Worry-warts

It is something we all are guilty of on a daily basis – some much more than others. Go take a look at two previous posts on Fear and the process of Letting Go…this post will tie in well with them.

Every situation we encounter in life has the potential to go in two directions: either positive, or negative. Compulsive worry-warts (like me, especially when it comes to our baby) see the danger, the potential problems arising a mile ahead of the event itself. Taking the baby on an outing, I worry that he will cry inconsolably. Feeding him, I worry that he isn’t getting enough milk. During the day, I worry that he isn’t getting enough sleep. Although it is hard for me to admit this, this process is a huge waste of my time and efforts. Not only is it unproductive and, like fear, based in the non-existent future – it also leads to sickness and sadness.

So Jesus tells me the following today:

“So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” Matt 6:34

I need to let go of the aspects of any situation that are beyond my control, and focus only on living in the moment. His grace is sufficient for anything that could come my way. I must only focus on His provision, not the potential problem.

“But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully];” 2 Cor 12:9

Without worry, we will experience abundant joy and light living. Our minds will be filled with peace. Some last encouraging words if we let go of our own yokes and trust in the abundant provision of Jesus:

“For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Mat 11:30

Nothing is hidden

As humans we would feel very vurnerable if every man on street could read our minds. Imagine if every person you came into contact with knew everything about you – your personality, your dreams and secrets? With God, no fear is necessary.

“O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. You know my downsitting and my uprising; You understand my thought afar off. You sift and search out my path and my lying down, and You are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue [still unuttered], but, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.” Ps 139:1-4

God knows every single detail about you. He knows every thought, every worry, every aspiration – every hair on your head is counted. With God we should never feel exposed or vurnerable. Once you are born again, He immediately qualifies and accepts you as righteous, regardless of how ashamed you still are about your life or what He knows about you. He reached out to save you while you were in your worst condition – why would He cast you out now because you don’t think you are holy enough?

Share every single aspect of your life with God – even the parts you don’t feel proud of. Know that there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ (Rom 8:1), and that you are free to BOLDLY approach the throne of grace!

A new era

In the previous post I spoke about how hearing the true message of our salvation over and over again will change us from the inside out. A message that goes hand in hand with our true salvation is the message of grace. Jesus came to change a whole lot of things – one of which is the complete fulfillment of the law’s demands.

“For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgement and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this salvation is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.] Eph 2:8

How can anyone possible argue with this verse? How can any church still preach a message of striving or effort in order to please God? Before Jesus came to change everything, only the Jews who were part of God’s covenant could approach Him (and then only through keeping up with the law’s demands). After Jesus, all of the world (called ‘Gentiles’) previous excluded from this covenant could now approach God through faith.

“[Remember] that you were at that time separated (living apart) from Christ [excluded from all part in Him], utterly estranged and outlawed from the rights of Israel as a nation, and strangers with no share in the sacred compacts of the [Messianic] promise [with no knowledge of or right in God’s agreements, His covenants]. And you had no hope (no promise); you were in the world without God. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were [so] far away, through (by, in) the blood of Christ you have been brought near…By abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law and its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled];” Eph 2:12-13, 15

It is very clear that in this new era no preference is given to any person, nation or church who upholds the law. The only deciding factor when it comes to salvation and a clear conscience before God is whether you have faith in His Son.

Nothing but the truth

Jesus told us directly: “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.” John 8:32

There is no freedom outside of the Gospel of Jesus. There is no liberty when you have to uphold traditions and adhere to a long list of laws. There is no honoring of God if all the emphasis is placed on your works, and how holy you live. True humbleness means admitting you are nothing without the grace and reconciling work of Christ. Proclaiming that Jesus has already accomplished everything necessary to make you holy before God places all the honor and glory in front of His throne, not our own throne.

You cannot experience the divine freedom which Christ came to give whilst living under the law. Jesus came to fulfill the law and adhere to it 100% – so that whomever believes in Him will be blameless before God (through grace).

“Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them.” Matt 5:17

On the cross, breathing His last breath, Jesus said: “It is finished” (John 19:30). This statement convinces us that He has accomplished all that He came to fulfill and complete (see verse above). Therefore, a new testament was put in place (instead of the old covenant) – where only faith in this completed work can now lead to righteousness.

“By abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled]; that He from the two might create in Himself one new man [one new quality of humanity out of the two], so making peace. And [He designed] to reconcile to God both [Jew and Gentile, united] in a single body by means of His cross, thereby killing the mutual enmity and bringing the feud to an end.” Eph 2:15-16

What is the anointing?

“But as for you, the anointing which YOU RECEIVED FROM HIM ABIDES (permanently) in you.” 1 John 2 v 27

In simple terms – the anointing is the power or the ability of God. If you are a Christian, you receive this anointing and it then abides permanently within you.  Marnes Nel from Immanuel Ministries explained it like this:

“The best way to explain the anointing is to compare it to a dam full of water. This dam abides permenantly in all Christians, but not all Christians have all the floodgates open. Some have a stronger flow in certain areas than others, but it is important to remember that all Christians are anointed. That is why the Bible says that the same spirit (the Holy Spirit) abides in us but works in different ways or gifts. All the gifts come from the same water (the Holy Spirit), but it manifests in different ways – for example healing, prophecy, words of knowledge etc.”

The anointing cannot be seen, but it’s effect is evident to all people around it. Examples of this anointing in the Bible include the following:

  • Healing flowing through the body of the woman who touched Jesus’ garment (Luke 8:43);
  • People getting healed through Peter’s shadow that fell on them (Acts 5:15);
  • A dead boy coming back to life when Elijah laid his body on the child (2 Kings 4:32);
  • People getting healed through clothes that touched Paul’s body being sent to them (Acts 19:12).

If you want to live in a greater flow of God’s anointing the only way to do it is to receive more grace. It is not through effort or striving – but just through believing what He has already accomplished.

Input and earnings

Ever since childhood we are taught the earthly principles of input and earnings. If we work harder, we can earn more. If we put hours of effort into a task we receive a greater reward. Christianity does not operate according to the laws and principles of the natural realm – Jesus made this perfectly clear.

He used a parable about laborers in order to demonstrate the Kingdom’s principle of input and reward. A few laborers were hired during the day – some right at the beginning and some throughout the day until just before they received their payment. Those working from earlier on in the day expected more payment than those who started working right before they received their wages – yet they all received the same amount.

“Now when the first came, they supposed they would get more, but each of them also received a denarius. And when they received it, they grumbled at the owner of the estate, saying, These [men] who came last worked no more than an hour, and yet you have made them rank with us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day. But he answered one of them, Friend, I am doing you no injustice. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this man hired last the same as I give to you.” Matthew 20:10-14

The laborers showing up for work represent Christians coming to faith in Christ. All of them receive the FULL measure of grace that Jesus gave through the cross, as well as every gift of life, healing and freedom that comes with it. It does not matter how long you have been a Christian – if you believe, you receive the ENTIRE gift. God does not differentiate between ‘established’ and ‘new’ Christians. Every person is free to receive the complete, overwhelming experience of His grace – up until the very last second before Jesus returns!

Expect the best! (1)

We’ve already discussed that God is ever ready to believe the best of you. Today I want to speak about US, being ever ready to believe the best of God! When something goes wrong in our lives we can sometimes jump to conclusions and think that God was behind it. Our thoughts need to be renewed regarding the goodness of God, so that putting the blame on Him is the most unimaginable thing possible.  The following verse in Isaiah clearly states God is excited (He earnestly waits and looks out for opportunity) to be gracious to us.  He wants to show His loving-kindness to us.

“And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!” Is 30:18

Furthermore this verse states that the people who actively look for His favor and see it everywhere are the blessed, happy ones –  not the people who blame every wrongdoing and evil on Him. I want to be part of the group that only believes the best of Him.  He is ALWAYS better than we can imagine!