RSS

Tag Archives: maturity

Prayer and Sonship

Prayer and Sonship

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, I’ve been talking about chapter 11. In this chapter, Jesus is teaching His disciples about prayer. He started with what we know as The Lord’s Prayer.

He then began to teach them about prayer for the needs of others. We need to be bold in our acknowledgment of God’s power. We should be allowing the Lord to work through us to meet the needs of others.

That was a big part of the context of our “asking, seeking and knocking” in prayer. I talked about that in my last post. Today, I want to take this verse a little further in its application.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Luke 11:9-10 NIV

I’ve heard many people preach on this verse. For the most part we take it out of context and miss what it’s really saying. Indeed, we’re told that we have the power to receive answered prayers, to find that which is hidden, and to open doors that seem impenetrable.

But the first thing we should ask is; what is this authority based upon? If we would just read the next few verses, we’d see that Jesus gives us the guidelines for this type of power.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:11-13 NIV

It’s obvious that Jesus is talking about the authority of Sonship in this passage. He tells us that we’re asking for the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit that then confers upon us the Spirit of Sonship. Once that’s in place, and I’m walking as a mature son (this includes women as well), then I’m free to ask, seek, and knock as led by the Spirit of God.

In many cases our trouble is that we don’t ask for the Spirit. We want to do it our way. We want what our earthly desires are prompting us to seek for. Then we end up begging God for a snake or a scorpion. It’s no wonder why we don’t get most of what we pray for.

The simple fact is that true authority resides in the correct use of mature sonship. There was another time in Jesus’ ministry when He was talking about being a disciple. He said that if you were truly His disciple, then the truth would set you free.

The religious community – those who continued to rely upon the power of the law – were outraged.

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:33-36 NIV

I’m sure that the Pharisees and the teachers of the law had no clue what the Lord was talking about when He said this. To us, however, it should be rich in meaning. The words of Christ tell me that Sonship is a position of freedom.

We’ve been set free because of the authority of Christ. We’re no longer under the bondage of sin, the world or the devil. What we need is the maturity to walk in it.

That should give us a new freedom in our prayer life. When we realize that we want the same goals as the Lord, it’s a lot easier to stand in faith.

As mature believers, we should be spending quality time with the Holy Spirit. That will bring us the wisdom and knowledge we need to ask, seek, and knock for the desire of God’s heart.

Question: What does it mean to be free in Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 8, 2022 in Faith, Power of God, Prayer, Sonship

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

No Place for Competition

No Place for Competition

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, today’s post will deal with something found in Luke 9:37-50. You may want to look at that passage before reading this article.

As Jesus was coming down from the mountain where was transfigured before a few of His disciples, He was met with a very agitated crowd. It seems that a man had brought his son to the disciples. This child was tormented by a demon.

The disciples had tried to cast the demon out of the boy’s life. Unfortunately, even though they had success in the past, they were unable to prevail in this situation. The people were looking for the Lord’s intervention.

When the father approached Jesus and asked for His help, the Lord had an interesting response.

“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”

Luke 9:41 NIV

This took place well into Christ’s ministry in Israel. You would think that by now some of His teachings would have taken root in the people, especially His disciples. But, at this point, the Lord’s followers were very inconsistent in their understanding of spiritual principles.

Needless to say, Jesus was well able to rebuke and remove the evil spirit. The boy was returned to his father healed and whole, with no more problems in that area.

When I talked about this verse as I went through the book of Mark, the emphasis was removing unbelief though prayer and fasting. Luke, however, takes us in a different direction.

When the young man was restored, Jesus had an important statement to make.

“Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.”

Luke 9:44 NIV

Jesus makes it clear that He’s not going to be with them forever. There’s coming a time in the near future, when the disciples will have to stand on their own spiritual feet. They need to be learning and growing with more fervency.

It seems to be the same with us sometimes. We would much rather have someone else do the hard studying, praying, and fasting. We want to live for ourselves, then run to the pastor or spiritual leader when we need serious prayer.

It’s interesting that in the next few verses we see the disciples arguing over which of them was the greatest. The Lord made it clear to them that if they truly wanted to be great, they needed to get back to basics and start with the faith of a little child.

That’s good advice. We get so proud of ourselves sometimes. We need to realize where we actually are in the faith walk. There is no correspondence between physical age and spiritual age. You can be a middle aged adult and yet be an infant, sucking on a bottle, in the spirit.

As Jesus was trying to get this across to them, one of His disciples – John – had a realization dawn on him. The Holy Spirit brought to mind an incident that had recently occurred. Now it was time for him to bring it up.

“Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

Luke 9:49-50 NIV

Here’s a group of men who followed Jesus as closely as anyone could. Yet, when called upon to cast out a demon, failed to accomplish it. They meet another person who probably only heard Jesus speak a few times, but went out and exemplified His teaching.

We need to learn what they failed to realize. It’s not a competition in the body of Christ. We each need to be running our own race. I must concentrate on what the Spirit is trying to teach me. When I do that, then I’ll see the manifestation of God’s Word in me.

Question: Where are you in your spiritual journey?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 29, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Mature Enough?

Mature Enough?

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, I’ve been posting about what makes us worthy of the power of God. I started by looking at what the Roman Centurion said to Jesus in Luke, chapter 7.

“Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
Luke 7:6b-7

The last couple of posts I talked about his words I do not deserve – the Greek word axios. Now I want to look at worthy – the Greek word hikanos. It literally means not far enough along.

There are many Christians who believe that they haven’t walked with the Lord long enough to see the manifestation of the power of God in their lives. There’s a big fallacy with this kind of thinking. The very notion that they’re not far enough along implies that there will be a time when they’re mature enough to merit this power.

I am here to tell you that will never happen on this side of eternity. In actuality the centurion had it right – “But say the word…”

Paul understood this concept. He evangelized most of the Roman Empire. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he wrote most of the New Testament.

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
1 Corinthians 15:9-10

Paul used the Greek word hikanos when he said he did not even deserve to be called an apostle. If Paul was not far enough along to walk in this power, then there’s no chance for us. Yet the important part of this issue is all summed up in the words “but by the grace of God.”

The simple truth is that you’ll never be good enough. It’s only by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that we may stand in His power and authority.

I’ll never be good enough or far enough along to deserve the title of son. I’ll never be worthy of His power based upon my own merits. But by the grace of God I am what I am.

It’s this thinking that drives me to work for the Lord. It’s the foundation for serving Him in the correct way. When I start to think that I can make myself more worthy I miss the whole concept of His grace.

This is what keeps us from experiencing the power of God in the church today. If I think like a child – that if I just work harder to be worthy, then I’ve lost it at the start. If I let sin go unrepentant and refuse intimacy with God then I short circuit the power.

The centurion saw how the power of God worked in the life of Jesus.

For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

Luke 7:8

This centurion was commended for his concept of this truth.

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

Luke 7:9-10

It’s time for us to understand that it’s not my ability to be good that gets me anything. It’s God’s grace working in me that allows me to manifest the power of God. The Lord works perfectly through imperfect people.

Question: What’s the role of good works in the life of the believer?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

God’s Plan – Starting Strong

God’s Plan – Starting Strong

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we just looked at the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. Now, Luke talks about his childhood years in Luke 2:21-40.

It’s obvious that both Mary and Joseph were devout Jews. They did everything according to the Law of Moses. This law is found in Leviticus 12.

According to this law, Jesus had to be circumcised on the eighth day. Then, Mary had to wait 33 days for her purification. At that point, she needed to go to the temple to offer the sacrifice for her purification.

This tells us a lot about the family of Jesus. All this moving around the country had taken a toll on their finances. They went to Jerusalem for their purification…

…and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Luke 2:24

Actually, according to the law, this is the sacrifice if you were too poor to afford a lamb. Mary and Joseph were struggling to get by. Yet, they maintained the spiritual connections the best that they could, in order to raise Jesus correctly.

After all, they could have made the excuse, “We can’t afford to go to Jerusalem yet.” But they went anyway, and God had a great blessing waiting for them there.

There happened to be an elderly man in Jerusalem named Simeon. God had impressed him that he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah. As soon as he saw the baby, he knew that the time had come.

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Luke 2:28-32

This prophet of God had some amazing words to say over this child. First, Simeon reveals that Jesus is the salvation of God.

Then, he speaks of the Lord’s ministry. Christ will be a light to the world. This light will be revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Israel.

As parents, I can only imagine what Mary and Joseph were thinking while Simeon was speaking out these words. But, he didn’t end there. He had a special prophecy that he spoke over Mary.

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Luke 2:34-35

He makes it known that the ministry of Jesus will not be a “bed of roses.” The Lord will definitely make a lot of powerful enemies. He will reveal things that those in authority will want to remain hidden. Mary needed to be ready for the outcome of God’s plan – Messiah going to the cross.

After Simeon finished his assignment, another person came to these parents. She was an elderly prayer warrior named Anna. She also recognized the child by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. She spoke more words of encouragement to all who were listening.

Joseph and Mary did everything that was needed to be done in order for God’s plan to be fulfilled in their child. And, God rewarded their efforts. They saw the confirmation of all that God spoke to them.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 2:39-40

After they had gone through with their spiritual duties, they left for home. But, they didn’t go to Bethlehem, where the Child was born. Instead, they went back to Nazareth, where they had grown up and were connected with friends and family.

In this environment, Christ grew, and it was obvious that God had a great calling upon Him.

Question: What are the things you need to do to fulfill God’s plan in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 8, 2021 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Baby Believers

Baby Believers

As we continue looking at the book of Romans, we’re now starting chapter 14. Here, Paul begins talking about how mature Christians should relate with those who are younger, spiritually.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.

Romans 14:1

This is the generation that definitely needs to hear this teaching. Especially in social media forums, we seem to love to be argumentative. People are judgmental, confrontational, and belligerent. This is because they can stay anonymous while they’re online.

The truth is that we need to portray Christ whether others know who we are or not. That’s why this teaching is so important.

So, with that in mind, the first thing I want to do is define what Paul means by a weak believer. There are a few aspects to this. The root of this Greek word means to be without strength. These are Christians whose faith is without strength.

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead — since he was about a hundred years old — and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God…

Romans 4:19-20

This verse is talking about Abraham. He could look at his situation, and still trust God. He didn’t allow his faith to become weak.

This is what we usually think of by “weak faith.” It’s when we start wavering when things look bad. However, that’s only one side of the issue.

At one point the writer of the book of Hebrews talks about natural priests who have to offer sacrifices for themselves first.

He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.

Hebrews 5:2

This verse tells us that the human priests have to be gentle with those who are ignorant and going astray. The words literally mean unknowing and roaming.

When someone is roaming or wavering in their faith, it’s usually obvious. However, those who are unknowing of the truth, not so much. Many times they’ll be judged and rebuked even though they don’t have the experience to know what the problem is.

We need to be careful in our treatment of those who are younger in the faith. The problem is that chronological age has no relation at all with our spiritual age.

But now that you know God — or rather are known by God — how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!

Galatians 4:9-10

In this verse, Paul is upset because the Galatians do know the truth – yet they’re acting as though they don’t. They were observing rules to serve and please God.

This is sometime one of the most noticeable signs of a baby Christian. They need a set of man-made rules to serve God. Please understand that this is not a bad thing.

Rules help a young believer to become consistent in their walk with Jesus. Later on, they can lay aside the rules when they learn to walk by the spirit.

Unfortunately, there are too many times when some older Christians try to push them to act mature too quickly. It actually hurts their growth, and may even push them away from the Lord.

It’s like telling a two-year-old that if he doesn’t mop the kitchen floor, then he’s no longer part of the family. It’s very detrimental to someone’s growth in the Lord.

We must learn to accept people where they are in their spiritual level.

Question: What do you believe is your spiritual maturity level?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sincere Love

Sincere Love

As we continue to study through the book of Romans, we’ll begin to see a shift in Paul’s focus. Up until this section, the apostle was writing about our personal growth. Now he begins to show how the church grows as a body.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Romans 12:9-10

As he begins to talk about life in the body of Christ, it’s no wonder that Paul starts with love. It’s the Greek word, agape. This is the choice to show love to others. It has nothing to do with any emotions.

He tells us that this agape-love must be sincere. It literally means to be given without falsehood or hypocrisy.

This brings up a very important point that needs to be discussed when reading this section of Scripture. Peter does a good job of explaining it.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

1 Peter 1:22

Notice how Peter begins talking about this subject. He makes it clear that he’s writing to mature believers who have purified themselves in the truth. When we’re cleaned up by the Word, brotherly love is born.

Brotherly love is the first word for love that Peter uses in this verse. It involves the emotions of friendship and camaraderie.

Then he goes on to the second word for love, which is agape – just like Paul did. Peter also uses the same word for sincerity. Why is all of this important?

We must understand this because, according to Peter, this type of love is only possible after the purifying process has begun in your life. This is written to those who are pursuing a mature walk in Christ.

What we have to realize is that from Romans, chapter 12 on, Paul is writing to the mature believers. It’s those Christians who can understand and follow these guidelines.

Both Peter and Paul make it clear that our agape-love must be mature and sincere – not faked (like baby agape). That’s because your heart has been changed by your submission to the Holy Spirit’s work in you.

Getting back to the passage in Romans, we’re told to utterly abhor, hate, be disgusted by evil. How do you do this if you haven’t gone through God’s maturing process?

Some people look at the second half of Romans as a rule book to be enforced. That’s not the case. The only way you can fulfill the message from Romans 12 on is to go through the work described in chapters 8-10. Otherwise, you’ll only end up feeling frustrated and guilty.

Paul tells us that you’re not only to hate evil, but to glue yourself to the good. Please remember that this is good by God’s standards, not ours. We have a very low opinion of good compared to God. That’s why we must be transformed to think like God thinks.

Then, Paul talks about the emotional brotherly love. The word, devoted, is interesting. It means to have an emotional affection like that of a natural, immediate family. That’s how we should feel about each other in God’s kingdom.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household…

Ephesians 2:19

Of course, if you see others as part of your immediate family, then you’ll honor one another before yourself. In other words, don’t wait to be honored before you give honor.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Galatians 6:10

Question: What areas of growth have you seen in your personal walk with God?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 1, 2021 in Fellowship, The Church

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

They’re Waiting for Us

They’re Waiting for Us

In my last post I talked about the suffering that we’re all called to endure. It’s brought on by making the flesh do things that it doesn’t want to do.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18

I sometimes think that I’m the only one with these problems. The fact is that Jesus had to go through the same things that we do. Even though His flesh wasn’t sinful, the Lord still had to bring it under the Holy Spirit’s control.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Hebrews 5:8-9

It’s interesting to note that Christ learned obedience from what He suffered. Now we’re called to obey, so it only follows that we learn obedience the same way that He did.

How did Christ deal with this?

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

Hebrews 5:7

Please understand that this is not talking about the Garden of Gethsemane. This is the suffering that took place during His life.

Think about the football player in my last post. He went forward with loud cries and tears. He screamed, “It hurts, it burns,” yet he kept going.

This is what we are sharers of. According to the verse in Romans, this is for the glory about to be uncovered in us.

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

Romans 8:19

This is the intense anticipation of the creation. The whole system of life on this planet is waiting for the unveiling of the sons (and daughters) of God. The Lord’s endgame is for the church to become a full-fledged son.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Romans 8:20-21

Actually, this is probably why we’re so hated by the world. The system wants liberation and they expect it to come from us. But, they look at the church, and compare us to what we promise. The result is frustration and hatred.

It’s like being a fan of a baseball team that keeps losing. Even if their team doesn’t win, the fans keep coming out. They hope for the best, but remain angry and frustrated.

The expectation is that there will be liberation from the effects of sin. This liberation should come through us, as believers.

The system is waiting for us to bring freedom. We need to rise to our feet as sons and daughters of the living God.

This could be the final harvest that’s talked about in Scripture. This will happen when the church becomes fully mature.

This is why we need to learn the lessons that Paul lays out in the book of Romans. We need to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Question: What would it look like if the church was fully mature?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Good Suffering?

Good Suffering?

As we continue our study through the book of Romans, Paul is about to show us the way to finally overcome the flesh. He’s told us about the work of Christ on the cross. By identifying with Him, we count ourselves as dead to sin.

At that point, I’m a spiritual infant in God’s kingdom. I’m not where I should be yet. How do I deal with that? I want to be an adult son now.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:17

Maturity is something that takes time to develop. How do I live with this frustration of wanting to be mature right now? Nobody wants to wait to grow up.

This verse tells us that we’re co-heirs with Christ. It also tells us that if we’re co-sufferers with Him, we’ll be co-sharers of His glory.

This tells me that the suffering is what we go through to become adults. It’s not really what we want to hear. But, Paul goes on to explain it to us.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18

Paul literally says that according to his calculations, our present sufferings cannot even be compared with our future glory. Suffering is one of those topics we don’t want to talk about.

The truth is that we need to co-suffer, but it doesn’t compare to the glory.

What is this suffering that he’s talking about? First off, let me assure you that it’s NOT sickness, poverty, or depression.

The Bible actually lets us know where this suffering comes from.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:24

The word, passion, in this verse is the same word as suffering in the Romans verse. The root of this word is passion, but it’s a passionate suffering. It’s like when something causes you to cry out, “I can’t take this anymore!” It comes from our sin nature. Why is this a good thing?

For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

2 Corinthians 1:5-7

Here’s another important word – comfort. In our modern culture, we think about someone putting their arms around us and saying, “There, there, it will be okay.” On the contrary, this word means to call alongside. It’s what a coach does when he trains his athletes.

The best illustration I’ve ever seen of the Holy Spirit’s comfort, was from a movie a few years ago. It’s called Facing the Giants. I encourage you to watch it. To see the clip I’m talking about, click here.

That perfectly illustrates the suffering and the comfort provided by our Coach, the Holy Spirit. It’s about making our flesh do what it doesn’t want to, under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

We think we can’t go on. We think we can’t do what we’re called to do. We call it suffering. But God knows better than us.

We need to learn to listen to, and obey our Coach. Only then will we see the glory of a victorious life.

Question: What are some times that you had to suffer on the road to maturity?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Spiritual Boasting

We’re continuing through the epistle of Second Corinthians.  We’re seeing Paul as he talks about the field to which God has sent him.

We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you.
2 Corinthians 10:13

Having talked about the ministries that commend themselves, now Paul wants to deal with the fruit of his own ministry.  According to the apostle, there is a place for boasting.

He says that the limits involve what God has called you to do.  The Corinthian church was a part of the mission field that he was called to.  So it’s proper for Paul to boast about the work being done there.

We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ.  Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others.  Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you.  For we do not want to boast about work already done in another man’s territory.
2 Corinthians 10:14-16

Paul is very careful to confine his boasting to the work he has been assigned to.  We have to be careful about how we talk about our ministry.

Before COVID, I was able to travel and preach at a number of churches.  Just because I spoke at a church that was growing, doesn’t mean that this growth was a direct result of my ministry.  I can’t take any credit for it.

I can’t boast about what God is doing in that church.  The problem comes in when we feel the need to make ourselves look good by claiming someone else’s victory.  Too often we boast beyond the limits God has set for us.

Paul’s desire was for the church to continue to grow and mature in the faith.  Because they were within the field of his calling, their growth means his growth as well.

The apostle doesn’t want to be constantly babysitting them.  He wants them to get beyond the correction stage.  In that way, he can move on to further expansion in the ministry.

I like the way Paul gives us the bottom line of this boasting.

But, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
2 Corinthians 10:17-18

Ultimately, everything we accomplish is because of what Christ has done.  I might have obeyed Him and saw the results of that obedience.  But the ultimate glory belongs to the Lord.

In the final analysis, it’s not what I think that counts.  My approval is going to come from God.  He’s the One I should be trying to please.

Question: What victories has God accomplished through you lately?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 9, 2020 in Ministry, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,