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36:  Your “Desire” for the Higher Christian Life

36: Your “Desire” for the Higher Christian Life

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What Does “Desire” for God Have to do with Inflation?

Usually, I send out an encouraging post regarding the Higher Christian Life and the importance of drawing close to Him in these times of trouble.  But today, it’s going to be a bit different.

We have often discussed the importance of desire, especially when embracing the Higher Christian Life.  In essence, we can have all the knowledge and understanding necessary to experience the Higher Christian Life, but without a desire to pay the price and “count the costs” (Luke 14:28) required for deep intimacy with our Lord, nothing happens.  So I want to share something that will hopefully spur on your desire for more of Him, what we call the Higher Christian Life, no matter the costs, come what may.

Now, I know not everyone has an accounting/business background, and sometimes national economic trends and forecasts are hard to understand, let alone swallow.  But the following article by Britt Gillette, The Next Financial Crisis, puts our current national situation regarding debt and quantitative easing in terms anyone can understand.  And he is right on, perfect.  His article will help you understand where we are heading financially as a nation, regarding the inflation you are currently experiencing, and hyper-inflation that is just around the corner.

And remember, this is all just a shadow of Revelation six.  You might want to give that a quick read before going any further.

Carefully consider where we are as a culture and, if you seem troubled by it, then use that feeling of anxiety to fuel your desire for more of Him.  And remember, the Higher Christian Life is yours for the asking when you ask in faith.

The Next Financial Crisis

Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most significant events in world history.  On August 15, 1971, Richard Nixon announced he was “closing the gold window,” thus ending the U.S. dollar’s convertibility to gold.  This ended the post-World War II Bretton Woods monetary system where the world operated on a gold-backed U.S. dollar with other world currencies pegged to the dollar.  It also began the new era of fiat currency and sowed the seeds of the next great financial crisis.  Fiat currency is not backed by commodities such as gold or silver.  Its only value comes from the public’s willingness to accept it as a means of payment.  Since Nixon’s announcement, all the major governments of the world have used nothing but fiat currencies.  Prior to 1971, this had never occurred in human history.

The Danger of Fiat Currency

Why was Nixon’s announcement such a significant event?  Fiat currencies are dangerous.  They eliminate government financial discipline and accountability.  When nothing backs a currency, the government can print unlimited currency units.  The more currency units that exist, the less valuable they all become.  If you earn and save in fiat currency, you lose purchasing power over time.  The government is essentially stealing from you via inflation.  This means government spending is no longer restrained by collected tax revenue or fiscal responsibility.

For example, during World War II, the United States launched a massive war bond campaign to raise the money necessary for funding the war.  They did so because U.S. currency was backed by gold and silver.  They couldn’t simply “print” the dollars needed to fund the war.  But that’s no longer true.  Since 1971, the U.S. has funded the world’s largest standing military, fought two wars in Iraq, a war in Afghanistan, and countless other conflicts.  In doing so, they never once launched a war bond campaign.  They simply printed the dollars they needed.

Since 1971, the U.S. government has been on a spending binge.  In 1971, the U.S. national debt was $398 billion.  Today, it’s $27.8 trillion.  That’s an almost 70-fold increase in debt in the past 50 years.  To fund this massive rise in debt, they’ve run the printing press.  This means the value of a dollar has decreased significantly in the past 50 years.  In 1971, an ounce of gold was $35. Today, an ounce of gold is $1,781.  That’s a 98% decline in the dollar’s purchasing power.

And before you attribute the rise in national debt to the declining purchasing power of the dollar, take a look at the debt relative to national income.  In 1971, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio was 34%.  Today, it’s 127%.  That’s an almost four-fold increase in real terms, and it’s a debt level many economists believe is unsustainable.  As bad as this is, the United States isn’t alone.  In a world awash in fiat currency, debt to GDP ratios are terrible all over the globe.  Japan’s debt to GDP ratio is 256%.  Canada’s is 116%, and the United Kingdom’s is 107%.

The Eurozone alone is home to a number of troubled nations – Greece (181%), Portugal (132%), Italy (155%), France (115%), etc.  Compounding the problem for these nations is they owe their debt in a fiat currency they can’t print.  The European Central Bank controls the euro, and that puts all these nations at potential risk of default if they can’t make their debt payments.  A default by any of those nations will ripple throughout the European banking system which holds billions of euros worth of government bonds.  If European banks become insolvent, financial contagion will spread throughout the world and plunge the world into a financial crisis far worse than the Great Recession, one with the potential to be worse than the Great Depression itself.

The Central Bank Conundrum

The U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and central bankers throughout the world are well aware of this potential scenario.  It’s their worst nightmare.  More than anything else, they fear an out-of-control deflationary spiral akin to the Great Depression.  This is why central banks engaged in unprecedented measures in 2020 to prop up financial markets as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded.  But now, they face a conundrum.  If they keep these policies in place, we’ll have runaway inflation.  But if they reverse their “easy money” policies, they risk triggering the very financial crisis they’re so eager to prevent.

For example, in the United States, interest on the national debt is $378 billion.  This is the fourth largest expense in the annual budget.  A good portion of the national debt is financed using treasury notes with a maturity of less than ten years.  If the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, the interest on the national debt will grow and eat up a larger and ever-growing portion of the annual budget.  The same is true for other countries.

In addition, hundreds of U.S. companies are now “zombie” companies.  These are heavily indebted, poorly managed companies that depend on low-interest rates to meet their loan interest payments.  If interest rates rise, those companies will go bankrupt.  The same is true for many individuals.  A large number of consumers carry variable interest debt.  If interest rates rise, they’ll no longer be able to meet their debt obligations.  In short, raising interest rates will plunge the U.S. economy into a depression.  And the same is true for all the other major world economies.

According to Bloomberg, world debt now stands at $281 trillion.  This is the total amount owed by governments, companies, and households.  It represents 355% of global output.  That’s nearly four times what the world produces in a year.  This level of debt can never be paid back.  Either it will end in default, or it will be paid back with devalued currency.

The first option will lead to immediate pain and suffering, with bankruptcies, defaults, massive unemployment, and widespread social unrest.  The second option offers an alluring promise of a way to avoid such pain.  Which option do you think politicians and central bankers will choose?

The Next Economic Downturn

When the next economic downturn arrives, it will be in the form of a severe global depression.  Unable to service their massive debts, many individuals and companies will default.  Those defaults will leave the banking system on the verge of bankruptcy and politicians scrambling to put together another series of bailout packages.  The government and central bank response to this crisis will be bigger than their response to the COVID-19 crisis.

What will they do?  They’ll run the printing press.  They’ll bail out companies on the verge of bankruptcy.  They’ll buy stocks and corporate bonds.  They’ll backstop people’s mortgage and student loan payments.  They’ll do anything and everything they can in an effort to avoid the inevitable economic pain.  And then they’ll institute something they’ve wanted for a long time – universal basic income.  Every man, woman, and child will receive a monthly stipend equivalent to an average worker’s salary.  A desperate population will welcome it.  But it won’t be enough.  When the prices for rent, food, and energy double as a result of all this printed currency, the government solution will be to double the amount of the monthly payments to combat the rising prices of the “greedy” corporations.  But the problem won’t be rising prices.  The problem will be a failing currency.  This process will play itself out over and over until all the world’s currencies are driven into hyperinflation, and the entire system comes crashing down.

A Dangerous Time

Hyperinflation has ravaged individual nations in the past – Weimar Germany, the post-war Austro-Hungarian Empire, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and others.  But hyperinflation has never hit all the world’s nations simultaneously.  Maybe it won’t this time either.  But keep this in mind, never before have all the world’s major economies simultaneously been run on fiat currencies.  This experiment is only 50 years old, and it’s quickly coming to an end.

What happens when it inevitably falls apart?  What happens when lives are ruined, life savings are lost, and the streets are filled with hungry people?  We don’t know.  But history provides us with clues.  In times of chaos and economic instability, dangerous political leaders and demagogues often rise to power.  They capture the public imagination with promises to end the chaos and restore stability.  Past economic crises led to events such as the rise of Napoleon, the launch of the Bolshevik Revolution, and the consolidation of German state power in the hands of Adolph Hitler.  All these events had grave consequences for the entire world, not just the individual nations involved.  Why should this time be any different?

What the Bible Says

The Bible describes just such a scenario in the end times.  Revelation 6 says an entire day’s wages will barely buy enough food to survive (Revelation 6:5-6).  This describes a world ravaged by hyperinflation, and it’s the backdrop against which the Antichrist makes his drive for global conquest (Revelation 6:3-4).

Ultimately, the Antichrist will implement a global economic system that requires the people of the world to worship him.  The Bible says he will require everyone on earth to receive a mark, and no one will be able to buy or sell without the mark (Revelation 13:17).  We see the beginnings of this system today as paper currencies give way to digital currencies.  Once this transition is complete, the government will be able to control all buy/sell transactions, just as the Bible foretold.

This is one of the many Tribulation events casting its shadow on our day and time.  Along with the restoration of Israel (Jeremiah 23:7-8) and the many signs Jesus and prophets said to look for, all these events are converging for the first time in history.  Jesus said when you see this happen, you can know His return is soon (Luke 21:28).  So rather than hang your head at the trials and sorrows set to come upon the world, lift your eyes to heaven. He’s coming soon!

To read this article and others by Britt Gillette, go to End Times Bible Prophecy.  And while there, you might want to sign up for his monthly newsletter.
The Higher Christian Life

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35:  What Church Could Look Like Today

35: What Church Could Look Like Today

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Second Verse, Uh… Should Be Same as the First

In Matthew 10, we see this amazing account of Jesus sending His disciples out without Him to do what He was doing while He was with them.  It was almost a picture of what life would be like after Jesus was physically removed from their presence and the Holy Spirit was given to them to “abide” with them forever (John 14:16).  This was their first mission trip, their first job as His apprentice, the first time they flew solo.  And He didn’t send them out unprepared.  He gave them the same power they would later receive when the Holy Spirit came upon them in the upper room, as recorded in Acts 2.  This was just a taste of church life to come.

He “gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of diseases” – Matthew 10:1.

Jesus also gave them strict instructions to minister while away from Him in the power they had just received.  Not in their own power, but the power of the Spirit.  For there is no way they could do what Jesus asked in their own strength.  No one can.

He commanded them to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit, much like the early church did in the book of Acts after they received the Holy Spirit.

“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give” – Matthew 10:7-8.

In other words, they should expect their time away from Jesus to be filled with miracles and the moving of the Spirit, just like it was when they were with Jesus.  And this is exactly what we see in the early church after they received the Holy Spirit.  The early church obviously took seriously the promise of Jesus that, once He returned to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit in His place, His followers would do greater works than what they had seen Jesus do (John 14:12).  But is that really possible?  Could Jesus be over exaggerating?  I mean, when ordinary people encounter the Holy Spirit and surrender their lives totally to Him, what does it look like?

This is one reason why God included the book of Acts in our Bible.  Let’s see how the Spirit moved in the lives of these unassuming men.

Chapter Two – After the Holy Spirit falls on the church, Peter stands in their midst and preaches a short, unprepared sermon, only 297 words long, excluding Scripture, and 3,000 people get saved.  Then the infant church, made up of 120 friends and 3,000 strangers, single-mindedly devoted themselves to the “apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).  Everyone was in a state of awe.  And “many wonders and signs were done by the apostles” (Acts 2:43).

Amazingly, the young church “had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:44-45).  All needs of the church were met by the willing, generous sacrifices of all they had for the good of people they just met.

Unlike us, there was no Sunday morning worship service or Wednesday night prayer meeting.  They did not go to church; they were the church.  The Spirit of God lived in them, and they were now temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20).  Everything in their life had changed.  And what did that look like in real life?

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people – Acts 2:46-47a.

Note the keywords, “continuing daily” and “one accord” and “house to house.”  This church was nothing like many of us have ever experienced.  They seemed committed to the Lord and each other in ways we don’t fully understand.  They were “all in” and held nothing back.  And for us, in our selfish, independent, “I can take care of myself” mindset, this seems intimidating and, quite honestly, frightening.

But note what happened?  Look at how the Lord responded to their reliance on the Holy Spirit.

And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved – Acts 2:47b.

That’s daily.  Every day.  How long has it been since we’ve seen people saved in our worship times together?  Exactly.

It’s OK to Dream

What would you give to live in a church like the one revealed in the book of Acts?  Do you realize what we have just read is possible, even expected, for those of us today who have the same Holy Spirit living in us as they did?  God does not play favorites.  He shows no partiality.  And remember, the authority Jesus gave His disciples (Matt. 10:1) to minister in the Spirit is the same authority we have in Him, right now, by virtue of the Holy Spirit living in us.  We have everything we need to experience the Higher Christian Life right now, in Him.  There is no power greater than God.  There is nothing that can thwart His will.  And there is nothing this world could offer you that is better than what you already have.  Look at what the Spirit says about us:

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together – Romans 8:16-17.

So be encouraged today.  The early church has shown us what the Higher Christian Life looks like.  The Holy Spirit now indwells us to empower us to live the Higher Christian life.  And the Higher Christian Life that may seem so far away at times could be just as close as reading the book of Acts.

So let your faith tell you this life is possible, even expected, when you Let Go and Let God… be God.

Note:  We only looked at Acts 2 today.  There are still twenty-six chapters to go.

The Higher Christian Life

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34:  Whatever Your Struggle, He is More Than Able

34: Whatever Your Struggle, He is More Than Able

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What Does it Mean to Have the Holy Spirit Live in Us?

As Truth Two reveals, when the Holy Spirit, God Himself, takes up residence in you, He brings with Him all the power, love, wisdom, understanding, joy, peace, and gifts of the Godhead.  Let this truth sink in; God now lives in you.  Not with you or by you or around you.  But the Holy Spirit actually lives, right now, in you.  Which, as the Scriptures teach, makes you a temple of the Holy Spirit, a dwelling place of God.  Consider this:

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

For Christians today, the idea of a temple seems archaic and outdated.  After all, temple worship is something we associate with false religions or is relegated to the pages of the Old Testament, a practice of ancient Judaism.  And we’ve moved far beyond that, or so we think.

In Judaism, the heart of their worship was tied up in a building, a temple.  Because it was only in a specific part of this building, and only on certain days, that man was able to meet with God.  And to make matters worse, not all men could meet with God, only the priest, and only after going through rituals that make no sense to us today.  God was understood to dwell in the temple made for Him to reflect His glory.  And it was only in the temple that sacrifices could be made for the atonement for sins.  Without the temple, there were no sacrifices.  And without the sacrifices, there was no forgiveness of sin.  So the importance of the temple to the Jewish understanding of the forgiveness of sins cannot be overstated.

The first temple was built by Solomon and later destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.  After 70 years without a temple, the second one was built around 516 BC under the leadership of Ezra and Zerubbabel and stood for almost 585 years.  Later, beginning around 20 BC and during the 18th year of his reign, Herod the Great made impressive improvements to this second temple so that it is commonly known to us as Herod’s Temple.  It was destroyed by Titus Vespasian and the Fifth, Tenth, and Fifteenth Roman Legion during the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

So without a temple, what were the Jewish people to do?  How could they meet with their God?  They could not.  At least not in a temple made by human hands (Acts 7:48).

When Jesus died on the cross, He was the one, final, perfect sacrifice for the atonement of our sin (Heb. 10:1-18).  There was no need any longer for the sacrifices of animals as a picture of what Jesus was to accomplish on the cross.  Hence, there was no need for a physical temple whereby sinful men could come and offer the blood of goats and lambs to somehow atone for the penalty of sin for which Jesus had already suffered and died to forgive (Heb. 9:12).  After Jesus, everything had changed.

Since there was no need for a temple, nor continual blood sacrifices, nor a high priest to act as an intermediatory between each of us and a Holy God, what has replaced these religious mainstays for us?  The answer: Jesus.  He became our High Priest (Heb. 9:11, 10:21), and His blood, sacrificed for us, has provided atonement for our sins, once and for all (Heb. 10:11-14).  And the veil in the temple that separated sinful men from the presence of God in the Holy of Holies, was torn from top to bottom at the death of Christ (Matt. 27:51), indicating there was now no barrier between God and man.  We now have bold access to the throne of God by the blood sacrifice of Jesus (Heb. 10:19-22).

And this is where it gets exciting, especially regarding the Higher Christian Life.

You Are Now the Temple of God!

Remember the verses we looked at earlier, 1 Corinthians 6:19-21.  Because the Holy Spirit, God Himself, now lives in us, we have become the temple of God, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.  We have within us what the Jews hoped to experience in the Holy of Holies— the fullness of God.  We have the presence of God in the Person of the Holy Spirit inside of us.  And this was the wonderous mystery hidden from the Jews, but now revealed to us.

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory – Colossians 1:27.

Now, when we struggle with our failures in the higher Christian life, it is because of our sinful nature, pulling us, prompting us, sometimes forcing us to do the things we don’t want to do when our spirit wants to do the things pleasing to Him (Rom. 7:18-20), yet we fail.  You and I, and Paul, know what this is like.  Remember, “O wretched man that I am!   Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24).  You are not alone when you struggle to be more like Him.

But the great encouragement for today is simply this; you have the Holy Spirit living in you.  Take some time and reflect on this familiar truth.  You don’t have to travel to the temple to meet with Him.  You don’t have to wait until a certain day to experience His healing power.  You don’t have to go through all sorts of rituals to make yourself appear worthy to come into His presence.  He is already here.  In you.  Closer than you can imagine.  He knows you better than you know you.  And He has seen the best and the worst of who you are, and yet He still loves you.

So relax and stop striving (and probably failing) to live out something in your life (holiness, sanctification, the Higher Christian Life), that the Holy Spirit was given to live through you.  Let Him do His job.  Get out of His way.  Just “let go and let God”— be God.

Will you do that today?

The Higher Christian Life

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33:  The Holy Spirit Now Lives in You

33: The Holy Spirit Now Lives in You

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Uh, How Does the Holy Spirit Live in Me?

In Truth Two, we see God giving us the Holy Spirit to live and dwell in us in order to both “will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).  In other words, as we discovered yesterday, the Holy Spirit is active in us to accomplish what God has predestined simply for His good pleasure, or because He wanted to.  And what He predestined for us is to be “conformed (to be similar in essence or nature) to the image (an exact representation) of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).  God wants His children to be just like His Son.  That makes sense, doesn’t it?  Don’t we want our own children to grow up to reflect their parent’s nature, values, faith, and virtue?

So Truth Two lets us know we have the Holy Spirit living in us to accomplish that exact purpose.  So we are not alone on this journey towards the Higher Christian Life.  God has given us Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, to accomplish His will in making us just like Jesus.  And this is a great encouragement to those who have repeatedly tried and failed to live the Higher Christian Life by their own wits.  It cannot be done.  The Higher Christian Life can only be lived through the Spirit who now lives and empowers each of us.  Our task is to Let Go and Let God.  We are to Let Go of our own pride, independence, and self-efforts and Let God have every part of us, by surrendering to Him, so that “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), all for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13) and by His sovereign design.

But think for a moment, what does having God dwell in us do for us?  And why did God choose to live in us and not have us come to Him as He did in the Old Testament?  And this is where the wonders of the Higher Christian Life become real to us, and we feel the growing confidence that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Phil. 4:13).

Rejoice, God Now Lives in You!

In the Old Testament, God lived with His people but did not live in them.  He met with only a select few in the Tabernacle and they, in turn, told others the words of the Lord.  He communicated His message to His prophets, and not to others.  The Holy Spirit came upon men for a season or for a specific purpose and then was removed.  We see this in the acts of Samson, the prophecy of Saul, and many others.  In fact, it was the Holy Spirit falling on ordinary men that made them the heroes of the faith we honor today.  It was not them or their personal charisma, courage, or charm, but the Spirit who transformed ordinary men into beacons of light, who lived a life of faith during troubling times.

And when David, in the midst of anguish over his sin, cried out “and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Ps. 51:11), he was not referring to his salvation, but to his intimacy with the Lord fostered only by the presence of the Holy Spirit in His life, for a season.  It was the Spirit who gave David the inspiration to write so many of the Psalms.  It was the Spirit of God who imparted His wisdom to Solomon, so evident in the Proverbs.  It was the Holy Spirit who emboldened the three Hebrew children to defy the blasphemy of Nebuchadnezzar, even at the threat of death.  And it is the same Spirit who lives in you, not for a season but permanently, never to leave.

But what does that mean?  Simply this.

Before Jesus was taken from His disciples’ sight, He “commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me'” (Acts 1:4).  And the wonderous Promise of the Father was the coming reality of God living in us, not just with us, in the Person of the Holy Spirit.  We will never have to go to where God is to meet with Him, for He is always in us.  Forever.  (Note:  As a bit of homework, look up the phrase “in Christ” and see the amazing benefits you have that were unknown to even the Old Testament saints.  But we will look more into that at a later time).

Consider the words of Jesus when He spoke about the blessing of the Holy Spirit living in us.

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another (állos – another of the same kind, another just like Jesus) Helper, that He may abide (ménō – to remain, dwell, live, make their home, to be and remain united with one heart, mind, and will) with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, (how) for He dwells (ménō – same word translated abide) with you and will be (what) in you.  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).

One last thought, Jesus said the “Spirit of truth,” the Holy Spirit, now “dwells with you” (present tense), but “will be in you” (future tense) at some point in time.  This promise of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was the Promise of the Father Jesus spoke about in Acts 1:4.  And it was powerfully fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2.

If you are a believer in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit, the very God of Gods, living in you.  For the Holy Spirit is just as much God as the Father and the Son.  Yet it is He, and not the Father nor the Son, who lives in you and empowers you to be overcomers in the life of faith.  And, as Truth Two states, it is by the Spirit that God will do whatever is necessary to bring you into conformity with His Son (Rom. 8:29), according to His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13), which is the very definition of the Higher Christian Life.

So be encouraged.  You have everything you need to live the “abundant life” Jesus promised (John 10:10) right now.  And the Holy Spirit is not out there, somewhere, far away, playing hide-and-seek, only revealing Himself to those more faithful or worthy than you.  No, He lives in you right now.  He empowers you right now.  And He comes with spiritual gifts to impart to you, right now.

All you have to do is ask.  And asking comes in the form of trust and surrender.

Will you do that today?

The Higher Christian Life

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32:  The Holy Spirit Provides All You Need

32: The Holy Spirit Provides All You Need

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There’s Nothin’ You Need, He Ain’t Got!

In this post, we will begin to explore the second of these three great truths designed to free us from the guilt and shame of trying to live the Higher Christian Life in the flesh, by the power of our own strength and resources, and failing miserably.  Sound familiar?  Unfortunately, it is a description of many who begin their walk with Christ in faith, only to think they are now mature by trying to complete their walk with Him in the flesh.  As if faith and dependence on Him is a sign of weakness or frailty and something “real” Christians shun as they grow in spiritual adulthood.  But lest we forget, God has given us Himself in the Person of the Holy Spirit to live in and through us for a reason.  And it is He, and He alone, the Spirit of God, who provides all we need in this life, ever.

For review, Truth One states we are incapable of pleasing God or producing anything good with our flesh, by our own efforts, with our sinful nature, no matter how hard we try.  And if you haven’t come to grips with Truth One yet, go back and review Romans 7, especially verse 18.  Now Truth One can sound a bit discouraging, especially for those who suffer from a “little God” syndrome, which we will discuss later.  But it is actually great news.  For just like salvation, it puts us at a place where we must admit we are helpless to save and redeem ourselves and need a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, someone much greater than we are, to do just that.  We are thus dependent on Him for what we cannot accomplish ourselves, no matter how long or hard we try.

The same applies to the Holy Spirit.  Truth Two states God has given us the Holy Spirit to live and dwell in us for the purpose, among other things, of working in us “both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).  Did you catch that?  The Holy Spirit will allow and empower us to “will and do for His good pleasure.”  And by the way, the “His” is God the Father.  Not you.  Not anyone you know.  And especially not your flesh, your unredeemed humanity.

The verse reads like this in context: Paul begins by showing the unity that comes when each of us reacts to each other in humility (Phil 2:1-4).  And how is that seemingly impossible task accomplished?  By the power of the indwelling Spirit.  Then he goes on to show the humility of Christ.  After all, if Jesus portrayed this much humility, how much more should we who are called by His name?  Read these verses over a few times, slowly, savoring each word.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father – Philippians 2:5-11.

And finally, Paul exhorts the church at Philippi to live out the faith they have in Him as beacons of eternal light revealing the Father (Matt. 5:14-16).  He encourages them to be “blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

But embedded between these two statements is found one of the glorious purposes God gave each of us the Holy Spirit.  It says, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).  It is God, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, working His good pleasure, His divine will, out in your life.

But there is more.

What More Do We Need Than We Already Have?

Let’s look at this verse a little closer.

“For it is God who works (energéō – to be effective, operative, active, implying energy) in you (make it personal) both to will (thélō – to desire with purpose and intention, implying active volition) and to do (energéō – the same word translated works) for His good pleasure (eudokía – gracious purpose, a delightful, fixed intention of benevolent favor, a good intention).”

So it is God, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, who is at work or working (energéō) in you with a purpose, an intended goal (thélō) for your life.  And that goal, what He predestined when He called you to Himself, is for you to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).  And He is currently working (energéō) this purpose in you for no other reason than “His good pleasure” (eudokía), or with a desire to be gracious and benevolent to you.  This is our promise from God.  Better yet, this is your personal promise from God   And it is one reason why His Spirit dwells in each of us.

So if this is true, what more do you need than you already have in Him?  What do you have to add to your life by your own strength and resources to make up for the Spirit’s shortcomings or deficiency in you?  And if you are “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10) and the “fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23) abides in you, tell me, what more do you need than you already have?  Is there anything impossible for the God who lives in you? (Matt. 10:26).

This is the foundation of Truth Two.  But before we dig deeper into this truth, you must come to firmly believe in your heart God has already provided, in Himself dwelling in you in the Person of the Holy Spirit, more for you than you could ever imagine.  And He is well able to complete what He has begun in you (Phil. 1:6), for His own glory and for “His good pleasure.”

Or, because He wanted to.  You are loved that much!

Tomorrow we will look at what it means to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and what that blessing means in the Higher Christian Life.

The Higher Christian Life

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31:  God Only Disciplines Those He Loves

31: God Only Disciplines Those He Loves

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The Good News and the Bad News in the Higher Christian Life

Yesterday we began to look at Truth One regarding the discouragement that comes with continual failure to live the sanctified life in the flesh.  And we concluded it is impossible for us to produce anything good in our flesh since it is still intertwined with our fallen, sinful nature.  Therefore, it seems we have spent most of our Christian life trying to prove Truth One is false and we can, contrary to Scripture (Rom. 7:18), produce good with our flesh under the allusion God will be impressed by our efforts and pleased with our results.  And then we scratch our heads and we wonder why the Higher Christian Life seems so elusive to us today.

I think it’s obvious, don’t you?

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find – Romans 7:18.

But nevertheless, whether we are mature enough to embrace Truth One or still stuck in the idolatry of our pride, we must admit our failure to live the Higher Christian Life is painful and discouraging and often leads to an irresistible desire to throw up our hands in defeat and quit.  But that is a course of action we must never take.  After all, fully realizing our inability to live the Christian life in the flesh is the greatest blessing we can experience in our journey to the Higher Christian Life.  Let me explain.

There is good news and bad news associated with the Higher Christian Life.  The good news is God has provided a means for us to experience Him in ways most nominal believers cannot imagine.  And the sky is the limit.  There is no one who has ever fully arrived when it comes to the Higher Christian Life.  D.L. Moody once said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.  I will try my utmost to be that man.”  This is the mindset of those who seek the Higher Christian Life.  And the good news is this experience is possible and available and attainable for each of us today.

But the bad news is God will go to extreme measures to help us experience Him by correcting His children, often by painful punishment, when they head in the wrong direction.  Remember this verse (a quote from Proverbs 3:11-12):

For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives – Hebrews 12:6.

This sounds cruel to our ears today because the words “chasten” and “scourges” conjure up images of abuse and harsh discipline, something our woke culture no longer associates with a father’s love for his children.  But the word translated “chastens” (paideúō) means “to bring up a child, to educate, train, influence, with the idea of chastizing or punishment for the purpose of educating someone to conform to divine truth.”  And the word “scourges” (mastigóō) is used figuratively to mean “correct or punish” and refers to “all suffering which God ordains for His children which is always designed for their good” (Rom. 5:3, 8:28).

And note, God only does this for those He loves (agapáō).  And He only disciplines or ordains suffering (scourges) for those in His family He receives to Himself, listed as “every son” in the verse.  So the chastening of the Lord is not meant for evil, but for our good.  And it is ordained by our loving Father who only desires us to experience Him in a greater fashion than we are today.

But there is more.

How Does This Relate to My Struggles with Holiness?

This is where it gets exciting.

In all the times you failed in your walk with Him and found the Higher Christian Life elusive and just beyond your grasp, you may have thought you were of no use to God, and your flaws or inability to remain faithful made you a disappointment to Him.  You were ashamed of yourself, and you assumed God felt the same way.  You may have been deceived into believing your failures and sin defined who you are and God only saw your past, what you were and still are, and not your future, what you could become.  But God has a purpose in your suffering and shame.  God is teaching you, through your failures and discouragement, that you cannot serve Him with what is still yet unredeemed.  You cannot produce anything good with your flesh.  You must learn to trust and rest and abide in Him (John 15), and allow Him to create His good through you.  This is the key to the Higher Christian Life.  To “Let Go and Let God” and leave the results to Him.

Remember, God only disciplines those He loves (Heb. 12:6), and His discipline can sometimes seem harsh.  But He does this only to bring those He loves into a better understanding of themselves and of His pathway to the Higher Christian Life.  So if you have experienced shame and suffering and continual failure in trying to live in the flesh the life only obtainable by His Spirit, look up!  For God, like a loving Father, is simply trying to get your attention to bring you back on the right path to intimacy with Him.

And rest assured, He will stop at nothing to give what is best, which is Himself, to those He loves, which is you.  So embrace His grace in your failures and repent of trying to live a spiritual life by your flesh, and you will receive entrance to the pathway leading to the Higher Christian Life.

Tomorrow, we will look at the second of the three key truths to deliverance from failure and discouragement in the Higher Christian Life.

The Higher Christian Life

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30:  I Know that “In Me, Nothing Good Dwells”

30: I Know that “In Me, Nothing Good Dwells”

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What We Cannot Do, No Matter How Hard We Try

Today we will begin to look at the first of three key truths that will help you overcome the disappointment of trying to live the Higher Christian Life in your own strength and failing— which is a certainty.  You cannot, under any circumstances, live in the flesh that which can only be lived through His Spirit.  It cannot be done, no matter how hard you try.  And the more you try, the more your spiritual life resembles a mouse on an exercise wheel, constantly straining to the point of exhaustion, but going nowhere, still trapped in his cage.

Ever been there?  So have many believers before you.

And the reason we continue to go back to something that has never worked in the past with the insane hope it will work today is that we have not taken the time to truly understand the nature of our fallen flesh and what the atonement of Christ did, and didn’t do, regarding it.  To begin with, the sinful nature (our flesh) you and I had before being born again (John 3:16) is the same sinful nature (flesh) we have now.  The atonement did not change or redeem our flesh.  It is something with which we still struggle and will continue to do so until our flesh is redeemed by Christ when we are given a new, glorified, heavenly body, that is conformed to His body (Phil 3:20-21).  When talking about the contrast between our earthly body and our resurrected body, the Scripture describes our human bodies as perishable, weak, natural, and corruptable, all because of sin.  Yet our glorified bodies are deemed imperishable, eternal, spiritual, and not touched by corruption that comes from sin (1 Cor. 15:42-53).  Consider the following:

The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.  It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.  It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. – 1 Corinthians 15:42a-44.

So the redemption of our flesh, the resurrection of our bodies, comes later in this journey of our salvation.  We are buried in our sinful flesh and will be resurrected and raised in a perfect, glorified, sin-free body— a body that no longer has a sinful nature attached to it.  But this happens in the future and is not something we experience now.

Hence, our continual struggle with temptation, sin, and inevitable failure.

Why Can’t I Live the Higher Christian Life in My Own Strength?

So what do we do?  We try harder.  We jump back on the exercise wheel with a renewed commitment to grow closer to the Lord or to try to live a holy, sanctified life by doing all the things we’ve tried before.  And to quote Dr. Phil, “How’s that working out for you?”  It’s not.  You cannot live in the flesh something that can only be done in the spirit (or by the Spirit) no matter how committed you are to a spiritual self-improvement program.  To do so is futile at best and doomed to fail from the start.  Do you know why?

Truth One:  You are incapable of pleasing God or producing anything good with your flesh, your sinful nature, no matter how hard you try.  It cannot be done, has never been done, will never be done, by anybody, ever.

This truth might be difficult to accept.  After all, we like to think highly of ourselves and often take pride in the strides we have made in our Christian life.  So you might as well take a deep breath and relax because Truth One is, in fact, truth.  And if you still struggle with the idea you are incapable of doing anything good in your flesh, even after your salvation, consider the following:

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find – Romans 7:18.

Remember, it was Paul who made this statement.  And I wouldn’t want to stack my spiritual life up against his, would you?

Most of us have spent the majority of our Christian life trying to prove Truth One is wrong.  We’ve tried to love more, pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17), witness to our loved ones, unselfishly minister to others, “rejoice always” in every situation (1 Thes. 5:17), fervently worship in “spirit and truth” (John 4:23), forgive as we want to be forgiven (Matt. 6:14), and serve the Lord with the joy and intensity we know should be there, but it’s not.  I mean, if we were capable of doing good in our flesh and by our own merits (and we have all tried), wouldn’t our spiritual life right now be the Higher Christian Life?  But for most, it’s not, it’s seriously lacking.

Remember, our mission in life is not to produce the fruit as a branch (which we are incapable of doing), but to only bear the fruit the vine produces in us (see John 15).  “For without Me (Jesus, the Vine), you can do nothing” (John 15:5).  This is the essence of Truth One.

So don’t run from this truth.  Accept it at face value.  Receive it without reservation.  Take some time and ask the Spirit to confirm this truth to you.  And understand Truth One should not lead you to despair, but to immense joy.  For it is in the full acceptance of Truth One that the pathway that leads to deliverance is opened.

And we shall look more deeply into this pathway tomorrow.

The Higher Christian Life

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29:  He Both Can and Will Fulfill His Promise to You

29: He Both Can and Will Fulfill His Promise to You

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He is Both Able and Willing to Fulfill His Promises

When it comes to the Higher Christian Life, what we are striving for is a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Lord.  We want to grow closer to Him and experience Him in ways we never have before.  We want to enter into uncharted fellowship and communion with Him.  In essence, we want to “know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil 3:10).  Literally, as this verse states, we want to “have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16), which means to know everything about Him, the good and bad, His resurrection and His sufferings and His death, and to experience them in fellowship with Him in ways we never have.  We want all that comes with our life with Christ, and we are willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to achieve true intimate fellowship with the Lord (Rom. 12:1-2).

The life I have just described, the abundant life Jesus promised (John 10:10), all begins with and is fed by faith.  But it is the object and intensity of that faith that moves us from a life of apathy and lukewarmness to a point where we are able to experience all the joy and blessings that come with the Higher Christian Life.

But how is that accomplished?  And how can we have the faith to say “no” to our flesh and the cares of our life in this fallen world, and “yes” to Him and His kingdom and all He promises to those who follow Him?

What holds many back from a life of total surrender, or reckless abandon, or complete salvation, or to “let go and let God,” is a fear God will somehow not honor our commitment, nor do His part, nor meet us in the middle, and will leave us hanging and disappointed, as orphans, because of some unholy or undesirable or unlikable or unforgivable trait or sin or flaw in us.  We see ourselves through our own lens of failure and broken promises and then assume God does the same.  And because we esteem ourselves so little in our own eyes (since we know what we are like on the inside), we assume God also does and rightly withholds His blessings because He doesn’t really like us that much.

So why would He keep His promise to someone as unworthy as me?  I know I wouldn’t.
Why would He go out of His way to answer a prayer from someone as disappointing as I must be to Him?  Why would He even care?
I know if I was God, I wouldn’t give a flip about me.  So maybe He doesn’t either.

What we assume is humility and a right view of ourselves is really nothing more than an opportunity to impugn and discredit the name and character of our loving God by believing the worst about Him.  We believe, rightly so, He is sovereign and loving and can do anything He wants at any time He wants.  Yet, for some flaw in His character, He chooses not to bless us, or answer our prayers, or reveal Himself to us because He has favorites, those He loves more than others, and we are not included in that crowd.

So when we look at the promises of God, we inevitably believe they are meant for someone else, but not us.  Others get to eat with Him at His table, as His children, but not us.  We have to eat leftovers alone, in the kitchen, after everyone else has finished.  We know that God can, but we just don’t think He will, for us.  Maybe for others more worthy— but not for us.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

I Know He Can… and I Hope He Will

The way faith is grown is to put it to use and have it tested.  If you look at Hebrews 11, every one of those listed did something with their faith.  Their faith in God was not passive or sterile or academic.  It was active and was tested and, therefore, grew.  The same is true for each of us.

God has many times in His Word given us promises and said He is well able to fulfill His promises to us.  But if we only believe God is able, and not willing, then we forfeit the blessings He wants to give us, and our faith in Him flounders.  Plus, it makes God petty and vindictive and almost abusive in loving and favoring some of His children more than He does others.  What kind of father does that?  Again, nothing could be further from the truth.  Ask yourself this, does this promise apply to you?

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” – 2 Corinthians 2:9.

Do you love Him?  If so, this promise is for you.  You cannot imagine, in the deepest recesses of your heart, the wondrous things God has prepared for you.  Not just others, but for you.  Once you firmly settle this in your mind you come to see that believing anything other than this makes God less of a father than you would want for your own children.  So settle it today!  God is not a liar.  He keeps His promises, even to you!

Make it personal.  God can and He is able to fulfill all His promises to me— regardless of how unworthy I am or what I think about myself.  And not only is God able, but He is willing, joyfully willing, to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power (Holy Spirit) that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).  And do you know why?  Because that’s what a good father does.  And God is a good God and a wonderful Father.

So rest in this today, and next time we will begin to unpack the three truths that will help you experience the Higher Christian Life.

The Higher Christian Life

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28:  Victory is Found in Believing God’s Promises

28: Victory is Found in Believing God’s Promises

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Victory is Found in Believing God’s Promises

In our last podcast, we shared the hope of true victory over our continued failure against sin and introduced three truths we must believe to enter into the joy of the Higher Christian Life.  Over the next few days, we will dig deep into each of these truths to understand the importance of our unwavering faith in God’s promises.  For without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).  But we know that, don’t we?  Yet we fail in our faith, nonetheless.

Think about your spiritual life.  Like most believers, you probably experienced an exuberant infusion of love, joy, and peace when you first came to Christ, and He became real to you.  After all, this is exactly what He said He would do. Suddenly, your prayers got answered.  Surprisingly, God’s Word became alive to you.  And unexpectedly, you found yourself excitedly talking with others about the joy of your newfound faith.  Everything was roses— at least for a season.

Then something happened.  Something changed.

You probably can’t put your finger on the exact moment or the exact event, but what seemed so alive in you began to fade.  Gradually, over time, the joy of your Christian life subsided, and the old temptations came roaring back.  And instead of “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5), or girding yourself with the “whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day” (Eph. 6:13), your mind began to linger lustfully on those things you had once forsaken, and you found yourself drawn back into the old life, the dark side of who you once were, the “old man” as Paul would say (Rom. 6:6).  The rest plays out like a B-rated horror flick.  Before you knew it, you found yourself once again doing what you had already repented of and promised God you would never do again.  Then came the conviction, followed by the inevitable downpour of guilt that quickly turned into shame.  And like Adam, you tried to hide from God’s presence by refusing to seek Him in prayer or Bible study or fellowship or worship in church.   Questions and accusations followed.

“How can I claim to be a Christian and go back and do what I said I would never do again?”
“What must God think of me now?”
“Why wasn’t my faith stronger?  Am I really that weak?  There must be something wrong with me.”
“Is this what I can expect as a Christian— victory, and defeat, followed by even more defeat?”
“Jesus said He came to give me an abundant life (John 10:10).  But this sure doesn’t seem like an abundance of anything other than failure and shame.”
“I’m so sorry, Lord.  Please forgive me for being such a hypocrite.  I’ll never tell anyone about You again until I get victory in my life over sin.”  Which sadly, for many, often never happens.

Sound familiar?  It should.  This is the outline of the spiritual odyssey of most believers today.  But the difference between victory and defeat, success or failure, is the ability and desire to rise from our shame and regret, remembering Whose we are and Who lives in us, and somehow find the strength to pick ourselves up and return to the race (Heb. 12:1).  Only this time, we wisely refuse to run the race alone.

It is Only By Believing God’s Promises that Victory is Secured

God gives us so many promises in His Word.  But for those promises to become real to us, we have to believe them and then live as if we really had the faith to believe them.  This is not sterile, dead, academic, lip-service-only faith.  It is vibrant faith that shows itself boldly in action.  Nothing else will do.

Remember, God is sovereign, and nothing is too great for Him.  He can do whatever He chooses (Ps. 115:3), which may actually be “exceedingly abundantly above what we ask or think, according to the power (Holy Spirit) that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).  So rest assured, God has a plan for your deliverance from the Christian life you are now experiencing to the Higher Christian Life He promised.  And His deliverance is found by firmly grasping with two hands and acting upon His great promises which are given to you.  Not given to someone else you deem more worthy, but given to you.

So before we dive into the three truths that will help you experience the Higher Christian Life by living as an “overcomer” regarding sin, there is just one more thing you need to settle firmly in your mind.  God is not only able to do whatever He has promised, but He is also willing.  And He is willing to not only reveal Himself to you, but to keep all of His promises.  Every one of them.  No matter what.

Do you believe this statement about God to be true?  Good.  Then let’s begin our Higher Christian Life journey together, shall we?

The Higher Christian Life

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27:  But What Happens When We Fail?

27: But What Happens When We Fail?

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What Happens When I Fail at the Higher Christian Life?

We have spent enough time since our last teaching for you to have either experienced the joy of wonderous success in the Higher Christian Life or the bitter gall of continued failure.  My guess is that it’s a little bit of both— probably light on the success side and heavy on the failure.  And a constant diet of failure can lead to disappointment, discouragement, self-loathing and self-doubt, depression, and the overwhelming urge to give up and quit.  But quitting never accomplishes anything, especially in the spiritual life.

What if I were to tell you that your failures in trying to experience the Higher Christian Life are actually all part of God’s great plan to make you see yourself as you truly are: one who is incapable of doing anything good in the flesh.  Ouch.  I know that one stings.  But as we shall soon discover, the first truth to grasp on the way to victory in your spiritual life is to fully come to grips with the fact that:

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells – Romans 7:18a.

Remember, this was written by a man far more intimate with our Lord than most of us are today.  And it was written decades after he first met the Lord on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:3-6).  So this is not the depressed rantings of a young believer who is continually drawn back to his dark side.  No, these are the words of a seasoned apostle.  Probably the greatest apostle of all.  But there is more.

We would assume, by the time Saul became known as Paul (Acts 13:9), he would have figured out how to keep his flesh, the old man (Rom. 6:6), permanently dead and buried.  But if you will read the rest of this verse, you will find even Paul still struggled with failure in his walk with Christ.

For to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find – Romans 7:18b.

Did you catch what Paul was saying?  The desire (will) to live the Higher Christian Life, a life free from the bondage of sin, is “present with me”, but “how to perform what is good (living a life of sanctification or holiness) I do not find.”  And as a side note, the word translated “perform” is katergázomai and means “to work, to bring about, to accomplish, to carry out a task until finished.”  So Paul is saying he struggles to find the key to unlock the door to spiritual victory when it comes to experiencing, day by day, a life not stained by sin, and the grieving of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30).  He struggles to find how to “perform” or to “bring about until finished” living a life of holiness or sanctification.  Or in our terms, how to experience the Higher Christian Life.

Don’t get me wrong, Paul did experience wonderful times of intimacy with the Lord, probably greater than anyone you or I have ever known (2 Cor. 12:2-4).  Yet he still struggled to find the permanent answer to the question, Is there a way to keep from failing?  In essence, he was just like each of us, striving to live Christ-like, with ups and downs, peaks and valleys. two steps forward, one step back.   Look what he said in the next verse.

For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice (prássō – what one does repeatedly, continually, habitually, with no end in sight) – Romans 7:19.

Paul, knowing what he did about his life before Christ and knowing what he does about Christ, still practiced, habitually, with no end in sight, the things he hated doing.  The “evil” he strived not to do.  What is the answer to this spiritual dilemma that plagued Paul and probably every other believer since?  Or, Who has the key to victory over the power of sin and our flesh?

Is There a Way to Keep Me From Failing Spiritually?

Absolutely.  And over the next few sessions, we are going to unpack the three truths that can set you free from the sting of failure and firmly plant you on the path to a life of intimacy with Him and victory over your flesh, or what we call the Higher Christian Life.  Let me introduce these truths to you and we’ll look at them in detail in the days to come.

One, with your sinful nature (flesh), you are incapable of producing any good thing.  No matter how hard you try.  Period, end of discussion.  This truth might knock you back on your heels a bit, but it is nonetheless, true.

Two, God has given you the Holy Spirit to dwell within you for the purpose that He “works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).  This may seem easy to accept, like a simple Sunday School lesson, but the implications of this truth regarding our failure to live the Higher Christian Life cannot be understated.  We’ll also look in detail at what this means for us today.

Three, (here’s the kicker) when Christ was crucified, He took with Him to the cross not only our sins, but also our sin nature, our “old man” (Rom. 6:6).  And it is here, in our understanding and acceptance of what Christ’s death accomplished, that true victory over our failure is found.  This is home base for the believer.

Remember these words:

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord – Romans 6:11.

There is so much we are going to discover as we continue learning how to experience the Higher Christian Life.  Join us.

The Higher Christian Life

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It’s Elegantly Responsive

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