GOD SAID THE INNER MAN

Romans 2:28-29

“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”
NKJV

Who or what are you trusting in? Do you trust in rituals or Jesus? Do you place your trust in baptism, catechism, confirmation or church membership? If your trust is in these things, then my friend, it is misplaced. Do you think you are a Christian because you go to church or because your parents were Christians? None of these things mean you are a Christian. The Apostle Paul says we should examine ourselves to make certain we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Faith leads to works, not the other way around. If you are counting on works, you need to re-evaluate. God is concerned with the inward man, not with outward pomp or show.

Joel 2:13 “So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.” NKJV

God is interested in the heart, the inward you. He is not interested in our outward traditions or rituals. So test yourself, what works are in your life? “Wait a second, Minister Roderick. I thought it wasn’t about works.” Friend, if you have repented and accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the ‘outward works’ should change according to the ‘inward working’ of the Spirit of God in you. Let your heart be softened, and let your actions be changed; not placing your confidence in your own works, but in the work that God is doing in you.

Life Lesson: Let your heart and your actions be changed.

Dear Father,
Help me to place my trust in You. Change my heart so that my actions reflect the work You are doing in me. Thank You for working in me so that I may be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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THE JOY OF REVIVAL..

In yesterday’s devotional, I challenged you to consider whether God needs to do a work in your life to revive you spiritually.  Perhaps you feel it, but you just don’t know what it is.         

Over the next few days, I want to point you to the vital signs that may indicate the need for spiritual revival in your life.  The first one we find in Psalm 85.  It is lack of joy.   Look at the language in verse 6,

Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?

When a person is sullen and depressed spiritually, cheerless and despondent, it is a sure sign that they need revival.

You might say, “Well, you know, if my circumstances would just change, then I would rejoice.”  No.  Joy is not dependent upon your circumstances.  In fact, let me give you a great example.

2 Corinthians 8:1-2 states,

Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:  that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.

Notice this language.  The Macedonians were not in a little trial.  They were in a “great trial of affliction.”  They were experiencing deep poverty, tremendous lack in their life, and yet they had abundant joy.

What was their secret?  Living in the grace of God.

More than anything else, joy is dependent upon understanding the grace of God, knowing that God’s grace is at work even in your affliction.  

If you are joyless today, ask the Spirit of God to fill your heart.  If you do, there will be a joy regardless of what you are facing.

I NEED A REVIVAL..

Psalm 85:6 asks a powerful question,

Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?

Notice that the psalmist says, “again.”  This tells me that the nation of Israel was once in a state of revival, but that had waned, it had declined, and they had come again to the place where they needed to be revived.

Perhaps today you are in a place where you need to be revived.

Revival has been described as the inrush of the Spirit into the body that threatens to become a corpse.  That is a good definition.  Something needs to be revived when it is dying or when it has lost its strength or momentum.

Revival brings new life.  It brings fresh vigor.  It brings renewed momentum to that which is in a weakened or dying state.

In 2 Timothy 1:6, Paul writes to Timothy, Stir up the gift of God which is in you. The word for stir up literally means to rekindle.  In other words, a fire was there at one time, but it has begun to burn low.  And now it needs to be refueled and tended to.

The Amplified Bible says, Rekindle the embers, fan the flame and keep burning the gracious gift of God, the inner fire.

Maybe you have felt spiritually flat lately.  Maybe the fire that once burned white hot for God is now just a glowing ember.  If so, it is time to rekindle those embers and fan to flame what He has put within you.  

As God goes to work in your life, you will find that once again your life will be filled with purpose, and you will once again rejoice in God.

FAITH PRAYER..

Over the last few devotionals, we have looked at faith—what true faith looks like, and the motive behind the faith that pleases God.  

In James 5:15 we are told,

And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Clearly, James wants us to know that when we pray a prayer of faith, God will answer it.  In this passage, we are told that through that prayer God will indeed heal those who are sick, and raise them up.

So what is it that makes up the prayer of faith?  There are three components, all of which we have touched on in the last few days.

The prayer of faith is a prayer that:

  1. Does not waver.  It doesn’t vacillate, moving back and forth.  It is anchored on the promise of God.
  2. Is followed by corresponding actions.
  3. Is prayed from right motives.

The example James cites of someone who prayed a prayer of faith is Elijah.  I encourage you to read his story in 1 Kings 17.  There you find that, through the prayer of faith, God shut up the heavens and there was no rain.  And then, by another prayer of faith, the heavens were opened and rain came down.

Elijah expressed his faith when he said he heard the sound of abundance of rain.  He made that statement before there was a cloud in the sky or before a drop of rain ever fell!

When you and I don’t waver in our faith, when we show our faith by corresponding action, and when we pray with right motives, God will act.  As surely as Elijah heard that rain by faith, you can hear the rain…whatever that represents in your life.  That is the prayer of faith.

THE RIGHT MOTIVE…

When speaking of faith, it is critical to talk about the motive of our faith.  James 4:2-3 tells us what a wrong motive is,

You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

God is very concerned about the “why” behind our prayers of faith.  He is very interested in the state of our hearts. And I think it is good to check our motives from time to time.

Why do we want what we want? Is it ego driven? Am I asking for it because I want to impress someone?  Are my motives right?

Now, you don’t have to overdo it.  You can overanalyze things to the point that you become spiritually frozen and don’t do anything.  I think if you will get honest and lay your heart out before God, He will very quickly put the spotlight on the things that should not be there.

Our dog always stands at the back door and scratches on the glass like he really loves us and wants to come in and be with us.  But the moment you open the door he runs right by you into the kitchen looking for food. 

Why do you want the thing you want?  What is the purpose behind asking?  Is it for the glory of God?  Is it to help people?  Is there a pure motive there?

When your motive is right, God will not be long in answering.  But if your motive is not right, God won’t answer until it gets right.

THE RIGHT MOTIVE…

When speaking of faith, it is critical to talk about the motive of our faith.  James 4:2-3 tells us what a wrong motive is,

You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

God is very concerned about the “why” behind our prayers of faith.  He is very interested in the state of our hearts. And I think it is good to check our motives from time to time.

Why do we want what we want? Is it ego driven? Am I asking for it because I want to impress someone?  Are my motives right?

Now, you don’t have to overdo it.  You can overanalyze things to the point that you become spiritually frozen and don’t do anything.  I think if you will get honest and lay your heart out before God, He will very quickly put the spotlight on the things that should not be there.

Our dog always stands at the back door and scratches on the glass like he really loves us and wants to come in and be with us.  But the moment you open the door he runs right by you into the kitchen looking for food. 

Why do you want the thing you want?  What is the purpose behind asking?  Is it for the glory of God?  Is it to help people?  Is there a pure motive there?

When your motive is right, God will not be long in answering.  But if your motive is not right, God won’t answer until it gets right.

WHAT IS TRUE FAITH..

James 2:14-20 tells us the substance of true faith,

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.”  Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that there is one God.  You do well.  Even the demons believe—and tremble!  But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

My favorite translation of this last verse is, “Faith without actions that correspond is dead.”  Faith must have actions that correspond with it.

You can talk about catching fish, about what lures you are going to use, and how you are going to cook them after you catch them, but if you never throw a line in the water, you are not going to catch a fish.

Or it’s like the golfer who comes to a 3-par hole with a lake right in front of the green and says, “No problem, I can hit that green with my six iron.”  Then he digs out an old ratty golf ball.  If he truly believes he can hit the green, he will hit his brand new $3 golf ball!

For faith to be genuine, it has to have corresponding actions.

DO YOU REALLY WANT GODS WISDOM..

In yesterday’s devotional, we talked about how, when you ask for God’s wisdom, He reveals it in your spirit…that hidden place.  But there is a critical requirement for God to reveal that wisdom to you.  You have to ask for it in faith.

James 1:6-8 tells us,

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

You can’t vacillate between two opinions.  If you don’t anchor yourself on God’s promise that He will give you His wisdom, you will be blown about by the opinions of others, by your feelings, by the way the circumstances look, and you won’t receive anything from God.

Not too long ago I went with some friends in a small boat to Catalina (an island 26 miles off the coast of Southern California).  Just as we were arriving at about eight in the evening, the engine seized. We paddled in to a depth where we could drop the anchor.

After calling Vessel Assist, a storm came up and the wind began to blow and the rain began to fall.  We had to wait a couple of hours before help arrived.

You know what?  If we hadn’t dropped anchor, the wind would have blown us somewhere out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

My friend, you have to drop your anchor.  You have to ask in faith.  You can’t vacillate.  You can’t be double-minded if you are going to receive the wisdom of God.

DO YOU REALLY WANT GODS WISDOM..

In yesterday’s devotional, we talked about how, when you ask for God’s wisdom, He reveals it in your spirit…that hidden place.  But there is a critical requirement for God to reveal that wisdom to you.  You have to ask for it in faith.

James 1:6-8 tells us,

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

You can’t vacillate between two opinions.  If you don’t anchor yourself on God’s promise that He will give you His wisdom, you will be blown about by the opinions of others, by your feelings, by the way the circumstances look, and you won’t receive anything from God.

Not too long ago I went with some friends in a small boat to Catalina (an island 26 miles off the coast of Southern California).  Just as we were arriving at about eight in the evening, the engine seized. We paddled in to a depth where we could drop the anchor.

After calling Vessel Assist, a storm came up and the wind began to blow and the rain began to fall.  We had to wait a couple of hours before help arrived.

You know what?  If we hadn’t dropped anchor, the wind would have blown us somewhere out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

My friend, you have to drop your anchor.  You have to ask in faith.  You can’t vacillate.  You can’t be double-minded if you are going to receive the wisdom of God.

SEEK WISDOM..

I think every Christian desires wisdom from God.  But they don’t get it because they don’t understand how to receive it.

In Psalm 51:6, we are told,

…in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

When God communicates His wisdom to us, He does it in that secret part.  Whether it’s as we read His Word and a Scripture speaks to us, or whether the Holy Spirit just whispers to us.  As Proverbs 20:27 tells us, The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord.  In other words, God illuminates us through our spirit.

For example, maybe you are in a difficult financial situation and you just don’t know what to do.  You are working, you are tithing, you are trusting God, you are doing all you need to do, but it seems like you can’t make ends meet.

Maybe what you need is wisdom.  If you ask for it, God may speak something as simple to your heart as, “Go talk to this person.”  Or, “Advertise in this magazine.”  Or, “Call so-and-so and ask them to forgive you for the way you treated them.”  Or He may just say, “Hold steady.”

Shortly after I was saved, I developed a physical condition I could not get any relief from.  So I went to God and I said, “God, give me wisdom.”  God spoke to me and said, “You need to stop drinking coffee.”

Now I did not want to hear that because I was a big coffee drinker.  But you know what?  After obeying God in that, almost immediately, that condition cleared up, and it has never been back. 

God’s wisdom.  He will speak to you.  If you ask, He will make His wisdom known in the hidden part.