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Walking with Christ…and You!

WalkI’ve been posting about the benefits of walking closely with the Lord. It’s how we get to truly know Christ. It’s also how we receive guidance from the Holy Spirit.

But there’s another aspect to walking with Christ that we sometimes overlook. It’s why many don’t want that close a relationship with Christ.

Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.
Psalms 26:2-3

To walk closely with the Lord requires testing. We don’t like that word – testing. It sounds uncomfortable.

But actually, testing is a good thing. It shows us how far we’ve progressed. It lets us know that we’re becoming more and more mature in Christ.

It’s a part of everyday life. If you’re in a close relationship with someone, and you truly love that person, something will happen. It’s called change. People in relationships undergo change. There’s no way around it.

Our relationship with Christ is no different. The more I know of Christ, the more I want to be like Him. This puts the pressure on me to change. All testing does, is confirm the changes that are taking place in my life.

But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
1 John 2:5-6

What a privilege we have. God has placed in us the potential to walk and minister just like Jesus did. We should desire this type of walk.

One thing is clear. You can’t live like Jesus did unless you can access the same power He had. That’s the key to a supernatural ministry.

If I’m going to walk His walk, then I am going to have to be tested just like Christ was. The more I learn, the more I grow in knowledge and faith, the more testing will take place in me. Our greatest desire should be to walk as the Lord did.

Then, as this begins to take place in us, there will be another effect that we see.

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:6-7

As we walk closer to God on an individual basis, we end up walking closer to each other collectively. That’s because we’re all headed toward the same goal. The closer we are to Christ, the closer we are to each other.

There’s two ways of working for agreement among believers. I can spend all my time and energy trying to convince you that I’m right, and you need to agree with me. Or…we can spend time in the Lord’s presence and become convinced that He’s right, and we both agree with Him.

The second method is obviously the correct one. We need embrace the privilege we’ve been given to walk with Christ. To learn and grow with Him. To become like Him and draw closer to others on the same path. Then the world will see Jesus in His people.

Question: How has testing shown you areas of growth in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

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Holy Spirit Guidance

GPSI’m posting about how the closer we walk with God – the more He shows us of Himself. This is key if we truly want to know Christ.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11

I want to know Christ. Our vocabulary is watered down sometimes. We talk about how long we’ve known Christ, but we mean how long we’ve been saved. Our salvation and truly knowing Christ are two separate issues entirely.

When you walk with Christ for the purpose of knowing Him better, things start to take place.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

You will not walk in darkness. In other words, the Holy Spirit will begin to guide you every step of the way. You don’t have to wander around through life. The direction to go will be clear.

This is how Jesus lived and ministered when He was with the disciples.

Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”
John 11:7-10

The Lord was led by the Spirit in all that He did. He didn’t go somewhere just because it was expected of Him. On the other hand, He didn’t stay away because of a fear of being killed.

Fear of the future is one of humanity’s greatest fears. We worry about what’s ahead all the time. But if we walk with Christ, listening to the voice of His Spirit, then we need not fear.

If the Spirit is leading, then He’s also protecting.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me.
Psalms 138:7

That’s why we need to cultivate a close relationship with the Holy Spirit. He’s our guide through all the uncertainties of life.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:21

I love this verse. In it I see the Holy Spirit as my “Life GPS”. We can’t afford to live without His presence.

Question: What was the last guidance you received from the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Knowing Christ through the Spirit

SpotlightI’ve been posting about having an intimate knowledge of Christ. We must allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in us. That’s where the supernatural wisdom and revelation comes from.

The problem arises when we’d rather have the foolish thinking of the world. Sometimes we buy into the promises of happiness that bombard us from all sides.

The book of Hebrews contains a quote from the prophet Jeremiah. He was looking forward to the blessings of the New Covenant.

No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
Hebrews 8:11

One of the greatest blessings that we’ve been given is the ability to be taught directly by the Holy Spirit. God, Himself, can speak to you.

Even though it’s our foundation of faith, reading the Bible is not enough to give us this knowledge. Hearing my teaching or that of other godly men and women isn’t enough.

If we want to know Christ on a personal level, then we need to make ourselves available to the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Only then can I recognize who He truly is and what He wants to accomplish in and through me.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Philippians 3:7-9

This passage sums up everything that I’ve been saying. Paul talks about the wisdom of this world and the resulting desire for the things that our flesh thinks will make it happy. He says that they’re all rubbish compared to knowing Christ.

Why? Because knowing Him intimately will change me. It will revolutionize my life. I will never be the same.

How will it happen? Paul continues…

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11

That’s where true change takes place. When you tap into the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ. When you recognize Him as He is in you. This is where we receive the power for victory.

The question is; do we want to share in the fellowship of His sufferings? That means that we choose His wisdom, even when the flesh wants something else. It’s emotionally painful to choose the Spirit over the flesh, but that’s the path to power and victory.

Allow the Holy Spirit to work in you. Let Him change you by His wisdom and revelation. Then watch as He works His power in you.

Question: How does your flesh react to God’s wisdom?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Really Knowing Christ

JesusI’m posting about the importance of knowing Christ. I talked about not wanting to know Him in the worldly way – just for the blessings He could give you.

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:20-24

The knowledge of Christ that I’m talking about is that which is based in relationship. It’s the knowledge of Christ that changes your life. Nothing is off-limits to the Holy Spirit.

This was the basis of Paul’s prayer that we looked at in the last post.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:17

What is this knowledge actually about? He uses the Greek word epignosis. There’s really no exact word in the English to translate it. It means to have full discernment or recognition.

It’s like this…I can tell you that I know Abraham Lincoln. But you would immediately realize that I was lying. That’s because you know that there’s no way I could have ever met him.

I may have studied about him in history. I might have watched documentaries about his life. I know about him – but I don’t know him.

That’s what Paul is trying to tell us in this verse. He didn’t pray that we would read the Bible more; or that we would attend church and listen to more sermons about Christ. Instead, he prayed that we would tap into the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. He wanted our knowledge of Christ to be more intimate than second-hand word of mouth.

In order to truly know the Lord, we need wisdom – the ability to interpret and apply the facts that we know. We also need revelation; the uncovering of things that we don’t know. That’s how we learn to know Christ in the way He wants to be known.

“Well, then it’s up to God to give me this knowledge.”

Actually, He already did. When we were saved, He placed the Holy Spirit on the inside of us.

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true — even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
1 John 5:20

This has already been accomplished in us. If we are in Christ, then we have the Holy Spirit. Now it’s up to us to receive the wisdom and revelation that He desires to give to us.

But that seems to be the hard part. Because receiving God’s wisdom means that I leave the foolish thinking of the world.

Question: How does worldly thinking have a negative effect on the life of a Christian?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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What You Need to Know

BibleWe live in an age where all the information we could ever want is right at our finger tips. We can fill our time searching for what we want to know, but never find what we really need to know. As believers, there’s only one thing that’s vitally important to know.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:17

This is the key to a successful Christian walk. Unfortunately, we don’t always grasp what this means. People say that they want to know Christ better, but how does that translate into our lives?

Sometimes we need to start by knowing what this does NOT mean. The Apostle Paul describes it to us.

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking…Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.
Ephesians 4:17-20

According to Scripture, there is right thinking and futile thinking. We can’t afford to think like the world. The world thinks that success is measured by money, power, and influence. Or sometimes, how many toys you accumulate.

This kind of thinking will never satisfy – you’ll never have enough. We do not know Christ like that, yet many try.

The truth is that Jesus Christ is not just one more way to fulfill the desires of your flesh. The Lord is not always after the same thing you’re chasing. We must find His destiny for our lives.

That’s why we’re taught over and over in the Word…

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
Ephesians 4:22

We’re not told to get rid of everything – just our former way of doing things. We’re living a new life now. Things don’t work the same in Christ that they do in the world.

The old self needs to go. That’s the part of me that keeps falling victim to my deceitful desires. These are the things in life that sound so good to me, but rob me of my effectiveness for Christ. They distract me from following after what I really need.

The fact is, if I’m not walking in the joy of the Lord before I make a lot of money, I won’t be joyful after I do. If I can’t serve God to my fullest now, I’ll never be able to when I’m a “success”.

That’s the importance of knowing Christ. I want to take a few posts to talk about what it means to truly know Him. We must know the lord to the point where it effects how we live.

Question: What’s the difference between know Christ and knowing about Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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