Purify yourself

Numbers 31:19: Encamp outside the camp seven days. Whoever of you has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day.

bear-371349_640We need to take personal responsibility when it comes to holiness. Holiness will not just happen to you, there needs to be commitment on your side. You have to be willing before you can be obedient (Isaiah 1:19).

Job talked about his commitment to holiness, saying that he has made a covenant with his eyes not to look upon a maid (Job 31:1). And a covenant is the strongest level of commitment.

We are born with innate sin so the propensity for it is innate (Psalm 51:5). Christians needs to be taught to be aware of the innate tendency they now have as new creatures, the innate tendency to please. We need to be taught that the kingdom of God is not in meat and drink but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17), and that kingdom is within us (Luke ). We need to be aware of the Holy Spirit within us to stir us into holy living, as his name showed.

John the Baptist who came with the message of purification to Israel described Jesus as the one who will baptise us with the fire of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11). When a metal is to be purified, heat is turned on it. In the book of Malachi there was a prophecy about Jesus, that he will purify the sons of Levi to offer to God acceptable sacrifices (Malachi 3:1-4).

The book of proverbs noted seven things that are abominations to God, things he hated by him (Proverbs 6:16-19). We would explore some of them.

Haughty eyes

A haughty look is a proud look. When we allow pride to be king in our hearts then it is the beginning of a fall. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Pride serves to shut down our spirit so that we do not receive the grace of God, while the humble has a great affinity to the grace of God, the help of God. A pride look is an over concentration on how we are perceive by others.

When the heart of King Herod was lifted after a group of people called him a god, an angel struck him dead. Therefore when men presume to be God they set themselves up for judgement. The reason for the devil’s fall from the presence of God was pride (Isaiah 14:12-15).

He presumed to ascribe to himself more possibility than God gave him. Paul said that we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to (Romans 12:3). You do not have all the possibilities in the world, you have some limitations, having a sober reflection on your limitations will be a source of humility in our lives.  It does not matter how great you become you are still human. Do not go about painting yourself with superhuman brushes.

Lying tongue

This is the next big thing on the list. And pride is also associated with this. The devil is also called the father of lies. When lies go forth darkness follows. That was what happened in the Garden of Eden when Eve embraced the lies of the devil (Genesis 3).  Another thing on the list is a false witness which is also associated with this. So in a list of seven ills we are exploring, lying occurs twice. That was why James wrote that the one who does not err in his words will be the perfect one (James 3:2).

Hands that shed innocent blood

Different things we need to be purified from were associated with different parts of the body. There was the eyes (the looks) the tongue and now the hands. The hands is about what we do.

There is the example of the Samaritan man in a parable of Jesus which Jesus used as an example of being a good neighbour. While the Levi and the priest passed by a man and he was left to die, because they were not willing to get their hands dirty, the Samaritan traveller got his hands dirty to save his life, caring for him and carrying him to an inn and footing the bill for his care.

The heart of God is the heart of love is, so it is an abomination for one to do harm to another. The first sin in the post fall world was Cain killing his brother Abel, and his blood cried out for vengeance.

A heart that devises wicked plans

The heart is important to God. Jesus echoed that theme throughout his ministry and in the Sermon on the Mount he said that it is not just sinful to commit adultery, occupying the heart with lustful thoughts is also adultery (Matthew 5:27-28).

Feet that make haste to run to evil

The feet stands for a journey that we take in life. Where you go is important to God. Among the list of the armour of God there is an item for the feet, the preparation of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). That means the feet stands not just for the journey but also to preparation, readiness.

A feet running towards something is a statement of attraction. Be careful what you are attracted to. We need out heart to be purified so that we would love the right things, whatever we are attracted to should reflect the love of God.

It is not enough to try to control our actions, we need to submit out hearts to God for purification, so that we are purified in what we are attracted to. The bible says that we need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Many put a lot of effort to controlling their tangle actions but they fail.

They try to shed the wrong habits, which is all about the wrong attraction, but to no avail. What needs to be addressed is the mind. It needs to be renewed (Roman 12:1-4). There is a force exerting its effect on the mind causing it to desire the wrong thing, there is need for a change in the spirit of that mind. As Paul said we need to be renewed in the spirit of our mind to do the right thing (Ephesians 4:17-23).

Commissioning

Numbers 27:19: Make him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and you shall commission him in their sight.

girl-162474_640Commissioning is the final stage before an assignment is embarked on. It is passing up the baton to a new generation. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he continued the commissioning process for his apostles and disciples which he started before he died. He gave them instruction, telling them they will be his witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1). He wanted them to take charge from him after he was gone.

He had spent three and half years training them. He started something that was not supposed to end if he went away- the salvation of the world.  Though he was stepping off the scene, his plans for the people earth was still ongoing. He was going off the scene, but he will still be here, through his physical representatives which is the church. He commissioned us for that purpose.

Jesus said that we should go into all the world and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). Though he did not walk and work while on earth beyond Israel, he has his eyes on the end of the earth. That is what God had promised him. In the book of psalms God told Jesus, ask of me the earth for your possession, the ends of the earth for your inheritance (Psalm 2). Therefore, the church is commissioned to be the foot soldiers of Jesus.

Describing his military-like commissioning, Paul told Timothy he needed to show allegiance to his enlister, the one who commissioned him to be a soldier (2Timothy 2:3-4). He said he needed to desist from being entangled in civilian pursuit so as to please the one who called him to be a soldier. Remember that it was Paul who brought Timothy up in the ministry, but he does not presume to describe himself as the one who enlisted Timothy.

He drew the allegiance of Timothy not to himself but to Jesus. Every eyes should be on Jesus, he is the perfect one. He said if I be lifted I will draw all men to me (John 12:32), and that includes for the purpose of commissioning to become his soldier.

Those who are commissioned pay attention to the mission. And commissioning normally takes place after a season of training. Elisha was trained under Elijah, Joshua was trained by Moses. Those who do not have much in training are bound to commit a lot of unnecessary errors. Saul did not have much of training. He was an accidental king, and at the end, the pressure of being king revealed the personality fault-lines in him.

But when David was anointed to be king. He went through a number of years of not so palatable training. He was commissioned to be king after the death of Saul.

His commissioning to be king of Israel was in two phases (first as king over Judah and second as king over Israel). He was going to stand on his high places as appointed by God (Habakkuk 2:1-4) but it was going to be a climb and not a jump, and he had to depend on God all the way.

A commission is an assignment and it is specific. It gives a strong sense of purpose. When Paul was saved, he was immediately given a commission which was actualised in phases and which culminated in the final commissioning some years later in Antioch (Acts 13:1-4).

Before then when he was running around persecuting the Christians, he thought he was serving God. He thought he was doing the right thing. But when he met Jesus he entered into real purpose, and at the end of his life he said: I have finished my course (2Timothy 4:7).

This means there was nothing left for him to accomplish in his commission that was left undone. He was bold to make that declaration because his commission was specific and helped by the Holy Spirit and his own doggedness, he was able to fulfil it.

Even Jesus could not fulfil his commission without the Holy Spirit. When he became 30 years of age and his public ministry was about to begin, he said in the synagogue: the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor (Luke 4:17-21). He did not presume to do the will of God except in the power of his Spirit, leaving an example for us to follow in his steps (1Peter 2:21).

He told the disciple: I send you as sheep among wolves so you need to be as wise as serpent and gentle as dove, while sending them to the villages where he himself would still go. He not only gave them a commission but gave them the strategy. Paul said I become all things to all men so that I may win some. That was his strategy. He was an emissary of the king sent with divine resources. He wrote to the Roman church, I desire to see you so that I may impart to you spiritual gifts (Romans 1:11).

Nehemiah had the commission of building the wall of Jerusalem. He felt that was the step God wanted him to take. And because of that commission he made sacrifices.

A commission that does not take you from your comfort zone may not be from God. Prior to taking on the task of building up the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah was a palace executive, far away from Jerusalem. He was a trusted ally of the king of that vast kingdom.

He had a good bed to sleep on at night and regular meals. He was secure and might think he should not leave that for the uncertainty of building the long burnt down wall of Jerusalem. But he embraced the commission with his two hands, committing himself to it. Before then he had prayed, fasted and wept because he was burdened by the situation. Therefore what you are burdened with is an indication of your commission.

When God gave Moses his commission of taking the children of Israel out of the house of bondage, it was not something he was eager to do. Though he was burdened for their deliverance, when he was being commissioned, he had settled into a nice little domestic life with two kids and an occupation of herding the sheep of his father-in-law (Exodus 2-3). He tried to do something about setting them free forty years before then but it backfired. So he lost interest. But God gave him the commission anyway. In the same vein, your commission is what God choses for you.

The commission he had from God occupied the next forty years of his life on a full time basis. He had to change his location, and start out on a challenging journey, depending on God every step of the way. It was challenging. But he was called faithful in carrying out the mind of God (Hebrews 3:5).

Opened eyes and ears

Numbers 24:3: and he took up his discourse and said, “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,

man-392993_640Eyes

Our spiritual eyes need to be opened. A psalmist prayed: open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law (Psalm 119:18). We need our eyes to be opened to see God in his word. But while theology tells you how to see God, relationship with him actually helps you see him as he is.

Job after an experience with God, howbeit a bitter one, said to him: I have heard of you by the hearing of the ears but now my eyes sees you and I repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:1-6).

When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up with his train filling the temple, he was translated to another realm and at the end of that encounter he was changed into another person (Isaiah 6:1-10).

He experienced God for who he is, in his awesome holiness and that character of God holiness that he experience began to mark his life from then on.

When our eyes are opened then we see realities beyond the veil of time, beyond the limits of the flesh, beyond how things appear.

God sent Prophet Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint one of his sons to be king. But the great prophet almost fell into the trap of “appearance.” When Eliab the first born appeared before him, he was taken in by his stature and was almost pouring the oil on him before God stopped him and taught him a basis principle on how to walk with him (1Samuel 16:1-13).

God told Samuel: man looks at the appearance but not me, I look at the heart. Why didn’t God tell the prophet that he should go and anoint David before leaving his house in Ramah?  Why didn’t God cut to the chase and just tell Samuel the name of the one he was to anoint?

Apart from the fact that God wanted to teach those of us down the centuries a truth about himself, he also wanted to teach that to see things the way God does, we may need time. The seven sons of Jesse represents seven layers of veil we need to penetrate to see the way God sees, to see the heart. We were given the names of only the three of them.

Eliab (meaning “God of his father”): We need to see beyond what God has done in the past.

Abinadab (meaning “father of generosity”): We need to look beyond what is appealing to the flesh, to the pride, to the lust of the lust of the eyes (1John 2:15-17).

Shammah (meaning “desolation”): We need to look beyond our pain and the bad times.

Seeing things the way God sees them has not been automatic, since the fall of man. The bible says that the ways and thoughts of God are far above man as the heaven is above the earth. It is also written that it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, while it is the honour of kings to search it out (Proverbs 25:2). And a search takes time. Habakkuk needed to set time aside to seek the word of God concerning a matter (Habakkuk 2:1-4). It was not automatic.

Samuel had to go through seven sons of Jesse and still the divinely appointed king was not revealed. The bible says that the word of God is purified seven times (Psalm 12:6). So you think you have heard from God, what you heard still needed to be purified, because at first what you think you heard may be mixed with societal norms, and personal preferences, and even past experience and exposure, and other attachments like drawing to a conclusion what God is just hinting at,  which all limits the word of God. It takes some time as you yourself are purified, your spiritual seeing should become more accurate with time.

Ears

Not only should our eyes be opened to see, our ears should be opened to hear direction. The bible says we would hear a word behind us saying: this is the way walk in it (Isaiah 30:12). Knowing where to go, who to marry, what to do, how to respond to situation is one of the best gifts God has given us. The bible says that as many as are led by the Spirit they are sons of God (Romans 8:14).

We are led as we are inspired as to decision we need to take. But the devil has a vested interest in us making the wrong decision, taking the wrong turn, influenced by the wrong set of people.

With ears opened we also hear the meaning behind the words people speak. Because Jesus’ ears were opened in a spiritual sense, when the Pharisee came to him with flattering words asking him questions, he knew immediately that they were asking the question with ulterior motives, seeking for a way to trap him. There was a wrong spirit in their words. There was a time he refused to answer question they asked him because the heart behind the question was wrong.

The bible says that the word of God is quick and sharper than any two edged sword and the discerner of the thoughts and intent of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). God hears the heart and not just words spoken. And you should be like God (Ephesians 5:1).

When the devil was speaking with Eve, she was deceived because she, unlike Jesus, did not discern the wrong spirit behind the soothing words (Genesis 3).

Some people come to test you, and the best response to them may be silence or a non-committal statements because they merely wanted to hear what you say to get you into trouble. They want to hear what you want to say to twist it.

Sometimes there is wisdom in being silent. If you are not saying anything, there is no way you can be trapped with your words.

David prayed: let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight (Psalm 19:14).

While we may not be sure of the motive of people who want us to take specific direction, we can be assured that God has our best interest at heart. God is in our corner, supporting us, showing us the best way to go, the decision to make, the changes to make, the group of people to run with.

We need to pay attention to the word of God. In the book of proverbs, wisdom a manifestation of the word of God said those who do not pay attention to him will be lost (Proverbs 8). When we move to the sound of the word of God, we move aright.

No divination

Numbers 23:23: For there is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel; now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel, ‘What has God wrought!’

worship-435108_640We need to start believing the word of God, taking the reality it presents seriously. Because it is those who believe that will see the glory of God. Do you believe that you are not cursed, that there is no satanic machination against you that will succeed? That you are enclosed in a blessing cocoon and the devil cannot reach you?

The words of the focus verse were from Balaam, echoing the plan of God for Israel, and since you are spiritual Israelite as a Christian (Romans 2:29), feel free to ascribe the words of the focus verse to yourself.

You need to see yourself with new eyes. You are not beneath but above, you are not the vanquished, it is the devil. You are the light, he is darkness. You are empowered but Jesus has stripped him of his power (Ephesian 1:20-21, 2:6).

The devil uses human being as his vessels, but God would want you not to have the fear of men (Matthew 10:28), because the fear of men compromises his (God’s) fear in you. When you fear man, what they can do, it affects how you obey him. The lord does not want you running around with the fear of what they devil can do in your heart; that is counter to faith which is the ingredient for walking with God (Hebrews 11:5-6). The psalmist prayed: I put my trust in the lord, what can man do to me (Psalm 56:11).

God does not want you on the earth moving about with the fear of death, the fear of the devil. Jesus conquered the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-17), he conquered death, which the father of all fears, so we who identify with him can walk free from it. He went to the grave and came back by the operation of the Holy Spirit to stand before God forever, leaving a way (the possibility) for us to follow, to take after him.

Without the fear of death the devil have no hold on us because it is through that he operates. Though his power is real, it is empty threat for those of us Christians who operate from the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). To us his power is like fading smoke.

The time has come to shed all fears because Jesus has conquered for us. We are more than conquerors, because Jesus went to hell for us, so that we do not have to go there, he went down so that we can go up, he was overcame by death so that we can overcome death. And the bible says that as he is so we are on this world.

We do not see the New Testament Christians running around afraid of the power of the devil. They were committed to the word of God, giving no undue thought to the devil, being fully committed to God.

They were busy discovering new things about God, exploring new frontiers for him, and as they moved they trample on the power of the enemy. They walked in the glory of God and devils scamper before them. They saw how Jesus expressed total domination of the powers of the devil and they expected to and walked in nothing less.

You are untouchable though not invincible. You have the protection of mighty angelic hosts. The bible says that the angels of God (who excels in strength [Psalm 103:20) camp around those who fear God (Psalm 34:7). They were sent to minister for (to serve) those who will be heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:13-14).

God is looking out for you. You are not alone here on earth trying to fend for and protect yourself against the hordes of darkness.

The demonic forces are spiritual but you are not defenceless against them, the presence of God with you and that makes all the difference.

It was the presence of God with the nation of Israel that made them impregnable to all the powers of darkness, except when they sinned.

In the bible the presence of God is defined by fire, light, and water, and wind. All these are invisible forces to counter the forces of the devil.

The bible says that when the enemy shall come like a flood the Spirit of the Lord shall raise up a standard against it (Isaiah 58:19). The light vanquishes darkness and shows us the right way to God, the way of the overcomer. The fire consumes. The bible says that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God because our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29, 10:31).

God wants to express dominion on the earth through us just as he ordained man to walk in before the fall in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:26-28). The bible says that God made man in his image and gave him dominion over the birds of the air, the fishes in the sea and the heart on the ground.

While Jesus walked the earth after he was invested with the power of the Holy Spirit, the demons could not stand him. They scream when he is around, they get uncomfortable and Jesus gets to cast them out. He declared: the enemy has nothing in me (John 14:30). And we stand guarded with his righteousness, able to cast out devils like he did.

Rather than be the oppressed, Jesus gave us the mandate to cast out devils, to take charge. Rather than be the ones seeking to be delivered, we are meant to be deliverers. Paul got to cast out a demon of divination, serpentine demon in his time (Acts 16:16-18). He did not feel helpless before it. Stirred by the Holy Spirit, he did the needful.

You are impregnable untouchable, and it will be to you as you believe. If you believed you are above only and not beneath then that is the way it is going to be, if you say that you are the deliverer and not the oppressed, then that is the way it is. The words of your mouth are very important. They show over time how convinced you are about what you think is the truth. Do you believe that no divination against you can stand?

Gift to Jesus

Numbers 18:6: And behold, I have taken your brothers the Levites from among the people of Israel. They are a gift to you, given to the LORD, to do the service of the tent of meeting.

faith-208820_640That is God’s word to Aaron who is a type of Christ. He was told that he was not supposed to do the work of the Lord alone. It was not supposed to be a lonely work, so God gave him an army of helpers, the Levites. He was more to be a coordinator and an overseer of the “army,” executing the plan of God based on the vision that God gave to Moses.

We are gifts to Jesus

Let’s now apply that to Jesus, who is our high priest (Hebrews 10:21), the bishop of our soul. Jesus has committed disciples who do his bidden.

We are all gifts to Jesus, the result of the travail of his soul (Isaiah 53:11). We are the fruits of the shedding of his blood. The new creature, the ones changed by following his word (2Corinthians 5:17).

When we receive him, we receive him as Lord. We reject the right to rule our own lives. We give him that right. He takes over.

We have been purchased with his blood (Acts 20:28). So we are his. We have redemption and forgiveness of sins through his name. We stand clean and clear-minded because of him. He said I will build my church (you and I) (Matthew 16:18), and he is the head of the church (Colossians 1:18).

When we come to God, we do not just receive from him, he releases himself through us in divine partnership. He told the apostles: you will receive power and serve me as witnesses. He gives you his purpose so you do not have to live aimlessly. But you must be willing to leave everything and follow him (Matthew 19:16-24).

When you come to him, he gives you new eyes to see, new hands to serve, clean hands and new energy to serve, i.e. the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). He gives you his own grace of service to God. You are not only his disciples just to look at what he does but to also be like him, manifest like him.

He chose the apostles that they might be with him and that he might send them out to minister to others (Mark 3:14). There was a time he was doing the job alone and he asked the people that they should pray to the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest (Matthew 9:38).

These labourers are ready, equipped and have passion for the harvest. They follow the passion of the chief harvester himself, Jesus, who said that he comes to seek to save the lost (Luke 19:10). The bible says that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself (2Corinthians 5:19).

The kingdom labourers are in partnership with Christ for the global harvest. But we would not know how to harvest except when we watch Jesus and seek to be like him. Peter had the testimony that he had been with Jesus when 5000 people gave their lives to Jesus after he was done speaking to the people, after a lame man was raised.

Jesus is gift to us

Just as we are gifts to Jesus he is also a gift to us. John 3:16 says that for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

He represents for us the gift of eternal life and he is the door of our experiencing the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11). So not only are we saves through him, but we are enabled to live the Christ-life by the Holy Spirit he releases into our lives.

We are not supposed to try to fend for ourselves spiritually after we become born again wondering what we will do next. The gift of the Holy Spirit which God gives to everyone who asks is available. The bible says that we who are evil knows how to give good things to our neighbour, how much more will the God give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him (Luke 11:13).

That means the Holy Spirit is a gift and throughout the New Testament church, we see the phrase, “receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-2).” He is the gift of God to us. He is the gift that keeps giving, because there are also gifts called the gifts of the Holy Spirit, nine of them mentioned by Paul in his letter to the Corinthian church (1Corinthians 12:1-14). And the bible says that the manifestations of the Holy Spirit are given for the benefit of all, and these gifts manifests through us.

You are a gift

Not only is Jesus a gift, but you are also a gift to this generation. Just like him you have been sent to the world. The world is blessed because of you.

Jesus, though was sanctified before coming to the world, set apart for a special purpose, still had to sanctify himself after he got here (John 17:19). You have to do likewise.

He had to make himself qualified for the job. While he was praying before he went to make the sacrifice of his life on the cross he said because of us (those who would believe in him) he sanctify himself (dedication), he gave the task of winning the world everything it takes.

You need to set yourself apart (in dedication, sanctification) for the task of the work of God. To be the gift you should be, you need dedication, and purification. Like Paul we should all say that: leaving the things that are behind we strive to lay hold of what is ahead, in the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

Paul was a man who gave it all it takes, to be the best gift of God he can be from God to others. He stood firm in the face of opposition, committed to the task he was given with single-minded devotion, standing out in his generation. You are a gift and you need to be sharpened to deliver on your mandate more effectively.

Repentance

Numbers 15:26: And all the congregation of the people of Israel shall be forgiven, and the stranger who sojourns among them, because the whole population was involved in the mistake.

sad-219722_640There are sins that are common to different people groups and generations. Jesus called his generation faithless and perverse (Matthew 17:17).

The people of Israel who came from Egypt, whose journey was chronicled in the book of the focus verse, were noted for complaining. They found it hard to express trust in God. Stephen called them stiff-necked, always resisting the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51).

We also need to be aware of the errors prevailing in our generation so that we might be on guard. Jesus said that we should watch and pray so we do not fall into temptation (Matthew 26:41).

While all temptations are common to all generations, because it is the same devil, the way the temptations are presented differs. While sexual immorality may be a thing for many generation for this generation there is a special manifestation of it in pornography and homosexuality and paedophilia. There is sexual impropriety repackaged, enhanced, publicised, and made more appealing and the internet gives a new wing and reach to this evil.

This generation also have the problem of addiction. Idleness in many climes, due to time saving technologies that have been developed, and entertainment outlets designed, the mind lies fallow and the idle minds becomes the devil’s workshop.

There are many things to get addicted to, there are mind-altering substances that perpetuate dependence on it. All these are supposed to occupy the heart so that the love of God will not find a place.

There are sins peculiar to different families. Look at your life, are there not inherited sins from your parents? If your father is addicted to pornography, adulterous and full of anger, the very fact of being around him will ensure that you reflect all these. And the answer is Christ, through whom you have freedom from sin (Romans 7:24-25). The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to our need of him. And the bible says whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).

But the path to life is repentance.  Without repentance there is no openness to receive help. John the Baptist came to Israel preaching the message of repentance (Mark 1:4).  He carried the spirit and power of Elijah, who called Israel back to repentance to God in his time (1Kings 17).

The problem in the time of Elijah was idolatry, while in the time of John the Baptist, it was social injustice, dead conscience, disregard for God etc. John the Baptist brought about God-consciousness in Israel and the people were drawn to his message because they wanted to be part of the kingdom of God (Matthew 3:1-2).

Elijah called his generation back to God, and after the manifestation of God as fire on an altar he laid, the people confessed: the lord, he is God.

Via the gate of repentance people get to enter in an experience of God. Therefore repentance is for those desiring God, who chose to move away from their error to enter the presence of God (Psalm 15). They have been called to be all they can be with God. Those who are ready to go all the way with God are called to purge themselves of all evil works (2Timothy 2:21).

The bible says that the foundation of Christianity is repentance from dead works and faith towards God which are like two sides of the coin (Hebrews 6:1-3). Therefore without repentance, you cannot even start out as a Christian. And it is something you take with you along the journey to keep you on the straight and narrow way that leads to life (Matthew 7:14).

Repentance starts with the will, however there are components of the emotion and the mind (all components of the soul) involved.

Will

You have to make the decision to change. You cannot continue being sympathetic with the wrong acts or moving with the wrong group.

There is no true repentance until you change the group you move with. The man described as prosperous in the bible in psalm one did not walk with the wicked, sit with mocker or stand with sinners. He was careful to spend time with the word and away from the wrong group.  And Paul was firm when he said: bad companies corrupt good manners (1Corinthians 15:33).

John the Baptist told the people: “bring forth fruits meant for repentance (it is not just what you confess, but how you change that matters) and do not say that we have Abraham for our father. Perish the thought of being given a special treatment by God when it comes to sin, because God hates sin (Luke 3:7-8).” Your sins will find you out (Numbers 32:23). That means you have to take responsibility for your own change.

Jesus said that the people should not think that those who died in an incident are any worse than those listening to him, adding that if they do not repent they will likewise perish (Luke 13:1-5). Sin is sin regardless of who commits it.

Your will also has to do with the use of your time. When you fill your time with activities that are about seeking God, pursuing him, concentrating on him, sin will not find a place.

Emotion

The stirring of the emotion have something to do with wrong behaviours. So if I want to act right I will avoid situation that will stir my emotion in the wrong direction. The man that cannot control his emotion is like a city without fence (Proverbs 25:28). Self-control, a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), is being able to control your reactions in different situations.

Your emotion can get you into trouble if you do not recognise its flow and control it as appropriate. Everywhere in the bible we are told to be sober (Titus 2:6). That is not given to a life sun on the ebbs and flows of emotion, rather we should be committed to the truth of God. We should not be easily carried away.

When we are focused on appearance, they we are easily carried away emotionally. If what we seek is what makes us feel good, then we are not ready to pay the price for righteousness. Paul wrote that the one who lives for pleasure is dead even while still alive (1Timothy 5:6).

The emotions are inner motions, which may be holy or unholy. The only alternative against the unholy motion is to actively cultivate the holy motion which is passion for God, and love of him, zeal for his house. Jesus was “guilty” of running on excessive zeal, making a whip to clean up the house of his father (John 2:17). Get addicted to God like Jesus, and all other addictions will melt away in the fiery furnace of your passion for him.

Mind

Repentance really means change of mind, for a change of course. When we think differently we will live differently. If the spirit of our mind is not changed/renewed (4:17-27) then what we say, how we live cannot change. We can wear new cloths but until we wear new thoughts we will continue with our old lives, we would not change.

When we put the word of God concerning any area of struggle with sin in our heart, we are primed to think God thoughts in that area and therefore live God’s life, breaking that sin chain.

Jesus said: learn from me and you will find rest for your soul (Matthew 11:29). Learning is a thing of the mind. We are changed into the image of the one we are learning from. And Paul said, we should learned Christ. That is the end point of repentance.

Curbing fear

Numbers 14:9: Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.”

man-338999_640In the focus verse the children of Israel were told not to allow fear to draw them from the will of God (Numbers 14). Similarly, Paul told Timothy that he should not yield to the spirit of fear but love, power and sound mind (2Timothy 1:6-7). Rebellion is nothing more than a rejection of the will of God. And for the will of God to be done we need to embrace what will kill fear, which Paul outlined for Timothy.

Love, power and sound mind have to do with affinity with God, who cannot fear.

Love

With love for God we face fear and do not back down. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were pressured to bow down to the image set up by great king Nebuchadnezzar on the pain of death, by being thrown into a fiery furnace, but they stared down the king and glorified God (Daniel 3).

Their devotion to (love for) God was stronger than their fear of displeasing man, or their fear of losing their life (Matthew 10:28).

Jesus said that if anyone wants to follow him, he must deny himself carry his cross and follow him (Luke 9:23). Loving God means being willing to follow him and therefore not being careful or fearful about what can happen to you, in the course of it.

Jesus asked Peter: do you love me more than these (John 21:17)? He was saying: beyond all, you should love God and that will make all the difference. If your attraction to God is stronger than anything that wants to distract you, then you are alright. We are to love the Lord our God with all our mind, heart and strength (Mark 12:30), we would not energy left to be afraid.

Love, the bible says, casts out fear (1John 4:18). It has the capacity to dissolve fear. If you are filled with love, you cannot be filled with fear at the same time. There is no fear in love. With love we can walk with God who is love, and his manifestation in our lives causes the powers of the enemy to be trampled upon (Luke 10:19).

When the Love of God is firmly rooted in our hearts, we are firmly focused on his words and not would refuse to be distracted by what enemies have to say, how they look or their reputation for causing harm.

The love of God was firmly rooted in David’s heart and he could not fear Goliath (1Samuel 17).

Love and fear is about focus. If I focus on God then I express love for him, I allow him, his words to control me, to define my life, to shape me, how think, how I see things, how I relate with others, how I perceive different situations. Fear comes by focusing on the devil, focusing on the wrong things.

Loving God colours our perception and helps us to make the right decision. In the Garden of Eden, before the deception of the devil took root in the hearts of Adam and Eve, the love of God was the defining influence of their activities.

When they viewed God from the lens of love they saw him accurately. But the devil gave Eve another lens, which was the lens of fear, suspicion (Genesis 3), and doubt.

Love believes all things from God (1Corinthians 13). Faith works through love (Galatian 5:6) and without faith it is not possible to walk with God, but fear comes with his cousin doubt. Love believes the word of God which says we can trample underfoot all the powers of the enemy.

“God is not trying to kill us, he wants to empower us,” love says. If the children of Israel could see that God loves them and was committed to giving them the Promised Land no matter what, they will not allow the fear of the giants in the land miss out on the best of God.

Assured of the love of God, we are assured of his backing, and that means we will not fear. God said: fear not I am with you (I love you), be not dismayed I am your God (Isaiah 41:10).

Power

Power is the awareness of inherent ability. Jesus the captain of our army did not send us to the battle front without proper equipment. We are not victims in the battle of life. We are called to be strong in the Lord and the power of his might (Ephesians 6:10), to share the very power, the very strength of the Lord himself (2Timothy 2:1).

Jesus said he has given us power to trample upon snakes and scorpions. That is not our power (which is limited), it is his power (unlimited), in which we are supposed to be strong in. Remember, all powers is now invested in Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20).

Therefore, we need to live with a strong identification with him. That is a quick way to bury fear in our lives. When we see ourselves not alone, not empty but full of God, seated in the heavenly palace in God in Christ Jesus, we will live confidently (Ephesians 2:6).

And when we use the name of Jesus which is the name above other names, there is a release of the resurrection power to create the reality that the user of the name wants realised (Philippians 2:5-11). We should know what we have in supernatural power.

Sound mind

This has to do with what you know. We would not fear sin when we know that in Christ we have died to sin and resurrected in him to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-4).

James wrote that we should take in the engrafted word which is able to save our souls. When the word enters into us, it brings light (Psalm 119:130). We should not live as people who are blind, who are ignorant. Paul said that in understanding we should be men (1Corinthians 14:20). When you see through the deceptive tactics of the enemy you will not fear him (2Corinthians 2:11).

David stood before Goliath betraying no fear whatsoever. He had full awareness in his mind of the presence of God with him to cause him to have victory in defence of his name.

When you know what your rights are in Christ you live confidently.

Sound mind also involves getting the divine information about the situation, seeing the end from the beginning, just like God does, so that you do not make short term decision, which leads to long-term pain. It makes all the difference, what you know.

Sound mind comes when we focus on what God says about us, our situation and occupy ourselves with it, meditate on it day and night, and not what the devil has to say. If he says we are victorious then that should be what we fixate on, ruminate on, mentally and spiritually engage with, because what we fixate on controls our life.