Monday, February 22, 2016


“So, if you have been raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3

I believe that Paul is giving us one of the great principles of living out the Christian Life. We must devote ourselves to cultivating a spiritually focused mindset about life.  This is much more than an occasional religious thought or even a daily devotional.  There are two primary commands Paul gives for developing this spiritually focused mind. First, we are commanded to seek those things that are above.  To seek is to strive for and reach for heavenly realities.  Our greatest goal in life must be holiness and the knowledge of God and His will. Secondly, we are to set our minds on things above.  This describes the spiritual discipline of focusing our thought life on Jesus Christ and his glory.  The one who sets his mind on heavenly things will consistently read, memorize and mediate upon Scripture. His or her conversation will naturally move toward Christ and His Word.  A spiritually focused mindset will fulfill the duties and responsibilities of life, but always with the glory of God in mind.  All of life becomes an opportunity to know and to serve God.

Someone once said to me they were afraid of becoming so heavenly minded they would be of no earthly good. I have never understood this.  I have known many believers who were so worldly minded they were of no heavenly use, but never the opposite. In fact, the more spiritually focused our minds become the more earthly good we are! We become greater witnesses, more effective prayer warriors, and more loving husbands and fathers. 

So – seek after and set your minds on things above!

Monday, February 01, 2016

The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is a mystery to many believers.  For some the Holy Spirit is a kind of spiritual energy much like electricity. Being filled with the Spirit becomes impersonal and almost like saying “may the force be with you.” For others, (my Baptist friends might be included in this group) the Holy Spirit is something that is hardly thought of or discussed.  We dismiss the topic with “yes, I believe in the Holy Spirit,” but think little of his presence and experience even less of his operations in our lives.

However, for the believer the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and His filling of the believer’s life is of vital importance.  Paul tells us in Galatians 5:16 that we are to “walk by the Spirit.” This is a picture of dependence.  The Christian live simply cannot be lived out through self-effort and determination.  The commands and expectations of Scripture are, quite honestly, beyond us.  As the old gospel song reminds us, “I can’t even walk without you holding my hand.”  Holiness of life and effectiveness in ministry demands the work of the Holy Spirit within us.

Scripture teaches us that every believer is indwelt with the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 1:13 we find that we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise at the moment of our conversion. 2 Corinthians 1:22 emphasizes this same idea “and how has put his seal  on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.  Romans 8:9 goes so far as to tell us that . . . “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.”

If all believers have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them, are all believers filled with the Spirit or walking in the Spirit? The answer is no! In fact, the number of Spirit-filled, Spirit-walking believers seems to be startlingly low. In Ephesians 5:17 Paul commands all believers to be filled with the Spirit. He compares and contrasts it with being drunk with wine. To be drunk is to be under the influence of alcohol, and is sinful.  Being filled with the Spirit however, is to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit of Christ.  Paul then describes the kind of life that will be lived by a filled believer.  Every aspect of the believer’s life will be influenced by the Spirit.

Therefore, to be Filled with the Spirit or to walk by the Spirit is to live under the constant, moment by moment direction, control and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  All Christians have the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit does not all Christians.  He is present in their lives, but He is not preeminent in their lives.  So, the first step in experiencing the fullness of the Spirit is submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

For a sermon on this subject from Open Door Fellowship where I pastor - go to . . .