Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. – Matthew 26:41
The Bible presents salvation as a life transforming experience. Change is one of the distinguishing characteristics of a true believer. Yet, failure to understand that this change takes place in the spirit first, and then is reflected in our outward appearance through our thoughts and actions in direct proportion to the way we renew our minds, causes much confusion.
This change has to take place in our born-again spirit first. Why is that? If you were fat before you got saved, you will be fat after you get saved, unless you go on a weight loss program. Your body doesn’t instantly change and neither does your soul or mind.
It is your spirit that is instantly changed at salvation. It is perfect (Heb. 12:23). It cannot sin (1 Jn. 3:9). Everything that is true of Jesus is true of our born-again spirit. Your spiritual salvation is complete. At salvation, you receive the same spirit that you will have throughout all eternity. It will not have to be changed or cleansed again. It is sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13) and therefore, is sanctified and perfected forever (Heb. 10:10, 14; 12:23).
For the remainder of our Christian life, we must not try to obtain faith, joy or love from God, but rather release what we already have in our spirits (Gal. 5:22-23) into our soul and body. Failure to understand this has caused some people to despair when they don’t see sufficient change in their life after coming to the Lord for salvation. It must be understood that the change is internal in our spirit and the outward change will take place as we renew our minds through God’s Word.
MUSTARD SEED FAITH
If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. – Luke 17:6
A mustard seed is a very small thing. But when it’s planted, it grows into a huge tree. In the same way, Jesus is saying that a little bit of faith can bring tremendous results! As a believer in Him, you already have enough faith on the inside of you to overcome any obstacle. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead actually dwells in you! It doesn’t matter if you grew up in church or not; it doesn’t matter what you know or don’t know, God wants to work in your life today. You may not see how, but all you have to do is believe God.
With God, all things are possible. Do you have mustard seed faith? The Bible says that faith without works is dead. When you have faith, your words and actions reflect it. Take a step of faith today and declare your trust in Him. Even if you don’t see how, declare that God is working behind the scenes in your life. As you act on your mustard seed faith, you’ll see it grow stronger and stronger, and you will live in victory all the days of your life!
Jesus’ resurrection is heaven’s receipt that all our sins have been paid for by His perfect work on the cross (see Rom 4:25). Today, we are completely forgiven and free to enjoy all of God’s blessings.
GOOD SUCCESS IS IN YOUR MOUTH
Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night…For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
I had always wondered why the Torah (the first five books of Moses) is read out loud by the Jews. Then, a Jewish Christian told me that for generations, they read God’s Word out loud because of Joshua 1:8—“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night…”
The word “meditate” in English means to ponder. But in Hebrew, it is the word hagah, which means to utter or mutter under your breath. In other words, when you meditate on God’s Word, you speak forth or confess His Word instead of just giving it mental assent.
My friend, hagah God’s Word by confessing verses in the areas that you are believing God for breakthroughs. When I was working in sales, I confessed verses like, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty…” (Proverbs 3:9–10) In the first year, I became the top salesman in my company! My way was made prosperous and I enjoyed good success.
“Pastor, I am waiting for God to make my way prosperous.”
No, the Bible says that you will make your way prosperous when you hagah God’s Word. So speak forth verses in the areas which you want to see breakthroughs and you will have good success.
Some people have success that destroys them—you don’t see them in church anymore and their family members don’t get to see them either. That is bad success. But when you hagah God’s Word, you will have good success that does not destroy you.
Now, confessing God’s Word does not move God to do things for you. It is not a formula. God had already moved when He gave up Jesus to die for you. However, when you confess His Word, it moves you from a position of doubt to faith. It moves your heart from a position of “Is it true?” to “I believe it!” When that happens, “you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success”!
ENLARGE YOUR TERRITORY
Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory… – 1 Chronicles 4:10
God wants to bless you and enlarge your territory. Your territory can be your sphere of influence or your realm of responsibility or authority. Are you ready for increase in your life today? You may desire God’s increase, but the Bible says we have not because we ask not. Are you asking for God’s blessing? Are you asking Him to enlarge your territory? When you ask God to bless you, your faith is activated which opens the door for Him to work in your life.
Open your heart today and ask for God’s blessing, ask for His discernment and wisdom. Ask Him to make you more effective on your job; ask Him to increase the quality of your relationships; ask for more people to love and encourage. Ask Him to enlarge your territory so that you can be a greater blessing to those around you. As you take a step of faith in prayer today, God will hear you. He’ll open doors that no man can close and pour out His abundance
FORGIVENESS IS FOR THE UNDESERVING
Matthew 18:21 – Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Peter asked the Lord how often he should forgive his brother. The Lord’s answer to him was simple: Up to 70 times seven times. (Matthew 18:22) In other words, all the time!
“Well, Pastor, he does not deserve my forgiveness.”
Neither did you deserve God’s forgiveness.
There is not a single person alive or dead who did not break all 10 of God’s commandments. There is no such thing as a “partial sinner” or “great sinner”. All of us were great sinners when Jesus saved us. And when we realize that we are forgiven much, we will love much. (Luke 7:47)
“Pastor, how can you say that I have broken all of God’s commandments? I have never committed adultery.”
My friend, Jesus said, “If you lust after a woman in your heart, you have already committed adultery with her.” (Matthew 5:28) That is God’s standard. Man looks outward, but God looks inward at the heart. Moreover, if you break one law, you are guilty of all. (James 2:10) So everyone has broken all of God’s commandments. Everyone is a great sinner.
Now, you are no longer a sinner if you have received Christ as your Savior. You are a new creation. But you were a great sinner and God forgave you your huge debt through the death of His Son.
So if someone has wronged you, tell yourself this: “I did not deserve God’s forgiveness, but He forgave me through Christ. So I forgive this person also.” If you say something like, “He does not deserve it,” it makes no sense. Forgiveness is not for people who deserve it. If they deserve anything, it is punishment. But forgiveness means that you extend grace—undeserved favor—like how God extends undeserved favor to you.
Beloved, if you choose to hold on to bitterness, no one suffers but you. You lose your peace, then possibly your health. It is just not worth it. God says to you, “Let go. Forgive them their debts, just as I have forgiven you yours.”