Monday, September 29, 2008
“A Secret to Spiritual Strength”
Fresh Manna 2008 by Pastor Tim Burt
1 Cor. 14:2 (NIV) For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.”
Imagine if you would, that the Lord asked you to do this. “I want you to tell me three things I’ve previously spoken to you about building into your life and three things I’ve asked you to eliminate or spend much less time doing.” “Pull out a piece of paper and a pen this very moment and list those things and tell me what they are.”
I believe that some of you could list those things without much thought needed. I do because I think you have already spent much time thinking about them. You may even be upset with yourself for still doing some of those things you know you need to reduce or eliminate. I also think that you have already talked with the Lord and made the decision to do some of those things He has asked you to do, but you just haven’t done them yet.
I am writing this today because I hear these kinds of statements from people frequently in all kinds of conversations – especially when people are being honest and disclosing.
I’ve heard people say; “I just want to get up earlier and spend more time in the Word before work.” “I really want to spend some quiet time in prayer before work but I am so tired in the morning – to be honest, from staying up too late at night watching television or on my computer.” “The Lord has been dealing with me to find a church I can feel apart of and help out in.” “I think I’ve apologized to the Lord a hundred times for ……. I need to get a handle on this.” “The Lord speaks to me about sharing Jesus but I get so intimidated that I only end up thinking about it.” “The Lord and my wife have been speaking to me about watching less television and spending more time being with my kids.” “I go through this ritual every weekend where I intend to go to church, but then I let the most ridiculous excuses get in the way. I know I should be there – that it’s good for me!”
These are just a fraction of the kinds of honest disclosures I hear people say. They say them because they mean them. They are embarrassed to some degree about them. The most interesting thing is – they know them! They have heard from God and they know them. I think that for those of us in Christ who really love Him and care about His direction for our life, we have heard from the Lord and we do know them! So then, the question has to be asked, “Why don’t we move into the place of obedience and do them?”
The answer seems almost too simple, but I believe it is the answer. We have heard from God and that is why we do know what He wants us to do. Then we take what we hear from Him, and we try to execute it naturally – we try to do it in our own natural strength. Thus – we fail! The Apostle Paul experienced the same frustration in his spiritual growth and development that we read about in Romans chapter 7. He said, “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. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. But I can't help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things.” Romans 7:15-17 (NLT)
Paul went on to learn that he couldn’t work out the changes God was speaking to him about in his own natural strength. The power of sin was stronger that his natural ability and strength to overcome it. But, he was not stranded; he had the power of the Holy Spirit. He could win if he leaned on the supernatural side – if he leaned on the power of Holy Spirit. He wrote: Romans 8:9 & 11 “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.)” “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as He raised Christ from the dead, He will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you.”
The most sincere truth I could ever impart to you is that I could, I have, and I would fail in my own efforts to be more Christ-like if I didn’t have the Holy Spirit to lean on. But let me be even more clear at the risk of creating a stir amongst some of you as readers. I could, I have, and I would fail in my own efforts to be more Christ-like if I didn’t have the gift of tongues from the Holy Spirit to pray in to strengthen me. Praying in the Holy Spirit – in tongues - provides me and inward strength that helps take me to new levels of obedience in God. It’s where the things that God is speaking to me about move from thought (and procrastination) to action – IF I will pray in tongues.
The gift of tongues is a gift from God. When I pray in tongues, I do not know what I am praying. I am praying in a language I do not understand. But, God understands! It is a mystery to me but not to Him. They become prayers unfettered with unbelief – prayers of faith that God can respond to. 1 Cor. 14:2 (NIV) says, “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.”
This is where I find the strength – where the Apostle Paul found the strength – to turn what God is asking us to do into action! Want to hear more? You will tomorrow…
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved