I woke up Friday morning with the intent of spending a good hour or so soaking up the presence of God and intently listening to an IHOP sermon. But, my intentions meant nothing unless they were acted upon. Wait, I take that back, my intentions were acted upon- just not the way that I wanted for them to go. We act on our intentions by choosing or not choosing to do what we want/plan. Golly, God’s teaching me more and more lessons, just by writing all of this out! Anyways, what I intended my morning to look like did not come to fruition. I chose to hit the snooze, more times that I’d care to admit. I then proceeded to go do chores and find out that the cattle have escaped. I spent the good part of my morning chasing cows, calves, two rather intimidating steers, and a bull back where they belong and mending fence. So much for my quiet morning.
Two things the Lord revealed to me through that morning. One being that things don’t always go as planned. I need to be reminded that what I perceive as inconveniencies are both teachable moments and ways that I can grow in character and in the knowledge of Him! Secondly, I was greatly reminded of just how much I chose to gratify my fleshly desires, such as sleeping in, day-dreaming, worry, pride, etc.
The funny thing is, I was able to have my quiet time and both the sermon I listened to and my ‘devo’ fit perfectly with what my morning had consisted of. An example: Trust ME in the midst of your messy day… Seek MY face and I will share MY mind with you, opening your eyes to see things from my perspective…
I am deeply burdened by my inability to consistently see with my spiritual eyes. Lately it seems as though all I am doing is seeking with my physical eyes, all the while in my heart knowing that God IS sovereign. It’s been such a struggle, but my reflections from this IHOP sermon spoke so much truth into my struggle and have helped me so much this past week! It’s something I will be continually working on. My inability to see with my spiritual eyes is a clear reflection of how my time with God has been. I haven’t sought after Him as fervently as I have in the past weeks, and it shows. My fleshly desires are claiming their victories because I am not cultivating my relationship with the Spirit, nor preparing my heart and mind for battle. The following are my notes from the sermon I listened to. They spoke to me in ways that exceeded my expectations and I pray that the Lord will use them to minister to you as well!
Walking In The Spirit: Feeding Our Spirit On God’s Word:
If you walk in the Spirit, you won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh- the violent nature of the war inside of us- the flesh it lusts (wars) against the spirit. The Spirit wars back against the flesh- ENGAGE WITH HIM in the process. The spirit’s agenda is to give us LIBERTY from the war inside- liberated: from the power and dominion of the flesh- physical, emotional (pride, bitterness, anger). Now the LORD is the Spirit- the Spirit is God. Liberty is the fruit of when the Spirit is received.
Who will deliver me? – Through an ongoing encounter (present tense) through encountering the presence of Jesus through an active relationship with the Spirit.
We can have victory and dominion in the war, but it will never go away- we will ONLY have victory and dominion if we are ACTIVELY FELLOWSHIPPING with the Spirit- vital relationship with the Spirit It’s like an airplane. We have defied the law of gravity by being able to fly from one place to the other. That does not mean that gravity is non-existent during our time of flight, but rather we are able to not feel it’s affects. Now, if we decide that we are cruising right along just fine and decide that we don’t need the engine anymore, we immediately begin our tumble to the earth. Gravity has regained its’ power. Your flesh is like gravity, the Spirit is our airplane- how is your engine running? The fuel for your engine- God’s Word, Prayer, seeking wise counsel, resting in HIS presence.
Many people put their attention on denying the flesh- they try harder- others try to put their attention on the recovery after crisis- the planes going down, I need to find all the bible verses that tell me that God still loves me when I fail, They spend most of their energy managing the crash- others make quality decisions to stay out of things that excite the desires of their flesh- most effective: cultivate the Spirit’s relationship- you will have dominion instead of management.
We can ONLY find liberty from sinful desires by maintaining a relationship with the Spirit
1) Walk by the Spirit: Walk (the choices, behavior choices) in the Spirit’s values. Say no to the things that grieve the Spirit, say yes to those that the Spirit approves
2) Be Led by the Spirit: Follow the Spirit’s leadership; being watchful to the Holy Spirit’s promptings in our lives- we decide that we want to be more aware- especially in our Spiritual life- beyond religious. Don’t trivialize the Spirits leadership. Be attentive to how He guides- is it more warnings or more ‘do this’. We honor the spirits leadership instead of ignore it in the small decisions of our inner life. When a big decision comes, you’re less equipped to follow the leadership if you are not in tune for the small decisions. How much time do we give to feed our Spirit?
3) Live in the Spirit: Is to be empowered by the Spirit’s life as we are fed by the Spirit’s food, which is the word of God. A collision is inevitable if we are not living in the Spirit. It matters how much time we give in our schedules to feed the Spirit. How much time is enough?- varies per person. (myself- a minimum of 30 min in AM, 1.5hrs @ night. A 3hr solo 1x/week) One that has an undernourished Spirit will walk in lust/flesh.
As we pursue the 3 above, we are renewed in the Spirit of our mind (the whole condition on the inside- not isolated to thinking). When we feed out Spirit on the light, the darkness cannot overcome it. Put more energy into having light entered than trying to get darkness to flee- when light enters darkness flees. Many people are so used to living with a quenched Spirit that they think it’s normal. The voice of the Word is stronger than the voice of our flesh, but we need to strengthen and feed it. Our inheritance is to have a fully alive heart. (I’m going to put my laws into your heart). Psalm 119. Our victory will occur when we are fervently pursing and acting on #3- God has provided the higher law (gravity analogy) but it will not act on its own. If you want to see fruition- be active.
God, give my new eyes, ones that see the world from Your perspective. Give me a passion to feed my Spirit in Your Truth. Give me the discipline to cultivate the relationship I have with the Spirit, tune my heart to His promptings. I desire to have victory and dominion over my flesh Lord, these physical eyes and fleshly desires are so meaningless and destructive to my relationship with You. I will seek you above all else!
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with their whole heart,
Who also do no wrong,
But walk in His ways!
You have commanded your precepts
To be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
In keeping Your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
Having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
When I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
Do not utterly forsake me!
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to Your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
Let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up Your word in my heart,
That I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
Teach me Your statutes!
With my lips I declare
All the rules of Your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
As much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
And fix my eyes on Your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.