The Power in the Word is the Power of the Seed

Mark 4:26-29 (NKJV) 26 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

In our last few posts we have been talking about the need for us to renew our minds if we are going to walk in the spirit. The soul, which includes our intellect, emotions and will, is the part of us that links the spirit and the body. The spirit is the deepest part of us. The body is the part that interacts with the world in which we live. Anything which comes from the spirit that is going to affect our outward life, must go through the soul. Romans 12:2 says we are transformed by the renewing of our mind, our soul. This creates a clear path between the spirit and the body.

The way this is accomplished is by changing how we think. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is alive. It is not just a book. It has the power to change our soul. Our job is to get the Word into our minds and yield to it. The actual change is a supernatural process that is produced by the word itself, not by our efforts.

How does the Word work in us? What is the nature of its power? One of the most significant teachings Jesus gave us is in Mark chapter 4. He tells us that the nature of the power of the Word of God is that of a seed. In today’s verse he makes a very important statement. The King James Version says it this way.

Mark 4:26 (KJV) 26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;

He is telling how the Kingdom of God works in the earth. We all have heard of miraculous transformations in the lives of people. We know that there have been times when drug addicts were instantly delivered, never to want drugs again. The same can be said for alcohol and many other sinful things. It is also true for physical or emotional healing. God simply touched the person and they were forever free.

I have a friend who has such a testimony. What we find is that after God does such a miracle, there is still the matter of living life. Most often the lasting changes we need do not come by the spectacular miraculous. They may come that way, but they will always come if we allow the miracle of seed life to work in us. In all areas of life, the power of the seed in God’s Word will change us.

Think of what a seed is. Most of the time they seem devoid of any life at all. They are small in comparison to the plant they will produce. Yet when they are planted in the right kind of ground with the right cultivation, they will produce what God encoded them to produce. Every seed contains life. The kind of life it contains is potential life.

Jesus often spoke of mustard seeds. This is one of the smallest seeds in the world. Yet when it is planted and allowed to grow it produces a large tree. How can this be? Every branch, every flower and every bit of fruit that the tree will ever produce is already in the seed. It is the potential for the whole life of the plant.

Seeds cannot produce life alone. That is not the way they were designed. They must interact with soil. In this scripture, Jesus says that the earth yields crops by itself. We do not know how it really works. However, we know that when a good seed interacts with good ground, life is released. The plant will grow if it is cultivated and if it is not negatively interfered with. Nothing can stop the process from working under those conditions.

In the 14th verse of this chapter Jesus says, “The sower sows the Word.” In the scripture we are looking at, the Word is the seed Jesus is referring to. What is the ground? As we read the parable, we understand that the human heart is the ground he is talking about. I believe the heart is the deepest part of the soul. Science might call it the subconscious. When the seed of God’s word works its way into our heart, it has the power to change how we think. As that process works, there is a plant that is produced which affects us both inwardly and outwardly.

Jesus tells us here that the farmer who plants must go to bed by night and get up by day. The picture is that the process cannot be rushed nor helped. We must let the seed and the ground work. This is very similar to Isaiah 55 when the prophet likens the Word of God to rain and snow. There is a process that must work. However, when we let it work, it will produce the results God desires. In the case of the seed, it will produce the plant encoded within.

What is the first think changed by the seed? It germinates under the surface of the ground. We cannot see it. It starts by producing roots. The roots are not visible, but they are working. They are pushing there way through the “dirt” until they find nourishment, especially water. The first thing that is affected is the ground.

When we plant the Word of God, we often see no change for a period of time. We may not feel it working. The last thing we want to do is dig it up and see if it is doing anything. We must trust the process. God put it in motion. It will work.

Once the roots have pushed away the soil and found life they begin to grow upward. They are still working in places we cannot see. Nevertheless, they are doing what needs to be done to bring forth the outward change. What is happening under the surface is so powerful that it can push through almost anything. We have all seen plants that have grown through cracks in a sidewalk. If left alone they will break the concrete.

Eventually we see a small blade. This does not seem like much but once the plant reaches the light it is energized. It will continue to grow. It is important to remember that just because we see a plant does not mean we are ready to produce fruit. We must allow the process to continue. However, a farmer knows that once the plant breaks through the ground, all he has to do is keep it watered and weeded. Fruit is inevitable.

What will a seed produce? It will produce whatever is encoded in the miracle of DNA If it has Apple encoding, you will have apples. If it is encoded with pear life you will have pears. Those seeds look similar, but the life in them is very different. The Bible is a catalog full of seeds. There are healing seeds, holiness seeds, prosperity seeds and much, much more. Whatever we plant we will see produced in our lives. Just remember, trust the process. It takes time, but nothing can stop the seed from producing.

Jesus said that the whole Kingdom of God is like this. When seeds are planted in the hearts of people, they produce the life that is in the seed. This parable is talking about the Word and the heart of man, so that is where we are focused, but the principle extends to all things.

In the natural, it is relatively easy to stop a seed. If it does not get enough water, it will not grow. Storms can cause problems. People can ruin the crop. Many things can happen to keep a harvest from manifesting. That is true of natural seeds but not of the seed of the Word of God. That seed contains the power of God in potential form. Once that power is released, nothing can stop it. The only way the seed of God’s word will not produce God’s results in our lives is if the ground is not good.

I have come to understand that my heart, my soul is the ground. This parable gives us insight into what keeps our ground from being good ground. It also tells us what makes us good ground. That is what we are going to look at for the next few posts.


Spirit Soul and Body

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The key to walking right before God without succumbing to the bondage of the Law, is to walk in the spirit. That simply means to live with the inner man, our spirit, in control of the choices we make and the directions we go in life. The key to walking in the spirit is to renew our minds. We will never walk in the spirit until we begin to think like God thinks. The key to thinking like God thinks is the written Word of God.

God gave us the Bible to be more than a philosophical guide for our lives. It is more than the Judeo-Christian book of morality or religion. In this verse we see that the Word of God is alive. It has power in itself to bring about changes in our thinking. Isaiah 55:11 points to this same thing

Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV) 11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

The Word of God will do what God sent it to do. What did he send it to do? We found out over the last few posts that he sent it so that we could think his thoughts which are higher than our thoughts. This will lead to living in his ways which are higher than our ways. The result will be a life full of blessing and holiness. This kind of life will set the church apart from the world. Not to bring separation so much as to let the world see what God is offering them.

We have looked at Hebrews 4:12 in some detail. (See the post titled What must I do to Walk in the Spirit: The Supernatural Word of God from October 14, 2018.) Today I want to look at another aspect of this verse that will help explain why the renewing of the mind is the key to walking in the spirit.

As I was looking at this verse one day, I saw something interesting. It says that the Word of God is able to divide soul and spirit. I believe man is a three-fold being. I believe man is a spirit. That is the part of him that was created in the image of God. It is the part that fellowshipped with God in the Garden of Eden. God is a Spirit (John 4:24.) If we were created in his image, we are also spirits.

The fall of man separated his spirit from God. I believe there was such activity in man’s spirit that when he sinned, and his spirit went quiet he recognized that his body was naked for the first time (Genesis 3.) Salvation is much more than the forgiveness of sin. The forgiveness purchased by God’s grace in Christ was a means to an end. It gave God the right to restore man’s spirit to life and to restore the vital connection between the Father and his children that he always intended them to have.

That is part of what makes Christians different from people who have never been born again. Christians have a spirit that has a vital connection to God. He can and does speak to us. He can and does lead us, influence us and manifest himself to us in a way that is not possible to those who have never received the gift of God in Christ.

This is a powerful truth. However, we have a major problem when it comes to how it affects us. Depending on how old we were when we were born again, we have had many years where other influences besides God and his Word have trained our minds to think. We see and respond to the world around us according to that training. Our spirit is the most inward part of our being. Our body is the most outward part. Standing between those two is our soul.

Our soul is made up of our intellect, our emotions and our will. We hear God in our spirit but in order for us to comprehend what we hear and convert it into action, it must pass through our soul. We must understand what God is saying at a level that we can comprehend and to which we can respond. Conversely, for the written Word of God to release the power it contains, it must pass through our soul before it reaches our spirit. Our way of thinking will either be a hindrance to the process or it will be a channel to facilitate it. The thing that determines which, is how much we have renewed our minds, so we think in a way that that the knowledge of God makes as much or more sense to us than the knowledge of the world.

When I read in Hebrews 4:12 that the word of God has the power to divide soul and spirit, I realized that God was revealing that the word, when planted in the human being, has within itself the power to supernaturally change the way we think. It does not happen in a moment. It does not happen by reading a passage one time. It does not happen by hearing one sermon. Let me introduce another verse of scripture.

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Faith is the ability to connect the power and presence of the invisible God with the physical world. It takes many forms and does many things. We often see it as a mysterious thing. It is not. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God.

This scripture is talking about the faith that brings salvation. It is talking about the Word of God that is spoken to our hearts by the spirit. However, the Bible is just as much the Word of God as any prophecy or even a audible word spoken by God in a voice we can hear.

2 Peter 1:17-20 (KJV) 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

What is this Word of prophecy that is more sure than the audible voice heard by the disciples? He speaks of the prophecies of scripture. The more sure word is the written Word of God. It never changes. Even through certain problems that may arise in translation it remains the Word of God. God can work around the inadequacies of man’s translation. The Bible is still the word of God. And faith will come by this word.

Faith comes to our spirit. The Word of God divides soul and spirit. It has the ability to penetrate to the deepest part of us. Once again, this is not an instantaneous process. It takes time. That is why God exhorted Joshua to meditate on the Word of God day and night. It can and will work its way through our thinking, but we must allow it to work in us. We must hear again and again. We must think about what we hear. We must study the Word so that we come to as full an understanding as possible of what it says. That is our part.

The power in the Word of God is not really in our part. By doing what God tells us to do with the Word, we allow the power of God in the Word to do his part. The Word of God will reprogram our thinking. That is what it does. The more it dwells in our hearts, the more we will think like God thinks.

This process takes a long time, but it begins to produce results quickly if we let it. We must yield to it by accepting that the Word of God is truth. We can and should ask God questions about his Word. We can and should research what the bible is saying. Nevertheless, we must begin the process accepting that God’s Word is right and everything it says, once I am clear that it is His Word, must be accepted and acted upon. The more we work this process, the more we will know God, the more faith we will have and the more we will naturally walk in the spirit.

How The Word of God Works in Us

Isaiah 55:10-11 (NKJV) 10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, 11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Walking with our spirit in control is the way a Christian lives a life that is pleasing to God and full of power. Walking in the spirit enables us to access a life that is not limited by the programing we all experience as we grow up and live in the natural world.

Recently we have been looking at a major key to how we walk in the spirit. Romans 12:2 tells us that we will be transformed, completely changed, by the renewing of our minds. We have seen that God provided a powerful tool to accomplish the renewing of our minds in his written word. Hebrews 4:12 reveals that the Word of God is not just another book. It is a living thing infused with God’s own life. This life can “reprogram” our thinking until we begin to think like God thinks. Look at this scripture in 1 Corinthians 2.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NKJV) 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.;

The wisdom of the world is foolishness compared with the wisdom of God. Conversely, those who believe they are wise in natural wisdom cannot receive God’s wisdom. It will seem like foolishness to them. We have been trained to think like the world however, in salvation we have been given access to a new way of thinking. We can think according to the mind of Christ.

Let me give an example of what I am talking about. In the gospels we see Jesus ministering to lepers. Leprosy was the aids of that day. It was not clearly understood how it was transmitted, but people knew that it was contagious. Leprosy was a death sentence, but it was much more than that. A leper lost his whole life. He was required to be separate from everyone. He lost his family, his wealth, his position and his dignity. Money and rank meant nothing. Everyone feared this disease.

A natural man who encountered a leper would avoid any contact with the person. If they were to give them food or any other comfort it would be from a distance. Their programming said, “Leprosy equals death. DO NOT TOUCH. DANGER, DANGER, DANGER!”

That is their programing. This programing will allow no other conclusion. When Jesus meets lepers, we see a very different reaction. His reaction is based on a different way of thinking. He does not respond to leprosy with thoughts of danger and hopelessness. In his day there was no other way to see leprosy. However, his thinking allowed him to accept and believe that there was hope in the midst of hopelessness. Not only could he see it, his mind accepted the possibility of a different outcome as more normal than the outcome of death.

Matthew 8:2-3 (NKJV) 2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

There was no hesitation. There was no consideration of what might happen to Jesus if he touched this leprous man. He expressed faith in Jesus’ ability to heal him. The only question was whether Jesus would be willing to go against the programing of the day. Jesus expressed his willingness and then reached out and touched the man. This would be foolishness to any natural thinker watching him. You did not touch lepers. If you did you risked everything. That was just the way it was. However, Jesus had a different mind. The bible says we can have the same mind Jesus did if we will allow the Word of God to dwell in us and change our programming.

How does this work? It is not just “mind over matter” or anything like that. It is not just our own effort. It is not a matter of working really hard. Certainly, we are exhorted to study the Bible. To think we will be transformed by doing nothing is also error (2 Timothy 2:15.) However, it is not just a matter of our work or study. Hebrews 4:12 tells us the Word of God is alive. It has the power in itself to produce the change we need. We simply must get it into our mind.

Isaiah 55 is a beautiful picture of how the Bible renews our minds. God thinks in ways that we cannot. John 1:14 tells us that Jesus was the Word made flesh. That is why he could see something other than death when he looked at the leper. God sent his word so that we could begin to think like he thinks. The Word of God can and will become flesh in us.

Isaiah 55:10 gives an analogy. When it rains on the earth, we know it is important. We know that without rain, life cannot exist. There will be no crops, no food, no water to drink. If there is no rain, we will die. We know this and yet when it is raining, we do not know exactly what the rain is doing. I understand that we have a basic understanding of the need for rain. What we do not know is exactly how rain produces life. Rain is water. Water has no nutrition. It has no minerals, no carbohydrates and no protein. How and why is it so important? How does rain falling from the sky to the ground produce life? We do not really know.

It rains one day, and we see some effect. However, there is much more going on than that. The rain goes into the ground. It finds its way to rivers and streams. This produces water to drink. The rain also finds its way to the seeds in the ground. The seeds somehow take the life from the water and germinate. Months later we have food to eat.

Snow is even more of a mystery. I live in the northeastern United States. We have long cold winters. During the winter nothing grows. The rivers are low. They freeze, and it seems nothing is flowing. Sometimes we get a lot of snow and sometimes we get very little. When we do not get much snow, it means we will likely not have enough water in the summer. How can these things be related?

When the snow and ice melt, they add to the water in the ground. When it rains, the rain adds to what is there. If there is no snow in the winter, all of our water must come from the rain. If we have a good deal of snow, it will take less rain to provide the water we need. The time when this is most important is in the hottest part of our summer. That is a long way from the time of snow, yet if we do not get enough snow, we may have drought in the summer. That is how the Word of God works in us.

God sent the word to enable us to think like he thinks. This change occurs in much the same way that rain and snow produce life. It is something that happens over time. It is something that requires consistency and a certain quantity to produce fruit. When I study and meditate in the Word of God it is like the rain and the snow. Something is deposited in me. Over time it finds its way to the deepest parts of my mind. It releasees the life of God that is in it. We do not understand it any more than we really understand why water is so important to life. It just works. That is the promise of Isaiah 55:11. The Word will do what God says it will do.

We Must Think as God Thinks

Isaiah 55:7-10 (NKJV) 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater,

One of the problems we encounter in trying to live according to God’s ways is how we think. That is what we have been looking at recently. God’s way of thinking comes from a completely different perspective. Today’s scripture gives a clear picture of this. God exhorts the wicked to forsake his way. He says they should return to the Lord who will abundantly pardon them. What a powerful statement. God will not just pardon them but he will abundantly pardon. There is a catch, or a key depending on how you view it. He must forsake his thoughts.

This is an interesting thing for the Lord to say. Why must the unrighteous forsake his thoughts? The meaning of the Hebrew Word includes contrivance, i.e. intention, plan :- cunning (work), curious work, device, imagination, invented, means, purpose, thought. It also includes the idea of “concrete.” To me this implies being set in our ways. Taken all together I do not think it is a stretch to say what God is talking about here is the way the unrighteous thinks.

There are two levels of thought that we engage in all the time. One is the things we consciously think. We think all the time. Everything we see, hear and experience provokes some kind of thought. All of these thoughts and experiences are stored in our brain. As far as I understand, we do not actually forget anything that happens to us or that is said to us. Forgetting is just the process of that experience or those words being buried in a place we cannot consciously access them.

Computers are poor simulations of how our brains work. On every hard drive are files that are hidden. They are files we do not need access to, so they do not show up. Many of the hidden files on a computer are part of the operating system. This is the software that tells the computer how to relate to its world. It makes it possible for it to “talk” to other programs and hardware devices. One of the major differences between PC computers and Apple computers is their respective operating systems. PC’s think differently from Apple computers.

Our brains are very much like computers only far more sophisticated. All of the “hidden” files, made up of the accumulated experiences of life, that are stored in our sub-conscious mind determine how we think. Just as Apple and PC computers relate differently to a word processing program or a printer, so each individual will react differently to life depending on how they think.

The problem Christians face is that we are neither PC or Apple computers any longer. Before salvation we were the same as everyone else. We could only think according to our programing. However, salvation opened up another possibility. We can now begin to think like God.

The “holy grail” of computing is artificial intelligence. It is both frightening and exciting. We have all seen movies or read stories about what can happen when machines begin to think outside the confines of their programing. They can become far more useful to man. They also could come to the conclusion that they are superior to man. (Think Terminator and The Matrix.)

AI occurs when a machine begins to access information in a way that supersedes its programing. It is no longer subject to the human limitations of thought. I believe this is exactly what God is talking about in Isaiah 55:7. The wicked, or the unrighteous, need to forsake the limitations of their way of thinking. One of the most important things salvation gives us is the ability to think in ways that are not limited by the experiences of the flesh. We can begin to think in ways that go beyond our natural “programing.” This is the renewing of the mind from Romans 12 that will transform our whole life if we let it.

Isaiah 55:7 tells us that this is a key to “abundant pardon.” Abundant pardon is what we have in salvation, but we need the transformation that comes with the renewing of the mind, forsaking our old way of thinking, to access what God provided for us in Jesus. How can we change how we think? How can I, with all my human programing, begin to think like God. He tells us beginning in verse 8.

We must first accept that God’s way of thinking is higher and better than our way of thinking. We must understand that God knows things we do not. He has information we have no way of having. His thoughts take into account the supernatural as well as the natural. Our way of thinking has been programmed by the natural world. It is hard for our thinking to exceed those limitations. Even when a person begins to reach beyond natural thinking, they usually get it wrong. They see and sense bits and pieces, but they usually come to foolish and sometimes dangerous conclusions.

God created man as a spirit being in a physical body. His mind is the bridge between those two worlds. That is why how we think is so crucial. He knows we will sense that there is more. This is especially true once we are born again. Our spirit is made alive and active again just as it was in Adam and Eve. We know there is more than what we can see. However, our programing wants to reject that. It is designed to “default” to the natural order. Anything that is beyond or outside of this programing wants to be rejected. We need better programing!

What is the vehicle for this re-programing? Verse 10 gives us the answer. “So shall my Word be that goes forth from my mouth.” His thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours, that they are as far apart as heaven is from earth (verse 9.) We see that God sent his Word for a very specific purpose. It is to bring the thoughts, and therefore the ways, of heaven to our minds here in the earth.

The key to human behavior, human prosperity, human health and every other thing the Bible both requires and makes available, is to begin to think like God thinks. We must begin to program our minds to accept the reality of the supernatural. We can begin to see a different logic than that which we have been taught by the world. The Word of God is how this happens. Let me introduce another scripture as we close for today.

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The bible is not just a book. It is a living thing that is full of the words that will allow us to see what we cannot see because of our current programing. I want to learn how this works. Don’t you?

What is the Effect of Meditation in the Word of God

Psalm 1:1-6 (NKJV) 1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

In our time together this year, we have been looking at the solution to the dilemma concerning the grace of God and the need for right living. Grace is at the heart of salvation. We are saved by grace through faith so that no one can boast about earning salvation. We are all the same. We did not deserve the sacrifice of Jesus. We do not deserve the salvation his sacrificed purchased for us. We could not and cannot earn it.

The fact that salvation is a gift does not mean we are free to allow sin to live in us. Both the Old and New Testaments tell us that it is necessary for us to live according to God’s will and his ways. We are not under an outward law. We are under a law that is written on our hearts (Jerimiah 31:31-34.) It is just as necessary that we live according to the inward law as it was for Israel to live according to the outward law. They had to keep the written law to maintain their covenant relationship with God. We must keep the inward law to maintain our inward covenant with God.

In our case, salvation does not depend on keeping the inward law. I am not talking about whether we can lose our salvation. I am talking about normal Christians who struggle with the flesh and sometimes fail. That describes all of us. However, covenant is much more than that. Covenant is the basis of relationship and relationship is what Christianity is all about.

Keeping the covenant relationship right opens the way to many benefits. Not the least of which is the sense of God’s presence and the communication we need, and he desires. It also is what provides a connection to the power of God in our lives. Healing, prosperity, deliverance and protection are all ours by covenant. Sin hinders that relationship and puts a blockage between our need and God’s power.

Covenant is also what defines our relationship with God to those who observe us as we live in the world. Israel was defined by their covenant. So are we. One of the important aspects of covenant is the exchange of names. God became the God of Abraham when they made covenant. Abraham had been known as Abram before the covenant. The meaning of Abraham, father of a multitude, represented the promise God had given him. The “ha” sound that was added to Abram was the dominant sound in God’s name, Yahweh.

This name change is there in our covenant as well. Jesus is forever known as the Christ, the savior of the church. The church is now identified by the term “Christian” or little Christ. We are identified with him and he with us by an exchange of names. When we do not live in a way that reflects the “law” written on our hearts, we compromise our identification with him before the world.

The question is how do we keep this inner law. The New Testament is clear that we are not required to live according to the written law of Moses. It is also clear that we must live a life that reflects our inward relationship with God. We must keep the Law that was written on our hearts in salvation.

How do we keep and inward law? We must keep it from the inside out not the outside in. We must walk in the spirit, the inner man, and not in the flesh. This simply means we must do what will strengthen the inner man and diminish the control of the outer man, the flesh. If we do that, living according to the will and nature of God becomes natural. It is not a struggle.

In discussing this we have learned from Romans 8 that we must become spiritually minded as opposed to carnally minded. This means that our thinking must be changed so that the inner law can become the dominant factor in our decision making. We must change how we think so that it reflects how God thinks. Romans 12:2 calls this process the renewing of the mind. In Joshua 1:8, Joshua was about to begin his time as the leader of God’s people. The Lord said meditation in the Word was the key to prosperity and good success. It is the key for us as well.

When we renew our mind by the Word of God, our minds become a channel through which God’s voice, his ways and his will can flow through us naturally. When our minds are dominated by natural thinking, the inner relationship we have with God cannot get through our thinking to affect our living. Meditation is a key component to walking in the spirit and the Word is the most important tool we have which will effectively change our way of thinking.

Because of the salvation in Jesus Christ, we have a type of relationship that the writers of the Psalms could not when they walked on the earth. Even so, as we read them today the beauty and depth of the words touch our spirit. In the very first Psalm, we see the principle of meditation in the Word and how important it is. The key to walking in the blessing of the Lord is plainly stated. We must not follow the counsel of the ungodly, walk in the path of sinners nor sit in the seat of the scornful. How do we avoid these things? We meditate day and night in the law of the Lord.

To the Old Testament believer, the Law was the term given to the Word of God. This is not talking about meditating on all the “do’s and don’ts” written in the legal aspect of the law. It is talking about meditating on what God says about everything. Thinking about the Law was to think and learn about God’s nature and his ways. This exhortation was written in the Old Testament, but it applies to an even greater degree to the New Testament church.

We are born again in the spirit. We have the law of God written on our hearts. As I meditate on the Word, I am releasing the power of the inward covenant into my life. What are the results of doing this? The Psalmist tells us that we become like trees planted by the rivers of water. A tree that is planted by the source of water never lacks for life. That is what meditation on the Word of God will do for us as well.

This tree will bring forth fruit in its season. It will never have an unproductive season. We can be like that. Life has seasons. Some of them are good and some not so good. If we make meditation on the Word of God a consistent practice, we can bear fruit in every season of life. Different seasons produce different fruit, but all fruit is good.

He says our leaves will never wither. Everyone goes through dry times, but even when there is a natural drought, trees planted by the river itself do not wither and die. If we meditate on the Word of God, we will not wither in the dry seasons. That is why God told Joshua that this process will bring prosperity and good success.

The more I renew my mind, the more I walk in the spirit. That means I actually walk or live in what is already mine in Jesus. Meditation in the Word is a tool God has given to cause us to move from carnal mindedness, which is against God, to spiritual mindedness which is in tune with him.

In our next post we will begin to look at why this is such a necessary part of the equation that leads to our ability to walk in the spirit and naturally reflect the will and ways of God.

What We Must do to Walk in the Spirit: Meditation in the Word of God

Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

In our last post we talked about the need for transformation according to Romans 12:1-2. As we have journeyed through the book of Romans, we have discovered that we are no longer under the outward law. Jeremiah 31:31-34 tells us that God’s plan was for a New Covenant in which his laws would be written on our hearts. We would no longer keep the law from the outside in, but from the inside out. This New Covenant is the one spoken of in the book of Hebrews.

Romans 7 is a picture of a Christian who finds that his behavior does not match with the will, nature and purpose of God. Paul says that in that condition he is wretched. His outward, or flesh man is dominating him but his inward man, his spirit desires to live a life pleasing to God. A born-again person has been changed inwardly. He or she will never feel right until the outward matches the inward.

Romans 8 tells us the solution to the problem. We must walk in the spirit. That simply means we must live with the spirit in control. The first area that Romans 8 addresses is the mind. If we are carnally minded, we will walk in death. If we are spiritually minded, we will walk in the overcoming life of God. Paul is not talking to the world in this letter. He is writing to the church in Rome. What must we do to our mind to walk in the spirit? We must renew it. If we do, our inner man will begin to dominate how we think as our minds are reprogrammed by the Word of God.

The next question must be, “How do I renew my mind? What is the process?

We ended our last post by quoting from Joshua 1:8. The Lord starts His message to Joshua by saying, “Moses my servant is dead, now it falls to you to lead my people into the promised land.” This is a very difficult assignment. Moses did mighty miracles. Joshua was beside him for the whole journey, but he was called Moses’ minister or menial servant. He had led a few battles under Moses’ anointing, but he had never had to lead the whole nation. He did what he was asked to do but he knew that the final accountability was with Moses. Now, he is accountable for the nation. Whatever happens from here on will be on Joshua’s shoulders. What God says to him at this moment is very important!

When a person is born again, they begin a whole new kind of life. As a Christian, I am accountable for living a holy lifestyle. Romans 12:1 calls this my “reasonable service.” God does not see living according to his will and his ways as an unreasonable request. He expects us to grow into maturity as sons and daughters of God. This involves living a lifestyle that is pleasing to him. However, we cannot do that by the law of the flesh. We can only do that by walking in the spirit.

Joshua needed something more than what he had under Moses to fulfill his unique call as God’s new leader. Moses represents the Law. Joshua needed to go beyond the law. Joshua needed to release something deeper. That is exactly what you and I need to do if we are going to live as Christians in this world that is so contrary to the nature of God. We need to take the same advice that God gave to Joshua.

How do I renew my mind? How to I move from a carnally minded life, which is limited to natural thinking, to a spiritually minded life that is able to see beyond the natural? I must do exactly what Joshua had to do. I must do Joshua 1:8.

Let us look at this powerful verse more closely. He tells Joshua that he must meditate on “this book of the law” day and night. What book is God talking about? There were many books and teachings in the world at the time of Joshua and Moses. Certainly, Egypt was known for writing down their wisdom. However, none of the other books of his day would produce what Joshua needed at that moment. The only book God is talking about is the first 5 books of the bible that had been written down by Moses. It is called the Pentateuch.

Today, we have countless books on all kinds of subjects including all types of religious thinking. We have Christian books that can be very helpful. However, none of these books will renew our minds. None of them will transform us until we “make our way prosperous and have good success. Only one book can do that. It is called the Holy Bible.

We have much more than what was available to Joshua. Nevertheless, the method for allowing our “book of the revelation of Jesus” to prepare us for our life in Christ is the same as Joshua’s was for his new role in Israel. We must meditate on the Word of God both day and night. Then and only then will we make our way prosperous and have good success. That was God’s promise to Joshua.

Meditating on the Word did not make Joshua perfect. He still made mistakes. However, we find that Joshua is one of the few characters in the bible with no “major flaws.” Even David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, committed adultery and murder in his dealing with Uriah and his wife, Bathsheba. We find nothing like that recorded in the life of Joshua. I believe it is because of the admonition given to him when he took over the leader ship of Israel.

Learning the key of Meditation in the Word of God is one of the defining experiences in my Christian life. I believe it has been the key to my ministry. It has also been the key to my personal life. I am not rich nor am I famous, but I have lived a life of “good success” in every way that matters. At 64, I am healthy. I have never been in a hospital. I take no prescription medication. My bloodwork is good. I am active and able to do anything I need or want to do. Although I try to take care of my body, I am by no means a “health nut.” I believe God has sustained me as I have allowed his Word to reign in my life.

I have six children and sixteen grandchildren, all of whom are serving the Lord. That is certainly good success. I have a lovely wife that I have been married to for forty-six years. We are still happy and in love. That is good success. Even though I do not have a great deal of money in my bank account, I have never gone without what I needed, and I have a healthy number of things I desire. I have traveled the world and seen things I could never have imagined. I believe that is true prosperity.

I do not have a “mega-church” but God helped me build three healthy churches. I have also had the privilege of going to other nations and speaking into the lives of thousands of pastors, leaders and ministers. They have taken what I taught them to their homes and churches. I have no idea how many people have been touched by the words that I have spoken over the years. I believe that to be good success.

Most important, the more I have meditated on the Word of God and allowed it to renew my mind the more I have become “spiritually minded.” The more I have become spiritually minded, the deeper my relationship with God has become. Nothing defines prosperity more fully than that.

Next time we will begin to look at what it means to meditate in the Word of God and how to do it.

What must I do to Walk in the Spirit: The Renewing of the Mind

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV) 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

In our last post we focused on the fact that it is the Supernatural Word of God that enables us to change how we are “minded.” When the Word of God is allowed to work in us by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will change from being carnally minded to spiritually minded. It will be a natural transition that can and will revolutionize our lives.

In Roman’s 12:1-2, Paul makes some statements that seem simple on the surface, but they are revolutionary if they are understood. He begins by “beseeching” the Roman Christians to present their bodies a “living sacrifice.” This sacrifice is holy and acceptable to God. It is also their reasonable service. Let us look a little more closely at these things.

The word beseech means to plead. Paul is pleading with the Roman church. This is very important to him. He points to the mercies of God. God’s mercy is why salvation is available. We do not deserve salvation, but God gave it in Christ anyway. By speaking of God’s mercy, he wants the Romans to remember that they are saved by what Jesus has done for them. The fact that he asks them to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice has to be speaking of how they live. Among other things, it must involve their behavior.

Paul wants them to live right, but how are they to do that. How can they offer up this holy and acceptable sacrifice? Should they under go some suffering? Should they lock themselves away until they purge the “unholy” urges from their body? Should they go to the Levitical law and begin keeping every law and command listed there? He does not ask them to do any of those things. Verse 1 is what he is pleading for them to do. Verse 2 is how they are to do it. They are to allow the Holy Spirit to transform them.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 is one of the most important passages in the New Testament. I truly believe if we understand these verses we begin to understand what Christianity is.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18a (NKJV) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God.

The new birth is not a change of philosophy or religion. It is the recreation of the human spirit by the power of God. The fall caused man to die spiritually. This means we were separated from God. This led to man’s eventual death physically. The new birth is the restoration of that connection, but it is more than that. The fall caused the spirit of man to become corrupt. Death, or the nature of Satan, took over the part of man that God had made like himself (Eph. 2:3.) The new birth undoes that as well.

A supernatural change occurs that kills the old spirit. It is then “born again” as if sin had never occurred. Our connection to God is reestablished. Every sin we committed up to that time is wiped away. In Paul’s words, “all things become new and all things are of God.” Why then, does Paul say the Romans still need transformation? He says it because the new birth affects the spirit of man. Although it affects the mind in some ways it does not completely change it. It does nothing at all to the body.

Without the new birth it is impossible to walk in complete harmony with Gods will or his ways. That must come first because the power is in the spirit of man. However, if we do not have clear path for the power of the new birth to work in the rest of our being, the power in the new birth cannot get past our mind to affect our body. We will be a spiritually pure being stuck in a carnally minded soul and a body controlled by the flesh. In Romans 7 Paul calls this condition “wretched.”

Here we see Paul telling the Roman church that they need to be “transformed.” The new birth would have done that if the spirit did not require a soul and body to communicate with the outward world. However, that is how God designed man to begin with. The word transformation means to make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of something. Although there has been more than a change inwardly, transformation implies an outward effect.

The Greek word is where we get our word metamorphosis. This is what happens when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. The butterfly does not become a different creature. The caterpillar is the butterfly. It is the same DNA. It is just that the butterfly cannot be seen because it is encased in the caterpillar. The metamorphosis simply allows what is already in the caterpillar to be released. That is exactly what we are talking about.

We are born again if we have received Jesus as Lord. In our spirit we are perfectly in tune with God. Sin is not an issue because it is no longer our nature in the spirit. Salvation is an accomplished fact. However, the butterfly which is the Christian life is encased in a caterpillar of a carnal mind. What will produce the needed metamorphosis? We need to renew the mind! That is the cocoon for the Christian.

Part of presenting our bodies is to accept that the Word of God is truth. That all other thoughts must be subject to the Word. We may not understand what the bible is saying. God wants us to understand and will help us to, but first we must accept that his Word is the highest truth. If our natural minds rebel against something in the Bible, we must choose the Bible and ask for understanding. If we try and fit the Bible into our understanding, we will never allow the transformation to take place. This acceptance of the supreme truth and authority of the Word of God is the cocoon.

We must also understand that renewing our mind means that we are changing how we think. The caterpillar must stay in the cocoon until the transformation is complete. Our transformation will take our whole physical life. We must continue in the Word daily. As we do we see progressive transformation. We begin to think more and more like God. We begin to see sins that were once a struggle fall off completely. Faith becomes the natural state instead of something that we struggle to attain. However, this requires that we stay in the Word. Look at the example of Joshua.

Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

This is a picture of someone with the Word of God firmly planted in every part of their being. It is in their mouth, in their mind and in their actions. This is the most important point in Joshua’s life. Moses was a hard act to follow, but God assures Joshua that if he does what this verse says, he will have good success.

Christian, there has been something beautiful created inside you. It is locked within a mind and body that has been programed by the world, the flesh and the devil. That is not to say that there are not good things in your mind. There certainly are, but you and I were programed to be carnally minded. This process will reveal the spiritual mind that came into you at the new birth. The life God promised to the spiritually minded will become the dominant force in all you do and all you are. The result will be the release of the person that was born again for the world to see.