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Tag Archives: Holy Spirit’s leading

Knowing and Doing

I’ve been posting about how James exhorts us to keep watch over our speaking. Today we will deal with how submitted we are to God. It’s a passage of Scripture that, I think, is usually misunderstood.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
James 4:13-14

In order to understand this passage, you need to see the assumptions that James is making. He’s speaking to believers who have no care about God’s will for their life. How do I know this?

First of all, they say “we will” go there, we will buy and sell, and we will make money. They’re saying all of this without ever knowing what’s really going to happen. They didn’t go on this trip because they felt the Lord impressing them to go. It was all about their desire.

This is clear from the next verses.

Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.
James 4:15-17

When James says that you boast and brag, it literally means that you rejoice in your self-confidence. That’s the key to what he’s speaking of; SELF confidence. When we’re confident in what we can achieve, we usually forget about God and His desire for our lives.

One of the problems in translating is that there’s not much punctuation in the original Greek. There’s sometimes more than one way to read a verse depending on which word you emphasize. I believe that, in the context of what James is saying here, a better way of reading the first line is, “Instead, you ought to speak if it’s the Lord’s will, and live, and do this or that.”

It’s all about spending time with the Lord, knowing His will, and then speaking about what He’s told us to do. If you’re going to do something, do it because you feel led of the Holy Spirit.

I think that makes more sense in light of the last sentence in the above passage. I don’t believe that James is just adding some random thought about doing good. It’s all a part of the same exhortation.

You need to know that you’re in the center of God’s will. Of course, that’s why many choose not to seek God’s will. They’re afraid that it won’t agree with what they want to do.

Once you’ve spent the time and effort to know God’s plan for your life, you can’t simply ignore it. The Holy Spirit would continue to remind you and draw to complete your calling. Some people feel that it’s better just to do what they want and never ask God.

Many people make doing their own thing sound holy. They say, “I’m going to do this, God willing.” What they mean is, “This is what I want to do and I hope God doesn’t stop me from doing it.” At least that’s what I meant when I used to say that.

The key is that we need to know what God wants us to do before we start doing it. If God wants it accomplished, then it’s blessed without me even asking for a blessing. If it’s not God’s will, it won’t be blessed no matter how hard I pray for it.

Spend quality time in God’s presence. In that way you’ll know that what you’re doing is of God. You can then walk in the assurance that everything you put your hand to will be blessed.

Question: What has the Lord called you to accomplish for Him?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Posted by on April 21, 2017 in Ministry, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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One More Week

TimingI’ve been posting about the fact that the Holy Spirit in us is jealous over us. He’s passionate about His love for us. Ignoring or rejecting His attempts to work in us gives the Holy Spirit emotional pain.

We talk a lot about faith. Without it we can’t receive anything from God. If we truly trust God, then we’ll delight in His plan to renew our lives.

Rejecting the Lord’s instruction is the opposite of faith. We can see this in the example of Moses.

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
Hebrews 11:24-26

I’ve heard different people teach about this verse and I think we’ve missed the real point. The writer isn’t saying that sin only gives you pleasure for a short time. Actually, if you spend enough money, you can sustain the pleasure of a sinful lifestyle for quite a long time before it catches up with you.

This verse literally says that Moses chose not to enjoy the pleasures of sin for this little time only. In other words, he didn’t say to God, “Let me have one more month as a royal Egyptian before I follow your plan for my life.”

“Pharaoh’s birthday is in two months. That kind of celebration will never happen again. I’ll attend it, then after that I’ll identify with Israel.”

The trap is that it will never be the right time to live for God. It will never be the right time to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit in us.

Scripture says that Moses was looking ahead to the reward. Do I look ahead to the reward that the Holy Spirit is holding out to me? The choice is – do I want to go where the world is leading me to or where the Holy Spirit wants to take me?

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
Galatians 5:16-18

That’s why we need the Holy Spirit’s leading. If we submit to His process then there’s no need for the law. It’s when our heart sides with the flesh that the conflict starts. My spirit wants to submit to Christ and my flesh wants to chase after the world.

I need make the choice to follow the Spirit’s leading. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today – while the Holy Spirit is seeking my attention. Don’t ignore His gentle voice calling for your fellowship.

Question: Is there something in your life that’s been hindering you from fully submitting to the Holy Spirit’s leadership?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Faith, Prayer, Revival, The Church

 

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Advancement in the Kingdom

Jet Plane to NowhereAs the disciples listened to Jesus’ teaching, they began to learn a great deal about the day of resurrection.  At one point they started to put two and two together and were making their plans accordingly.  They knew that they would be dead before the Days of the Son of Man, but because of the resurrection, they would see the kingdom.

Now it so happens that two of the disciples, James and John, who were also brothers, set a plan into motion.

“Mama, come here, we have to ask you to do something for us.”

“What is it, my children?”

“We want you to ask Jesus something.”

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
“What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
Matthew 20:20-21

They had it all thought out.   They knew that they wouldn’t see the days coming up to it, but they would be there for the kingdom.  If they played their cards right, they could get in on the ground floor.  Jesus had said previously that if any two agreed, they could ask what they wanted, and it would be done for them (Matthew 18:19).

But just to make sure, they asked their mom to make the request that one of them be on the right and the other on the left.  Because, of course, their mom had more pull then they did.

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them.  “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
Matthew 20:22

They had no idea at all what they were saying.  Jesus was talking about the cup of death.  He was looking at their ability to be martyred for the faith.

Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant.  These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
Matthew 20:23

Jesus’ reply contains some interesting concepts.  We need to remember that our places in the kingdom are not going to be decided on by us.  We miss the fact that it’s not up to us to say, “I want to be a prophet so I’m going to Bible College and learn all about the Bible.  Then, I’m going to go to prophet school and learn how to be a prophet.  Then, I’m going to do this and do that, and then, finally, I’ll be a prophet.”

I’m sorry.  That might be how it works in the world, but not in the Kingdom of God.  In the Church, we are to be led by the Holy Spirit.  It’s up to Him to show us the plan for our lives.

Question: What are you called to do for God’s kingdom?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2014 in Ministry, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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