Previous Chapter: CHRISTIAN ETHOS
(Verses that are not quoted can be found in full at the bottom of the page)
Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.
Where we are a child of God, we are meant to strongly resemble our Spiritual Father. For all those who do, the severity of the spiritual darkness within the world becomes apparent. However, until we walk above the world, we may never recognize how we have or still do help contribute to this outcome. For as much, all of us who strongly follow in the pursuit of earthly obtainment, in selfish pursuit, cannot help but augment this circumstance. In regards, it is only through spiritual acknowledgement that we may ever fully observe the relationship between the increase of corruption and the decrease of awareness to the source of corruption.
Because it is only as we live in darkness we cannot see, our individual focus then ought to be to help cultivate a light, within and throughout, such that all things are made visible. The following are simple guidelines to assist in accomplishing this result. Where Christ’s ministry was about teaching and delivering the Holy Spirit to humanity, these acts are so forth founded firmly upon His teachings.
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
Serve one master, God: We are all servants to something (Matthew 6:24), and it is ultimately our actions which determine what we serve. To this end, we should try and understand what our actions imply. We are all accountable to Him and Him alone, and we should strive diligently to live our lives honoring Him over the world.
Deny the love of wealth and money: We are worth more than all the riches of the world (Matthew 6:25). There is nothing we can buy, purchase, or wear that will make us any more valuable. In truth, that which is of the Spirit is always greater than anything which is of the Earth. In effect, allow one’s wealth to be measured solely by one’s light and peace alone.
Labor only for the Lord: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” (Colossians 3:23). Therefore, we should be solely focused on doing everything we do for the Lord, and we should seek spiritual blessings far before we seek worldly riches. As is, it is unwise to labor for what can be taken in one’s sleep (Matthew 6:20), and it is much better to labor towards that which cannot be lost.
Forego earthly attachments: “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy” (Jonah 2:8). If something is anchored to the Earth, for whosoever should hold on to it, they will be anchored to the Earth as well. How can God be to blame for one’s ill-gain when there were such obvious ends to one’s willful action? As we loosen our grip onto the things which hold us to the fleeting, the Spirit within us will begin to thrive. So then, strive to fast often, drink only water, read scripture, pray silently (Matthew 6:6), and seek the Spirit within. In doing so, one will learn to live on the Lord’s guidance, and they will become most empowered to walk upright and by the Spirit.
Live by the day and do not worry about tomorrow’s requirements: Relent from feeling stressed about things in life (Matthew 6:27, & 6:30), and focus most on the present day (Matthew 6:34). In doing so it is imperative we see our life as being worth more than our possessions (Matthew 6:25). In practice, live trusting in God, not the fears of what may come. If so many creatures in nature can live in harmony with its environment – as it lives by the day – then why can’t the most sophisticated and prized creation on the Earth easily do the same (Matthew 6:26)? There is an expectation that comes with the way the world tells us to live, and that expectation is not inherent but being merely established by men, not Christ. If we want more, and we give our trust to God, then we will get more.
Do away with internet/television obscenity: Once more, we are searching for what supports the narrative of freeing ourselves from carnal vices which quell our spiritual vitality. Such that, when we suppress His Spirit, the desires of the flesh will grow, and, as we overcome the desires of the flesh, the vitality of His Spirit within will grow. In following, search to keep the spiritual greater than the physical in every conceivable way, and receive Christ’s grace everywhere you cannot.
Take one’s self less seriously: Remember that in heaven the one who is greatest is as a humble and respectful child (Matthew 18:4). Be like the greatest in Heaven and do not take one’s self so seriously being humble and respectful – just like those who are the greatest in Heaven (Matthew 18:1-5).
Be confident as a child of God: One puts a lamp where it lights a room (Matthew 5:14-15). Do not let those who walk in darkness impede oneself, for light is greater than darkness. Inasmuch as, trust in the light knowing that it is simply not possible to put a light out with darkness.
Be forgiving and do not judge: Forgive and be forgiven (Matthew 6:14), and do not judge others or condemn them (Matthew 7:2). As such do not be guilty of stealing the seat of the Lord who is the only one that presides over another person’s fate. Accordingly only let the truly righteous accuse the wicked (John 8:7). Remember, all acts of judgment divide the body of God, and testify against His love, mercy, and patience.
Be charitable in heart: It is better to get into Heaven with one arm, then to be cast out with two (Matthew 18:8). Therefore we should aim to lose whatever is vain, and only carry with us that which furthers ourselves to true riches. If so one says “I want to give this away,” and that something inhibits us spiritually, we should give it away right there (Matthew 6:3-4). All we should want, desire, and hold onto is nothing but the Spirit. If something should make one lose that, than it is best for them to lose that something. In doing so, give to the world that which belongs to the world (Matthew 22:21), and allow oneself to be filled with light instead of darkness (Matthew 6:24).
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Accordingly, at least by the words of the gospel, when our focus is solely on heaven and trusting in God’s promises, we become most enabled to live according to Christ’s instruction, and we become most enabled to sow the seeds of the Spirit and light the world. Simply that believing in them is not enough to manifest this result. As we follow the instruction, we move toward the actualization of who God made us to be, and we move toward discovering our purpose in Him. Lastly, we become most empowered to bring about His will on Earth as it is in Heaven.
– Continue to Chapter 9 –
Like all quotes in this book, each of these verses are cited from the English Standard Version Bible unless otherwise noted.
Matthew 5:14-15 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”
Matthew 5:45 “so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Matthew 5:47 “And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”
Matthew 6:3-4 “‘But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.'”
Matthew 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.“
Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,”
Matthew 6:20 “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money”
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
Matthew 6:27 “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?“
Matthew 6:30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?“
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Matthew 7:2 “For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”
Matthew 10:30 “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered”
Matthew 18:1-5 “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:18 “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.“
Matthew 22:21 “‘Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.'”
John 8:7 “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’”
1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
– Continue to Chapter 10 –
“Acts of Spiritual Worship” © 2016 ML Ainsworth
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