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Posts Tagged ‘Growth’

Self-Control

May 24th, 2016

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. (Proverbs 25:28)

Faith not only brings us salvation, but through faith every other spiritual promise is received. And self-control is one of those spiritual blessings (Gal. 5:23 and 2 Tim. 1:7). You may have it if you will believe God for it. There is no excuse for a Christian to languish in an life out of control, where sin goes on unabated, where temptations are quickly entertained. Believe that this is the will of God, that God can establish a spirit of self-control in you, and you will receive it.

To live without it is courting disaster. In the critical moment you will fail because you were not prepared – like a city whose walls are broken through, a city that can be invaded by the enemy’s whim. Do not live like this. Such a city, and such a person may have appearance of stability and discipline. They may appear solid and reliable, but they are not. The enemy allows them success only to invade and defeat them at the opportune moment.

Instead, let God strengthen you. Let him show you how to say no to temptation, and how to become stronger in the Lord. Self-control is not merely the power to say no to sin, but it is also the strength to say yes to spiritual growth. Hunger and thirst after the righteousness of God and you will be filled. Do you believe this? If the answer is no, then that explains your struggles. Claim it by faith and let God show you how to repair the wall of your soul that protects you.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

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By Faith

May 23rd, 2016

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)

A scriptural principle repeatedly laid down is that we are saved through faith, and only through faith, and he correct object of faith is Jesus Christ himself. There are many things people have sought to substitute for faith, such as:

  • Walking down the aisle during decision time
  • Participating in worship
  • Learning scripture memory verses
  • Being baptized
  • Participating in the Lord’s Supper
  • Doing good deeds
  • Reciting prayers
  • Doing penance
  • Confessing sins to a priest

But none of these, or the many other hings we could add to this list, has the means to save us. They may be expressions of our faith, and give us some evidence that we have truly believed, but as substitutes for faith in Christ they all are inadequate.

The means by which God accepts us is the simple plan of salvation laid down in the gospel. “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3). He died in our place, was risen from the grave, and now has the authority to save all who repent and believe.

Every believer is accepted by the Father, in Christ. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). The peace is God’s toward us, through His beloved Son-on this our peace is to be based. God is able to be at peace with us through our Lord Jesus Christ, “having made peace through the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20). And we must never forget that His peace is founded solely on the work of the cross, totally apart from anything whatsoever in or from us, since “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). (Miles Stanford, The Principles of Spiritual Growth, “Faith”)

There is great devotional value to our hearts to meditate on this truth. God accepts us on the basis of the work of Christ through our faith. Faith comes by hearing the word of God, but then we must believe (Rom. 8:17). All that we can do is to believe in him, but faith becomes for us the means by which we may gain all other spiritual blessings. Faith is the vehicle that God has given us to grow in all Christian graces.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)

So it is not faith that brings salvation and then something else that enables us to grow, rather it is faith constantly being exercised and constantly expressing itself in our lives in a variety of ways. Whenever we are at a crossroad of spiritual growth – and I believe we are at crossroads daily – where we can exercise faith and go on to greater maturity or shrink back or remain at a less mature state, then it is that we must believe in what the Word says about God.

For example, do you doubt your salvation? Then you must believe the Scriptures, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).

Do you lack personal peace? Then believe the Scriptures, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).

Do you lack patience? Then believe the Scriptures, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).

Do you need guidance? Then trust the Lord for guidance for the Scriptures say, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).

Do you struggle in your values? Then trust in the values of God as proclaimed in the Scriptures, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Mat. 5:6). And, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).

Whatever needs we have in our hearts, we will find the peace of God, the spiritual blessings of his grace, the greater levels of maturity, as well as the simple step of salvation are all available to us through exercising our faith. After we have believed, there is much more to do, but until we have believed and trusted in him there is nothing we can do, except believe. Only through faith do we make ourselves acceptable to him.

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

And one of the expressions of faith is to believe that we can believe. Faith must take this simple step first, to believe that since God has decreed that only through faith we are able to be acceptable to him, that he will enable us to believe. No matter if there is 99% doubt in our hearts, if there is 1% faith, then that is enough faith to begin to follow Christ. “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

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