To my children I often feel compelled to ask, ‘have you been in the word today, or even lately?’ That is a good question to ask yourself. You may say sure, I listened to the greatest radio preacher on the way to work today, or I am reading the latest, greatest Christian book, or I was in church just yesterday and the pastor was talking about the word. Anything remotely similar to those responses, really misses the point of the question. I mean, no doubt the radio preacher, the Christian author, or the pastor all base their life and message on the word. But, are you spending time in the word of God for yourself, or are you for the most part a ‘word-less Christian’? You’ve made a commitment, but have done little to build upon it. Have you become, according to the book of James, ‘a forgetful hearer, but not a doer of the word.’ Commit yourself to spending time daily in the word of God. Look for the word to move you, to speak to you, to change your thinking by hearing and doing what God says. Let the word of Christ bring forth His mind as it opens your heart and unblocks your thinking to view things as God sees them. The Bible says God’s word is ‘living and active’. It states that this word is further able to cut right to the heart to produce a testimony of Jesus. It was for this reason the Apostle Paul could say, ‘for me to live is Christ….’ The heavenly Father desires for His children to be His living witnesses. You simply cannot do that without this ‘living Word’. Or said another way, you cannot be His disciple without living in, and living out this word by your faith. Faith depends, trusts and relies on the word, and without it you will not be able to stand in these days. So activate your Christian life today by looking with expectation for the move of God through His living word. Finally, pray over this word asking God for the spirit of soberness and truth and you will receive a deeper revelation giving you eyes to see and a faith come to life!
Your life will rise or fall depending upon the word that you hear. Truth is, your life in Christ is dependant upon the word dwelling in you richly to increase your hearing and make you mindful of the resources He offers you to bring you to victorious living. This year, I believe God would say to you, stop living on the faith experiences of others and take a determined approach to devote youself to His word allowing His Holy Spirit to feed you and give you and understanding of ‘the things eye has not seen or ear has not heard what things God has prepared for those who love Him’ (1 Cor. 2). Stop allowing the enemy a place in your thinking to keep you stubbornly opposed to what God says by locking you in a default position resistant to the riches of God’s word. God says, ‘find your focus in prayer’ following the example of Jesus who urges us in Luke 21 to, ‘keep watching and praying’ with a pattern of persistance that gains not just answers but victory over the thief who comes to steal your joy and your peace. He comes to rob you of the vast riches in Christ that are yours because of God’s Word. Are you going to faint or finish strong? Stop living in defeat by what the enemy says; surrender your life to God and you will hear His terms of peace and see the victory of His power on high.
I sometime get that sense of God’s purpose for humanity and truly experience a desire to be used to reach others for His kingdom. In the middle of one of those thoughts, God brought a revelation to me; ‘you have abilities, or you think you do, but it’s not your abilities I need; it’s not your charm or charisma, not your personality or persona, no matter if you think it’s strong or weak. No, reaching men has nothing to do with your good intentions, or even what you think! Remember, ‘I told you to come to the cross and surrender your thoughts, intentions, and abilities or lack of them. I told you to in My word to reckon ‘yourself’ to be dead, so I could live because this world doesn’t need to know who you think your are, it needs to know Me and who I Am! So surrender your thoughts to Me! As long as you live ‘your life’, you cannot reproduce Mine! The Apostle Paul said, ‘I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me….’ He further says, ‘whatever things were gain to me, I counted as loss that I could know Him and the power of His resurrection life!’ God says, ‘live My life and others will see Me through your surrender. They will see a brokenness that is evidence you serve me and not yourself, and you will prove to be my disciple whose actions reach many because of who I Am!’
Often we find ourselves in a fog, wondering where God is in our circumstances. We may feel as though we made a decision to follow the Lord way back when, but the enemy would have us convinced that all those decisions for what we believed was right and honorable have left us in the middle of the desert. You think, after all these years life should be more comfortable, but instead you feel like your life is in a wilderness and everything you believed is being tested. You are not alone though you may think you are. How you handle the wilderness will be the defining moment in your Christianity. You said you wanted to serve God and be his disciple, but what you may fail to realize is; there is no effective ministry without a wilderness. Matthew 4:1, Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. This wilderness is for His glory. This wilderness is defining your call. Many a young person may think it well to serve God without fully removing the harmful effects of sin, pride, or rebellion, but without a wilderness you will serve God by what is born out of ‘pop culture’ pursuing what is popular and not what is holy. Remember Moses? It was the wilderness that led him to a place of holy ground. The wilderness defines my call by leading me to holy ground to meet a holy God not given to the popular, but to the pure. The wilderness defines my identity as being in Christ and in Him alone because there is nothing else to cling to. It is here the enemy comes to question your sonship saying, ‘If you’re a son, then do this or do that for instant comfort’ but in the wilderness you must discover it is Christ alone your hope of glory. It is a place of understanding my identity as the Apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me….” You may feel you have spent your whole life serving people and even family, only to be kicked in the teeth. You may have worked so hard to accomplish some purpose only to be disappointed in some way, yet is it the wilderness that defines my God. He uses the wilderness to prove the true object of my affection. Was my service just my gratification or was it for His glory? You see, the wilderness makes the object of our affection very clear; will my god prove to be self as I bemoan the circumstance, or will I recognize the greatness of our God by completely trusting Him as I offer Him my praise. Often we have come to make worship about the “lights, camera and the action”. In the wilderness, He proves there is no power but His, and He wants to be the main attraction. While He makes us to sing, it’s not the music, it is the message. Jesus said in the wilderness, “man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the Mouth of God”. The good news is, this wilderness will define your victory by advancing the kingdom for God’s glory. Just remember this fact from the life of Christ; wilderness advances the kingdom (Matt.4:17;19). As you are hidden in Christ and His life is yours, you will advance His cause bringing many sons to glory. The wilderness God is using produces glory every time. After the wilderness, Moses saw God liberate a nation in just a few days. After the wilderness, Jesus moved with might and power. And this wilderness you may find yourself in at this present hour is for His glory to give you a future and hope that through your tried and proven testimony He lives, He moves, He saves, He redeems, and He alone is able to rescue and recover when no one else can. God is using your wilderness to define your Christian faith so embrace it, embrace Him and glory will follow.