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.
Paul exhorted his readers to “present their bodies” as “living sacrifices”. We have seen in previous posts that this must be done prior to our being in position to be used in His service.
God will not reveal His plan and purpose to us until we have given Him our hearts. There are many Christians who talk a good talk but have no relationship with their Savior.
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
This is a description of a large portion of the Church today. We gather on Sundays and talk religious talk but then go back to the grindstone on Monday. Our hearts are far from God outside of service and this is reflected in the lack of power manifesting through us.
There are many ministers who serve in ministry out of their natural abilities. They study and deliver intellectual sermons but have no anointing to empower their ministry. This is not what God planned for His Church.
God is concerned with the condition of our hearts. He does not want us to step out before we are ready and fully prepared. This will mean spending time hidden away with little to no recognition for our efforts.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Satan does not want us to walk in the plan of God. It is critical for us to spend the necessary time in preparation because he will attack us at every point when we do step out. Many have fallen prey to him because they stepped out before they were spiritually prepared.
We will be opposed while walking in the plan of God. God desires our heart so that He can mold it and build faith into us.
Satan places a priority on people who are walking in the will of God and causing damage to his kingdom. I do not believe that we each have a demon personally assigned to us but do believe that he does assign one to those who are walking in the plan of God.
If our heart is not really yielded to the Lord when Satan attacks we will fall. God loves us too much to let this happen by revealing His will to us when our hearts are not in a position to resist the devil.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
There are many people that have tried to resist the devil unsuccessfully. The reason is that they were not fully submitted to God. James tells us that we must first submit before attempting to resist the devil.
11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
The sons of Sceva saw the power flowing out of Paul and attempted to imitate him. They did not prepare their hearts and were not submitted to God. The first evil spirit they attempted to cast out basically laughed at them.
One of the reason that God has not revealed His will to some people is that He does not want them stepping out in the flesh only to be overcome. This is what happened to the seven sons of Sceva.
One of the greatest revelations I’ve ever received is that God loves each one of us much more than what we are able to do for Him. He is not going to use us up only to be cast aside. God desires for us to walk in the victory appropriated by Jesus in His redemptive work.
There are many people and ministers who have circumvented God’s way of doing things. They did not take the necessary time to prepare their hearts but instead rode on someone else’s coattails to build a ministry with no foundation.
It is possible to build a large work without God’s involvement. There are many large churches that lack His presence. Some of the largest churches today resemble worldly concerts. They have reduced their sermons to messages on positive thinking and are focused on entertaining the crowd than on building disciples.
Building a work God’s way will take much longer. The Holy Spirit will lead us each step of the way and He will prepare our hearts for the next. This will not get the instant results that we may want but it will lead to a ministry that will stand against every trial and storm that comes against it.
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