Following are four guiding principles that will help each believer navigate this fallen world in which we reside.
1) We need Godly wisdom to know how to deal with the challenging issues that we face each day. We in our own intellect and knowledge do not possess the wisdom that is necessary to help hurting people, or ourselves out of the messes that we find ourselves in. “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:5, 7) Human understanding is not enough. Trying to rationalize and intellectualize our problems away will come up short every time. The fear of the Lord is the most basic ingredient in wisdom. It is the starting point that sets us on a course to a victorious Christian life. Wisdom depends on the knowledge of God and submission to His knowledge as found in His Word. The important thing to keep in mind regarding wisdom is that reading the Bible or even memorizing the entire Bible will not alone make us wise. It is only when we apply its teachings that it will make us wise. If we have no desire to live by or apply the precepts, principles and teachings of God’s Word then we might as well be reading the latest periodical, or novel because it will have no lasting effect. It is only when we allow the Spirit of God to come into our lives and illuminate God’s Word that it has life changing power. We must keep in mind that we cannot change people; it is God’s Word that changes people as people allow the Word of God to transform their lives so as to become imitators of Jesus Christ. Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can people understand and appropriate Godly wisdom to their lives. “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not (does not treat with contempt); and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)
2) We must have a genuine concern and love for our fellow man. The model for love in the Old Testament as given in the Ten Commandments is that we should love others the way that we want to be loved. It is often referred to as the “golden rule.” However, Christ gives us a new command that supercedes the standard as given in the Ten Commandments, which is not to love others as we want to be loved, but we are to love others the way Christ loved others with unconditional love. “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34)
3) We must know Christ as our personal Savior, which causes us to become imitators of Christ. We must realize that ultimately there can be no complete and lasting victory over addictions, failed relationships, depression and anxiety unless and until we come to a place in our lives where we receive Christ as Savior and allow the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to change our lives that begins with a transformation of the heart and culminates with each and every Christian realizing Gods goal in their lives, which is to become imitators of the very character of Christ himself. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7) “Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17)
4) As believers we must view ourselves as persons under the authority of God and be willing to submit to His authority in every area of our lives. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…” (James 4:7-8) This verse does not say resist the devil and he will flee from you. It says to first submit to God and then you will have the power to resist the devil. One of the greatest challenges in the Christians life is in the area of submission. The fact is we will never know the peace of God in our lives until we come to a place in our lives where we lay ourselves before Him and say, “Take my life and let it be consecrated unto thee.”
The difference between spiritual mediocrity and spiritual greatness revolves around whether or not we are willing to submit our lives to totally trust Gods Word (the Bible) for truth, and totally trust the Holy Sprit to give us the power to live by God’s Word. Only when we come to a place in our lives where we purpose in our hearts to submit to God’s Word can we fully realize the aforementioned principles.
Pastor Randy Mason