Jesus himself said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. (Matthew 5:3)
Who are then the poor in Spirit?
The poor in Spirit are those who realise that their good works cannot send them to heaven but only the grace of God.
The poor in Spirit are those who know that keeping the law is nothing to boast of but rather is a thing to be humble about.
The poor in Spirit are those who know that they cannot save themselves but only the Lord God can.
The poor in Spirit are those who realise that all their riches of wisdom and knowledge are still inferior to the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The poor in Spirit are those who believe that this world has nothing lasting to offer them and look for life that is eternal in the Lord’s will.
The poor in Spirit are those who despise what is sinful and seek what is holy in their thoughts, words and actions.
The poor in Spirit avoid false and deceptive gains but seek the truth about the will of God for their life.
“The reason the world is not seeing Jesus is that Christian people are not filled with Jesus. They are satisfied with attending meetings weekly, reading the Bible occasionally, and praying sometimes. … It is an awful thing for me to see people who profess to be Christians lifeless, powerless, and in a place where their lives are so parallel to unbelievers’ lives that it is difficult to tell which place they are in, whether in the flesh or in the Spirit.” – Smith Wigglesworth
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8-10)
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1)
A quote from an Evangelical preacher which in a way sums up how the preaching of the Word of God can go wrong:
Evangelicals, (including myself), have distorted the image of Jesus
FROM a Righteous, Reigning, Awesome King of Glory, to be feared, loved and obeyed.
Down to a Friendly Neighbor.
We have diluted the Gospel down to “Say a prayer and get your free ticket to Heaven.” We handed out tickets to heaven, like it was free candy, forgetting the words of Jesus “It is hard for a man to enter the Kingdom of God” and “narrow is the door…few there be that find it”
We have diluted down the image of Hell,
FROM a place of Miserable Agony, Torment, Wrath, Burning & Regret
Down to a much more digestible phrase, “Godless eternity” (which doesn’t seem to put fear in any unbeliever)
Never ever dilute the Gospel even if the person who is hearing might reject the true meaning of the Gospel. It’s your job preach the Word of God without altering it. Don’t worry about the so called “undue” fear mongering because certain things are actually good to fear; ” The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10)”
“Christ is not wisdom and righteousness only to His people, but sanctification also. Men sometimes try to make themselves holy first of all, and sad work they make of it. They toil and labour, and turn over new leaves, and make many changes; and yet, like the woman with the issue of blood, before she came to Christ, they feel “nothing bettered, but rather worse.” (Mark v. 26.) They run in vain, and labour in vain; and little wonder, for they are beginning at the wrong end. They are building up a wall of sand; their work runs down as fast as they throw it up. They are baling water out of a leaky vessel: the leak gains on them, not they on the leak. Other foundation of “holiness” can no man lay than that which Paul laid, even Christ Jesus. “Without Christ we can do nothing.” (John xv. 5.) It is a strong but true saying of Traill’s, “Wisdom out of Christ is damning folly—righteousness out of Christ is guilt and condemnation—sanctification out of Christ is filth and sin—redemption out of Christ is bondage and slavery.” Do you want to attain holiness? Do you feel this day a real hearty desire to be holy? Would you be a partaker of the Divine nature? Then go to Christ.”
― J.C. Ryle
Beware of the “Just in Case” philosophy when conducting church services. It’s human wisdom at its best and I see it creeping into churches. This philosophy says, “Prepare every detail of the service in advance, prepare the worship music exactly the way you want it. Prepare and rehearse the introduction of the sermon and songs, so you don’t stumble over your words. Get the closing prayer written down and ready. Then, Just in Case the Lord doesn’t show up, you can still put on a great show!” Church service should NOT be like a Broadway production. (Robert Brownell)
Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! (Lamentations 3:40)
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgement on himself. (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. (2 Corinthians 13:5-7)
For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. (Galatians 6: 3-5)
I recently shared a prayer called ‘Uproot in me every evil seed‘ and then a prayer called ‘Plant in me O Lord’. Now there’s a good reason for it. This year has been quite a dramatic year for me on various fronts. Especially on the spiritual front. So I felt like I better share this one up before the year ends. It’s possible that by knowing this, you too might ask God for the right things in life and elimination of evil from your life.
Just before this year could begin and even right up to April 2015, I’d be encouraged to pray that every evil seed is uprooted from my life. I received such suggestions from various people. Originally, the context of such a praying attitude was to ensure one doesn’t get sick or unwell. However, the field of view expanded. With faith in the Lord Jesus, I kept praying every time there was a call to remove all obstacles that come in the will of God in my life.
Then things started unfolding themselves in my life by the grace of God. I found that evil seeds can also be people, not mere illnesses alone. Suddenly I started noticing some the people who profess the Christian faith and who were good friends and allies of mine at that time for many years, were not all that much into the faith. I mean their view of the Gospel didn’t go by with the true Gospel at all. Let me make it real to you, for starters some believed that once forgiven they do not need to ever repent if they happen sin again. (I’ve already covered this in a much earlier post called as The heresy of pre forgiven sin). And this was surprising to me that they conveniently kept this hidden for a long time from me though they were much aware that I do believe in repentance every time a person sins, not just one time only.
There were another bunch of folks who were of the opinion that God will automatically grant his ‘stamp’ of approval on everything they do, even if meant using deceitful means. For them it was not a case of doing God’s will in their life. It was the opposite, which is their own thoughts and opinions are ‘deemed’ as God’s will for them on the assumption that everything they do is by default approved by the Lord without checking with the Bible. They seemed to conveniently ignore the following verses of the Bible:
- There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 16:25)
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Then there was the legalistic brigade which believes that one must fast for almost everything and at every season. Legalism works as a counferfeit of discipline and I surely have had a tough time dealing with such people until I realized that the best way to tackle them is by the Holy Scriptures. And they were the most hostile to deal with but eventually they couldn’t prevail against the principles of the Bible.
I mentioned only three types of deviations in short without going too much in to the specifics, but there are more such deviations from the Gospel I noticed among others this year (again!), which I intend to expose in the future, but these should suffice for now.
A common trend that I noticed among such people is that they were cherry picking Bible verses as per their liking instead of taking the whole of the Bible in context. Besides this they were obsessed with their denominational tags and doctrines far much more than normal. And this led them to label anyone (not just me) as one who is ignorant and in need of their ‘guidance’. Well it didn’t work on me especially when I realized they had an aversion to the teachings of the Epistle of James and also of the Letter to the Hebrews in the Bible. One even said they hate such and such Bible verse and I’d be shocked by such replies. They again ignore the fact that ‘Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (Proverbs 30:5)’. So I also didn’t ignore that they were repeatedly trying to spoil my name in the preaching of the word obviously behind my back since they knew they stand no chance in a debate with me, though I at many times asked for face to face discussion about their points of view. So, I immediately went on guard against them and now they are totally out of my life, for good.
The effect was a lot of peace and joy, which was almost instant. I didn’t realize that they were such a negative influence of me until they actually got removed from my life. I could pray really well again! It came to my mind, that not a single part of me being happy depends on them but it’s only up to the Lord alone. Oddly, I didn’t even have to try too hard. The Lord just made it turn out in such a way that they by their own actions are now in a different direction from me. My only judgement on them was that I won’t be wasting my time on those who hinder my walk with the Lord God. As simple as that!
To those curious about the judgement part I’d suggest that you read a few earlier posts of mine titled Do not judge or do no repent? & Some people seem to read only the words ‘Judge not’ in the Bible. Under those circumstances it had become less of judgement and more of respect to the Lord. One couldn’t remain with such people without them in return attempting to undermine the rightful knowledge of the Gospel.
My own observation was that whatever that I’d ask them to pray for me wouldn’t happen but in fact the reverse would happen. I mean challenges in life would seem to overpower me. But then when they got out of my life, I kept a very basic level of prayer and saw good results. I’d just would read the Bible and then ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand it correctly and then pray as plainly as possible. So the part of the part removing every evil seed prayer, came out well for the glory of God. This was in a way trying to keep only Christ as mediator between myself and God.
There’s the part of planting in one’s life not by one’s own standards but by the will of God. This part is not yet complete but let me say this year as I prayed for the best alliances and friendships in life, the Lord God has indeed given me these things really well. And I know that more is due in the future. It’s just that I was initially more focused on removal of evil. But I know for sure that now in the future, it also needs to be about acceptance of the good things of God by asking in faith.
I do hope that now you know the context of the two prayers about removing evil seeds and planting right seeds and are so are able to pray much better. This doesn’t actually stop at praying effectively alone. It’s more about the will of God going right in your life in terms of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
God be with you, always!
‘Do you search the scriptures?’ is a very simple but effective question to gauge anyone’s growth in the Lord Jesus Christ. Some people say they want to get ‘closer’ to God and to achieve this they subject themselves to extreme levels of fasting, self-flagellation and other penances but they still feel they are lacking in something. Well, what they lack is that they are yet to encounter Jesus Christ in the Holy Scriptures. Don’t be like them, you search for Christ in the Bible and be filled with his grace and mercy.
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. (Colossians 2:20-23)
[Jesus said:] You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me (John 5:39)