Urgency in How We Walk

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…

Ephesians 4:1-2

walking away

It’s urgent that as believers in Jesus Christ that we take our calling very seriously. We must live our lives with such passionate dedication that we are willing to risk everything. We have a high calling and high are the standards that we must live by. These standards are not written laws but are conditions of the heart that we should live by through the Holy Spirit. I believe that in these two verses the Lord is showing us four primary points to living a life worthy of the calling we have received in Christ Jesus.

#1 – Humility

Our calling is to follow Him and to acknowledge Him as our provider and our God. Humility is the mark of a follower of Christ that is wholly abandoned to Him. We need to seek humility each day as we walk in our great calling to love God and to extend His love to others. Humility is not common in our society and is contrary to our own human nature. Our natural response is self-preservation and pride. When we practice humility it forces us to place our dependence on God rather than ourselves. To walk worthy of our calling we MUST depend on Him and not ourselves.

“They knew that apart from the presence and power of the Holy Spirit they would accomplish nothing.”

Rick Joyner – of those leading the Welsh Revival in 1904

#2 – Gentleness
Our actions towards others should always be done with a gentle manner. Humility shows our heart position towards God and others but gentleness is how we are to actually act towards them. Rather than being rash, abrupt and forceful we should be gentle and kind. When we display gentleness we leave no room to control or manipulate others. We can only do this when we really place our trust in the Lord. When we display gentleness we display our trust in God. Our calling is one that must be marked by a gentle spirit and carefull actions. We learn to be slow to speak and even slower to react in anger. Our live must be connected to God’s Spirit in order to display true gentleness towards others.

#3 – Patience
Humility is our heart position, gentleness is to be the mark of our actions towards others and patience shows how we react to others and to circumstances outside of our control. We must have a life marked by patience in this fallen world because not only will many people harm us and let us down unintentionally but some will also do so intentionally. In light of the cross of Jesus Christ and His shed blood we realize that we have no place in our lives to be impatient or harbor any bitterness. A patient life is one that is quick to forgive. When we display patience as the Holy Spirit lives through us we can live a life truly worthy of the calling of Christ. Patience is a must-have virtue for any true Christ follower.

#4 – LOVE
With all of the humility, gentleness and patience we are to bear with one another in love. Humility is our heart position, gentleness is the way we treat others, patience is how we respond and love is that package that all of these are wrapped up into. Each of these stem from a life filled with God’s love and His presence. These things are only possible through a life filled with God’s love. We must commune with our father in unceasing prayer and adoration if we want to truly walk in a way that is worthy of His calling on our lives. It all must be our of an overflow of Christ in us, who is love and is the hope of glory.

Of the 4 Characteristics which one are you strongest in? Which are you weakest in?

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Strengthen your Net

God has given each of us passions and desires for bigger and greater things so that we never remain stagnant or feel like our lives are without purpose. He has placed things inside each of us that are much bigger than any of us could accomplish without His help. There is an amazing story from the book of John that teaches us a bit about being prepared for those dreams that he has given us. God does give us great vision but only wants us to step into that when we are actually ready.

In Matthew 4 Jesus begins to call the disciples. In return for laying down their fishing nets He told them that they could come with him to fish for people. After his resurrection there is also another amazing story centered on fishing that is recorded in John 21. In this story the disciples are found fishing after Jesus has risen from the dead. They did not recognize him at first but after following his instructions their nets began to fill with probably more fish than they had ever caught at one time in their entire lives. When they obeyed Jesus they experienced a supernatural favor and blessing.

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When they return to the shore (John 21:10-11) the Disciples were asked by Jesus to bring their fish to Him. We are always meant to bring the things that Jesus blesses us with, whether resources or people, to Him. All of it is meant for HIS glory and never for our own. We get to partake and enjoy of this amazing abundance but we need to remember its always intended to be handed right back to him.

When they got back to the shore their nets were completely filled with fish but for some reason the nets did not break. The verse mentions an exact number, 153, that they caught. I believe the number was mentioned because had there been 154 the nets would have broken. The number is significant because Jesus only allowed them to catch what they could handle. What would have been the value of this blessing had they gotten to shore and as they pulled the net out of the water it busted and all the fish just swam back into the sea? He never intends for us to catch more than our nets can handle.

The number of fish in this story can represent each of our dreams and passions. They represent what God may entrust us with whether it may be people, possessions or some great position.  God may have given us vision for a huge ministry, or a thriving business but what I believe he wants us to focus on is the NET and not the quantity of fish. He wants us to be sure we have the capacity for the vision that he has placed in our hearts.

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The disciples were called in an instant to follow Christ and become fishers of men. But before they could catch the fish they had to make their nets. They had to take their time sitting and sewing each piece together and tying different places together. They had to invest time day after day to ensure that when the time came they would be able to handle whatever catch God had planned for them. Most people want to focus on their huge ambitions and make a nice looking plan of bullet points of how to get there but few want to go through the grueling work of preparing their character to be in that position one day.  Radical encounters with the Spirit of God can propel us into our destiny but only intentional effort to grow can give us the discipline that will ensure we are capable of withstanding the pressure of all that God wants to place in our nets.

Some people feel like their grand visions are vain or are something that they should not express so they choose to never talk about them or focus on them. This can sometimes be a person practicing false humility. The enemy wants to pervert our dreams and make it all about us. He wants us to forget that the whole reason we catch the fish is so that we can pull them out with our nets and take them to Jesus. We need to embrace our grand visions with great humility and set our hearts to let the Holy Spirit give us the character we need to achieve them.  In the same way that God gave all of creation natural sexual desires to ensure pro-creation, so did He give us these dreams to expand and grow His Kingdom. We have the ideas because God has placed them in each of our hearts so that we will pursue them with great passion!

Instead of asking Jesus for more fish, we really need to be asking him for a stronger net. We need to ask him for more patience, more character, more holiness, more desire to fast and pray and for more integrity. When we ask God for these things then we don’t have to worry about working to achieve a greater anointing or to grow our ministries. The growth will come quite naturally as we sit and sew our nets. The increase will always come as we abide (John 15) in the love of Jesus and allow him to mold us and shape us. We don’t have to strive or try to force it to happen.

Then one day Jesus will look at each of us, when he knows our nets are ready, and ask us to throw the net in one more time. We may have tried already many times with not much success but at this moment we will step into His shalom. We will enter into His peace and prosperity as we walk in maturity and obedience. One of my greatest fears is that I will walk through life with such a weak net that God never sees that I have the capacity to handle anything greater. Let us all be sure that we will have our nets strong and ready so that we can handle the amazing plans that He has for each of us.

What He’s given us

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For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

 – 2 Timothy 1:7

I read this verse early this morning and it was such a great reminder that God brought to me. Its so good to be reminded of things you already have heard and to really sit and allow your heart to dwell on the simple truths of God. This one verse is so essential to walking in a victorious life through the Holy Spirit. When we realize that we don’t have to fear anymore, our life takes on a whole new perspective. He has given us power. He has given us his love. He has given us the ability to live disciplined and Holy lives. 

All of these things are only possible because of the Spirit that he gives to those who surrender their lives to him. Allow yourself to walk in this simple truth today and you will experience freedom and joy like never before. Our heavenly father has everything taken care of and promises ” that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

How can you apply this simple truth to your life today?

Patience leaves you… Wanting Nothing

I can very easily admit that some of the hardest lessons I have had to learn in life are related to patience. I know that I am not the only one who probably feels this way as well. Its pretty safe to say that pretty much every person is born is born with a high level of innate impatience. These past few months my patience has been tried in many more ways than one.

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The memory that sticks out more than anything is this summer when I lost the keys to my car. I spent three days at my parents house that weekend looking over and over again and could not find them anywhere. Finally on Monday morning I looked one last time and still had no luck. I started looking into a locksmith and the cost for just 1 key was going to be more money than I even had in my account. I was at a point of frustration that really can’t be captured with words. I was LIVID.

Its funny now that I think about the situation but in the moment I was far from laughing. This was just one situation where I literally came right up to this breaking point and then right before I walked in to call the locksmith I got really candid with God. I put away all my reservations on how I thought I should pray and just flat out said everything that I really wanted to. I’m not proud of what I said but its what I felt.

I finally finished saying everything when suddenly a memory comes back to my mind from when I had shown up to my parents that I had thrown some food away as getting out of my car. I then sensed God speak to me, I imagine with a hint of humor, and He said go look in the trash can ONE more time. I did, and yes they were in there on the bag of trash I had thrown away…

That whole weekend showed me how impatient I really am and the condition of my heart in such a real way. There seems to be a common thread of events in my life that show me over and over how much I need to grow in the area of patience.

I am starting to understand more and more why God is continually growing my level of patience and endurance. The process of growth is painful just like it is in any natural process like body building or long distance running and is more than worth all the effort. Each time that we are stretched we recover even stronger. With each trial and test of patience, we get closer to the perfection and completion that God has for us.

We all have the desire for satisfaction and to have all our needs met. God teaches us patience and endurance because they are the avenue in which we find true satisfaction and contentment in this life. It doesn’t mean that everything will change and start going our way but that we will begin to respond to life in a way that truly left wanting nothing.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

James 1:4