Category: The Spiritual Disciplines

Fruit of the Spirit

How do I pray?  

When in prayer, request the best:Pray for the Fruit of the Spirit:

Fruit of the Spirit – That which brings forth the righteousness and truth of the Holy Spirit when growing us through His Sanctification process. They are the things that define us as Spirit-filled disciples of Christ. They are the things that depict the holiness that has been imparted to us in this growth process. They are the attributes that others see as we reflect the image of Jesus Christ.

 While all Fruit of the Spirit are not listed per se, they are implied in several places.

Colosians 3:12-17 Is a listing of the Fruit of the Spirit

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Read more »

Our Will

Keith Miller in his book, “The Taste of New Wine”, makes a statement that has stuck with me as one of the most important principles of the Christian life. He says, “God doesn’t want your time, your talents, your money or anything else you have control over in your life, He wants your will. He will begin to show you life as you’ve never seen before”.

In the book, Messages to Young People, pages 151-154, we find some of the most important concepts relating to our personal salvation that have ever been written. “Pure religion has to do with the will. The will is the governing power in the nature of man, bringing all the other faculties under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the deciding power, which works in the children of men unto obedience to God, or unto disobedience” (p. 151). Notice that the will is not our emotions or our fallen nature. It is the deciding power, the switch, that determines which way our thoughts will go.

The truth of these quotes is that there is really only one thing of which you have total control, your will.

Until you choose to surrender your will to God’s will, there is no way you can be the committed disciple of Jesus Christ you may hope to be.

The will is different from your feelings or emotions. You cannot always control those but you can control your reactions to them because God gave man the one thing that allows him to choose, his will.

But, God promises help. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV)
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

 

(Our Will continued)

But, even with that, we still must exercise our will to make that promise real in our life. I must choose to surrender all to Him. I must realize that unless I willingly yield my will to God, my will is under the control of Satan? We want to think that we are in control, that we are the captains of our own ships. Do we stop to think that if our will is not in Christ’s hands, then Satan is controlling us? Since none of us can keep our hearts beating and our lungs breathing, then we must acknowledge that we are subject to higher powers. Our will of necessity will be controlled either by Christ or Satan, and our only choice is who will have it. We must first choose to take the will out of Satan’s hands and give it to Christ. We must openly say, “I take this will that you have given me out of the hand of Satan. He has no more right to it. I choose to submit my will to the control of Jesus Christ.”

Guard your senses

Exactly how do we go about activating the will so that it can be controlled by God alone? There is something very basic that must happen if we want God to work in our lives. “All should guard the senses, lest Satan gain victory over them; for these are the avenues of the soul. You will have to become a faithful sentinel over your eyes, ears, and all your senses if you would control your mind and prevent vain and corrupt thoughts from staining your soul. The power of grace alone can accomplish this most desirable work” (The Adventist Home, p. 401).

We sing in Kindergarden, “Be careful little eyes what you see, – be careful little ears what you hear”. We cannot relegate that little song for little children alone. As adults, we must guard our senses from those things that corrupt our hearts. Some things appeal to the basal, carnal nature of man even when he has been redeemed. God will not stop us from being exposed to those things. The world is full of them by way of books, magazines, TV and even TV commercials, and more corruptive these days, the Internet.  It is a choice we must make for ourselves. It is a part of exercising our will. What will He do? By way of the Holy Spirit, He whispers, “no, no”.

To be what God intends as a spiritual, growing, sanctified Christian, we must take control of our will and yield it to God.

Can the Christian sin and not know it?

As a committed disciple of Christ, one of the things we can be sure of is the conviction of sin. When we are saved, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. One of the things the Holy Spirit does is to convict of sin. John 16:8 (NKJV)
8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

That means, that when we commit sin, we know it. If not immediately, the next time we try to pray, we will be convicted of that sin. To not be convicted of unconfessed sin calls into question the truth of our salvation. He will convict us if we are open to the fact of our sin.

A person can go on denying that something is a sin. He often does this to cover up his conviction of that sin because he is reluctant to give it up. If he is truly a child of God, he will eventually feel the undeniable conviction of the Holy Spirit in his life.

If he doesn’t, at some point, yield to the Holy Spirit’s continued conviction, then a logical conclusion is that person has not received the Holy Spirit, been saved and/or has rejected the Spirit’s work in his life. All of this boils down to a vital fact, he has not truly been saved.

This is not a discussion on whether a person can lose his salvation, but whether what he has counted on as his salvation was real salvation. One of the statements the writer of Hebrews makes in Heb. 6:4 is that part of their enlightenment is the obvious realization of the Holy Spirit in their life.
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit . . . to renew them again unto salvation.

 

(Can a person sin and not know it – continued)

The real question is not “once saved, always saved”, but rather “once saved”. There are a lot of people who claim to have accepted Christ as their personal Savior but do not display that claim in their life. One of the ways a lost person will call to question his salvation is by the life he lives and by his sensitivity to the working of the Holy Spirit. That sensitivity will be the conviction of sin (and of righteousness).

This article is not intended to cause a person to question his salvation, but to make each person aware that his salvation includes an awareness of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. To deny that conviction is often a sign that the Holy Spirit is not present and effectual in our life.

It behooves every person who claims to be saved to also acknowledge an awareness of sin. His first prayer each day is that he be able to feel and hear what the Spirit is saying. That most certainly includes the conviction of sin.

(comments to johgriff@aol.com)

Prayer Part 4 – The Prayer of Thanksgiving

I Thess 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Believe or not, that could also be thanking God for the unwelcomed circumstances that come to us. There are times when we may not feel thankful. There may be a circumstance in your life that you feel God unjustly allows in your life. How can we be thankful in those times?

There is a word in the following passage that is our clue.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (KJV)

17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18 Yet, I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
Did you spot the word? It is the single, simple word YET in verse 18 that sets apart the thankful heart and honors God the most.

It is easy to be thankful in the good times. But it is faith that enables us to thank God also in the tough times.

Notice I am not thankful FOR the tough times of life. The word in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 does not say “FOR everything give thanks”. It says “IN everything give thanks”. In fact it is easy to be resentful about some of them. They are the times we are not happy.

So, what makes it possible to be thankful in the tough times?

As we are praying and recounting all of our blessings, we can also acknowledge that God is worthy of our praise even in the bad times.

In a post elsewhere in this website called “Life under the Circumstances”, is the idea that God engineers bad times according to His overall plan for our life. If we are willing to accept that God may be using us to accomplish something special, it can change our whole attitude about them. We may never understand what that something special may be but it is by faith that I can pray, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord!”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Can you believe that promise?

Prayer Part 3 – Supplication, Petition & Intercession

Seeking His Will

Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law.
I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes,
O LORD; do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.
Ps 119:29-32

Supplication is for those things of which I am aware and conscious of the need in my own life. Seldom is it material although they sometimes are. Usually however, they are more of “attitude” than “material”. When I am aware that my love and seeking Him are lacking, I ask for more desire for Him.

Sometimes I develop a negative attitude toward another person that I know is not a Godly attitude. My deliberate prayer for that person begins to soften and become more Christ-like.

Sometimes I feel I am becoming resentful for an event or circumstance that I am in. My prayer then should be to seek what God is trying to teach me through that. Read more »

Prayer Part 2 – Confession

Confession

“Psalms 51:9-10 (KJV)

9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.  10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

I must Confess sins that the Holy Spirit brings to my mind.

Confession and repentance preceeds any prayer

I am convinced that when I try to pray when I have unconfessed sin is totally useless. Prayer without the cleansing process of confession and repentance keeps our doorway to the Father closed.

My first prayer each time I pray must be to allow the Holy Spirit, root out and bring to my mind every sin of which I am guilty. In effect I agree with God that I am guilty.

When I pray fervently that the Holy Spirit bring my unconfessed sin to my mind, I am usually sorry I asked. He brings things to mind that I really did not realize were there. We can be so blinded by Satan that we do not always recognize a thing as sin until the Holy Spirit brings it to mind.

Holy Spirit bring to my mind those things that need to be confessed and repented. Read more »