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All for Christ

As we continue through First Corinthians, Paul is teaching the church about human wisdom versus that which is from God.  This is because they had developed factions based upon their favorite teachers.  Paul lets them know that this is a result of worldly thinking.

So then, no more boasting about men!  All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future — all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
1 Corinthians 3:21-23

Paul brings us to the bottom line of the discussion.  If you’re truly operating in the wisdom of God, then you will not be boasting about which teacher you like the best.

That’s because we need a multitude of teachers in order to understand the full counsel of God.  It takes a wide variety of personalities, styles, and ministries in order to bring the church to where it should be.

I’d like to think that my teaching has a lot to offer the body of Christ.  However, if I’m the only one you’re listening to, then you have a very poor and imbalanced spiritual diet.

The apostle explains that everyone God places before you has a role to play in your life and development.  They are yours.  They’re a gift from God to help you grow.

It’s not up to us to decide who we want to sit under.  To reject someone that God has sent is to reject the work of the Holy Spirit in you.  I’ve received some great blessings from people who seemed, to me, to be the least qualified.

But Paul doesn’t stop there.  He goes on to lay a foundation for some incredible spiritual truths.  It’s not just teachers that are ours, but other things as well.

We are told in this passage that the present world system is ours.  That’s an important concept to understand.  We’re members of a kingdom that has greater authority than the kingdom of this world.

As believers, we need to walk in this knowledge.  We shouldn’t be trying to live according to the world’s expectations.  Our life is on a higher level.  If we truly understood this, we wouldn’t spend our time trying to get society’s acceptance.

Another thing that’s ours is life and death.  This truth should make us constantly sensitive to God’s plan in us.

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 18:21

The Holy Spirit wants us to produce fruit for the kingdom of God.  That involves both the speaking of life and death.  Yes, you heard me correctly; sometimes we need to speak death over things.  It’s clear from reading the book of Acts that the apostles understood and walked in this.

As an example, we had a large New Age school that operated in our town.  It was a hotbed of occultic activity.  During our prayer meetings, we would curse it (not the people, but the organization).

After a few years of this, it was closed.  I believe that this was a direct result of God’s people taking authority over the enemy’s kingdom.

We’re also told that the present and the future are ours.  Where we find ourselves now as well as where we’re headed is in our control.  It all has to do with our submission to the work of God’s Spirit within us.

I can’t complain about where I’m at.  It’s my own choices that brought me here.  It’s by my own choices that I can move on to new levels in Christ.

The most important point of this is that through us, it all belongs to God.  If we lay hold of these things, even though the enemy rules this present world, God is free to move by His Spirit.  As we allow the Lord to work through us, we can see changes in our sphere of influence.

We must be the catalyst of change that God’s called us to be.

Question: How is God calling you to affect your surroundings?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on February 1, 2019 in Leadership, Ministry, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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It’s All About Relationship

RelateAn area that the modern church has glossed over is our relationship with the Lord. The Bible describes many levels, yet we seem to think that just because we sing or read about the highest levels, then that’s where we are. We need to relearn what God thinks when He uses these terms.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:23-24

It’s clear from these words of Christ that the Father’s greatest desire is for relationship. But He doesn’t just want the surface relationship that many are satisfied with. He wants us to come to His presence on His level – in the spirit.

I praise God that I can use my mind and my mouth to approach God. But God is a spirit and He wants us to come before Him at that level. I want to look at the way in which a relationship with God was revealed over time through the Scripture. Let’s start at the beginning.

And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:9

In this verse we see the garden that God had created. In the center were two very special trees. In them we see the choice that was before mankind. It was life versus the recognition of good and evil. This is where God placed the first man, Adam.

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
Genesis 2:16-17

The choice was his. Adam was allowed to eat of any tree he wanted. But he was specifically asked by God not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. One tree would give life, the other would bring death. It was all about Adam’s trust in God’s Word.

It always comes down to this single choice. Life and death are both about relationship. It has always been this way from God’s perspective. We are the ones who redefine things for our convenience and self-justification.

Israel got the same choice many years later.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
Deuteronomy 30:15-16

Loving God is to relate to Him. Our life then flows from this relationship. It’s an undeniable fact. I must participate in His plan, and I must allow Him to participate in my life. The two go hand in hand. This is the relationship that Adam had with the Lord.

The choice he had was all about life and death. Life is a relationship with God. At the start of this story, Adam had a perfect relationship with God. God wants worshippers who worship in spirit and in truth. This is how Adam related to God.

Question: How does the choice between life and death work in our Christian walk?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Proverb – What do You Value?

Proverbs 10:2
Ill-gotten treasures are of no value, but righteousness delivers from death.

This sounds like an oxymoron.  A treasure that’s of no value.  How does that work?  I guess it all depends upon your perspective.

In the natural realm, any treasure is good and valuable, no matter how it’s gotten.  That’s the trouble with us humans, we can’t see the big picture.  We look at what will make us feel good right now.  That’s why so many people in our generation have clawed and fought their way up the corporate ladder, only to find out it was leaning against the wrong wall.

We get trapped in the love of money and excuse it away.

“I’m doing this for you, so you can be comfortable.”

“This extra job is only temporary.”

It is only after we have lost those people who are dear to us that we start to question if it was worth it.

Righteousness – a life lived with God’s priorities in view, delivers us from death.  No, not the grave, but from a living death.  Living your life in God’s will for you will keep your relationships from dying.  It will keep you from an unfulfilled life.  Then, in your later years, you can look back with no regrets.

After all, what is value?  We are eternal beings.  Only a miniscule part of our existence will be lived in this life.  As wonderful as money seems right now, it is only an illusion.

Don’t get me wrong, I need money to get by, the same as everyone else.  But money has no eternal value.  It is only good for life on this planet.  I need to be storing up eternal wealth.  That’s where righteousness comes in.  It will last throughout the ages to come.

As I said, it all comes down to perspective.  What is important to you?  Better yet, what is going to be important to you one million years from today?  Remember, there will come a day when things that you highly valued will suddenly become worthless.  And things that you didn’t care about will suddenly become of supreme importance.

Start planning now for your life in eternity.  It will reap the greatest profit you could ever hope to achieve.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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