The Spirit of the Lord is like a championship belt gifted to you by Jesus the Messiah. This belt is staying with me.
“You’re more likely to act yourself into feelings than feel yourself into action.” – Jerome Bruner, Harvard Psychologist
I’m telling you: the Spirit of the Lord is leading me to what I need, when I need it. I’m following, soaking in all His goodness and basking in all His glory!
I read something so powerful a few days ago it is seared in my soul. Oftentimes, people will wait until they “feel motivated” to do what they need to do, but if you are waiting for your feelings to motivate you to act you’re finishing yourself before you start. According to Dr. Rob Carman, who is also a pastor and author, motivation is like love and happiness – it’s a bi-product of action. In other words, the main product or ingredient for success is always to start (or act) and then the motivation (emotions) kick in to assist you in completing whatever it is you acted on‼️Think about this for a second: does it really make sense to wait until your emotions lead you to act? You would rather be led by your feelings than by your faith? We rationalize waiting until we feel like it’s the perfect or most ideal time to make that decision, write that book, start that business, take that trip, do what God has put in your heart to do, etc., whatever your “it” is. NEWSFLASH: There will never be a “perfect” time. Whatever is in your mind and heart to do was put there (by God in most cases) to stretch you, thus stretching your schedule, your faith, and whatever else! It was not designed to fit your feelings or slide easily into your comfortable schedule – your system and way of doing things‼️In the context of calling and purpose, purpose is God’s way of doing things, not yours! You must act! Act off faith and not off feeling. Feelings make sense. Faith does not. Motivation is a trap. Don’t be led by your emotions. Act‼️The emotions will be sorted out after.
Motion, Not Emotion
Dr. Rob also pointed out something that struck me. It’s related, but from another perspective, along with a touch of insight from my own experience. There is a big difference between motions (acts) of love and emotions (feelings) of love. In other words, love is both, so your ability to distinguish between the two and put them in their respective places are vital to accomplish what is necessary for you to accomplish. I think many of us attempt to justify ourselves by the emotions of love instead of the motions of love. For example, if I feel bad for marginalized, oppressed people, that’s better than not feeling nothing at all. No it’s not. It’s just the lesser of two evils, because if you feel without acting you’re in the same boat with people who don’t feel‼️We’ve been tricked (and we trick ourselves) into thinking feelings should come before action, and this is simply “stinking thinking.” It’s a backward, twisted, corrupt belief system which leaves us stuck in our own prisons (our minds) we have aided in building. When Jesus was sweating drops of blood 🩸 in the Garden of Gethsemane, He probably didn’t “feel” all that great about what was forthcoming. But He got out of His feelings (His will) and into Love (the will of God) and acted. Feelings leave you stuck in neutral (fear). Action (faith and love) puts you in drive and take you where you need to go. Listen, this topic cannot be exhausted. I actually have a lot more to write, but I’ll save it for another time. You don’t have to be great to start, but you do need to start to be great. So act‼️Greatness awaits‼️
This post was inspired by Dr. Rob Carman on http://www.robcarman.com.
“Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
I have read the above verse plenty of times, but a few days ago during my reading and study time the Holy Spirit enlightened me and unpacked the contents of this verse, particularly at the beginning with ‘pursue peace.’ He gave me a vision for ‘pursuing peace,’ an interpretation of it which is seared on my conscience. I am compelled to share. Interestingly, this insight at the beginning of the verse gives light to the end of it, which is also enlightening! I understand this to mean in most (or all) cases in order to understand the fullness of a thing it is necessary to break it down and take it apart. Basically, this is the essence of teaching and the true nature and evidence of the Holy Spirit as Teacher, breaking down His Word and giving us Life – insight, comprehension, and revelation! No wonder why Jesus said eternal life is knowing the Father – the only true God – and Himself! (John 17:3)
Picture a track field. It is you and the Godhead. You and the Holy Spirit are the runners, but He is a little ahead of you. Jesus, the forerunner, is way ahead of you at the finish line, having completed His course with joy – despising the shame of the cross – and is at the Father’s right side. He is cheering you on and praying for you to do the same. The Father is next to Him listening to His prayers for you, presiding over everything with love and delight. The stands are also packed full of legends cheering, a great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 11) who triumphed in trust, receiving the consummation of that trust – the salvation of their souls. (1 Peter 1:9) This is all the inspiration you and I need to pursue Him – the Spirit – the peace and holiness of God!
Pursue Like You Can Overtake
One of the definitions of the word ‘pursue’ is an interesting one, but it shows how we must trail the Spirit. The definition was “to follow in order to overtake or capture.” Do you see the significance? Of course, we can never ‘overtake’ the Spirit, meaning to catch or outrun Him. Rather, it is He who overtakes us! However, we still have a part to play, and the mindset should be to remain overtaken by Him. The only way to do this is with the conscious of mind and the attitude of heart to hotly pursue Him like we can catch Him, like it is a real possibility! So, when the Scripture says to ‘pursue peace and holiness,’ it is with this passionate persistence we consecrate ourselves in His consecration, enabling us to see the Lord! At times the Spirit leads you where you do not expect. Perhaps, it is somewhere you flat out do not want to go! Yet still at other times, we desire and have every intention on following the Lord but lack the endurance or perseverance. These moments reveal the very reason why He leads us into certain situations – to build, strengthen, establish, and settle us. The uncomfortableness will do us well at our latter end, making us fit for the Lord. Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, neither grow tired of His correction. He deals with us as sons, and the Father is better than you can imagine! So, in every situation, no matter the situation, track the Spirit. Follow Peace hard. Hotly pursue Holiness. He is building, shaping, and molding you into Jesus and for destiny. In Jesus name.
This is the Word of the Lord for 2021 and beyond: Do not be sensuous in your faith, sensual in your walk with Me! You serve me when you feel like it – when it is convenient for you! You love me when you feel me – when my presence affirms you! When you feel my presence you are happy and joyful, and I rejoice! However, when you do not feel my presence you shrivel up, doubt, and crumble, and I sigh! You wilt under pressure and crumble under the powers of difficulty and challenge! Is it a light thing to dishonor me by crumbling to powers inferior to me? My presence, glory, and love abides even when you do not feel me. Do not cause me to sigh at the hands of your superficial, convenient, self-serving love! Do not tempt me and cause me to serve in your fair-weather faith! If you were gifted my Spirit you were gifted Me – my promise, my seed, my first-begotten Son! To this child of mine will I look and be delighted: those who are confident in my Word, in my presence, and in my love! I will not leave or forsake. If you persist through, my power will get through!
Yesterday I wrote about persistent difficulty, how irritating it can be, and how we must have a controlled response to the irritancy. This morning I was listening to the late, renowned, reformed theologian R.C. Sproul. His lesson was on encountering God, which was so good I will need to expound on it in another post. However, during the lesson he told an anecdote, and it immediately struck me because it was exactly what the Lord had me write on yesterday! He told about a time he was asked to fill in at a church one Sunday on behalf of the pastor who was seriously ill in the hospital. He was asked to speak and administer communion, so he buckled down and studied hard to give the congregation a great message in the light of communion and their leader being sick unto death.
The message did not go as he felt, thought, or hoped. For whatever reason, he did not have his usual flair or energy. He did not feel like preaching and described his sermon as “flat.” In his many years of preaching, he recounted this event as one of the few moments in his life and ministry where he had an overwhelming feeling of the lack of the presence of God! When he was done preaching, he said he wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out, feeling like he let God down, the pastor, and his congregation! He went to the back of the church to customarily shake hands with the congregation members as they were leaving when the most amazing thing happened. Every person who shook his hand had a glazed expression on their face, like zombies who had seen a ghost! One by one they shook his hand firmly, thanking him for a message touched with the breath of God! Incredibly, everyone in that church felt the presence of God except him. In that moment and from that day forward, he vowed to never be a sensuous Christian – someone who needs to feel God to know He is there. If you need to feel Him you are influenced by your feelings, not by His Spirit. The members of the church did not encounter a ghost that day, leaving their faces glazed over. They encountered the Holy Ghost, the Father of spirits, the glory and power of a holy God. Get out your senses. Get out your feelings. Stay out your flesh. To remain in truth is to remain in the Spirit, for only there can we please God (Rom. 8:8). In Jesus name.
The power of God always gets through. Yesterday morning, I joined a beloved brother of mine on Facebook Live. He is the pastor of a local church and he asked me to pray before he preached, specifically for requests of members of the congregation. I gladly said yes, always ready and thankful for an opportunity to serve and glorify Daddy God. When I joined him on the call, there was some kind of technical difficulty where it was a delay. (This was due to multiple devices being opened at one time in the same app). While we were waiting a few moments for more people to tune in, I told him about it and he heard it for a moment on his end. As we continued on we thought the problem was fixed. It turned out it was fixed on his end but not on mine! Personally, I was a little annoyed by the delay, feeling like it would “affect” me while I was praying and take me out of my “zone.” Finally, I settled it in my mind – although this difficulty will persist I am going to glorify God and persist in prayer anyway!
Fast-forward to this morning. I am checking my phone looking at some unread notifications. Another brother of mine who was on the live yesterday had reached out congratulating me on the prayer. He said it was an “awesome” prayer and that he felt the Spirit! Glory to be to God for that, because when I prayed yesterday I did not “feel” like it was an awesome prayer. As a matter of fact, I mentioned to my wife afterwards how it was difficult to focus because of the delayed reaction. However, after stating that fact I also said God will be glorified anyway, and anyone who listened to the prayer would be blessed in some form or fashion. You see, our thoughts and words have power, and when we speak blessings instead of doubt ultimately the power of God will get through!
Beloved, as I was reflecting on this event the Lord showed me something. Essentially, this serves as a microcosm of the totality of our walk with God! Last year, there were persistent challenges and difficulty for all of us to varying degrees due to the pandemic, racial tensions, and other things. However, we must not allow the challenges of last year, this year, or future years, persistent as they may be, to affect us and take us out of our zone – the presence and power of God! We must settle it in our minds and resolve it in our hearts to persist in the things pertaining to God – His Spirit, ways, words, and will – amidst difficulty. Despite its persistent presence, let us love and serve God and people with a pure heart fervently. Why? Because when we persist in obeying Him in faith and love we keep open an atmosphere for His Spirit, power, love, and glory to shine through – elevating Him and crushing the power of difficulty!
Difficulty is an irritant, not a deterrent. Allow the energies of irritation to push you into the energy of God, not deter you from Him. The further away you get from the energy of God, the more powerful the energy of irritation gets, resulting in things going from bad to worse. Do not be the cause of that. Rather, be a conduit of the grace of God in the midst of it and watch Him work! The power of difficulty – technical or otherwise – is not greater than the power of God, and although this maybe known intellectually it is not always modeled experientially. I was annoyed, but I persisted, and as a result somebody was blessed by the touch of God. The power of God always gets, cuts, and shines through the fluff of life. In Jesus name.