Life-Giving Spirits

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:45: “. . . The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” The first Adam (Adam of Adam and Eve) received life; the last Adam (Jesus the Christ) gives life. In the first Adam, all die because of sin, in the last Adam, all can live because of righteousness. Jesus is referred to as “the last Adam” because he was and is the Genesis of a new humanity; human beings who have been “born again” by the Spirit of God. Consequently, those who have been born again, or saved, or who are true Christians, have the Spirit of Christ (Holy Spirit) dwelling within them. Therefore, just as Jesus; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit, those who are in Christ are, in a sense, life-giving spirits.
Note, I said; “in a sense.” A person who is indwelt by the Spirit of Christ is not a life-giving spirit in the exact sense that Jesus is because of the unique and sinless character of Christ. However, since the Spirit of Christ dwells within that person, and that Spirit has life-giving qualities, then it stands to reason that the person or people who have that same Spirit should also have some life-giving qualities in some limited way. 
So, if you are a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, a person who has been born again and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, do you give life to those around you? Are you a life-giving spirit? Let me further clarify: There are many people in the world who are takers and vampires! They are always trying to get what they can get and if you are not careful, they will suck the very life out of you! These are the people who leave you depleted and drained, after just a brief encounter or conversation with them. They are always needy and always want something from you. Do you know anyone like that? Well, they are just the opposite of a life-giving spirit.
When a person is a life-living spirit, they make you feel better about yourself and about life when you are around them. They are encouragers and motivators and they help to make you a better person. They pour into you; life, joy and happiness. They speak life into your life! That’s what I’m talking about when I refer to life-giving spirits. There are too many users, drainers, blood-suckers, and vampires in life! We need more people who are life-giving spirits. That is exactly what the followers of the Last Adam, who became a Life-Giving Spirit should be! Those who have the Spirit of the One who is a Life-Giving Spirit should themselves be; life-giving spirits.

I NEED YOU!!!

I need you

Hey you!!! Yes! You! The person who is reading this post! I’m talking to you! Now, I really don’t know you, but I want you to know: I NEED YOU! Not only do I need you; THE WORLD NEEDS YOU!!! You are here in this season for a reason; to make your contribution to the solution!

The Creator of the Universe planned it so that you would be born when you were born in order that you might serve this present generation! The time, place and circumstances of your birth were all orchestrated to put you in the best possible position to fulfill your mission. Everything that has happened to you up to this point in your life was all designed to help you reach your maximum potential! Even you reading this blog entry at the time you are reading it is all part of a grand design! You see, you have a set of unique abilities, attributes, talents, and skills that no one else in the world has; that makes you very special and very precious!

Because you are so unique, precious and special, I am really pulling for you because if you don’t reach your full potential, we all lose! Your failure will not be just yours! It will be mine and it will be the world’s! For you see; if you should happen to die without or before making the contribution you were born to make, all of humanity will suffer! You were not sent here just to make a living; you were sent here to make a difference!

Therefore, I want to encourage you to not give up! I know it might be hard; but don’t give up! When the going gets difficult; don’t throw in the towel and quit! And for all of our sakes; don’t you dare commit suicide! I NEED YOU to be the best that you can be because only then will I be able to be my best! You see, I NEED YOU to complete me! You help to make me the person I am, just as I help make you the person you are! A better you makes a better me and a better me makes a better you! So, I am pulling for you!

Now in case you think I’m being overly dramatic, just think about this: What if Jesus had given up in the wilderness of temptation? Where would we be if he had decided the cross was too much to bear? What if Abraham Lincoln had given up on politics after all the defeats he had suffered before he ran for President? What if Martin Luther King Jr., had decided to be content with just being a local pastor in Montgomery, AL? What if all the inventors had given up after their first couple of failures? Now, I hear you! You’re saying: “Well, I’m no inventor and I am certainly no Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King, Jr!” And you’re right; you’re not! You are just you! But being you is enough! Being you is all you need to be because all of the people I just named were just being themselves!

I would like to suggest to you that the solutions to many of the present-day ills we are suffering in our society today just might be locked up in the minds of people who have given up on themselves! The answer to cancer could very well be locked up in the mind of some young man who is just wasting his life away, hanging out on the corner! The answer to the AIDs epidemic might be locked up in the mind of some young girl who is selling her body just to feed her babies! Some of the answers may have even died with people who were murdered in senseless killings and some of the answers may have died with some suicide victims who gave up on life!

That is why I am calling you out! I am challenging you to not give up! I am challenging you to not settle for just getting by or just being average and ordinary. I am challenging you to commit yourself to the task of reaching your maximum potential and being the best you that you were born to be! I am challenging you to commit yourself to strive to live a life of excellence! My fate and the fate of the world is depending on it! So don’t ever think that you don’t matter or that you are just a number or just a clog in the cosmic wheel! YOU ARE IMPORTANT! YOU ARE NEEDED! I NEED YOU! THE WORLD NEEDS YOU! Now, get up off of your blessed assurance and be the best you that you can be!

Resources for the Christian Life

Christian life resourcesOne morning, during my morning devotional study of Romans 6, an awareness of the resources we have to live the Christian life overwhelmingly impressed me! I am convinced that the reason why many modern “Christians” are living such defeated lives is because they don’t know nor do they understand who they are in Christ! Nor do they know or comprehend the resources that God has provided for them to live the Christian life.

First, the true believer is “in Christ!” Paul used that terminology in his letters to indicate the position of the believer. To be “in Christ” is to be united with Christ. In explaining Christian baptism in Romans 6, Paul wrote that the believer’s old self died with Christ on the cross and the believer’s new self was raised with Christ when Christ was resurrected from the dead! Therefore, the Christian is to walk (live) in the newness of the resurrected life! That is what Paul was referring to in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where he wrote: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (NKJ) So the first resource for living the Christian life is the fact of our position “in Christ!”

Secondly, not only is the true believer “in Christ” but “Christ is in” the true believer! Paul wrote to the Roman Christians in 8:9; “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” (ESV) Jesus told his disciples in John 14:16-20 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (ESV) The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, the Comforter, the Helper; all of these are synonymous terms to relate the fact that God is in the true believer! Do you see that O child of God? God is in Heaven, but God is also in you! God is in the true believer; leading, guiding, encouraging, empowering, and transforming! Whenever we feel disconnected and as if God is so far away, it is only how we feel! It is not reality! God is closer than the air we breathe!

Another resource essential for living the Christian life is the Word of God! The Word of God reveals the mind and the will of God! Jesus said it best with the Old Testament quotation in the wilderness during his temptation. He answered, (the devil’s temptation) “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mat 4:4 ESV) I want to encourage you to take time to read and study the Bible everyday! Study for yourself! Don’t just take mine, your pastor’s, or any other preacher’s or teacher’s word for it! You need to be like the Berean Christians in Paul’s day. The Bible says; “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Act 17:10-11 ESV)

There is no substitute for Christian fellowship as a resource for living the Christian life! In the Bible, there is no such thing as a “solo Christian!” The Christian life was not designed to be lived in isolation, separated from other people! Contrary to what many believe, you can’t be a good Christian, separated from other believers, watching T. D. Jakes or some other TV ministry at home every Sunday morning instead of having fellowship at a local church! Now, if you’re sick and you can’t get out, that may be a different story! But even then, you ought to be part of a local fellowship of believers who will come to fellowship and minister to you through visitations and practical ministry. All things being equal, every believer should be part of a local fellowship of believers! The Christian is part of the “Body of Christ!” No “body” has only one part. The church is not an amoeba; it has many members and each member needs the other members for mutual care and support!

I could go on and on, by mentioning prayer and many of the other Christian disciplines that are resources for living the Christian life, but I just wanted to encourage you to live a victorious Christian life by reminding you of just some of the resources at your disposal. Paul asked, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39 ESV) No matter where you are in the world today, as you are reading this, as a child of God, I want to encourage you to live the Christian life with a sense of enthusiasm and confidence! You can’t lose with the stuff you use! Even when it seems like you are losing from the world’s point of view, you are still winning! How can you really lose if you are in God and God is in you? Be encouraged knowing that no matter what you are going through, God is working it out for your good! And what is “the good?” The ultimate good is that we might be conformed to the image of His dear Son! That’s what the Christian life is all about; making us, shaping us, molding us, into the image of Jesus! It all goes back to Genesis! Man was created in the image and likeness of God. Sin entered into the world and the image and likeness of God in man was marred and distorted. But Thank God for Jesus! Paul said of Jesus: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Col 1:15 ESV) So, if Jesus is the image of God and it’s God’s will to conform us to the image of Jesus, then ultimately, goal of being a Christian (“a little Christ”) is that through Jesus, the image and likeness of God be restored in us! Hallelujah! I love it when a plan comes together! Praise God for all He has done, is doing, and is going to do in our lives!