I have been reading through Leviticus lately. I love how you can see a prophetic picture of Christ in every sacrifice, in every feast, in how His life fulfilled every righteous requirement in the Law. I love how you can see God’s righteous heart. He tells us what He likes, and what He hates. He tells us how to live lives that are pleasing to Him and healthy for our bodies and spirits. He warns us of what will hurt us, and what will hurt others.
He says, “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the Lord who sanctifies you.” Leviticus 20:7-8.
He is the One who sanctifies us. He is holy. He is set apart. He wants us to be holy and set apart too. But how can we be? The law was impossible for us to follow. How can we be holy? He tells us, “I am the Lord who sanctifies you.”
Let that sink in.
God enables us.
God helps us be holy.
“For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
To WILL and To DO.
If God helps us both the will and to do, it means that not only does our ability to be holy come from Him, but our desire to do well comes from Him. What grace. Because in me, in my flesh, dwells no good thing. Apart from this grace, I don’t even want to be holy. I want to please my flesh. It is all God that even gives me the desire to deny my flesh and live pure and holy in this life.
Jesus says that He will send us the Helper. The Holy Spirit is with us. He teaches us the truth. He convicts us of sin. He enables us to walk in victory. He breaks the chains that bind us in slavery to the flesh. He stirs up our desire to walk in Christ. He overflows us with life and power and truth.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:15-18
What a precious promise. A Helper that will never leave us. God Himself, invisible, but always present with us (in us). The Spirit of Truth.
Jesus said to those He loved, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 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; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” John 16:12-15
The Holy Spirit is who lovingly convicts us. The conviction is so sweet though; He is always seeking to deliver us.
Sometimes we don’t want to be delivered. We cry and pray and beg God to deliver us, then later we want to go back to our sins. We want to enjoy our sins, but we don’t want to be enslaved by them. Oh then the Holy Spirit will remind us of a song or a verse, and steer our hearts toward Him, providing a way of escape. And we can choose to take it, or we can grieve Him.
We can grieve the Spirit God who desires all our worship, by choosing idols instead of His boundless love. We have the choice. We can go astray.
And yet He calls to us. He seeks to help us. He throws out the life preserver (Himself) for us to grab onto and cling to for dear life.
Without Him, we can do nothing.
Do I want to walk in victory, anointing, intimacy with God. Or do I want to settle for the base, filthy, idolatrous life of a lukewarm backslider. Do I want to be a slave to the flesh or a slave to the Spirit.
Freedom is real.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is; there is freedom.
Where the Spirit is free to minister revival; there is brokenness.
I read this devotion today by Jim Cymbala about our need to call out to God as our deliverer, and the futility of trying to go it alone.
Satan’s main strategy with God’s people has always been to whisper, “Don’t call, don’t ask, don’t depend on God to do great things. You’ll get along fine through your own cleverness and energy.” The truth of the matter is that the devil is not terribly frightened of our human efforts and credentials. But he knows his kingdom will be damaged when we lift up our hearts to God.
Listen to David’s confident assertion in Psalm 4:3: “Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him.” That was David’s whole posture, his instinct, and especially his approach to warfare. It doesn’t matter what the Philistine armies have. If we call out to God, He will give us the victory. If we backslide and don’t call, then we can be defeated by even a tiny army.
I can almost hear David saying, “You can chase me, you can persecute me, you can do anything you want—but when I call on God, you’re in trouble! The Lord will hear when I call to Him.”
Notice how God defines wicked people in Psalm 14:4: “Will evildoers never learn—those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on the Lord?” That is the divine definition of the ungodly. They will do many things, but they will not humble themselves and recognize God’s omnipotence by calling on His name with all their hearts.
Salvation is impossible until a person humbly calls upon the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21), for God has promised specifically to be rich in mercy to those who call on His name (see Romans 10:12-13).
“Call upon me in the day of trouble,” God says in Psalm 50:15. “I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” God desires praise from our lives but the only way fresh praise and honor will come is as we keep coming to Him in times of need and difficulty. Then He will intervene to show Himself strong on our behalf, and we will know that He has done it.
I love that last paragraph. When we call on the Lord to deliver us; he will. He delights to deliver us. He is mighty to save. He saves to the outermost. His arm is not short. His ear is not deaf. Our sins have separated us from Him. But if we come back–if we call upon Him–He will answer.
There are some GIANTS in our lives that He doesn’t automatically deliver us from when we get saved. When we come to Him, we still love our giants to some extent. Israel did not chase out all the giants when they entered the promised land. But God wants us to learn how to fight them, with His help. To have the faith to conquer them.
David had the faith to conquer Zion. David had the faith to kill giants. David had the faith to pull down strongholds. David had the faith to fight many battles for the Lord.
David had the faith to endure the consequences of his sin. David had the faith to be broken and humble before God. And David had the faith to receive forgiveness for his major failures.
… and to move on
…and keep going
… and keep worshiping
… and be washed again
After all, it was the Holy Spirit Who brought him a prophet. The Holy Spirit convicted him and then drew him to seek deliverance. David needed the Holy Spirit, especially when he had failed so miserably.
He was once again HONEST about where he was at.
And he once again cried out to God.
He cried out for the Holy Spirit …
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
We can’t do it alone. We need Him.
No matter where you are at or what you have done, Jesus is asking us all, “Do you want to be healed? Do you want to be delivered? Do you want to take up your bed and walk? Do you want to worship me in Spirit and truth?”
Worship Him . . .
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” John 4:23