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Monthly Archives: September 2021

Don’t Ignore Your Sword

Don’t Ignore Your Sword

We’ve been looking at the concept of authority in the book of Romans. So far I’ve talked about the chains of authority as seen in our society. However, there’s a spiritual side to this as well.

Last time, we left of in this verse of Paul’s letter to the Roman church. He is talking about the person in the position of authority.

For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Romans 13:4

This verse contains a deep spiritual truth that we often miss because we usually apply this only in the natural. Think about what the apostle is saying here.

He’s talking about those who have been given authority by God. Have you been given authority from God? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!!!”

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

Luke 10:19

Because of the work of Christ on the cross, we have authority over all of the enemy’s kingdom. We don’t have to fear them.

Another question to ask yourself is; are you God’s servant to do good to those around you? Again, the answer to that one should be a “yes.” We are all God’s servants, if we’re in Christ.

But, now we get to the important phrase; he does not bear the sword for nothing. Do you have a sword? That’s the big question.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:17

We definitely have access to a sword. However, are we using it? Why has God given us the ability to take up this weapon?

God has given us the sword of the spirit. It’s the rhema-word of God. That requires us to be listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit.

The fact is, if you’re in Christ, then you are God’s servant. You’re in a position of authority. You have not been given the sword of the spirit simply for show. There’s a divine purpose for it.

As God’s people we’ve been given the assignment to clean things up spiritually. It’s just like in the old western movies where the Texas Ranger arrives at a lawless frontier town. Everything gets put in order.

We’re supposed to be wreaking havoc on the enemies’ turf. Isn’t that what the Lord told His disciples?

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Matthew 16:18

The gates of hell should not be prevailing against us. Where are the gates of hell? They surround the enemy’s strongholds. This verse is a call for us to walk in the offensive power of the spirit.

Unfortunately, many Christians bear the sword for no reason. Actually, a large number of us don’t ever pick it up.

According to the verse in Romans, we’re literally called punishers. Our goal should be to bring down God’s wrath upon the enemy’s spiritual kingdom right now. We should be putting fear into the hearts of demonic forces around the world.

But, that will require us to spend quality time in the Holy Spirit’s presence. It’s all about prayer in the spirit, meditation on God’s Word, and obedience to His voice. The body of Christ, in our generation, needs to wake up to this truth.

Question: How do you view God’s authority operating through you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God-Given Authority

God-Given Authority

As we continue through the book of Romans, we’re looking at God’s authority structures. We need to learn godly submission, if we want God’s best for us.

For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

Romans 13:3

Under normal circumstances, those in authority don’t strike fear in the ones doing good. It’s those who are breaking the law that fear.

It’s like the people who are in their cars, speeding down the highway. Then, suddenly, when they see a police cruiser parked on the side, they jam on their brakes.

Paul asks and answers a simple question. Do you want to be free from this fear? Then do what’s right.

At this point, Paul gives us an important spiritual key.

For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Romans 13:4

The apostle makes it clear that the one in authority is God’s servant to do you good. That’s an important point.

We understand that all authority in heaven and earth is God’s. Any authority that someone has is ultimately from God. What we have to do is separate the authority, from the individual who’s in authority.

Authority is a place, a position that someone occupies. We have to realize that God has established the position so there will be order.

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Hebrews 13:17

This includes kings, presidents, governors, senators, etc. We are to respect the position as a part of God-ordained authority. Who is in that position is immaterial, and that’s the hard part.

In my last post, we looked at this next verse. God was addressing King Saul.

For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”

1 Samuel 15:23

Saul was in the position of king, but God had rejected him. Yet, for years he remained in the office.

At one point, David was being hunted down by Saul, for no reason but jealousy. In the wilderness, David had a chance to kill Saul in his sleep, but he didn’t.

This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’”

1 Samuel 24:10

Here we can see David’s heart. For years the wrong man was in the position of king. The nation was in turmoil. But the position had to be respected.

Our God is a God of order. It’s through God’s order that we can live good and productive lives.

The fact is that no matter who is in the position of authority, there will be those who don’t think he or she should be there. That’s immaterial to the discussion. We respect and pray for our leaders because of the position.

Question: What’s your prayer for our leaders, in both the church and in government?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2021 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Flow of Authority

The Flow of Authority

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. Today we’re starting chapter 13. In this chapter, Paul begins to talk about authority and our relationship to it.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God

Romans 13:1

The first thing we need to do is define what authority is, exactly. There are many people who confuse authority and power. Although they function together, they’re not the same thing.

Authority is basically the permission or freedom to do something. This permission must come from someone higher up the chain of authority. Power, on the other hand, is the ability to carry out that which you have the permission or freedom to do.

Paul begins by establishing the basis for authority. As I’ve said, there’s a chain of authority. It all flows from the throne of God. There is no authority (permission to use power) except what comes from God.

We also need to realize that all authority has been arranged by God in an orderly manner. That’s because God is a God of order.

Please understand – God has established all the authority structures. However, not every person in those positions of authority were placed there by God. It’s the structure that is God-ordained.

This is the reason that we must submit ourselves to those in authority. That’s the only way for authority to flow to me.

The word, submit, means to arrange under. It’s a choice I make to arrange myself under the chain of authority God has called me to be a part of. When I submit myself in His plan, I have God’s authority flowing through me.

That brings us to the next important concept – rebellion.

Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13:2

The Greek word for rebel in this verse means to oppose the arrangement. It tells us that if we rebel against authority, we’re standing against what God instituted. In other words, we are opposing the way God chooses to work through us.

The Word is very clear on this point. If you do this, you’ll receive a guilty verdict. Without submission, we have no authority. Without authority, we have no permission to walk in the power of God.

This is how it worked during the ministry of Jesus.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Luke 10:17

The disciples understood how their authority functioned. It wasn’t their natural ability. In the same way, we must be clear where our authority comes from. Never think that it’s because of your own goodness.

For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”

1 Samuel 15:23

This is the opposite of how God’s kingdom works. Sorcery wants to have power without God’s authority. This is how demonic forces operate. That’s also why those who walk in God’s power and authority have nothing to fear from the devil’s kingdom.

We must learn to submit ourselves to God’s authority structures. That’s the only way to walk in the power of God.

Question: Who do you submit to in the chains of authority God has placed you in?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2021 in Power of God, Ministry, Leadership

 

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Overcoming Evil with Good

Overcoming Evil with Good

We’re continuing our walk through Romans. Paul is exhorting us to walk in maturity. Of course this is impossible without first implementing his teachings in chapters 8-10. He now makes a very important statement that we should consider carefully.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21

Is this verse true? Can evil be overcome with good? The answer is a resounding YES! The principles of God’s Word bring victory over evil. Look at the example of Scripture.

In the early church of Jerusalem thousands of people a month were being saved. Jesus was being preached. Also during this time the apostles were arrested and brought before the religious leaders for questioning.

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Acts 4:18

This was the outcome of their meeting. Does it sound familiar to you? It should. This is the attitude of society in the United States today. They tell us that we can do whatever we want – just don’t mention Jesus.

What was the response of the church in Jerusalem to this kind of attitude? Did they go out and preach some more? Hold a Jesus concert? Put a referendum on the ballot? Absolutely not.

They called a prayer meeting. This is what they brought before the Lord at that time.

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Acts 4:29-30

Considering that they were told not to use the name of Jesus, here’s their request. First, they asked for boldness. Then they asked for healings, miraculous signs and wonders. But the important point was that they wanted all these things to be accomplished in the name of Jesus.

They didn’t just want to preach in His name, they wanted the world to see the power of the name of Jesus. This is the forgiveness principle at work – it’s the power to arrest and destroy sin. It’s all done by the power of the Spirit.

Wait a minute, what does forgiveness have to do with overcoming evil with good? I’m glad you asked. This brings me to a verse that I’ve heard preached many times about our nation. It’s only the power of God – not politics – that will turn our nation around.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Do we want our land healed? Then sin must be forgiven – removed – arrested and destroyed. The only way this will happen is for the church to get on our knees. There needs to be intercession made for our nation.

Not praying for a better president or leaders. Not praying for new laws. We must cry out for God to give us the boldness to speak His Word. We must intercede for the Lord to send miracles, healings, signs and wonders. All of this so that the name of Jesus can break sin.

After all, it’s so much easier to win the lost if the battle is won first in the heavens. In order for us to overcome evil with good, we need to do what it takes. It will require consistent times in God’s presence.

Questions: Why is it so hard to get people to intercede for our nation? Are you willing to “pray the price” for revival?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2021 in Ministry, Power of God, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Revenge is Mine, Or Not

Revenge is Mine, Or Not

As we continue through Romans, Paul is encouraging us to live peacefully with those around us. This even includes our enemies.

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Romans 12:19-20

This verse clearly tells us not to take it upon ourselves to punish or retaliate against someone who has wronged us. That’s a hard instruction to live out.

Instead, we’re told to leave an opening for the passion, wrath, of God. This goes against our very human nature. We want to feel like we’ve vindicated ourselves. We have a need to prove that we are right and they are wrong.

Paul brought out an example of this in his dealings with the Corinthian church. If you remember, the people of Corinth had a pastime of going to court. It was great entertainment for them.

This even spilled over into the church. Fellow believers were taking each other to court and suing each other for the smallest of problems.

Paul had some strong words for them.

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

1 Corinthians 6:7-8

Paul makes it clear that when we pursue our own vindication, in our own power, we’ve completely failed right from the start. We’re defeated before we even start to fight the battle. Instead, we should seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this may involve legal means. But there are many times that it will be something less confrontational.

But, as I read the verses from Romans, it seems that it’s more about attitude than anything else. It takes a complete change of perspective to do good to those we consider our enemies. Of course there are those who deceive themselves and say, “I don’t have any enemies.” It’s an attempt to get around God’s command.

I get it. You don’t have any “enemies”. You just have people that you avoid being around, or speaking to, because you don’t like them. These are the very people that you need to go out of your way to show the kindness of Christ to.

According to Paul, we don’t do what’s expected. Our good actions will cause a pain in their head. The more our enemies think about it, the more confused they become. The Holy Spirit will use that to draw them to Christ.

We want to be vindicated. The big question for us is; what’s our goal? Are we after our vindication or a soul that’s saved and in the kingdom of Heaven?

We think that if we’re not vindicated, then we’ve lost. Actually, the real victory is a changed life. That’s a sign of the power of God at work through you.

Let God have His way in the lives of those around you. Walk in the love of Christ and don’t seek your own agenda. See the victory that can only come from the power of the Holy Spirit.

Question: How have you seen the power of these principles at work in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2021 in Fellowship, Relationships, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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One With the Body of Christ

One With the Body of Christ

We’re continuing our walk through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. In this section of the epistle, he’s talking about the walk of maturity.

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Romans 12:16

This next verse deals with how we see ourselves in God’s kingdom. That first sentence literally says, be the same toward one another. We need to realize that in Christ, none of us are any different from one another.

According to our human way of thinking, little things make big differences to us. However, these petty differences mean nothing to God.

Things like where we’re from, what we look like, money, position, and education are all immaterial to God and should be to us. We’re all the same in His eyes.

This means that bigotry and self-interest have no place in the church. That includes race and gender, as well as political preferences. We’re here to serve one another, no matter what.

Then, Paul tells us not to place our focus on high things. Instead, focus on the humble, and get carried away with them. Humility is an important part of the Christian walk. Paul isn’t the only one who talks about it.

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

1 Peter 5:5-6

I like the way Peter explains this. We’re to put on humility like a piece of clothing. It can cover over all the junk that may be going on inside of us.

But more than that, it comes with a blessing. Humility brings a covering of God’s grace with it. As we humble ourselves, we open our lives up to a release of God’s power. One of the best ways to walk in God’s grace is to live humbly with others.

Getting back to the verse in Romans, Paul’s last statement is very interesting. The original Greek reads, do not become skillful at revolving everything around yourself.

Sometimes it seems that this is how we view the Scripture and our walk with God. “God and the Bible exist simply to bless me.” Absolutely not!! God’s highest goal is to make me a blessing to others. That includes those who do not act kindly toward me.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

Romans 12:17

This is another exhortation that needs the power of God to fulfill. Don’t give back evil for evil.

Instead, we’re told to be careful. That means to consider in advance. In other words, we must prepare ourselves to do what’s good in the sight of all men – even those who hate us.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:18

Wow! This is a big “if”. It literally says that if you have the power to bring it out of yourself, have peace around all men.

Remember, this is the fruit of the spirit of peace. It grows in you as you plant the seed of the Word and let it mature in the Holy Spirit’s presence.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15

This is the peace we must live in. It’s an attitude that must be cultivated in God’s presence. This is one of the surest ways of judging maturity. It’s about how well we live with those around us.

Question: How well does your life reflect these qualities?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Being a Blessing

Being a Blessing

As we go through this last section of Romans, there are some tough exhortations. But remember, this part of Romans assumes that you’ve applied chapters 8-10. This gives you the ability for what’s ahead.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Romans 12:14

The teaching here goes against our very human nature. This is impossible to do apart from the strength of the Holy Spirit.

This is more than just ignoring those who persecute you or putting up with them. The word, bless, means to speak well of them. To do that, requires us to see through God’s eyes. We need to see what they could become in Christ.

In this verse, Paul even repeats himself with emphasis. He tells us to bless them and don’t curse them – literally, don’t speak doom over them.

To accomplish this requires quality time with the Holy Spirit.

Another thing we must learn, according to Paul, is identification.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Romans 12:15

We must learn to be happy in the midst of happiness and mournful in the midst of mourning. So often we miss this characteristic of Christ.

Jesus sent out 72 of His followers to do what He was doing. They got amazing results.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Luke 10:17

They returned full of joy. What was Jesus’ reaction?

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

Luke 10:18-21

The phrase, full of joy, literally means to jump and dance around with joy. I can picture the Lord giving them all high-fives as they arrived.

Then again, when Lazarus died…

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

John 11:33-36

The fact is that Jesus didn’t need to weep. The Lord knew that He was going to call Lazarus back to life. But, He identified with those who were in mourning.

When we identify with others, it shows them that we care about what they’re going through – either good or bad. Many times that will open their hearts to allow us to speak the truth of the Word into their lives.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

1 Corinthians 9:22-23

We need to follow Paul’s example.

Question: How have you been a blessing to someone else recently?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2021 in Ministry, Relationships, Spiritual Walk

 

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Meeting Needs

Meeting Needs

We’re continuing through the book of Romans, looking at the walk of maturity.

Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Romans 12:13

The first half of this verse has an interesting construction. It actually reads; as to the needs of the saints, sharing.

Think about it. Needs – we all have them. When we talk about meeting peoples needs, our first thoughts usually go toward money. There are plenty of places in Scripture that talk about financial needs. But, this verse is talking about more than that.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

We must be prepared to give more than just money. What about a word of grace from our lips? There are many people who could use that word of encouragement.

What about those who are in need of healing? There are also many who need fellowship, guidance, or one of many other kinds of help we could give.

So, what do we do when we see the needs of others in the body of Christ? The Greek word used in this verse for sharing is koinonia. It literally means to be in partnership.

I’ve found that, in this generation, we really don’t understand what partnership is all about. It’s the realization that we all have a part to play in each others lives. It’s a very powerful part of our Christian relationships.

I believe that it’s a perception problem. Sometimes we simply view church as a place where we meet together. Instead, we should understand that it’s an organism that we’re a part of. It’s about more than just our stuff. It’s sharing who we are.

The church of the Philippians is a great example of this.

Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only;

Philippians 4:15

Paul commended them for their partnership in the Gospel. They were a blessing to Paul and helped to reach those in other parts of the world. But, they also received a blessing.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Most don’t realize that this is specifically a promise for partners. We are partners in the work that God is doing. It’s like the flow of blood in the human body. That’s how blessings flow through the body of Christ.

Then, along with this, we’re told to practice hospitality. The verse literally says to pursue the love of strangers. That means love those who are very different from you. This is not the only place we’re told to do this.

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:9-10

It’s a way of giving out God’s grace to others. Why are we having church, if we’re not practicing hospitality? Of course, this also comes with a blessing.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2

The fact is that we don’t always know everything that’s going on in the spirit. It won’t be until we’re in God’s presence when we find out all of the effects that our partnership and hospitality had on the world.

Question: How have you practiced these qualities recently?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2021 in Ministry, Relationships, Spiritual Walk

 

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Hope, Patience, and Prayer

Hope, Patience, and Prayer

As we continue through Romans, Paul is giving us a list of things that should be in place in the life of a mature believer. Remember, these are very frustrating to accomplish without first going through the “boot-camp” of chapters 8-10.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12

It’s amazing that there’s so much to learn from such a short verse! There’s a lot of truth contained here.

First, we should be joyful in hope. That literally means that you cheer yourself up by your hope. So, the question is; what is hope?

In our modern culture, we’ve defined hope as a strong desire. “”I want to go to the beach tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t rain.” That has nothing to do with the scriptural concept of hope.

In the Bible, hope is what you expect, based upon God’s Word. God says something, and because we trust Him, we expect that what He said will happen.

So, let me ask you; what do you expect from God? Do you meditate on it and what the Word says about it? Do you use this expectation to build yourself up emotionally?

Next, we should be patient in affliction. I don’t like the sound of that. It literally means that when under pressure, we remain patient while staying under it.

I have to tell you that this is easier to do when you’re rejoicing in your expectation. The fact is that we’ll always have pressure. Furthermore, you can’t do anything about the pressure anyway.

The best way to weather it is to put your expectation in God. Find out what He says about your situation. Then, trust the Lord to bring you through it.

Our human nature is to stop looking to God and to start looking for the way out. In most cases that’s not helpful because we don’t have the ability on our own. The best course is to look for guidance and strength from the Holy Spirit. Trust Him to bring about the victory.

Finally, we are to be faithful in prayer. That phrase literally means to be strong toward prayer. This means that you press into the place of prayer even when you don’t feel like it. We see this exemplified in the life of Moses.

By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Hebrews 11:27

The word, persevered, in this verse is the same as faithful, above. Moses remained strong toward God. I believe that’s done by staying strong in prayer.

Think about these three exhortations. They all work together. You really can’t separate them if you want a successful Christian walk.

It’s like a great circle of faith. You can’t be patient under pressure unless you’re joyful in your expectation. Then again, you can’t be strong toward prayer unless you have a patience to endure. And, you can’t have a full expectancy from God unless you’re faithful in prayer.

This is why we should be striving toward maturity. It’s like a snowball of grace, rolling down a hill and growing as it goes.

In his letters, Peter talked about a number of things that should be growing in a believer’s life. I believe that what he said about them could also be applied here.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:8

Our goal should be daily growth in Christ. I realize that most of the time it’s too slow to even notice. But, it’s taking place just the same, if we follow the Lord’s plan.

Question: How have you seen these three qualities at work in your life?

2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Wrapped in Zeal

Wrapped in Zeal

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. Paul is showing us how to live our best life as part of Christ’s body.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Romans 12:11

In my last post we talked about having sincere love for others. But, right on the heels of that, Paul tells us that we need to be zealous for the Lord.

Zeal itself is a very strong emotion. It’s when you desire to possess some quality or possession of the one you’re zealous for. It’s actually the same as jealousy – only it’s the positive side of that quality.

But, I’m talking about being zealous toward Christ. This is a passionate, consuming zeal that’s focused on the Lord. It drives us toward the accomplishment of His will and the maintaining of His honor.

All of this is done in the face of whatever’s happening in the world around us. It doesn’t matter whether we’re in the middle of good or bad circumstances.

We’ve all heard of the armor of God in Ephesians, chapter 6. Many people talk about the need to put on this holy armor. But do you know that there’s one more piece of clothing available to us that covers it all?

Paul the Apostle was a Bible scholar. He knew the Scripture better than most others of his day. What we fail to realize, is that he didn’t come up with the teaching of the armor of God on his own. It was actually from the book of Isaiah.

In Isaiah, chapter 59, we see God Himself putting on the armor – at least the helmet and breastplate. This is His personal armor – it was made to fit Him. That’s why I need to abide in Christ for it to fit me. But that’s another teaching…

I want to talk about something else that Isaiah saw as the Lord was preparing for the spiritual battle.

He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Isaiah 59:17

The reason that Isaiah could only see the breastplate and helmet was because God put on some clothes over the suit of armor. Did you know that one of these is available to us today?

It’s not the garments of vengeance. We know from Scripture that vengeance is His alone.

I believe that part of our problems stem from the fact that we want the armor but still fail to fully clothe ourselves. It’s the zeal of the Lord that covers it all. That’s one of the things that the church is lacking in this generation.

That’s why zeal is one of the first things that Paul talks about for the mature believer. It’s the cloak that should cover all that we do for Christ. He answers the question; when should we be seen without the cloak? NEVER!!

Zeal is actually our passion for the Lord on display for all to see. Of course, Christ must be the focus of our zeal. We need to get emotional about our God. We need to stir it up.

That’s what warriors do before a battle. They would hold council the night before they met the enemy. They’d tell stories of former victories, sing, chant victory slogans, and raise the war cry. All of this was to stir up the emotion of zeal.

In the spiritual struggles we face, there’s no difference in the way we achieve victory. God wants us to put on His zeal before we enter the heat of battle. We must take up this attitude: “I live for the honor of Christ!”

That’s why we should be running daily into the Lord’s presence. As we sing, worship, read and confess the Scripture, and pray in the spirit, we’re stirring ourselves up. There’s no better preparation for the battles ahead.

Question: How often do you get emotional about the Lord?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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