“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”
Your heart, soul and mind represent the whole you as being. Your mind is the gateway to understanding, and your heart creates the will as your soul expresses the love God wants from you. This is why it’s the greatest commandment because it involves all of who you are from the inside and out.
In Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells all of us to become the light of the world. As believers in Christ, we shine our light by displaying acts of righteousness and good deeds so others may see that and come to glorify Christ themselves. That is what we hope for!
As a Christian, we don’t see this as displaying acts, we see it as just living a life for Christ through Christ like character.
What you shine upon the world is based on the character you developed through the principles you choose to live by. Your character needs to grow everyday by reading God’s truth. As you stay consistent in His word you will notice your character transforming toward the kind of person God wants you to be.
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.
This past weekend I had an awesome time of praise and worship at Heavenfest in Morrison, Colorado. It was 2 days of watching Christian musicians from a variety of genres. The crowd was people of all ages praising and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ all day and all night. The weather was hot but it was worth it. There was one Christian rapper that stood out to me because of the messages that he shared upon the stage. They were messages that needed to be heard by all that were there, especially the younger generation. The rapper goes by the name Propaganda. I found this one particular message that everyone must hear and share.
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.
As a believer in Christ, your first introduction to salvation was through the Word of God and understanding that He sent His only Son to rescue the world from sin. As you absorb the knowledge of God’s truth you realize that salvation is through the blood of Jesus Christ, and by this sins are forgiven by His grace. The term salvation means to be delivered, to be saved, or to be rescued from harm. As your faith grows stronger in the Lord’s promise, you grow closer to Him. Because of this relationship evil will test your faith, which is why you will need a helmet as a part of your armor. Why does Paul describe salvation as a helmet, something you wear on your head? Salvation is made known through the understanding of God’s Word so where else is the knowledge retained other than your head? The enemy likes to attack our faith and the battle usually begins in the mind. The enemy will attempt to stir up fear, doubt, discouragement or anything else that can help him diminish your faith in Christ. Through God’s salvation, the enemy is already beat! The enemy knows this and will not go down without a fight, often trying to twist your thoughts while trying to separate you from the Lord Jesus Christ. This separation is the ultimate goal the enemy has toward the people of God’s kingdom. Protecting your mind as a believer in Christ will be a lifelong spiritual battle on this earth. Your mind can be manipulated and can become a gateway for evil so protect your head with the helmet of salvation. Keep your mind filled with God’s Word consistently so righteousness can overtake the earthly distractions that surround you.
How is the Helmet of Salvation important to the framework of your life? If you are living a life for the Lord as you strive to reach your goals, don’t be misled by earthly distractions. Keep your helmet on because there will be times where the enemy will try and separate you from your purpose, so have faith in the Lord’s promise of salvation. When you are living for an eternal purpose, you should go to God for strength and courage because that’s a part of the relationship. If you have faith in Him to get you through those rough patches in life, you will be encouraged to have faith in your own abilities to physically get you through it. As you have faith in God’s promise of salvation you know your purpose is timeless and has no boundary. It’s timeless because you are living a life that is headed into eternity!
Fear is a slow torturing death that lays dormant in the back of your mind and comes out when you start thinking of the possibilities of fulfilling your dream and purpose in life. Thinking of the happiness and joy of accomplishing goals that can be difficult, is the first step to progress toward your dreams. When you start thinking about the difficulties more than the joys of accomplishing your goals, fear slays those thoughts and sends them to the far back of your mind. This can happen over and over again and is the reason why it can be a slow tortuous death throughout your life. Understand this: the reason why you are being held back is because there is a force that doesn’t want you to fulfill your purpose because your purpose is God’s destiny for you. As you go back and forth in your mind with fear and think of all the little evils that come with it such as doubts and uncertainties, there is a battle going on in your heart. Your heart wants to move forward but the iniquities of fear that lurk in your mind are keeping your heart docked into a position where it cannot reach the freedom of joy.
But if you can hold on to those thoughts of having happiness in accomplishing those goals, your life can change. Hold on in faith! Understand that God has a purpose for you. He gave you those talents. He gave you a heart for those talents so you can grow them into something He needs you to be for His kingdom. Look to the Lord Jesus Christ for strength and courage!
Any structure that is upright needs a strong foundation. Having a strong relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation that everyone needs to be upright.
When you have a relationship with the Lord, He becomes a part of you and you a part of Him. If you think about relationships, what really makes up a relationship? To have a relationship with someone means you have some significant connection with them. You communicate with them, you think about them, and you can associate feelings for them and with them. This is how the Lord wants to have a relationship with you. If you feel guilty and have a sense of regret for the sin that you have done in God’s eyes, then that is repentance. Repenting is feeling regret, remorse, and sorry for what you have done, especially if someone else’s heart is involved. If this is how you feel when you sin in God’s eyes, then a relationship is there. If you are trying your hardest to turn away from sin, He can see that and He wants to help you just as anyone that you have a strong relationship with would. He wants the relationship to grow and wants you to ask Him for strength and to know that He is right there with you no matter what the conditions are.
A relationship with the Lord provides you with a foundation that will hold your framework upright and together. The more you allow the Lord into your life the deeper the relationship becomes. The deeper the relationship, the deeper the foundation. The first building block to a strong foundation with the Lord is obtaining knowledge of His Word.