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PART 5 RICHES BEYOND MEASURE
What Kind of Decisions about My Own Walk with God Could I Make That Would Help Me Experience His Abundant Life on a Daily Basis?
Here is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. I’m sure for many of us, we have this concept that all I have to do is go to church and all will be well. Going to a Spirit-filled church is indeed a good start. We are commanded to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Why were the believers in the book of Hebrews instructed in this regard?
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
Apparently, there were some believers that had decided to no longer attend the assembly of the saints. These were believed to have been Jewish Christians, who were upset at the inclusion of Gentiles that were considered unwanted by them. The admonition given in response to those who decided to stop attending was to exhort (to encourage) them to continued attendance and to not allow personal prejudices about others affect their decision of removing oneself from the benefits of assembly gathering.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for us to attend a Spirit-filled church on a regular basis. The benefits are many [e.g., the anointing (The Holy Spirit, … is Christ's answer to our need for discernment … who enables us to detect truth and error and to remain ("abide") in Christ35), the corporate impact of the Holy Spirit’s presence; the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit for the edification of the church; fellowshipping with fellow believers; and the varied teachings which will help us to not only learn about the doctrines of the faith, but also how to address the weaknesses of our flesh so that we can help other believers in their walk and grow to spiritual maturity].
What could be of greater benefit to a Christian in respect to attending church than being impacted by God’s abundant life [divine grace, peace (regulating, ruling, and harmonizing the heart), joy (inner rejoicing without any kind of mental agony or fear), rest (refreshment and rejuvenation; freedom from works, anxiety, and cares), resurrection life (motivating energy), and a surplus of spiritual refreshment for one self]? It’s true that for some of us church attendance can impact our work schedule. It could be a difficult place to get to, because of family obligations. Or maybe something has happened after we have attended for a while that has hurt us deeply by a fellow believer or someone in leadership.
I have been there, done that. If a was unable to attend, because of a job, I would get the audio tapes of the service and listen to them at some other time. If there was a family issue that prevented me from attending one of the gatherings, then I would try to attend the others that remained. If I have been taken advantage of or hurt by a member of the church, I will admit that this presents me with one of the most difficult decisions to make. Do I stay or do I go somewhere else? Usually, in this case, I would try to go to the offender (fellow believer) and resolve the matter. If it involves someone in leadership, this can even be more difficult. The questions I would be asking myself before I might make a decision to leave is: am I not being allowed to be placed in any leadership or oversight position because I don’t agree with leadership on a particular doctrinal view?; has leadership committed an egregious offense, been approached concerning such, and has responded by saying he/she can do whatever they please, because it is God’s business and no one else?; has leadership asked for financial support in a certain aspect of ministry and has been found to have used it for their own benefit? If there is a different reason as to why someone chooses not to attend church that seems to be supporting self-serving interests, then this is a different matter altogether. The story that follows will help us clarify what I mean.
I have a Christian friend, who it seems is always on the edge. What I mean by this is, it seems that he is always making decisions that inhibits his walk with God. If worship services are held three times a week, he might attend one. Being self-employed, he works in a profession where he admittedly could work on a particular job for however many hours he chooses. His choice is to work as many hours as he could physically hold up to, and then because he is now overly exhausted goes home, eats dinner, and goes to be early thus not making himself available for worship service later that day.
And along with this, he associates with certain people that have reoccurring addictions, which are similar to the ones, he is still having issues with. Eventually, the temptation becomes to great and he chooses to partake of that which he had tried to avoid engaging in. This pattern seems to repeat itself in his life over and over again. Whenever I have engaged in a conversation with him about how everything is going in his life, he usually responds by talking about all of the things that are going on wrong about himself and others.
He expresses how he doesn’t want to continue on the road he is on, but chooses not to change the decisions that he makes in regard to church attendance and personal associations. What I am trying to say is the answer to our problems in the sense of how to address them can be right in front of us, but if we choose not to take the divine medicine or remedy, then we only have ourselves to blame.
Whether we are consistent in attending the assembly of the saints or are receiving spiritual nourishment through some other avenue, what else could we do that would help us grow spiritually?
Confess our sins
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
This seems like an odd recommendation. Why would this benefit me, if all of my sins were already paid for and forgiven at the cross?
For many church goers, sin is considered to be that which involves an overt action. Sin, however, is not just what we exhibit in our behavior, it also has to do with what we think or say. Being jealous of someone in our thoughts is just as much a sin as taking (stealing) what someone else has.
Scripture admonishes us to confess (admit ourselves guilty of what we are accused of) our sin to God the Father, and to whomsoever we have offended. We should do this, because believe it or not we are actually benefitted by it in three ways. The first has to do with being reconciled with the person, whom we have offended. The second and third reasons have to do with the word forgive. Second, when we confess our sins, God the Father is faithful to forgive us of our sins. This means that He removes from us the chastisement or discipline that He would have instituted if we hadn’t confessed them. And third, another benefit of confessing our sins is that we are restored to fellowship with God the Father along with recovering the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, it’s true that every persons’ sins were paid for and forgiven on the cross. But this has to do with satisfying God’s justice. However, receiving God’s forgiveness in time has to do with our walk with Him.
I have heard from fellow believers, who have stated that confessing their sins is a waste of time, because they mentally sin throughout their day. They would say that confessing didn’t stop them from sinning again and again, so why continue to do it? I understand what they were saying, because I went through this myself following my spiritual conversion. After I eventually found a Spirit-filled church and began attending to the worship services on a consistent basis, I would notice that when the service was over and I was on my way home carnal thoughts would creep in. I would confess them, and then they would come right back. What was I to do to address this madness? The answer to this dilemma is what we will take a look at next.
I finally came to the realization that there was something I could do to limit the confession of sin and that is recovery.
What is recovery?
Recovery means to choose to reflect upon in my thoughts God’s perspective as it relates to a particular area of human weakness or human strength in my life. We took a look at this earlier in our study. Do you remember the words transformed and renewing of your mind from the book of Romans? Let’s take a closer look as to what this is talking about.
Let’s say I have a weakness of fantasizing about having sex with women. I begin by confessing this mental attitude sin to God the Father. I might say something to Him like, Lord, I acknowledge my sin of fantasizing about having sex with women. Now comes recovery.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)
Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. (2 Corinthians 5:16)
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
After which, I choose to think with God as to how He would have us to think in this regard. If this fantasizing is in relation to someone who is an unbeliever, then I would memorize and meditate upon the scriptures presented. God’s mindset now becomes my mindset. I don’t think of them as objects of my pleasure, but as lost souls, who need a savior.
… see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (1 Peter 1:22)
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
What if I am fantasizing about having sex with a woman, who is a believer. Scripture tells us that we are to love our fellow believers with a pure (Godly; genuine; not for the love of ourselves; to not use for our advantage; free from hypocrisy (a pretense of having a virtuous character36) heart (mind; motives; thoughts that are in obedience to the truth) fervently (striving with all of one’s energy; in an all-out manner) as those, who, like ourselves, are new creations. Thus, an affection or fondness for another is based upon the likeness of that other to one's self.37
With that said, we should begin by addressing one weakness at a time; one that seems to continually distract us. This will not be easy, but it will be beneficial. As our thoughts begin to change, so will we be increasingly impacted by God’s abundant life. Soon, this new life will be evident to us not only when we attend church, but throughout the times when we are outside of it. And because of such we will become more and more sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit for prayer, witnessing, giving financially to others, etc.
If we follow what has been presented, it will not be long until we will reach the ultimate spiritual condition. Do you have any idea as to what is considered the ultimate spiritual condition and what it actually means? This will be disclosed to us in the final chapter. Let’s turn there.
New Covenant Ministries - Ministerios NuevoPacto
Sunday & Thursday Worship 7:00PM - Domingo & Jueves 7:00PM
Harbor Church, Block Island
35 The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament, 1989. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 02 February 2020 Ë‚http://www.biblesoft.com>.
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