Phi 3:16 Yet, as to what we have already attained, let us walk in the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
Wesley...Phi 3:16 - "But let us take care not to lose the ground we have already gained. Let us walk by the same rule we have done hitherto."
J, F, & B commentary...Phi 3:16 - The expectation of a new revelation is not to make you less careful in walking according to whatever degree of knowledge of divine things and perfection you have already attained. God makes further revelations to those who walk up to the revelations they already have (Hos_6:3) Then we shall know, if we follow on to know Jehovah. His going out is prepared as the morning; and He shall come to us as the rain, as the latter and former rain to the earth.
Sometimes in our walk with the Lord we go through times of learning so much. We have good teachers or we have been granted the time and opportunity to sit at the Lord's feet and learn much from Him. We take in lots of knowledge...good knowledge...godly knowledge that He is teaching us. Yet we aren't aware that it is entering our mind but the working of it into our lives and walk every day has not happened yet. Sometimes we can think that the "knowing" is good enough. Then we go on and a testing of that lesson comes our way, and we fall and the teaching we have received was forgotten as we fall into the patterns of our old nature again and again.
It could be likened to the man who looks into the mirror and sees himself and then walks away and forgets what he sees.
Or...we receive a teaching in the Word, then we set about to put it in practice and become zealous in doing so, only to fall on our faces again and again. We find we can't do it.
Why is this so?
The Lord gives us the teaching. And then His Spirit works that teaching into our character. It is only His Spirit that will make it work. Sometimes it is a long lesson in learning to walk what we have attained in knowledge. And it is a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit Himself.
It's not that it's a bad thing that we would try to put in practice what we learn, but we must realize that our sinful nature cannot be tamed, but was meant to be crucified, and in every situation we must practice faith in God to do it in us. It is only as we allow Him to put to death (render powerless) our flesh by His Spirit, and the resurrection power He has provided in us, that we can be molded into that which we have studied. It is not ever our own doing. It is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
Our own works, even good works, will turn up as filthy rags every time.
I've shared in past devotionals that at one point in my life I spent about a year reading nothing else much from the Bible but Hebrews 12. I couldn't seem to get away from it. I couldn't stop reading it. I was drawn to it and every day when I began to read it, it was like a new and fresh word from the Lord to me. I couldn't go on to learn something new until the Lord had worked this chapter into my heart. He spoke to my heart each day and in my experience brought it to me again and again, as He trained me to trust it, cling to it, and live it. I could not.....just COULD NOT go on to learn anything else. I had to let the Lord work this in my walk.
Maybe there was a similar time in your life. There are times when we can't get enough of learning from His Word all the new treasures we find there. Then the learning seems to stop, and the Lord isn't anymore speaking fresh words to us, but instead continually brings the same ones again and again to us in our daily walk, until we are molded, until each time we face this trial, or that circumstance, or that person, or that temptation, finally that lesson is molded into us. We can't seem to hear any other teaching. We can't seem to listen to anything else. Even though we read other things....the Lord seems to make that one lesson jump out at us over and over again. It won't let us go!
He is training us. Like a loving Father patiently trains his child, even teaching him the same lessons again and again, our Heavenly Father is training us and working that word of His life so deeply in our experience that we will continue to walk according to what we have attained and not forget it.
There are times we've finally learned a deep lesson, in which, a certain thing is no longer a problem...we have won the battle through God's Spirit and grace, only to find that once again down the road of our walk, we have fallen and need to be reminded, and to learn that lesson again. Our Father gently, and oh so patiently and lovingly reminds us of the lesson long ago He had trained us so carefully in. Once again we find, that what we knew, we had let go, and now we must let His discipline teach us, and train us, until it is again worked in our lives.
Oh if we had to do this in ourselves, and keep track of all the lessons we must remember and try to keep, we would go crazy!! But the Holy Spirit He has given us continually keeps us, trains us, teaches us, and reminds us. He knows how frail and forgetful we can be. He is the perfect faithful Father, Who will never fail to train us and teach us the lessons of His righteousness.
Phi 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ,
Phi 2:13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Then there are times when we have learned a lesson but must learn to stand in that which we have attained, in greater and harder challenges and testings. The same lesson, but deeper still, we learn, as we go to those greater depths of learning. Each time the Lord is there, holding our hand at first, as a father would hold the hand of his child, first learning to walk, and then gradually letting go more and more as His very nature has conquered ours and we have become rooted, grounded and steadfast in Him. His Spirit has accomplished His workmanship.
One day we will find that we are a finished workmanship of the Lord, and will rejoice in what He has created. What a glorious surprise it will be to see the thing that He has made us to be! We will fall on our faces before Him in awe and glorify Him for His handiwork!
1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Oh dear Abba, we surrender our hearts to You to mold and do with as You will. When we try to do it ourselves we only make something so much less than what You intend and can never make ourselves that workmanship...only You can. We ask that You do it, and that You grant us Your grace to yield to Your gentle hands. We want only to be Your workmanship, not man's, and not our own. Our own righteousness You will never accept, and we choose not to accept it either. We want only Yours, Father. It is You who can enable us to walk in those lessons You teach us. Let it be so. We ask in Jesus name, amen.
The above statement, I’ve heard myself saying to God so many times. God has taught me that to make that statement, is to actually say, “I won’t take it anymore!” It is not a matter of “can’t”, but “won’t”—our will and choice. How much will we take for Jesus? How much did He take for us in comparison? When I look into the lives of others of faith, I find there is really so little He has asked me to “take”.
Phi 4:11 Not that I speak according to need, for I have learned to be content in whatever state I am.
Phi 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. In everything and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Phi 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
These are the words of Paul, who knew more suffering in his life than I ever probably will — yet he learned the lesson of contentment in all things; and he learned the lesson of trusting Christ to be his strength in every trial that he faced.
J, F, & B commentary…content--The Greek, literally expresses "independent of others, and having sufficiency in one's self." But Christianity has raised the term above the haughty self-sufficiency of the heathen Stoic to the contentment of the Christian, whose sufficiency is not in self, but in God.
2Co 3:5 not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God;
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us;
2Co 4:8 in every way having been troubled, but not having been hemmed in; having been perplexed, but not utterly at a loss;
2Co 4:9 having been persecuted, but not having been forsaken; having been thrown down, but not having been destroyed;
2Co 4:10 always bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus in the body, so that the life of Jesus also might be revealed in our body.
Paul knew how to be thankful in all things—regardless of how bad the circumstances got. He looked at the opportunity for Christ in the midst of it, and he remembered to praise God and give thanks. He never threw a fit and said, “God why are you making me go through this? I won’t take this anymore!” Instead, he learned to trust all his circumstances into God’s hands. He didn’t worry about his life, but trusted God with it all.
Act 16:23 And after laying on them many stripes, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailor to keep them safely;
Act 16:24 who, having received such a command, thrust them into the inner prison and made their feet fast in the stocks.
Act 16:25 And toward midnight Paul and Silas prayed and praised God in a hymn. And the prisoners listened to them.
Act 16:26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened and all the bonds were loosened.
We, also, may find our bonds loosened as we praise God in our trial, in the prison of our circumstances that we have found ourselves trapped into. We may find, that as we thank God, that He is our Abba - our Father, and acknowledge that He cares for us perfectly, more than our minds can fathom, and that He wills our highest good in all things, and is, indeed, working even these things that seem to imprison us together for our good, that we are set free, content with whatever this life brings because we are content with Him. Indeed, that is the key...being content with Him.
Instead of saying, “I can’t take anymore!” We may find ourselves, as Paul, saying, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me…that is…"In Him who giveth me power," that is, by virtue of my living union and identification with Him, who is my strength (J, F, & B).”
How could Paul say this? Where did this ability come from? Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf.
This was the secret of Paul’s being able to praise God in all circumstances and give thanks in all things, and to be content whether abased or abounding, whether free or imprisoned, whether shipwrecked or beaten, or mocked, or starving, or well fed, or whatever! He lived no longer unto Paul, but unto Christ. He lived no longer by the power of Paul, but by Christ. His life was hidden in Christ. Christ in him was his life.
Abba, our dear Heavenly Father, please teach us this lesson, and be our life and strength and joy. We know we are so weak and cannot face the things in life as we should, trusting You as we should, and come to You for grace to open our eyes again, in our need, to see what it means to be crucified with Christ, and no longer “I” but Christ living in me. Help us in all things we face, no matter how hard the testing, to say, I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
2 Cor. 6:16 "...For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."
Gal 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Rom 8:15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba, Father!
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Rom 8:27 And He searching the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
If you have come to know and trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are the indwelt temple of the living God. You are His dwelling place. You have sonship with the Father...He has given you His Spirit that cries out within you and on your behalf in your weakness, Abba! Papa! Father!
Why then, is it so easy for us to forget in our every day life and tasks, that His inner presence is always there to call on, trust in, and rely on. We try instead to do it all ourselves, in our flesh until we come to a place we can't anymore, or are backed in a corner, and then we cry out to Him, trying to find His "presence" and hear from Him.
"Walk in the Spirit, and you won't fulfill the lust of the flesh"...what does that mean? All my life I've sought the Lord to answer that and teach me in all parts of my life what it really means to walk in the Spirit. If we aren't walking in the Spirit then we are walking in the flesh.
Gal 2:19 For through the Law I died to the law, that I might live to God.
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf.
He's been answering me over the years...through trials, through testings, stumblings, through failures, and finally through choosing to take Him at His Word and trusting. Trusting that His Spirit, indeed, indwells me, and His presence is always there, unbroken, because of the blood of Jesus, and I have constant, unbroken, access, in the instant I choose to put my trust in Him to be there to give and be all I need in me and through me.
I use to think in order to "get God's presence", I had to spend lots of time in prayer...maybe hours, have a certain amount of worship, lots of Bible reading...and all that certainly is good and should be a part of our continual walk on a regular basis, and indeed if there is not that, then there can be no abiding relationship, but the Lord began showing me I have His continual presence by faith always, even when I'm busy, my day is hectic, I'm driving down the street, doing dishes, have chaos around me or even in an unpleasant atmosphere, not just in my prayer closet. The chaos and busyness of life doesn't change His presence in me...only the way I feel. It's His Spirit, not my feelings, I needed to trust in.
One day I was riding in the car thinking of the heavy burdens I needed to bring before God when I got home and could get alone with God. I thought of how I would shut myself up in prayer, and that it would probably take a long time for me to get through because I had to confess a few things and make things right then spend probably hours convincing God to forgive me and hear me and get back to His presence. I began pondering exactly what I would say to God and how I would approach Him. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit spoke to me that He was right there then, at that time and by faith I always had His presence and access to His throne. I didn't have to wait until I got home and I didn't have to "conjure up" His presence. I only need to call on Him at anytime in faith in His abiding presence. In a matter of moments, in His presence, by faith, there in the car, the issues on my heart were brought before the Lord and resolved. I knew from then on I didn't have to wait to feel God's presence to have it. He was abiding in me, even at times when the busyness of life left me feeling as though I weren't abiding in Him.
There are moments we must make a decision and call on the Lord. We can trust His abiding presence in us and call on Him. Choose to depend on Him. Watch Him answer. He'll take control if you let Him, silently, without our even realizing it at times.
There are times we need power for His service, power against temptation, power to overcome. Choose to trust His abiding presence. Call on Him and watch Him answer!
I am weak when it comes to boldness to witness. But one day the Lord asked me to talk to a lady for Him. The moment I chose to obey, (and not before), His abiding presence was there giving me the power and boldness and working in the lady to respond to Him.
I have written songs and sang in public. But that is not a naturally easy thing for me to do, to get up in front of people. I get sick to my stomach, have a panic attack, get weak, and shake all over. I'm sure if I get up I'll pass out! But I want to obey the Lord. He gave me the gift and told me to use it for His glory. When I get up, every time without fail, I ask the Lord to do this through me, and if I pass out that's His problem to worry about, and as soon as I open my mouth to sing His anointing flows through and the words actually make it out!! I've even had people tell me they were blessed and touched by it! The fear leaves, the presence of God and His power holds me up. It's awful to feel that fear, but oh what a blessing to experience His power in the midst of it!! It's worth it! We can count on His indwelling presence to take over our weakness!
As I read the Word, at times my mind wanders and I find I can't receive anything from the Lord. But if I call on His abiding presence and power, and ask the Holy Spirit to make it life and enable me to receive, and trust Him to, He opens my eyes and heart to receive. I could go on. I could share experiences in my home, situations in having to confront my teens, where God gave me wisdom and the strength I needed at the moment, and many others.
In every situation, if we continually converse with God and trust, not our having to conjure up some feelings, but in the truth of His indwelling , unbroken presence, always there to help us, enable us, and work in and through us He will! We simply need to rely on it, practice it, and walk in it.
We struggle to live the Christian life in our own strength, and try to keep God's ways the best we can, but we don't really believe His Spirit in us will come through and produce the fruit in us. but if we stop striving, and just trust, we will work more and be more fruitful than ever! If we quit depending on our own righteousness and trust that He, indeed is our righteousness and will indeed live that in us, we will find it coming forth from us. Remember...it is "Christ in you" that is your hope of glory. He provided His Spirit to indwell you and fill you. Don't ignore Him!
I use to think walking in the Spirit meant always doing some great supernatural thing, being reserved for times of ministry only. It means a great deal more than that! It means trusting and relying on His indwelling presence to be all and do all in you through every part of your every day routine...as dull and hum-drum as that may be. As you do, His life and light flows through you to bring light and life so effortlessly and naturally to all those around you. It is walking in our "life source" moment by moment, in the midst of all life brings our way, being dead to our own reliance on ourselves, and alive unto Him, trusting Him to be all in the trials, hardships, in the good times, and the pleasant times, in the weaknesses of our flesh, in the every day things we encounter. It was not meant just for times of special need when we are to witness for Him or minister to someone, but for every moment and every part of our lives from the time we awake to the time we fall asleep...we are to walk in His Spirit, not our flesh.
Abba, our Father, we ask You to teach us how to abide in You each day, trusting always in your presence that indwells us in every situation we face, especially those that are the hardest for us to feel Your presence in. Teach us to walk in Your Spirit every moment, relying on Your Spirit for that power, not striving, but resting in all that You provided.
There are many voices of accusation and condemnation that come against us. Voices come to us from the world, form the devil, from false teachers, and yes, even from other believers in Christ, and friends. There is a valid place for exhortation, for admonishing, for correcting one another in Christ. Our hearts should be humble, and teachable, receptive to these. But how do we determine when someone is admonishing in the Lord, or falsely putting a spirit of condemnation, from their own flesh, on us?
I know, personally, how it can affect you when someone puts their condemnation, judgment, or accusation based on wrong beliefs, or false doctrine. Their intent is to destroy, or lift up themselves, or push their false doctrine, not to bring the life of Christ, which is the intent of “thee accuser of the brethren”. Of course, in some cases there are well-meaning believers that are simply mislead themselves, thinking they are doing the right thing. Our battle isn't with the people themselves, but with "thee" accuser.
Rev 12:10 And I heard a great voice saying in Heaven, Now has come the salvation and power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.
And how did they overcome the accuser?
Rev 12:11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony. And they did not love their soul until death.
Stand in the armor…. wear that helmet of salvation! Our salvation is in Christ alone, and because of His shed blood. Don’t let someone take it away based on some works you are to do, or something you must add to God’s grace. Stand in His truth. Don’t let the enemy’s lies sway you. Check all things with His Word of truth. Hold up the shield of faith in Christ. Know what the Word says and put your faith in it. Stand, washed in His blood alone.
Hold fast your testimony: Don’t let go of what you know the Lord has done in you, and the testimony you have of His presence in you. Let your testimony be always based on His Word, then the word of your testimony cannot be shaken.
Don’t hold the love of self, but let it go to the cross, and die that His life will fill you and be your life. Your assurance is in Him alone and His life in you. No matter what, determine your life is his even unto death, death to self and physical death. Let God be your defense, but don't be afraid of what others may do to your life, pride, or reputation.
Phi 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.
The accuser of the brethren comes to us in many forms. He can come to us through well-meaning people, who are misguided. All things that are “given to our spirit” to take in, are not from God. We must 1) bring them before the Father, 2) bring them before the Word, and 3) bring them before the Spirit. We should only take into our spirit what He has then spoken to us.
I have had false condemnation given to me from others who disagreed with me, for the obvious purpose of destroying me. I’ve even been accused of committing “the unpardonable sin”. These things can shake you and cause doubt to come and even strike terror to your heart. Even Jesus was falsely condemned and told He had a devil! Do we think, as we live for Christ we won’t be also? These things shake us, but we must learn to know where we stand, as Jesus did, knowing who we are in Christ and what His Word says. I’ve learned from the Lord I do not have to take into my spirit these false condemnations. In fact I must not! No matter what, refuse to take it in!
I need to bring all before Him and commit that person to the Lord for His dealing, forgiving and praying for them.
I need to know where I stand and stand firm. The Lord has spoken this to my heart over and over. The accuser will throw everything at you he can to condemn and destroy you. Refuse to take it in! Say out loud to the enemy and to yourself, “In the name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, I refuse that word and won’t receive it into my spirit.” Then submit your spirit into the hand of God for His protection. The Bible says that the enemy will flee from you then.
Jam 4:7 Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
No matter how emotionally shaken you are by it, stand, not in your emotions, but in the truth, dressed in the armor of God. But then we need to realize thee accuser is the enemy, not the person! Forgive the person who is falsely accusing you. Resist the urge to strike back with your own condemnations. They may simply be misinformed and think they are serving God. But the accuser, the devil is using them for his purpose. Pray for them and love them.
We must also be careful not to give condemnation to someone else. It’s easy for us to misunderstand, or misjudge a person and think we are admonishing in the Lord, when we may be wrong ourselves.
Gal 6:1 Brothers, if a man is overtaken in a fault, you the spiritual ones restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.
Gal 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the Law of Christ. Gal 6:3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, being nothing, he deceives himself.
Gal 6:4 But let each one prove his own work, and then he alone will have a boast in himself, and not in another.
Spiritual: Who is the one who is “spiritual”? From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: “…an essence springing from the Spirit of God and imparted to the spirit of man. Hence, spiritual in this sense always presupposes the infusion of the Holy Spirit to quicken, and inform. It is opposed (a) to sarkikos, "fleshly" (1 Cor 3:1), men of the flesh and not of the spirit; (b) to psuchikos, "natural," man in whom the pneuma, "spirit," is over-ridden, because of the Fall, by psuche, the principle of the animal life, "soul"; hence, the unrenewed man, unspiritual, alienated from the life of God (1 Cor 2:14; 2 Pet 2:12; Jude 1:10)”
We can be Christians but be “carnal”, or operating in our flesh…
1Co 3:3 For you are yet carnal. For in that there is among you envyings and strife and divisions, are you not carnal, and do you not walk according to men?
1Co 3:4 For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal?
Let us make sure we are truly admonishing “in the Spirit”, and not in our fleshly reasoning, before we seek to admonish another in the Lord. We may have many disagreements in the church, but we need to discuss and learn with a spirit of humility and love, praying for one another and letting God teach by His Spirit and quicken the hearts of others.
Let us bring all things before Christ with humble hearts, truly, not seeking our own desires but what Christ would have. Sometimes receiving true admonishment from a servant of Christ hurts, and is hard, but we know, as we examine it before the Lord it is meant for our good, for the death of our “self life”, and not our soul. It is given in a spirit of love and humility. The Word shows it to be true. The Spirit speaks in agreement, convicting us. That - we must receive with a humble heart before the Lord. But those things that are for the destruction of our soul, for division in the body, and for the destruction of our relationship with the Lord, falsely accusing us and bringing condemnation, fear, and doubt, we must reject.
Dear Abba, teach us Your love this day, both in recognizing Your true Spirit of correction and in giving it. Help us to know and discern what is from You and what to reject. Draw us so close to Your dear heart, that we won't accept the voice of a stranger. I ask it in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, amen.