You are on page 1of 28

FAITH: PRESSING TOWARD THE GOAL Part 1

How do you begin to forget those things which are behind? Lets start with faith. Faith in Christ is the foundation of salvation. It takes complete faith to be able to let go and follow God which is what Philippians 3:13 is saying. forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead Paul was basically saying that you need to let go of the old habits, old ways, past dealings and feelings, and all the life that used to easily beset you. No one can go back and redo the past but we can let those things of the past be growth for our future. We should not look back on what we did but look forward on how we can learn from our mistakes and be a testimony to others who may need direction. Through Christ we are free

from those old sins if we repent with a pure heart but we cannot look back. One example of hindering your future can be found in Genesis. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt Gen. 19:26 Salt is dry and course but our faith needs to be living and active. Lots wife did not have faith. She struggled in her mind about what she was leaving behind and looked back. DONT LOOK BACK. Anything we do starts in our mind before we act it out. Thats why the Lord gave us good instruction to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5.) You should have enough instruction in you (the word, Holy Spirit) to tell you, Dont do it! Dont look back! Again, here comes faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. It takes faith not to look back because in faith you know what is behind you is just that, behind you. Now and every moment should be forward and not backward. God had already showed mercy on Lots family by granting them the grace of life instead of them being judged with the rest of Sodom and Gomorrah. The reason Lots wife was instantly judged for looking back was because she directly disobeyed the word of the Lord. Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain lest you be destroyed. Gen. 19:17 God warns us many times before we are judged for our disobedience. Lots wife was destroyed out of disobedience which came from a lack of faith. We too have to understand how this applies to us. Spiritually and physically we can destroy ourselves by holding onto things instead of grabbing hold to Christ.

Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. Luke 17:33

As men and woman of faith our eyes should be constantly on Christ focusing on His promise and seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness. We must go from faith to faith and not get comfortable with where we are in our walk but always seek to get closer to God and increase our faith continually. God is revealed to us in the increase of our faith. Now we know faith is what we believe in but we do not see it yet (Heb. 11:1.) We cannot see faith nor can we see its fruits until God manifests Himself through our faith. Like Noah, we have to listen to Gods instructions and hold on to His words. Keep building your ark. Our ark can be viewed as our faith in God and also our spirit which we build up in faith to be able to stand against the storms of life.

Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. Heb. 10:38 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. Heb. 10:39

God will not move in our life without our faith. 1. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:17 2. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Heb. 11:6 3. Faith without works is dead. James 2:14-24

If you are expecting to see a change in your life you must first believe a change will come and reach forward to make the change happen. This is your faith activated and working for your good. It takes faith to know God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. We work our faith by reading and studying His word and being obedient to what His word says. FAITH IS ACTION! By faith, Moses (when he became of age) refused to be called the son of Pharaohs daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin Heb. 11:24-25 Notice that this happened when he became of age. Moses had to let go of what he knew and that which he was used to and taught for many years to grab hold of his destiny. By holding on to the past we hinder our future. There has to come a point in your life that you begin to grow into the person God has called you to be and you leave behind the person the world thought you should be. Its not about what people want or what people say is best for you but its all about what God says you are.

You have to put yourself in position for God to move you into that place that pleases Him which is first by faith, looking forward, and by not looking back.

esteeming the reproach of Christ greater than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. Heb. 11:26 No one having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke 9:62 Like Moses, we have to put our faith into action or our faith is dead. We must look to our heavenly reward in Christ and care less about our own desires on this earth. If we are seeking Gods kingdom and His righteousness we cannot look back or as Christ said we are not fit for the Kingdom. ITS TIME TO GET FIT! (1 Tim. 4:8) Looking back shows that you doubt what is ahead. If you doubt what God is telling you to do you are basically telling God you do not trust Him. Trust God and show your faith to Him. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Heb. 11:6 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, Which has great reward. Heb. 10:35 Faith is rewarding and if letting go has to do with having faith then that means letting go is also rewarding. We should not have false faith in seeking a blessing but seek spiritual rewards. Have faith to please God because you love Him like the true Father He is and you know He is always working things out for your good. (Rom. 8:28)

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb. 12:1-2 When I think about Christ Jesus, our Savior, I cannot help but to become overwhelmed at times about how much He sacrificed for me. He denied Himself for me. He bore more pain and agony than anyone can imagine for our sakes. The life Jesus led on earth is the model life we should always be striving for in love and sacrifice for others. He is the reason we found favor with God to be invited to have a way back to Him. We accepted the invitation and now we have to run with endurance and lay aside every weight and sin. Picture yourself running in a race against other competitors and you are the only one carrying 10 pound weights in your hands. Even if you were the fastest you would be at a disadvantage. Christ says for us to give Him our burdens and take up His yolk which is much lighter to carry (Matthew 11:30.) We need to be light on our feet and free to move for the Lord without any weights holding us back. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he really find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8 When the Lord comes will He find faith on the earth? On that day and time when nobody knows but God, when Christ our Savior comes to redeem the faithful, He will redeem those who have through faith let go of the past to preserve a more glorious life in the presence of God in the Kingdom of heaven. For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

Heb. 10:37 When Christ returns will he ask, Where was your faith? We must continue daily in the faith constantly growing in the things of God with good works edifying the kingdom of God. Do not let anything interfere with your progress in Christ and hinder you from moving forward for Christ. Let us lay aside every weight and truly seek God in Spirit and truth. Faith comes by hearing the word. Read it aloud to yourself and listen to what God is saying. After you hear the word, do the word because faith without works is dead. In this God is pleased, by your faith.

Past & Present Sin Set Back

Paul says, Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind. Paul had to forget many things he had done in his past especially to the church. How could he move forward in Christ still holding on to the way he used to be? How would the people respect and receive Paul if he was still holding on to his prior way of thinking. Saul was brought up in the strictness of the law so he had knowledge but he lacked the love of Christ. He was a Pharisee full of hate persecuting the church with prisons, stonings, threats, and murders. In 1 Timothy, Paul gives a testimony of being a chief sinner. He admits to being a former blasphemer, persecutor, arrogant, and without faith. So Paul knew firsthand that he had to let go of past sin to grab hold to Christ and pursue his called ministry. He could not have moved forward unless he forgot about who he used to be and the things he used to do. In Christ Saul became Paul. Paul was a new creation when he

accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Paul answered when Christ called him to ministry. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. 2 Cor. 5:17 If all things are new that means our minds are new and we no longer think the way we used to think because we have been given a new mind in Christ. Our hearts are new so we no longer desire the things of the flesh but we desire to please God. Our spirit is renewed so we can now worship in Spirit and truth. The outward flesh generally still looks the same but the inner man has become a new creation. All these things are true if you abide in Gods love. Look back at the first part of the verse where it says, if anyone is in Christ. That means there are some conditions to being a new creation and remaining this new creation. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Fathers commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:10-11

Christ is letting us know to abide in Him by keeping His commandments. We are made new by His love so by abiding in His love we are continuing in the greatest commandment which is to love. To love others we must first love ourselves. This is true. This is an expectation from God if He says, love others as you love yourself. If we do not love ourselves we will find ourselves searching for love in all the wrong places. Searching for love out of fear brings sin and sin brings torment. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. 1 John 4:18

I searched for love many times with many men blind and not knowing I was in a vicious circle of sin and torment. In fear of losing love I would try to satisfy my partner with sex or gifts. I thought I knew what love was but until I received Christ I was lost and heading for hell. The perfect love of Christ cast out the fear I had of a man leaving me and that no longer kept me bound because now I knew true love meant sacrifice and obedience to God. If a man really loved me he would desire to marry me and spend his entire life with me in the Lord because God is love. So without God in your life how can you say you love someone. You know not what love really is. Ask your partner if they are willing to sacrifice their life for yours like Christ did for us? Now that is real love.

Now all that I put myself through in the past I could not let it come with me into my walk with God. This is easier said than done because I did not let go of some things when I accepted Christ and I did not know I was holding on to anything. But when you think or do certain things because of fear of what happened before, you are holding on to the past. Let it go! Its time to let go of the old things keeping us in bondage. As we remain in Christ all things are new and our love is perfected. Things of the past, regrets, mistakes, trials and tribulations, are all allowed for a reason. It is to build you up and not to keep you bound. You may even be going through because you have failed to let go of some things. Present or past sin may be evident in your life and you have to let it go. Only you can keep yourself bound by not letting go of your past and grabbing hold to Jesus. If you dont cling to Jesus you will cling to something. Whether it be money, sex, drugs, alcohol, fads, popularity, or whatever it may be, by continuing in things that are catered to your flesh you stop your own life from being fruitful. You are allowing sin to triumph over you. The only way to triumph over sin is with the blood of Jesus and clinging to Him so He may abide in you and be your help. We

cant do anything good by ourselves and that is why God came in the flesh to reconcile us to Himself. To let go of your past you got to stop thinking back on those things of the past. If God is not getting the glory out of you speaking about your past as a testimony, then you should not say anything at all. Cast those negative thoughts away. What good does it do to think on things you cannot change. We should think on good things. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor. 10:4-5 Part of Satans plan is to play on our weaknesses which begins in our thoughts. So we have to be careful not to give him place in our life by thinking backwards. This is exactly what we do when we think back to the past. Finally, brethren, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things. Phil. 14:8 Thinking positively with a focus on what is to come and not on what is behind will give you the peace of God. To mediate means to consider thoughtfully and deeply. In this way we must meditate on what is good considering these good things thoughtfully and deeply. This is a sign of Christ working in us for our good. We have all fallen short in sin at one time or another. By grace and through faith we have been set free and forgiven. Our sins have been forgotten and blotted out. In Christ Jesus, we are set free from indwelling sin. There is therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Rom. 8:1

My testimony of my past reveals a person of insecurity, pride, greed, and lust. Many sins held me captive. I started stealing at the age of 8, having sex and smoking marijuana and drinking at the age of 13, throwing middle school parties at my house, and the list gets worse as I got older. Perversity was on my tongue and curses upon my lips. I began selling drugs at 17, selling my body at bachelor parties and strip clubs, seeking money, sex, and more drugs... as an everyday living lost like a ship without a sail. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. 2 Cor. 5:17 My past sin is ugly and shameful but I cannot go on thinking on these things and about what I used to be or what I used to do. That person I used to be was put to death by the blood of Jesus Christ my Savior. All those things passed away and I went from death to life made new in Christ. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:4-7 To let go of my past sin I had to let go of myself. My past music, friends, family, and everything that was linked to these things that were an abomination to God. Its of our own will to continue in fellowship with people who have not chosen the way but it is Gods perfect will for our lives to choose Him over our fleshly desires by walking in the Spirit. And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the

lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath Eph. 2:1-3 When I first started believing God and going to church faithfully I didnt give up secular music. I didnt give up my old friends that were still living how they wanted to live. I didnt give up everything but I did give up some things like having sex, drugs, drinking cursing, etc. I called them the main sins. But after about a year of being faithful to that I began to slowly enter back in because I did not choose to follow God completely.

This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. Eph 4:17-19 Lets all say Dont let this be me Lord, Please, dont let this be me! But I made the mistake of having sex again one time being led astray by own lusts that I chose to allow to surround me instead of letting go of these people and situations that could draw me back to sin. That one mistake opened the door for all types of sin that used to plague me. Everything I used to do I slowly began to do again and soon I was no longer going to church, praying, or reading the Word. I had a thorny seed experience doing good for only a moment and then allowing the devil to come snatch up the seed that was planted by my own fleshly desires. God had a plan for me that I would have to accept, because He wasnt going to force me to receive Him, but He knew what would get my attention. What got my attention was a child in my womb. When I thought I was pregnant I talked to God and I said, Lord if I am pregnant I will stop my foolishness and follow you. I didnt even know

who the father was or how far along I was so I had to pray for God to reveal to me in a dream who the father of this child was. I had been in a rebellious state and had several partners within the last 3 months. Though I was full of sin, I knew of God and I knew to call on Him when I was in trouble. I prayed for His forgiveness and I told Him I was ready to let go of my old ways and let Him take control. I believe I was saved in childbearing as God drew me to Himself in this way because that was Gods plan for me, to continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self control. 1 Tim. 2:15 It didnt happen over night and I still had to go through the struggle of letting go. To be honest the hardest part for me was lust and friends. After about 2 months of God pruning me and sanctifying me through His word I was baptized and filled with His Spirit. God put to death the old me and raised me from the dead to create a new creation in Christ Jesus, Amen! I went down in that water a dirty no good sinner but I rose a born again Christian to the glory of God our Father. Old things indeed passed away and all became new and who the Son sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36) that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Eph. 4:2224 If you are going to put your clothes on for the day you choose what you are going to wear right? Well it is the same for the spiritual things. You have to choose to put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. God will not make you whether you have said you give your life to Him or not but He will guide you to make the righteous decision. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. So dont let anyone tell you that because of your past sin it is too late to move forward, that you

cant succeed, or that youre not good enough for the Kingdom of God. It is for people like me that Christ died, not for the saved but for the lost. I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. Mat. 18:11 People tried to tell me that since I had already sinned I might as well keep on sinning. The devil is a liar and he will try everything to keep you from God. You are who God says you are, a new creature in Christ. You are saved, perfected, redeemed, into the everlasting Kingdom of God. You are chosen, predestined, adopted, accepted, forgiven of all you sins, and you are His, not this worlds. (Eph. 1:6) If you let go of your past and keep your hand to the plow God will take care of you. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the gentiles-when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries 1 Peter 4:3 Its time out for sin and our old ways of doing things and time to gird up our minds and our hearts and our spirits toward God and follow the greatest commandments which is to love in Christ. Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hand all the Law and the Prophets. Mat. 22:37-40 So lift your head high unto God and give Him glory, honor, and praise for His mighty work in you because you are an overcomer in Christ Jesus who lives in you. The past has passed away so as Christ says, Let the dead bury the dead and follow the Way, Christ Jesus. (Mat. 8:22)

Repentence The word cleanses us as we gain understanding on how to apply the word to our lives. As we begin to apply the word we learn that the way of the Lord is not our own and there are some things that we need to let go of so that our spiritual blessings and physical blessings can be released. Repentence is defined as from Easton's Bible Dictionary:

A change of mind and purpose and life, a true sense of one's own guilt and sinfulness, an apprehension of God's mercy in Christ, an actual hatred of sin, and turning from it to God, and a persistent endeavor after a holy life in walking with God in the way of his commandments.
A simple definition is to let go. Letting go of yourself to grab hold to your true purpose in life which was never intended for self gain. If you are turning away from your sins, you are ultimately letting them go which is exactly what we got to do to press toward Jesus and grow in Him. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:14 Paul stresses pushing for the imperishable prize that is incomparable with any earthly prize. We are to strive for heavenly things and not worldly things because this earth will pass away but Gods kingdom lasts forever. The bible reveals to us that we must remember where we have fallen, turn away, and do the first works like when you first received Christ and repent for not pursuing God faithfully like you did before. (Rev. 2:5) We are also warned here that if we do not seek God continually and faithfully Christ will come quickly and remove His light from us. What a scary thought? Could you imagine your help being darkened by your own selfish lusts? Its hard to think about in that way but it is so true for all Christians if we do not stay diligent in seeking God and His righteousness.

When you think you have been right about a thing for so long, no matter what people have told you, you dont believe you have to repent sometimes. When you get the revelation that it was God speaking to you through these people and you were actually in yourself believing what you were doing was approved by God, it will humble and correct you quickly. When I came to the revelation that I had been denying God believing my ways were His ways, I had to take time out to repent. I had to ask God to forgive me and acknowledge my wrong before Him and then turn away from the things that had been stunting my growth. I did not know I was in sin because I believed I was pleasing God . When we dont listen to God we deny the Holy Spirit like Israel did. They were right in their own eyes. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Prov. 14:12 Saul thought he was pleasing God by persecuting the Christians. Paul was right not in Gods eyes but his own eyes which really meant he was blind. It was literal blindness that led him to His calling after his encounter with Jesus on his way to Damascus. In Acts 7 we read about Stephen preaching and cutting to the hearts of Israel. Saul being among them then denied the truth and even consented to Stephens death. The people did not want to hear the truth about their wicked ways because they took for granted Gods grace and His righteous judgment. All they needed to do was open their ears and hearts and repent. Glory to God Saul finally received the revelation but had to come through Christ personally. This was similar to my situation as far as getting a revelation about something that I thought I was doing right. I wouldnt listen to my husband or my ex-pastor or anyone else that told me about what I was doing and that it was not Gods way. I wanted to find a church that I would be free to bless God how I wanted to bless God and not in a box which is how I felt at my previous church. I believed that I lived according to Gods word yet I did not know I was denying the Holy Spirit every time I did not heed what the prophets were saying. It was God speaking and not the man. But when God sat on my mind

about this thing I had no choice but to heed His voice. Just like Saul had no choice but to heed the voice of the Lord and repent, I was being called to repentance. Acts 9:6 says Saul trembling and astonished said, Lord what do you want me to do? This is what God is asking of us. He wants us to come to Him, seeking His face, and asking Him what He wants us to do. What is your will Father? Your will and not my will because only Your ways are righteous. Ask Him diligently, seek Him, and fast if you have to and He will answer you if you ask from a pure heart. Ask and you shall receive for His wants are not our wants and His ways not our ways and God is no liar for He is not man but Spirit. So we must abide in Him continually and repent immediately as soon as we know we have gone wrong. If you find yourself to be wrong, repent, and God knows we are but man and not perfect but Christ is perfect and By Him we are perfected if we abide in Him and His love. He will abide in us and make our pathways straight.

Be Holy Do you have good friends or close friends that you talk to or hang with on a regular basis? How many of these friends are believers and how many are not? Think about that for a moment. Lets talk about being holy before a righteous God. O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in turn for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open. Now what is your own affections? The definition states that it is a fond or tender feeling; liking, a disease or diseased condition. Our own affections can take us away from God, keep us living in the past, and ultimately keep us from holiness. We have to turn our affections toward God so that we will be able to stand against the deceptions of the enemy who constantly seeks to destroy us. We must follow the Word of God.

When you are affectionate about something you love that thing, you want it, and you feel like you need it and cant live without it. Its like a disease that you need a cure for spiritually. Whether it be a person, maybe a boyfriend, a best friend, music, a favorite club or hang out spot, a food, or drink, a style of clothing, hair do, your MySpaceany of these things and many other things we love and are affectionate for can keep us from God if they are not holy, set apart for God. And some things just cant be holy if they tried but thats another story. "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people." "Therefore, come out from among them and be separate," says the Lord. "Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:12-18

Now look at these verses as God speaking to you in your situation whatever that may be and put your name in place of Corinthians. Paul by way of the Holy Spirit is saying that he has been open with you from the heart and it is your own stuff that has restricted you not the Word of God. These things are what we need to let go, the things that restrict us from being closer to God.

Then Paul goes on to say now you be real with yourself and examine yourself. Look at yourself not as yourself but as someone looking in. What do you see? The only one that matters is God and what He thinks about you because God looks at you how you really are. The best thing about it He wont condemn you in your current state but He will provide a way out and a way back to Him. No Temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Ask God to examine you and allow tests to come to prove you and make you stronger for the Lords purpose. Ask God to show you your wicked ways or anything that is not right in His eyes. Make a petition to God to create a clean heart in you and renew a steadfast spirit within you (Psalm 26:2, 139:24, 51:10) A lot of times we tend to look out at other people and not in at our own selves. We tend to get comfortable where we are in Christ and sometimes we even stop striving to get closer to God maybe believing or feeling we are close enough. But we are never too close to God especially while on this earth. We have to strive for the upward calling in Christ daily reaching forward for the goal and promise of salvation. Its easy for me to write all this by inspiration of the Holy Spirit but I have to pay close attention myself of what is being written because God is ministering to me as well. Sometimes the best advice for us is the advice we give to other people. Its not Gods Word that is so hard to do but letting go of what we like, what we feel is important or comfortable. This is a hard thing to do. Its

so easy to do what is comfortable and natural but God wants us to come out of self and deny ourselves to tap in to the spiritual things and speak to Him directly. The things or our own affections, as Paul stated, keep us bound up and unable to move for God as we should and as we are most able to do in Christ. The affections cause us to be sick in the spirit keeping us from holiness. Holy means dedicated to Gods purpose and without sin; set apart, separated from all that is sinful, impure, or morally imperfect. Are you holy? Back to your choice of fellowship with friends and even family; are they living for Christ or do you just look to have a good time with them? God has said, Be holy, for I am holy. God is not asking us to be holy but he commands it. In the definition of holy we see that we must separate ourselves from the ungodly. Yes we must work and live among the thorns and thistles in that we have no choice unless you are able to start your own little community somewhere but God wants our heart toward Him even at our jobs and even as we walk in the midst of the world. We must be set apart in our actions, in our speech, and in our Christian walk as a whole. Anything that represents a sinful nature or any type of sin should not and cannot be on our to do list. By choice, Gods given freewill, we choose to hang out with who we choose and we choose to go where we choose to go but in every decision we make we must have Gods best interest in mind and not our own or we will find our decisions leading us in a direction we really dont want to go. Simply do not hang with unsaved people. What are you going to talk about with a person who has not given their life to Christ. We cant be foolish for we were once in darkness. I was foolish when I first came to

the Lord and I thought I could keep my friends and be holy. Gods ways are so much higher and He will allow you to go through just to see that He has standards and to be a child of God you have to walk and talk like His child if not whos child are you. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Eph. 5:8-11 God has called us out of darkness and enlightened our hearts to the truth even as He is doing now. If you walk after the things of the flesh you are not walking after the things of God because you cant serve both. But if we walk after the things of the Spirit of God we walk as a child of God unto holiness. but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:16 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light 1 Peter 2:9 What did you talk about when you were once in the world? You talked about gossip, sin, and blah, blah, blah right? Unless you are witnessing or testifying to the goodness of Gods grace and mercy there is no good fellowship with an unbeliever. Good and evil do not mix because one will try to consume the other. There is no lukewarm or in between. You must choose. Either be hot or cold or God will not and cannot sanctify you because you are still holding on to something of your past. What would Christ and Satan do with each other? Satan has his agenda and

Christ has His and there is nothing in common between the two of them. Likewise you cant mix an unbeliever with a believer. Like oil and water, their makeup or DNA is of another substance. You are of another substance and washed by the blood of the lamb. No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Mathew 6:24 There is another example in 1 Samuel 5 when the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to Ashdod. Read verses 1-12. When they brought into the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon, Dagon could not stand next to the ark of God. God is not going to stand for evil in His presence and He will overcome evil at every opportunity like this situation. The Philistines said, The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is harsh toward us and Dagon our god. 1 Samuel 5:7 In this example we see the true God and the god of the Philistines could not be in fellowship with each other and the true God overtook the other. We must not take lightly the Spirit of God that dwells in us. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 1 Cor. 3:16-17 What is the evidence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you? It is your character. Galatians 5:22-23; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,

goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:16 says to walk in the Spirit so that you will not give in to your flesh. What are the works of the flesh? Galatians 5:19-21 has a long list to consider our ways. Involving ourselves with people of a fleshly nature will only corrupt our good habits (1 Cor. 15:33-34.) What does this all mean? We are here because God made us for His glory. He made man and saw that it was good and it pleased God. Our purpose in life is to pursue love in all ways and in all things in Jesus Christ. God has given us choice and we are able to choose eternal life or eternal death and we are here on earth earning our way to heaven or hell. We are here to please God and lead as many souls to Christ as possible for the love of God and the love of others. If we love God we will obey His word. Time to Grow The Lifecycle of a born again Christian is like the lifecycle of a caterpillar. Change has to happen and growth must take place to go to the next phase or to grow in our life. The caterpillar goes through metamorphosis which is a series of events leading to become a new creature. Now in Christ we too are a new creation and all things become new but as metamorphosis is a process so it is for Christians as we grow into the new creature God is calling us to be. Even though our appearance may or may not change, as far as what we cannot change, our character, heart, mind, and spirit changes for our good. If there is no growth there is no change and there is no hope. We have to press, press, and continually press toward our goal in Christ Jesus. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

If there is no growth from our old self to a new born again creature in Christ, there is no hope to enter the kingdom of God. It is Gods desire for us to grow in His goodness and through the working of our faith with power. (1 Thes. 1:11-12) Without the power of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we are easily led astray being tossed to and fro because without Christ we are nothing and can do nothing. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5 Without Christ as the Head of our life we are walking in the wide path to destruction and we will surely fail if we dont get back on track and follow the path of righteousness. Growth is a process which can get hard at times especially if you believe you are doing what is right for God. One thing I learned is that we can never get too comfortable where we are in the Lord and think that we know all there is to know about what God wants us to do and where He wants us to go. We just have to make sure we are allowing God to order our steps and we stay obedient to His word so when He says GO we can GO and when He says WAIT we know how to WAIT and when He says GROW we are ready and willing to GROW. In my first few years of walking with the Lord I got comfortable, I let my guard down, and though I was striving I was not listening to God correcting me because I believed I was doing what God wanted me to do. So anyone who spoke against what I wanted to do for God was wrong and I believed I was right. I did not know this was a part of my growth and I needed to let go of what was keeping me bound so that I could grow.

My bondage was music. I didnt know Christian music could be harmful but I found out that people, including myself, can get more caught up in the sound and movement of the music or the beat more than the words of song. So caught up that it will hinder the growth of a worshipper. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:23-24 This is what God wants and desires of us, true worship. We cannot have anything holding us back from Gods worship for He deserves our all and any hindrance must flee but we must make the choice to choose God over this flesh. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3 I did not know my flesh was the drive behind my music. God had allowed me to do Christian rap for a moment so that I could learn the truth and choose the Spirit of God over my flesh. He allowed me to see for myself the fruits of Christian rap which were not and are not fruitful because no tree can bear good fruit of itself. Fruit is not talking about money and material things that will surely fade with the rest of the world but God is speaking about the spiritual fruit, the fruit of the Spirit manifested in our lives. The fruits of Christian rap are evident. Confusion, chaos, loud clanging cymbals, disobedience, rebelliousness, and the like. This fruit cannot be of God and can only be of the enemy. I speak from experience being that I

thought Christian rap could actually be ministry but it was only confusion and a hindrance to my growth in the Lord. I lacked understanding because I lacked wisdom in this area and I lacked wisdom because I lacked the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit. If we do not let go of things from our past these things will cling to our current state and try to pass on into our future. We have to be delivered from our old self. If anything you do as a Christian is similar in any way to the way you used to do ungodly things in the world, you have pray God for wisdom and guidance to break free and let it go so that you are not bound. Who the Lord sets free is free indeed but it is us who keep us bound by our own fleshly desires. Our flesh wars against our spirit and the spirit against our flesh. We have to be aware of the enemys plan by being firm in the word of God and walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. (Rom. 8:1) If what we are doing is feeding our flesh and not our spirit we have to evaluate the spirit behind what we are doing. Just because you say Jesus or preach Jesus does not mean Jesus is the source of that movement. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Mathew 7:21-23 These are some harsh but righteous words of the Lord. We have to know what the will of the Lord is and rightly divide the word of truth. (Ephesians 5:17 and 2 Timothy 2:15) Those who walk after the flesh will

reap of the flesh and will fulfill the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 6:8 and Ephesians 2:3) But God tells us to stay away from our youthful lusts, these things keep us from growing and hold us bound. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul 1 Peter 2:11 God is forever speaking to us in all things so in our growth we must have an ear for God for faith comes by hearing the word of God. (Rom. 10:17) We have to let go our natural ways of hearing and be open spiritually to word of God and the Spirit of God. When I prayed, fasted, listened to God, God said Im calling you higher. I put worship in you and you are a worshipper. Worship Me in Spirit and in truth. God does not want a beat or vain words, He wants obedience and the sacrifice of denying yourself to worship Him. Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Galatians 5:16-17 If it is not yet clear how we must walk in the Spirit and grow in the Lord this is what we must model. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law. And they that are Christs have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:22-26

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall 2 Peter 1:5-10