As I have written before, the last 3-4 months I have been in another place with God and I have grown dramatically. God is the source for everything good. If we want to be more like Him we must be plugged in to Him. I used to think most everything in life was random but now I say nothing in life is random because God is in control of everything.
A few days ago I was charging my cell phone when the phone kept saying the accessory was not compatible. The phone would charge for a minute then it would quit. I would unplug it and then plug it back in and then it would quit again. Because the phone did not recognize the charger as being ‘real’ the phone could only receive a little bit of power before it would receive no more. With the phone always looking for a signal at my house, it was basically using as much power for operations as it was receiving so the battery level never went up.
As I started to write this blog, God showed me that my walk with God has been much like my phone that wouldn’t charge. When I wasn’t fully obeying, when I was too busy for Him, when I was too concerned about the affairs of life, I would only receive small amounts of His life giving power supply. I would learn from Him, but learning was much slower than it could have been and I wasted much of my Christian life walking around without much of His power. Now that I am fully connected and my heart has been proven genuine, the charge is much more rapid and it doesn’t stop. I am walking around with a fully charged battery and the power cord is always connected. Because I am fully charged and connected, God is speaking to me so much more.
My life and my walk with God can be described as a match of tug of war and I admit I have lost far more than I have won. I have desired to do what was right but my sinful nature most often has won. Why? Paul says in Galatians 5:16 “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” In order to please God we must walk in the Spirit. What does God mean and how do we do it?
When we are born we come into this world with one thing on our mind…ourselves. We only know what we can get and what we can experience. We are in essence our own God. Of course we really rely on our parents for everything but that doesn’t stop us from thinking the world is all about us. Left to ourselves our destiny would be destruction. But God in His amazing wisdom allows things to happen to us to break us. Without obstacles, without grief, without pain and suffering we would continue to gratify the desires of the flesh. Suffering causes us to fall to our knees and realize we are not God and that we are pitiful, blind, naked, and poor without Him. We often call someone that has every material possession blessed but God says those that suffer are blessed. Luke 6:20-21 “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”
Consistent prayer time the last 3 months has enabled me to walk in step with the Spirit more consistently than ever before. How often the busyness of life has pushed my prayer time from my leftover time to an afterthought. Today I schedule regular prayer time like I do gym time and for anyone that knows me well you know I rarely miss a workout. I now pray in my gym before I work out and if there is not enough time to do both, I would only pray. I put prayer first which means I put God first. How many of us that are married would love it if our spouses never communicated with us? How many would love it if you never had quality alone time with the one you love? To walk by the Spirit, to be connected to God, we must get alone with Him often. We must also be careful not to talk with God halfheartedly. Praying to God should be filled with passion and with every emotion: thanksgiving, joy, heartache, and grief. I have found that if I am not often filled with tears during my prayers that I am not fulling living in the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit is submitting to God with great reverence and Holy fear. When we realize that God is in control of our destiny and we realize how filthy we are next to Him, we should tremble at the thought of Him throwing us out to be burned. How could we disobey the one that gave us life? How could we run from the one that says if we do we face eternal torment? We should strive to be in a place that we come before God like one that is suffering even if our circumstances at the moment are good. In other words, we should fall to His feet with a broken heart and through our humbleness and brokenness God will draw near to us. When we are at His feet, we will be strengthened and the power we receive from God is greater than our sinful nature.
When Jesus was about to be handed over for crucifixion, He prayed. Luke 22:42-44 “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And in His anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.…” When He was finished He went to find His disciples and He found them sleeping. Luke 22:46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Jesus taught that praying gives us a strength and power over our sinful nature. To obey and to pray is to live in the Spirit and be in relationship with God.
On our own, we will lose the game of tug of war with our sinful nature most every time. Willpower is worthless in spiritual warfare. The sooner we realize we are not God and that the enemy is stronger than us apart from God, the sooner we will live the abundant life that Jesus promised. To be truly free, we must be intentional about how we live our lives. If we let the world dictate what we do, what we think about, and where we will go, we will die. If we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and put Him above everything and everyone else, we will live. The game of tug of war is tiring and after playing, players often fall to the ground in exhaustion. If we try to use our own strength and try to ‘do’ Christianity apart from God’s Spirit, we will get tired and we will be overcome. To win in this game of tug of war, you don’t pull harder; you drop to your knees and pray often.