Tag Archives: Spiritual maturity

Ministering to the Lord

Do we have enough understanding of the word of God for ourselves to identify wrong teaching when we hear it, or do we let our leaders do the interpreting for us? Is our idea of studying the Bible to read everyone else’s latest book and googling all the popular beliefs on any given topic?

Even if we attend seminary and have multiple degrees, we must filter all that knowledge through our intimate relationship with the Lord. Attending Bible college does not qualify us or validate our call to minister. Without a personal relationship with the Father, we will teach doctrines of men and religious traditions filled with leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6)

1 John 2:27 (NKJV) But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

The Bible also says, “call no man your teacher.”

Matthew 23:8-11 (NKJV) But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.

This is not a contradiction to Ephesians 4, where Jesus gave us teachers and the other five-fold ministry gifts to equip us. We should listen to other teachers and preachers. Still, at the same time, we must filter those teachings through our intimate relationship with the Lord, allowing the living Word to divide and discern the truth rightly. We can easily detect any error if we are sensitive to the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The result of not abiding in God’s word for ourselves is having itchy ears and becoming lukewarm in our relationship with God. If we are comfortable in our relationship with God then we are lukewarm and loving it. God gave us the Comforter for a reason. If we are abiding in Him, completely submitted to His will, there will not be a day we will not need to be comforted.

Revelation 3:16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

We should ask ourselves; How much time and effort are we investing in our relationship with the Lord? What does our relationship with God look like when no one is looking? Are we studying the Bible to know God better or learning to devise a sermon to preach to others?

Our relationship with God is our most important ministry. It is a ministry to the Lord, not to people. Ministry to people should come from the overflow of our ministry to the Lord.

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

Spiritual Gifts are Free, Maturity is Expensive

          Our identity is not found in our gifting or calling but in our relationship with the Father. An apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher is not who we are. It is how we were created to serve. We find our identity in our loving relationship with the Father, not our gifting.

          Disciples are made when people willingly follow you and your living example. What kind of example are you setting? What are you reproducing if you make disciples apart from intimacy with the Father? Do we really need two or more like you?

Our priority should be a growing relationship with the Father. We should be cautious of having followers if there are any other priorities above that.

          A leader can easily get distracted from spending intimate time with the Lord. A common trap is to replace being alone with God and pursuing intimacy with the busyness of religious activity. Another pitfall is to allow our “quiet time” or “devotion time” with the Lord to become lifeless, where we go through the motions and never connect with God on an intimate level. We can read a daily chapter or two in our Bible, run through our laundry list of prayer requests, and never take time to be quiet and listen to the one we are talking to. I have been guilty of this myself. It is tragic to become religious in our devotion to God and call it a relationship.

            We can learn about God from reading and studying the Bible, but to honestly know Him, we must spend time with Him, commune with Him, and listen to Him.

          Jesus set a remarkable example. He only did what He saw the Father do. This mindset demands a lifestyle of watching and praying. It’s not always convenient or comfortable, but it is necessary to be a disciple of Christ.

          If you read my biography, you can learn a lot about me, but you can’t honestly say that you know me. You may “feel like you know me,” but to honestly know me, you must spend time with me, ask me questions, listen to my responses, and spend time with me. It is the same with God.

          Reading the Bible takes on new dimensions when intimacy becomes a lifestyle. The word of God bears much more fruit in our lives. We begin to view His written word through the lens of His divine nature; we see it with an unveiled face and a heart of love that makes us more sensitive to His spoken word.

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

God doesn’t Share

If we buy a house and pay for it in full, but the previous owner refuses to move out, we have a breach of contract, a violation of the covenant. We are God’s house. We are His temple. He will not fully move into His temple until the carnal man dies and is removed from the premises. He will not share space with anything unholy. God is very particular about where He abides. We can see this clearly from the Old Testament Temples and the tent of meeting.

However, God is gracious. He is patient and kind. He gives us time to move out, time to die to ourselves, and time to grow spiritually. He has given us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and His word to help us remove everything in His temple that is not pleasing to Him. Praise the Lord!

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

The Mind of the Lord

1 Corinthians 2:16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Notice it says, “we” have the mind of Christ, not “you” or “I.” Understand this about the mind of Christ; “I can do nothing of myself” does not just mean that I can do nothing without the Father. It also means that I can do nothing without relationships with my brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. I will need others to help me accomplish all God has planned and wage a good warfare.

God has designed us to live in a community. Partnering with His work will require a whole village. Assembling forces us to be relational, and relationship with other believers is one way we connect with the Father. A single body part cannot live and function independently apart from the rest of the body.

Even Jesus needed John the Baptist to go before Him to prepare people for His coming. He needed the disciples to help Him with His earthly ministry while He was alive and continue His ministry after His death and resurrection.

There is nothing more connected or co-dependent on planet Earth than the body of Christ. We are more connected than the molecules that make up the human body. Maybe this is why He used man’s body to explain how the body of Christ works.

Effective spiritual warfare requires us to have the mind of ChristUnderstanding that we can do nothing of ourselves puts us all on a level playing field concerning our faith, from the faithful saint who has served God for decades to the newborn babe in Christ. We can all engage in community and bring our contribution while gleaning from the collective supply of others.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

The Cost of Spiritual Maturity.

         Christians follow others for many reasons. Personality, charisma, doctrine, integrity, social status, etc. The reason most people follow a Christian leader is because of the relationship with God that is evident in their life. All great Christian leaders have one thing in common, a genuinely intimate relationship with God that is obvious to all.

          The reason God sent Jesus was to restore man to an intimate relationship with Himself. The message of the Gospel is one of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration of relationships. It is the removal of all barriers that stand between God and man. Jesus is our peacemaker. If a Christian is not continually growing in this revelation, and living out this truth, he/she is not able to reach their full potential as a leader. 

Ephesians 2:14-18 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

          A leader’s influence should be used to bring others into a deeper relationship with the Father. Deep down this is what we all want. This can only be done by example first and teaching second. It is impossible to lead someone to a deeper relationship with God than you have personally experienced. No matter how good a teacher we may be. we can’t lead anyone to a place we’ve never been. Jesus said of Himself; “I am the way, the truth, and the life… John 14:6

If we don’t know “The Way,” we can’t show the way.

          Jesus is the example of leadership that we must follow. We can look at His life and glean many leadership principles that we can live by, but I will only address one main principle that we see Him practice throughout the gospels. The practice of being intimate with the Father.
          There are no shortcuts to intimacy, it costs time, discipline, effort, devotion, and commitment. Above all, it requires a love for Him. Pursuing intimacy with the Father is the greatest indication of our love for God and the greatest investment we can make in ourselves and others. Our faith will only rise to the level of our love for God.

          Jesus paid the price to restore our relationship with the Father. Are we paying the price to nurture and develop that relationship? This is a question we all must answer for ourselves. Intimacy with God is what leads us to maturity. Many Christians follow others because of their “spiritual gifting,” not understanding that gifting can easily be manifest without spiritual maturity.

Spiritual Gifts are Free, Maturity is Expensive

          Our identity is not found in our gifting or our calling, but in our relationship with the Father. Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher is not who we are, it is how we were created to serve. We must find our identity in our loving relationship with the Father, not our gifting.

          Disciples are made when people willingly follow you, and your living example. If you make disciples apart from intimacy with the Father, what are you reproducing? Do we really need two or more like you?
Our priority should be a growing relationship with the Father. We should be cautious of having followers if there are any other priorities above that.

          A leader can easily get distracted from spending intimate time with the Lord. A common trap is to replace being alone with God and pursuing intimacy in that relationship with the busyness of religious activity.  Another trap is to allow our “quiet time” or “devotion time” with the Lord to become a lifeless activity where we go through the motions and never connect with God on an intimate level. We can read a daily chapter or two, run through our laundry list of prayer requests, and never take time to be quiet and listen to the one we are talking to. I have been guilty of this myself. It is tragic to become lifeless in our devotions to God and call it a relationship.

            We can learn about God from reading and studying the Bible, but to truly know Him, we must spend time with Him, commune with Him, and listen to Him.

          Jesus set our greatest example. He only did what He saw the Father do. This demands a lifestyle of watching and praying. It’s not always convenient or comfortable, but it is always necessary.

          If you read my biography, you can learn a lot about me, but you can’t honestly say that you know me. You may “feel like you know me,” but to truly know me, you must spend time with me, ask me questions, and listen to my responses, spend time with me. It is the same with God.

          When intimacy becomes a lifestyle, reading the Bible takes on new dimensions and bears much more fruit in our lives. We begin to view His written word through His divine nature, we see it with an unveiled face and a heart of love that makes us more sensitive to His spoken word. This is when the scriptures begin to come alive for us.

          The Lord taught me a powerful lesson about who I am, and I would like to share it with you.
I pray often that God would live in me and through me in fullness. That people would see Him in me. I remember some time ago, ministering to a lady on the phone one day, she asked me if I was a Pastor. I said “No, my wife is a pastor,” The Lord then spoke to me in the middle of this phone conversation and said, “But I Am a Pastor, and if you deny Me that expression in your life I can’t answer your prayer to live through you in fullness.”

          God was showing me that titles and labels don’t define who we are, He does. Many times we limit His expression through our lives because our words and beliefs are not aligned with His heart. It gives us a twisted view of our identity. Intimacy with God not only gives us an understanding of who He is, but it also shapes our beliefs and gives us an understanding of who we are in Him.

          Who we think we are, must come second to who He wants us to be at any given moment. He showed me that He is the embodiment of the five-fold ministry and if we will maintain intimacy with Him and be sensitive to His desires He will be free to move through us and touch lives in ways that we could never do through our strength and ability.

Ephesians 4:11-16 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

          Without intimacy. we will not produce the fruit of who He is in our lives. May we grow in this wonderful relationship until we love as He loves.

          As we seek Him, we will find Him. As we draw close to Him. He draws close to us. As we embrace Him, He will embrace us. We love Him because He first loved us. He proved His love by laying down His life for us. May we lay down our lives for Him. He is worthy

          He is worthy of our attention, our affection, our life, and He is worthy of our death should it be required. He is worthy!