Exercising Our Knowledge


“Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said unto them, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the FIRST and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mathew 22:36-40)

Some people will read this passage and say that it is a nice scripture and most would agree that it is true and very important, but how many have actually received it into their heart as a personal revelation? We know about the masses of people around the world who “practice” religion and seem very sincere about church attendance and will even give money toward a good cause, but they have a difficult time with the concept of total abandonment of their will. I should know because I am one of those people. How do you think I can write so much about the struggle between the flesh and spirit if I was not experiencing it for myself? I have come to the point in my spiritual development that I am not concerned with the devil near as much as I am with my carnality. I also realize that I have not been called to fight against the system of the beast except through prayer because God has already seen the future and made His plans accordingly. What I and all of His children have been called to do is to fill our mind with His Word and fill our conscience with His presence! If we can do that – we can walk in His Spirit and follow His voice. Loving Him with all of our existence and Being obedient to his specific instructions (or perfect will) for our destiny, is what life is really all about. Everything else we do outside of His perfect will are things that we cherish and we have chosen to satisfy our natural desires. I am not saying that all that we own is bad, but only provoking us to think about just how much these things mean to us. It does seem that we could find a happy medium but with God, He does not see anything or do anything half-way. The lukewarm analogy is a perfect example of how He thinks and what He expects from those who represent His Kingdom. The sixth chapter of Mathew is a very important message to those who proclaim to be Christians. Let us read starting in verse 24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You CANNOT serve God and mammon.” We have heard a lot about the prosperity movement and how God wants us all to be rich, but our faith would be better used if we could pray with our spiritual eyes instead of our carnal desires. The rest of chapter 24 goes on to describe how a true disciple of Christ should not worry about having houses and storage buildings filled with goods because they ruin and are susceptible to being stolen. He is explaining that a true Christian would actually give his possessions away and not even worry about what to eat or wear. I realize this sounds ridiculous especially in our culture and modern society because the “normal” way of living that we all have been accustomed to is to work and make money, and use our finances to provide security for ourselves and our family. Our idea of success is the more we make the higher lifestyle we can provide. It seems that we have subconsciously designed a correct and logical way to live without really paying much attention to these old verses of scripture. Why is that? Because we think this pertained to the world when people walked around in robes and sandals and really had nothing much to do. We think it was a lot easier to just wander around and tell people about God because they did not have the responsibilities or opportunities to “get a life”. Personally, I believe the religious world has missed the point and sadly may be missing Jesus altogether. “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which said, by hearing you shall hear and shall not understand and seeing you shall see and shall not perceive. For this people’s heart is waxed gross, (calloused) and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be CONVERTED, and I should heal them.” (Mathew 13: 14-15)

I want to be more honest than I have ever been about my personal life as I realize that Jesus must become more than just words. For many years I have been blessed with talents and gifts to play an instrument, write songs, record them and minister them. I am a licensed minister that has officiated weddings and funerals, I have taught classes, counseled, and given sermons, led worship, ministered in revivals and prisons, and all these opportunities are a privilege and honor to do. I have also had the blessing of graduating from Seminary along with being the chaplain for our local fire department and a counselor for the State crisis response team. However, these works and good deeds do not really tell the whole story or reveal the big picture of reality. Some of you may be able to relate to what I am about to say and that is, the attitude of the heart is the deciding factor as to how effective we are and how we will be rewarded. I confess that many times I have not really wanted to do what is commonly called a “labor of love” because I was being selfish and wanted to do something else. At other times I have volunteered to do things with the hidden motive that maybe I would meet someone or a door might be opened for me to receive a job opportunity or a financial blessing. It is embarrassing to admit but within my nature, I have discovered that I like to be respected and I expect many times to be compensated for my labor. For those of you who love to go and do everything they can without ever thinking that people are taking advantage of you or just using you, I am impressed and want to be more like you. In order for me to “overcome” these feelings of paranoia and self-centered pride, I realize that I must “incorporate” what God is giving to me to write – into my heart! I have learned what I need to do already – now I must exercise my knowledge! This is the great mysterious revelation that I am seeking! I am trying to understand how we go from understanding the problem – to allowing God to heal us and empower us to change. This is where I believe we must take our will “by the horns” so to speak, and become determined to pray, think and confess our way to victory! I realize He is not going to snap His fingers and instantly “fix” us, but He is willing to walk with us and “help” teach us in this refining process of transformation. The question remains the same – do we really want to do it and why can’t we live and think as Paul did? “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Philippians 3:7-8)

I want to tell you a true story about a man I admire and have looked up to as a mentor in the faith. Years ago, I was asked by a minister acquaintance of mine to accompany him in his prison ministry, to sing songs and share whatever was on my heart and I agreed to go. I would begin the service and he would teach a sermon and give an invitation for anyone who wanted to receive Christ as their Lord. He was truly a humble man that was not what you would call a powerful, charismatic personality. In fact, when you listened to him talk and especially when he would teach, you could not help but wonder how or why this man thought he was called to speak publically. I am not being critical but rather trying to make a point about how God sees and does things much differently than we do in our flesh. Our ideas of an anointed and professional minister would be someone that has graduated seminary, a sharp thinker and who has a powerful, clear speaking voice. This is not the case with brother Edwards. He is soft spoken with a gentle persona and had much trouble trying to connect his words and often could not even remember his thoughts. I have seen him become so frustrated with becoming tongue-tied that he would just stop and breathe for a second and try to start again. As I watched and listened, I finally began to see how God could use someone like this and many times I had tears welling up in my eyes because I could feel God’s presence so heavy in the room. It became apparent that God was using the weakness of a human and the meekness of a dedicated heart to reveal His glory. God uses this man as he offers himself and He can use anyone else that is willing to share the gospel with a broken and contrite heart. You see, brother Edwards loves souls. He is passionate about evangelism and would walk across a burning desert to tell somebody about Jesus. He does not care when, where or how much it cost, he is ready to go and share his heart, believing that the power of salvation is in the gospel. He lives a very simple life. He loves God with all of his heart and he loves people as himself – just like the scripture in Mathew 22 say’s. This is a perfect example of a modern day disciple that has abandoned his will for God’s agenda. He called me the other day and wanted to know if I would like to start going with him again just like we did years ago. I said it would be an honor – he is now 82 years old. “And He said unto them, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.” (Mathew 4:19-20)

You see, it is very difficult for us to remember that when Jesus purchased us with His blood, our life is not ours anymore. To abandon and surrender our will means that we are now an instrument for HIS use. It does not matter how much our labor cost us or how much time it takes out of our life, the only objective is to keep our eyes on Him and obey His voice. The strife that we feel within our soul is when we begin to “argue” about how we do not have the money or time to give for His work. However, we must settle this issue once and for all by realizing that serving Him freely and sincerely is the true reason and purpose we live. Loving and obeying Him is the meaning of life, while our carnal selfishness, rebellion, and arrogance continues to sing that famous old song – I did it my way. Selah.

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