We all have a heart condition! Our goal to a healthy heart is to be righteous in the eyes of God by emulating Christ in everything we do. This means being the most righteous human beings we can be. This means being sinless in our actions and our thoughts. Right now you are thinking “that’s impossible!” and you’re right! It is impossible, especially when it involves the deepest thoughts in our minds. Not to worry though, God loves us so much that He would never leave us hanging!
John 3:16NIV For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
If we were all perfect and sinless then we would not be free thinking humans with a conscious mind and an indwelling spirit. God wouldn’t have a need to send His one and only son to save us from sin. If God made us in this robotic way then how would He gain the true love of His people? There would be no need for love! God created us with minds and hearts that make up the fervent spirit inside of us. Our spirit is the inner being that dwells within our bodies which God wants to connect with individually if we accept Him in our lives.
Our hearts make up who we are as beings. Why would God only examine the outward actions of human beings when every action comes from the heart? He wants to see and connect with what and who is inside. He wants to examine the source of our human nature which is our heart. When you give your life to the Lord, you are giving Him your body, mind, and heart, which together make up the temple for His Holy Spirit to reside inside of you.
We all have a desire to achieve something big that will bring purpose in our life. If it’s something that burns inside of your heart like a fervent fire, then that is passion. If you feel your passion to do something is a gift from God then you should pursue it. Some people set their hearts on something that is financially driven and they might call it their passion and their purpose but in actuality they could be struggling spiritually. This kind of passion is of this world and comes with an expiration date. Prosperity is not about being rich in your pockets. It’s about being rich spiritually by serving and honoring the One who created us. The One who has provided us with eternal salvation through His son. This is the kind of prosperity that has an eternal purpose.
Honoring God and glorifying Him through your passion is what I believe is a calling. It can be anything! It can be a passion to serve, a passion to lead, a passion for art, or a passion to minister. Anything can be used for God’s glory as long as it is aligned with His values. When you live for God it can sometimes be the most challenging thing you may have ever experienced in your life. Your faith will be tested by many kinds of persecutions. As long as you hold on to God’s truth and you continue to strive for righteousness, peace, faith, and maintain wisdom of salvation through God’s word, then nothing can stop you! Passion with an everlasting purpose is what I call living.
I just came back from a long much needed vacation. Which is the reason I have been off the weekly rhythm. It gave me time to think about this next post because this one is about my favorite topic, faith! To me, this is the most important piece of armor out of all of them. Without faith everything else becomes vulnerable. What good is righteousness without faith? What good is salvation without faith? What good is truth and peace without faith? Faith in general means to have trust and to believe in a reality that is unseen through the human eye. God wants us to have faith within our hearts because that is where He wants us to feel His presence. Feeling the presence of God working through our hearts is much greater than any of the five senses that He has given us to fully function on this earth. If we have Christ in our hearts it will be in our nature to trust in God as He works through us. This is what faith is! Faith is initially gained by accepting the Lord into our life as a young believer and then as we gain wisdom through God’s Word our faith becomes a shield that protects us so the relationship between us and the Lord becomes inseparable.
A soldier in battle holds their shield out in front of them to take any blow that comes from the enemy. Paul mentions that it protects us from the fiery arrows that come from the enemy. He doesn’t mention just arrows but fiery arrows. Fiery arrows are intended to do widespread damage so it can affect multiple soldiers at once. They can also cause enough damage so that the armor on the soldier will be ineffective if it becomes engulfed in flames. From a spiritual perspective the enemy wants to hit us personally and everyone around us. They will shoot whatever they have to disrupt our relationships between family, friends, and most importantly our relationship with Jesus Christ. However, if we hold our shield out in front and stand strong in faith, everything behind our shield is protected. The fiery arrows from the enemy can be great enough to burn through our breastplate, our helmet, and deliver enough damage that will inhibit us from reaching our sword to fight back if we are burned bad enough. Our shield is described as our faith because behind faith lies our righteous hearts, our minds on salvation, our focus on God’s truth and peace.
There are a lot of believers that tend to lose faith during times of trials. They may think the struggle is impossible to overcome. If these believers can just read God’s Word, and understand that these times of trials and tribulations are when God wants us to communicate with Him the most. These trials are the ultimate test to faith but there are a lot of us that give up or forget that He is there waiting to hear our voice call His name.
Ephesians 6:15 (NIV) “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
As you know by reading the whole armor of God, the Apostle Paul is telling us how we need to suit up for spiritual warfare. In Ephesians 6:15 he is telling us we need to be fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. To be ready in the sense of spiritual warfare means to be mentally and emotionally willing to battle with peace in our heart. How can a soldier in battle have a peaceful heart with intent to destroy their enemy? So having a peaceful heart in a spiritual battle means that you have a full understanding of God’s Truth. As you consistently read and listen to God’s Word you realize that the enemy is already defeated through your faith. If you know that you are already victorious through Christ, then why have anguish and fear through the many battles in life? The more you absorb scripture into your heart, the more fitted you will be with God’s Word. Paul uses the word “readiness” along with being “fitted”. Once you have the gospel fitted in your life, it is time to prepare and be ready for battle with peace of mind. Peace in Greek means rest and quietness, so in other words you can say the gospel of peace is our good news of rest. Rest, as in resting our soul and letting Jesus Christ handle the issues of spiritual warfare. Throughout life we all have issues that we struggle with. As I mentioned in my previous post regarding the pillars of sin, these issues can be those pillars that the enemy has built up within us. Tearing them down can be a struggle which is a spiritual battle that takes place within our heart, mind, and soul. We just need to keep it in our minds that the enemy is already defeated. We just need to stand behind the Lord and have faith that he is there to deliver us from the wickedness of this world.
Matthew 11:28 (NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
When you understand the Word of God and have faith in His salvation, it begins to change who you are as an individual. This transformation takes place in the heart. Paul mentions the breastplate of righteousness as a part of God’s armor. The actual breastplate of a Roman soldier would protect the chest and the upper torso in battle. It protects the internal organs, the ribs, and of course the most vital organ, the heart. The heart that Paul is referring to though, is not the physical heart but the heart that ascertains who you are as a person. Your heart is what makes you a one of a kind individual. The heart of a person is where everything comes from such as personalities, emotions, character, and other elements that can make up a person’s nature. God wants you to change your nature. He wants you to change the person you are now to one of righteousness. He wants you to change your mindset, your morals and the standards you live by. He wants you to put on the breastplate of righteousness by living with a righteous heart that thrives under righteous values.
With all the distractions the world puts in front of you, you have to keep your spiritual heart pumping. If your spiritual heart stops pumping, the Holy Spirit within you stops flowing. A righteous heart keeps the Holy Spirit alive inside of you. Your body becomes a temple for the Holy Spirit. So when God’s Spirit thrives through you, you begin to notice changes in your actions. So when Paul tells you to put on the breastplate of righteousness, he is saying to uphold the righteous values that you need to live by, no matter what the circumstances are. So how do we have a righteous heart? It is done through faith and by living under the values that bring glory to the Lord in everything you do. Living for the Lord means you have left the old you by being born again. We are all born in the flesh but the new you, is born in the Spirit!
Bible Challenge: What is the difference between your heart, soul, and spirit?
Look up these three Greek terms (Psyche, Pneuma, Kardia) in any concordance and answer the question above. This challenge can help you get an understanding of how these terms correlate with each other.
Everything starts with the Word of God. You need to understand that God’s Word is truth about salvation. Understanding and living with this in your heart and mind brings out the righteousness from within you. As you invite the Holy Spirit into your life, it encourages you to be faithful, to be strong, and to deploy wisdom of His Word. Multiplying this knowledge can turn into wisdom that helps you make upright decisions toward any situation that comes your way. The Sword of the Spirit is God’s Word, the only combined offensive and defensive weapon that He provides. In Hebrews 4:12, Paul describes God’s Word as sharper than any two-edged sword. Imagine handling the sharpest sword in the universe! To handle a sword of this quality in battle, you have to be wisely trained on how to use and maintain it. This particular sword needs to remain at its sharpest at all times and carefully handled when used. The more you read God’s Word the sharper your mind and spirit become. God’s Word is living truth that lives inside you so you want to handle His Spirit with great care and attention. It needs to be handled in a way where that truth maintains its integrity by not letting it become distorted through disregard. Once you misuse or neglect your only sword, the truth that you learned when you first received it can be forgotten or misleading to others as you try and use it without continuous training. Always stay up to speed in God’s Word and keep your sword sharpened daily.
How is this incorporated into the Framework to Life? As you read God’s Word and welcome His truth into your heart, you develop a relationship with the Father. Having a relationship with Him inspires you to keep building it up through His word. As you are encouraged to soak in His word daily, your whole outlook toward success in life becomes more clear. Your decisions and the choices you make in planning and executing toward your dreams become driven by a spirit that is inspired by the Lord Jesus Christ.
As a believer in Christ and with a dream of fulfilling a purpose, you will encounter physical and spiritual battles. There will be forces that will try and stop you such as fear, regret, discouragement, opinions, and many more. A clear representation of someone that endures life through spiritual and physical battles is seen in the book of Job. As you read through Job you will gain the understanding that God is with you but He wants you to pull through using your own heart and grit. As you become successful and live for the Lord do not be discouraged! God wants you to succeed in life! God wants you to push the limits! He wants to see you shine as you live without fear, and win your battles.
Your character defines who you are as a person, but there is true character and there is acting. True character is what’s in your heart and the only one that can fully see it besides yourself is God. The question to ask yourself as a Christian is, do you consistently project your heart out to the world? Or do you have a spiritual valve in your heart that you open and close depending on your surroundings? Does your character change depending on who you are around? This can be confusing because it makes you wonder who you really are sometimes. I know this can be common with new believers but as they progress, they will eventually realize and reshape their character by re-aligning their values as they freshly read the Word. That’s because it’s that fresh fire inside as they learn about Jesus for the first time and feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. We all felt it in the very beginning, and it is an awesome feeling. But if you don’t maintain the knowledge and don’t live it consistently, that flame begins to diminish over time and world distractions begin to take over the time you use to spend with God, so that feeling goes away. You have to be diligent in the Word to transform your character and to live under righteous principles and values.
The point of all this is that the principles you set for yourself must be consistent daily. Keep that feeling going! You need to consistently feed your mind and heart. Take in the knowledge and live it. If you become wise in the Word, then you have established a strong foundation for your life.
Lets tie in your dream with your character. Lets say you have a dream and you have found your purpose in this world as you become consistent in God’s Word. By welcoming Christ into your life, you have become a temple for the Holy Spirit, and have developed this very special relationship with God. Your faith is strong, you have found your purpose, and the Lord is right there with you every step of the way. This doesn’t mean everything is going to be easy and perfect in your eyes. The Lord will test you. He wants to be sure your faith is strong, not just toward Him, but faith in yourself as well. Sometimes these tests and trials can be hard and devastating and cause us to suffer in many ways. The Lord will allow us to go through this to make us stronger and build us up spiritually. It is up to you to figure that out through knowledge and wisdom by being diligent in feeding yourself with His Word. By reading the Word, you will understand that there is hope because you’re confident in God’s promises. You will understand that God is strengthening your character as you persevere through whatever pain is in your life at that point of time. Paul describes it best to the Romans:
Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
This is a question that most people have no matter what stage in life they may be in. Have you ever taken a second to think about God’s purpose for you? Take some time to think about how God can use you for His purpose as you try and figure out how it becomes your purpose in life. As you live for the Lord, you have to think of your purpose as being eternal. As Christians we know where we’re going, so why live life through earthly lenses while trying to figure out what your purpose is? Why put an end date on it when you know that life on earth is just a temporary place! Look at the gifts and passions the Lord has given you? Think about the talents you have and the skills that you possess. Do you feel that God has given you these talents and interests to enhance your life and give you purpose? Absolutely! Living life with the perspective of living for eternity kind of changes how you view your purpose. How can you enjoy the life that God has given you if your purpose is just for this world? As you live for eternity, envision how you can glorify Him with what He has given you. There are many ways you can glorify the Lord with the talents and passions that He has provided you. You don’t have to go on mission trips around the world to glorify His name, you can glorify Him right where you are now doing whatever it is you love to do. Though mission trips around the world may be an awesome experience for believers, but they may not be for everyone and that’s what makes us all unique in God’s kingdom. People have passions for many different things. People who actually go out and serve the Lord under harsh conditions around the world have chosen that lifestyle because of passion! Your mission trip for the Lord started when you invited the Lord Jesus Christ into your life. Since then, it’s been your mission to glorify His name in your everyday life. Your mission may be right outside your door or on the other side of the world, but the bottom line is to live the life God has given you to your fullest potential, glorifying His name in everything you do.