Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “1 Corinthians 9”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with 1 Corinthians 9. In the last chapter, Paul talked about serving those who are weaker in faith by avoiding anything that would hinder them and cause them to stumble and fall into sin.  I shared Philippians 2:5-11 last week, and how we are instructed to have the same mindset as Jesus: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

Paul continues chapter 9 admonishing the Corinthians to follow his example, as He followed Christ’s example, of serving one another in love.

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

v. 1-2 (NASB)

Just as Paul experienced, people may criticize and question whether we are called and sent out by God, but the proof will be in the fruit God produces through our labor. Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:15-20, NIV).

The Corinthians’ salvation was the fruit God produced through Paul’s labor. Their salvation was proof that he was sent to them by God.

Paul proves the sincerity of his service to the Lord as he explains how he denied himself of his personal rights in order to reach people and build them up.

My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?

I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

v. 3-23 (NASB)

I like how the Amplified Bible translates verses 16-19 above:

For if I [merely] preach the Gospel, that gives me no reason to boast, for I feel compelled of necessity to do it. Woe is me if I do not preach the glad tidings (the Gospel)!

For if I do this work of my own free will, then I have my pay (my reward); but if it is not of my own will, but is done reluctantly and under compulsion, I am [still] entrusted with a [sacred] trusteeship and commission.

 What then is the [actual] reward that I get? Just this: that in my preaching the good news (the Gospel), I may offer it [absolutely] free of expense [to anybody], not taking advantage of my rights and privileges [as a preacher] of the Gospel.

For although I am free in every way from anyone’s control, I have made myself a bond servant to everyone, so that I might gain the more [for Christ].

Paul could boast, not in his power, but in the power of Christ that compelled him to preach the gospel. He was not just going through the motions. He was not under compulsion preaching because he was told that’s what he should do. He was filled with God’s Holy Spirit. That filling compelled him and gave him an immense desire to reach others. Proof that he was not under compulsion or reluctant to preach was the fact that he was willing to give up his personal interests and rights in order to reach more people. Remember back to Romans 9, where he said he was even willing to give up his salvation to reach his own race:I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.”

The desire and love Paul had could only come from knowing Christ and being filled with His love, as Paul explains in Philippians 3:7-14 (NIV):

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

This is a humbling reminder that our service for the Lord should come from our relationship with Christ, not the other way around. We don’t serve Him so we can draw closer to Him. We draw closer to Him so He can fill us with His love, power, and desire to serve Him.

Paul closes the chapter exhorting the Corinthians, and us, to press on toward the goal to win the imperishable prize, worth more than anything in this world, the prize of knowing Christ and being filled with His love.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

v. 24-27 (NASB)

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for teaching us through Paul’s example the importance of a relationship with You through Christ. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and give us the desire, power, and love to willingly and joyfully serve You in reaching others. When we are losing strength and just going through the motions, draw us away with You and refill us with Your love. Help us to throw off anything that hinders us from willingly serving You. Continually keep our hearts full of You.
In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

*This series will continue next week as we study 1 Corinthians 10. Have a blessed week spending time with the Lord and being filled with His love!

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “1 Corinthians 8”

I am sorry this message is a week late. I was having trouble with my blog, website, and internet last week, as well as a few other issues. It seems when the devil attacks, he hits you from every angle. But praise God, He is greater! God worked it all out. He is faithful!

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

1 John 4:4 (KJV)

We continue our study of Paul’s letters with 1 Corinthians 8. Paul’s message in this chapter is similar to what he wrote in Romans 14, when he spoke to the Romans about accepting those who are weaker in faith and not putting a stumbling block or obstacle in the way of our brothers and sisters.

He begins the chapter:

Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.

v. 1-3 (NASB)

I love how Paul starts off by saying that knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. When the disciples asked why Jesus spoke to people in parables, He replied “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them” (Matthew 13:10-11, NIV).

Through faith in Jesus, we have been given access to the knowledge of God. As we grow in our walk with Him, we grow in knowledge. A mature believer may have more knowledge than a new believer, but having more knowledge does not make them superior. Jesus had more knowledge than anyone. Yet there was no pride or arrogance in Him, because He loved others. He humbled himself to lift others up.

Philippians 2:5-11 instructs us:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Having knowledge is not enough. The Bible says, If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2, NIV). We must be filled with God’s love to use the knowledge He’s given us for good, not evil.

I am dealing with a situation with someone right now where I have knowledge because I’ve been through it before.  The other person is experiencing it for the first time. God’s had to remind me to humble myself and think about the person as if I were in their shoes, walking through it with them for the first time.

We may have more knowledge in an area than someone else, but we must be careful not to let that knowledge puff us up. We must humbly follow Jesus’ example by using the knowledge God’s given us to build others up, rather than tear them down.

Paul finishes the chapter:

Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.

v. 4-13 (NASB)

If our freedom and knowledge causes others to stumble and fall into sin, we are sinning. Though Paul was addressing the traditions of that time, regarding meat and eating food sacrificed to idols, we can still learn from it and apply it today.

As an example, a former alcoholic turns to Christ. He’s been delivered from the addiction. He vows not to touch alcohol again, because he knows how destructive it is and how easily he can fall back into that temptation. He’s invited over his Christian friend’s house one day, along with a couple of other Christian friends who bring beer. These guys have never had an addiction to alcohol. They don’t drink to get drunk. They never abuse it. They just enjoy a glass once in a while. The guy who has strong convictions against alcohol is tempted and weakened after fellowshipping with his friends.

Therefore, if [my eating a] food is a cause of my brother’s falling or of hindering [his spiritual advancement], I will not eat [such] flesh forever, lest I cause my brother to be tripped up and fall and to be offended.

v:13 (AMP)

In other words, if we are doing something that causes us or someone else to stumble, we should avoid it.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for giving us knowledge through faith in Christ. As we grow in knowledge, keep us humble so we don’t become arrogant. Fill us with Your love and give us wisdom to use that knowledge for good, not evil. Show us anything that we are doing that is causing others or ourselves to stumble and fall into sin. Help us to lay it down and humbly follow You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:6 (KJV)

 

*This series will continue next week as we study 1 Corinthians 9. Have a blessed week growing in God’s knowledge and love!

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “1 Corinthians 4″

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with 1 Corinthians 4. In the beginning of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Paul said he had been informed there were quarrels among them about who they belonged to. They said they were either of Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or of Christ. In chapter 3, Paul told them that the one who plants or the one who waters is nothing, but it is God who causes the growth.

Paul begins chapter 4 instructing them to regard him and his fellow workers as servants of Christ, trustworthy stewards delivering them the truths from God.

Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

v. 1-5 (NASB)

Paul gave warning against passing judgment, by giving special honor or being critical to others and ourselves. When we judge others or ourselves, we are making a determination based on our finite thinking, rather than relying on God’s infinite wisdom. Paul didn’t judge himself, because he knew God was more capable to judge him. If Paul had something in him that needed fixing, who would be better qualified to work on him than the One who created him.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

Look at verse 5 above, where Paul said not to pass judgment before the time, but to wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. Could you imagine the God who created you giving you praise! How incredibly amazing is that! That’s why we shouldn’t judge ourselves by our own wisdom. We couldn’t fathom that we would ever be good enough to receive praises from God.

Paul continues warning them against judging by thinking more highly of themselves or of one minister and teacher over another.

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

v. 6-7 (NASB)  

The Bible says that if anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves (Galatians 6:3). When we judge based on our own understanding, and compare and measure ourselves against each other, we deceive ourselves and fall into pride.

Paul closes admonishing the Corinthians to repent of their arrogance and pride, and to follow his example in humbly serving Christ.

You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you. For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church. Now some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?

v. 8-21 (NASB)

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for teaching us through the Apostle Paul’s example to let You be our judge. Your Word is what we measure ourselves and others by, not by our own measurement. If You say we are approved in Christ and will receive praise from You, we joyfully believe and accept that as truth, regardless of our feelings of unworthiness. Help us to lay down our pride and arrogance and humbly follow and faithfully serve You. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

*This series will continue next week as we study 1 Corinthians 5.  Have a blessed week knowing that you have been approved by God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ!


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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “1 Corinthians 1”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with 1 Corinthians 1. Paul begins addressing this letter not only to the Corinthians, but to all who call on the name of Jesus. As you read below, all who call on the name of Jesus have been sanctified in Christ. The word translated into: “To those who have been sanctified” is hagiazó, which means I make holy, treat as holy, set apart as holy, sanctify, hallow, purify. All who call on the name of Jesus have been made holy. Have been set apart as holy. Have been treated as holy. Have been purified. Praise God! It’s been done!

Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

v. 1-3 (NASB)

Paul was called as an apostle (a messenger, one sent on a mission), not by his own will, but by the will of God. God has to be the one to call us and send us out. We can’t call or send ourselves out.

Paul continues:

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

v. 4-9 (NASB)

The word “confirm” means “secure.” God will secure our sanctification (holiness) to the end, so that we will be blameless when Christ returns. We can stop worrying about failing and worrying that we’ve fallen beyond recovery. God won’t fail us. He will lift us up. We are always secure in Him.

Even though we are sanctified in Him, His holiness is not always seen in us. We have to allow Him to work in us. For God’s holiness to be seen in us Paul exhorts us to:

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other.

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

v. 10-17 (NASB)

It is not God’s will for the church to be divided. Jesus is the head of the church. He is the One we need to be following. When we are each following Him, doing what He sends us out to do, we will not be divided.

I like how the Amplified version translates the last verse above:

For Christ (the Messiah) sent me out not to baptize but [to evangelize by] preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel), and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain (fruitless, void of value, and of no effect).

v. 17 (AMP)

This is a powerful statement! When we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to minister through us, and instead try to minister His Word through our own wisdom, the words we preach will lack the power to produce fruit. God says, For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11, KJV). When God sends His Word out through us, we can be certain that it will produce fruit.

In the rest of the chapter, Paul talks about God’s wisdom versus the world’s wisdom.

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”

Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

v. 18-25 (AMP)

All the wisdom and power of God are in Christ.  That’s why Jesus said apart from Him we can do nothing. If we remain in Him and He in us, we will bear much fruit (John 15:5). Paul said, And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

v. 26-31

God calls those who are not wise by human standards to shame those who are. He humbles all this way so that no one can boast before Him. The one who is wise by the world’s standard is humbled when their wisdom is brought down by someone who is not influential or intellectual in the world. The one who is not considered wise by the world’s standard is humbled when God speaks through them because they know that it is God’s power and wisdom speaking through them, not their own.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for sanctifying us in Christ and confirming us to the end so that we will be blameless at His return. We praise You for Your wisdom and power in Christ. Help us to remain in Him and allow Your Holy Spirit to produce fruit in and through us. We humbly rely on You and Your wisdom, not our own.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

 

*We will continue next  week with studying 1  Corinthians 2. Have a blessed week remaining in Christ and  relying on His wisdom!

 

 

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Monday’s Blog: Sin Series “Pride”

This is the fourth message in my series on the bondage of sin that is weighing down the body of Christ today. Last week, I talked about tolerating sin by allowing the world to be our teachers instead of Jesus.

James 4:4-10 warns:

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

The world is full of pride. It cannot submit to God’s authority. When we fall into pride we also can’t submit to His authority. The verse above exhorts: “purify your hearts, you double-minded.” To be double-minded means we believe in God but then we doubt His wisdom and authority.

James 1:5-8 explains:

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. 

The reason we fall into doubt is because we submit too often to our carnal mind. Our carnal mind is defiled with unbelief. When we submit to it, it leads us in opposition to God’s will.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:7, KJV

Our Spiritual mind is purified in Christ. When we submit to it, it leads us into God’s will.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV

How many times do we seek God for His will on a matter, but then our minds start rolling through our own ideas of how to handle it?  If we don’t cast down those carnal thoughts, and submit our minds to trust God’s authority, we will walk in opposition to His will.

I had a situation come up recently. I went to God with the matter, and I felt Him speak to me in my Spirit that I was to leave it in His hands and do nothing. Whenever God tells me to do nothing about something, I know right away it’s going to be a challenge for me. After submitting the situation to God, while waiting on Him to move, my mind continued to think about what I could do to help. Instead of casting down those thoughts, and praising God for coming to my defense and handling it, I submitted to my carnal mind and took the matter into my own hands. By the evening, the situation had spiraled into a huge mess. God humbled me and showed me how much grief could’ve been avoided had I listened to Him in the first place.

To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power.

Proverbs 8:13-14

God has all the understanding and power. We don’t. So why would we not want to seek and accept His wisdom and His authority over our own? When the church operates in its own wisdom, it operates in opposition to God. God opposes the proud. Pride is what led to Satan’s destruction. Satan knows if he can tempt us to submit to our carnal mind, he can lead us to follow him to his destruction. I read a message recently that said “Satan promotes pride; it makes you like him (misery loves company).”

God gives grace (power, strength and wisdom) to the humble. If we want to see change in the church we must humble ourselves before God. We as a body must be in unity of the spirit by each of us doing our part and operating in the mind of Christ. In everything we should seek and accept God’s wisdom over our own.

Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Romans 12:16, KJV

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

1 Corinthians 1:10

Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:11

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Philippians 1:27, NASB

Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Philippians 2:2, KJV

I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

Philippians 4:2, KJV

Finally, be all of one mind, having compassion one with another, love as brethren, be tender hearted, be courteous:

1 Peter 3:8, KJV

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for giving us the mind of Christ that we may know You and understanding Your will. As these verses above clearly show us, it is Your will that we operate in the mind of the Spirit. Help us keep our thoughts on You and cast down everything that is in opposition to Your will. We humble ourselves before You, and lay down our wisdom in exchange for Your wisdom, Your power, and Your authority. In Jesus name, we submit to You. Amen!

 

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*Come back next Monday as the “Sin Series” continues.

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.

*If you’ve never accepted Christ as your Savior, please click on the “SALVATION” tab at the top of the website. Don’t wait another day!

 

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