CHRIST OUR EXAMPLE
"For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, LEAVING US AN EXAMPLE, that ye should FOLLOW HIS STEPS; who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." I Peter 2:21-23.
This scripture makes it very plain to any honest hearted child of God that Christ is OUR EXAMPLE in WORD and in DEED! We can, then, WALK AS CHRIST WALKED, and we can TALK AS HE TALKED. This is not a condition of one's feet or lips, but of the HEART! "For from within, out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile a man." Mark 7:21-23.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." Prov. 23:7.
Before one can walk as Christ walked, and talk as he talked, he must first begin to THINK AS CHRIST THOUGHT! This is possible only as we "Bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." II Cor. 10:5. This doesn't just happen. It is an act of determined consecration, requiring purpose and continual application, for the mind loves to wander. It also requires a willing exchange, giving up the former ways of thinking, and accepting as our own the MIND OF CHRIST. "LET this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." Phil. 2:5.
God draws the line on some thinking. It is possible to lead a victorious thought life. Not that satan can no longer come with evil suggestions. Nowhere in God's word has He declared that man would not be tempted. Even Christ was tempted. But one can refuse to allow his thought to dwell upon evil things. A sane mind is a controlled mind. Evil thoughts can be driven out, by filling the mind with right thoughts. We are instructed as to what these thoughts are. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK ON THESE THINGS." Phil. 4:8.
Jesus thought right thoughts. That was the reason that he could walk and talk right, and be a right example for us to follow.
"Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps, WHO DID NO SIN." I Pet. 2;21,22. Christ did not live in habitual sin. He did not make excuses for sin. He resisted the devil, and temptation, although he was "Tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin." Heb. 4:15. He is our example. And He stands ready to help us to walk as He walked -- in his steps!
"Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not." I John 3:6.
This is contrary to much of the religious teaching today. I am aware of this. I am also aware that multitudes of religious people today, even many who believe in divine healing, find themselves powerless when faced with those who need deliverance from sickness, or demon possession. If you really want power with God, surely this matter is worthy of serious, prayerful thought, regardless of former opinions or religious teaching. There is a reason why some have power and some do not. And it is not because God is a respecter of persons. Power is a direct result of faith, and faith comes by obedience.
"Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence (faith) toward God, and whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." I John 3:21,22.
Hope is available to people without holiness, BUT FAITH IS NOT!
If faith were available to people without holiness, then people who can never see God could have power to ask and receive ANYTHING THEY DESIRE from God, for God's unqualified promise to those who have faith is, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, BELIEVING YE SHALL RECEIVE." Matt. 21:22. And God has also said, "Follow peace . . . and holiness, WITHOUT WHICH NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD." Heb. 12:14.
Although many religious teachers declare that everyone sins all the time; that it is impossible to live above sin; that as long as one is in this world he must partake of a certain number of sins of this life; that one must sin every day, and repent every night;--God's word still calmly, simply states the command of God, "BE YE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY." I Peter 1:16.
Paul writing to the Corinthians, declared, "Awake to righteousness and SIN NOT, for some have not the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame." I Cor. 15:34.
People who are finding excuse for their habitual sin, according to this verse, have not the knowledge of God. This is a SHAME! It is evidence that many professed Christians are spiritually ASLEEP! They are not led by the spirit of God nor by the word of God, for the work of the spirit is to reprove the world of sin and of righteousness, (John 16:8), and the word hidden in the heart will prevent sinning against God. (Ps. 119:11.)
You can't have power when you are asleep. WAKE UP! Quit making excuses for sin. Walk in the steps of him who DID NO SIN!
"Neither was guile found in his mouth." I Peter 2:22.
Jesus healed by HIS WORD. (See Matt. 8:16.) "His word was with power." Luke 4:32. The follower of Christ is assured that his words may also be words of power. (Matt. 21:21.) But if our words are to be words of power, we must talk as he talked. Guile (cunning craftiness, deceit) must not be found in our mouths.
Jesus WALKED IN THE SPIRIT. We who are his followers are also exhorted to walk in the spirit. (Gal. 5:16.) In verses 19 to 21 are listed the works of the flesh, which are not present in the lives of those who walk in the Spirit. There are some who harbor some of these works of the flesh in their lives, making very little if any effort to overcome, who yet feel that God should honor their word and their prayer, and give them miracle working power. Yet verse 21 tells us that they which do such things shall not only fail to have power, but "SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD." How could one who is not even fit for the kingdom of God expect to have power to work the works of Christ?
By studying this list of "works of the flesh" with a dictionary, you will find that God has listed uncleanness, lustfulness, immoderate desire, covetousness, hatred, discord, quarreling, contention, jealousy, violent anger, rage, riotous feasting, "and such like".
Those who do such things are NOT walking in his steps who DID NO SIN, NEITHER WAS GUILE FOUND IN HIS MOUTH.
Paul exhorts us to "Put off the old man (or, works of the flesh -- see context) with his deeds," and "put on the NEW MAN, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." Col. 3:9-10.
Listed below are some of the characteristics of the person who is carnal, and is not walking in the spirit. This list, though incomplete, may open up new channels of thought for many.
PRIDE; important, independent spirit, stiffness, or precisiveness.
LOVE OF PRAISE; love to be noticed; love of supremacy; drawing attention to one's self, as in conversation.
ARGUING; talkative spirit; stubborn, unteachable spirit; selfwill; unyielding; headstrong disposition; driving, commanding spirit; criticizing spirit; peevishness; fretfulness; love to be coaxed and humored.
Speaking of faults and failures of others rather than of virtues of those more talented and appreciated than yourself.
Lustful stirrings, unholy actions, undue affection and familiarity toward the opposite sex. Wandering eyes.
Dishonest, deceitful disposition; evading or covering the truth; leaving a better impression of yourself than is true; exaggeration, or straining the truth. >p>Selfishness; love for money; love for ease; laziness.
Formality; spiritual deadness; lack of concern for souls; dryness and indifference.
LACK OF POWER WITH GOD!
Get on your knees before God, and let him talk to you about these things, and give you a list of your own. You may find that there will be many other things which are now present in your life, which God will show you MUST BE CHANGED.
A good check up on the things which we do, say, and think is to ask yourself the question, "Would Jesus do this?" If He would you are following his steps. If He would not, you are missing the mark. You cannot have power with God. You may even fail to reach heaven.
Such a life of holiness is not impossible. God has commanded it, and "He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it --" Phil. 1:6.
"Is anything too hard for the Lord?" Gen. 18:14. God said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for thee". His grace is sufficient for you as well.
IF YOU REALLY WANT HOLINESS it is not beyond your reach.
And without it you will never share in GOD'S MIRACLE WORKING POWER!
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