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Enjoying The Fullness Of God's Blessings - Rev. Kola Ewuosho
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Eph. 1:3) “And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.” (Deut. 28:2). All the provisions of God await their activation on earth for them to come into full manifestation in the lives of the people they were intended for. For many, there seems to be an endless cry for certain provisions. Some people make God look mean for what they are experiencing. Many have questioned the love of God when certain things happen to them or to people around them. The provisions of God are numerous and the needs for them are in abundance. The Bible says His mercies are from everlasting to everlasting, they are new every morning and they endure forever. “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children"s children” Ps. 103:17 (Ps 103:4; Ps 136:1). Why, then, do they seem to be in short supply? We need God"s mercy to do for us what we cannot do ourselves. The Bible says we should come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in times of need (Heb. 4:16). Mercy is God"s kindness toward us as He has pity on us. How we need mercy and grace in these needy times. Grace has several dimensions; it is defined as divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in life. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee...” (2 Cor. 12:9). Grace has the dimension of favour (unmerited). It also has the dimension of divine enablement. “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 2:1). Then, it has yet another dimension of teaching us that in denying all ungodliness, we may live holy in an unholy world. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” (Titus 2:11-12).
It can all be intertwined; God"s favour on you comes to you because you humble yourself to receive it. Humility here includes accepting what God says about the situation as final. The favour causes you to be divinely empowered to do what is right as it teaches you to make right decisions. James 4:6 says, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”. (1 Pet. 5:5) Many provisions from God have several dimensions. Truth has several dimensions: It is a person; His name is Jesus (John 14:6). Truth is also reality from God"s Word (John 17:17). Truth can also refer to sincerity, honesty and transparency about the true situation in any matter (James 3:14).
A provision has been made for whatever we need here on earth, and that provision has been tailored to fulfil a purpose. A list of human needs can fill up a whole page of this write up. Suffice it to say that there are provisions tailored to meet specific needs. Provisions however have conditions; conditions that require us to be in close contact with God to adequately fulfil them. The knowledge that we acquire as we learn the conditions and cultivate intimacy with God will aid us as we take steps of obedience in faith. To continually walk in the blessings we need to cultivate the right lifestyle.
In Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” as well as Isaiah 5:13, we see that a lack of knowledge is a reason for captivity and destruction. Ignorance of God"s provision for His people is as damaging as inviting the destroyer to come and take advantage of us. It"s one thing to recognise our needs; it is another thing to make a discovery of the provisions of God. Many go to God on the basis of their needs and not on the basis of His provision. God has always been the ultimate provider and sin has always been the fundamental basis for the destroyer to come into the human race. “Behold, the LORD"s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Is. 59:1-2). Sin is not just an act but a nature that was inherited from the first family (Adam and Eve). Sin has been highly developed over time and human beings are sometimes shocked at what other humans are capable of doing when the base-nature shows up in certain conditions. The death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ have made it possible for all humans to once again reconnect to God and enjoy His provisions. We are created to be God-dependent; sin encourages an independence from God called selfishness and pride. He created us with potentials and, through our union with Him, it was to be part of the adventure of living to make discoveries of the great deposits He made in us. We need Him as a car needs to function by the manufacturer"s specifications for maximum enjoyment of the product. We function best when we live in an atmosphere of His presence. Everything we need for proper functioning and peaceful co-existence with one another, as well as a sense of progressively accomplishing something of value and significance, can be obtained in Him and from Him in the proper way. Any attempt to get these things in any other way or from any other source is at best not healthy and at worst idolatry. His provisions are in the promises of God, and they are yes and amen in Christ (2 Cor 1:20).
Many believe in God"s unconditional love and take it to mean unconditional provisions or blessings. I do not see God"s provisions as unconditional. Whenever we need something we naturally ask for the price of it to see if we can afford it. If we cannot afford it yet, we either plan or save up for it or altogether let it go. The days of credit have encouraged people to take what they cannot immediately afford. Our subject here is that God"s provisions have conditions attached to them. Having faith is usually the unspoken condition for some of His blessings. Take the peace of God for example; it has two dimensions, namely, peace with God and the peace of God.
In Romans 5, the Bible talks about peace with God through accepting His terms for a relationship with Himself. The sacrifice of the Son on the cross implies the sinful nature has been taken to the cross. We come repenting of our sins and we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The condition is accepting what God says to be true. On the other hand, the peace of God comes through the instructions in Philippians 4:6-9. When the conditions are fulfilled, we have the peace of God and we maintain the peace by choosing how and what we think. Bottom line is, there are conditions for the peace of God to be with us and maintained in us. This applies to many of God"s promises. When conditions are not met, promises do not translate to provisions. The peace of God is one of the greatest provisions God has made available to us to protect us against the works of darkness in these end times. In Romans 16:20, the Bible talks about the God of peace crushing Satan shortly under our feet. The peace of God will protect, keep us from agitation, attract God"s goodness into our lives and act as an umpire in our hearts settling all disputes as seen in Colossians 3:14-15. Grace and peace came to us through Jesus Christ. What truth demands, grace enables us to fulfil. Since grace is given to the humble and grace teaches, we position ourselves correctly when we humbly accept both truth and grace. We see and are able to do what is required of us. His grace is sufficient even when we are weak. Find out the conditions, receive grace to fulfil them and experience his provisions. Nothing should come between us and Him. He will actually teach us how to value and take care of all that we rightly need to take care of in our lives. 1 Peter 5:6 says we should cast all our cares on Him for He cares for us. A care-free and loving relationship with God is the surest way to defeat the enemy as well as maintain the glow of love for God in our lives. Do not fall into the trap of being too busy doing the work of God and leave your walk with God to suffer. Cultivate intimacy with Him. Fulfilment in life is a product of real intimacy with God.
OPERATIONS OF FAITH: PATIENCE AND OBEDIENCE
True faith in God is demonstrated in our obedience to Him. Faith has to do with believing His Word and giving Him the honour due Him by esteeming His Word highly. The Bible is full of lessons of faith. Many results of faith are recorded for our example. “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Rom. 10:8-11). Faith has to do with our hearts and mouths being involved with our believing God and His Word to us. Faith should be the foundation for our prayers. God is pleased when we stay and operate in faith. Obedience to God is possible when we are in faith. Patience has to do with being consistent in our faith life. We call it perseverance. We are encouraged to be followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises and avoid being lazy (Hebrews 6:12 and 10:36). You have need of endurance (Old KJV calls it patience), for after you have done the will of God you may receive the promise. The life of faith is a life of diligence; not for lazy folks. Every contrary inner attitude we have will be dealt with as we apply due diligence to God"s word. When we meditate (Ps. 1:1-3), on God"s Word we allow Him to define our inner world and hence our reality. When we mutter His Word to ourselves, we build a faith consciousness into our hearts. This calls for diligence. We can then hold fast to His Word as we learn to fight the good fight of faith. We hold forth the Word of Life in a perverse generation (Phil. 2:12-16). We honour God when we believe His Word in the face of contrary evidence. He is not a man that He should lie. He is able to make His every word good in our lives. We need the staying-power (which is a product of His grace) of patience as we cooperate with Him to see His Word come to pass.
DEVELOPING A RECEIVING ATTITUDE AND MINDSET
When it is settled in your heart that you are going to experience the fullness of God"s blessings, you need to develop a receiving attitude and mindset. Mark 11:22-26 tells us to ‘believe that we receive" when we pray, and we shall have whatever we prayed for. Believe you receive and you shall have. The concept of believing you receive is not just an instant or individual occurrence but an attitude and an informed mindset. Receiving implies being positioned with expectation and with a humble submission to God"s ability to make His Word true. The concept is also involved in how we receive God"s Word. In 1 Thess. 2:13, (For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe) the inner attitude of the Thessalonians is the secret behind the effective working of God"s Word in their lives. God"s Word functions better in certain conditions than in others. When there is a heart that is willing to do what the Word demands, God will be willing to release His power through His Word. In Philippians 4:9, Paul was encouraging the Philippians to respond correctly to what they had seen, heard, received and learned. Paul shows us that there are four ways to transmit, and come into contact with, the values and the “power-to-change- lives influence” of the gospel. This means we can hear, see and learn but not receive. Our heart"s attitude is the key to our receiving. There should be a permanent prevailing heart attitude of receiving and learning, if we want to enter His fullness.
WORK IT OUT IN LIFE: CULTIVATE THE LIFESTLYE OF OBEDIENCE
Some well known preacher of the Word once said “faith is not faith until it becomes part of your daily speech and daily conduct”. Many think that we should separate the events of obedience in our lives. There is a formula I read somewhere that reads like this: repentance + obedience = freedom. It is the lifestyle of obedience that guarantees the perpetual freedom. The reason why there are many who fail to retain their healing, or whatever breakthrough God gives them, is because they think in terms of individual events and not necessarily about a lifestyle of continued obedience. Our continued obedience gives us the opportunity to build the character of Christ into our lives. The consistency in obedience produces in our lives that which gives us a step by step build up of the nature of Christ into our souls.
To bring about real lasting changes in our lives we need to see to it that our every day living comes into focus where God"s Word is concerned. We need to set goals, plan, prepare and schedule time to engage in the things that pertain to God"s Word. There will be days or weeks where all our study, meditation and devotional prayers will be
INTIMACY WITH GOD
It is possible to major on principles and leave out the person, presence and hence the power of God out of many areas of our lives. Without maintaining contact with God, we come short of His fullness in every aspect of our lives. Once again I see fallen man"s love for independence showing up in man"s attempt to distil success principles without a desire to connect with the God who gives all. God starts us all with His promises; they serve as our foundation for walking with God. Then we encounter problems as we live in a fallen world. Our willingness to align ourselves with His ways and plans is what determines whether our problems will serve as stepping stones to greater heights or mark the place of our destruction. We can get either better or bitter. When we fulfil the conditions for His promises they manifest as provisions. To know and fulfil the correct conditions involve hearing from God. To cultivate intimacy with God, we start by understanding the fear of God. The fear of God is the healthy fear that serves to keep us from living in sin without any consideration for God"s displeasure. “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” (Ps 19:9). We need to know how it pains His heart for people to yield their lives to sin after His son has paid the price for them to be free from it. Sin is destructive and gives Satan a foothold in our lives. On this foundation of the fear of God we can build our love for Him and hence cultivate intimacy with Him. Intimacy is a product of choice and a centred on walking more and more in His love. Other times we may need to work on getting rid of poverty and a sense of lack. All these are spelt ‘TIME IN THE WORD AND FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD". How will we change the way we speak if we do not set goals, plan and form the habit through repeating words until they become part of our daily speech?
A negative habit is usually broken by replacing it with a right one. Our prayer life gets stronger through regular exercise in prayers. What we think, say and do, what attitudes we develop and what we allow to influence our decisions; all these need to be harnessed through our desire to regulate our lives by God"s Word. To enjoy the fullness of His blessings in our lives demands that we go all the way with Him through His Word and being in obedience to His Spirit so we can be led into all He has for us. If you are willing and obedient you will eat the good of the land (Is.1:19). It is what we do daily, weekly and monthly that will determine the eventual outcomes of our lives. Even ‘go and sin no more" means go and cultivate a new lifestyle and make sure sin is no longer a part of it.
As we cultivate the right lifestyle, let us take note of the operation of Religious Spirits. Religious Spirits are the greatest counterfeit of the Holy Spirit. They are from hell and have come to steal, kill and destroy. They destroy heart relationshps with God and man. They use distractions and condemnation. For example, they make people try to externally impose God"s truth upon themselves without an internal connection with the Spirit of Grace. They produce hypocritical, lie telling people who blame God for their predicament. We need to bind these Spirits from destroying our walk with God. The story of the brother of the ‘Prodigal Son" in Luke 15:11-32 is a case in point - take time to cultivate intimacy with God as you live by faith and not by sight. Receive all that God has made available through Jesus Christ. Enjoy the fullness of His blessings.