The 2nd page onward focuses on practical living as a Spirit filled believer
Always thank God our Father for these truths so that we may learn to run a worthy race. Work these truths, everyday into our lives, so that we may persevere and overcome by his grace and his great love for us and the everlasting hope to be all that our Father wants for us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1. Every waking moment involves your environment which is filled with cues or triggers. Their sole purpose is to serve as a signal to stir up your feelings & thoughts. These will produce a given behavior with certain actions and ultimately consequences.
2. Look for ways to control your environment. Set up your environment in such a way that exposes healthy triggers and reinforces positive behavior. Restrict or avoid environments that are filled with cues that lead to negative behavior and unfavorable consequences.
3. Challenge your thinking. Stress, pressure, anxiety and similar things are very common and most always tend to herd us into familiar and natural coping mechanisms that typically serve to numb and escape the difficult and negative feelings. Remember this escape is unhealthy and only short term. Do things like pray, practice breathing relaxation exercises, or read. Learn to increase your awareness of when you are thinking and begin to see how it is about to lead you into your normal coping mechanisms and then challenge those thoughts. Practice taking a pause, a break, take some deep breaths to calm down and use self control to develop discipline to respond with a controlled mind. Soon this will become your new nature and you will learn to catch yourself before you spiral into the same old behavior producing the same old consequences.
4. There are ongoing circumstances in life that inevitably challenge our ability to stay balanced and to keep our emotions and feelings in check. Jesus felt the pressure of immense difficulty and was able to walk through the trials, even to the point of death (and resurrection) because he and the Father were together in nature. Viktor Frankl in “Man’s search for meaning” said if we know the “why” then we can bear almost any “how.” A daily stirring up of reminders to keep alive the reason of why you are here and giving effort strengthens you to bear the trials and tribulations that come your way.
5. Live fully where you are. It's ok to admit weakness in difficult situations. Be strong enough to get away then celebrate the strength of getting away. Just be humble enough to use the tools that you can to achieve your goals. Someday you will be able to use other tools as well. Make the most of what you've got. As we are faithful with the small things some day you will be able
to be faithful with larger things.
6. When you fall short and mess up, realize quickly as possible what has happened, get back up and keep fighting. Remember that you’re not going to win the entire war at once but it is important and realistic to break things down into smaller manageable bites. Wars are won with handling one battle at a time. As the character Rocky Balboa says, “One step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time.” You will get knocked down many times. Get back up and do it quickly.
7. Define what your fighting looks like. Don’t just grit your teeth and try to tough your way through difficult circumstances. You don’t stand toe to toe with a mixed martial artist with only knowing how to throw a simple punch and expect to be mentally and physically tough enough to overcome and win. You must train and develop specific skill sets to compete and obtain victory. Life in general and especially life in Christ is no different. Practicing self control and discipline and learning to walk by God’s Spirit are important keys to living with balance and purpose.
Scripturally Focused Foundational Truths for Christian Living
This next section will continue practical truths for living and will focus more on scriptural foundations from God’s word and how to apply it in your life for growth and maturity. Much of the content, by principle, in this section can be found in the book by Derek Prince called Foundational Truths for Christian Living.
1. The first thing to keep in mind is that Jesus Christ is the foundation. So anyone who truly
desires to live the Christian life, shall build upon him. Not anyone or anything else.
Question: How do I build “on” Jesus? What does this look like?
2. Great question. Consider these 4 points as a beginning:
a. Keeping God’s word is the most defining characteristic that separates us as disciples of Christ from the rest of the world.
b. The extent and consistency by which we keep his word. We should allow it to live within us, and to produce intimacy of relationship with him. This actually shows our love for him. God’s favor is poured upon us as we live like this as well.
c. As we keep and obey his word, he opens our eyes to see and to know him through his nature and ways.
d. Abiding life with the Father and Son is the result of keeping his word as they establish their home within us. We become living temples!
3. God’s word and his Spirit always work together. Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.” Genesis 1: 2-3 says, “…….and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
As God’s Word and Spirit are united at work in our everyday lives his creative flow and power is fully demonstrated in our thoughts, feelings & actions. If we ever try to separate Word and Spirit, then we miss God’s will.
4. Our response does have a bearing in the effect of God’s living word in our lives. Consider 1 Thessalonians 2:13, “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.
God’s Word is Spirit, full of energy and life and w-o-r-k-s in those who believe; who practice and work its truth into their lives.
5. God’s word reveals our inner character and true nature. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Seeking God and applying the life of his Word in our lives initiates a process by which faith is born within us. This is a process that takes time and so reading, seeking, praying, worshipping and waiting upon the Lord is absolutely vital to the development of transformational faith within our inner lives.
Scriptural faith is believing that God will do what he has promised according to his word. Consider 1 Chronicles 17:23, “Now O Lord let the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house be established forever, and do as you have spoken.”
6. New life requires nourishment to grow. When your diet is insufficient then your growth will be adversely affected. When we hold onto elements of our old life like lust, greed, anger, bitterness and self interest of all kinds then it serves to frustrate an disrupt the growth and maturity of the new life we have in Christ Jesus. So what do we do?
We need to study the bible in its entirety and actually apply it to our lives. It is through this process, through the Word and the Spirit, that our faith will grow and we shall mature.
7. The word of our God is so far reaching and all encompassing. It nourishes our spirit, it is life to my soul, it is health and strength to the body.
Consider the following scriptures:
a. Psalm 107:20 - He sent His word and healed them,
And saved them from their destruction.
b. Isaiah 55:11 - So will My word be which goes out of My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it.
c. Proverbs 4: 20-22 - My son, pay attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings. They are not to escape from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, And healing to all their body.
• God’s word heals
• God’s word, sent according to his purpose, will accomplish what he desires.
• God’s word, fully alive within us, nurtured within our hearts are true life and healing to our bodies.
• God’s promise of healing is primarily for his children. See Proverbs 4 above that begins with, “My son….”
What are the directions?
• Give attention to my words
• Incline your ear to my sayings
• Do not let God’s word escape your sight
• Keep God’s word in the midst of your heart
We are to have an open mind and a teachable spirit. Let humility do its work in you so that pride nor pre-conceived ideas or beliefs would prevent you from the full blessing of the living Word within your life. To give our full attention to God’s word we must not only read the words. We must give our full and undivided attention. Remember, a balanced Christian life is God’s word and his Spirit at work in us. If we approach the living word of God while focused on the cares of this world we are hindering the work of his Spirit to receive all that he has for us. So, surrender your cares and acknowledge him and his ways.
Psalm 78 starting in verse 40 says, “How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness And grieved Him in the desert! Again and again they tempted God, And pained the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember His power, The day when He redeemed them from the enemy….” The Israelites were stubborn and forgetful. Remember to be humble, teachable, hear what the Lord is saying and simply follow him.
Keep your eyes focused on the Lord and his living Word. James 1: 6-8 says, “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” Look straight ahead and be careful not to be distracted with the noise of this world in such a way that it may distract you from the Giver of Life! Keep your eyes fixed upon his truth, his nature, his ways and his faithfulness will be fully felt over your life in every way.
Proverbs 4:4 says, “He taught me and said to me, “Let your heart take hold of my words; Keep my commandments and live…. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” What is allowed to enter our hearts, our innermost sanctuary, has an immense impact on the condition of our spiritual, mental and physical life. Live according to Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Living this way paves the way to bare fruit according to the truth of John 3:11, “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen….”
When we live according to the directions God gives, he is faithful to give life and health to our spirit, soul and body.
8. To have victory over the weights and sins of this life requires consistent training. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have treasured Your word in my heart, So that I may not sin against You.” To treasure, store up or keep God’s word in your heart means that we eat of his body and drink of his blood and abide in him each and every day.
As we consider a practical approach to how we are to spend our lives consider these two scriptures:
a. 1 Corinthians 10:31 - Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God.
b. Colossians 3:17 - Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
There is a distinction between being filled with the Spirit and being able to minister in the power of the Spirit. Equipped with God’s word in your mind and heart and being led by the Holy Spirit in the application of his word is the weapon of the believer.
9. The process of growing to minister in the power of the spirit may best be defined as sanctification. This is simply a process of being made holy. Sanctification comes through the Holy Spirit, by the Word of God, upon the Altar, through the blood of Christ by the exercise of our faith.
Consider this, the temple in the Old Testament was built, set apart and dedicated to God. This means that all activities, everything that happened within the temple was in service to God. In much the same way as we are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) we are now living temples being built, set apart and dedicated to God. Part of this is through the work of the Holy Spirit within us. In looking at 2 Peter chapter 1 starting with verse 5 we learn that:
With much D I L I G E N C E (effort) in our faith
Pursue and build up these qualities in your life through the life and support of the Holy Spirit within you
• Moral excellence
• Self Control
• Brotherly Kindness
Now, these qualities build upon one another. As you pursue living a moral life you are drinking in and feeding upon the life of Christ in you which also produces revelation knowledge. This knowledge leads to even greater self control. As you develop discipline in your life you grow stronger and are able to persevere and mature through the trials of life. Through this process you become ever more Christ-like resulting in Godliness. As you become more Christ-like the fruit of kindness and love grows and flows in and out of your life.
Look also at Ephesians 3: 14-19, “For this reason I bend my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner self, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God.
Galatians 5 starting in verse 16 says even more, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh…….22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” So, continuing with 2 Peter 1:10 it says we are to, once again, be diligent about him calling and choosing us and also that we are to p r a c t I c e all the things above so that we never stumble. Have you ever tried to learn a musical instrument, learn a sport, or a foreign language? If you don’t give it serious attention and steady practice, you won’t reach your goal.
Now again, why are we practicing these things? Verse 4 says God has granted to us great and magnificent promises. These are promises from the creator and master of the universe and his word will be upheld with absolute certainty. Because of his promises we can be confident in eternity with him, hope filled purpose and meaning in our lives and transformation by the power of his Holy Spirit. It is by his divine power that we are granted everything pertaining to dealing with daily life and to growing in Godliness. We practice these things because the Lord God Almighty is in our corner! Not only is he cheering for us but he is literally dwelling inside of us, as we are his living temples, and it is by his divine power at work in us that leads us to accomplish what seems impossible in the flesh but is supernaturally possible because of him. We are sanctified by the truth of his word.
We are also sanctified by the altar. Matthew 23:19 talks about how the altar is what sanctifies the gift and not the other way around. As discussed on the prior page, the temple and all its activities were set apart in service to God. In the new testament, Jesus Christ is both the altar and the gift. Jesus, as the gift, through his blood paves the way for sanctification with those that belong to him. However, he is also the altar because we are the gift and his blood makes us holy.
Up to this point, I’ve talked about sanctification (being made holy) through the Holy Spirit, the Word, the altar and the blood. These four powerful truths are the essence of God’s character and carries the power to save and transform lives. The final piece to this puzzle is to consider the extent these truths can produce transformation in your everyday lives. This is dependent upon the faith of the believer. This is summed up in Matthew 8:13 - And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.”
Holiness is part of God’s nature
In 1 Peter 1 starting with verse 15 we learn that because the Holy One calls us that we should be holy in all our behavior. Romans 12: 1-2 has four important points for holy living:
1. We are to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. Remember, the altar sanctifies the gift.
2. Don’t be conformed to the world. Our thinking and actions should not look like the world.
3. Transformation comes from the renewing of our minds. We partake of God’s holy nature through the things discussed to this point and become more and more conformed to his image.
4. As we are conformed to his image and our minds become renewed we are able to discern the will of God. An unrenewed mind cannot know the will of God.
As we work God’s word into our lives, it changes how we think. We must read with an openness to the Holy Spirit working the power of the living Word into our lives. Pray that the Lord may open the eyes of your spirit to receive what he has for you in that time. During these times with the Lord there is a cleansing and separating that occurs, transforming us from a weak state of mind that is open to unclean and sinful ways to a mind that desires to think upon what is good and acceptable. Becoming more conformed to his image is what we want.
Looking in a mirror
James 1 starting with verse 23 says, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who has looked intently at the perfect law, the law of freedom, and has continued in it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an active doer, this person will be blessed in what he does.”
So, the intent as believers in Christ, is that we read the word, receive the life of the Word with humility and openness having a right attitude before God and therefore live it out. Personally, I always ask the question, “Ok, how do I actually live this out in my everyday life?” When you wake up, do laundry, work, eat, drive etc…what does this relationship look like in everyday mundane life? I think Derek Prince sums it up quite nicely with this paraphrased quote, “We might say the bible works practically in those who apply it practically.”
Let’s bring this section of the Tool Box to closure by looking at 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Here is a final quote from Derek,
“Note the completeness of the exchange: Christ was made sin with our sinfulness that we in turn might be made righteous with God’s righteousness. What is God’s righteousness? It is a righteousness without blemish and without spot, a righteousness that has never known sin. This is the righteousness that is imputed to us in Christ. We need to gaze long and earnestly at this in God’s mirror until we see ourselves there as God sees us.”