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Limitless Life Devotional

An Abundant Harvest

Mark 4:14, 18-19 (AMPC)

‘The sower sows the Word…And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word; Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.’

God desires for you to live a victorious life, accessing the blessings of your inheritance, the riches of His manifest favor! In Christ, as we hear the good news message, God sows the word of faith (our inheritance in Christ, the riches of His finished work), into our hearts. This word is destined to supernaturally produce a harvest of blessing throughout our natural bodies and natural world, as faith always manifests itself and brings a positive harvest whenever the word of Christ is sown (Romans 10:17). It is important for you to know that as a believer, you already possess Christ’s faith in your spirit. You are not trying to conjure up faith, it is a free gift of yours in Christ (Romans 12:3; Galatians 2:20). This is why as you hear God’s word, you can be sure that the faith of Christ will manifest itself through you, renewing your mind and ushering in all of God’s blessings! (2 Corinthians 3:18). You are holy and righteous in Christ and are not a hindrance to the flow of faith, in fact, your natural design is the good soil in which the word of God flourishes and manifests itself in a variety of ways such as abundant prosperity, health, joy, and peace! In other words, as you remain in the word, you are naturally designed to have the word produce a bountiful harvest! Matthew 13 proclaims that the seed which falls onto good ground “brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” (KJV)

You may be wondering why your life does not always manifest this brilliant and beautiful harvest. The answer is the flesh. The flesh is a mechanism you use in order to get your deepest needs, such as acceptance and security, met outside of Christ – Mark 4:28-19 describes what this looks like (engaging with ‘the cares and anxieties of this world’, ‘the distractions of this age’, ‘the false glamour and deceitfulness of riches’, ‘the craving and desire for other things’ – in other words, choosing to actively live, embrace, stand upon, and believe that which is contrary to the truth of God’s word and your vast inheritance in Christ). As a believer in Christ, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit (Romans 8:9). However, you still have the ability to think according to the flesh, and this happens as you do not know what is available to you as a believer. Remember, the flesh is not your true nature or identity, so it is much easier and more natural for you to walk according to the Spirit, something that effortlessly happens as you discover the truths of your inheritance and blessings in Christ, and His all-sufficiency for you (allowing the seed to be sown into your heart). Romans 8:5 says: “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” (KJV)  – it’s all about what you fix your mind on. What your fix your mind on and engage with and enjoy, you will naturally walk after.

As I previously stated, God’s word (the gospel of grace) is destined to produce an abundant harvest in your life as you rest and abide in it (see Romans 5:17). Your heart has been made good soil in Christ! (Romans 12:2; Hebrews 8:10). The key to victory therefore is to renew your mind according to the word of God (His promises to you, your inheritance in Christ), so that when a concern or worry presents itself before you, you will effortlessly be able to stand upon the message of faith and the realities of your inheritance, and not allow those worries to enter into your heart. It’s all about what you know of your inheritance! You have the ability to not be rocked about or chocked by any thorny messages, through the assurance that the faith of Christ will always work the works of Christ throughout your world as you rest in his grace. As Philippians 4:19 declares, “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (AMPC). Romans 14:23 articulates that every action has one of two sources – faith or fear. Yet Scripture also encourages us that as we engage with and hear God’s word, and discover the promises that are ours in Christ, faith will effortlessly rise up within us, fighting our battles and producing a vast, super-abundant harvest!

How Does Obedience Fit Into the New Covenant – Part Two

By Paige Hunt

In our last article we spoke about how obedience fits into the New Covenant – it is the effortless result of receiving the love of God, and abiding in the revelation of the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is natural to conclude, then, that just as obedience is the fruit of right believing, disobedience is caused by unbelief.

Sin and disobedience are not the problem, and God is not an angry judge waiting to punish and harm people who are living in sin and disobedience. 1Rather, God looks upon those in messy lifestyles of sin and disobedience with love and compassion, understanding that the root of these issues is unbelief, and people’s behaviour is merely a result of that. The deepest issue is not sin and disobedience, but unbelief in Christ, His love, and His finished work.

Did you hear that? Sin and disobedience are not the issue. God has already dealt with those things through the obedience of Christ (see Romans 5:19), and has ‘sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.’ (Isaiah 54:9, NIV). Christ has already dealt with our sins on the cross, and he desires for all men to come to the knowledge of this through a full revelation of the New Covenant. Scripture declares that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4. ESV). Interesting to note is that the word for ‘desires’ used in this verse denotes not only a resolve to save, but a love and fondness for restoring, healing, and saving people. It is an emotional-filled word that speaks of the Father’s unconditional compassion and limitless grace.

This is our God, who Jesus revealed as ‘Father’. This is an intimate picture of life-transforming security, cherished relationship, and dependence. 562It is the relational Fatherhood of God that saves us from our disobedience, and not our own works and efforts, which in fact have the opposite effect and stir up more sin in our lives (see 1 Corinthians 15:56; Romans 3:20; Romans 7:8).

“The pattern of Jesus’ life on earth gives insight into God’s method of transformation. He knows that you, like Zacchaeus (see Luke 19), will not be changed by performance, but by His Presence. The power of His love, the joy of His Presence, and the peace coming from His acceptance are far more capable of changing the human heart than rebuke, censure, condemnation, and rejection…” – John Sheasby, ‘The Birthright’: ‘Out of the Servant’s Quarters into the Father’s House’, p.93, bracket insert mine.

With this image of God as the Father of love and grace in our mind, let’s take deeper look at how God deals with disobedience in the New Covenant:

“And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me;” – John 16:8-9 (NKJV)

What matters (as in the primary focus) is not your lifestyle, but your belief system, because what you believe will directly influence your behaviour. This is why Jesus in John 16:9 states that the Holy Spirit convicts non-Christians of unbelief. Another thing to note is that the word for convict used in this Scripture is the Greek word ‘elegcho’, which means ‘to convince’. God desires to convince non-Christians of their unbelief, so that they can come to believe and rest in the all-sufficiency of Jesus more and more, and find the successful, abundant life that God desires for them to have! (See Romans 2:4).

The solution to any and all areas of wrong behaviour, of toxic emotions, and of failure is the finished work of Jesus, and hearing of the beauty and love of God as displayed in Christ. Hearing the good news will always inspire faith in our hearts, transforming our beliefs and giving us the abundant life freely (Romans 10:17; John 10:10). 563Even as believers, we can sometimes believe, act, and live as if we were still in the domain of sin, but through the Good News message the Holy Spirit continually convinces us that in Christ, we have been rescued from the mess and mire of sinful, disobedient living (Colossians 1:12-13). Jesus has qualified us to live without sin and disobedience, to walk in step with His Spirit within us!

Another way that Jesus explained how God deals with those who are not producing healthy fruits (which many would view as disobedience) is in his metaphor of the vine and the branches in John 15:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” – John 15:1-5 (NIV)

Pruning and being cut off sounds pretty painful, and legalists love to use this verse to say that unless we are obedient, we will find ourselves under the punishment of God. However, Scripture says no such thing. In fact, the Greek term for cutting off these unfruitful branches is actually the word ‘airō’, which is better translated here as ‘lifts up’. This makes much more sense in the world of agriculture from which this imagery came. Paul Ellis explains this eloquently in his online article:

Unfruitful branches are lifted out of the dirt and re-dressed so they can be nourished by the sun. Sticking with that metaphor, the reason why some Christians are barren is that they’re facedown in the dirt and not looking at the Son. They’re busy, distracted, stressed, and have wandered from their protos agape, their primary love.” – Paul Ellis, ‘What Happens to Unfruitful Branches?’ [escapetoreality.org]

For believers and non-believers alike, sinful living is simply the result of not knowing how much God loves us, or how good this Good News message really is. Furthermore, pruning in our English terminology means ‘to remove unwanted parts’. However, God is our Creator and our Father, and he loves all that he has made! (See Psalm 145:9). No matter how disobedient you are, you will never be an unwanted or undesired part. In Greek, the word for pruning used in John 15 is ‘kathairō’, more accurately translated in this verse as ‘cleansed’. This is why Jesus declares to his disciples, who have been regularly hearing his words, ‘you are already clean (katharos) because of the word I have spoken to you’.

So God’s cure for disobedience is heaping upon us grace after grace! (John 1:14; John 1:16). 564God’s cure for disobedience is to speak the Good News over our lives, elevating us with the message of Christ’s obedience on our behalf! As we soak up this message, we begin to understand how much God loves us, and we effortlessly manifest the fruits of God’s Spirit and walk in His obedience. (See also Romans 1:16; Romans 10:17).

“Think about the relationship between a vine and a branch. Can a branch produce fruit? No. If you need proof, just cut a branch off a vine or fruit tree, and watch awhile to see how much fruit is produced. However, if a branch is attached to the source with a flow of life, it can bear fruit. The branch is incapable of producing fruit on its own….” – Steve McVey, ’52 Lies Heard in Church Every Sunday’

The Gospel message reveals to us the righteousness that we have obtained in Christ, and effortlessly produces God’s faith in our lives.

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” – Romans 1:17 (KJV)

Jesus does not want us to be self-focused – to live by faith in ourselves, where we are constantly under the mentality of ‘right vs. wrong’, or ‘disobedience vs. obedience’. 565Instead, as we remain in an atmosphere of grace, where we can hear and believe the Good News, that Good News continually convinces us to rest in Christ’s all-sufficiency, eradicating unbelief from our lives. Scripture calls this ‘the obedience of faith’ (Romans 1:5).

Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith” – Romans 16:25-26 (NIV), emphasis mine.

Limitless Life Devotional

The Helmet of Salvation

Ephesians 6:17

‘Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:’ (KJV)

Some people think of the armour of God in Ephesians 6 as a work which they must do in order to live a good Christian life and see good results. Ephesians 6:10 declares, though, that the armour of God is not about what you do, but it is all about what Christ has already done for us. It is not standing strong in our own strength, but being ‘strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might’. (KJV) What exactly does it mean to be strong in the power of God’s might? – Ephesians 1:19-20 answers this perfectly, in stating that ‘…his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms’. (NIV) Simply put: being strong in the power of God’s Might is all about knowing, resting upon, and abiding in the great victory we have in Christ. It isn’t about standing firm in our own efforts to gain victory, it is standing firm in our already established victory in Christ, and seeing this victory made manifest in every area of our life by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we simply rest in the spiritual truths of the Gospel. We are seated in heavenly places, in perfect, full union with the risen Christ! 1 John 4:17 exclaims ‘as He [the risen Christ] is, so are we in this world’! (KJV)

This brings us on to the helmet of Salvation. The helmet of Salvation refers to a mind-set that embraces and sets itself upon the vast Salvation we have in Christ.  What is particularly beautiful is that the Greek word used for Salvation in this Scripture is much more detailed than our English word for salvation. It is the word ‘soteria’ which speaks not only of eternal life, but of ‘deliverance’ (from mental disturbance, fears, enemies, dis-ease, disease, and all evil), ‘preservation’ (being preserved ‘in’ the risen Christ in the here and now, sharing in all that He is and has, having heaven’s quality of life), and ‘safety’ (knowing we are so secure that nothing can threaten or intimidate us, because Christ is the Victorious One in us).

To put on the helmet of Salvation means that we allow the finished work of Jesus to protect our mind from the lies, accusations, and disturbances of the enemy. We set our mind on the things of the Spirit, knowing that the result of this is always ‘life and peace’ (Romans 8:6). This is so exciting to grasp, because God desires that our lives are filled with joy and wonder as we grow in understanding and believing the magnitude of this Good News (1 Peter 1:8). Right believing produces right emotions in our lives, and rids us of toxic, unhealthy emotions and thus unhealthy addictions too. As we put on the helmet of Salvation, we recognise that we are not trying to gain victory in our lives, we are already victorious, and will see this blessing of the Lord manifest. Wherever we go, whatever we do, when we are wearing the helmet of Salvation we will be ‘the head and not the tail, above and not beneath’ (Deuteronomy 28:13). We are not trying to achieve the helmet of Salvation, either, as it was a free gift of Christ, one that we can rest in and enjoy daily. Abide in the good news today and know that you have the mind of Christ, this helmet of Salvation! (1 Corinthians 2:16).

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