Thursday, January 11, 2018

FOCUS 2018 - Post 4

One of the precious revelations in Isaiah 58 is how the Lord instructs His people on what is pleasing and acceptable to Him. Even though the people's hearts were out of alignment with heaven and their actions were displeasing to God, He was willing to show them His thoughts and ways so that they might be blessed and fulfill their destiny.

The main issue in Father God's confrontation with them centered in the words "your own desire", "your own pleasure", "your own words". And He asked the questions of them, "what is acceptable to me?", "what do I choose?". All that they were looking for from God was not coming to them because their hearts had not been transformed in a loving relationship with their Creator. The Lord was nothing more than a power source, a blessing machine. Though they entered the temple of God day after day with prayers and fastings, their hearts were far away. So God spoke through Isaiah the prophet to help bring them back into alignment, give them a chance to repent, and know what was pleasing to God.

I have found that one of the greatest turning points in a believer's life is when they recognize that in this love relationship with our Father and His son there is an expression of love that drives us to find out what pleases Him and then operate that way. The apostle Paul wrote it this way to the Ephesian church, "For you were formerly darkness but now your are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.... trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.... so then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:8,10,17). To the Colossian church he wrote, "we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please hIm in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work" (Colossians 1:9-10).

There must come a point in our lives where we transition from our natural inclination to please ourselves and choose our ways to an elevated consciousness of something greater, more satisfying, more fruitful and rewarding that is only found in the desire and plans of God. If He is the way, the truth and the life, what will we find if we seek His pleasure first? How superior will your life become if you give yourself to understand His will and heart and live in alignment with heaven?

Laying down my own desire for His does not come easy. Something in our flesh must die. Our relationship with the world which has supplied so much of our pleasure must be radically altered. In fact, apart from Jesus you can't do it. Jesus is the only one who has perfectly loved the Father enough to do all of the Father's pleasure and will. And this is why we must be born again of the Spirit of God and baptized into Christ. We receive a new nature that is in perfect harmony with heaven's desires, thoughts and ways. It is only a new creation in Christ that has the supernatural ability and potential to walk in a manner pleasing to God.

But the reality is that even though millions have been born again and received the powerful Holy Spirit indwelling them, they take no thought of living so as to please God. They are just like the Israelites in Isaiah 58 seeking to get by with doing certain things that will yield blessings and get them to heaven.

Paul wrote something to the Philippian church that helped me greatly. He told them, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13). Do you see what has been happening since the day you gave your life to Jesus? God has been working, moving, stirring and pressing you from your spirit to love and choose His good pleasure! Wow! He is giving us the "want to". But not only that, if we choose it, He gives us the power/ability to follow through. And when we do that, our salvation, our new nature in Christ, takes us somewhere. We are changed into the very likeness of Jesus Himself, and we get His results and blessings!

Take a moment and ask yourself honestly whose pleasure you seek most often. Would you like Holy Spirit to teach you what is pleasing to God? Are you willing to have your heart trained in understanding what God desires so that is your greatest motivation and "go to" choice? If you will make this your focus in 2018 you will be amazed at all that opens up before you from heaven! Why not ask the Holy Spirit right now?

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