A Mentor’s Guide for Continual Spiritual Growth #2
A Mentor’s Guide for Continual Spiritual Growth #2
Therefore God exalted [Jesus] to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Every knee bent to God. “Throughout history, the bending of the knee has always been an act of great respect and humility. People have been kneeling and genuflecting … for centuries as a sign of homage and respect … a symbolic gesture of [loyalty] and allegiance.” [What taking a knee really means: A reflection on the power of prayerful protest - New York Daily News (nydailynews.com) ]Taking a knee represents the decision to willingly obey.
Continual spiritual growth requires that we decide to turn our will, our lives, over to the care of God, to allow God to be in charge of our lives, to direct us, to guide us, to use us. This is not a one and done, this is a continual attitude of the heart, and every day we affirm our allegiance to the God who saves. With every decision, we do so. When we bend the knee, this is what we are committing to, to do life the way Jesus demonstrated. When we bend the knee we are submitting our will to the will of the one who sets us free. Consider what Jesus modeled:
Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
Jesus is our example. When we bend the knee we see what God is doing and we hear what God is saying, and we answer the call to be used to accomplish what God wants. When pride rules the heart we do what we want, disregarding God’s desires. Every time a person says no to God, it is a detriment to their very lives. Disregarding God leads to pain. Bending the knee leads to life.
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
Continual spiritual growth occurs when we bend the knee, laying down our imagined rights and humbly asking God what He has for us in any area of our lives. To see and hear, the history of Christianity recommends 7 practices. God communicates to us through the Bible. Reading, studying the scripture and suddenly a verse stands out in your heart. God communicates through prayer. Take time to meet with God, go to the quiet place and your heart will be impressed with a new idea, a way you have not considered. God communicates through spiritual friends, maybe even a preacher. You come expecting and someone says something to you and it’s an epiphany for the situations you are living through. God also communicates as we do the things He has enabled us to do, using the gifts He has given in service to others. There is a uniqueness about us that when we actualize our talents, our abilities, we become confident that God is at the heart of what we are doing. When you are giving God His due, praising Him, singing praises to Him, while enjoying the blessing bestowed, inspiration touches us deep inside, that inspiration is God’s Spirit speaking to us. Every obedience makes us even more receptive to see what God is doing, to hear what God is saying, to join God in what He is doing. Then there are times when we are so in need of God’s counsel that we bar every distraction so we can give our undivided attention to God, inviting Him to meet with us and discuss with us what troubles our hearts.
Lamentations 3:40 (MSG)
Let's take a good look at the way we're living and reorder our lives under God.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Confession means that we agree with God that our lives need to change. The promise is that what is out of sync with God will be rectified. There will be a reordering of heart and life. Confession leads to reordering your life under God. It’s taking what is keeping you stiff kneed and hauling it into the light where it can be addressed and dealt with. Confession may be good for the soul, but to be effective it must also be accompanied by a partnership with God to overcome whatever stiff kneed thought or behavior you’re dealing with. You ask for the desire to overcome, you ask for power to repent, to forsake your wrong, and never to return to it. Here’s what I have discovered, often owning up and taking responsibility, confessing to self and to God is not enough to reorder my life. I have to confess to another person.
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.
Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.
All this is a prerequisite for asking for help. We cry out with the Psalmist--
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NKJV)
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.