Keep a Strong Grip

Do you know people who were faithfully involved in a church for years, but now they are not going at all? Have you ever wondered if that could happen to you?

This phenomenon we are seeing in some of our friends and acquaintances is not new. It happened even back in the Early Church. They also had people who seemed to be strong believers, full of the Holy Spirit, but started to drift away from the Lord. Soon they seemed to have no interest in spiritual things at all. How could this happen?

In the New Testament, when Jesus saw that believers were slowly losing interest in Him, He cried out:

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” (Revelation 3:11 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

We have to keep a strong grip on everything God has given us because there is a thief who is trying to steal it away!

God doesn’t want us to naively go through life complacently thinking that nothing bad can happen. He wants us to be vigilant at all times, knowing that there is an enemy out there who is relentlessly trying to steal everything we have. This is why the Apostle Peter wrote:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV)

Jesus also warned His disciples that there was a dangerous enemy, who was always after His sheep:

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV, word in emphasis mine.) 

From the moment we were saved, the enemy has been lurking around us trying to draw us back into the world. He seeks to entice us away from our heavenly Father. Sadly, we have seen this happen to many believers. How do we guard ourselves against making this same mistake?

One day I had a dream from the Lord. In the dream, I was leafing through a beautiful book about the crowns mentioned in the Bible. The pages were filled with beautiful lettering of many different colors. As I came out of the dream, I heard the Lord Jesus call out to me, “Let no one steal your crown!”

One of the first things we have to guard ourselves against is a root of bitterness or unforgiveness. We must be always be quick to forgive those around us for any hurtful things that they may have done to us. If we aren’t careful to keep our hearts from these bitter roots, they will soon grow into major feelings of anger and resentment. It is our attitude toward others that will either keep us walking in victory or drag us down into defeat.

Jesus said:

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

These people are not necessarily out in the world, they can be in our own church! And they don’t have to do something terrible to draw us into resentment, it is often something minor. If we do not guard ourselves against little roots of resentment, they can grow into something much larger. This is why we need to always walk in love with everyone around us and be quick to forgive them for all the little things they do against us. We need to be quick to bless them and be a blessing to them. That is the best way to guard ourselves against hurt feelings!

There is another thing we have to do keep a firm grip on the Lord: We need to rely upon Him daily and not become independent. We need His help with everything we do! Those who become self-sufficient often find themselves drifting away from the Lord. It doesn’t happen overnight, it is usually a slow process. If we are not careful to cling to the Lord, we can find ourselves reaching a point where we think we don’t need Him at all. Instead, we must hold fast to Him – as if our life depends on it!

If we are going to keep a strong grip on the Lord, it begins with how we start each day. What we do first thing in the morning will shape everything else! The Word of God must become our lifeline to Him. When we are immersed in God’s Word, our prayers will become more powerful. The Holy Spirit wants us to focus on God’s Word and not on the things that are happening in the world around us. He wants us to cling to God’s promises so that the world will no longer have a grip on our lives. Additionally, it is important to keep in close fellowship with the Holy Spirit and with one another. The Holy Spirit will help us guard what God has given us, and spiritual friends will encourage us to keep our eyes focused on the Lord.

God promises us eternal life and life in abundance. Why would we want anything else?

You are holy, dear saint!

Have you learned to keep a strong grip on what God has given you? Let me know in the comments below!

{All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

 

 

 

 

Your Traveling Companion

Do you know the Holy Spirit as a personal friend, who is with you wherever you go?

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to do for us everything He would have done if He were still here in person. Jesus told His disciples:

Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7 NKJV)

In His human form, Jesus trained the twelve disciples and other followers. It would have been impossible for Him to train the millions of disciples who would come into the Kingdom of God later. For this reason, Jesus said He would send another Helper, the Holy Spirit, who would take His place in training God’s people. He teaches all things concerning the Kingdom of Heaven and the role we are to play in God’s work here on earth.

The disciples were familiar with the Holy Spirit because they had seen Him at work through the ministry of Jesus. This is why Jesus said:

“But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you.” (John 16:17 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.) 

It’s important for us to get to know the Holy Spirit, this Helper from Heaven, on a personal basis. We get to know Him through the New Birth because He is the One who causes us to be born again after we’re saved. We can get to know Him on a deeper level through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. We can also get to know Him more by fellowshipping with Him on a daily basis. The Apostle Paul referred to this relationship when He wrote:

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” (2 Corinthians 13:14 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

The Holy Spirit wants to fellowship with us! He desires to share every detail of our day, and help us with everything we are doing. He wants to also teach us how to work in harmony with Him and rely on His strength, not on our own. The Lord put it this way:

” ‘Not by (your) might, nor by (your) power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6 NKJV, words in parentheses mine.)

The Lord doesn’t want us to rely upon our own strength. He wants us to depend completely upon His Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who will lead us and guide us. He will also empower us to do what we could not do in our own ability. God can accomplish what looks impossible through those who rely completely upon the Holy Spirit!

The King James Version translates the word fellowship as communion: “The communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14 KJV). We cannot have communion with the Holy Spirit without communication. He speaks to us and we must also speak with Him. This comes through tuning our spirits to hear His voice and by asking Him for leading and direction. Some people stumble over the idea of speaking to the Holy Spirit, but He is a person and we can speak to Him. He will speak to us in many different ways and we need to learn how to discern His voice. This comes from spending time with Him – and lots of it!

The Holy Spirit is our personal instructor in God’s Word. Jesus told His disciples:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

God wants us to open our Bible every day and ask the Holy Spirit to teach us from it. We will be amazed at what new insights He will show us in God’s Word. He has many things that He wants to impart to us so that we might reach new heights in Christ.

The writer of Hebrews also wrote:

But solid food food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their (spiritual) senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14 NKJV, word in parentheses and in emphasis mine.)

We are all aware of our physical ears, but we also have spiritual ears. If we learn to exercise our spiritual senses, we will discern the voice of the Holy Spirit. When we recognize His voice, we need to pay attention to Him and do what He tells us to do. If we are found faithful in obeying Him in little things, He will entrust us with bigger responsibilities. This is the kind of relationship that the Holy Spirit wants with us!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you discovered that you can have an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

 

 

 

Your Heavenly Helper

Did you know that the Holy Spirit longs to have a personal relationship with you?

When we first got saved, we fell in love with Jesus. He became our Savior and our Lord. For some of us, He also became our healer, and all we could talk about was the wonderful things Jesus had done in our lives. However, Jesus came so that He might also introduce us to the Father. He said:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)

After we were saved, we discovered that we were born into a new family and that God had become our heavenly Father. For those of us who had a difficult relationship with our earthly father, it may have been challenging for us to understand the love of our heavenly Father. It is just as important to have a deep, personal relationship with the Father as it is to have one with Jesus. That is a vital step in our spiritual maturity as sons and daughters of God!

Many believers have no difficulty embracing the love of Christ and the great care of the Father, but seem to have little idea how to engage with the Holy Spirit. To them, He seems to be that hidden figure who works in the background to bring us into the new birth and to help us grow in Christ, but not more than that. Millions of other believers have joyfully experienced what is known as the baptism in the Holy Spirit. They encountered Him, tasted His power, but did not realize that the Holy Spirit wanted to have a deep, personal friendship with them. They didn’t know that they could get to know Him as a person!

Before Jesus ascended back into Heaven, He told His disciples:

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” (John 14:16 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

Jesus was our first Helper, but He asked the Father to send us another Helper – the Holy Spirit! He was sent from Heaven to do the things that Jesus would do for us, if He were still here on earth. Jesus went on to say:

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

For three years, the disciples had Jesus walking by their side, teaching them about the Kingdom of Heaven.  He showed them how to proclaim the Gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. However, Jesus knew that His time with them had come to an end. He was about to go back into Heaven, but He was not going to abandon them like orphans. He promised to send them another Helper to go with them everywhere they went throughout the world to show them what to do. He said:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26 NKJV)

 Jesus said the Holy Spirit would speak to them, lead them, guide them and even show them things that would happen in the future:

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak of His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13 NKJV)

Jesus declared to the disciples everything the Father had told Him. He then explained that the Holy Spirit would do the same thing:

He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:14 NKJV)

If you have had trouble picturing the Holy Spirit as a Person, count the number of times Jesus used the word “He” in the last two verses. He is not just a vague presence, He is an actual Person and He has been sent to have a personal relationship with us. There will be times we will hear His voice and receive revelation from Him. He is ready to talk with us about anything we are going through, just as Jesus did with His disciples. He wants to share in every moment of our day and help us with everything we do. We just need to take the time to get to know Him!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you experienced the Holy Spirit speaking to you about what you are going through? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

 

The Now Kind of Faith

“I am hoping God will answer my prayers one day!”

We build up our hopes and dreams and fill ourselves with great expectations that God will somehow answer our prayers, yet that day never seems to come. We know that God has promised to answer our prayers, but we don’t know how to make His promises become a reality in our lives. What is the answer to this dilemma?

In the Old Testament, we see Joshua lead Israel to the promised land. God had told them it would be a land of riches and abundance. However, when Joshua crossed over the river Jordan into that land, the first city he faced was heavily fortified with great walls around it. Jericho seemed impossible to conquer.

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?” (Joshua 5:13 NKJV)

Many Bible scholars believe that this was the Lord who appeared to Joshua, and identified Himself as the Commander of the Lord’s army. The Lord spoke these amazing words to him about Jericho:

“And the Lord said to Joshua: ‘See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.’ ” (Joshua 6:2 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

If Joshua had looked down at the palm of his hand he would have seen nothing. The Lord wasn’t speaking about seeing with natural eyes, but with the eyes of faith. By faith, Joshua could see that Jericho was already his at that very moment because God had promised it to him. That is the kind of faith God wants us to have. He wants us to have now faith!

The writer of Hebrews put it this way:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

Joshua had to turn his hope-God-will-do-it-one-day faith into now faith. God wanted him to see Jericho already in his hand!

Actually, faith is not true faith unless it is now faith. Faith always believes it has the answer now before its seen. That is why faith is also “the evidence of things not seen.” Faith sees the answer before it comes!

This is why Jesus said these words:

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

Jesus said that we have to believe that we have received the answer when we pray. In other words, we have to believe we have the answer before we see it! This is why God wants us to focus our eyes on His promises and not on our circumstances. He wants us to see ourselves with the answer already in our hands!

The next thing the Lord told Joshua to do is put feet to his faith:

You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.” (Joshua 6:3 NKJV)

It is not enough to say that you believe you have the answer now – you have to act like it! This is why the Apostle James wrote:

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 1:26 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

Another version reads: Faith without corresponding actions is dead. Faith is not just something you believe, it is also something you do. If you believe what God has promised is yours, then you will act like it. Sometimes it’s as simple as thanking God for the answer before you see it!

Each day Joshua put feet to his faith and obeyed the instructions of the Lord. He had to keep his eyes focused on the word that God had given him. On the final day, they marched around the city seven times. When they completed their march, the priests blew their trumpets and the silent marchers raised their voices.

So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.” (Joshua 6:20 NKJV, word in emphasis mine.)

Joshua didn’t win the victory on the seventh day. He had the victory in his heart before they even began to march around the city. That is the kind of faith God is looking for in us. He wants us to learn to act like we have the answer to our prayers now so that we will see God’s promises become a reality in our lives. That is how to become a now faith believer!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you acted like you had the answer to your prayers and then saw it come to pass? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

 

 

 

 

Guard Your Treasure

Do you know that you have a treasure in your heart?

When we look in the mirror, we are not looking at the real person. The real person is on the inside. It is the hidden person of the heart!

The Apostle Peter wrote:

Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, putting on gold, or wearing fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (Peter 3:3-4 NKJV, words in emphasis mine)

The hidden person of the heart is precious in the eyes of God, and the heart is where we keep what we treasure most!

One day our bodies will grow old and die, but the hidden person will live on for all eternity. We do our best make the outward person look as attractive as possible, but we often neglect our hearts. A gentle and quiet spirit is of great value in the eyes of God! We forget that our hearts are a treasure house. Jesus put it this way:

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

Notice that both the good man and the evil man have a treasure in their hearts. What have you treasured in your heart? Is it good or is it bad?

The good man is the one who has Christ in his or her heart. Christ is the greatest treasure we can have. We must not allow anything to steal this treasure from us! He is the One who has brought life into our hearts. Without Him we are poor, naked and destined for death. What a great treasure He is!

There is another treasure we have in our hearts. We find it in the words of the Psalmist, who wrote:

I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure.” (Psalm 119:162 NKJV, word in emphasis mine.)

God wants us to treasure His Word and hide it in our hearts!

“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11 NKJV, word in emphasis mine.)

God’s Word not only keeps us from sin, but it also produces life in us. Through His Word we have received eternal life. His Word also creates in us the abundant life that we long to have. We need to treasure God’s Word in our hearts so that it produces life in us and the world around us. This is why King Solomon wrote:

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NKJV)

Other translations read: Guard your heart with all diligence. Why do we need to do that? That is where our treasure is! We need to guard what we have treasured in our hearts so that nothing robs us of the life, joy, and peace that it brings. If we guard our treasure, then when trouble comes our way, the Word will rise up within us to declare the victory over those circumstances. That is what enables us to be an overcomer and reign in this life. We are overcomers because of the treasure we have hidden in our hearts! The writer of Hebrews put it this way:

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ ” (see Hebrews 13:5-6 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

Notice that because God’s Word says that He will never leave us or forsake us, we can boldly say that He will help us through our situation and we have nothing to fear. How awesome is that?

We need to take the treasure that we have hidden in our hearts and boldly declare what God has promised to do for us in His Word. So guard that treasure because it will make you an overcomer in every area of your life!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

What promises from God’s Word have you hidden in your heart? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

 

 

The Lord Who Is There

Have you ever found yourself in a really difficult situation and God seemed to be a million miles away?

In the Old Testament, there are several redemptive names for the Lord. One of them is Jehovah Shammah: The Lord Who Is There. When I first looked at this name, I thought, “I don’t need the Lord who is there, I need the Lord who is here!” Have you ever felt that way? Fortunately, the Holy Spirit came to my rescue and taught me that the Lord is there in our situation, wherever we may be. He may seem to be distant at times, but He isn’t. He is right there, ready to be everything for us that He promised to be!

We find the name Jehovah Shammah in the Book of Ezekiel:

“The name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD WHO IS THERE.” (Ezekiel 48:35 NKJV)

As we look at each of these redemptive names we discover who God is, what He will do for us, and what is the kind of relationship that He wants to have with us. Yes, God wants to have a deep, personal relationship with us. He wants to be present with us in every situation we go through. He is in the very air we breathe!

When Abraham was on top of a mountain to sacrifice his only son, God was there as Jehovah Jireh: The Lord Who Provides.

“But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’ ” (Genesis 22:11-12 NKJV)

The Lord showed Abraham a ram caught by its horns in a bush, and he sacrificed it in place of his son.

“And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide.” (Genesis 22:14 NKJV)

Today the Lord is right there in our situation, and He is more than able to provide for our needs!

When the people of Israel traveled into the wilderness under the leadership of Moses, they discovered God was there as Jehovah Rapha: The Lord Your Healer.

“And He said, ‘If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.’ ” (Exodus 15:24 NKJV) 

The Lord is there in our time of sickness to be our healer today.

When Joshua was fighting against the Amalekites, Moses was on top of the mountain holding his staff above his head to assure victory for Israel. As long as he kept his staff up, Israel was able to defeat their enemy. God was there as Jehovah Nissi: The Lord Our Banner. He was their Banner of Victory!

“And Moses built an altar and called its name. The-Lord-Is-My-Banner.” (Exodus 17:15 NKJV)

The Lord is also there in our difficulties when we are struggling with our adversary the devil. God is there to give us the victory!

When Gideon saw the Angel of the Lord, he was greatly troubled and thought he might die, but the Lord was there as Jehovah Shalom: The Lord Is Our Peace.

“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.’ So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace.” (Judges 6:23-24 NKJV)

When we are full of fear about what is going on around us, the Lord is there to give us peace because He is there to protect us!

King David knew the Lord as Jehovah Rohi: The Lord My Shepherd. He was there in David’s life to lead him and guide him.

The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:1-4 NKJV, words in emphasis mine)

When we need the Lord to lead us day by day, we can be sure He will be there to take us safely through even the most difficult situations.

Finally, the Prophet Jeremiah spoke of a day when the Lord would be called Jehovah Tsidkenu: The Lord Our Righteousness. When we discover that we cannot attain our own right standing with God, He is be there to become our righteousness.

“In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:6 NKJV)

When Jeremiah spoke these words, he was foretelling what the Messiah would be for us today. Jesus is our righteousness. We do not have any of our own. There is nothing we can do to achieve it. God sent His Son to become our righteousness!

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of  God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV)

Regardless of what we are going through or the difficulties we may face, God is present right there to be everything He said He would be for us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is there in our situation right now!

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you ever found yourself in trouble only to discover that God was right there to get you out of it? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]

 

The Secret to Living a Holy Life

“All I want to do is be holy just like Jesus, but when I look at myself all I see are my faults and failures.”

Have you ever felt like that in your pursuit of holiness? You are not alone. When we look at the lives of the early church fathers and the great men and women of God who lived down through the centuries, we see this same lament. Each one expressed frustrations about living a holy life.

What is the answer to this dilemma that affects so many believers? It may surprise you, but the answer is simple: If you desire to live a more holy life, take your eyes off of yourself and focus on the Lord and His holiness.

When we look at ourselves, the only things we may see are the faults and the mistakes we have made in the past. Too often we struggle to fix our old man, not realizing that aspect of us is dead. The Apostle Paul wrote:

Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6-7 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

Who is that “old man?” It is the person you used to be before you came to Christ. It was governed by the desires of the flesh and responded to everything that appealed to the physical senses. We could refer to it as our old nature.

Sadly, we often spend a lot of time trying to fix the old man with its fleshly desires, not realizing that Jesus took care of that person when He died upon the cross. Our old self was crucified with Him! God will not help you fix your old self because He now considers it to be dead. Realizing this, we can now live in the knowledge that we have been freed from all of our past sins. They are under the blood of Jesus!

When you received Christ, you became a new creation. That is who the new man is and that is who you are. The Apostle Paul wrote:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

This means that we have to discard the ways of the old self and act according to ways of the new self, who has been created in the image of Christ. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote:

That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts. (Ephesians 4:22 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

Then he wrote:

And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

Do you see what the Holy Spirit is saying about you? Your new man (self) was created in righteousness and holiness. That is who you are in Christ!

This is why we cannot set our eyes upon ourselves. God wants us to see who we are in Christ. He wants us to focus on the righteousness and holiness we have because we are in Christ. Does that make sense to you?

Religion seeks to please God by doing certain works. God has called us up to a higher level: He has called us into a relationship with Himself. Therefore, we are not saved by our works – we are saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the same way, we do not become righteous or holy by our works, but by faith in Christ. When we accepted Christ, we were clothed with His righteousness, and we became holy in Him. God wants us to forget all of our past sins and mistakes because He no longer remembers them. The writer of Hebrews wrote:

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12 NKJV, words in emphasis mine.)

If God doesn’t remember our past sins and failures, then why should we?

Our heavenly Father wants us to continually walk in the newness of life that we have in Christ. He wants us to keep our eyes firmly focused on the Lord Jesus Christ and who we are in Him. It is only then that we will see ourselves for who we really are. By focusing on the Lord Jesus, we will find it is much easier to live a holy life because we will think, talk and act just like Him.

You are holy, dear saint!

Steve Smith

Have you discovered that it is easier to live a holy life when you focus on the holiness of the Lord, instead of yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]