UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: Spiritual Growth

 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; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”  (Eph. 4:14-15)

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)

“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.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: Signs 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

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UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: The Sons of God

 “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 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”.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: 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

UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: 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)

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

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

“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)

As said at the beginning, man has always sought after that 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.

“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)

“Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:” (Eph. 1:21)

“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” (Eph. 1:22)

“Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” (Eph. 1:23)

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)

“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)

“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)

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: The Sons of 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

UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: The River of Power

 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”  (John 7:38-39)

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 out into 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.

The prophet talked of the river to the ankles. This is the initial touch of the Holy Spirit. This is where the current begins to tug at your ankles and pull you in the direction of the flow.

Jesus said that no man would come to Him unless the Father draw him. (John 6:44) Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you.” (John 15:16)

The prophet talked of the water to the knees. After Jesus rose from the grave, He appeared to the disciples, breathed on them, and said, “Receive Ye the Holy Ghost.” (John 20:22) This is that born again experience that Jesus spoke of in the third chapter of the Gospel of John.

“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)

“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)

This is when Christ comes into your heart through the Holy Spirit. You are not the only one living inside of your body anymore, but now another presence has come inside of you to live also.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17)

He seals you unto the day of redemption, and you now belong unto Christ. Jesus has purchased you with His blood and you are not your own anymore.

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30)

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom. 8:9)

You are in the water to your knees. The river has half of your legs, and you have the other half. The Holy Spirit is directing you one way, but you have the power to go the other. This is where many Christians find themselves today.

They have been born again and the Holy Spirit has come inside of them. They are like the disciples who Jesus breathed upon and said, “Receive Ye the Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit is directing them to go one way but their common sense and will are directing them another, and sadly the common sense will usually win. This is why Jesus told the disciples to “tarry in Jerusalem.”

They had already received the Holy Spirit in them, now they needed to be endued with power. They needed to be filled with the Holy Ghost. They needed to come out into the river to the loins.

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:1-2)

“And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:3-4)

There are those theologians who will say that at the point of salvation we receive all of the Holy Spirit that there is. That may be true. But if we rightly divide the Word of God, we can see that there are two distinct encounters with the Holy Ghost. There is the point that we receive Him, and there is the point when we are filled with Him.

Those same theologians will say that no second experience with the Holy Spirit is necessary. However, Jesus knew that it was so necessary that he commanded His disciples not to begin their Great Commission until they had received it.

The early Church knew that this power from on high was so necessary that whenever they encountered believers who had not received it, they made sure that they were filled with the Holy Ghost also.

“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:” (Acts 8:14-15)

“(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:16-17)

“He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” (Acts 19:2)

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:5-6)

These theologians might also say that this experience of being filled with the Holy Ghost was only for the early Church in order that it might be established. They believe that we do not need such signs and wonders today. They base their belief on First Corinthians 13:8-10

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1Cor. 13:8)

“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” (1Cor 13:9-10)

They say that once the Bible was completed, then “that which is perfect” had come and the miraculous signs of the Holy Ghost were no longer needed or given by God. By not rightly dividing the Word of truth, they deny the power thereof.

One look at verse 12 and we realize that the perfection spoken of by the Apostle Paul is referring to the return of Christ when our bodies shall be changed like unto His glorious body, and as the Scripture says, “we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

“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)

As we look at the prophecy of Ezekiel concerning the river, we see that each depth must be reached first before we can go further. We cannot just jump out into the middle and receive the fullness of the river, the fullness of the anointing and power of God.

We must first be drawn by the Spirit, the waters to the ankles. (John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”)

We must be born again, the waters to the knees. (Romans 10: 9-10 “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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”)

We must be filled with the Holy Ghost, the waters to the loins or the waist. (Luke 11:13 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”)

If you have not yet asked Him, simply ask the Heavenly Father to fill you with the Holy Ghost and He will do it.

Now we are out in the water to our waist. The current of the river has control of our legs and is pulling us in the right direction. We are being led by the Spirit of God, but we are still standing on our feet.

Before we can have the faith to take the next step and launch out into the waters to swim in, to leap out into the full force of the current and the depth of the power of God, we need to realize the purpose of the river. Why do we need to go out into the deep?

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: 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

UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: The Manifestation of Power

 “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)

POWER. From the Greek word dynamos which, according to Strong’s Concordance, means: force (literally or figuratively); specially, miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself)

It is the same root word from which we get the word dynamite. It invokes thoughts of life changing, earth shaking, and explosive power.

It seems that man has always looked for someone with superhuman power. Whether it is the gods of mythology or the stuff of fairytales, legends, and comic books, men have always conjured up stories of individuals whose abilities went beyond those of mortal man.

A man whose power could change the elements of nature and the course of mankind, who could always vanquish evil and establish good.

However, all dreams of such power are only that: stories birthed in the imagination of man, except for one individual recorded in history. Only one man whose power was unlimited, who had the Spirit of Almighty God without measure.

Only one of whom the Bible says that He is the image of the invisible God, the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Only one whose miraculous power was witnessed by so many individuals that any court ever assembled would have no recourse but to conclude the reality of His wonderful acts.

That one individual is the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, who fully intended for His disciples, His Church, to walk in that same miracle working power after His resurrection and ascension into Heaven.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;” (Mark 16:15-17)

“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:18)

“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16:19-20)

The Bible tells us of how the early Church experienced all of these manifestations of the power of God. The Book of Acts records how the first believers would speak with tongues as the Holy Ghost came upon them. The Apostle Paul said, “I speak with tongues more than you all.”

The early disciples cast devils out of soothsayers and fortunetellers. They would lay their hands on sick people and they were healed. The Bible records that there were instances when even the shadow of Peter or handkerchiefs from Paul brought healing to the sick.

We read in the Book of Acts when a poisonous snake bit the Apostle Paul on his hand, but he shook it off and felt no harm. The history of the Church tells us that the Apostle John was poisoned several times in attempts to kill him; however the poison had no effect on him, even to the point that many believed John could not die and would remain until Jesus returned.

Were these signs and miracles only for the Apostles, for the disciples who had been with Jesus, or to help the early Church get established and then they would disappear?

NO! Definitely Not!

“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39)

God intended for these signs to follow all that believe.

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;” (Mark 16:17)

Believe what? Believe that they are able to do such things? Believe that they have some supernatural ability greater than other men? No!

These signs shall follow them that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who believe in His ability, in Who He really is. Those who truly believe that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That He never changes. That the Jesus we believe in today is no less a Jesus than the Jesus who healed the sick, and opened blinded eyes, and raised the dead so long ago.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8)

One might ask, “If Jesus Christ is the same, why don’t we see the miracles today that we read of in the Book of Acts and in the Gospels?”

There was a time in the Old Testament when someone asked almost the identical question.

“And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” (Jdg. 6:13)

We can look at the Church today, and as Gideon, we might say, “Where be all His miracles?”

The 17th Chapter of Matthew tells us of a time when the disciples of Jesus could not cast the devil out of a boy. When they asked Jesus why they were unable to do it, He replied in the 20th verse, “Because of your unbelief…”

The problem today is not that we live in a different time period in which miracles do not exist, but the problem is the same that it has always been. It is a problem of unbelief!

The Bible tells us that there would come a time when the Church would have a form of godliness, but would deny His power.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,” (2Ti 3:1-2)

“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2Ti 3:3-5)

It would seem, as we look about us at the world and the Christian Church today, and if we would be honest with ourselves, that these Scriptures describe the time that we are living in.

However, there is a remnant today that has a desire in their heart for their personal experience with Jesus Christ to be more than a powerless form of godliness.

There are those who are not content to have “church as usual”, but desire to be used of God in the same way that He used the early disciples to manifest His power and glory.

You must be such a one, or you would have no interest in reading a blog entitled “UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN”.

If you are willing to lay aside the vain traditions and opinions of men, If you are willing to believe only the Word of God, If you are willing to have the attitude that if Jesus said it, I believe it and if Jesus wants me to have it, then I want to receive it, then come with me and we will begin a journey through the Word of God that will cause your faith to grow and will bring you into the deep and powerful river of the miracle working power of God.

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38)

“(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:39)

After His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples to “tarry” or wait in Jerusalem until they would be endued with power from on high.

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

Jesus knew that in order for the disciples to do the work that He had called them to do, there had to be a supernatural change take place in their lives.

Until now, they had walked in a similar anointing as did the prophets of old. The Bible teaches us that everything that happened in the Old Testament was a “type” or a “shadow” of better things to come, and that these things happened as an example for us.

The old prophets were a type of Jesus disciples. Just as the anointing of the Holy Ghost would come upon the prophets for a particular job or mission from God and then depart, Jesus had anointed His disciples at various times and sent them forth to do miraculous works.

But the Bible tells us that this occasional anointing of power only caused the prophets to yearn for something permanent and life changing.

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:” (1Peter 1:10)

“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” (1Peter 1:11)

In the same way, although Jesus had anointed the disciples to cast out devils and heal the sick, and they had returned rejoicing that the devils were subject to His name, there was still no power to change from within, as evidenced by their abandonment of Jesus at the time of His crucifixion.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: The River of Power

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

UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: Understanding the Interpretation (The Deceit of the Flesh: Part 2)

 “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)

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)

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 the Scriptures we have read and the Scriptures we shall read will create in us the spiritual hearing to have faith to repent of all sin, receive forgiveness, crucify the flesh, reject worldliness, resist the devil, pick ourselves 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)

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: The Manifestation of Power

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

UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: Understanding the Interpretation (The Deceit of the Flesh: Part 1)

 “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)

The second accomplice of the devil working with the world to prevent us from walking in the Spirit 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.”

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN: Understanding the Interpretation (The Deceit of the Flesh: Part 2)

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