The Light of Godliness

How much do we truly identify with our new nature as Christians vs the natural conditions we face on this Earth? Jesus said we would face trials and tribulations. There’s no getting around them, but do we identify with them more than we identify with who we are in Christ? Do we allow them to be our excuse or our cop-out for bad behavior when we should use restraint or allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into better behavior?

John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 5:47-48 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Downstream

Jesus is our best example of how to treat others, think of him when he was being beaten and scourged, he didn’t lash out. Not that we should take illness as our lot, we shouldn’t, because he paid the price for us, but while we are enduring, we should remain humble. He is our refuge and healer.

I know Christians who face serious illnesses with Grace and mercy. If you were to meet them for the first time, you would never know how ill they are. I’ve even known friends who were dying of cancer and never uttered a word to others about their condition, except when they were in horrific pain. Otherwise, they kept a cheerful attitude facing the world with dignity and never complained. Then I’ve known others who cry over the smallest paper cut as if they needed great attention and care, leading others to think they were the ones dying with their dramatization. And some who scream or are short fused with their family when they feel the slightest twinges of problems, or scream at them when they did nothing wrong. Who in these instances are allowing the light of godliness to shine through?

2 Peter 1:5-9 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

I’m not saying we should hide our feelings, but we shouldn’t use our conditions for ill behavior. For instance, if you’ve had a bad day at work or driving home in traffic, do you take it out on your family when you get home? That isn’t godliness. It’s allowing your circumstances to control your outlook and ruin other people’s days, when they weren’t the cause of your situation. If you feel ill, should you snap at those around you? Should you bark orders and expect others to wait on you hand and foot? No, and they shouldn’t feel obligated to do so either. They may feel sorry for your condition, but it isn’t their fault that you have the medical or emotional condition you have. I’ve known families that cater to one person with an illness because they play a guilt trip on others for their lot in life, making everyone in the family wait on them hand and foot. By the same token, I’ve known family members who ignore family members who seem to have one illness or problem after another. Neither attitude is right. There should be a balance; a give and take. The one who seems to keep having medical issues certainly never asked for them and needs understanding and compassion. They need acknowledgement from their family, not a ‘sweep it under the rug’ as if it doesn’t exist. Certainly, we have a hope that any illness or calamity will be healed by the blood of Jesus, but in the meantime, show them you care without making their condition a reason for them to act out. Obviously, some conditions may limit them from physical abilities they’ve had before, but it shouldn’t limit the one suffering the ability to show kindness, mercy, and grace. In fact, if anything, it should do the opposite and make them more compassionate and tenderhearted towards others. Sadly, that isn’t always the case and many lash out in anger.

James 1:26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

When I see this in Christian brothers and sisters I want to say, “Get over yourself! Who is your source?! What are you drawing on? What makes you entitled to special favors and treating others poorly?!” I’m not saying I’ve never been grouchy when I feel ill, I have and normally I catch it and apologize quickly to anyone I’ve said any harsh words to, but I don’t live there. I’m talking about people who live in that state and wear it like a badge. You are not defined by whatever “fill in the blank” condition you have, you are defined by God and who he created you to be! You are his righteousness and his holy ones, act like it and treat others how you want to be treated. You are not this disease, this condition, this illness, this whatever. You were created in the image of God…. Think about that… Created in the Image of God…

Ultimately, if we are Christians, we will grow and have the fruit of the Spirit, which does not burden others or put upon them or put forth angry words or speak harshly. What are the fruits of the Spirit?

Galatians 5:22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

Facing the Unexpected 

Jesus had just healed many people and the disciples had witnessed these events. Afterwards, they got in a boat and SUDDENLY a storm came up and they woke Jesus up because they were frightened. But Jesus was right there with them!! After all the miracles they witnessed, they were worried about the storm! Jesus rebuked the storm. Again, SUDDENLY, while Jesus was in their presence or they were in His, everything calmed. 


 After Peter denied Jesus three times, before his crucifixion, SUDDENLY, he remembered the prophecy spoken over him and he was convicted. But Jesus had already forgiven him.

When the news of Jesus birth was being announced to the shepherds, an angel SUDDENLY appeared, but the angel reassured them that everything was okay.

After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared to two of the disciples on the road to Emmaeus. Even not knowing who he was, they begged him to stay with them and he accepted. When he broke the bread, SUDDENLY, they recognized him. Later, Jesus SUDDENLY appeared to the disciples and frightened them, he offered them the comfort of the Holy Spirit. 

In another story on the lake, the disciples SUDDENLY saw Jesus walking on the water, and they were frightened. He told them to have peace and remain calm.

When Saul (later Paul) was on the road to Damascus, he SUDDENLY saw a light so bright it knocked him to the ground and a voice spoke to him. That voice was Jesus, who asked him to quit persecuting him. Saul was blinded by the light, but was at peace and still walked the rest of the way with guidance. Jesus was with him in spirit! His sight was returned when he believed.

After Paul survived the shipwreck, he came to an island and built a fire. A poisonous snake bit him and the islanders expected him to SUDDENLY die. When he didn’t, they thought he was a god, but he actually had Jesus with him, protecting him. 
In each of these stories, people were frightened. Sometimes it was those who already believed and some were non-believers, but Jesus was ALWAYS PRESENT during the SUDDENLY times, which interpreted from the Greek, means the UNEXPECTED TIMES. What unexpected things have happened in your life lately that have thrown a wrench in your plans or may have frightened you? Has it been financial, your health, a legal dispute, or a family situation? Or perhaps it’s been all of them and more. Just because they’ve happened, doesn’t mean that Jesus is not right there beside us. When we forget to recognize Jesus and rely on him, we let our fears and emotions overtake us. 

Personally, we’ve had many trials in our lives this year in each of the areas I mentioned and multiple times in many scenarios. Thankfully, we’ve had the wisdom to hold onto ktnowing that none of this means God doesn’t love and care for us. It doesn’t mean he has forgotten us and because of all these calamities, we’ve grown. 

Hopefully we can say after having endured, what Paul told the Corinthians, May Jesus give us Paul’s outlook and viewpoint as we press forward. Holy Spirit, work this heart in us, during the unexpected and sudden trials. 

2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (excerpt) We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry… we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind… endured sleepless nights … We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten [with words]… Our hearts ache, but we always have joy… we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

Walk in His Fullness

It is time to rise up and walk in the fullness of God. There is a shaking going on in this world, a shaking through earthquakes naturally and a shaking spiritually through various trials. Maybe this is a way to get our attention so we focus on God.

“When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” Hebrews 12:26-28

““For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!” Haggai 2:6-9

Only the unshakable things will remain… those who serve Him, not only in the good times but during trials as well. God is looking for a people who will honor Him when things don’t go according to their plan who will “hold on” to Him during adversity. We need to honor God at All times with our praises in reverence and in awe because he is mighty to pull us through Any situation. He will shake all the nations to bring about a heart that is searching for Him, opening hearts that have grown complacent. The future is God’s. I see the church rising up to a higher standard. Those who meet trials head on are the ones who will grow in the Lord. I see people who face troubles and say “Where are you taking me Lord?” with fervor of a new adventure not a downcast spirit. Instead of being defeated when faced with problems, they are victorious, simply because they know who they are… a child of God. They are joint heirs with Jesus, walking in their inheritance, walking in his fullness. We are heirs with Christ! We may enter boldly into the throne and ask for anything within the will of the Father and it is ours. We are overcomers because Jesus Christ overcame before us!

“Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:31-33

What a glorious inheritance we’ve been given. Jesus has Overcome the world! The Veil has been torn. No, the veil has been removed! We are not under the old covenant. Read Hebrews chapters 8 through 10.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%208-10&version=NLT

If we are walking ‘in his fullness’ we will be walking in unity.  We will walk with the Holy Spirit and hear the same word as other believers who are walking in the light. The Holy Spirit imparts the same message to the believers over and over. The body of the church receives the same message through the impartation of the Word revealed through a relationship with the Father by studying the Bible.

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. Ephesians 4:2-6

I am so encouraged when I talk to friends who are from other areas across the nation and hear that they have heard a similar message in their Bible study as I’ve received. Also, that their churches are giving the same message that mine is. It is a corporate anointing. It shows me that God gives the same message to all of us to reassure us that we are hearing from Him. It is our responsibility to grow and mature in our spiritual journey. We cannot obtain it through osmosis by attending church on Sunday or listening to some minister even on a daily basis. We must read the Word of God on our own and find out what the Holy Spirit will reveal to us. He will give us his truth if we just listen. We have to partake of the meat to grow; otherwise we will remain as infants who can only handle milk.

“For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” Hebrews 5:13-14

“And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.” I Corinthians 2:12-13

If we don’t study and get the revelation of the Word on our own, it is just head knowledge; it doesn’t penetrate our hearts and our spirits. This is why it is important to study for ourselves.

‘If one of you is carrying some meat from a holy sacrifice in his robes and his robe happens to brush against some bread or stew, wine or olive oil, or any other kind of food, will it also become holy?’” The priests replied, “No.” Then Haggai asked, “If someone becomes ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person and then touches any of these foods, will the food be defiled?” And the priests answered, “Yes.” Haggai 2:12-13

In other words, we cannot take possession of someone else’s ‘meat’ such as a “priest” by brushing against them or being in their presence. This is why it is essential to study on our own and take possession of our own meat. Also the “priest” cannot impart the meat to others unless they are fully engaged in their own lives, by a daily walk with our Heavenly Father. In verse 13 of Haggai 2, it talks of sin, however, while we cannot become clean just by sitting in church, we can Defile many by living in sin! We are to live a life which is set apart, a life which is full of His glory. We are to show His image, the Christ in us.

“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Hebrews 12:14-15

“He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!” 2 Corinthians 5:15-16

When we live for Christ, look beyond our circumstances, believe our inheritance, and feed on the meat of the Word of God, then we have the ability to see through God’s eyes. We will not see people’s shortcomings. We will not evaluate others from a human point of view. How much better it is to see beneath the outward appearance and see on the heart as God sees. He does want to restore everyone to him! He does want us to live a life of Fullness! I get excited just reading all the promises in Ephesians chapter one about how he chose us:

He Chose Us

Because he wanted to restore his relationship with us!

 

I was thinking how marvelous our God is and the verse that says “He chose me before He made the world” in Ephesians. Then I started reading in Ephesians 1 and I wept, tears of Joy and tears of sorrow at the same time. My tears of Joy were because of the promises that are packed into that chapter. Really, if you want to be encouraged, read the entire book of Ephesians… The tears of sorrow were for the people who don’t follow God or who don’t walk in His Promises. Here are some of the promises of God just from the first chapter in Ephesians. I hope they bless you.

 

Blessed us with Every Spiritual Blessing. v. 3

We are holy and blameless through Christ. v. 4

He adopted us as one of his own. v. 5

We have redemption through Christ dying on the cross. v. 7

He has given us wisdom and understanding of the Bible through the Holy Spirit. v. 8

Everything is under Christ’s authority – Everything! v. 10

He marked us with the seal of the Holy Spirit (our deposit or guarantee). v. 13 & 14

Wisdom and revelation to know him better are given to those who believe. v. 17

We have the same power that raised Christ from the dead! v. 20

We are seated with Christ at the right hand of God! v. 20

Placed everything under Christ’s feet (and by inheritance – ours!) v. 22

Those are just a few of the promises in the Bible! Then I read over in 2 Corinthians again where it says he wanted to bring ‘back’ all of mankind into fellowship with him. The very least we can do is to apply the lessons we learn to our lives. If we truly believe what the Word of God says, why don’t we live it fully?