As often as I open my email, Facebook, Twitter, or other account I hear women versing the promises of God. Sometimes I feel wholly encouraged. At other times, I feel entirely concerned.
Encouraged, because what an amazing God we serve that He has given us His promises to cling to when our hearts would otherwise be overwhelmed. How many of us have clung tightly to the promises in His Word while being battered in the midst of a storm? Those promises were our beacon of hope that helped us hold on!
Concerned, because too many people cease to comprehend that every promise of God is founded on a condition of obedience. When we neglect to speak about the conditions of obedience, we are like children trying to sustain good health off Cotton Candy! We want our impulses and the sweet promises. We want to claim them no matter what we are doing with our lives. It is the “best of both worlds” mentality, which Christ and His apostles warned had no part in Him!
“They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” Titus 1:16
My dear friends, you do not want to be one who denies God by your deeds and lack of obedience to His Word. This is the wrong type of denial for those who claim to be Christians.
Yet we are called to be in denial! “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.””
What is it to deny ourselves? It is a moment by moment choice to deny our selfish flesh and surrender our lives to Christ for His glory. It is deliberately choosing to make Jesus the LORD (Master) of your life. If Christ is truly Lord, then His character should be more and more emulated by you.
I am not calling you to beat yourself up here, because none of us have achieved perfection and will not until we are face to face with Christ. Yet, we are to be growing in His grace. Step back and look at the last year of your life, graph it out in your mind's eye. Are you becoming more like Christ and less controlled by the lusts of your flesh. Do you see an overall increasing in the fruit of the spirit?
The Word of God makes reveals to us the deeds that we practice if controlled by our flesh:
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal 5:19-21
Yet if we are abiding in Christ, His spirit will be prevailing more and more against the flesh. Thus, we will produce more fruit of the Spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Gal. 5:22-23
If the fruit is increasing in your life, you do well. If not, then it is time to cry out to the Lord to intervene. I would also suggest you find some godly, same-gender siblings for the sake of accountability. There is nothing like a sister who reminds me to put my eyes back on Christ and not my circumstances or selfish desires.
“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.” Ps 119:37
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2
May we press on together toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus! Blessings to you!