We Make Spiritual Life Too Hard

Taking into account the total global population, few people practice living a spiritual life:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Mt. 7:13, 14. ESV

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” Mt. 11:28 – 30. AMP

Jesus spoke both of these. They almost seem contradictory, but they are decidedly not. The ‘narrow gate’ is the only path to living a spiritual life and gaining salvation. It’s not hard to find. It’s been broadcast for over 2000 years. The gate is Christ. The way is ‘hard’ because so many people do not want to give up the ways of the world and / or are unwilling to get over themselves.

As we see, Jesus says that the exchange is easy, that the weight on our souls will be lightened immeasurably when we dump the consequences of our old ways at His feet. The spiritual life is easy, requiring only a slight burden (your compliance) be placed  upon you:

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. 1 Jn. 5:3, 4. NKJV

We can do this! We do it by doing our best to walk in God’s word and staying in faith that our salvation has come now. The only obstacles in our way are those of our own making. For example, take our concerns over our ‘level’ of spirituality at any given time. We may not feel we are making progress; but if we are staying committed to making our best efforts to be obedient, our Father shows His faithfulness. His Spirit stays with us, working to keep His promises:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation, from bondage, true freedom]. And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:17, 18. AMP

So, the ‘somewhere’ you think you should be spiritually, is where you already are. It’s a matter of faith, not sight. Don’t sweat it. Just stay in contact and be dependent upon your Maker.

Most of the time you have problems on your spiritual path is when you give into the subconscious patterns of your old self. You know this is happening when you see your old injurious fruits begin to manifest again. That’s just your loving God trying to wake you up so that you can remember your gift(s):

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? …just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life…present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Rm. 6:3, 4 & 13. NJKV

Perhaps you think that you don’t know enough of God’s word as you think you should, or as much as some other brother or sister in Christ. You’re a work in progress!! As soon as you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you were united with His Spirit; and that’s the tightest connection we can have.

The only thing you need concern yourself with, is to always be in a questioning mode about your motives, i.e. ‘Is this my will, or is it Jesus’?’ Just stick to walking in the gospel and don’t give heed to anything that man has added to it.

Yield your present self to Christ and His mercy and keep your ears open.

The Godhead is beyond our complete understanding, but we can take everything it reveals to us to the bank; and that includes what it shows us about ourselves. God is not parading any of your old shortcomings in front of you to degrade you. What He’s doing is showing you how far He’s brought you.

Enjoy the ride…

Goodnight and God bless.

What Does God Say About Your Life? – Part 2

As we said last time, what this series represents is the undertaking that we have made over the past 11 months, covering all the things that God has said about how to live out our highest and best life; i.e. a summation. In the first part of this series, we revisited why reaching for our salvation and helping others do the same is so urgent, why we would want God in our lives, how and why God created you in His image and the way He fashioned a universe just for you, how He surrounds you on all sides, how He heals you, about the devastation of sin and God’ presents you with a way out of it, and finally, we looked at a godly characteristic that He wants you to possess and express – that of godly giving and demonstrating gratitude for what God’s given to you.

Now, let’s look at another godly characteristic: that of forgiving. God always leads by example. He is a forgiving God, regardless of what we’ve done – if we confess our transgression and repent. (2 Chr. 7:14; Ps. 103:2 & 130:4; Dan. 9:9).

The only reason we have to forgive anyone (including ourselves) is because we indulge in judgment, which is in itself a trespass against God. (Mt. 7:1 – 3). God requires us to forgive that person we have judged before He will bestow His forgiveness upon us. (Mt. 6:14, 15; Col. 3:12, 13.)

Forgiveness is so important to God that He will not even listen to your prayers unless you first make reconciliation with anyone with whom you are withholding your forgiveness. (Mt. 5:23, 24.)

Forgiveness is the highest act of giving. It is where we give our love away regardless of whether or not we think it is deserved. After all, who doesn’t deserve love? When we forgive, we are emulating Christ, who went to the cross for our forgiveness and acknowledging that it was enough…

God also asks us to live in a manner that demonstrates our trust in Him – a life lived by faith, beginning with the belief that He exists and rewards those who seek Him and that every word He speaks is pure truth. (Heb. 11:6; Pr. 30:5; Is. 40:8.) That trust is completely solidified when we also place faith in Jesus as the Son of God, in the fact that He died for our sins and was resurrected to the Father. (Jn. 1:14; 1 Pt. 1:2.)

God and His Son further explained that the way we show out trust in Them is to follow their specific directives. It is how we express our love to Them. (Dt. 10:12,13 & 12:32; Jer. 11:4; Jn. 14:15; 1 Jn. 5:3.) When we do that, our present and eternal blessings abound. (Dt. 7:9, 12:22 & 28:2; Ps. 112:1; Is. 55:11; Jn. 6:63, 8;31, 32 & 51, 15:7, 8; 1 Pt. 1:22; 1 Jn. 2:5, 3:21, 22.)

Another way we demonstrate that love is by giving up our worldly notion of independence, and lean on God to see our way through this life. After all, God had every aspect of our lives planned out for all of us before we were even born. (Ps. 139:16; Jer. 29:11.) In fact, His plans far exceed our expectations. (Eph. 3:20; Phil. 4:19.)

You can lean on God because He loves to help you and He sends that loving help through His Son, His Spirit and His angels… (Lv. 26:13; 1 Kings 1:29; Ps. 9:9, 16:8, 20:6, 27:1, 32:8, 91:10, 11, 138:8 & 147:3; Is. 42:16 & 49:25; Lk. 4:18; Rm. 8:26; 2 Cor. 1:3, 4; Phil. 4:5 – 7.)

Continuing in building our godly character, our Father asks us to be holy. (Lv. 19:2; Eph. 1:4; 1 Th. 4:7; Rv. 22:11.) And yet He tells us that nobody is. (1 Sam. 2:2; Is. 64:6; Rm. 3:9, 10.)

But God does not leave us hanging. He offers us a holy transformation through faith in His redemption through Christ – whose blood cleanses us, so that we shine brightly in righteousness before our Creator. (Rm. 3:25, 26 & 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 2:16; Heb. 10:10.) Then, we are privy to every heavenly blessing. (Ps. 5:12, 34:17; 2 Cor. 7:1.)

We don’t have to be perfect. We only have to practice walking in God’s word the best that we can (in faith) and He makes up the difference… (Gn. 15:6)

All our godly characteristics emanate from our spiritual self – that portion of us that connects directly to God’s Spirit (Holy Spirit), which He places within us. (Pr. 20:27; Is. 26:9; Jn. 4:2; 1 Jn. 3:24.)

That same Holy Spirit reveals all that Christ is, all He has ever taught and unveils all that He has yet to tell us. (Jn. 14:26 & 16:13, 14; 1 Cor. 2:9.) As a result, the Spirit sets us on the path to Christ’s salvation – the path of godliness. (Rm. 8:6; Gal. 6:8.)

Yet we cannot walk this path without rendering our free-will sacrifices to God; e.g. a tithe. (Ex. 23:19; Lv. 19:5.) Another type of sacrifice is walking in righteousness in the face of a world that tells you to do otherwise – to persevere in advancing the kingdom of God. (Ps. 4:5 & 51:17; Pr. 21:3; 1 Pt. 2:5.)

Your gratitude is also a form of sacrifice. (Ps. 107:21, 22 & 141:2; Heb. 13:15.)

God receives all your sacrifices, acknowledges them, remembers them forever and blesses you eternally for them… (Ps. 50:8; Is. 56:7; Jer. 33:11.)

Returning to godly characteristics, God also wants you to sacrifice your anger so that you may live in peace with all people. It is one of a group of spiritual qualities that He wants you to possess:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… Gal. 5:22, 23. NASB

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31, 32. NKJV

If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Rm. 12:8 ESV.

Anger is destructive to those who practice it and to those for whom they thrust it upon. If one practices it unrepentantly, it bars their own way to salvation. (Pr. 11:17 & 15:18; Amos 1:11; Mt. 5:22; James 1:19, 20; 1 Jn. 2:11.)

God loves you and He wants you to be with Him forever. To accompany Him, that anger must be quelled:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” Mt. 5:9 NKJV

The last godly characteristic I want to consider today is ‘living with integrity’; i.e. living by our word. (Dt. 23:23) Speaking of our words, God takes the content of them very seriously, letting us know that they can literally determine our outcomes in life. Moreover, He says that we will have to account for every word that leaves our mouths. (Pr. 18:21; Mt. 12:34 – 37 & 15:11.)

If we use our tongue to curse, lie, boast, self-serve or mock, degradation of our lives will follow. (Pr. 11:9, 12:1317:5, 19:9, 20:20, 26:28, 27:1; James 4:2, 3 & 16.)

But when we speak with the wisdom of God, our lives will blossom. (Pr. 12:19, 13:3, 15:1, 4, & 28; Eccl. 10:12; Col. 4:6.)

God gave you a voice to exalt Him and exhort one another. (Ps. 105:1, 2; Eph. 4:29; Heb. 13:13.)

The highest calling for the use of your tongue is to tell others about God’s salvation through Christ… (Rm. 10:8,9; 2 Tim. 4:2.)

So, what are we doing when we consider and act upon all these characteristics God wants us to wear on our persona? We are examining how to prepare for a spiritual life in relationship with God now and forever. (Job 22:21 – 23 & 25 – 28.)

We cannot find any valid information in the ways of the world for that path, so we need spiritual coaching. Thankfully, God provides with the Great Coach, His Son. (Mt. 7:7; Jn 6:27 & 15:5; 1 Jn. 2:15 – 17.)

It’s imperative that we embark on this preparation before we die or before Christ’s second coming (whichever comes first). There won’t be another chance. (Is. 55:6; Mk. 1:15; Rv. 3:11.)

Our preparation consists of walking in God’s word and serving Him by emulating Jesus. (Ps. 15:1, 2; Eph. 5:8; 1 Pt. 2:21 – 24.) We must train diligently, with perseverance, exercising our faith and taking on the tasks that our Creator assigns us. (2 Tim. 2:15; James 2:20; Heb. 6:11, 12 & 11:6.)

Ultimately, we will then rise in His victory. (Phil. 3:12 – 14; 2 Tim. 4:7, 8.)

Amen.
Goodnight and God bless.