Heb 4:2-3 ”For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”
Whether or not God’s Word profits us depends on whether or not that Word we hear is mixed with faith as we hear it. It can bring us life, deliverance, peace, joy, and salvation, if it is mixed with faith. But many times His Word isn’t received with faith and so does not accomplish all that God meant it to when He spoke it.
Some hear His Word of salvation preached over and over again, yet their hearts become harder to it every time they hear it. Some hear it and find life in it as they take it in by faith, and believe it. It brings life to them, dramatic change to their hearts, and deliverance from the bondage of sin.
When I was in a time of deep depression, and irrational fears, I listened to God’s promises from His Word on a tape all day with headphones on, as I went about my work. Within 3 days I was healed of all fear and depression because His Word nourished my soul, and became my armor. His Word is healing! How many times I’ve told people this who were struggling with depression and they would not listen. So often it does not heal, or deliver, because it is not mixed with faith in those that hear it.
Many times we are just like the children of Israel, who acted in unbelief in the wilderness, and could not enter God’s rest, because of their unbelief. God has a rest for us, if we will but enter in. We hear His Word, but fail to believe it, apply it to our lives, and so it does not profit our soul, and we find ourselves struggling on our own to do that which God has already done for us, and wants to do in us, if we will but believe Him.
God spoke of the disobedience of the Israelites. What was their disobedience? It was unbelief. Take the time to read Numbers 14. They had experienced the power of God firsthand. They had seen His glory. They had experienced miracles by Him. Yet when they were faced with entering into the promised land, they gave in to fear. Why? Because there were giants in the land.
Are there giants in your life?
They should have remembered nothing was too hard for God. They should have remembered it was God Who Himself would give them this land, and not they that would have to fight the giants. They should have remembered God opened the Red Sea for them. Yet their unbelief kept them from entering in, and caused them to disobey. Unbelief causes fear, and fear – disobedience to God.
Are you weary and heavy laden? There is a rest for you promised in God’s Word. Are you weak and unable to stand? There is inner strength and power over sin for you in God’s Word. Are you depressed or fearful? There is a sound mind, courage, and peace for you in God’s Word – only you must mix that Word with faith! You must believe it! You must believe Him Who spoke it. Is He not worthy and able to bring it to pass?
Ephesians 6 lays out for us our spiritual armor. Many of us really have no idea what it is to put on the armor of God. It is simply faith in all that God has already accomplished for us, and is able to do in and through us to the end. We must stand in that position we have in Him daily if we are to profit from what He has done for us. If we don’t it will not profit us. If we don’t wear that armor by faith, we will be defeated by the enemy of our souls. Many wonder why God doesn’t seem to give them power over sin, temptation, and power to walk above their problems. It is because they have not put their faith in His promises, putting on His armor, and His Word has no profit in them.
Merely going to church and hearing His Word every Sunday will not profit you. Seeing and hearing testimony of what He does for others will not profit you. Even having a daily devotion in His Word will not profit you – unless all of this is mixed with faith in the One Who is able to bring to pass the Word He speaks.
Hebrews 11 has a list of heroes of the faith – men and women who mixed faith with the Word they heard, and acted on it. Because they did they were able to accomplish great things for God. They were able to suffer for God’s glory. They were able to stand in the face of great opposition, and they were able to endure to the end.
Of course if we don’t understand His Word, we can put our faith in the wrong thing. It’s important to read, and study to understand what is in His Word, and be able to apply that Word to our daily walk with Him. We must understand what He has done for us, what He does in us as we receive His Word by faith, and what He is able to do through us as we walk from faith and dependence on that living Word. The book of Ephesians is a good place to start to understand your position in Christ, and also Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews. Many try to take His Word out of context and use it as a magic formula to get what they desire. This also is unbelief, and they are not learning the whole counsel of God and walking in it.
Find that rest in Him! He longs for you to enter in more than you yourself long for it! We can enter His rest, or we can continue struggling on our own in the wilderness never entering in because we refuse to trust Christ alone rather than our own works. Unbelief causes us to strive in our own flesh to accomplish what Jesus already accomplished for us. If you read the story in Numbers14, when they failed to take the land in unbelief, they were rebuked of God and told they would not enter in. In their grief and sorrow, they acted again in unbelief and in their flesh tried to take the land then.
Num 14:39 ”And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.”
Num 14:40 ”And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.”
Num 14:41 ”And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper.”
Num 14:42 ”Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.”
Num 14:43 ”For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.”
Num 14:44 ”But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.”
Num 14:45 ”Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.”
The enemy smote them because they acted in their own flesh, in unbelief. We can only have victory over the enemy as we put our faith in God’s Word, and we can only enter His rest from our own works as we live by faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and not by our works or efforts of our flesh.
May His Word profit you today as you read it, believe it, and apply it to your life. May you enter into His rest, in all He has accomplished for you at the cross.
Psa 33:21 ”For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.”
Psa 16:11 ”Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Psa 37:4 ”Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
Have you ever looked forward to a really good dessert? Something just so rich that you wanted to just savor every bite and make it last as long as you could?
Psa 119:103 ”How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
God meant His Word to be our delight, even as He delights in us. As He sees Christ being formed in us, we become His delight.
"HIS EXCELLENT GLORY" -“ As you quietly occupy your place before the Father and assimilate His personal love for you, the Holy Spirit is conditioning you to contemplate the Father's glory. What is His glory? God's glory is the sum total of His divine attributes and His infinite perfections. How is His excellent glory manifested? ‘God ... hath in these last days spoken to us by His Son ... who, being the brightness of His glory. and the expressed image of his person ... ‘ (Heb. 1:I-3). The Word in 2 Corinthians 4:6 is even more explicit: ‘For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ The Word directs you to meditate--to behold--the Lord Jesus. ‘Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.’ ‘Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher (perfecter) of our faith’” (Heb. 3:1; 12:2). MJ Stanford - Position Papers
What a blessed privilege we have – to delight in all His riches which He so freely shares with us! To gaze on Him, and partake of His glory!
This week has been a stressful week and I’ve been learning a few lessons to get through the stress. I’ve been learning in those especially stressful times to delight myself in the Lord. I’ve delighted in His Word in quiet times, but found it hard to do in the midst of stress. But as I do I have found the stress alleviated, the ability to relax and sleep when tension would otherwise keep me awake, and a special closeness with my Lord, which has been the inner strength to enable me to do the things I needed to do. Sometimes we ask for strength, we ask for joy, we ask for comfort…I’ve found all these things this week through my trials while delighting myself in the Lord.
Mary of Bethany sat at Jesus feet. Jesus commended her for it. She delighted in hearing His Word and it must have given her such comfort and joy as she began to understand the Words of life and take them in. Just like Mary, there are times we need to sit at His feet, especially through the hard times. Yet, there are those hectic times when we can’t “sit at His feet”, but we have an unbroken fellowship with Him always, regardless of what noise is around us, regardless of our circumstances, regardless of the darkness in our lives. We need not wait to feel it. We can rekon on it in Christ as ours. I’ve had to learn this week in the car on my way to my new job, when I was stressed out about whether or not my health was going to hold up for the day, and other things, to commit the work to Him, casting the care of it on Him, and meditate on a morsel of His Word, and delight in it. At first it was a real exercise of will. Again I have needed more rest this week since I’m working and find I’m having to be very disciplined in rest, work, and organizing my time at home in order to keep up. I had half an hour to rest one afternoon and then hurry on to some errands and pick up my son from school. If I don’t rest I am a lousy driver. Again the Lord showed me I needed to delight in Him. I began to worship Him and commit my rest to Him and trust that He would give me what I needed in the short time I had. By the end of the half hour I felt refreshed, and blessed as well!
When we are depressed, finding our delight in His Word can be our comfort. I’ve gone through my Bible and highlighted those morsels that I delight in from His Word for those times. When you’re down it’s hard sometimes to pick up your Bible and read. You don’t know where to turn. It’s nice to have those places all highlighted for me to flip through quickly and find my morsels of delight to strengthen my soul. Sometimes I’ve hung His promises on my refrigerator or on my bathroom wall, and bedroom, and put cards in my pocket to pull out once in awhile.
In Christ we have a place of fellowship with Him always. We needn’t conjure it up, or try to feel it, but accept it by faith, as our position in Him that He alone has secured for us. We are in Him and He is in us, and when we delight in Him He Himself forms our desires, so that He also gives us the desires of our heart.
As we delight in Christ, He is being formed in us. The more we gaze upon Him the more we become like Him. The more we see Him rather than ourselves. If we dwell on our own sin, weakness, temptation, and trial, we only become more in bondage to them. But as we gaze on Christ, without even realizing it, we begin to take on His character and become like Him. He reveals Himself to us more and more. Our relationship with Him grows more intimate and our understanding and love for Him grows. Our will also becomes more yielded to Him. Our fears and anxieties are relieved. Our faith is strengthened.
If your Christian life has become lifeless, and a drudgery, perhaps it is because you have not taken time to delight in the Lord, abiding in His Word, meditating on His promises, and the riches of His glory that He wishes to share with you. As I study His Word it is more and more becoming like an intense burst of rich flavor to my soul, as I’m discovering more wonderful treasures there. It is like unburying a treasure every day as He reveals more of Himself to me. And it is my life and joy and comfort as I am learning to walk out my life in the Spirit through the hardships of life. No matter how hard it gets, or how dark it gets, I have that place of delight whenever I close my eyes and think of Him.
Abba, I pray that You will remind us to delight ourselves in You, instead of fretting about the world or our lives. Help us to find that place of refuge in You, where our lives are hidden in You. Enable us to see ourselves seated with You in the heavenlies where You have for us every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus.
"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, Who is the head of all principality and power. Col. 2:6-10
Today we hear much about the need for revival - (The Hebrew root means - 2421 - Hebrew 2421 chayah khaw-yaw' a primitive root (compare 2331, 2421); to live, whether literally or figuratively; causatively, to revive:--keep (leave, make) alive, X certainly, give (promise) life, (let, suffer to) live, nourish up, preserve (alive), quicken, recover, repair, restore (to life), revive, (X God) save (alive, life, lives), X surely, be whole.)
What is it, we need to ask ourselves that needs to be "made alive"? And how would the Lord have us to do that?
My early Christian life was in a church that had altar calls continually for "deeper surrender" and revival meetings. Yet I found something missing after all the emotion and "spiritual experience" and hype was gone. Why couldn't I have that continuous experience when I went back to the hum drum of my every-day routine? Why was there still no victory over my flesh, my weaknesses, and my besetting sins, no matter how often I rededicated my life to Christ?
What was revival anyway?
We would seek some special experience to somehow wipe away all our spiritual and personal struggles and get some sort of instant victory or spirituality that would supposedly rise us above our problems. I became very self-centered actually in seeking these experiences, always looking inward, focusing on personal experience and feeling. Yet when all was said and done, and the excitement over - I found nothing changed. It was easy to be a good Christian in that charged atmosphere at church. But I still found myself unable to love the unloveable, forgive those who hurt me and used me, give when I got nothing in return, overcome pride, and selfishness, etc. My flesh was still very evident! I was missing the victory that Christ had already provided for me, striving to achieve it through revival.
We do not need to be continually "revived" in this sense to live the Christian life, continually recommitting our lives to Christ again and again. What we need is to understand our position in Christ, and put our faith in His finished work, and walk in it.
Rom. 6:4-7 - "Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father; even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. For he who died has been justified from sin."
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."
If this were taught in our churches, we would have no need for revival meetings. If new Christians could grasp this, they would learn to walk "in Christ", depending on His life within them.
If you have not understood that, then no amount of revival meetings and recommitments and experiences will give you victory over your flesh. What we need to bring to life in us is the truth of God's Word and the cross of Jesus Christ, understanding our union with Jesus in His death, and His resurrection. Instead, by continual recommitments, surrenders, and revivals, we try to reform the old Adam. We have not yet understood that the old Adam can never be improved on, can never be changed, or reformed or saved. It had to be crucified and exchanged for the new Adam, Christ in You, your only hope of glory.
1Co 15:22 - "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive."
This is the truth Col. 2:6-10 was telling us we need to be rooted in, built up in, and established in by faith. It is not how many promises you make to walk better, or give up sin, or how determined you are to read your Bible and pray more. It is not by making promises to God and having others hold you accountable, but rather it is living by His promises to you and what He has already done in you if you are in Christ - it is surrender of all your own efforts and works to ever better yourself, confessing you cannot change one thing about your sinful nature - surrender it in faith in His completed work, trusting that Jesus will take it, rendering sin powerless in you, and fill you with His fullness, and with new life.
We walk by faith in that union with Him, reckoning ourselves dead to sin, and to this world and alive by the power of His Spirit unto Him. We don't wait to feel it.
You may not feel the surrender and you may not feel the power. It is not a matter of feeling but of our will. Child-like faith taking God at His Word, that He Himself will take it and do the work in you. He has done it! Will you believe it?
If you have found yourself drifting from God and are in a dry place, go back again - back to the basics - back to the finished work of the cross - back to simple faith in Him. Don't settle for some emotional experience, that some evangelist or preacher tries to stir up in you. Don't settle for methods, including methods of the church to renew or revive the old Adam. Go to His living Word, and find out what Jesus has done for you. Cling to the real thing - Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Put your faith in Him being united with Him in His death and resurrection. Surrender and faith in all He has done and will do in you as you become rooted, and grounded in Him- established by faith in His completed work. Anything else is a counterfeit. It is futile.
Just as you first came to Him in faith, come to Him now and by faith receive all He has done for you and given to you in Christ to carry you through and complete that work.
Go to Eph. 1:17-20 and make it your prayer - that He would open the eyes of your understanding that you may be able to see and comprehend all that He has given you in Christ, that you may be able to walk in it. Learn what He has given you in Him and stand there. and standing in that completeness, walk with Him in His Spirit, in the newness of the new creation He has made you, rather than trying to change the old man.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." Eph. 1:3
Trust Him alone. Rest in what He has done. Are you tired of striving? Are you weary of trying to find and maintain revival? Have you finally come to the end of your efforts? Then put your trust in Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, in Him alone, to do all in you that He promised, and to be all in you that you need.
Mat 7:15-20 ”Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them. “
Gal 5:22-23 ”But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Many claim to have a corner on “truth” these days. Many claim special knowledge or revelation of God. But God’s true servants will bear His likeness. They will bear the fruit of His Spirit.
John 15:4-5 ”Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. “
Just as the branches naturally, and effortlessly draw sap from the vine and produce fruit, that is of its own kind, so those who abide in Christ, living from His Spirit will naturally produce fruit of His Spirit. Others will be nourished and given life by their fruit.
But those who abide in bad teachings or follow false doctrine, cannot possibly produce the fruit of the Spirit, regardless of how hard they try. Those who abide in their flesh and their own works can only produce the fruit of the flesh – pride, self-serving, selfish ambition, self-righteousness, etc. They may have pious sounding words, but does the life giving power of the Spirit flow from them? Does the love of God flow from them? You see? A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, but a bad tree also cannot bear good fruit. Which tree are you eating from?
Jesus admonished us to be fruit inspectors. Be careful who you listen to! You will become like them. Paul could say, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” Phil. 4:9
What a bold statement! As Paul abided in Christ and His teachings, His fruit nourished those who followed his teachings, and brought life, godliness, and peace.
If we want to be His servants, we must learn to abide in Him daily, trusting in His Spirit to flow through us. We can only do that by gazing on Him, not on ourselves. One of the hardest things to overcome is our looking inward instead of upward. As we look at Him through His Word, and prayer, we begin to take on His likeness. If we look at ourselves we will never be free of ourselves. Dare to look away, and trust Him to do the work in you to will and do of His good pleasure. Dare to trust Him to bring to completion in you that work He began in you. Dare to trust Christ in you to be all He said He would be.
As you do, only one thing can happen. Fruit of His Spirit will grow in your life. Fruit of life – nourishing others around you, will begin to be more and more evident in you.
Jesus had the hardest words of all towards the religious leaders of his day, who trusted in their own works of “righteousness”. The most bitter fruit of all to swallow flows from those under some form of legalism. Their fruit becomes poison in the church. Paul said of those who wished to bring the Galatians under the law, Gal 5:9 ”A little leaven leavens all the lump.” You see no fruit of the Spirit in them, because they have not learned to trust in and abide in His Spirit, but in themselves and their works. They are quick to bring to condemnation all who are not under their legalism and fail to see the huge log in their own eye.
Do we want to pass on the fruit of our flesh, or the fruit of the Spirit? We won’t recognize that fruit or be able to discern the fruit of others, whether it be of God or not, if we are not in His Word, abiding in Him and living by faith in Him.
True doctrine will produce in us love of God and love for others, joy in our salvation and fellowship, peace – as only confidence in the completed work of Jesus, resting in Him can give, longsuffering with one another as we have known His longsuffering with us, kindness – the love of God is never rude or unkind toward others (1 Cor. 13:4), goodness – as He is only good, faithfulness – as He is faithful to us, gentleness – or meekness – true humility only comes as we see ourselves in God’s light, then we will also show gentleness/meekness toward others, and self-control – which is saying yes to His Spirit and no to our flesh. Against all of these there is no law or legalism that anyone can bring charge against you with. This only comes from living in His Spirit.
Let us remember – what we abide in is what we will produce the fruit of.