Position is Everything

imagesBlessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

The giver of ALL our earthly and spiritual blessings HAS blessed us… it’s a done deal. Just like our salvation that was bought before we were even born, Christ has provided for us everything we need to thrive. We have the very power of the resurrection living inside of us based solely on what He did for us and our having received that gift.

But we don’t feel that way. We don’t act that way. We spend our days asking God for MORE… more understanding, more faith, more patience, more “fill in the blank”…

What if we stopped fighting to get more and realized we already have everything we need? What if we started to fight for what we already have?

There’s nothing we can do to make God love us more (or less for that matter). His love for us is more than we can imagine, and no performance on our part can change that. We can’t earn or lose any of the forgiveness Christ accomplished for us on the cross. It’s all there – right now. In the same way, so are our spiritual blessings. Healing. Joy. Faith. Everything.

So instead of begging, pleading and asking God for something He has already blessed us with – what if we changed our stance and simply started to receive what He has already provided?

Paul prayed this amazing prayer in Ephesians;

“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power” (Ephesians 1:17-19)

Paul is praying for us. He is praying for believers. He’s essentially asking that we would come alive to the truth of what Christ has already done for us. He prayed that what was given to us would be recognized and used!

He goes on to say that we have within us the same power that raised Christ from the dead;

…”what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:19-20)

 

It doesn’t get any more powerful than that. So instead of wasting our time asking for more… shouldn’t we learn to appropriate what is already in us by His power?

Would it make a difference if we prayed from a place of victory instead of defeat? I think for sure it would! Instead of starting from a sad, defeated position, telling God how empty we are and how we need more of (…..), what if we came from a place of fullness and confidence? Not ignoring our trials, but addressing them in a different way. It isn’t our job to “make” God act. We don’t have to muster up enough faith and hope God will hear us and have pity on our situation. That’s legalistic faith and it bears no fruit. No person on earth could ever meet that high standard.

How about… instead of trying to get God to respond to us, we respond to HIM? If we know the truth of what is available to us – all the righteousness, peace and joy we could ever handle – we should be walking in that!

As believers, we are already standing in a place of victory. The battle has already been won. So when the enemy comes up against us, we need to ACT like victors. We need to defend what is already ours. Instead of crumbling in the face of adversity and claiming how weak and helpless we are, we should be proclaiming the truth of who we are in Christ and because of Him.

Your position changes everything! It’s so much easier to defend something you already have than to have to go out and fight to get it. We are blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing – lets believe it and act like it!

When Truth Is Rare

db1e437f170debc9c7a4907a8df0b77d“Now the boy Samuel ministers to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. 1 Samuel 3:1

Samuel was just a child when called by God. He “grew up before the Lord” and “ministered to the Lord”. I’ve always kind of glossed over these phrases in the story and focused more on the events of Samuel’s later life. It’s what happens in those beginning stages however, that shape us for the rest of our lives.

MINISTER TO THE LORD

The first thing we see is that Samuel “ministered to the Lord.” His first calling, first duty, was to minister to God Himself. He spent time alone with God, hearing and learning from Him alone. There were priests that served the people and priests set aside to minister to the Lord. Ministering to only people will allow you to hear what the people think. Ministering to the Lord first and foremost allows you to hear what He has to say. Being a minister to God doesn’t mean you don’t minister to people – it simply means that hearing from God must come first. Now days, it’s easier to latch on to the world’s opinions and solutions. God’s way is deemed too narrow and too exclusive. It’s true, following the Word of God and His direction may not be the most popular, but it is the BEST way.

As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse – for they are a rebellious house –  yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.” Ezekiel 2:5

Not everyone will hear. In fact, most people will reject God’s truth. It was true in Samuel’s day and it’s still true. In the midst of a rebellious people, Samuel STILL ministered to the Lord and was blessed. NO REVELATION

“and the word of the Lord was rare in those days…” 1 Samuel 1:3

What a sad scripture this is to read. In spite of everything functioning on the surface (all the logistics were in place, ministers, priests, etc.) there was “no widespread revelation”. God’s people had walked so far out of His will and His ways that the revelation had all but dried up. They followed the scriptures, but not the GIVER of those scriptures. People were not receiving the life-giving words they needed. There is a huge difference between God’s word and human wisdom:

“They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord… For who has stood in the counsel of the Lord, and has perceived and heard His word? …But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.” Jeremiah 23: 16,18,

So many people can speak their “vision” and it can sound so good. But how many of them have actually stood in the counsel of the Lord and surrendered that vision to Him? There are a lot of really popular “Christian” authors out there who are using anything but the Word of God to influence people. Humor. Catchy sayings. The world’s belief system. They have book deals and shiny, fancy blog sites with thousands of followers.The purpose, it seems to me, is to make people agree with them. The more “likes” the better. I read them. I read them because sometimes the grain of truth comes out and they make me smile. But they are not my food. They almost never contain anything from God’s Word. People don’t really desire the Word anymore. They desire some new take on it… a watered-down version that makes everyone feel good. God is Love, yes indeed, but He is also Truth. Revelation comes by the Word of God. Take the Word out of the picture, and the revelation dries up. A NEW COVENANT! We are so blessed to live in a New Covenant where we have free and equal access to God’s truth! He doesn’t hold it back. But we do need to honor Him. In a world that goes out of it’s way to dishonor His covenant, we can be like Samuel who chose to hold it up. Minister to God first, put Him ahead of people. If no one listens, it’s ok. We may live in a time when true revelation is rare, but for the believer who abides, it should be the norm! God gives graciously and freely to those who seek Him with a whole heart!

Mustard Seed Faith

scriptureonfaith “And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17: 18-20 I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of us as believers have not fully understood this passage about the little mustard seed and how it applies to our faith. On one hand, we read that unbelief is the reason miracles don’t happen. Then we read that we only need a small amount of faith to move a mountain. So which is it? The disciples had been experiencing hearings and miracles and had been performing them in the power Jesus gives to all of us.  This time, however, it didn’t work and they were confused. The young boys father had come to Jesus and told him the disciples were unable to cast out the evil spirit. Not one to sugarcoat the situation, Jesus calls them out; “Oh faithless and perverse generation… how long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” It’s probably not correct, but I picture a little eye roll and shaking of the head here on Jesus’ part, like a parent telling a child something for the hundredth time and watching that child do the exact opposite of what he was told. Addressing the crowd, he calls them out on this unbelief. He is never unkind, but He is truthful. In love and power, he heals the child at that moment. Later on, in private, the disciples ask him what happened. I love that we can always do this with Jesus. Go into our room, in private, and ask him honestly “what the heck just happened?” He is always there to comfort us and answer us. Why weren’t they able to heal this boy? His answer is simple, but our interpretation of it has us mixed up. Jesus says simply, “Because of your unbelief.” The disciples weren’t new to this healing thing, they had established faith in Christ and His power. They didn’t doubt they possessed the ability to heal. Faith was there. The problem was that unbelief was there as well. I think we assume the two are mutually exclusive – if you have faith, you don’t have unbelief and if you have unbelief, you must not have any faith. The two can and do operate at the same time. Jesus didn’t say to them “It’s because of your small faith that this boy wasn’t healed.” No, he said it’s because of your UNBELIEF. We fall into the trap of thinking we need bigger or better faith. We assume that prayers aren’t answered because we didn’t have enough faith. God says clearly that we all have been given THE measure of faith that we need (Romans 12:3). It’s His very faith that we receive, not something that we conjure up in our own strength. So Christians give up when things don’t work out and convince themselves that their measure of faith just wasn’t enough. If this were true, then the entire parable of the mustard seed would be meaningless. The mustard seed is the smallest seed. He tells us we only need a bit of true faith, the size of that faith doesn’t seem to matter. We waste our time pleading with God to “give us more faith”. He has already given us what we need! As a believer, we have that measure and it is ABUNDANT! It doesn’t run out when times get tough and it’s not our responsibility to “get more”. Our faith is a response to what He has already provided and done for us. So faith and unbelief CAN exist together. The sick child’s father knew it and cried out “Lord I believe! Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). We know in our heads that there is power in true faith. We struggle because the world we live in constantly fans the flames of unbelief and quenches the Holy Spirit by telling us our lack of faith is the reason we struggle. Plenty of churches teach it. Christian cliches abound telling us to “just have faith”, omitting the most crucial fact, that our faith is from God and not ourselves. The burden of having “more faith” isn’t even Biblical. How amazingly freeing it is to understand that we don’t have to beg and plead with God but instead enter into what He has already done for us! So, it seems like it’s more about getting rid of our unbelief than it is about getting more faith. If we sever our ties with unbelief – thoughts, influences, fears, all the things that come at us that are contrary to God’s Word – if we pull the plug on those things and fill our minds with the truth of God’s Word, things would be vastly different. It’s a simple truth, but we have made it so complicated! We have actually reversed what God has told us to do. By placing the burden on ourselves, we take Him out of the picture entirely. Jesus calls us to be like little children. I don’t think it means being naive or uninformed, but pure at heart. Faith grabs hold of the person of Christ and lets go of everything else. Children believe because they simply have no reason to disbelieve. So maybe we can focus less on being a person of great faith and focus instead on being a person of little unbelief.  If we were meant to always have BIG faith, God would have never used the mustard seed as an example. We are called to have a PURE faith, received from Him alone. When that kind of supernatural faith is operating, unbelief has no choice but to flee. How beautiful and freeing that God does not leave us to fend for ourselves in a faith desert – thank you Jesus that it isn’t up to us to “do” but only to “receive”!