more in common than you may think. If you are a Christ follower and depend upon His work on the cross as the final atonement for our sins, we share a family. That family is The Church. We share in the benefits of God’s rich mercy and grace and share in the hope of eternity after we pass from this world to the next. As your brother in Christ, I would like to encourage as well as challenge you to go deeper in your faith. This is not something to merely do for your own benefit, but rather to live your life in such a way that is a witness to the world that you are a child of the King. We cannot and must not be satisfied with living our lives that do not bear the evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in us. Remember the fruits of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. (Galatians 5:22-23). These ought to be evident in our lives as committed Christians deeply desiring to be continually formed into the likeness of Christ.
My life group is currently going through the book of James. One thing that stands out to me is this idea that we ought to be doers of the word and not simply hearers. Here is the passage I am referencing below.
So we are saved right? Correct! That is something that truly is remarkable and extraordinary. God gave His Son to die in our place to atone for our sins so that we could be made righteous in His sight. That is something beyond my understanding. Thank goodness that God’s thoughts are higher than my thoughts and His ways higher than mine (paraphrase Isaiah 55:8-9). Rejoice believer! For God has done this mighty work.
We can rest in this truth. However we must not become complacent or stagnant in our faith. At the foundation of what we now call the Church, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down and made His power manifest in the lives of the Apostles as well as those who were present at this initial gathering. The Holy Spirit empowered the Apostles and those believers to spread the gospel throughout all the known world at that time. This truly was a time when Satan was losing ground as the gospel spread further and further.
The same Holy Spirit works in us today as believers. Paul talks a lot about his struggle between his fleshly desires and the desires of his spirit. He says himself that “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. We find ourselves fighting these same battles. Day to day, we have to choose between the flesh and what God wants for us. This is exactly the time where we need to lean more heavily on the Holy Spirit to attain victory in our battles.
Read and reflect on the quotes below. I hope this helps you better understand what I am aiming to communicate to you dear reader.
Do not be disillusioned. We are engaged in spiritual warfare every single day. I believe just as hunger, longing, joy, loneliness, sadness etc. are a part of the shared human experience, so too is our struggle with our internal battles. I have not and will not neglect to bring to light the very real struggle of depression and the chemical imbalances that are present in many people today. The bottom line is this. We have a battle to fight, an enemy to conquer and the assurance of victory in Christ.
The staff at VMCC are currently reading through a book together called Live No Lies by John Mark Comer. A portion of the book talks about how Satan is a tempter. He tempted Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4). We would be deceived if we did not believe he does the same to us. He references a man named Evagrius who is known for creating his own “playbook” to combat the lies of Satan using Scripture. John Mark Comer himself made a personal handbook with the same purpose. Just as Jesus used Scripture to combat Satan in the desert, we can employ these same tactics and escape the lies and attacks from our adversary.
After reflecting on this portion of the book and the quotations above, I have come to understand more deeply how important it is to manage the inputs we open ourselves up to in our daily lives. We are constantly bombarded by messages each and everyday, this blog being one of them. We know that some messages are more harmful than others and some are more helpful than others. Simply driving to work in the mornings is to be exposed to messaging. We hear messages on the radio. We see them on billboards. We have email notifications on our phones among many other forms of messaging. We must manage as best we can the messages we take in. Which dog will you feed?
This is the reason I want to challenge you to go deeper in your faith. My challenge for you is this. Read your Bible as often as you can. Don’t let it sit to simply collect dust and become an ornament upon your mantle. Read it and meditate on God’s word day and night. Let God’s word be your input. Let His truth reign in your hearts. God’s word gives hope. His word gives peace. His word brings freedom.
When we delve into the depths of the wisdom of God, we can know Him more fully. Therefore, we are able to worship Him more fully, in spirit and truth. Let us first start with studying the word, but let us not stop there. Let it move us to action. Let it transform us each and everyday. Dear reader, thank you for your valuable time. May the peace of God be with you.