Weekly Grace: Exercising Our Muscle Of Faith

Scripture tells us that the Gospel reveals the righteousness of God “from faith to faith” and that “the just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) And so it follows then that nothing is of greater importance for us than to exercise and thereby strengthen our spiritual muscle of faith.

Let us examine now for a moment why faith is so crucial in our Christian walk, and how we might go about strengthening it. Notice that “the just shall live by faith.” Faith is not something that we are to resort to every now and then when faced with a particularly challenging situation, but much rather does the Word command us to live by faith.

It is certainly encouraging to know that faith is like a spiritual muscle that can be strengthened and developed. And let us also be very clear that faith, as all things in our walk with the Lord, is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8) When we realize that our faith is not our own, but that it has come to us from our heavenly Father as one of the many sweet gifts of His precious love, it takes the pressure off. God has already equipped us and empowered us with all of the faith we will ever need. The Bible says that God has dealt to everyone the measure of faith. (Romans 12:3) If you have received Jesus as Lord, you have received with Him all of the faith you will ever need. And so your task, my friend, is not to try and get more faith, but to simply and consistently develop the faith you already have.

Consider that when you go to the gym for physical exercise your body is not suddenly growing new muscles. You are simply strengthening the muscles you already had all along. The same applies to our spiritual muscle of faith!

And so what does this look like? How do we strengthen our muscle of faith? The answer is found in Romans 10:17: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” If we want to work out physically, we go to the gym. If we want to work out spiritually, we go to the Word of God.

Each of us are called to continuously immerse ourselves in His Word. One of the greatest lies the devil is attempting to sell Christians on these days is that it is possible to live a victorious Christian life without being regularly filled up with the Word of God. In addition to hearing faith-filled and life-giving sermons where the Word is preached, we must each take responsiblity to renew our minds daily in God’s Word. (Romans 12:2 & Ephesians 4:23) The more that we fill our hearts and minds with the promises of God’s Word, the more will we strengthen our spiritual muscle of faith.

I will oftentimes describe the Word of God as the fuel for our born-again spirit. The more that we feed our spirit with God’s Word, the stronger our spirit becomes. And the stronger our spirit, the more receptive it is to the promptings of the Holy Spirit which ever so gently bears witness with our spirit that we are a precious child of God. (Romans 8:16) “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;” (Romans 8:17)

Brothers and sisters, I encourage you today to be diligent in your daily spiritual exercise by immersing yourself in God’s Word. There is a reason why the Word of God is referred to as the sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:17) When we begin to stand firm upon the Word, and use it to counter attacks of fear, doubt, worry, guilt, or any type of insecurity, we will bear witness to the supernatural ability of the Word of cutting straight through the lies and deceptions of the enemy, and awakening within us a revelation of who we are in Christ.

And so let us set time aside every day to consider His Word, and let us meditate on all that our heavenly Father has so freely provided for us. The Word can also be referred to as a spiritual mirror. (see James 1:23-25) The more that we feed our born-again spirit with the Word, the more will we see in the Word a reflection of who we are in Christ as we live the victorious and overcoming lives He has called us to live.

Father, I thank You for Your precious Word. I ask, Lord, that You would awaken in me a continual desire and hunger for Your Word. May it speak to me, and may it remind me of all that You have done for me and all that You are calling me to be. I thank You, Lord, that even now Your Word is working in me to dissolve and eliminate every wrong thought or false perception I may have inherited from the world, and it is shaping in me a heart of righteousness, a heart that is pleasing to You. Thank You that Your Word is casting out all doubt as it brings my every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. I praise You for this, Lord, and I give You all of the glory. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

SCRIPTURES:

Romans 1:17, Ephesians 2:8, Romans 10:17, Romans 12:2-3, Ephesians 4:22-24, Romans 8:16-17, Ephesians 6:17, James 1:23-25, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Weekly Grace: The Supernatural Power Of The Cross & Resurrection

Let us come to realize the supernatural power of the cross and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. This is of such importance that there is nothing more detrimental to our experiencing total and complete victory in our Christian walk than ignoring the cross, or failing to recognize its power to set us free from all that has held us in bondage. Truly, in this is contained the power and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:23-24) And so today let us seek to have a spiritual understanding of what happened on that day at Calvary, and how it connects to everyone who will receive what has been so freely made available.

When Jesus died on the cross, He represented you, me, and all of humanity—past, present and future. Or to be precise, he represented the guilt, the pain, the shame, the sickness, the lack, the iniquities, the addictions, and all of the suffering in the world which is tied to sin. He literally became sin so that we could become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) He became our pain, so that we could be set free from it.

How can this be, you might ask. The key to understanding this lies in understanding every believer’s spiritual union with Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” In other words, everyone who has received Jesus as Lord has become spiritually unified with Him. We are one with Jesus through the indwelling Holy Spirit. (see John 17:21)

It is because of our spiritual union with Christ that everything that is true about the life of Jesus has become true about us. Scripture says that our old self has been crucified with Him. (Romans 6:6) When we are in Christ, our old nature, our old self, everything in us which was drawn to the flesh and to sin, has been crucified. The moment we were joined unto the Lord, we died. Our old self has died, and our new self came alive. And what is the nature of our new self? It is created after God in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:24) Our new self is spiritually identical to Jesus, which is why the Bible says that “as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17)

Now the reason many of us may oftentimes have difficulty accepting this is because we tend to make the mistake of looking at our behavior. Yet anytime we look at our behavior, we are regarding ourselves according to the flesh. Friends, we must learn to regard ourselves no longer according to who we have been in the flesh, but according to who we have been made to be in Christ. The Apostle Paul urges the Corinthians to regard no one according to the flesh. (2 Corinthians 5:16) Naturally this does not mean we ignore our actions or fail to take responsiblity for them, but what it does mean is that we understand that our actions do not necessarily represent the truth of who we are in Christ.

Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) He did not say that the truth will make us free, but that knowing the truth will make us free. Brothers and sisters, we must know the truth, and we know the truth when we understand who we are in Christ. We must learn to receive by faith that we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Knowing that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus enables us to let go of all guilt, and when we are free from guilt, all of the forces of darkness lose their grip over us.

Friend, no matter where you may find yourself today, my prayer is that you would consider this: God loved you so much that He came into the world in human form to take upon Himself all of the pain, guilt and shame, any type of suffering you have ever experienced or may be currently experiencing. The infinite One became finite, the immortal One became mortal for the purpose of setting you free so that by His stripes you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

Today, reflect upon your union with the Lord Jesus, and ask the Holy Spirit to make this real to you. He is not distant or far off, He is with you and He is in you. And He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

This is the living hope we have been given in the resurrection: when Christ died, we died; when He rose from the dead, we were born unto eternal life in Him. As He is, so are we in this world. How glorious are the finished works of our Lord!

Father, I thank You for the precious gift of Your Son. Thank You, Lord, for the victory You won for me two thousand years ago. Help me to have a revelation that when You died, my old self died with You; and when You rose to glorious life, I was given new, eternal and abundant life in You. Lord, today I surrender all of my hurts, my pains and my failures to You. Thank You that because You bore my infirmities on the cross, I no longer need to carry them. I confess and declare that I am righteous in You! I am free in You! I am victorious in You! By your stripes I have been healed! I love You, and I thank You. In Jesus’ name, amen!

SCRIPTURES:

1 Peter 1:3, 1 Corinthians 1:23-24, 1 Corinthians 6:17, 2 Corinthians 5:16, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 6:6, Ephesians 4:24, 1 John 4:17, John 17:21, 1 Peter 2:24, Hebrews 13:5

Weekly Grace: Resting In The Promises Of God

One of the most important things for us as believers to do is to rest in the promises of God. The ultimate demonstration of faith is not in our efforts, struggles or attempts to win God’s approval, but much rather in resting in the assurance that contained within the redemptive and finished works of Jesus is everything that we could ever need. God blesses us, not based on how well we have performed, but based on our spiritual position in Christ.

2 Peter 1:3 states that God has given us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” Notice that this is past tense. God has already given us. This means that as far as God is concerned, He has already blessed us, healed us, delivered us—He has given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.

Satan would love for us to question this, and he may even attempt to present us with a long list of why this cannot be so. This list will always have to do with what we are able to see with our physical senses, what we are able to feel in our bodies, and how we may currently feel in our emotions. Yet the Bible tells us that as followers of Christ we are to not to go by our physical senses or by how we feel. “For we walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) Friend, walking by faith means that we must learn to receive by faith what the grace of God has already made available. “It is by faith that it might be by grace.” (Romans 4:16)

And so resting in the promises of God means that rather than attempting to get God to do something for us, our task becomes to look to the Cross. We look to the Cross where Jesus said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) When He said it is finished, He was speaking of our salvation. Our salvation is finished! And salvation includes healing, deliverance, soundness, our needs being supplied, and anything we could ever need to fulfill our calling in Christ.

Now you may be wondering, how do we make this practical? How do we apply this when being confronted with the issues of day to day life? How do we apply this when dealing with a negative doctor’s report or when struggling with not having enough to pay the bills? Hebrews 4:11 gives us the answer:  “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.” Yes, we must labor to enter into rest. If this sounds like a paradox, it is. Yet what the Bible is talking about here is not a physical labor, but much rather a labor of the soul.

When dealing with the day to day challenges of life, we must labor in our soul—in our mind, in our will, and in our emotions—to get into agreement with what God’s Word is saying about us, rather than agreeing with circumstances and conditions. We must agree that, despite of the symptoms in our body, by the stripes of Jesus we have been healed! (1 Peter 2:24) We must agree that, despite of not knowing where the money will come from, our God supplies all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus! (Philippians 4:19)

This is where the practice of meditating on the Word of God comes in. The more we meditate on God’s Word, the more we will get it down into our hearts. And once it is in our hearts, we will enter into rest. The key is to get the Word down into our hearts. The labor of the soul is to let the Word of God move from the head to the heart.

Throughout this week, begin to mediate on what God has said is true about you. Set some time aside every day to reflect upon specific promises of scripture, and even as you go about your day to day activities, keep them alive in your heart. Thank your heavenly Father that it is His good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

Father, I give You praise today. I choose to not look to my circumstances and conditions, but instead I look to You. I look to what Your Word says about me. I look to the Cross and to everything that the precious blood of Jesus has made available. Thank You, Lord, for Your goodness! Thank You for Your love! Thank You for your grace! It is sufficient unto me. My confession is that I walk in the victory that has already been won for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scriptures To Meditate On This Week

2 Peter 1:3

Luke 12:32

Romans 8:32

Romans 8:37

Luke 10:19

Psalm 103:1-5

Ephesians 4:23-24

Daily Word of Grace: It Is Of Faith That It Might Be By Grace

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:1-2 (NKJV)

The very moment that we give our lives to Jesus, we are in that moment justified—made righteous—in the sight of God. When God sees us, He no longer sees our mistakes and our shortcomings. What God sees in us is His Son with whom we have been unified.

This union with the risen Savior gives us unlimited access to the grace of God, His unmerited favor upon our lives. Yet as the Scripture says, we must access this grace through faith. God’s boundless goodness, His blessing and favor are already available through the finished works of Jesus Christ. Our role as believers becomes, not to live in fear and uncertainty, but much rather to go forth boldly, always expectant that we will see the goodness of God in our lives today. Let us accept by faith all that grace has made available to us, rejoicing in hope that we will see the glory of it manifest in our lives.

Father, today I choose to not live in fear or worry. I accept all that the precious blood of Jesus has already made available. Lord, this is the day that You have made, and I will rejoice in it, fully expectant that I will see Your goodness and Your favor show up in new ways today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.