Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wield these 5 weapons, learn from Paul and you'll never be the same

Paul was not only one of the greatest achievers of the Bible, he was a spiritual giant and one of the most influential men to have ever been born. So when this man says "Learn from me!" (Phil 4:9) I will listen and hearken to him! Today, determine to put into practices the secrets of one of the most powerful and spiritual men in history. Are you ready for them?

The secret of choice (Phil 1:22-26, 2:24)

Paul understood the incredible position he was in - not as an apostle - but as a son of God, as His redeemed child, made worthy by the grace of Christ. He understood the revolution that had occurred in him when he received Christ; a spiritual transaction with incredible implications. His free will, that was once held captive by Satan, was now his alone. He knew that he truly had the choice, not just about what frozen yogurt flavor to choose, but over his very own life and death. Life and death was set before him. This is coming from a man who was stoned to death three times, yet lived! He lived because he chose to do so. In Christ, we have a capacity of self-control that is unparalleled in all of humanity since the days of Adam. It's time we learned again how to use it!

The secret of the guiltless mindset

Sharks smell blood from miles away. The enemy seems to do the same with guilt. Guilt is a heavy weight on the shoulders of all humanity. Now, before I go into this mindset, understand who Paul was before Christ... a man, very deeply steeped in self-righteousness (which is the very anti-thesis of grace) and so zealous for the law that he persecuted the church, put them in prison and presided over the first martyrdom of a follower of Christ. Imagine his guilt in becoming a believer of Jesus... try to do this for a moment, literally put yourself in his shoes on the road to Damascus. Is it any wonder that he would remain for years in Arabia before daring to return? He certainly had a lot of baggage coming into the kingdom! But that's wasn't a problem; Jesus is the one to unload our heavy yokes and gives us rest. Paul knew this very well and wrote for our benefit,

"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind..." Phil 3":13-15

This was Paul's mindset... he looked forward as he purposely forgot the weight and burden of regret and guilt. He forgave himself and threw himself into the grace and mercy of His Lord. Wow, this is a powerful secret of life. Those who embrace it live almost recklessly, they are unhindered by their flaws, faults, and sins. They don't just walk through their days, they are soaring in the sky! Paul messed up, his entire life before Christ was strewn with anti-Grace and filled with a consciousness of guilt. Yet he moved on, never flinching in the face of the law, ever holding onto the Grace of Christ at all cost. 

Now, you might say "That's fine for Paul. But his life changed after receiving Christ. What about sinning after receiving Christ?" I will tell you something a wise man once told me (and I've quoted him before) - when Christ died all your sins were in the future tense! That is Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, the blood of the holy Son of God flowing down, is so powerful it has cleansed you of all your sins, even those you haven't yet committed. You want to know where the power of overcoming sin comes from? It comes from knowing you are forgiven (see this post).  Moreover, Grace gives us the strength and teaches us to overcome sin (Titus 2:11). 

The bottom line, look forward, knowing you're fully forgiven. Learn from your mistakes and face up to them; the righteous do fall and they may do so seven times... but they rise! That is your inheritance! Have this mind, the mindset of the guiltless, the mindset of grace.

The secret of joyful confidence in Christ

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil 4:4-7

Paul wrote this from a prison cell. As I wrote earlier, he was clearly in control from within and without. He had great confidence in the Lord... great confidence not only in his heavenly calling, but in the very good news and willingness of God to deliver him here on earth. He was sure and confident that what God promises He always accomplishes. So he did not despair but rather chose to trust Christ in his imprisonment by defying death with joy and prospering in it's shadow. 

And look at the outcome. Peace in the heart and the mind, not just sitting idly by, but standing guard. This peace is unfathomable. Though a storm may range on the outside, there is light, joy and love on the inside, anytime and and anywhere, for the Kingdom of God is within you!

Paul echoed Jesus words "Let not your heart be troubled" when he wrote "Be anxious for nothing!" For nothing! Instead, of worrying, put words to the worry, and tell God about it, while thanking Him - not because He heard you, and He does, but because you have what you asked for. God is for you, not against you. The curse of death and the world has no claim on you anymore and you must never accept it - cling to the Lord, throw your fears and worries at His feet and let your heart rejoice! You can live like this. Don't waste anymore time, take a break from this post and wield this mighty weapon.

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:24

The secret of meditation

Like Isaac, another spiritual giant of the times, Paul was a master meditator, the one who destroyed strongholds of the mind and took thoughts captive. 

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. Phil 4:8

You know that in the Bible, the mind - our thought life, and the heart - the seat of our emotions, are one and the same. I hope that by now you are seeing how Paul was a man of great mental discipline. You see, the thoughts in your mind and emotions of your heart are like a flowing river. Most people let the stream of thoughts and feelings flow in reaction to everything around them. But we are not of the world to be tossed here and there like a leaf on the water (as I frequently say). 

We have the mind of Christ! (1 Cor 2:16) We can decide what to think about and choose how to respond to all that happens on the outside. We can choose to think right thoughts and meditate on the beauty of God and the glories of His grace. I'm not saying I'm there yet, but it's a revelation to me that my inner man doesn't have to react to all that's around. I can choose to trust God when monsters of the dark cast their shadows on me, I can choose to set my mind on the right paths when I find myself on the highways of rage and I can harness my thoughts to think clearly, with light and grace and love. I can choose to worship God with all my mind and heart. And so can you.

The secret of contentment any time, everywhere

"I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content; I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:11-13

This is the secret that every human being that was, is and will be, longs for with every ounce of their being. How they go about trying to achieve it is irrelevant, because we have the answer right here in Paul's writings! Though it's one of the greatest secrets of all, it's essence lies in who you are and what you are made for. Using the secrets of his God-given free choice, having a grace-oriented mindset, joyfully trusting in the Lord in all circumstances and by taming his thoughts, Paul was able to experience such a profound inner contentment in all things, all the time, and in all places.... wow! 

It has been written in Proverbs "As a man thinks, so is he" and when it comes to being prosperous and content on the inside, full of unfathomable peace this is ever so important. Every single day you tell yourself what to like and what to dislike, and based on all those inner musings you shape your days and so you live. When you live on autopilot-mode rather than thinking in the Spirit, your contentment will come and go at best. 

You already have all this contentment in Christ. He is Life, your very Life! His Spirit has given life to your mortal body and His mind is made known to you in full. Contentment isn't in heaven, it's already within you. 

These are the mighty weapons of Paul 

You are a new creation, a son of God with the power to choose from the very inside. And when the kings of God choose (Rev 1:6), greater things shall come!

You are the forgiven of the Lord, the cleansed and ever pure children of the Most High. Who can stand against you or who can charge you with anything? You are now His very righteousness and are called to display His marvelous light; so run free in life without the burden of regret and guilt ever again.

Jesus was cursed with every curse of hell and the world so you could be blessed with every blessing of heaven and earth. Even when bad things happen, they will always work out for good. Ask and you shall receive, be bold and come to the throne of grace, He always hears you and what He promised, He always accomplishes. This is the joyful confidence of God!

Your thoughts are like a wild, flowing river of fire. Tame them, hold them captive and direct them as your spirit pleases. You are in control over your mind, your emotions and your body, and this self-control starts by thinking on all that is good and on the One who is always good!

Joy, life, peace, inner prosperity... it's all in you because the Spirit of Joy, Life and Peace dwells ever more within you. This is true contentment and it's in your reach today, not 'one day' to come. Will you meditate on these things? Will you seize your inheritance? Or will you turn away this day? The choice is yours and always has been.

David Roiel
The Green Leaf Blog-Discover your inheritance!

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