Spiritual Growth as seen in the Story of the Prodigal Son

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

“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)

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.

“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”.

Next- Signs 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

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Growing Spiritually in Christ

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”  (1Cor. 13:11)

“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 Saviour 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”.

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”.

Next- Spiritual Growth as seen in the Story of the Prodigal Son

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

Babes in Christ

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”  (1Peter 2:2)

“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 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)

Next- Growing Spiritually 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

What does it mean to “Walk in the Spirit”?

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  (Rom. 8:1)

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  (Gal. 5:16)

Since the beginning of the early Christian Church there have been many different doctrines and beliefs as to what it means to “walk in the Spirit”.

The same holds true today.

Satan does not want you to discover how to walk in the Spirit.

At the very most he would like to see you fall in your Christian walk, give up, and turn from the faith.

At the very least he would like to see you continuously stumble and falter so that your faith would be weak and ineffectual.

Before we establish our belief as to what it is to “walk in the Spirit”, let us see what it is not.

First, “walking in the Spirit” is not how you dress or how you look. Although how you dress and look might reflect the way you think, it will in no way empower you or create in you the ability to “walk in the Spirit”.

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1Sam. 16:7)

Walking in the Spirit is not being so “heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.”

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matt. 5:13)

It is not belonging to a certain Church, or denomination, or group. It is not how many times a day you pray, or fast, or read your Bible, or attend service.

What is “walking in the Spirit?”

First and foremost, walking in the Spirit is a choice.

It is the determination to reject the world and the flesh and choose what we know to be God’s will according to His Word.

It is then allowing and trusting in the indwelling Holy Spirit to empower us to walk in that righteous choice.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16)

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:17)

“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” (Gal. 5:18)

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,” (Gal. 5:19)

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,” (Gal. 5:20)

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:21)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” (Gal. 5:22)

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:23)

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Gal. 5:24)

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:25)

The Bible tells us:

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.(Rom. 10:17)

It is our belief that reading the Scriptures will create in you the spiritual hearing to have faith to repent of all sin, receive forgiveness, crucify the flesh, reject worldliness, resist the devil, pick yourself up, turn around, and walk in the Spirit to do the will of God.

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

Next- Babes 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

Understanding the “Fool” and the “Wise” of Proverbs

“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”  (Psalm 14:1)

The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.”  (Prov. 3:35)

The first accomplice of the devil working to prevent us from walking in the Spirit is the world; however, the second is the flesh.

Although we have been born again and our spirit has been born from above, the sin nature still exists in our flesh to draw us away from the things of God.

Jesus said:

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

The carnal man or flesh nature is of the world but the new man or spiritual nature is from God.

“As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” (1Cor. 15:48)

Until Jesus returns, and as long as we are in this body, we will always have the flesh nature to contend with.

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (1Cor. 15:50)

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” (1Cor. 15:51)

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1Cor. 15:52)

Although we cannot escape the flesh while we are upon this earth, the Bible teaches us that we can weaken the flesh until he is not able to prevail in our lives.

THIS IS THE KEY TO WALKING IN THE SPIRIT.

The devil uses the world to entice the carnal man, and the carnal man then tries to draw us toward the world and away from God. The carnal man feeds on the things of the world.

If we can recognize the deceitful debate that the carnal mind offers before we allow him to feed on the world, then we can starve him from the world and weaken him to the point that we treat him as dead.

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Col. 3:5)

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Rom. 8:13)

The word “mortify” literally means to “count as dead” or “cause to die by starvation or abstinence”.

As the carnal man weakens, the new man gets stronger.

By studying what the Bible has to say about the fool (the carnal man) and the wise (the spiritual man), we can learn to recognize the reasonings of the carnal man that is in our flesh and resist him before he has an opportunity to feed on the ways of the world.

“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” (Psalm 14:1)

This is the basic nature and foundational belief of the flesh: that there is no God. From this stems all other subtle persuasions.

“Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.” (Prov. 27:22)

The carnal man will never change. If you could take the sin nature and grind it in a mortar with a pestle, you could not grind this belief out of him.

Your faith in God and Christ resides in your new nature born of God. Your sinful nature in your flesh has not changed. He still says there is no God.

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jer. 13:23)

That is why psychiatrists, psychologists, behaviorists, and others can never change an individual by themselves.

It takes God to change a person by giving them a new nature to join with the Holy Spirit and war against the old nature to subdue it. You cannot change the sinful nature of man.

The carnal man says that there is no God. There is no God to help you. There is no God to love you. There is no God to hear you. There is no God to care. And so on, and so on, and so on.

He will try to get you to choose any other solution for your problems instead of trusting God.

You cannot rationalize with the old nature, you cannot persuade the old nature, and you cannot change the old nature.

As soon as you recognize the old nature is arguing against what you know to be right in your heart, the only answer is to resist and starve the old nature, fight him through the power of the Holy Spirit with the Word of God, turn and walk away.

The Bible tells in the Gospels that after the Holy Ghost descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and was tempted of the devil.

Each time He was tempted, He said “It is written.” Jesus didn’t argue, He didn’t debate, He didn’t justify, He simply said, “It is written” and then quoted the Word of God that was contrary to the temptation of the devil.

This was done for our example. This is how we defeat the flesh, the world, and the devil. “It is written.”

The flesh will try to persuade us that we have waited on God long enough. That it would be easier to just borrow the money, take out the loan, change jobs, move to another church, etc.

However, it is written:

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31)

The fool says that we are justified to be angry and hide hatred and unforgiveness in our hearts. The fool says that if we believe it to be true then it is alright to speak to the detriment of others.

“He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.” (Prov. 10:18)

However, it is written:

“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6:15)

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:” (Prov. 6:16)

“…A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Prov. 6:19)

The fool says to just try it this way and see if it works. Let’s just try living together before we get married. Let’s just try not declaring the cash on our taxes, no one will know. Let’s just try a drink. Let’s just try sex. Let’s just try drugs. Just one time.

“It is as sport (laughter) to a fool to do mischief (a bad plan): but a man of understanding hath wisdom.” (Prov. 10:23)

However, it is written:

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:” (Prov. 6:16)

“…An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,” (Prov. 6:18)

The fool says that it should be done your way. Your way is the best. Your way will work. You are smarter, stronger, better. Demand your rights. Stand your ground.

“A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.” (Prov. 14:16)

However, it is written:

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

The fool says that the Bible was written almost two thousand years ago. There is no way that it can apply to your life today.

A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” (Prov. 15:5)

However, it is written:

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4)

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2Tim. 3:16)

The world and the fool (the sinful nature) work together to cause you to depart from the plan, work, or answer that the Lord has directed you to seek for. He wants you to give up on God or at least question what you have heard from God just before God’s promised blessing comes.

The carnal man’s advice always leads to the answer that the world has and away from God’s answer.

“Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.” (Prov. 17:24)

But God says:

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)

“For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” (James 1:7)

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)

Next- What does it mean to “Walk in the Spirit”?

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 “Strange Woman” of Proverbs

“Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.”  (Pro. 7:4-5)

The world as the “adulteress” tries to establish a long time affair with the born again believer in order to cripple their spiritual walk. Sometimes this can be done by causing the Christian to lose hope because of being overtaken in a fault and continuously stumbling concerning a particular sin or weakness.

This affair can also be established by causing the believer to choose to continue in a worldly path or practice expecting that God will overlook it, not care about it, or even bless it even though it might not be “exactly the right thing to do”.

The world as the “strange woman” (or harlot, or whorish woman) on the other hand, tries to convince Christians through various deceitful and erroneous means that they must be misunderstanding what God actually has said or wants them to do because everything else seems to point to the opposite.

One Biblical example of this would be the serpent in the Garden of Eden when he told Eve that if she ate the forbidden fruit she would not “surely die”, when in reality her and Adam were separated from God and died spiritually.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Gen. 3:6)

As Jesus said concerning Satan:

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

In the same way that Satan used the serpent, he uses the world.

Thus as the proverb says, the “strange woman…flattereth with her words.”

“For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil, But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.” (Prov. 5:3-5)

Here the Bible is clear. If the deceit of the world is taken and followed without repentance, it will lead to destruction.

One example of this worldly deceit is in our modern day cultural acceptance of the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

The Bible is very clear in both the Old and the New Testament that for a man to have a carnal relationship with a man and for a woman to have a carnal relationship with a woman is an abomination in the eyes of God.

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination…” (Lev. 20:13)

“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Rom. 1:27)

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,” (1Cor. 6:9)

The Bible tells us in the Book of 1 Timothy that there is such a thing as an “opposition of science”:

“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:” (1Tim. 6:20)

This simply means that when science is in opposition to the Word of God then it is a false science. Such is the case with many so called “scientific discoveries” in the world today.

When science makes the statement they have discovered that people are born with homosexual tendencies and that they cannot change, this is in direct opposition to God’s Word which states that homosexuality is a sin which is a choice to transgress the Word of God.

The gay and lesbian lifestyle is a sin; it is a choice to live in direct violation of the will of God. It is no different than fornication, or adultery, or telling a lie, or harboring unforgiveness. It is a choice and a sin that needs to be repented of.

However, because of the “flattering words” of the world and the “opposition of science”, many people have declared that “I was born like this” or that “God made me this way” and so ignoring the Word of God continue in a lifestyle that will lead to destruction.

Thus encouraged by those who say you cannot choose your sexual preference because you were born one way or the other, young people are told today to “discover your own sexuality’’ and feel free to live an “alternate lifestyle” for this is your destiny.

Because of the deceptive lies of the “strange woman” (the world), what once was a youthful temptation to be resisted and overcome now becomes a walk after the flesh that leads to condemnation if unrepentant.

The escape from condemnation for believers has a contingency:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom. 8:1)

There are those who say “God is love. He will love me no matter what I do.” (1 John 4:8) This is true. God is love, and He will love you no matter what. However, it does matter what you do.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Gal. 6:7-8)

This worldly deception that “the flesh doesn’t matter” was a doctrine held by a cult of the early church called the Nicolaitanes. They believed that as long as you had accepted Christ then your spirit was right with God and it did not matter what you did with your flesh. God speaks in The Revelation concerning this doctrine:

“But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” (Rev. 2:6)

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

By studying the scriptures in Proverbs concerning the harlot, we can further understand this deception of the world:

“And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)” (Pro 7:10-12)

“So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.” (Pro 7:13-15)

“I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.” (Pro 7:16-18)

“For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.” (Pro 7:19-21)

Again we see, she “lieth in wait at every corner.” Satan uses the world to stalk the Christian. He will make sure that the world’s temptation will confront you face to face.

God told Cain: “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door…” (Gen. 4:7)

God wants us to know that as long as we are in the world we will always be confronted with temptation. We will always be faced with choosing the way of the Spirit or the way of the flesh.

The harlot says, “This day have I payed my vows.” In other words she is saying that she has already given God the sacrifice in advance for her sin, so everything is alright.

In the same way, the world says, “As long as you believe in God everything will be alright.”

While God says:

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)

We know the devils will not spend eternity with God in heaven. It takes more than just believing in God.

The world says, “Go to Church, pay your tithe, give God his day and the rest of the week is yours.”

While God says:

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1Cor. 6:19-20)

It takes more than just one day a week.

God does not want just a worship service. God desires a relationship. God wants you to “walk in the Spirit and fulfill not the lust of the flesh.”

And finally, the harlot says “the good man is not at home…he will come home at the time appointed.” In other words, “We have plenty of time. We don’t have to worry about being caught.”

The world today says, “I’ve heard about Jesus coming my whole life and he hasn’t come yet.” “No need to worry about that until it happens.”

The Bible says:

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Heb. 9:27)

Whether it be today, tomorrow, or years from now, when we die then that will be our time for the coming of Christ, because that is when we will see Him face to face.

And whether it is the day of the return of Christ to this earth or whether it is the day of our time to face death, “…of that day and hour knoweth no man”. (Matt. 24:36)

The world says, “God has more important things to worry about besides me.”

But Jesus says:

“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” (Luke 12:6)

“But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7)

The strange woman says, “…he is gone a long journey.”

This is symbolic of the Church Age. The time we are in now. The time before the second coming of Christ.

Jesus said, “…Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

Jesus is coming for a people, a church “…not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:27)

The Apostle Paul compares the Christian life to running a race (Heb. 12:1). Are we running toward the world or toward the Lord?

If we are walking away from the world, then we are walking after the Spirit.

Next- Understanding the “Fool” and the “Wise” of Proverbs

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 Interpretations and Dark Sayings of Proverbs

“To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.”  (Pro. 1:6)

Many people believe that the Book of Proverbs is just a book of lessons on the practical principles of daily living.

But here we read at the beginning of the book that it says of itself there is an interpretation to these dark sayings.

The Hebrew word for dark sayings literally means puzzle or riddle. So we see that just as it is with the parables that Jesus told, so it is with the Book of Proverbs.

On the surface they seem like practical stories or instructions concerning the natural world around us, but underneath the surface there are deeper spiritual meanings.

Although there are many subjects touched upon in the Book of Proverbs, there are two main and prevalent themes written about and woven throughout the book.

These are the comparison of the wise and the foolish, and the warnings concerning the strange or adulteress woman.

By understanding the spiritual truths underlying these two themes, we can better comprehend how the flesh and the world operate to deceive us into yielding to temptation and hindering our walk in the Spirit.

“Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” (Prov. 7:27)

Although the Bible teaches that fornication and adultery are sins to abstain from and repent of, it places no greater emphasis on these than on any other.

However, in the Book of Proverbs the subject is dealt with so extensively that it becomes apparent that the adulteress, harlot, or strange woman represents more than it first appears.

In the Book of James in the New Testament we find that someone who is a friend of the world is called an adulterer or adulteress:

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

Thus we find out that the adulteress or strange woman represents the world. What the Book of Proverbs has to say about the immoral woman teaches us how the devil will use the world to draw us away from the path of righteousness and from walking in the Spirit.

“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.” (Prov. 6:26)

As with the parables of Jesus, the proverbs have a practical application and a spiritual meaning.

The practical application of this particular proverb is that sexual immorality will cause an individual to lose their family, lose their honor, lose their reputation, and even lose their business and prosperity; thus reducing him or her to “a piece of bread”.

The spiritual truth lies in the statement that “…the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”

You need to understand that you are precious in the eyes of God. Jesus said:

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

You are special to God. Jesus has said that no man would come to Him unless the Father draw him. (John 6:44)

The Bible says that you were chosen in Him (Jesus Christ) before the foundation of the world. (Eph. 1:4) When you were conceived in your mother’s womb, God knew you and loved you and even called together the parts of your body in the way that He wanted them to be fashioned. (Psalm 139)

He chose you and called you, and you answered His call, and now you are precious in His sight:

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (1Peter 2:9)

However, in the same way that the Lord wanted you, chose you, and called you, the world that at one time had you does not want to give you up. It will try to draw you and entice you with all that it has if you will only choose to follow its way.

Jesus understands:

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15)

The devil used the world to tempt Jesus and he will use it in the same way to tempt you:

“And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” (Luke 4:5-6)

Jesus said you cannot serve “two masters”. (Matt. 6:24)

You cannot walk towards the world and towards the Lord at the same time. You cannot concurrently walk in worldliness and walk in the Spirit.

Many a man and woman of God has lost the anointing because they chose profit margins, attendance records, social recognition, and building a ministry over walking in the Spirit.

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1Tim. 6:10)

The message to learn from this proverb is that the world is stalking the Christian.

“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:19)

We cannot ignore the world. We cannot separate ourselves and have nothing to do with the world.

But we can resist the world. We can be aware that the world and all of its ways are not designed by the devil for the sinner, but they are designed to draw away and entrap the believer from following the ways of the Lord.

And the world has targeted you to make sure that its ways are always presented as an option for you to choose.

We must always ask ourselves, “Is this the way the world would have me do it or is this the way the Lord would have me do it? Is this what the world does or is this what the Lord would do?”

If we choose the still small voice of our new nature, if we choose the voice of our born again spiritual man who is being guided by the indwelling Holy Spirit, even if that voice goes against the rationality of our mind, then we are walking in the Spirit.

Next- The “Strange Woman” of Proverbs

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