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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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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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The Walk of Sonship

 

FallenI want to take a few posts to talk about the concept of sonship. I want to begin this study by reminding you of the Scripture we looked at regarding the power of the Spirit. We talked about this verse when we dealt with how praying in the spirit brought about a change in the way you live. Indeed, both miracles and the walk of righteousness come from spending time in the spirit.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…
Romans 8:13

At that point I was only looking at the concept of righteousness. Now I want to move on to the next verse which brings us deeper into this truth.

…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Romans 8:14

The Word of God is clear. Those who are led by the Holy Spirit are sons. Understand this – if you’re saved, then the Holy Spirit is leading you. As a matter of fact, the Spirit of God is leading even if you’re not following. He’s gently waiting for you to catch up with Him. Why is this?

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:26-29

Now, reading this, I find it interesting that Paul tells us that we’re of the seed of Abraham, and not Moses. Abraham followed God in a walk of faith that worked righteousness in him. He allowed himself to be led by God. So Abraham operated as a son of God. This is because “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:15-17

This is an incredible truth. Sonship is how we explain the relationship of “ever increasing glory”. Because the Holy Spirit is working in us, leading us from glory to glory, we are seen to be sons of God.

Please understand that even though we are adopted as sons of God, Jesus Christ is THE only begotten Son of the Father. We are not equal in position or authority to Him. He is the Head of the Church. That needs to be made clear.

However, even in our position as adopted children, Sonship is a position of power. This is because the Holy Spirit Himself testifies that we are sons. He does this as He bestows the power of God upon us. As the Spirit does His work in us, we have the likeness of Christ ever-increasing in us.

Question: How is the relationship of Sonship different than that of a slave?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Power of God, Sonship

 

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Is Christ Really Our Example? #Christourexample

JesusI am posting about how Christ walked in the power of the Spirit.  He’s our example for a life of victory over the power of the enemy.

You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Acts 10:37-38

This was the theme throughout the ministry of Christ.  Whoever sought help to escape the enemy’s grasp was set free by the Lord.  The reason He could accomplish this is because His anointing was based upon the power of the Holy Spirit.  By the way, this is the same Holy Spirit who’s now resident in us.

So, the big question is why was He able to heal?  Was it because of the Old Testament promises that spoke of healing?  No, it was because God, the Holy Spirit, was with Him.  What we need to come to grips with is the fact that God wants to heal.  He doesn’t want anyone bound by the power of the enemy.

So we can see clearly that Jesus’ power was from the Spirit, not from the law.  It’s vitally important that we understand this truth.  This is the key.

To aid in our realization of this we’ll look at the best example that the Gospel record gives us.  We will go to the section of Scripture where the devil and Jesus have their first battle – in the wilderness.  The accounts of both Matthew and Luke, together, show the fullness of what happened during this time in Jesus’ life.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert…
Luke 4:1

The first thing that we see is that the Lord Jesus allowed Himself to be led by the Spirit.  That means that this encounter wasn’t an accident.  This event was part of the strategy for victory over sin.

…where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
Luke 4:2

When Jesus went into the wilderness His intention was to meet with the Father.  His desire was to fast and pray for the ministry He was about to begin.  In order to do this, Jesus fasted for forty days.

This brings up an interesting question.  How important to us is walking in God’s power?  How far are we willing to go to obtain it?  Are we willing to do a long term fast?  Spend time in the wilderness, away from all distractions, seeking God?  In most cases I see believers who live for themselves and are simply “trusting God for a breakthrough.”

If we want to see the results of Christ, we need to walk His walk.

Question: How far are you willing to go to walk in the power of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

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