Monthly Archive: November 2010
I remember the day my youngest daughter suggested "family therapy." My immediate reaction was that my daughter was simply trying to deflect her issues on me instead of going through the hard work that she needed to do. How wrong I was! As we went through therapy together, I learned what Jesus so wisely taught: that you must first get healthy yourself in order to be any help to another.
As a Christian abides in Christ, living in the fullness of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit is developed and the Christian becomes more mature spiritually. The maturing of the fruit of the Spirit is a lifetime process that goes on continually as Christ-like characteristics are being formed in the life of the Christian. Some Christians give greater evidence of the fruit of the Spirit than do others because of a greater degree of yielding to His working. The more we acknowledge ourselves to be dead to sin and surrender to our Lord Jesus Christ and His life within us, and the more we allow Him through the power of the Holy Spirit to live out His life through us, the more evident will be the fruit of the Spirit.
God tells us if we go about faith in small ways, our returns will be small. But if we go about faith in big ways the harvest will be huge - not only in our lives, but in the lives of others. But whatever you choose to invest whether it's your time, your heart, your resources, whatever, God calls you and me to do so with a cheerful heart. You choose to do it, because you want to, not because you have to!
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are filled with Jesus Christ. We no longer think of Christ as One who helps us do some kind of Christian task but, rather, Jesus Christ does the work in and through us. Christ does not want us to work for Him. He wants us to let Him do His work in and through us. This is the glorious experience that the apostle Paul knew, as he described in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (NIV).
In recent times, men like John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, Dwight L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, G. Campbell Morgan, R. A. Torrey, Billy Graham, and scores of other Christian leaders who have been filled with the Holy Spirit have been greatly used to further the cause of Christ and His kingdom. However, the filling of the Holy Spirit is not limited to Christian leaders, but is available to every believer who meets God's conditions. Read what some of these great people of God say about the importance of every Christian being filled with the Holy Spirit:
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it.
Many people are experiencing poverty. Dr. Billy Graham has said that according to his research, at least 90 percent of all Christians in America are living defeated lives. Others who are in a position to know the spiritual pulse of America have made similar statements. A life of spiritual poverty is completely unnecessary, and does not glorify God. The many thousands of promises recorded in the Word of God apply to every Christian. These promises include: assurance of God's love (John 3:16), eternal life (Romans 6:23), forgiveness of sin (1 John 1:9), peace, comfort, provision, and many other promises.
Many of us in the business and professional world are accustomed to relying on a variety of resources: banks; key staff members; well-conceived goals; strategic plans; experience and expertise; personal finances. We pride ourselves at "pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps." Yet at times we must concede even our best efforts - and all of the resources we can muster - are not enough to overcome the obstacles we confront. At times like these, I have often remembered Jesus' admonition: "Apart from Me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5).