Month: October 2020

The importance of maturity

The importance of maturity

Intro: It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone…” (Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3). The importance of understanding the word of God cannot be expressed enough. We need the word of God in order to live a life worthy of the blood shed on the cross for us. We can only understand what God has “said” (through scripture), when we listen to what is “saying”(through maturity). In the Parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23). The word or seed sown remained the same, but the people who received the word were different. The way we hear, interpret and apply the word is different based on our level of maturity. This is the fundamental reason why many people cannot change spiritually. It is because they are not able to comprehend and put the word of God into their hearts.

When one faces battles, it takes a certain level of maturity for them to overcome. When you are mature you start to know and understand certain things. If you look at the great exodus from Egypt, the Israelites were being led by a cloud by day and flames of fire by night. These guided them. If they moved, the people moved. If they stopped, then so did the people. Walking under the cover of God essentially was walking in accordance with what God intended at the time. In essence, creating a good relationship with God and walking within His instruction, is what gives us victory over whatever battle we are facing. Maturity comes into play when you begin to understand that coming to Christ and being born again is not the end of troubles but the contrary. You see, as a christian you inevitably engage in spiritual warfare against forces that want to hinder you from reaching heaven. Psalm 23 encompasses the principles at play when one is considered mature.

Let us break this scripture down.

• Psalms 23:1 – 3.”The lord is my shepherd…..”, what if you are broke. What if you have no money in your pocket. How then does this scriptures apply in your life. Our view on life is never what God sees. Even if nothing is going the way you plan it, with maturity you understand that what you need is not the end product, but the manufacturer of that’s product. The giver not the gift. Its understanding that no matter what situation, even if deliverance is yet, you still know and hold on to the truth that God can do all things. Do you truly believe that in Him you have no lack? It is vital to know that in Him you have full provision physically, spiritually and mentally. This is the peace and assurance we have as His own.
• Psalm 23:3 – 4. Even in the deepest darkness you must understand that God is still there. Isaac, (Genesis 26 : 1-25) was instructed to remain in the Land and sow seed in the midst of a famine. It is written he reaped one hundred fold. It was not rain he needed , but God. When Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, a lamb was provided in his place because God saw that he did not withhold even his most precious possession. What was required was the obedience. When you get to this level of maturity, you then don’t have a need to question where God is in any trial because you are confident He is always with you. Remember going through a challenge doesn’t mean God isn’t there.
• Psalm 23:5 -6. God is God and He will equip you with all you need. Many of us think that God addressing a situation means he takes the grievance away. But contrary, he lays a table in the midst of your enemies. It is key to understand that sustenance is yours for the keeping until such a time God will take you out of the situation. Often we fall in pursuit of goodness and love, but the scripture clearly states that these WILL FOLLOW US through every situation and every moment in our lives. Sometimes you have to lose “something” to gain “EVERYTHING!” When you go into the shops with a certain amount of money, you exchange that money for the items you require. Abraham was instructed to leave his fathers house. He gave up the comfort and provision that came with being a part of his fathers household. However, had he remained he would not have been blessed to the great lengths he did. In his maturity and obedience, he attained riches for eternity. God fills your cup to the brim, He is a provider. GOD IS YOUR EVERYTHING. He is the answer to all. Look at Paul, he wrote letters of encouragement to the believers yet he himself was imprisoned in a cell. Even though he was bound physically, his spirit was free. That is a level of maturity we too require.

In conclusion, remember, when a tree stops growing, it starts dying. Likewise when you stop growing in Christ you start deteriorating spiritually. Hence the importance of maturity.
If you cannot implement the word of God in your life, it is like you are building your house on sand (Matthew 7: 24- 27). Your faith cannot be sustained. Let us have our minds renewed everyday. Seek God and grow in maturity.

Understanding

Matthew 28:19. A christian needs to be a good learner and a good teacher. For you to teach you need to learn. It is important to understand what Jesus wants you to do so that you can be an inspiration to other people. Jesus learnt from God what was expected of Him and He was able to impart that knowledge to His disciples and in turn to us. Let us take a moment to look at John the Baptist. John was preparation for what was to come. He wanted the people to have a mental shift and refocus how they worshiped God. If religious teachers and pharisees of that day had taken heed of the message preached by John, they would have had the capacity and UNDERSTANDING to accept Jesus. Their lack of spiritual understanding resulted in them going as far as hurriedly crucifying Jesus so that they could observe the sabbath. Yet Jesus is the King of the Sabbath. Therefore a lack of understanding leads us to make the catastrophic mistakes.

As people we always work on priority. We do what we value first and most. How we value something is dependant on our understanding of it. There are certain things as people, that God expects us to do but we lack the understanding to accomplish them. It is lack of understanding that causes people to walk in ways they assume are right, but have no assurance that they actually are. Assuming something is right and walking in it is like delving blindly into the unknown. Therefore knowledge and understanding are vital in our christian walk.

Colossians 1:9. Paul acknowledges the faith and love the Colossians demonstrated. But he went on to pray that they could have the knowledge and understanding so that they could live according to the will of God and ultimately bear fruit. Understanding can be subjective and has varying levels. For example, there are people who think there is no need to worry about what God wants or believe that the principles in the bible do not refer to them. But they believe that when in trouble they can easily call unto God to deliver them. Clearly this person understands that God is there and has power to deliver, but it’s a low level understanding because they do not care how they live their lives. Others believe that as long as they physically set foot in church then they are believers and have no care about anything else. It is indeed another level of understanding but it’s not good enough. Others are regular church goers and believe they follow God’s principles and yet they harbour hate in their hearts. This is yet another level of understanding, but again this level is not good enough. This is why Paul was praying for the people of Colossians. Paul knew that love and faith alone was not good enough hence he prayed that they understood the mandates of God.

We need to aim for a higher level of understanding if we want to enter the Kingdom of God. As a Christian, what level are you? You cannot bear fruit without the knowledge and understanding the Holy Spirit gives. Lack of understanding is what caused the children of God to wonder the dessert for 40 years before entering the promised land. Had they understood God, it wouldn’t have taken that long. They were overcome by their enemies not because God was weak, but because they didn’t understand God’s principles.

Joshua 7 is an example of destruction resulting from disobedience and again lack of understanding. Many people died unnecessarily due to disobedience. After it was established what Achan had done, and Joshua corrected the mistake made, the Israelites regained the upper hand.

Therefore there are consequences for lack of understanding. So take the time to challenge yourself today. If you are someone who just goes to church and are not concerned about the day to day mandates expected of you, change your ways. Explore the Word of God and gain the knowledge and understanding you need. Jesus defeated the devil in the wilderness by quoting the mandates of God. He knew and understood what was written and made reference to it. That is how He overcame. If you lack knowledge, you cannot reference what is written. You become susceptible to following the wisdom of man that is presented as truth but in actual fact isn’t. Take time to evaluate whether your level of understanding allows you to live the way God wants? If not, pray for the Spirit of understanding and surrender yourself to the mandates of God. There is something you must leave and sacrifice in order to find the Kingdom of God.
Let’s look at this analogy. A recruiter for any job position wants to see what knowledge a candidate has and ultimately how they would apply that knowledge and understanding. Same as in Christ. As long as you don’t have the understanding of how God wants you to live, you cannot apply those principles in how you live your life. God does not dwell anywhere. You are the temple of God. His temple must be upheld in a specific way. The more you live in sin, the more you repel the Spirit of God. Just being a good person, isn’t good enough. Being born into a church and remaining in it, is not good enough. Seeking God in times of trouble only, is not good enough. Therefore pray for the spirit of understanding so that you can know exactly how God wants you to live. Just because a building is called a church doesn’t mean that God dwells there. The presence of God only dwells where his mandates are followed. So aim to live a life worthy of Christ.

Atonement
Leviticus 16:19. We all fall short of the Glory of God, and our transgressions must be made right before God. Today is the day of Atonement. A decree that must be followed yearly for all time to come. Some may argue that this law is no longer valid, but Jesus came to fulfil the law not abolish it (Matthew 5:17) Be prudent not to deviate from the truth of God. Just because Christ died for us, does not mean we are not without sin now. So today is the day where we can be made right with God again.

Having a relationship with God – Series 21

Man shall not live on bread alone. As such, we also need to nourish and strengthen our spirit. Physically we have to eat so that we can live, likewise, spiritually we need the word of God to continue to grow. Growth allows us to be able to face challenges and grow in our understanding of God. This means we can walk and live in the way that is pleasing to God.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has left us alone in isolation, unable to attend regular church services and in need to strengthen our personal relationship with God. Individual growth is needed now more than ever to achieve spiritual success

1 Corinthians 6:19. An understanding of any principle in life, affords us the ability to practise that principle correctly. The bible reminds us that our bodies are the temple of God. The scriptures go further to elaborate and says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. It urges us to use our bodies for the fulfillment of God. There are often a lot of things that we engage in, without even realising the effect they have on our spiritual being. Upright living facilitates the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. The reverse of this is true. Inappropriate conduct dispels the Holy Spirit. Understanding this scripture means that you don’t require anyone to prefect you to maintain purity, but rather you automatically live accordingly. It is good that we meet and fellowship together in church, but as proven in this current situation, personal discipline is paramount. If you are to host the Holy Spirit, then you need to be clean and prepared at all times. If we defile ourselves, God cannot dwell in us.

Eccl 12:13. & vs 1. The sole reason man was created was to worship. Now bearing this in mind, you need to remember that you are the temple of God created to worship. Ask yourself this. Are you using your body for God’s glory? Is the manner in which you carry yourself accommodating to God and sensitive to His Spirit? The time to rely on people to prefect you is gone! What role do you play in the body of Christ. Realise and recognise why God created you. Find joy in God even in these difficult times. Become a trusted vessel and God will start to manifest within you. When you are the host of Christ, you know regardless of circumstance, spiritual warfare or physical challenges God remains God and you are able to uphold your integrity. Trust what God has said. It goes without saying that the fundamental truth is, in order to enjoy the blessing of obedience, you must have a personal and close relationship with God.

God is knocking at your door so he can dwell in His temple. Let us reflect on the early life of Paul. Initially he purposefully sort to persecute the believers. When he met God and had a true revelation of who Christ was he made a complete change and started to function as a devote child of God. When God is in you, people start to see God from within. You begin to have an impact in your community. Do not fall prey to making church a habitual procedure. This will only result in you becoming de-sensitised to the expectation and teachings of God. Remember when a demon has been cast out, it leaves and goes into the wilderness, and roams arid ground. Eventually it returns to check. Therefore when your heart is unclean, the devil comes back in greater numbers and authority than before.

In conclusion, be mindful of your conduct. Is your reaction to circumstances appropriate to the provocation presented? Is it not better to light up the room with your presence, as Christ reflects His light in you? The time we are living in is a time which is preventing us from congregating in church. But you must remain strong as an individual. Host God in your own home. Host God when you are in a community or alone. Host God wherever you are and truly function as a temple set apart for His pleasure.

Having a relationship with God – Series 19

Intro: It has and will always be God’s intention for the human race to worship Him. That is the sole duty of a man. Looking at the story of the great exodus from Egypt. When God sent Moses, he instructed him to tell pharaoh to let His people go so that they could worship Him. Meaning that worshiping God was the basis of their freedom. An understanding of the word of God, teaches us that this intent to worship goes further. God not only wants us to worship Him, but to worship Him in the manner He desires.

Romans 10:1-3. In the scripture, Paul commends the romans for their zeal for God and their dedication. But his prayer was that their zeal be based on knowledge and that they submit to God’s righteousness. True knowledge is about understanding what God wants in your life and walking in His command. Are you devoted in your christian walk but do not understand who God is and your relationship with Him? Do you only seek God and pray to Him when in need by seeking the gift and not the giver? Do you live a life based on your own agenda and not the will of God?

Exodus 19:5. The whole earth and all in it belongs to the Lord. But to those who follow His ways, they are given access to being heirs to the Kingdom. Obedience to God’s will is what differentiates God’s chosen people. When your worship is solely based on God, then you understand who God is in your life. You have power to stand and overcome any obstacles that may come your way. Even if you go through challenges, you do not fear or worry for you truly understand that God is right there with you in the midst of it all. The bible is full of people that overcame adversity because they understood God. Nehemiah, Daniel, Shadrech, Misheck and Abednigo only to name a few.

Challenge yourself today. Strive not only to be devoted to the things of God, but be devoted with knowledge and purpose. With knowledge and understanding you are able to decipher any situation you may well find yourself in. The Israelites spent 40 years wondering the desert because they failed to know who God was to them and their purpose. Therefore it is paramount that you revise the way you worship, not according to your own understanding, but rather the will of God. Often people refer to God’s grace. Grace is an extension from God, an opportunity to return to Him and repent. It is not reason to continually live in sin. Seek God while He is still near. Remember a life in sin results in God denying us as His children. So live in the full knowledge of God as you develop a relationship with Him.

Having a relationship with God – Series 20

The Old vs New testament.

There has been a life long debate and opinion about the law of God from the old into the new testament with many arguing whether the birth of Jesus Christ meant laws were abolished or not.

Matthew 5:17. When John the Baptist was sent, his message was about repentance and a complete change in thought processes. By the time Jesus started His ministry people were already religious. Synagogues were established and people presumably worshiped God.

This shows that a religious foundation of worship was already in existence. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus’ coming was a fulfilment of the scriptures. Going back a bit, it is important to note that John the Baptist was preparation for what was to come. He wanted the people to have a mental shift and refocus how they worshiped God. The verse clearly states that the law was not changed but through Jesus Christ, it was fulfilled. If religious teachers and pharisees of that day had taken heed of the message preached by John the Baptist, they would have had the capacity and understanding to accept Jesus. Their lack of spiritual intelligence resulted in them going as far as hurriedly crucifying Jesus so that they could observe the sabbath. Yet He is the King of the Sabbath. Now, understand this, if you fail to change your mindset, you inevitably miss out on opportunities to grow in Christ. Another example of such detrimental lack of understanding is demonstrated in the story of the of the two men travelling to Emmaus(Luke 24:13-32). In their spiritual immaturity, they had put their hope’s in Jesus under the misconception that He would physically rule over the people of God. They did not perceive that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice to give us right of passage, not on this earth but a heavenly kingdom to come.

It is important to understand and discern the time and season. The law has not changed and how its principles are put into practise is key. The scripture here is authoritative and clear. You must be more faithful than the teachers of the law and pharisees of old. You must understand who God is.

Romans 10: 1-5. Do not be devoted to a church because it’s where your family has worshiped, but be devoted to the principles of God through your understanding. In the book of Romans people became legalistic. True they followed the laws, but did not do so with the understanding and righteousness required to inherit the kingdom. The teaching of Jesus is about matters of the heart. When Jesus came, things became deeper in a way that was spiritual. God wants us to build a trust in Him so much so that though we can’t see Him physically, we perceive Him in all assurance that He never leaves us. Jesus said He is the way the truth and the life, if you are deeply rooted in Christ then fulfilling the laws is natural.

Exodus 20 :1-17. This chapter defines the Laws of Moses. Let us take a look at some of the commandments included.
1. The Sabbath :The law about the sabbath is clear and undeniable. Through the coming of Jesus we see that the essence of this command is not the day in itself. Rather it bears the question, “do you have one particular day completely dedicated to worshiping God? It is neither about the day of the week, but more importantly the act of consciously setting apart a day solely for worship.
2. Do not commit murder. In the new testament there are several verses that encourage love to the extent as to pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). Consider this, when murder is committed it starts with a grievance in the heart that then manifests into an act. Therefore by loving ones enemies this law in the old testament is fulfilled because you cannot kill those you pray for and love. You cannot steal from them or envy them or harm them. Neither can you commit adultery.
Jesus addresses the law from a deeper perspective, a spiritual engagement of the heart that fulfils the law. When you address issues from the heart you have addressed the actions that precede them. Jesus addresses things not from the outside in, but inside out. Jesus was not saying the law wasn’t important, but He was addressing matters of the heart that govern the basis of the law. Commandments were never to benefit God, but to facilitate peaceful and religious living within in a community.

In conclusion therefore, the teaching to say Jesus abolished the law is false. This scripture today nullified that argument. Contrary, even when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He quoted the law. Just because situations have shifted in accordance with the changing times does not mean that the law has changed. Let us therefore work on our hearts so that we can address and fulfil the laws of God as heirs to His throne.

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