Well before I jump into the blog for this morning, I want to get you to go check out a new blog :) My youth group is starting to read through the New Testament in 6 months together. We're starting our reading today and I have created a blog where they will be able to share with you about what the Holy Spirit is showing them through their readings. This is not just for our church members and family, but I truly believe many will be encouraged by seeing the Holy Spirit work in the young adults of this generation. It is often convicting and inspiring for me to see those younger than me hearing from the Lord, doing things for the Lord, and pushing towards the mark. So with that being said, go check out this website occasionally and feel free to read with us.... http://ffycbibleplan.blogspot.com Yesterday in youth we continued on with my series, "What Is Not Optional?". The topic for yesterday was Growth. I have found it to be a not so delightful pattern, that every week as I prepare to teach on things that are not optional I "coincidently" get challenged in those areas. Let's not discuss two weeks ago when I taught on love not being optional!!! LOL.
"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2 Cor. 7:1)
Do you see that we have a part to play in our growth? "Let US cleanse OURSELVES from all filthiness". Sanctification has more than one player in the game. The Holy Spirit was sent to convict you of sin, He guides you into ALL truth, He is your helper, but He is NOT a video game controller, play-writer, or mother. He is not going to FORCE you to do anything. If He was going to do that imagine how different your life would look!!
Yesterday as I was preparing for youth it felt like one thing went wrong, and then another situation, and then put some extra things that needed to be done, then heap something else, and slowly but surely I felt frustration and irritation begin to creep up. I finally was sitting in my car and just stopped for a second to take a deep breath and evaluate myself. On Monday I was listening to a sermon preached 4 years ago by my mentor, Laurie Glazener. (you can check out her blog here, www.laurieglazener.wordpress.com) She was preaching on holiness and she said this,
"Frustration is just a form of pride because you're not getting what you want, when you want, how you want it"
In that moment as the Holy Spirit reminded me of that line I had a choice to make. Grow, cleanse myself from all filthiness, or give into the emotion and pride of frustration. I'll be honest I wanted to just start making excuses for why it wasn't pride, how it was okay for me to feel the way I did, how IT'S NOT MY FAULT!, but I knew in just a few hours I would be telling teenagers that growth is not optional.
"Having therefore these promises..."
To experience the fullness of God's promises, to have more of God's presence, we have to "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness". As we do not conform to the patterns of this world, but instead are transformed by the renewal of our mind (Romans 12:2) we will grow. We will grow in the blessing and favor of God. We will grow in understanding as we see the way He sees, love what He loves, hate what He hates. We are forever growing.
Don't get discouraged if you're not where you want to be yet, just look at yesterday, a month ago, 6 months ago, 5 years ago. Are you making wiser decisions now than you were then? Have you gotten victory over sins, mindsets, etc. of your past? We will forever have flesh to crucify (Romans 7). The Holy Spirit will forever be stirring us to grow a little more. Just choose "let US cleanse OURSELVES" to be willing and obedient as He reveals sin in your life.
Be Blessed, J. Tate