How to Walk Daily with the Mind of Christ (Part 1)

Provided by Salvation-

Most of the New Testament is not written about the future, but it is written about what God has already done through Jesus Christ and His atoning work at Calvary.

Purchased with His blood, and made available by His grace, we have access to every spiritual blessing contained in heavenly places, including the mind of Christ.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Eph. 1:3)

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1Cor. 2:16)

Since much of the Bible pertains to past events, many people believe that it is just an account of things that happened so long ago that it really doesn’t apply to their lives.

However, much like a gift forgotten under the tree on Christmas morning, if we don’t find it and open it, we can never enjoy it.

Many times, God has already provided the things that we think we need and they are waiting to be found, but we are unaware of them due to a lack of knowledge and understanding.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (Hosea 4:6)

Such was the case of the Israelites in the wilderness.

“Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:” (Psalm 78:21-22)

The Lord had just delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders. He had divided the Red Sea so they could go through on dry ground and had caused the waters to return and drown the Egyptian army that was following them.

The Lord provided water from the rock for them to drink and manna from heaven for them to eat, but then they complained and questioned whether God was able to give them meat. The Bible says they “…trusted not in his salvation.”

They had no confidence in the love of God and the position of salvation that the Lord had placed them in.

Many Christians today are like the Israelites of old. They need to realize that salvation is not a one-time occurrence. It is not a prayer you once prayed or a commitment you once made.

Salvation is a removal from one place or position and an establishment in another. It is a state or condition.

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” (Col. 1:13)

The Apostle Paul had met the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus. He had seen the Lord in His glory and brightness. He received by divine revelation the truths that the other disciples had spent years learning as they walked with Christ.

Many Bible scholars believe that Paul was speaking of himself when he describes a man in Second Corinthians Chapter 12 who was “caught up to the third heaven” and heard “unspeakable words” which are “not lawful for a man to utter.”

Yet after all of this, and after a lifetime of service witnessing the miracles and power of God, he realized that he had only scratched the surface of the knowledge of Christ and His salvation.

That is why as an old man and towards the end of his life, he writes:

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Philip. 3:10)

It is our prayer that through the next few posts to this blog, and the Scriptures contained therein, we might begin to understand just a little more of what this great salvation has already provided for us; that like a gift overlooked, we might find it, open it, and rejoice in it.

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;” (Heb. 2:3)

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Cor. 2:14)

The Bible tells us that God knows every possible thing that there is to know about us. He knows our innermost thoughts, dreams, and desires. There is not a thought that can be hid from God.

“Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:2-3)

“For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.” (Psalm 139:4-6)

The Apostle Paul says in the New Testament that:

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:28)

According to the Apostle Paul, we are enveloped by the Spirit of God. To the same extent that God knows us; the Bible teaches there will come a day when we shall know Him in the same way.

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1Cor. 13:12)

Until that time comes, we now “know in part.”

The word “know” in the Greek literally means “to be sure, to understand completely”.

The word “part” in the Greek means “a share, a portion”.

So here the Bible is telling us that although God totally and utterly knows us completely, at this present time He has chosen only to reveal to us a portion about Himself.

However, God wants us to know and understand completely that portion about Himself which He has chosen to reveal.

Tomorrow– Knowing God

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK,  amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

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The Faith and Power to Grow and Mature in Christ (Part 4)

The Benchmarks of Spiritual Maturity-

The first step to spiritual maturity is what we have already learned from the story of the “prodigal son”, which is to make a decision that we are no longer going to entertain unrighteous thoughts toward others.

It does matter to God when we talk about someone behind their back. It matters to God when we criticize someone’s appearance or actions whether verbally or in our heart. It matters to God when we harbor anger, or resentment, or unforgiveness no matter how justified we feel in doing so.

When we ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and reveal these hidden sins so that we may repent, we have begun to mature in the spirit. We may stumble in our attitude toward others, but when we do if we repent and determine to do better with God’s help, then we will begin to pass from “glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord”.

We also grow spiritually when we make a commitment to understand the Word of God for ourselves, not just to believe what others may tell us:

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Eph. 4:14)

The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things, but that we must ask in faith. We need to realize that our Bible reading is not just a daily exercise, but an opportunity to hear from the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. Whether reading or listening, it takes the Holy Spirit to show us what the true meaning of God’s Word is so that we do not fall prey to error.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:6)

“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1John 2:27)

Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are signs of spiritual maturity and will build you into a mature (finished) house of God filled with every spiritual blessing:

“Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:” (Prov. 24:3)

“And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” (Prov. 24:4)

Any type of deceit or untruth is a sign of spiritual immaturity, but he who is spiritually mature determines to be truthful within and without.

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Eph. 4:15)

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” (Eph. 6:14)

This does not only mean truth between you and others, but also truth between you and God. In other words, not coming to God and making excuses about what you have done or why you did it, not trying to convince God that you are something you are not, but coming to God and totally opening your heart to Him in honesty and truth so that He might search your innermost being and help you in your time of weakness.

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” (Psalm 62:8)

“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” (Psalm 51:6)

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2Cor. 12:9)

Finally, the Christian who has begun to mature in his spiritual walk has come to a place in his life where he is not ruled by circumstances.

The Bible tells us, and experience shows us, that babies are ruled by their circumstances and needs.

“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:” (Gal. 4:3)

If a baby is hungry, needs changing, or wants something, he cries. If he is tickled, he laughs. If he is rocked or cuddled, he falls asleep.

As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual.

When we are babes in Christ, our prayer life is filled with constantly asking God for the things we need or want, much like a baby crying. The things happening around us and to us consume our thoughts and efforts.

We seem to jump from emergency to emergency, constantly asking God for His help or deliverance without much communication or communion with Him in between.

But just as most children begin to grow and trust that their parents love them and will take care of them, God wants his spiritual children to grow and trust in the love of their Heavenly Father.

“Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matt. 6:8)

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” (Matt. 6:31)

“(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” (Matt. 6:32)

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33)

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,” (Rom. 8:38)

“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:39)

The Bible says:

Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” (Psalm 32:9)

When we first become Christians, our Heavenly Father will allow circumstances to come into our lives that will drive us to prayer so we may learn that God hears and answers our prayers.

In the same way that the bit and bridle direct the horse, these circumstances direct us to put our trust in God. But as we grow and see God supply our need and answer our prayers, He does not want us to be driven by these things any longer.

He has a better way and a higher calling.

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” (Psalm 32:8)

God wants us to grow up in Christ to a point where the circumstances around us are not directing our decisions nor are they having to drive us to prayer crying for God to intervene.

God wants to direct us with his eye, but the only way that can happen is if we are looking at Him instead of looking at circumstances.

In the Gospel of Matthew we read of the time that Peter walked on the water:

“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” (Matt. 14:28)

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.” (Matt. 14:29)

“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” (Matt. 14:30)

As long as Peter was looking at Jesus, he walked on the water. It wasn’t until he turned his eyes to look at the wind and waves (his circumstances) that he began to sink.

Just as someone can direct us to the right or left by glancing in that direction if we are looking at their face, God wants to direct us if we are looking at Him.

Whether we are reading the Bible, in prayer, in worship, or even in our daily routine, the mature Christian is always looking to Jesus.

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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)

In conclusion, walking in the son-ship of Jesus Christ, walking in spiritual maturity, is setting your heart to walk as Jesus walked:

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5)

To be like Christ is not in the amount or degree of religious activity, but in love for your fellow man.

To be like Christ is to not be moved by adversity or circumstance, but to know the love of the Father and trust in him.

To be like Christ is to deny self, to be humble, and say “Thy will not mine be done.”

To be like Christ is to be a mature son led by the Holy Spirit.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14)

Tomorrow– Walking Daily in the “Mind of Christ”

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK,  amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

The Faith and Power to Grow and Mature in Christ (Part 3)

The Benchmarks of Spiritual Immaturity-

In the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells the story of a rich man that has two sons. One of the sons asks for his inheritance, takes it, and squanders it, but his father forgives him. On the surface it seems like the simple story of a life wasted, repentance, and forgiveness.

But it is actually a story about spiritual growth. We see this as we read what Jesus had to say about the elder son and the words the Bible used in referring to this “son” in the story.

To fully understand the lesson that Jesus was teaching that day we need to understand it the same way that the early Church did. This is done by knowing the original Greek words that were used in writing the New Testament and translated into the words “son” or “sons” in the King James Version.

“Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.” (Luke 15:25)

“And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.” (Luke 15:26)

“And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.” (Luke 15:27)

“And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.” (Luke 15:28)

“And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:” (Luke 15:29)

“But as soon as this thy son (Greek word hwee-os) was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.” (Luke 15:30)

“And he said unto him, Son (Greek word tek-non), thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” (Luke 15:31)

The first step to becoming a spiritually mature son of God is in recognizing and acknowledging the current spiritual condition we are in.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Prov. 28:13)

“And he was angry, and would not go in… thou never gavest me a kid… But as soon as this thy son (Greek word hwee-os’ for mature son) was come… And he (the father) said unto him, Son (Greek word tek-non for little child) thou art ever with me…” (Luke 15:28-31)

Throughout the time that the younger son demanded his inheritance, wasted it with riotous living, joined himself to the heathen, and ended up in the pig sty, the original Greek Scriptures used the word hwee-os’ for mature son in reference to him.

No matter what mistakes the younger son had made, the father never changed his opinion of him. The father always considered him to be the same son that was worthy to receive his inheritance.

The only time the word for son changes to tek-non, meaning a little child, is when the father speaks to the elder son in the 31st verse of Luke.

It was not the outward sin, the transgression, the stumbling that revealed spiritual immaturity, but it was the hidden condition of the heart revealed by the jealous and hateful words of the elder son that caused the father to refer to him as a “little child”.

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.” (1Cor. 3:1)

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” (1Cor. 3:2)

“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1Cor. 3:3)

Envy, strife, and division are what God considers when determining if we are a “babe in Christ”.

ENVY: “…thou never gavest me a kid…”

STRIFE: “…And he was angry…”

DIVISION: “…would not go in…”

“But as soon as this thy son was come…” the elder, supposedly more mature son, wouldn’t even call him “brother”, but referred to him as “thy son”.

Often we as Christians think that if we can ever get to the place in our life where we never stumble, never transgress, and never sin, then we have become like Jesus and are a mature son of God.

However, the Bible says:

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1John 1:8)

As long as we are in this body of flesh we will always be susceptible to temptation, failure, and sin. To think otherwise is a dangerous place to be as a Christian.

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor. 10:12)

Knowing this, the devil takes advantage of our misplaced hope of perfection, and by emphasizing our repeated stumbling in our Christian walk, tries to make us believe that we are a failure and will never be a mature son of God.

Even as the prodigal son said, “I am no more worthy to be called thy son, make me as one of thy hired servants.” However, because of his mercy and compassion, the father always saw him as the mature son in spite of his failure and did not hesitate to restore him to his full place of authority.

On the other hand, it was the elder son that appeared to be faithful by staying at home and managing the affairs of the household who the father referred to as childish, immature, and irresponsible when once the secret condition of his heart toward his brother was revealed.

The older son boasted of his faithfulness and righteousness and complained that the father was not being fair:

“And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:” (Luke 15:29)

Many times Christians who have served the Lord for a period of time become prideful concerning the changes they have made in their lifestyle, especially when they see others who seem to fall short of the mark.

Sometimes without realizing it, we compare our lives and accomplishments with those of others. We see others who we feel need to improve and we look down upon them, or we see those who seem to have obtained or been given more in their Christian walk and we envy them. We forget the admonition from the Word of God:

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (2Cor. 10:12)

We as Christians have to be careful not to allow our Christian practices (church attendance, Bible reading, time in prayer, ministry, etc.) to become benchmarks or points of accomplishments that we use to prove our spiritual maturity.

The only benchmarks that God looks at to determine spiritual maturity or immaturity are the unbridled feelings we harbor in our hearts toward others.

We could be the Pastor of a congregation or the head of a ministry, have attended Bible School, given tremendous sermons, and done mighty works for God, but if we harbor in our heart judgment and criticism, if we are envious and jealous, if we murmur and complain, if we gossip and backbite, then in God’s eyes we are a babe in Christ and spiritually immature.

The father told the older son:

“And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” (Luke 15:31)

The elder son had received his inheritance. He had everything that the father had to give. He could have killed the fatted calf and made merry with his friends any time he chose. He could have set his heart on being with the father and enjoying all that the father had given him, instead of filling his heart with jealousy and ill will toward his brother.

He could have made the decision to be as the father, to put away feelings of hurt and betrayal, and simply love his brother and hope for his return.

He could have chosen to be the hwee-os’, the mature son of the father, instead of refusing to grow up spiritually and remaining the tek-non, the little child.

We have seen what God considers to be spiritual immaturity, to be a babe in Christ. But what does God consider to be spiritual maturity, to “grow up in Him”? (Eph. 4:15)

Tomorrow– The Benchmarks of Spiritual Maturity

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK,  amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

The Faith and Power to Grow and Mature in Christ (Part 2)

The Choice to Renew our Mind and “Grow Up” in Christ-

The Holy Spirit reveals to us through the Word of God and by His convicting power the things which we need to change in our lives so that we may grow and become holy (set apart) unto God. In other words, what is “right” and what is “wrong” about our lives.

Next, God provides you with a choice: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely…” (Rev. 22:17), “…choose you this day whom ye will serve…” (Joshua 24:15).

God will always give you the freedom of choice. That is why Jesus came to break the bondage of the sin nature (Rom. 6:14). Now we are free to choose whether to do right or wrong, whether to grow and mature or to remain spiritually childish.

If we make the choice to change and grow, then God will give us the grace to do it.

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2Cor. 12:9)

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2Cor. 9:8)

Once we make the choice to lay aside the weights and sin, God gives us grace and strength through the Holy Spirit to effect the needed changes, until we realize that once again we have grown a little more into the image of Christ.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (Heb. 12:1)

It does not happen overnight. Spiritual maturity is a growth, a step-by-step process.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Cor. 3:18)

But it first begins with knowledge: by understanding where we are now in our spiritual growth and what we need to change.

Most often we do not realize what stage of our spiritual life we are in: whether infancy, childhood, adolescence, or maturity.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” (Prov. 21:2)

That is why it takes the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to reveal our hearts unto us.

One of the best examples of this is the story of “the prodigal son”.

In the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells the story of a rich man that has two sons. One of the sons asks for his inheritance, takes it, and squanders it, but his father forgives him. On the surface it seems like the simple story of a life wasted, repentance, and forgiveness.

However, to fully understand the lesson that Jesus was teaching that day we need to understand it the same way that the early Church did. This is done by knowing the original Greek words that were used in writing the New Testament and translated into the words “son” or “sons” in the King James Version.

The story in Luke begins:

“And he said, A certain man had two sons:” (Luke 15:11)

Here the Greek word translated “sons” is the word pronounced hwee-os’. It means a son that has come to the age of maturity or responsibility. The Bible always uses the word hwee-os’ in the New Testament when referring to Jesus as the Son of God.

Even in the Old Testament, the prophetic Scriptures concerning Christ refer to Him as the One with responsibility or control.

“A Psalm of David. The LORD (Heb. word for Jehovah) said unto my Lord (Heb. word meaning “divine controller”), Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psalm 110:1)

Jesus is always the mature son. Jesus is always in control.

The story continues in Luke:

“And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.” (Luke 15:12)

Here the word for “younger” actually indicates a son who might be in the age range of a teenager to a young adult, whereas the word for “elder” used later in the story to describe the other son indicates a senior or someone far along into manhood. This is important to know in understanding the deeper meaning of the story.

It is also important to notice something else in the Scripture that is often overlooked by many. The Bible says that “he divided unto them his living.”

We often emphasize the young man demanding his inheritance when in reality the father not only gave the younger son his inheritance, but at the same time he also gave the elder son his inheritance.

In these two verses of Scripture we begin to see the parallel between the two sons of the rich man and the believers in Christ.

They were both sons who were of the age of responsibility. We become “responsible” when we hear and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

They both received their inheritance, although each of them chose very different paths concerning that inheritance. We receive our spiritual inheritance when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and then it is our choice as to what we do with it.

And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” (Luke 15:13)

Here the Bible says, “And not many days after…” showing us that for a short period of time both sons were managing their inheritance with their father. But soon the younger son took his portion, left, and acted irresponsibly by wasting it.

The story goes on to tell us that the younger son, having spent all, joined himself with the heathen of the land and ended up feeding swine.

When he found himself desiring to eat the very swill that he was feeding the swine, he repented of his sins and rose up from the pig sty to return to his father.

The younger son said:

“I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,” (Luke 15:18)

“And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” (Luke 15:19)

The young son arose and went home to his father, and again we see the parallel to the Christian.

Instead of finding a father ready to judge and condemn him for his actions and decisions, he found that his father had been waiting for his return all along and was ready to rejoice at his homecoming.

“But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:” (Luke 15:22)

“And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:” (Luke 15:23)

“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:24)

The Bible tells us that just like the father in the story, our Heavenly Father is not as concerned about our bad judgments and transgressions as He is about our repentance and restoration.

“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” (Prov. 24:16)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9)

Up to this point in the story we see the wonderful message of sin, repentance, and forgiveness, but as we continue we begin to see the deeper message of spiritual maturity.

“Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.” (Luke 15:25)

“And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.” (Luke 15:26)

“And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.” (Luke 15:27)

“And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.” (Luke 15:28)

“And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:” (Luke 15:29)

“But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.” (Luke 15:30)

“And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” (Luke 15:31)

The first step to becoming a spiritually mature son of God is in recognizing and acknowledging the current spiritual condition we are in.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Prov. 28:13)

Even though he is the “elder son”, we begin to see the signs of “spiritual immaturity” in him.

Tomorrow– The Benchmarks of Spiritual Immaturity

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK,  amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

The Faith and Power to Grow and Mature in Christ (Part 1)

What is “Spiritual Growth”?-

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1John 3:2)

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Eph. 4:15)

The Bible tells us that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and invite Him into our hearts, several things happen concerning the relationship between us and God.

First, the Bible tells us that we are saved.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)

We are saved from sin. The Bible tells us that sin shall not have dominion over us any longer. (Rom. 6:14)

We are saved from the enemy of our soul, the devil. Jesus says that He gives us power over all the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19)

We are saved from eternal damnation and punishment:

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3)

The Bible also tells us that we have become “born again”. One translation translates it as being “born from above”.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

Nicodemus, the man Jesus was speaking to, couldn’t understand how a person could be born a second time. Jesus explained that it is a spiritual birth.

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6)

In the same way that the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and miraculously conceived in her a physical seed that was to become the only begotten Son of God, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside of us and He conceives the spiritual seed of our new nature so that we become an adopted son of God.

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” (1Peter 1:23)

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:15)

However, as it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. We are not “born again” as a mature spiritual son of God, but we are born as an infant. And although this is the place from which we must begin if we are to enter the kingdom of God, this is not the condition to remain in if we are to inherit the kingdom of God.

“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3)

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Eph. 4:15)

In the next few Blog posts we are going to do an in-depth examination of spiritual growth: what it is and how to achieve it. We are going to see what God determines to be the signs of spiritual maturity and the signs of spiritual childishness.

Unlike physical growth which is inevitable, it is our choice whether we decide to grow spiritually or not. However, if we determine to do whatever is necessary to become a mature child of God:

“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matt. 25:21)

“Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.” (1Cor. 14:20)

Before we can see what spiritual growth is, we first have to see what it is not.

Spiritual growth is not determined by how long we have been a Christian. Although length of time is necessary and fundamental in physical growth, it has nothing to do with growing spiritually.

It is entirely possible for an individual to remain spiritually immature their entire Christian life. Growing spiritually is a choice.

Spiritual growth is not determined by our faithfulness in church attendance, Bible reading, or Scripture memorization. Although all of these things can aid in our spiritual growth, they cannot be substituted for it.

Your spiritual growth has nothing to do with a particular Church affiliation or Denomination.

The method by which you were baptized, the day you choose to attend services, or the manner in which you worship are all personal choices that you must make based upon your knowledge of the Word of God and your conscience toward Him, but unless you are continuing in a manner contrary to God’s Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they do not affect your spiritual growth.

How does one grow spiritually? How does a Christian pass from spiritual childhood, to adolescence, to maturity in the Spirit?

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” (2Peter 3:18)

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Cor. 3:18)

The answer to spiritual growth is KNOWLEDGE, CHOICE, GRACE, and CHANGE as by the SPIRIT OF THE LORD.

The Bible says:

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” (1Peter 1:15)

“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1Peter 1:16)

The Bible also says:

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Heb. 12:14)

Holiness and spiritual growth are parallel. Holiness and spiritual maturity are virtually one and the same.

It is not so much an achievement as it is a lifestyle and a goal.

The word “holiness” in the Greek literally means “sanctification of the heart and life”, in other words, to “sanctify” or “set apart” your heart and life to God.

The word “holy” in the Greek means “physically pure” or “morally blameless”, so we might say that to strive to grow spiritually and become spiritually mature is to set apart our hearts and lives to be physically pure and morally blameless to God.

What seems like an impossible task, the Bible calls “our reasonable service”.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1)

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:2)

To do this on our own is indeed an impossible task. But that is why Jesus came, to give us a new birth, that the Holy Spirit might come and live inside of us and empower us to become holy.

This is done first by knowledge: the “renewing of your mind”.

Tomorrow– The Choice to “Grow Up” in Christ

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK,  amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

How to Experience the Power of God (Part 4)

Experiencing the Power of the Resurrection-

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)

The Jewish religious leaders were questioning Jesus, and Jesus made the statement that Abraham had rejoiced to see His day. When they contended with Him about the statement, Jesus said that before Abraham had even existed, I AM. He used the term for the self-existent one, and they wanted to stone Him.

We see the proof of Jesus statement in what happened at His crucifixion and resurrection.

After the crucifixion of Jesus, He knowing that all things were accomplished according to the Scriptures said, “It is finished” and gave up the ghost.

Wanting the executions to be finished because of the Sabbath, the officials gave the commandment to break their legs so they would be unable to push themselves up to take a breath, and thus would suffocate.

The soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves that were crucified on either side of Jesus, but when they came to Jesus they saw that he was already dead.

They thrust a spear up and into His side just to make sure that He was dead and unknowingly fulfilled two prophecies about Christ.

“For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.” (John 19:36-37)

Then something happened that became one of the foundation stones of the early Church, not only establishing their faith in who Jesus is but also in the power of His resurrection.

“But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.” (John 19:34-35)

The Apostle John emphasized twice that there came out blood and water. He wanted to make sure the reader realized that this occurred because this understanding is a basis for believing.

What did the blood and water mean?

There was something special about the believer understanding that there was water and blood.

There is a membrane filled with clear fluid that surrounds the heart called the pericardium. The blood and water that flowed from the wound made by the huge Roman spear is proof that the spear pierced the pericardium and the heart of Jesus.

With His arms outstretched on the cross and the nail holes in His wrists and feet, the piercing of His heart assured that all of the blood that was in His body flowed out upon the ground.

There was no blood left in His body.

This was the miracle of the resurrection!

There had been other people in Scripture that God had brought back from the dead. Jesus had raised the son of the widow of Nain and He had raised the daughter of Jairus. He had even raised Lazarus from the grave and Lazarus had begun to decompose. There had even been other prophets that had raised the dead back to life.

But there had never been anyone raised from the dead who had been drained completely of all their blood.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Lev. 17:11)

When Jesus rose from the dead there was no blood flowing through His veins. This is why it was so hard for Thomas to believe that Jesus had risen from the grave. Thomas had seen the blood pour out of the body of Jesus. It had all been left at Calvary. As a matter of fact, there was a huge gaping hole in the heart of Jesus.

Even if God did bring Jesus back to life, how could Jesus live if there was no blood to flow through His veins? “The life of the flesh is in the blood.”

“The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)

“And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:26)

“Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” (John 20:27)

“And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)

The hole was still in His side. There was no blood flowing through His veins. Yet, He was alive. There could only be one explanation.

Thomas said, “My Lord and My God.”

He is the “I AM THAT I AM.”

He is “The self-existent One.”

Thomas knelt and worshiped Him. Jesus said, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

This is the power of the resurrection: a life totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit to live.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

This is when we enter into the midst of the river, waters to swim in; waters that cannot be crossed over, but waters that catch us up and sweep us along in His direction according to His will.

This is when we awake each day realizing that my life today is totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit. That every step I take, every decision I make is as dependent upon the Holy Spirit flowing in me as my body is dependent upon food to eat and air to breathe.

This is when our communion with the Holy Ghost is so close and constant that His faith and power for miracles is as natural as taking our next breath.

Is such an existence with God really possible?

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (Eph. 1:18)

“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,” (Eph. 1:19)

“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,” (Eph. 1:20)

God wants us to know that the greatness of His power to us is proportionate to the same power He manifested when He raised Christ from the dead. That He wants to fill us with that same resurrection power. Not a different power, or any less power, but the SAME power.

We must understand that this resurrection power is manifested in our spirit, not in our flesh; nevertheless it is the same Spirit, the same power.

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” (1Co 15:50-51)

“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Php. 3:21)

Job said, “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” there is coming a day when Jesus Christ will return, and we will “see Him as He is.”

“Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

Our body shall be changed “like unto His glorious body.” When that happens, then even our physical body will no longer be dependent upon natural things to exist, but will be like His body by which He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.

Until then, it is “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6)

There is no need to look for a superman any longer, for the only real superman lives in you by His Spirit. His name is Jesus Christ.

You only need to believe and to enter into the river of His Holy Spirit, further and further until all of your dependency for living is in Him. He will change you from the spirit, to the soul, to the flesh and you will be a vessel fit for the Master’s use.

Then all of His power will not only be in you, but through you, and miracles, signs, and wonders will be manifested as they are needed.

“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” (Col. 1:26-27)

Tomorrow– The Power of Spiritual Growth

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK,  amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

How to Experience the Power of God (Part 3)

The Depths of the Power of God-

In John 7: 38 & 39, Jesus described the Holy Spirit which the disciples would receive as rivers of living waters flowing out from them. This river of the Holy Spirit is prophesied in the Book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament.

“And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.” (Eze. 47:3)

“Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.” (Eze. 47:4)

“Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.” (Eze. 47:5)

The prophet shows us that the further along the river we go, the deeper the water gets, until finally the river is so deep that it sweeps us away. We go the way of the river, and not the way of ourselves. Jesus revealed that the river of the prophet is the river of the Holy Spirit.

This progression into the depth of the Holy Spirit is the key to walking in the power of God.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

It has been said that man has always sought after superhuman power. Often the desire for such power comes forth from pride or some other carnal desire.

There was a time when the disciples wanted to call fire down from heaven to destroy a town that would not receive them on their journey. Jesus said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.” (Luke 9:54)

The purpose of the power is so that we may be witnesses. Sometimes this may involve miracles, signs, and wonders. But more often than not it involves the demonstration of the power of a changed and holy life.

Jesus told Peter, “When thou art converted (changed), strengthen thy Brethren.” (Luke 22:32)

Peter, so fearful for his own life that he denied the Lord three times, was changed by the power of the Holy Ghost to the extent that when he was arrested and sentenced to die, he slept so soundly the night before his execution that the angel had to slap him on the side to wake him up before he could be delivered. (Acts 12:7)

The Apostle Peter wrote to the gentile women that had become Christians after already being married to unbelievers, that with their Godly lifestyle they could win their husbands to Christ without preaching to them. (1 Peter 3:2)

The purpose of the power is to change. The purpose for going out into the deepest part of the river of God is so that you will surrender your control completely to the Holy Spirit.

Your feet no longer touch the bottom. You are swept along whithersoever the current of the Spirit of God desires to take you.

John the Baptist said of Jesus, “He must increase but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

When we cast ourselves out into the deep, we are completely surrendering every part of ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit. We are holding nothing back.

No sin, no habit, no personal desire, no preconceived notion or idea, nothing. Only when we empty ourselves of ourselves do we become an empty vessel that He can fill for His glory.

“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2Tim. 2:21)

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2Cor. 4:7)

When we surrender every recess of our being to the power of the Holy Spirit for change, then every act we do in His name will come from a pure heart with pure intentions. Miracles, signs, and wonders will occur when needed and God, not ourselves, will receive the glory; and others, not ourselves will be helped.

How can I receive this total surrender? The same way that the first disciples did, by faith in “the power of the resurrection.”

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Php. 3:10)

What is the power of the resurrection? Before we can answer that question, we must first understand who God is.

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exo. 3:14)

“And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Exo. 3:15)

The LORD is the Hebrew word Yhovah (Jehovah) which means the “self-existent one.”

The Lord said that He is “I AM THAT I AM”. In other words “I exist because I cause myself to exist.”

Every person, every place, everything is dependent on someone or something else in order to exist. If you did not have air to breathe, water to drink, or food to eat you could not continue to live. If gravity did not hold you to the earth you would fly off into space and die.

Animals are dependent upon the same things we are. Plants are dependent upon water, soil, and sun. Sea creatures are dependent upon the oceans and seas. Even the earth itself is dependent upon the gravitational pull of the sun to keep it in orbit.

Everything is dependent upon something else in order to survive, EXCEPT FOR GOD. God is only dependent upon himself to survive. He is “the self-existent one.”

That is why the Bible says, “Power belongeth unto God.” (Psalm 62:11) God is the source of all power, even the power which He needs to exist.

Now let’s look to Jesus.

Tomorrow– Experiencing the Power of the Resurrection

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK,  amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices