Wednesday, June 29 2022
Contributor: Clem Roberts
In the past few weeks, we have been looking at the different ways the Holy Spirit Leads. From how He personally leads, the inward witness, to the exposition on how He leads through the still small voice. Today, we will be looking at how He leads via the authoritative voice.
Our text is taken from Acts 8:29 and it reads; Then the Spirit said unto Philip, go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
The power of the voice cannot be over emphasized. it is so powerful and vital in all human aspects and operations. You need a voice whether in you are government, educational institutions, business owner or entrepreneur, administration, church, politics, family or relationship, the list is endless.
It is a means to convey needs, interests, issues and concerns. In the program of God, the exact same principle applies; God has needs, interests and He responds to ours with passion and urgency via His voice.
Over the course of our Christian experience, we discover that some voices have something to say. others do not. Some have been a source of information and inspiration. Others have sown confusion and concern. The voice of a God makes a difference. It can transform who we are and how we respond to the challenges and the world system.
God in His word says in John chapter 10 verse: 3 to 4, reading from the NLT.
3.The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come tohim. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.”
What is the Authoritative Voice of God?
The Word of God is the authoritative voice of God. He honors His word more than His name. He has used it authoritatively from the creation of the world. God says in Isaiah 46:10
"Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’"
Effect of God’s Authoritative Voice
• Luke 4:32 - people were amazed by HIs voice and authority
• Mark 4:39 - the mighty storm became still by His voice
• God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannotcomprehend.
• Psalm 46:6 - The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, theearth melted.
How to decipher God’s Authoritative Voice
I have seen people say some unimaginable things as God said.
• First, they build a mystery around God
• Secondly, they create this impression of am the “only one that can hear from Godsyndrome”
When they are done deluding you with sophistry it will be too late for you to know or even pay attention to details. Once you fall victim you become like a child who has the wrong impression about his father and nothing, he says makes a meaning anymore.
How to Authenticate the Authoritative Voice of God.
• It is advisable to always check our motives
• What we think God is saying, will it bring God glory or is it aggrandizing our desires?
• Are we trying to enhance our reputation beyond what is justified by the Word of God?
• Has my wishes, desires and dreams beclouded my ability to know His.
• Am I in His permissive or perfect will?
Benchmark 1: - The Word; Is it in the scripture? - Hebrews 6:18 says
" that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us."
What are these two things?
a. God's promise and
b. His oath
Benchmark 2: Is there a proper alignment?
When we compare what we think God is saying to us with God's written Word; does it align or contradict the Scripture?
What is the purpose of God’s Authoritative Voice?
Deuteronomy 5: 24 (NKJV) And you said: ‘surely the LORD our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives.
Genesis 18:17 And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
Authoritative Voice of God gives direction with clarity and speed
i. Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac
ii. God Authoritative voice to Elijah on to escape Famine
iii. God authoritative voice to Elijah to anoint Elisha, Jehu and Hazael
The Authoritative Voice of God gives direction, clarity of purpose, speed to business, ministry, family, career, etc. You will do justice to your spirit, soul and body if you whole heartedly obey His voice. It is a key to supernatural living and escape from likely disappointments. If you go to the wrong person for help in time of dare need, lacking identity, information and direction, you will find yourself living a life of genuine excuses filled with aches and disappointments.
Let us be rightly positioned so that heaven can constantly, without restriction, communicate God’s intentions into our hearts. So that will can be done in our lives on earth as it is in heaven.
Wednesday, June 29 2022
Contributor: Esther Alajiki
In the last 2 weeks, we started to look at ways in which the Holy Spirit leads us. We learnt that the Holy Spirit is Person of God Himself and His Presence. Since He was gifted to the church, He has not stopped speaking to us and fulfilling His role as our Helper, and also we also discussed His leading as an “inward witness” point of view.
Our text reveals that our God is a sovereign God, He reveals Himself in diverse ways, He can reveal Himself in majestic ways as in the strong wind, the earthquake, and fire and He can decide to come as a still small voice. Whichever way He chooses we must realize that God lovingly speaks to us as we need. Because He is God, He is not confined to a single manner of communicating with His people. He is said to communicate through a whirlwind (Job 38:1), to announce His presence by an earthquake (Exodus 19:18), and to speak in a voice that sounds like thunder (1 Samuel 2:10; Job 37:2; Psalm 104:7; John 12:29). In Psalm 77:18 His voice is compared to both thunder and a whirlwind. And in Revelation 4:5, we’re told that lightning and thunder proceed from the throne in heaven.
Why a Still, Small Voice?
1. It was what Elijah needed
In this moment Elijah didn’t need the power and strength of wind, an earthquake, or a fire. Elijah needed the calming reassurance of God’s presence. God knew this and he met him in that manner. The Mount Carmel incident could have been spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting for Elijah and for it to have been followed by a death threat?? He was in a fragile state – even requesting suicide. God came to him in a still small voice as he often does to us when there seems to be chaos around us, God is the one who chooses how he comes to us.
2. It revealed the tender nature of God
God deals with us more often than not with grace and loving-kindness. The God of fire and brimstone draws us to himself by his kindness, his mercy, his compassion and love. Romans 2:4 God met his brokenness with tenderness.
3. It was a foreshadowing of things to come
All throughout Scripture we see God from time to time move in dramatic ways. In the book of Acts on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon them. The infilling of the Holy Spirit in our lives is not always with thunder and our experience is mostly with a calm, reassuring sense of God’s presence that you carry with you from day to day.
4.It is the place that God speaks from
There is one more thing I find in the significance of God appearing to Elijah in a gentle whisper. In 1 Kings 19 after God appeared in the gentle whisper, he spoke to Elijah. I believe this is the same way he speaks to us when we need it. Apostle Paul in (1 Thess. 5:14). “admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” reflects diverse ways of reaching out. Our Father generally uses that which is soft, tender, gentle, quiet, calm, peaceful most times.
We must make room for his presence and you must tune our ears to his voice, the ones who hear God speak most often are the ones who have prepared themselves to listen. Most people will not hear God speak audibly; you may hear God speaking to your heart through prayer, or you may hear God speaking to you through reading the Bible. Jesus has left us with an advocate and helper who lives within all believers.
Without being filled with the Spirit, we cannot be led by Him, (Romans 8:14). The Holy Spirit of God can lead us through the still small voice to fulfil His role in our lives, He is our helper who teaches and reminds (John 14:26, ESV). The Greek word “Parakletos” “Helper” (ESV) “Advocate” (NIV), and “Counsellor” (KJV). He gives us “legal counsel.” HE convicts the world of sin (John 16:7-8, ESV). HE dwells in believers and fills them (1 Corinthians 3:16, ESV), HE is the source of revelation, wisdom, and power (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). HE guides to all truth, including knowledge of what is to come. HE is called the “Spirit of Truth” in John 16:13. HE gives us spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). HE is God’s seal in our lives (Ephesians 1:13). HE helps in our weakness and intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). HE works to renew, sanctify, and make us holy and partakers of eternal life. (Romans 8:10-11). HE sanctifies and enables us to bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25). The still small voice is not a hearing of the mind, nor it is of the intellect, it comes directly from Christ Himself. It is God Himself speaking to us through the Holy Spirit.
The point of God speaking in the still small voice was to show Elijah that the work of God need not always be accompanied by dramatic revelation or manifestations. Divine silence does not necessarily mean divine inactivity. Zechariah 4:6 tells us that God’s work is “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” meaning that overt displays of power are not necessary for God to work. Hearing from God is more of an art than a science. The more we learn it, the readier we will be to recognize His voice when He speaks, hearing from Him must be valued and practiced. It is a lifelong lifestyle and walk. God is a living Person and not an inanimate force. He can be wooed and He can be grieved. He can be received and He can be shunned. He can be valued and he can be rejected. As powerful as God is his presence so often shows up in the gentlest, most loving fashion. Regardless of your situation, God cares. He is not too busy to meet with you. The Holy Spirit has never stopped speaking since the time of Pentecost. The bigger issue is are you listening?
God is inviting you in. “Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David”. Isaiah 55:3
Wednesday, June 15 2022
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
Last week, we started to look at ways in which the Holy Spirit leads us. We learnt that the Holy Spirit is not an object that we can compare to a metamorphic symbiotic process but the Person of God Himself and His Presence. Today, we continue and look at it from an “inward witness” point of view -WHEN YOU JUST “KNOW”.
A View of the mechanisms of how the Holy Spirit leads us
Bible Reference: Romans 8:16 (NKJV): The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
The word spirit above has been highlighted on purpose as people sometimes use the words "spirit" and "soul" interchangeably. But they are not interchangeable and trying to use it as if they are similar we can become confused. The Bible clearly tells us that man's soul and spirit do not refer to the same thing as it differentiates between them in Heb.4:12 - "The word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the DIVIDING of SOUL and SPIRIT…."
The Word of God teaches that you are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body. The Holy Spirit will witness to our spirits, not our minds or intellect.
In Your Spirit
Since God dwells in you, in your heart or spirit, that is where He is going to speak to you from. He does not communicate directly with your mind, because He's not in your mind; He's in your spirit. Think about it this way, remember it is your spirit that becomes a new creation in Christ when you are born again. When we are born again, we still have the same body we had before. The outward man doesn't change. But the spirit man on the inside has become a new man in Christ. Since God guides us through our spirit, it's important to allow that inward man to dominate our lives.
As the scripture says in Proverbs 20:27 (KJV), your spirit is a candle of the Lord – “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward part of the belly”. Meaning God will implant light in your spirit man, to lead and direct you on what to do.
Inward witness - explained
When the Holy Spirit speaks to your spirit, you do not hear an audible voice. This is what people call “the inner witness”. The voice of the Holy Spirit to your spirit creates a quiet assurance—a relaxed knowing about something.
Let’s look at it this way, say you pray about clear guidance for a certain direction you want to go in your life, and you get an unease or a red light in your spirit. Or to say it another way, on the inside of you there is something that tells you no or asks you to stop. On the inside - in your heart, you just don't feel right/good about going in the direction you're praying about. That check in your spirit is the Holy Spirit telling you not to go in that direction. However, say you pray about a something and you get a go-ahead signal or peaceful feeling in your heart, that's the witness of the Holy Spirit telling you to proceed.
God leads us by the inward witness (inward voice). With the inward voice, our own spirit speaks to us what it picks up from the Holy Ghost. When the Holy Spirit communicates something directly to you through the inner witness, it will be a knowing without any shadow of a doubt. This inner witness also guides us on several aspects of our lives – in ministry, business, marriage, career, daily decisions, etc. It can give us a green or red light about our plans. We are to obey when we sense this inner witness.
How many times have you heard people use the slang expression that their “gut” was telling them what they needed to do, and then later on it turned out to be right. Those “gut knowing” or “gut feelings” are many of the times the inner witness from the Holy Spirit. In fact, it seems this is the primary way God speaks to us, because this method of leading is available to almost everyone.
What differentiates the inner witness from an ordinary thought?
1. The inner witness is different from reasoning thoughts - It is not mental knowledge or logical reasoning. If what you are having is just a clever idea, then it’s probably not the inner witness.
2. The inner witness is not a physical feeling - You will not have a physical feeling so to say, since the inner witness is the voice of the Holy Spirit to your spirit.
3. The inner witness is best identified by eliminating other voices - A great secret to identifying the inner witness is to eliminate other voices. Ensure that it is not your flesh that wants to do something. Make sure that it is not just a reasonable proposition. There may be some good reason and some good feelings when the Spirit is leading you, but make sure it is not just that!
4. The inner witness is an impression of peace - The inner witness is an awareness of peace. It is the peace of God that is beyond (passes) understanding, reasoning, logic, and physical things. As you develop spiritually, you become aware of the peace of God as a method of direction. You will say, “I don’t have peace about this!” At other times you will say, “Even though it sounds odd, I have a peace about this issue. I know it will be well with me.” The inner witness is the peace of God there “to direct” and “to govern” - God uses peace to direct and govern you. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body: and be thankful”. (Colossians 3:15 – NKJV).
5. The inner witness is a strong conviction - The inner witness makes you certain about what the Lord is saying. You begin to have a quiet assurance and confidence about the will of God. As you cannot easily explain the faith you have! You cannot always explain the convictions you have!
6. The inner witness is repetitive - The inner witness is the repeated voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart. As the Spirit continually cries, it creates an impression in you. You begin to have a conviction about certain things. You begin to know that you know.
7. The inner witness is an incomprehensible knowing - After you have heard the voice of the Spirit several times, you begin to know what to do. It creates in you “a knowing”. Before you take the next decision, you are going to take from now, watch out for that quiet assurance of peace in your heart. That is the Spirit of God, leading you into the will of God for your life.
Learn To Train Your Spirit
Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4).
A key principle to following the inward witness is to develop and train your spirit. How do you train your spirit?
1. Feed on God's Word.
2. Walk in love regardless of whether or not anyone else did.
3. Pray much in other tongues. Praying in other tongues is one of the best ways to develop your spirit man.
We get better at recognizing the inward witness leading of the Holy Spirit as we spend quality time in God’s Word daily, worshipping and meditating. Then our fleshy mind and intellect will have a lesser hold of us while our spirits come alive with God and recognize His leadings often.
Look back in your life and try to list a few inward witnesses that you followed and the ones you did not follow. Let’s surrender our hearts to God – ask him to please lighten your spirit and cause us to understand when He is speaking to us by the inward witness in Jesus’ name (Amen).
Wednesday, June 08 2022
Contributor: Alex Kokobili
We learned from the previous lesson about developing our spirit as an antidote against the struggles of the flesh. The Christian journey cannot be detached from its foundation of the Holy Spirit as Christ’s gift to the church (John 14: 16, Acts 2: 2-12). Today’s study progresses on how to recognize the leading of the Holy Spirit with an emphasis on how He speaks to us as individuals. The Holy Spirit is quite audible and He speaks but most often He is not heard because we do not understand the spiritual mechanism of hearing Him. In approaching the study, we must bear in mind that God is a Spirit and for Him to speak to us means that there is a spirit in us that can also connect with Him (John 4: 24). The text before us would help us to understand the qualities of the Holy Spirit as it relates to Him speaking to us but also the onus is on us to understand or know when He speaks.
A View of The Mechanisms Of How The Holy Ghost Speaks To Us
Bible Reference: John 16:13 (NKJV): However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will tell you things to come.
1. He is called the Spirit of “TRUTH”: There is no ambiguity, error, or heresy in Him. You might not be sure at times, but according to 1 Corinthians 14: 33 “God is not the author of confusion”, 1 John 4: also tells us to “Test all spirits”, because there are a lot of mixtures that might try to be like the truth but are not. Matthew 7:16 says that by their fruits you shall know them and not by the miracles they perform. You must be willing to accept God’s Word as the only and final Word without which you cannot understand the voice of the Holy Spirit.
2. He Guides: This relates to actions, decisions and involvement of divine direction. For instance, in Acts 13: 4 we see that Paul and Barnabas were sent (on their journey) by the Holy Ghost to Seleucia. This does not mean the Holy Ghost spoke audibly to them but that they were convinced within their spirit. Also, Isaiah 30: 21 explained the Spirit to be a voice that speaks and directs us in the manner to go. Romans 8: 14 reveals “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God”.
How Does He Guide?
- Faith: We cannot be guided by the Holy Spirit by logic. Hebrews 11: 8, by faith Abraham, followed God to a country he did not physically see, but he believed in God’s leading.
- Through the "Spirits" of His Spirit (Isaiah 11:2). This is expressed in us through His 1. Authority (Lordship), 2. Wisdom, 3. Counsel, 4. Might, 5. Knowledge, 6. Understanding (see also Ephesians 1: 8), and 7. Godly fear. We would be subject to His Spirits which is also a measure of His Spirit or else we would never be able to recognise His voice.
- His Word: His Word becomes a living Spirit when we allow the Holy Spirit to give us revelation. We cannot hear by dwelling in the letter (Acts 8: 26-40) is the example of Philip and the Ethiopia Eunuch. As we study His word we get accustomed to revelations and all the spiritual corridors would be opened for us to get direction from God such as in through a Prophet, Fasting/Prayers, Giving, Holiness, Obedience, Humility, etc. See also John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.
3. Authority: This removes timidity and hopelessness and gives us boldness and spiritual might which is missing in our human effort fails. We see in 2 Tim 1: 7 Paul desired Timothy to lead the church with authority (boldness) without thinking less of what God is doing through Him in the church. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”.
4. He Speaks: This is could be through spiritual expressions of gifts such as 1 Corinthians 12: 7-10 we see a whole list: words of wisdom, words of knowledge, unusual faith in God, or the gift of faith over an issue, divine healing, miracles, prophecies, discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues, and also the interpretation of tongues. Most Christians are not used to hearing when He speaks because they think it is ordinary. For instance, Revelation 19: 10, tells us each time we hear testimony about what God has done, it is the Holy Spirit that speaks. “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy”.
5. He is not stagnant (“He will tell you things to come”): This can be in form of something futuristic such as a prophecy, dream, vision, word of knowledge, etc. At this point, you must be spiritually inclined not to trivialize certain events or experiences in your life. John 14: 26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
The Holy Spirit is not an object that we can compare to a metamorphic symbiotic process or spunky humming ghost but the Person of God Himself and His Presence. Since He was gifted to the church, He has not spoked speaking (Acts 2: 1-13), but unfortunately lots of people cannot recognize His voice (1 Samuel 3:7 as we see initially in the life of Samuel despite residing in the temple). It will amaze us if the Holy Spirit leaves the earth completely today, 99% of the church might not be aware until 10 years. We need to desire intimacy if we want to hear the Spirit of God because He is not as talkative as many people think (Psalm 62:11). We also need to open up every bit of our life to Him because He speaks – “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” Hebrews 3: 15.
Tuesday, June 07 2022
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
A person is made up of three parts: spirit, soul, and body/flesh (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The body is the outward part that is seen by the natural eye, referred to as the “earth suit”. The soul is composed of mind, emotions, will, and attitudes, our personality. And the spirit is the breath of God that gave all humans life. It is the hidden, inner part that has access to God. No other creature was created by God with this third part. Today, as part of ways to function in God’s plan for our lives, we will be looking at the topic “Develop Your Spirit”.
Man was created in the image of God, and since God is spirit, we are also spirit beings. Proverbs 20:27a says: “The spirit of a man is the lamp of God” It is by this spirit, the Lord leads us and accomplishes His purposes in our lives.
Job 32:8 (NCV) says: “But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives understanding.”
When man fell in Eden, the spirit of man (the part that has access to God) was overthrown by the flesh and since then there has been a constant battle between the flesh and the spirit. And our enemy has since then used the flesh of the fallen man to control and derail man from the original purpose and intention of God for him. That is why our spirit needs to be strong so that it can take the lead; not our flesh. Our spirit needs to be alert to be able to perceive and receive from God; whatever direction He wants us to take. That is why it is
therefore very important to build a strong spirit.
At the point of being born again, every one of us was given a measure of the renewed spirit
Ezekiel 36:26-27 says: “26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."
We have the opportunity to nurture this new spirit or starve it. The choice we make about this determines the part that wins in every conflicting circumstance between the spirit and the flesh.
TEXT: Galatians 5:17: “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
A DEVELOPED/STRONG SPIRIT
A developed spirit is a strong spirit. Proverbs 18:14a (MSG) tells us that a strong spirit is what sustains us in any kind of trouble. It says: “A healthy spirit conquers adversity,”
A strong spirit is confident, established, unmovable and ready for anything. It is steady under pressure, full of joy and peace—and it never quits.
Proverbs 24:10 says: “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.”
A strong spirit will get you through anything—physical attacks, financial problems, relational difficulties, career setbacks and whatever else the devil throws your way; ensuring that we do not deviate from God’s original plan and purpose for our lives
WAYS TO DEVELOP A STRONG SPIRIT
1. Feed Your Spirit, Starve Your Flesh
“Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” –Matthew4:4 (AMPC)
Healthy, nutritious food for our spirit is the Word of God. Whether you know it or not, your spirit has a voracious appetite for God’s Word. The Word feeds your spirit just like natural food feeds your body. It’s like a healthy meal to your spirit.
Job 23:12 says: “I have not gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed and treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”
2. Get Spiritual Exercise
“Train yourself toward godliness…[keeping yourself spiritually fit].” 1 Tim 4: 7 (AMPC)
The Bible tells us that while there is some value in physical exercise, spiritual exercise is much more important (1 Timothy 4:7-8). That’s because exercising your faith will strengthen your spiritual muscles.
The stronger you are spiritually, the easier it is to believe God and receive from Him.
Take on spiritual activities that stretch your faith, that deepens your trust and reliance in the Lord. Spend time fasting and praying, spend extended periods meditating and carrying out in-depth studies of the Word. Volunteer and participate in Kingdom related projects that you may have never engaged in before.
Isaiah 6:8 (NIV) “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
3. Take Spiritual Rest
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest….” Matthew 11:28 (AMPC)
Rest isn’t always the state of doing nothing. Instead, it’s an active choice to press in and trust God. Such as casting all our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:6-8), praying in tongues will edify and build up your spirit (Jude 1:20 & 1 Corinthians 14:4) and waiting on the Lord (Isaiah 40:31). Go on spiritual retreats; pulling back from the maddening crowd, and from activities that drain virtue from us while we draw closer to the Lord for replenishment and revitalization.
4. Develop Good Habits
Ephesians 6:10 (GNT)
“Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power.”
TPT renders this verse thus:
“Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus”
- Get time with God everyday (Ps 25:4, Luke 5:16, John 15:7)
- Get together with believers every week (Heb. 10:25, you by yourself like a block of coal will grow cold and weak, Acts 5:42, Eccl 4:9-10)
- Give a tithe to God (Matt. 6:21, Deut. 14:23c says: “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.”)
- Never shy away from the opportunity to serve God. (Exodus 23:25)
5. Don’t Run Away from Challenges
God always has a purpose for our challenges. No pain, trial, tribulation gets to us without our Father’s approval. He lets them come to us because He has a purpose for them! Challenges come to make us strong.
James 1: 2-4 (MSG)
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
James 1:12 (AMP)
“Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive (the victor's) crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.”
God is not interested in children that only have a superficial relationship with Him, He wants us to have depth, develop roots that go deep down and stabilize us and this is not achieved in a hurry. So we are to stay on until He is through with His work, He has a purpose and a plan. So put up with it and go through it, don’t even think of quitting because He will bring you out at the end a better person. He wants us to grow! Not to remain stagnant. Psalms 66:9-12 (MSG) says:
“Didn't he set us on the road to life? Didn't he keep us out of the ditch? He trained us first, passed us like silver through refining fires, Brought us into hardscrabble country, pushed us to our very limit, Road-tested us inside and out, took us to hell and back; Finally he brought us to this well-watered place.”
PITFALLS TO AVOID
To remain spiritually strong, there are certain attitude traps we must avoid. These attitudes leave us exposed to the whims of the devil.
1. Self-Indulgence - Judges 14:1-20
The first pitfall we will consider is self-indulgence; living only based on your feelings; doing whatever we like and want. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23
“23 You are certainly free to eat food offered to idols if you want to; it’s not against God’s laws to eat such meat, but that doesn’t mean that you should go ahead and do it. It may be perfectly legal, but it may not be best and helpful.”
Also in 1 Corinthians 6:12 (MSG)
“12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.
Rick Warren says:
- Just because I want something doesn’t mean I must have it
- Just because I can afford it doesn’t mean I must buy it
- Just because it’s pleasurable doesn’t mean it is good
- Just because everybody is doing it doesn’t mean I have to do it
To be spiritually strong, you must therefore discipline your desires.
2. Anger and Bitterness - Numbers 20:11-12
We have been taught time and again how anger can truncate a person’s destiny. Moses’ anger caused him entering the Promised Land. Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us that anger exposes us to the attack of the enemy. It says: “26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.”
One of the original purposes for man we learnt earlier in the year from Micah 6:8 which says: He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
James 1:20 (AMP) says: “for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behaviour which He requires from us].”
Letting your anger consume your thoughts and actions will only lead you down a sinful path with consequences; one of which is being derailed from God’s plan and purpose as we see in the case of Moses.
Psalm 37:8 says: “Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble.”
Job 5:2 says: "To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do." (GNT)
Job 18:4a says: “You are only hurting yourself with your anger.”
3. Negligence, Carelessness and Compromise - Judges 16:1-20
Negligence is the failure to take proper care of something or a refusal to pay the required attention to something. It lies at the opposite end of the spectrum to Diligence. Carelessness carries the consequence of sapping your spiritual strength. Anytime you get careless with any aspect of your life you are headed in the wrong direction, Carelessness leads to little compromises and little foxes do spoil the vine.
Song of Solomon 2:15 says: “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”
Samson toyed with sin and slowly slipped to the point where he finally fell; after the Spirit of the Lord left him, he lost his spiritual strength.
Negligence in one area of our lives is an “unhealthy cancer” that can very easily spread to other areas. It’s sneaky so let’s be careful! When we are negligent over any area of our lives, we are simply creating an environment for disaster; we are digging a pit, breaking the hedge, and exposing ourselves to the enemy to drain out our spiritual strength.
Proverbs 19:16 (MSG) says: “Keep the rules and keep your life; careless living kills.”
Developing one’s spirit does not happen by accident — it’s the result of the choices you make and habits you develop. Since the fall of man in Eden, the spirit of man (the part that has access to God) was overthrown by the flesh and since then there has been a constant battle between the flesh and the spirit. From our study today, we learnt that Samson chose a lifestyle that sapped his spiritual strength.We learnt that Moses, missed the Promise Land due to anger. It is therefore very important that everyone of us evaluate our spiritual condition. 3 John 1:2 NLT says:
“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.”
Every believer has the potential to stand in a greater place of supernatural strength. As we build a stronger spirit, it will become easier to receive, resist and stand. We will be victorious with a strong spirit! And we will be strong enough to strengthen others. And even more importantly, we will be better equipped to remain on track as we function in God’s plan and purpose for our lives.
Parts of this study was culled from