‘Let us lay aside every weight… and let us run.’ Hebrews 12:1 NKJV
In the days of the Roman Empire, Olympic runners practised with heavy weights strapped to their bodies. But on the day of the race all the weights were stripped from them; hence we are told in Scripture, ‘Let us lay aside every weight… and let us run.’ When Elijah passed by, Elisha was busy ploughing. This was Elisha’s moment of opportunity. He could become a prophet and enjoy twice the success of his new mentor. But first he had to be willing to break his plough and sacrifice his yoke of oxen. His plough and oxen represented the financial security he was willing to walk away from in order to fulfil God’s plan for his life. Think for a moment about your dream, and everything that will result from it. If you’re like most people, what comes to mind are the benefits you’ll receive, the places you’ll go, the people you’ll meet, the things you’ll own, and the position or title you’ll earn. Do you notice anything in particular about that list? It outlines all the things that will be added to you, and none of the things you’ll have to give up in order to achieve it. And your greatest challenge won’t be giving up the obvious things you know will hurt you; it’ll be giving up the good things you like but won’t help you. Removing the non–essentials from your daily routine will be a constant struggle, but it’s worth fighting for. Why? Because most people who fail to reach their destination aren’t stopped because of insurmountable barriers, but because they’re worn out trying to carry too many things on their journey.
THE LIFE OF JESUS IS IN YOU …
John 10:10 – I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Though Jesus is completely God, He was born completely human. He went through temptation after temptation and conquered every one of them. (Hebrews 4:15) And all that overcoming power is found in His life. And He put that life in youthe life of Christ is in you!
During Jesus ministry on earth, He conquered sickness, the winds and waves, the powers of darkness and death. It is His life that brings victory over the devil and all his works. And He put that life in youthe life of Christ is in you!
Finally, Jesus went to the cross. And that life in Him put an end to everything that was natural of the Adamic racesickness, poverty, failures, pains, curses and death. All that was natural ceased to be in that life of His. But all that was supernatural remained in Him. And He put that life in you the life of Christ is in you!
Then, Jesus rose from the dead. And in that life of His was added the power of resurrection. And He put that life in youthe life of Christ is in you!
After His resurrection, Jesus went back to heaven to His Father. Today, He is seated at the right hand of God, resting in His finished work, occupying a place of the highest authority. And He put that life in youthe life of Christ is in you!
And because Jesus went back to the Father, the Holy Spirit came to indwell you (John 16:7), so that you will live life with His anointing in you and walk in His overcoming power.
All that Jesus is, God meant for you to be. All that He has, God meant for you to have. All the exciting things that you read in the Bible about Jesus, all the treasures of Him hidden in the Old Testament and the unsearchable riches in Him that you find in the New Testament, all of that life of His, is not out there somewhere. God has deposited all of it in you, so that you can live the abundant life that Jesus came to give you!
EMBRACE THE HOLY SPIRIT
John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
The Greek word translated “expedient” means “to be an advantage; profitable.”
How could any situation be more advantageous or profitable than having Jesus physically with you?
When Jesus walked on this earth in His physical body, He was subject to many physical limitations. For instance, He could not always be with every one of His disciples all the time. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, He could. Instead of Satan getting rid of Jesus, 120 “little Christs” (that is literally what the word “Christian” means) came out of the upper room on the day of Pentecost.
Jesus taught His disciples as no teacher ever had, yet they had very little understanding because they were not born again. However, when the Holy Spirit came, He lead them into all truth and even showed them things to come.
The list of advantages of having the Holy Spirit in us as compared to having Jesus with us in His physical body, goes on and on. The advantages can all be summed up in that Jesus’ power is now complete (Mt. 28:18) and no longer confined to one physical body.
There is no such thing as victorious Christian living without a moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day dependence upon the Spirit of God. Not only is the Christian life hard to live but it is impossible to live without the power of God Himself
BE STRONG IN THE LORD
‘Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.’ Ephesians 6:10 NIV
The Bible says, ‘Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh–and–blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armour of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.’ (Ephesians 6:10–18 NLT) The way to make a comeback is to get back up and move forward. Winning consists of getting up one more time than you were knocked down. Booker T. Washington said, ‘Success is not measured by the heights one attains, but by the obstacles one overcomes in its attainment.’ The God you serve is bigger than the obstacles you face. The strength He provides is greater than the forces arrayed against you. So be strong in the Lord!
NEW TO THE FAMILY
There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. —Luke 15:7
While on a ministry trip with a Christian high school chorale to Jamaica, we witnessed an illustration of God’s love in action. On the day we visited an orphanage for disabled children and teens, we learned that Donald, one of the boys our kids had interacted with—a teen with cerebral palsy—was going to be adopted.
When the adopting couple arrived at the “base” where we were staying, it was a joy to talk to them about Donald. But what was even better was what happened later. We were at the base when Donald and his new parents arrived just after they had picked him up at the orphanage. As the brand-new mom embraced her son, our students gathered around her and sang praise songs. Tears flowed. Tears of joy. And Donald was beaming!
Later, one of the students said to me, “This reminds me of what it must be like in heaven when someone is saved. The angels rejoice because someone has been adopted into God’s family.” Indeed, it was a picture of the joy of heaven when someone new joins God’s forever family by faith in Christ. Jesus spoke of that grand moment when He said, “There will be . . . joy in heaven over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7).
Praise God that He has adopted us into His family. No wonder the angels rejoice!
The One who made the heavens,
Who died on Calvary,
Rejoices with His angels
When one soul is set free.
Angels rejoice when we repent.
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