Oftentimes when Christians are facing troubles and tribulations in life, the enemy comes with the attacks of the mind. That’s the time when many do often develop the “I can’t do” mentality. It’s easy to cultivate the “I can’t do” mentality, while trying to figure out in the mind a way out of every problem in life, instead of just standing by faith on the promises of God.
It is very easy to get into that type of mentality, when we are not taking the cues from the spirit man inside of us. The problem is always spiritual. God sees it in that realm, and not in the realm of the natural, where many often focus on. We are primarily spiritual, and that’s why we can take charge in ceasing the moment over every situation in life.
It’s easier to forget at that moment of the attack on the mind, that our God who is Spirit does not ever speak to us through the mind. God goes straight to our spirit man in dealing with us. A mindset that is not renewed with the Word of life, finds it easier to seek a carnal way out of every problem in life. But in reality, for us to say that, we can’t do what God tells us to do, is in fact evil in the sight of God.
EVIL THOUGHTS PREVENTS SPIRITUAL GROWTH
In most cases Christians often think, that the other peoples of the unsaved world are evil. But do you know how many times, we (as Christians) had often entertained evil thoughts in the mind, which are really contrary to the word of God? Christians can think evil also. But there is a difference between thinking evil and doing evil.
Apostle John in his letter to Gaius (a Christian leader) said to the believer in Christ:
“Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”
3 John 1:11 NIV
A Christian may think evil, but a Christian does not do evil. That’s why no believer in Christ should ever allow the enemy to push him, to the point of doing evil. We do have a duty before God, to act against it by casting it out of our minds. That’s the moment we have to bring our thoughts down to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5-6).
The scriptures tells us also about the time, the children of Israel were once sent out by Moses, to spy out the land of Canaan (Numbers 13). Ten of them came back with what the Bible called “an evil report” of the land. Only Joshua and Caleb came back with the “good report”.
The scriptures did not call the report of the ten “negative”. It was called “evil” because, that’s the way God sees every negative thing coming out of a mind that is not renewed in His word. Every negative thing here refers to every thing, that is contrary to the word of God in our thought patterns. It is never a sin when evil thoughts comes to the mind; but we don’t necessarily entertain such thoughts, because that will be evil thinking before God, who can see through our mind and the heart.
Jesus also said:
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:35-37 NIV
What is evil is never meant to be qualified by men. Men never created evil. The devil is the source of all evils. That is why only God can help us in identifying, and separating evil from good.
We can see that Jesus in the reference scripture texts above, to the believers who were following Him, said that “an evil man” among them, will always speak out of the evil that he has in his heart. Jesus was speaking in this context to believers in Him, and not the unbelievers..
An “empty word” is the negative confession from our mouth as believers in the promises of God, which are contradictory to what God says in His word to us.. Every time we say empty words before God, we are limiting His ability to work on our behalf. And in limiting God, we are limiting ourselves and our spiritual growth.
There are many believers in Christ today, who are believing God for something in their lives. But very often what they are believing God for does not match up with what is coming out of their mouth. They believe in what God has promised them with the heart, but when they are speaking, they will start speaking contrary to what they are believing in their hearts.
This is what Jesus is referring to as evil and empty in the sight of God (the Father), because they are limiting God in doing what His word has promised them to do. And as a result of this they can’t receive what they are believing God for. And since they can’t receive anything from God, their spiritual growth is seriously hindered. They want to come out of troubles and tribulations, but their mouth keeps putting them in deeper troubles.
The words that they are confessing doesn’t match up with what they are believing at heart. And the more they speak evil or empty or negative words, they are preventing their faith from working on their behalf. When we are speaking contrary to what we believe at heart, we are making the angels of God powerless to work on our behalf. God can’t do anything for us, as long as what we believe is contrary to what we are confessing.
And apart from shooting ourselves in the foot with the evil or negative words; our spiritual growth is seriously being hindered by our evil or negative confessions.
WE CAN TURN THE TROUBLES INTO A PLATFORM FOR GROWTH AND BLESSING
Apostle Paul faced many trials, troubles and tribulations during his life as a Christian. But he never for one moment allowed the things that the enemy assigned against him, to hinder his spiritual growth or goals in ministry.
He once told the Philippians:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14 NIV
This was the man who was left half dead after being stoned at Lystra (Acts 14:19-20). Paul never allowed the threat of stoning or death, to hinder him from going back into the city, where they wanted him dead. Surely Paul knew what it meant to be persecuted, after all he had persecuted Christians before he started facing the same situation in life.
He was able to forget those sufferings, because they were as he said “light afflictions” or troubles (2 Corinthians 4:17) to him. Those troubles were what he used against the devil for his own spiritual growth and blessing.
The Message Translation called the troubles “small potatoes” to Paul. It was this same Paul who lost everything, while in chains (as a prisoner) on the way to Rome. He had a shipwreck and lost everything near the Island of Malta, but he left the Island richer and wealthier than when he got there (Acts 28:2,10). He was so rich that he had so much to rent his own house to stay and took care of all the people in his ministry. Talk about troubling your troubles? That was it. If Paul could focus on the good news and ignore the evil, empty or negative reports; and turn them into a source of blessing, you can do the same also.
Yes, the troubles of our lives means nothing before God. God is looking at the end result of things, and not the process of things that we are going through in getting there. He is developing your spiritual muscles through those troubles, and the earliest we are able to understand the end game, the quicker we are coming out stronger than ever before.
We are in God’s Kingdom not to be at ease with where we are spiritually. Yes, there may be difficulties; but we are called into a lifestyle of pressing ourselves through those troubles. If we are not applying spiritual pressures to press through, we will never grow up into spiritual maturity. To be able to press through, we need to be ready and prepared for sacrifices. Spiritual growth will never come without spiritual sacrifices.
Have you ever sacrificed anything for the cause of following Jesus? Don’t get too comfortable with your spiritual life now. There is a higher calling in Christ Jesus that is waiting for you. If you are not ready to sacrifice the things that matters most to you, then you are not ready to grow up spiritually.
The problems and troubles of life are meant to always help us in achieving spiritual growth. They are meant to help us, in seeing the potentials for spiritual growth in ourselves; so that we may begin to act in manifesting, what we are believing God for with those potentials in us.
NO PROBLEM WITHOUT A SOLUTION
If (as an example) we do agree that we possess the solutions, to all of our troubles or problems in life; then we are saying that we really don’t have any problem at all. And if we do agree that we don’t have any problem at all, then we are saying that we have no need for spiritual growth. But for us to be living with that type of mentality, will be a spiritual fallacy.
And if we do affirm however that, the Bible has the answers to all of our problems or troubles in life; then we are affirming that, we have the key on hand to resolve all of our problems. We then need to be using the key, in moving towards the high calling of God for us in Christ Jesus.
That’s why we can say that, we don’t have any problem at all, as long as we are able to identify the solutions in the scriptures to those problems.
The ability of a believer in Christ therefore to be able to utilize the key, that God has provided in resolving his problems through the application of the Bible scriptures texts, is the same key that will promote that believer spiritually.
Oftentimes we see the promises from God to us in scriptures texts; but how often do we lean back on those very scriptures texts for help in resolving our problems.
I had often seen Christians with their Bibles gathering dusts at home, while attempting to resolve spiritual issues with a carnal mindset or mentality in their lives. This is how often a spiritual problem begins to get deeper in many lives. They’ve never consulted with God about their situations; yet they’ll begin blaming everyone and everything around them, apart from themselves. Help is right under their noses, but they are so ignorant of the spiritual power that they do possess at hand.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Paul told the Corinthians:
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:”
I Corinthians 12:1 NKJV
Spiritual gifts or the distribution of the Holy Spirit are meant for our spiritual growth. God gives His Spirit without measure to each one of us, in order to increase and multiply His potentials for spiritual growth and increase in us.
When we are praying in the spirit, the Holy Spirit takes out of the deposits of the scripture texts in our hearts, to show us the provisions that are available in solving our problems. We will grow up spiritually as we begin to apply those scriptural provisions, as solutions of heaven into our lives. It will not only transform us. It will transform others around us, as they see us applying those scriptures.
As we are being transformed in the presence of God, others who are noticing the transformation in us, are being affected also to make spiritual progress with us. As we are growing spiritually, we are actually mentoring others into spiritual growth also.
That’s how the spiritual life of a Minister of the gospel affects those who are around him or her. As we are growing up spiritually, lives are being transformed together with us. We will be increasing and enlarging our territories in this way.
JABEZ CHANGED HIS SORROW INTO THE BLESSING
The scriptures mentioned to us how a young man (Jabez), was given birth to with troubles in his life. His mother gave him a name at birth, which people used in affirming the problems of his life to him. His name means “sorrow”. But he was able to use what was meant to destroy his life, into a source of blessing and prosperity.
The scriptures says:
“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.”
I Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV
The blessing of Jabez was manifested as he began to see the potentials for spiritual growth in himself. He rejected what people were affirming to him, whenever they called his name. He was able to annex the potentials of God in him, into a source of blessing to himself and his children after him. His spiritual enlargement came as he began to see beyond the sorrows or troubles of his life.
He saw himself in the same way as God saw him. He cried out to God for help to change the spiritual situation in his life. We can see how his faith worked to bring him prosperity. Jabez never kept quiet about his spiritual state. He allowed his mouth to start confessing what his heart believed. His faith spoke out what he believed in his heart before God.
Are there things in your past life that are sorrowful to you today? Pain and sorrow are not good for anyone’s spirit, soul and body. They will destroy you before you reach your prime in life. God’s plan is for you to be blessed, and to become a blessing to others.
As King Solomon put it:
“The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it.”
Proverbs 10:22 NKJV
Being sorrowful or in pain is not the will of God for anyone. You have the key in your heart and on your mouth to change it all.
You must first begin to see yourself in your heart as being blessed of God. Stop calling yourself what people are calling you. Stop seeing yourself in the way that people around you are perceiving you. Many of them don’t even know you. Don’t give the enemy a weapon to keep using against you spiritually.
Begin by calling yourself what God calls you in the scriptures. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). You are special to God (1 Peter 2:9-10). You had been healed and not the sick (1 Peter 2:24). You prosper in everything you set your heart to accomplish in life (Deuteronomy 8:18). You have peace with God and all men (Proverbs 16:7). And your list goes on.
If Jabez could change his situation with his words, you can do even better than him today; because the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. You are blessed of God. Begin to grow and live in the blessing now.
Selah: think of these till next week.