In Breaking Free we left off the discussion with the need to examine our thoughts.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
The first area we need to focus on is our beliefs about God Himself.
He described Himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7:
“The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin;
“yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”
Is this how you would describe God? Do you know Him to be compassionate, gracious, s – l – o – w to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness?
Or do you see yourself in the second phrase…punished?
A word about the “visiting” going on here: think sowing and reaping…
Children learn what they live;
Children live what they learn.
Some refer to this as “generational bondage.” The grown children continuing in the footsteps of their parents. This is not set in stone. New behavior can be learned! The next generation can have a fresh start!
If we don’t think very kindly of God, we’re not likely to move closer to Him.
Hear the words of our Lord:
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?
He who has seen Me has seen the Father;
so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
It is safe to say that to the extent that there is a discrepancy between what we believe about God and what we believe about Jesus, there are lies embedded in our minds. These need to be “taken captive,” and replaced with Truth.
The time has come, the kingdom is near.
Repent and believe the Good News. (Mark 1:14-15)
We can ask the Holy Spirit to reveal lies that we believe about God our Father, and about Jesus.
This is one prayer that will be answered with a resounding YES – every time!
Having repented of trying to earn God’s favor through our actions, and asked for help in routing the lies we believe (then replacing them with Truth), we can enter into His rest.
Mmmm. What a wonderful word. It is accompanied by other equally wonderful words: serenity and peace. Check out Hebrews 4:10:
“For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.”
This rest referred to here is from works for salvation. Jesus said,
“It is finished.”
There remains nothing more for us to do concerning salvation.
This is not to be confused with the “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” from Ephesians 2:10.
Our work is not over…but it’s not for salvation, but rather because of our salvation.
Isn’t it exciting to know that the God of the Universe is asking us to join Him in His work as He reaches out to those who are lost and without hope? This is not a burden, but rather a privilege!
He could do this by Himself, but chooses to let us, His little children, come “help carry the suitcase.”
To reward us!
Have you ever done this with a little child? They want so much to help us do something that is far beyond their ability. With tender hearts, we invite them to place their hand on ours while we do the thing. When the task is completed, we reward their “work” with praise…and sometimes an ice cream cone!
God is our Good Father!
(Do we understand this?)
Let’s end this week’s study with these wonderful words from the Bible:
My son/daughter! You are always with me, and everything I have is yours! – Luke 15:31
My grace is sufficent for you. My power is made perfect in weakness. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. – 2 Peter 1:3
We will never become gracious people if we do not receive the grace of God for ourselves. By that I mean if we are striving to earn anything from God, we will, in turn, demand that others strive to earn love, acceptance, and favor from us. We force them into a bondage that we, ourselves hate.
We have been given the key that unlocks every shackle. Let’s ask for sight to see the prisoners that surround us – and the mercy, grace, and love to share what we have been so freely given.
Oh, the joy of being free at last!
This series is on Overcoming Obstacles to Intimacy with God. It begins here: C’mon In…