Tuesday, June 24, 2008
“The Inward Strength You Need”
Part Five: “You Have Power – It’s a Fact!”
Philip. 4:8 (NLT) “… Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise”
There is untapped power in your life. There are changes you want to make. Changes you need to make. Changes God is dealing with you about. I assure you that if God is dealing with you about changes in your life – if you make them, your life will increase in blessing and you will become more Christ-like in character. But, we all know the routine. We no more than begin to think about those changes and then seem to do the opposite thing – the very thing we want to change. Well at least we are in good company. The Apostle Paul himself struggled with this and helps us realize that everyone does. Romans 7:15 “I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate.”
Paul went on to explain that the knowledge of what we think we should do makes us feel guilty, condemns us, and makes us feel like slaves to the very thing we don’t want to do. But, the truth is, Jesus died for all our sins – past, present, and future. That is not saying we have liberty to take advantage of that and sin. That is to say that Jesus already fulfilled the punishment for sin. He already fulfilled the requirements of complete obedience to the law. He did that for us. Only He could! So our part is to sincerely do the best we can.
The good things we should do are actually good for us. The good things we should do will help bring blessing to us. But we are not condemned when we slip up. We are not condemned when we fail. We are not guilty any longer. We were but Jesus paid the price for our sins and guilt. We are motivated by the love of Jesus - what He did for us - to do the right thing. Not by do’s and don’ts. We are led by God’s Spirit to do the right thing. So if I fail at doing the right thing today, do I feel condemned? No! Do I feel guilty? No! I may feel the prick of conviction – my recognition of need to do better. I may feel the sorry of that I didn’t hit the mark of what I wanted to do. But not condemnation!
What I feel is Jesus’ love toward me. What I feel is my love for Jesus. What I feel is my desire to live right and godly for Him. What I feel is His desire to see me blessed. These are the things I feel that motivate me to keep trying to do better. I am free – motivated by God’s love, not guilt – to live and make the changes I desire for HIM!
God has given us instincts – things that we repeatedly do because they are simply something God built within us to do. They are a source of untapped power. When we harness these instincts and use them in a godly fashion, we’ll experience more of God’s power and experience more success in the very things God is dealing with us to change or to do!
Today I want to continue with the second instinct - your imagination. You instinctively imagine things every day. Unfortunately and contrary to God’s Word, most people spend the majority of their time talking about and imagining the things they fear or the things they are concerned will go bad in life. Too many people think bad images and the talk bad images. And they have incredible reinforcement to do so. The newspapers and the media will spew bad news all day long to fuel negative words and images.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God tells us to think on the opposite of the bad news the world tries to get us to focus on saying, “You will keep in perfect peace all whose imaginations - whose thoughts are fixed on you! “ (Isaiah 26:3)
Is there really power in this? The experts will tell you that consumer confidence (what consumers think – good or bad) absolutely affects our spending habits thus affecting the economy in a powerful way. If people think our economy is in a bad state, they stop spending money. When people stop spending money, the economy gets worse. That is the power and effect of the imagination at work.
So, what about you? Are you like I once was? I used to spend a great deal of time, imaging how things could go wrong. I used to have imaginary fights in my mind with people I wasn’t getting along with or even my wife. They’d start with a negative thought. I began to think about it more and pretty soon, I was having an imaginary fight with that person. It affected how I felt about that person even though they didn’t do anything wrong. This was all born out of my imagination.
God’s Word helped me drive a stake in that demonic behavior. 2 Cor. 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations, and every thought that elevates itself over or contrary to the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” This is saying that wrong imaginations aren’t cool. We have to cast them down!
Now I imagine good things about people and imagine them thinking good things about me. That absolutely affects how I relate to people and how they relate to me. They feel my love for them!
I imagine the promises of God – His love, His protection, His provision, His healing, His wisdom – all His blessing overtaking my life. Why? Because Deut. 28:2 says, “And all these blessings shall come upon you AND OVERTAKE YOU because you obey the voice of the Lord your God.” Almost every morning I read the blessings of Deut 28 imagining them, praying them, and thanking God that they are overtaking my life. I imagine doing the best to “obey His voice” trying to do better today than I did yesterday. But, also imagining that Jesus fulfilled perfectly what I could not. That imagination is power to me and helps me have faith that God will do over the course of my life - what He promises. And I will live for Him to the best of my ability. That is a power-filled life. More on instincts tomorrow….
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved