FORGIVENESS and HUMILITY
As we walk through our daily lives seeking to be led by the Spirit of God, we will get resistance from the powers of darkness. I thank God that while these principalities and powers can be a hindrance, they cannot stop us as they were judged when Jesus was raised from the dead. However, we too, can be a hindrance to our own selves. I want to share at least two areas where we hinder ourselves from entering into the kingdom of God. These can be summed up in two words: "forgiveness" and "humility".
One of the first things a new Christian learns (and needs to get a revelation of) is that, on the cross, Jesus paid the price for all of our sins, and they were all forgiven. In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus gave us the "Lord's Prayer" in verses 9-13. But his teaching continued on in verses 14 and 15. "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses". What? I thought Jesus forgave all sins. This account is repeated in Mark 11:25-26. And in the third part of Luke 6:37, Jesus said "...forgive, and ye shall be forgiven".
In Matthew chapter 18 verses 23-35, Jesus tells a parable of a king who took account of his servants. There was one servant who asked the king for compassion but in turn did not show compassion to a fellow servant and consequently the king delivered him to the tormentors. In verse 35, "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses". Do what? Deliver you unto the tormentors.
To get the forgiveness of God to manifest we have to forgive all of all, no matter what was done to us. This can be and is a hard thing to do, but if we seek God, He will grant us the grace to forgive anyone for anything. God has led me to forgive people even though I could not remember a specific incident. Remembering it was not the important part, forgiving them for all things is what is required.
He led me to forgive my parents, my sisters and people I had worked with in the past and in my current job. I was married once before and God led me to forgive my first wife. There was unforgiveness and resentment in my heart that was hindering God's work in my life. When I forgave her (and myself), there was a heaviness, a root of bitterness, that left my heart and I felt a liberation in my spirit. There was also a confidence in God that my sins were forgiven. Praise the Lord!
I stated when I opened this teaching, that Satan resists us when we try to obey God. However, if we do not humble ourselves to obey God and do His will, it is God himself that resists us.
"...Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble". 1 Peter 5:5.
This is repeated in James 4:6, so I concluded that it must be important. In fact, it is so important, that we are warned all through the scriptures, both Old and New Testament, about what God thinks of pride. Here are a few examples:
"The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts". Psalm 10:4. God calls the prideful, wicked.
"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate". Proverbs 8:13. God hates pride.
"When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom". Proverbs 11:2. Walking in humility (lowly) is wise in the eyes of God.
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall". Proverbs 16:18.
"A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit". Proverbs 29:23. The honor of God will uphold the humble.
There are many more examples and you can look them up yourself. However, one of the most extreme examples (to me) of how God dealt with pride was the judgement of Sodom. Growing up in religion, we learned that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of homosexuality. While this is vile in God's eyes (read Romans 1:16), the reasons these cities were destroyed are spelled out in Ezekiel 16:49-50.
"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good". The first iniquity listed is pride.
In John 1:17, the writer says, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ". God used the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the death, burial and resurrection, to grant us grace. And we access this grace through faith in this gospel. (Romans 5:2). Why do we need grace? "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need". (Hebrews 4:16). We need God's grace to help us in a time of need and to obtain His mercy, rather than His wrath, like that which was poured out upon Sodom. We can only come boldy unto the throne of grace if we humble our selves.
In fact, God requires us to walk in humility. God spoke through his servant Micah, as recorded in chapter 6, verse 8:
"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" We have to humble ourselves to walk with God.As they say in the business world, the "bottom line" is this: If we walk humbly (do God's will) and forgive all of all, then we will obtain God's mercy, grace, forgiveness and honor in this life. In addition, when we believe the gospel, we will obtain eternal life and escape the wrath of God. We will enter the kingdom of God both in this world and the next and this is the pearl of great price that Jesus talks about in Matthew 13:45-46. There is no greater reward or treasure than this.
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