as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1 Peter 2:2-3 NKJV
As believers we need to desire the pure milk of the word. There are false teachers out there who will distort the word of God for their own selfish means. Many times they are driven by the love of money and will distort the word of God, appealing to the fleshly nature of people and be used by the enemy to deceive them.
We need to desire to move from the milk of God’s word to the meat of God’s word. As we grow in our relationship with the Lord we will come to a deep understanding of His word and who He is. This is a supernaturally process led by the Holy Spirit. As we open our hearts more and more our hunger for the Lord and His word will continue to increase.
It is through the study of God’s word on a daily basis that growth truly takes place in our lives. As our minds are renewed by the truth of God’s word, our lives are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord leads us one step and day at a time. He sets a table before us daily and bids us to come and dine upon the purity of His word.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is simply the character and nature of Jesus. It is simply a result of abiding with the Lord on a daily basis. As we fellowship with the Lord and walk with Him daily, we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. As our minds are renewed through the study of God’s word our lives are transformed. There is a distinction between those who seek after the Lord and those who seek after the world. We can’t claim to follow Christ and not reflect the character and nature of who He is. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to become like Him and be filled with His love. This is what the fruit of the Spirit is all about.
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. James 1:12-15
We are called to endure temptation. It is not God who tempts us. We are tempted by Satan and his demonic army. We are tempted by the selfish desires of our sinful nature. Sin is very deceptive and if we give into temptation, we give the devil a foothold into our lives.
A crown of righteousness awaits all those who have endured with the Lord. Our decision to follow Jesus Christ is a decision to follow Him on a daily basis. If we decide to make Jesus our Lord and Savior we give our lives over to Him. We become bond servants of the Lord and we surrender our will unto the Lord. His will becomes the driving force of our lives.
When sin destroys someone’s life it is a progressive process. For in these verse James lays out for us the process. We are first of all tempted and enticed to draw away from the Lord. Then as we are drawn to temptation and sin, it begins to take root in our lives. If we continue in it it simply leads to death and destruction.
Why sin is so deceptive and so dangerous is because when we are indulging in it we think that we will never be accountable for our wickedness. But time and time again history has proven that we simply reap what we sow. If we continue to indulge and chase after sin, it will end up destroying us.
God has given us a freewill and there have been those who have begun following Christ but have chosen to walk away and return to the wickedness of the world. We simply guard our hearts from the deceptions of the devil by abiding in Christ daily. As we draw near to the Lord our hearts and minds will be guarded. We will be clothed in the armor of God.
12 And again, Isaiah says:
“There shall be a root of Jesse;
And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles,
In Him the Gentiles shall hope.”
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:12-13
It is in the Lord that we hope. Jesus is our hope. He has come and fulfilled the Father’s plan and purpose. It is through His death and resurrection that He has proved that He is indeed the Son of God. All who place their hope and trust in Jesus Christ will be set free from the curse of sin and death. All who trust in Jesus will spend all eternity in God’s kingdom.
No matter what we are facing on this earth we know that our hope is in Jesus. He is fulfilling His plans and purposes in our lives on a daily basis by His power and His grace. He has simply called us to abide in Him each and every day. He has called us to fix our eyes upon Him.
As we draw near to the Lord each day His leading and His guidance become crystal clear. We come to know and discern His voice and His leading. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that all things are accomplished. It is not through our own strength or our own power. May we surrender our hearts daily unto Him and keep our eyes and heart focused on the one where our hope is found.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she will promote you;
She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. Proverbs 4:7-8
Our desire should be wisdom and understanding from the Lord. This comes through seeking the Lord and simply asking Him. When the Lord came to Solomon, he told Solomon he could ask Him for anything. But Solomon chose wisdom and because he chose wisdom, everything else was added to him.
Wisdom and understanding will aide us on a daily basis. We are daily presented with decisions and when those decisions are made with the wisdom of God, we will do all things with the focus on the Lord and His kingdom. Through the age of humanity the Lord has raised up and elevated His servants.
The purpose of our lives upon this earth is to bring glory and honor to the Lord. When we bring glory and honor to the Lord we point people to Him. This happens as we live each day walking in the wisdom and understanding of the Lord. His wisdom and understanding fills our lives when the focus and priority of our lives is His word and prayer. It is through simply seeking and drawing near that our lives are filled with His wisdom and understanding.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3
The Lord is our Shepherd. He leads and guides us each day one step at a time. He provides for everything that we need. As we abide in Him and we seek Him each day He fills us with His peace and His presence. He prepares every step.
In Him we have nothing to fear. There are so many in the world today who simply live in fear and uncertainty. They spend their lives pursuing the lust of the flesh and in the end their lives are left with darkness and emptiness.
David was a man after God’s own heart. He was a man of worship who spent his life drawing near to the Lord. He was not perfect, but through everything his heart was committed to the Lord. If we desire to walk in obedience and holiness it only happens as we abide in the Lord each day and seek Him with our whole heart.
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 one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14
We are called to forgive each other as the Lord has forgiven us. We have no reason to hold bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts. The Lord chose to forgive us and He saved us by His grace. If we are truly in relationship with the Lord then the character of Christ should be produce in our hearts and lives and if this is true then we should be willing to forgive without question.
Everything the apostle Paul mentions in verse twelve is simply a description of the character and nature of Christ. As we walk with the Lord each day we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are not transformed by our own power or strength, but we are transformed supernaturally by the Holy Spirit who lives within us.
But above all else we must do all things in love. For when we do all things in love we will experience the unity and agreement that can only be found when God holds all things together. We are told in 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen that these three remain faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love. True love is only possible through Jesus Christ. As we grow in Him and come to know Him in greater ways, His love and His grace fill every area of our lives.
27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:27-31
There are times in our walk with God when it may feel that the Lord has forgotten us or that He doesn’t see the trial or challenge we are currently facing. But God has designed our lives and it is not by accident that we are following Christ. He has so designed our lives to cause us to continue to grow in maturity and intimacy with Him.
The Lord has not forgotten us. His strength and His understanding has no end. As we wait upon the Lord it is the Lord who strengthens us and enables us to overcome. Even the young at some point grow tired and weary, but those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.
One of the most difficult thing to do is to wait upon the Lord. We can’t see beyond today and all we have is God’s word and His promises for us. He has given us His word and in His word we have example of time and time again of God being faithful in the lives of those who follow after Him and serve them.
There is a very deep work that takes place in our hearts as we wait upon the Lord. The Lord is continually stretching and growing our faith. He is teaching us to walk according to His word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Throughout the history of God’s people God has brought His servants through seasons of waiting and it is in those seasons that God has done His greatest work.
We live in a microwave culture in which we want everything and we want it right now. But it doesn’t work the same with the Lord and His kingdom. When He calls someone He takes His time shaping and molding their life like a piece of clay. Often when we are waiting on the Lord it is like a bottle in a wine cellar that ages over time and becomes better with time. Waiting is not easy. But waiting is essential for us experiencing and walking in every promise and plan God has for us.
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.11 Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:8-12
Peter after being questioned about the healing of the man at the gate called beautiful responds in the power of the Holy Spirit. This man who was healed had spent his life begging at this gate and many would be aware of who the man was. But it was through the power of the Holy Spirit that this man was healed.
Through the name of Jesus the power of the Holy Spirit was poured out upon this man’s life. Peter speaks from Psalm 118:22 which prophetically speaks of Jesus Christ. Jesus was truly the stone the builders rejected which has become the cornerstone. The cornerstone is the first stone of any foundation on which all other stones are built. Jesus is the foundation on which the church and everything else is built and established.
It is through the name of Jesus alone that people can be saved. There are many in the world today who claim that there are many ways to Heaven. But it is only through the blood of Jesus Christ that someone is able to find forgiveness. What keeps people separated from God for all eternity is the sin that is upon their lives. Jesus blood is the only solution to the sin in our lives. By living a life without sin He is the perfect substitute for anyone who would receive God’s gracious gift of salvation.
The God we serve is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is still the God who performs miracles through His people. There are some today who believe that God no longer heals or performs miracles. But as we draw near and walk in deep intimacy with the Lord we truly come to know His heart and His desires. His desire is to glorify and magnify His name that all men would be drawn unto Him. May we seek Him with our whole heart.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26
The apostle Paul writes about the fruit of the Holy Spirit. When we examine the fruit of the Holy Spirit we see that it is simply the character and nature of Christ. It is produced in our lives as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit each day. As we study God’s word and spend time in prayer it is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out.
When we belong to Christ we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. In our Christian journey we are continually led by the Holy Spirit and we put to death the desires of the sinful nature. Early in our walk with Christ it seems these desires still dominate our lives. But as we grow with Christ progressively the strength of the lust of the flesh diminish and we simply walk in obedience to the Lord. It is a progressive process throughout our lives.
It is important for us to keep in step with the Spirit each day. The more time we spend with the Lord in intimate fellowship the more the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit becomes clear. For us to walk in step with the Holy Spirit requires deep intimacy with the Lord.
We are called not to become conceited. Being conceited is simply a result of pride. The greatest thing that will guard our hearts from pride is walking in step with the Holy Spirit. Pride will always blind us. When we become conceited it will negatively affect our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. May we walk in love and humility and continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.