"Through our steadfast obedience to God, God increases the reality and experiences of His Presence in our lives."
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (NKJ)
When I was in High School, I wrestled for a short time on the school wrestling team. Before I decided to wrestle, I was on the High School football team. I had been practicing and working out by lifting weights, and by most standards, I was bigger and stronger physically than most High School students. I remember when I was thinking about joining the wrestling team, that I had kind of an arrogance because of my size and strength. I remember telling myself that I should easily be able to handle the requirements for being on the wrestling team, but boy was I wrong.
Number one, wrestling was physically the most demanding sport I have ever participated in. The cardiovascular fitness training to be in shape to last three two minute rounds was exhausting, and the actual matches themselves were even more physically challenging. To tell you the truth, I was not a very good wrestler at all. I had little experience, my vascular condition was not top of the line as needed for this sport, and I found that in matches I couldn’t execute the necessary moves to counter my opponent and win matches. But there were a few things I learned in my brief wrestling experience that God has carried over into my Christian Experience with Him.
I was in tournaments against multiple schools and had matches with other High Schools in our school district. I eventually developed water on the knee which to me was very painful and basically that was the end of my wrestling career. But before I dropped out of wrestling, there were some things I know now that could have made me a better wrestler than.
The first thing is that a wrestler must go into the match with the heart and determination to win. I had the strength and enough knowledge to execute the moves to win some matches I remember, but I did not have as much determination as my opponent to win. I gave up in my own heart, and quite simply, I lost the match. If you want to be successful in the Christian Faith against your opponent, the Devil, you must be more determined to succeed in the Christian Faith than he is to see you fail. Some people backslide and lose heart in their walk with God and simply hand the victory over to the Devil. They have the tools to succeed, the strength and the knowledge necessary to execute whatever action is necessary in their circumstance to defeat Satan, but they simply lack the determination to win, so they hand over the victory to Satan.
In other matches, I had the strength to defeat the other opponent, but he knew how to execute the basic moves of wrestling and was able to frustrate me into defeat. In one match I remember, the guy wasn’t strong enough to pin me, but he put me in holds that were impossible for me to counter. I simply did not know what to do to have the edge and get out of that situation during the match. Some Christians have the strength to keep the enemy from defeating them with a pin, but ultimately Satan can win the battle in points on the scoreboard. This is a struggling Christian who is being frustrated by the enemy, simply because they do not have the proper training and experience to win, thus they are unable to finish the match with victory because they do not know what to do to get out of the situation. The enemy has a stronghold on their life.
I noticed in most of the matches I watched, that it was the guy who knew how to execute the basic moves better than the opponent and who were in better physical condition, regardless of size and strength, who won the most matches. I saw guys at tournaments who were fast and could execute basic wrestling moves almost flawlessly against their opponents, who knew how to counter the strongholds of their opponents, get out of those holds and execute victory over their opponent. These were the guys who took their training and physical conditioning very seriously, and went into every match with the determination to win every battle against their opponent who was ultimately trying to steal their victory and render them defeated.
It is the same in the Christian Faith. We must taking our spiritual training serious enough to practice the fundamental principles of Christianity and execute our every act of obedience swiftly and with an excellent spirit. We must take our spiritual training serious enough to allow God to develop spiritual endurance in our lives so that we can be spiritually fit to out last our enemy against his every attack and in our every offensive effort against Satan. We must take our spiritual training serious enough that we allow God to build in us a spirit that refuses to accept defeat or compromise with the Devil in any circumstance, especially when it comes to sin.
I remember even since the very beginning of my Christian walk, I was looking for someone who would be a spiritual father to me and raise me up in the ministry. This was a God built desire in my heart and I didn’t even really understand the term of fathering and being mentored, but I wanted a man who would come close to me and help develop and groom me in the Christian Faith. It took approximately 9 years of trying to do things on my own before I found my spiritual father in the Lord. God used him and his wife to put in me an emphasis on holiness and walking in godly character that I believe will never leave me for the rest of my life. I was like a loose cannon just shooting at anything, not even really knowing how to hit the target. I know their are a lot of other Christians out there who are the same way. Many of you have had extensive spiritual experiences, you have been called by God into a particular are of ministry, you know what it is to operate in the gifts of the Spirit and to be used by God to do things that amaze yourself. But some of you are just like I was, like a loose cannon shooting at anything you can, but you are not really hitting the target. Nobody has taught you how to fulfill that longing desire in your heart to be used by God in a more disciplined and accurate manner.
Many of you are like I was, your heart is sincere but because you lack character, your ministry and service to the Lord are misguided. You are often frustrated, you often don’t know what to do. You’ve been called to Pastor a church, but you don’t know if you should go to Bible College and start a ministry on your own, submit to a local Pastor and let him ordain you, or just simply pay a few dollars for a ministers license from some ad you saw in the back of a magazine and go out and start a church on your own. Maybe a friend of yours in Christ has told you who you could pay a few dollars to after you acknowledge that you accept certain fundamental beliefs of the Christian Faith?
The purpose of this book for some of you reading now is to give you a fundamental belief system that will put you on the right course before you have to wander around from church to church for years looking for someone who will help develop your gift the right way, be a father to you, and be a guide with God’s Holy Spirit to train you up in the way you should go. For those, this book will help you get right from the beginning, so you don’t have to go through the pains I went through with my own trial and errors, but you can receive the knowledge of the Lord to get on the right path and stay on the right path throughout your entire Christian Walk. I only wish I could have been born-again and immediately found the church where my spiritual father pastors, but I can’t change the past. I can only help others not make many of the mistakes I made.
For some of you reading this book, the purpose of it is for correction. Your practices are simply wrong, and God wants to show you through His Word some of the things that you are doing wrong and what you should be doing instead. When God started emphasizing character in my life and godly living as a priority above the Gifts of the Spirit and other things of God, I found that God began correcting some of the wrong teachings I was following and the wrong doctrine I believed and followed in my life. There were just some things in my life that I either misunderstood, where not properly emphasized how important they were, and some things that I just took other believer’s or Pastor’s word for without really looking it up and studying these things for myself in the Scripture. For some of you this book is for prevention, and for others it is for correction, but ultimately this book is for God’s Glory.
“For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.” (Rom 8:19 NLT)
This generation is lost more than ever. The world is gradually becoming worse and worse at a pace more rapid than any other time in history. The moral fabric of society today is at the point of absolute melt down. The spirit and character of the anti-christ are becoming more and more evident as the Second Coming of our Lord draws closer and closer. Jesus said that one of the signs of His Second Coming would be that “lawlessness would abound” and “the love of many would wax cold”. Another translation says that, “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.” The word “rampant” when used to describe sin, means that sin will be raging, furious, uncontrolled like the most vicious attack of animals in a violent feeding frenzy.
The Word of God says that creation is waiting eagerly for the time when God will reveal who His children, or more accurately, who His matured sons really are. The world doesn’t know it, like us when we were lost and without Christ, but they are actually looking for someone who is a living example of what Christ is like to lead them to Him. They are looking for people with genuine character and genuine concern for them who will demonstrate the Love of God to them and reunite them with their Heavenly Father. Godly character and a Godly lifestyle is the priestly ministry God has called all believers to, to demonstrate to the world the kind of loving and intimate relationship they can all have with the Father through the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In short, the purpose of this book is to build in the heart of every believer who reads it, the foundation necessary to cause others to see an accurate portrayal of who Christ really is in your life. The purpose of this book is for every reader to have deeply engraved on their hearts and minds the words of Christ when He said, “...seek FIRST the rule and reign of God in your life and His righteousness”.
Some of us know the Word of the Lord. We know what we should and shouldn’t do, but we don’t have the right emphasis in our hearts or the right priorities and depth of conviction necessary to fulfill the Word of the Lord through our steadfast obedience as we co-labor with Him, working out our own salvation with godly fear and reverence. In this age sin is abounding more and more, but the Apostle Paul said in Romans 5:20, that where sin abounds, grace will abound much more. In these last days as sin is abounding, God is causing Grace to overcome sin to abound even more. I believe that as the world grows darker and darker, God is pouring out a greater Grace to each generation to resist the temptations of the world, enabling them to walk in the Light as He is in the Light.
10 But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds so they will understand them, and I will write them on their hearts so they will obey them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (NLT)
We know that through the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ that this “new covenant” is already in affect. We must first of all realize that when God makes a covenant, He is giving us a promise backed by a vow or an oath meaning that He swears to fulfill it Himself. God swears by Himself to put His laws in our minds in such a way that it will cause us to understand their full meaning or put the right measure of emphasis on the importance of obeying them. He says that He will write his laws in our hearts in a way that will cause us to obey them. This is His promise. We cooperate with God, but ultimately it is His work in our lives that enables us to overcome sin and live a truly righteous and holy life. That is what He promises to do.
For years I struggled with understanding exactly what it is the Lord was going to do when He said, “I will put my laws in their minds so they will understand them, and I will write them on their hearts so they will obey them.” I got out a Thesaurus, and He helped me understand it.
God is literally going to engrave in our hearts and minds the priority and emphasis necessary to fulfill His commands in such a way that it enables us to fully obey His Word and follow the holy example of His Son, Jesus Christ. One of the words I looked up was “to engrave”. The Thesaurus said that one definition of “engrave” is to “etch in metal”. God is going to etch in our hearts and minds the importance of obeying His Word in such a way that we will be enabled to constantly live in cooperation with His will and Word. He is going to etch in metal the priority, emphasis, and depth of conviction (strong belief) necessary to fulfill His every command.
Some of us know we should tithe, but we need God to etch in our hearts like metal the importance of paying our tithes. Some of us know we should not only pay tithes, but we should also give offerings, but we need God to etch in our hearts like metal the importance of not only paying our tithes, but giving acceptable offerings as well. Some of us know we shouldn’t steal, we know we shouldn’t be taking drugs, we know we shouldn’t be partying on the weekend and coming to church on Sunday. Some of us know we shouldn’t be lusting in our hearts or downloading pornographic materials off the internet, but we need God to etch in our hearts like metal the importance of not doing these things and THE GOOD NEWS IS, HE PROMISES HE WILL DO IT!!! HE SWEARS TO HIMSELF HE WILL DO IT!!! God will not only forgive our sins, but He will enable us to sin no more!!!
I Jn 1:7
7 But if we are living in the light of God's presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin. (NLT)
The blood of Jesus cleanses us from every sin because it was the proof of Jesus’ death that Jesus presented before the Father that made the New Covenant able to be active.
16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. (NKJ)
Jesus’s death and presentation of His Holy Sacrifice to the Father proves in a legal system, that the promise God made to engrave His laws in our hearts and minds so that righteousness can truly be fulfilled in our lives, can now be activated. God already promised before Christ came that He would do this, but it took the death of the testator (Jesus Christ) to cause this will to be active and become available to men.
Some Christians don’t understand, but the New Covenant is actually a written will to God’s people. If you had a wealthy father, and you knew he had a will, one of the first things you would do after your father’s death is find out what you inherited from him. You would meet with the lawyers who will then tell you, Bobby gets my Porsche, my mansion in Beverly Hills, my ranch in Arizona and thirty million dollars. Joseph gets my truck, my house in Los Angeles, my horses, cows, and my ranch in Utah, and thirty million dollars. Sally gets forty million dollars, my other ranch in Texas and my mansion in Washington. That is what the New Covenant is to us. It is actually the New Will God activated through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus, because of His resurrection, is now like the lawyer who distributes the father’s possessions according to the will that was written. He is there, with the Father, pleading on our behalf to make sure that He does His part to make sure that we legally secure our possessions in Christ Jesus, according to the will written by the Father.
The sad thing is that too many Christians would run to the lawyers after their natural father’s death all excited about what they were going to get on this earth, but not enough Christians are running to the Word of God to find out what provisions Jesus’ death has made available to them, both in this lifetime and in the one to come. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matt 5:6 NKJ) As Christians, we need to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than we would hunger and thirst for any natural inheritance we can gain from this world, no matter how big the natural blessing may be. Jesus promises in His Word, that those who do hunger and thirst for it, will have their lives filled with righteous and holy living. I pray that we will hunger, thirst, and be filled with righteousness more and more. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, Amen.