12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
There is great blessing in enduring and persevering under trial. In this world we will face trials and the way we persevere is by abiding in the Lord and walking closely with Him. Throughout Jesus earthly ministry the disciples walked closely with Christ each day learning from Him in all things.
Today we have the Holy Spirit living inside us. Where ever we go the Lord is always with us. The Holy Spirit desires to teach us in all things. In every situation and in every trial the Lord is continually refining and shaping our lives.
The trials we face are like a chisel in the hand of the Lord. Through every trial and challenge the Lord is shaping our lives. He is shaping us into His character and His nature. When we are born into this world we are born into sin. We are driven by the desires of the sinful nature. But when we come to Christ and walk closely with Him each day the Lord is continually transforming us. But abiding in Him each day is the key because we will never overcome in our own strength. We will simply overcome in the strength and power of the Lord.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4
It is through the divine power of God that we are able to live a godly life. It is impossible for us to walk in obedience and holiness in our own strength. The whole foundation of the Christian life is that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. He not only saved us at Calvary, but on a daily basis it is only by His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to walk in obedience. For it is when we walk in obedience that we are able to truly live a godly life.
The promises we have from God are precious and they are great. He is faithful one hundred percent of the time. He is faithful to fulfill His plans and purposes and He is faithful to the promises of His word. His word is vital to our growth in our relationship with God. As we study His word and come to understand the depth of His word, our lives are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The enemy will do all that he can to distract us from studying God’s word. But when we understand the value and importance of God’s word we will orient our lives so that the priority of each day is studying the word of God.
We only participate in the divine nature as we abide in Christ each day. The world we live in is corrupted by the lies and deceptions of Satan. Those who chase after the world and its desire reflect the character and nature of who Satan is. At Satan’s core is darkness and wickedness and those who indulge in the world and its ways will have darkness and wickedness manifested in their lives.
The divine nature is simply the character and nature of who Christ is. When we are born into this world we are born into sin. We are bound by sin and death and it isn’t until we come to Christ that we are set free. But this is only the beginning of the journey. For as we abide in Him daily we are transformed by the power and might of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit begins to fill our lives and our lives reflect the character and nature of who Christ is.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
We are called to not conform to the pattern of this world. The world we live in is build upon the lies and deceptions of Satan. The culture we live in today becomes more anti-God by the moment. The spirit of the anti-Christ is continually working in the hearts and minds of people, hardening their hearts to the Lord and preparing them for the judgement and wrath of Almighty God.
But we who are in Christ are not called to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of the mind. Our minds are renewed by the word of God. As we spend time in God’s word each day reading and meditating upon His word, our lives are transformed by the power and might of the Holy Spirit.
As our minds are transformed we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is. As we abide in the Lord we come to know Him in a more intimate way. We come to understand His heart and His plans and purposes. The more we draw near the more we come to know Him. But besides prayer, the word of God is the most powerful weapon we have on the earth today for advancing God’s kingdom. When God’s word is preached without compromise under the anointing of the Holy Spirit it has the ability to change and transform the hearts and lives of people.
6 This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one. 1 John 5:6-8
Jesus came by the water and the blood. He was baptized by John the Baptist and in doing so fulfilled the will of His Father in Heaven. He came by the blood when He went to the cross and died for our sins. It is the Holy Spirit who bears witness of the truth of who Jesus Christ is. That He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. In all that Jesus did He fulfilled the perfect will of the Father. Because of His death and resurrection we can have new life this day in Him.
The three who bear witness in Heaven are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Both in John’s gospel and here, John refers to Jesus as the word. They are three in one. Some will argue against the theology of the trinity. But God is made up of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are not three separate Gods in which we serve three Gods. They are three distinct persons of the Godhead but are all one.
The three witnesses on the earth who bare witness to the truth of Jesus is the Holy Spirit, water baptism, and being born again through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our salvation is not based on feelings but the witness of the Holy Spirit within us. It is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out and draws us near to the Father. It is Holy Spirit who leads and guides us into all truth and reveals that Jesus is truly the Son of God. It is through God’s word that our lives are transformed. As we come to understand the depths of God’s word our lives are truly transformed into the nature and character of Christ.
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Jesus lived a life without sin. But to fulfill the Father’s will, He took the sins of the world upon Himself and became the ultimate sacrifice. Through Jesus Christ we have forgiveness of sins and when our sins are forgiven, the righteousness of who He is is applied to our lives. Our righteousness before God is not based upon our behavior or our performance. Our righteousness before God is simply based upon our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
But this does not excuse us from growing in holiness each day. Through our daily relationship with Jesus Christ we should be transformed on a daily basis into the character and image of Jesus Christ. There should be a real change that takes place that is evident through the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Again transformation only takes place as we spend time daily in God’s word and in His presence. We will never be changed if the only time we spend with God is during a worship service one time a week. Like any relationship in life, for a relationship to be healthy and to grow we must invest in that relationship.
For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
1 John 3:11 NIV
The Christian life is very simple. We are called to love the Lord thy God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love our neighbor as our self. We are called to be driven and filled with the love of God. As we grow in our relationship with God we grow in His love. His love consumes every area of our lives and it drives the decisions we make in our lives. Without love we are nothing. No matter if we build the greatest ministry on the planet, if we don’t have love we have accomplished all in vain. It is the love of Christ within us that is the greatest testimony to the world of the truth of Christianity.
It says that in the last days the love of most will grow cold. The reason people have become so hard hearted is because of the sin in their lives. People more now than ever have been exposed to sin on a greater level. But those who walk with Christ intimately will shine on the earth at this dark time in history. The one thing you learn as you study the life of Jesus is that in everything He did, He was driven by love. It was love that held Him to the cross. He could have called down legion upon legion of angels down to the earth and removed Himself from the cross, but it was His love that held Him there.
Everything that God does in our lives is because of His love for us. The reason He calls us to love one another is simply because when we love one another our lives reflect and display His glory. I use to think that the glory of God was a huge supernaturally event. But what I am coming to learn more and more is when God’s people walk in God’s unconditional and eternal love that is when His glory is made manifest. God is simply love and when we love one another we demonstrate that not only are we His sons and daughters, but we demonstrate to the world the truth of Christianity and what Jesus did at Calvary. Every person born on this earth is born into sin and is broken. But when our trust is placed in Jesus Christ we are born again and as we walk with Him, we are transformed by His word and His presence.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
John 14:23 NKJV
If we are going to claim that Jesus is Lord then walking in obedience is essential to the Holy Spirit and God’s word. It is impossible to claim that Jesus is Lord if we are simply living in continued rebellion. We are simply giving lip service to the Lord and we simply deceive ourselves.
Obedience is impossible in our own strength and our own power. God has not called us to try to be holy in our own strength. Holiness and obedience are simply an outgrowth of our abiding in Christ on a daily basis. He is the vine and we are the branches, as we abide in Him, He enables us to do all things.
We demonstrate the condition of our heart through our actions. Those who claim to love God yet living in disobedience to His ways and His word don’t truly love Him. They only seek after Him for selfish reason. Those who truly love God will be evident in the way they live their lives and especially having the fruit of the Holy Spirit present in their lives. We must always remember that nothing is hidden from the Lord. Let us simply draw near each day and be transformed by the power and the grace of God.
“Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.”II Timothy 1:13-14 NKJV
We are called to hold fast to sound doctrine. There are many today who abandoning the truth of God’s word for nice sounding demonic doctrines. Many today simply desire to be comfortable in their sin. They don’t desire sound doctrine. They instead desire preachers and teachers who will simply tell them that God loves them no matter how they live their lives.
The truth is that God has called us to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. We are called to abide in the Lord daily. Many desire to indulge in the lust of the flesh but the problem is that if we continue down this road and fail to repent it will lead to destruction in time.
The problem for many who will not endure sound doctrine is that when they stand before Jesus Christ they will spend all eternity in the lake of fire because they were never born again. To be born again requires repentance and for those who will not endure sound doctrine they will never hear a message about the truth of repentance.
Enduring sound doctrine will not only place is on a solid foundation but it will also bring about true transformation in our lives. It is impossible to have transformation without the uncompromised truth of God’s word. As we come to understand the truth of God’s word it is the Holy Spirit who supernatural transforms our minds and our lives. Let us simply draw near to the Lord and desire the pure milk and meat of the word.
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Romans 11:33 NIV
As we seek the Lord we grow in the wisdom of God. As we spend time in prayer and in God’s word our lives are supernaturally transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who lives within us and when we pray and spend time in God’s word we give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to transform our lives.
Too many times we allow the busyness of life to keep us from drawing near to the Lord. But when we understand the value of abiding in Him and draw near, we will prioritize our day to make time to draw near to the Lord. If we expect to be transformed and grow by simply attending service on Sunday morning we are deceiving ourselves. The only way to truly be transformed by the Holy Spirit is developing a disciplined devotional life.