Living By Emotions

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-Living-By-Emotion-Father-has-Emotions-quote-photo-from-unsplashnaianwang.jpgWe live in a world where most people are run by their physical senses and their emotions.

They make decisions based on what they see and feel. Their reactions to people and situations come from their emotions. We can all relate to this kind of life.  It’s how we lived before we put our faith in Jesus.

Our heavenly Father has emotions, but He is not controlled by them.

If He were, He never would have created the universe, earth and mankind. When God first looked at the earth, the Bible says that it was “formless and void” (Genesis 1:2), or that it was in chaos and darkness. Chaos, formless, darkness and void aren’t the words that any of us would use to describe potential. We definitely wouldn’t think that they would be the precursors to creation. However, our God is a faith God.  He has always been wholly unaffected by what can be seen in the physical world.

God saw the void and spoke what He desired to see.

He did not let the void determine His desires. He knew that what was in His heart was greater than what He saw with His eyes. So, He did not speak what His eyes saw, but what His heart desired.

Living-By-Emotion-Not-ruled-by-Emotions-quote-photo-from-unsplashatharvaleleThis is a perfect picture of how our faith should work.

As sons and daughters of God, our lives should not be ruled by anything we see or feel, but by our faith in God and His Word. The people and situations around us will constantly change for better or worse and if we allow them to control us, our lives will be weak and chaotic. We need to imitate our Father and speak what we desire in our hearts, not what we see with our eyes.  

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal,” 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NASB)

God’s Word has infinite ability to bring life to what’s dead, peace to our chaos and victory where we have only seen defeat. We only need to speak it in faith.

FAITH AND FOCUS: Believe and Speak

God is a faith God.

He spoke and things that never existed before were made real. We’ve seen that our faith has the same potential as God’s faith. So, why do we not always see the same results? It’s possible that we do not believe His words the same way He does. God has total confidence in the power of His words.

“The same thing is true of the words I speak. They will not return to me empty. They make the things happen that I want to happen, and they succeed in doing what I send them to do.” Isaiah 55:11 (NCV)

God knows that His Word will not fail. Chances are that when we speak God’s Word over a situation we allow doubt to creep in and knock us off our stance of faith. The smallest thought of doubt can unsettle our faith to the point that it will not work. Doubt can only move in our lives if we’ve left room for it.

This could be discouraging because we know that everyone battles doubt.

Every human being has to deal with weakness in some way. We might think that this means that we can never see our faith work the way God’s works. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, and Jesus is our proof.

Jesus was all man and all God. This means He faced all the same weaknesses as we do, having victory over all of them, while operating in the fullness of God’s power.

“For we do not have a High Priest (Jesus Christ) who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

When we read a verse like this, we should see possibility.

Jesus is our example, our forerunner. He came so that we could have the same kind of life He had, by the same kind of faith He has. It’s the faith He used to create the universe and everything in it. Every time He speaks, it’s released. Every time it’s released, it succeeds. This is how our Father wants our faith to operate. He showed us this desire in the words of His Son, Jesus.

“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God’.” Mark 11:22 (NKJV)

Jesus isn’t just telling us to have faith IN God, but to have the God-kind of faith.

Jesus would not say something like this if He knew it could never happen. He wouldn’t lead us on with puffed up words that had no backing. His words were and always will be the Word of God, so He knew they would succeed.

We should notice that Jesus did not speak these words as a suggestion or a good piece of advice. He gave them as an order, showing us that the God-kind of faith was essential to live a victorious life.

For our faith to work the way our Father’s works, we must believe His Word as He does. God knows that His Word will not fail. When we believe in the absolute authority of His Word, we will see it succeed when we speak it out loud.

FAITH AND FOCUS: Totally Dependent On God

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-Totally-Dependent-Upon-God-Dependent-QuoteFaith is being totally dependent on God.

We often hear statements like that and mentally or verbally agree without letting it truly sink into our hearts. Being totally dependent on our heavenly Father would require laying aside all of our preconceived notions about life.  It requires us to put all our confidence in Him based on what He’s said in His Word.  We would have to lose all confidence in our own ability. This kind of living is obviously foreign to our human mind, but it’s the deepest desire of our born again spirit.

When we accept the love and forgiveness that Jesus bought on the Cross, our once dead spirit is made alive in Him.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” Ephesians 2:4-5 (NASB)

Our spirits are brought to life by Christ’s spirit.  He places all of His power, wisdom and desires into our spirits. The desire of our spirit is to be absolutely reliant on God. However, our flesh and mind initially fight against our spirit in this, because they are accustomed to relying on themselves.

“Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38 (NASB)

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-Totally-Dependent-Upon-God-Walk-by-Faith-QuoteBefore we allow Christ into our lives we are forced to depend on our own strength and our own intelligence.

So, learning to depend on Him is a process. He doesn’t get frustrated with us in this process, but He also doesn’t want us to stand still. Our Father doesn’t demand perfection, but He greatly desires progress. He wants us to take steps of trust toward Him every day.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NASB)

FAITH AND FOCUS: The Potential of Faith

FAITH-AND-FOCUS-THE-PURPOSE-OF-FAITH-HEBREWS-QuoteBy faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3 (NKJV)

Our heavenly Father is a faith God.

What He sees does not affect Him.  Instead, God speaks into being what He desires.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said…” Genesis 1:1-3 (NKJV)

As soon as God started speaking the darkness dissipated and the world, and everything in it, came into being. He had no doubt that He would see what He spoke. We should notice that there’s no verse in the creation story that speaks of how surprised God was when His words actually worked. This is the kind of faith God has given us. FAITH-AND-FOCUS-THE-PURPOSE-OF-FAITH-Our-Faith-Potential-Quote

“…as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith,” Romans 12:3b (NKJV)

The faith we’ve been given isn’t  lesser, weaker or even faith of a different kind.  Our Father wants us to operate in the same power and assurance as He does. He never desires to see us strain and struggle in confusion just wishing our it would work.

However, it can seem this way when we don’t have a good understanding of what faith is, how to use it and how we can strengthen our faith.  It’s not God, or other people, or circumstances that frustrate us; we haven’t learned that our faith has the same potential as God’s faith.

When this revelation roots itself in our hearts, it will bear the fruit of victory.

Work or Worship?

Our main purpose is to worship God in all that we do.

WORK-OR-WORSHIP-Purpose-quoteOur worship can come in many different forms: singing, writing, how we parent our children, the way we listen to our loved ones.  God’s Word does tell us to sing songs of praise to Him, but our Father doesn’t confine worship to music. We can worship God in the way we work at our jobs, in fact, we’re instructed to do just that.

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NASB)

We should do all our work to please God and not men.  However, we should never allow work to become our god.  This is the subtle temptation that the enemy will put before us. We spend so much time at our jobs, we can subconsciously make it the most important thing in our lives.  We can begin to think that it’s our source simply because it’s where we get our paycheck.

As sons and daughters of God, we are called to look to Jesus as our source for all things.

“After these things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your Shield, your abundant compensation, and your reward shall be exceedingly great.’” Genesis 15:1 (AMP) WORK-OR-WORSHIP-Every-good-gift-quote

God told Abram (who would one day be renamed Abraham) that He would be his compensation. He did not say that He would make a way for him to find compensation. These words are just as true for us today. Our heavenly Father wants us to work and work well, and He will help us find the perfect job. He does not want that job to replace Him as our Lord.

Even though we get paid to spend at least forty hours of our week at our jobs, we should not see them as our provider.

Only God can provide everything we truly need.  When we look to Him as our supplier, shield and compensation, we guarantee that whatever we get will always be good.

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17 (NASB)

Order Or Chaos: Finding our Purpose

God created every man and woman with a purpose.-ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Finding-Our-Purpose-Find-Purpose-Quote

This truth begs the question, “Why do so many people spend their lives looking for and never finding that purpose?”

The answer is simple: They do not go to their heavenly Father to find it.

All of our gifts, talents and abilities are given to us by God for the purpose of worshiping Him and serving others.

“Just as each one of you has received a special gift [a spiritual talent, an ability graciously given by God], employ it in serving one another as [is appropriate for] good stewards of God’s multi-faceted grace [faithfully using the diverse, varied gifts and abilities granted to Christians by God’s unmerited favor].” 1 Peter 4:10 (AMP)

Where can we most readily worship God and serve other people?

In the church.

God promised that His eyes and His heart would always be on His house.

“I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” 1 Kings 9:3 (NASB)

ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Finding-Our-Purpose-Eyes-and-Heart-QuoteIf all of our natural skill is a gift of God’s grace, it makes sense that we would discover it and use it to its fullest extent in His house.  This isn’t to say that people don’t find and use their gifts and talents in other places.  It means that if we prioritize God’s church we are in the perfect position to discover our purpose.

God is a loving Father and does not desire that we, His children, go through life battling confusion and frustration.

He is ready to give us all the answers that we need.  We should stop searching for God where everyone else tells us that He is. We should look for Him where He promised us He’d always be: in His house.

Order or Chaos: Prioritize Family

Sitting beside someone’s death bed is always an honest moment. ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Prioritize-Family-Refelction-of-Jesus-Quote

They are taking stock of their life: the moments of joy, the conversations and days they wish they could have back, and everything in between. They will rarely tell you of how they wished they could go back and work longer hours or watch more of their favorite TV shows. No, they all wish for more time with their family and close friends.

Keeping Jesus at the forefront of our lives is essential for success in every other area. Our family should come right after Him. Our relationship with our family should be a reflection of our relationship with Him.

Whenever we allow something or someone else to come before our family we invite chaos into our lives and our homes.

The way this usually happens is one or both of the parents make their job a greater priority than their marriage and children. Without having to speak a word we are telling our family that they are less important.

The problem with this isn’t that we spend less time at home or miss our children’s events; it’s that we are showing our family that we value work over relationships. So, while we are verbally teaching them to live by grace instead of law, we are modeling the opposite. We’ll also show them that it’s alright to speak one way and live another.

ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Prioritize-Family-priorities-in-line-QuotePlease don’t read these words as judgment or condemnation. It is important for us to know that if we’ve placed work or anything else in front of our family that the fix isn’t difficult. We simply have to change our minds about what’s important. It just takes rearranging our priorities to line up with God’s Word. We should not take that meeting and go to our son’s soccer game instead. We should pass on that side job and take our wife on a date. Everyday we should question whether we value as our priority our jobs or our relationships and consciously choose our relationships.

As we make this part of our daily routine, we’ll see our family life flourish.

We’ll also notice that we have more favor and creativity at our jobs.  This happens because when our lives are in line with God’s order it allows His wisdom and power to move freely in our lives.  However, all of this begins by consciously choosing to keep ourselves under the authority of Jesus and prioritizing our family.  

Order or Chaos: Priority

ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Priority-True-Identity-QuoteThe world we live in rebels against order and authority. 

We think if we place ourselves under authority, then we are giving up our identity and our freedom.  However, the kingdom of God does not work this way.  We find our true identity and the greatest freedom when we willingly place ourselves under God’s authority.

The first step in seeing order prevail over chaos in our lives is making Jesus our main priority.

Putting anything else in front of Him is a sign of our trying to live by our own power. Anything we prioritize above Jesus is something we think we can do without Him. Giving Christ preeminence in our lives allows His grace to work.

When we get the first step wrong, everything after it follows suit. This is exactly what happened to Adam and Eve. They were given paradise to live in, the authority to rule it and a perfect, simple order to follow. Everything was working in perfect harmony and one seed of doubt planted in Eve’s mind put all of creation back into chaos.

ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Priority-Matthew-QuoteWe invite disorder when we abandon the order God has established.

Our heavenly Father is so loving, though, that He does not make His established order difficult to achieve. In the Old Testament mankind was required to keep God’s laws, and when they disobeyed war, famine and poverty ensued.  Now we live in a time when Jesus has fulfilled the law, so He tells us to do one thing.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33(NASB)

God will bring all the things we seek and desire to us when we have given the rule of our lives to Jesus.  This goes far beyond any physical thing.  What we’re really after is peace.  What we really need is power.  Both of these things, and others like them, can and will always be found inside God’s established order with Jesus at the forefront.  

Order or Chaos: Rescued From Darkness

Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden plunged all of creation into chaos and darkness. 

All of the systems were disrupted and mankind lost his authority over the earth. This darkness is easy to point out in certain places: the media, poverty and hunger, disease and war. However, all of these things are outward. The real darkness is the one inside.

The biggest separation is the one between man and God. The darkness we see in the world is merely a reflection of the darkness in the souls of mankind.  This was not God’s original design for us.  So, He made a way for us to get back and go beyond what He originally intended.

Adam and Eve brought sin into the world and people’s hearts.

We are born with disorder in our souls and have no way to get out of it on our own. We try to cover it or cope with it, and some people just embrace it. What we’ll find is that Jesus is the only real cure for the disconnection in our hearts. Sin broke the connection between God and man, so He sent Jesus to bring restoration.

“In other words, God was using Christ to restore His relationship with humanity. He didn’t hold people’s faults against them,” 2 Corinthians 5:19 (GW)

God’s desire for us is to live a blessed and orderly life, and He knows that we won’t get there by ourselves.

The first step we take is asking Jesus to save us from the darkness we are born into. Before we can begin to live as God intends for us to live, we have to get out of the fallen world’s system and get into God’s kingdom.

“God has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of his Son, whom he loves. His Son paid the price to free us, which means that our sins are forgiven,” Colossians 1:13-14

This is the biggest step we can take to get out of chaos and darkness. We must invite the God of order to change our lives from the inside out, by asking His Son, Jesus, to come live inside us.  

Order or Chaos: How Do You Live?

Chaos has been around since the beginning of timeORDER-OR-CHAOS-God-intervened-quote

Chapter one of Genesis tells the story of God creating the heavens and the earth, and everything in them. The second verse says that the earth was “formless and void.” This means that the world was in a state of chaos and turmoil. So, God intervened.

The first thing God spoke into existence was light. This wasn’t the creation of the sun and the moon, though. Those would come later. “Light” in this verse means order. Before our heavenly Father could create the land, trees, fish, or Adam and Eve, He had to speak order into existence. It would be the canvas on which He painted the rest of creation. The foundation of His world had to be order, because it would be the standard for everything else He made.

All of creation works inside of an ordered system. The seasons change in time, the gravitational pull of the moon controls the tide and our hearts pump blood through our bodies. These systems work in the timing in which God made them to work. When the timing is off, creation is thrown back into chaos.

God made our lives to work in order.

When we try to live outside of it, we throw ourselves into chaos. Our lives will become formless and void. He is what gives us purpose and meaning. The only place to find it is in relationship with Him.

This is why the devil showed up in the Garden of Eden. He tempted Adam and Eve out of God’s beautiful order in an attempt to let chaos dominate the earth once again. However, God already planned for that. He knew Adam and Eve would sin and that He would have to expel them from the Garden. He already knew He was going to make a way for mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ. ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Story-quote

This is not just the story of the beginning of creation. It’s the story of all of our lives.

We live in a chaotic, purposeless world before we meet our heavenly Father. He saves us through His Son, Jesus and opens our eyes to who we really are. He brings us into His order and His system, giving us the opportunity to prosper inside of it.

If your life seems chaotic and without direction, stay with me for these next blog posts.  I’ll teach you how to live in God’s systems and experience His new life.