CHAPTER 5 What Do I Need to Do That Will Help Me Experience God’s Abundant Life? Here is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. I’m sure for many of us we have this concept that all I have to do is go to church and all will be well. Going to a Spirit-filled church is indeed a good start. We are commanded to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25) Apparently, there were some believers that had decided to no longer attend the assembly of the saints. These were believed to have been Jewish Christians, who were upset at the inclusion of Gentiles that were considered unwanted by them. The admonition given in response to those who decided to stop attending was to exhort (to encourage) them to continued attendance. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for us to attend a Spirit-filled church on a regular basis. The benefits are many (e.g. the anointing, the corporate impact of the Holy Spirit; the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit; fellowship with the saints; and the varied teachings). What could be of great benefit to a Christian in respect to attending church unfortunately never materializes. Why, because for many of us church attendance impacts our schedule? It interferes with something else that we would rather be involved with. I’m not talking about legalism here. There will be times when something happens that will inhibit us from attending church. If this happens to be a job, then try your best to get the teaching via a CD or print copy. If you really want to grow spiritually you need to be able to eat the spiritual food that the local church is providing. I have a Christian friend, who it seems is always on the edge. What I mean is, it seems that he is always making decisions that inhibits him in his walk with God. If worship services are held three times a week, he might attend one. Being self-employed, he works in a profession where he could work on a particular job all day and thus not make himself available for worship service later that day. Along with this, he associates with certain people that have reoccurring addictions, which at times have caused him to partake in them himself. This pattern seems to repeat itself in his life over and over again. When I talk to him, he seems to be verbally expressive as to how his life is continually upside down. He doesn’t want to continue on the road he is on, but chooses not to change the decisions that he makes in regard to church attendance and personal associations. What I am trying to say is the answer to our problems in the sense of how to address them can be right in front of us, but if we choose not to take the medicine or remedy, then we only have ourselves to blame. Besides being consistent in attending to the worship services of a Spirit-filled church what else can we do that will help us grow spiritually? Confessing our sins: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) Believe it or not this has to do with confessing sin. For many church goers, sin is considered to be that which involves an overt action. Sin, however, is not just what we exhibit in our behavior; it also has to do with what we think. Being jealous of someone in our thoughts is just as much a sin as taking (stealing) what someone else has. The scripture says that if we confess (admit ourselves guilty of what we are accused of) to God the Father, and by the way the inference here is to also confess to someone we have offended, then God the Father is faithful to forgive us of our sins. There are three major benefits to the believer when they confess their sins. The first has to do with being reconciled with the person, whom we have offended. The second and third reasons have to do with the word “forgive”. When we confess our sin to God the Father, he removes from us the chastisement or discipline that he would have instituted if we hadn’t confessed. Thirdly, another benefit is that we are restored to fellowship with God the Father. I have had fellow believers say to me that confessing their sins to God the Father is a waste of time, because this is all they were doing throughout their day. There appeared to be no way out from this dilemma. After a while, they would come to the conclusion that this practice didn’t seem to be helping them. I understand what they were saying, because I went through this myself following my conversion. After I found a Spirit-filled church and began attending to the worship services on a consistent basis, I would notice that when the service was over and I was on my way home carnal thoughts would creep in. I would confess them, and then they would come right back. What was I to do to address this madness? Recovery I finally came to the realization that there was something I could do and that is recovery. Recovery means to choose to reflect upon in my thoughts God’s perspective as it relates to a particular area of weakness in my life. Let’s say I have a weakness of fantasizing about having sex with women. I confess this to God the Father. Lord, I acknowledge my sin of fantasizing about having sex with women. After which, I choose to think about how God thinks in this regard. If this fantasizing is in relation to someone who is an unbeliever, then here are some scriptures that I should memorize and reflect upon sporadically throughout my day. If this fantasizing is in relation to let’s say someone who is an unbeliever, then here are some scriptures that I should memorize and reflect upon sporadically throughout my day. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28) Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. (2 Corinthians 5:16) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4) God’s mindset now becomes my mindset. I don’t think of them as objects of my pleasure, but as lost souls, who need a savior. What if I am fantasizing about having sex with a woman, who is a believer. What scriptures might help me in this regard? … see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (1 Peter 1:22) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) We are to love our fellow believers with a pure (Godly; genuine) heart (motives; thoughts that are in obedience to the truth) fervently (striving with all of one’s energy) as those, who, like ourselves, are new creations. Thus, an affection or fondness for another is based upon the likeness of that other to one's self . So, we should begin by addressing one weakness at a time; one that seems to continually distract us. When you sin mentally confess it and then recover by reflecting upon God’s scriptural perspective. Besides addressing our weaknesses we can also reflect on scriptures that speak to us. Another word, we can reflect on scriptures that impact us or cause to be aware about God’s thoughts toward ourself. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) This verse tells us that no matter what circumstances befall us, whether adversity or prosperity, we should be thankful to God, in the sense that this is the sphere in which his will (what he intends and makes possible) is to be displayed. If you attend a Spirit-filled church, learn of the teachings that are presented, confess your sins, deal with your weaknesses, and reflect upon God’s word throughout your day, then something incredible will begin to happen in your life. This something is what the apostle Paul desired to happen in the lives of the Ephesian believers. When this occurs in your life on a consistent basis truly God’s abundant life will be experienced by you and be manifest to others. CHAPTER 6 What Is the Ultimate Spiritual Conditio Where the Believer Will Experience God’s Abundant Life to the Fullest? So, you have decided to attend a Spirit-filled church on a regular basis. So, you have decided to take notes of the various teachings learning about who God has made you to be and as such have hid some of these truths in your heart along with reflecting upon them. So, you have decided to confess to God the Father known mental, verbal, or overt sins, and along with such to confess whatever has been committed against another person. So, you have decided to follow up confession with recovery, learning about God’s perspective in an area of weakness, appropriating it for yourself through memorization, and meditating upon it throughout the day. Now you have arrived at a very special place in your walk with God, which is called the filling of the Spirit. What is the filling of the Spirit? And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) There were some believers that were being continually controlled by the consumption of wine. The only way to address this behavior was for the believer to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? It means that that the believer is controlled by one of the members of the trinity, this being the Holy Spirit. This idea is one of the Holy Spirit filling (furnishing; supplying) the believer with himself, which is another way of saying that when this spiritual condition occurs we will experience his presence (a divine joy; a divine peace) in our own life, and as a result will manifest these spiritual qualities to others. This is where our walk with God gets really exciting. No longer are we void of God’s presence. To top it all off, there is so much more to the ministry of the Holy Spirit that he will make us aware of. When we are filled with the Spirit what other interactions with the Spirit do we begin to become aware of? Let us also walk in the Spirit: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25) The apostle Paul is instructing the Galatian believers saying that in view of the fact the new divine life resident in their beings, was supplied by the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? It’s another way of saying that he desired for them to be filled with the Spirit so that they would conduct themselves under the guidance, impulses, and energy of that life. So, along with experiencing the fruit of divine love and peace the Holy Spirit will actively interact with us. When we pray for direction in some area, there are times when the Spirit will declare the answer to us in his way and at the appropriate time. As we grow spiritually and begin to become aware of the spiritual gift or gifts that has been given or distributed to us by the Spirit, we will learn to become more sensitive to his promptings as to when to use them. When we are falsely accused of something, we can pray for a means of vindication, which the Spirit can provide in his manner. In the midst of an intense situation, when we are caught up in alarming thoughts and feelings pertaining to it, we can pray for a verse of comfort of which the Spirit can recall to our mind. I hope what has been said here has resonated with you. Remember, religion tries to get us to please God by what we do. Christianity is God coming inside us to indwell and us getting to know him in a personal way by making the decisions that we have presented to you in this study. Some of you might be thinking how do I know what you have said is true. I have never heard of this approach before. I think that it could be just a bunch of malarkey. I’ll leave you my response in the closing section. It’s Just a Bunch of Malarkey So, you believe that what I have said could be just malarkey. How can what I have said be proven to you? Initially, at least I hope you considered what I have said as being possibly true. On what basis, on the basis of the word of God? Does God’s word support what has been stated in this paper? As far as the word of God goes consider these verses as they pertain to: Putting on the new man, whom we have now become at salvation. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (Colossians 3:10) We are to put on the person who we now are in Christ, in whom a new character in course is being formed by means of knowledge (knowing our self in the light of God) so that we (in our soul) reflects, like a mirror, the wisdom, righteousness, and goodnessof God. Putting off the old man or person that we used to be: Ephesians 4:22-25 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (Ephesians 4:22-23) We are to put off (like the metaphor of taking off clothes) the former manner of life of the old man (the person who we used to be) whose former habits were the result of being dominated by the totally depraved nature, the lusts of which were excited by deceit, i.e. by deceitful influences seducing to sin, and instead choose to be renewed in your mind, i.e. to be spiritually transformed, to take on a new mind. This renewal of the mind, this spiritual transformation takes place when we put on the word of God. Another word, we are made new in the attitude of our mind, when we appropriate God’s perspective. Addressing sin in my heart: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalms 119:11) As we hide (memorize; store up) God’s word in our heart, committing sin in our mental attitude and subsequently in our behavior will lessen. The other basis for considering whether what I have said is true is the witness of God the Holy Spirit. There is a beautiful verse in the book of 1 John that says: 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected:hereby know we that we are in him. If we believers keep on keeping God’s word (all that he has made known to us as his will in regard to our conduct), then the love of God will be produced in us by the Holy Spirit, and subsequently will be exemplified by us. How will you know when this will take place? You will need to keep on keeping God’s word yourself and see if the result of such is so. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10) One more thing you might ask. Aren’t we supposed to perform good works? Shouldn’t this be what our Christian life should focus on? Initially, no. This is what most churches preach. Do this, do that, show God’s love to others. Unfortunately, there is little or no awareness of addressing sin by means of confession, and if there is, recovery simply means to just try and behave better. There is no renewal of the mind (reflecting upon God’s perspective as declared by the word) and thus no filling (control) of the Spirit. Therefore, these good works are performed in the power of the sin nature according to human perception. God wants to be intimately involved in our works so that he can evidence not only himself working in and through us, but also to bring about miraculous interventions according to the gifts of the Spirit so that unbelievers are not just getting help, but are getting saved. …God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3b-4) Weekly Messages: Website: Twitter: Facebook Author Page: Facebook: Facebook Fan Page:

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What can we do that will help us grow spiritually?