Mark 8:36~37And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
We have been looking @ 2 things recently. We have been looking @ how we are to bring every thought captive to Christ & we have been looking @ how we are to fight our spiritual battles. We have discovered we need to align our thoughts & our actions with the Word of God that when we think, we think as God thinks, when we speak, we speak as God speaks & our actions are Christ within us, the hope of glory.
What I want to look @ today is something that I hope will help you with both these things. Far too often we know with our minds that God is good ~ & we even believe that God is good but what comes out of our mouths & our actions deny the Truth because we have believed a lie.
Everybody say: Satan is a liar. Everybody say Jesus is the way, the Truth & the Life. What did Jesus do on the cross? He crushed satan’s head. Who’s authority do we carry? Jesus’! So we are also meant to crush satan’s head ~ but what happens? Satan gets us in a muddle & we fall for a lie!
Now I am going to give you a spiritual principle that is found in Deuteronomy 30:19
"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!
If you read through the account in Genesis 1& 2 you will find this principle laid down in the very foundation. God creates this garden in the east of Eden & He makes Adam the custodian of the garden. Adam has the legal authority to rule & govern this territory. That’s what the Hebrew says. Shomer is a legal term for someone who cares for another’s possession & that’s what Adam was to do. However ~ & you will see this principle again & again in scripture~ God is a God of choices.
You will hear people who are confused about who God is say things like: If God is good, why does He allow bad things to happen to good people? If God is good why didn’t He stop the pedophile? The murderer? The earthquake?
The answer is in Genesis. God gave Adam a choice ~ just as He gives every single human being the same choices! Choose today: Life~Death; Blessing~Curses.
We are not automatons. We are not robots. We are free to choose the sort of world we live in & the conditions under which we operate. The choice is ours.
Oh, you say! That’s just not true! People do things to me all the time that I have no control over! Yep ~ & they will continue to do things over which you have no control because they too have free will & are free to make their own choices. However…your response is in your control.
This is how it works: I tell you God is good. The Bible tells you God is good. Something happens in your life. If it’s a good thing you say: God is good. But what if it’s a bad thing? Is God still good?
God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today & forever [Hebrews 13:8] If He is good, then He is always good. It is His very nature to be good. It is man who is fickle. It is man who changes. We may get up in the morning & go: Whoa! Soo good to be alive. It’s going to be a great day. Let us rejoice in the Lord! Or we may get up going: Ugh…another dreary day doing stuff I hate… Has God changed? Nope!
You see every moment of every day you are faced with a choice. It is always the same choice but it will either bless you or curse you depending on how you decide. Every moment you choose whether you believe & declare God is good & be blessed ~ or you believe the lies of the devil & bring a curse upon yourself. Every time you open your mouth you either declare God is good or you call him a liar.
Let’s look @ a recent example because you need to understand how this works practically. We needed a mainland car. We put in motion everything we needed to do to achieve that goal & God blessed us beyond our wildest expectations. Within 2 weeks we had bought a car under budget but in better condition than expected & paid cash for it. How easy it was to say: God is good. He is indeed our provider! However our island car also needs replacing. Badly! We put in motion everything we needed to do ~ & watched as all our savings promptly walked out the door again as one emergency after another struck. Is God still good? Is He still our provider? YES!!!
It’s important we don’t allow satan to get in there & whisper poisoned little lies~ drip, drip, drip~ into our ears. Why didn’t God… Why couldn’t He…I wish He’d done…
Now God doesn’t need any of us to be running round saying: God is good; God is good all the time ~ but we need to be doing it for ourselves.
Firstly it affirms our belief & trust in a good God but secondly it calls satan out as the liar he is. We don’t ever want to be aligning ourselves with satan & coming into agreement with him!
It can be easier when it’s things because things can’t make choices ~ but what about when it’s people? People can be a real problem. People can really hurt us. They let us down. They say terrible things to us ~ or about us. They are hurtful & vindictive & unfair & sometimes they are just plain nasty. They choose to make those choices ~ & they have that right. We get to choose how we respond ~ & that’s where it can get icky. Do we respond as Jesus?
The first choice all of us make is who is in control of us. Is the Holy Spirit leading & guiding us or are we operating out of our own flesh. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us: For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. It can be hard to remember because it is the people we see, & not what is controlling them, but it is never people we are @ war with. If we believe God is good then we understand we get the choice to choose to respond out of the Holy Spirit within us or we can respond out of our flesh. Proverbs 3:5Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
The problem with relying on our own understanding is we see other people as the problem & so people become our enemy. This leads to us allowing what other people say or do affecting how we feel about them & how we respond. Our perception is off.
Our perception is off because we are meant to rule & reign in this life. I say stuff like this & some people immediately think it’s all about them: what they can get out of God; the people they can control or money, work, a nice house ~ whatever but that is not it @ all. God is good. He wants good stuff for us. He wants to bless us but we have to choose . The ruling & reigning starts with ourselves, For what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? It starts with us. Matthew 6:33 instructs us: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
God is absolutely consistent. Him first. His righteousness. As we walk in obedience, following the lead of the Holy Spirit, lining up our words & actions with the scriptures, we fulfil the requirement for having everything we need provided. As Bill Johnson says, according to our level of righteousness, so our ability to rule & reign.
What holds us back, more often than not, is ourselves. We can’t ditch our past; our guilt; our shame; our fear ~ none of which I have time to preach on this morning! However I want to give you one picture. When you believed in your heart & confessed with your mouth something happened. God chose to make His home in you. The King of Kings & Lord of Lords dwells in you ~ & He did not choose some shabby, run down hovel to dwell in. He chose the New Creation. He sees you as glorious. As His Temple. As Spirit filled, the marvellous work of His hands, fully equipped to do those good works He prepared beforehand for us to do.
Moment by moment as we move through this life Christ is empowering us & enabling us to make choices of Life, not death, choices that will bless us, not curse us, Choices that will give us a future & a hope ~ Jeremiah 29:11 so choose well.