Kingdom Principle: What you focus your attention on – will determine your next steps
|Isaiah 40:21-31||Psalm 147:1-11, 20c||1 Corinthians 9:16-23||Mark 1:29-39|
Trying to keep “up” with Jesus is impossible! Trusting Jesus to keep you “up” is freedom.
Focusing on trying is all about our efforts. Focusing on Trusting is all about His presence.
The need for healing is always upon us, as we dwell in this world. Freedom from this world comes from the awaking of our spirit in the power of the Holy Spirit which makes possible the healing of our body & soul. You can either focus on what is wrong or you can focus on the power to overcome. Further, you can see a “demon in every bush”, or know that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) The enemy will continually seek to steal, kill and destroy, but let us focus on what is means to live life to the full. (John 10:10) Full of Faith, Full of Hope, Full of Love. The enemy uses fear to keep us frozen in our path instead of walking with Jesus, our enemy is best understood to include:
- Satan and his dominion darkness 2. This World 3. The Flesh
This is not to focus our thoughts on the enemy, but to call out those who may have found themselves trap with this focus. When the Holy Spirit breaths life in us – we are born again (John 3:3)and transferred from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of light. (Col. 1:13-14) Being redeemed in the Kingdom of Light does not mean that Satan takes his focus off of us, rather it actually increases the target on our backs to which the enemy always seeks. We in turn can either be filled with fear and focus on his every move, or we can be filled with Power and Authority to overcome Him – placing our focus on Jesus. This focus will yield us victorious as servantleaders following a plan of hope.
What follows are two options of where to place our focus: Survival in this world (just trying to make it each day) or Soaring above this world. (trusting that He who overcome the world is with me).
The movement by the enemy against us it is either an act of intrusion or requires our invitation. Satan and his demons – are pleased to move by either means of intrusion or invitation– because of this, we must cry for Justice or confess our need for Forgiveness respectively. The World and its desires are poised to war against our soul. The Flesh, which is not our body, but our carnal nature – while being put to death – still wages a war against our bodies. (Romans 6, 8:9) This opposition is why “trying to keep up with Jesus is impossible”. Trying rather than Trusting is the problem to keeping up with Jesus (or the Jones’ for that matter). Here is the Problem: Trying opens the door to the possibility that you might not make it…..
I will try -means – I will give it my best shot; but in the end if it does not happen, I feel good that I can say “at least I tried”. To this I say – NO MORE! People who try to follow Jesus will discover it is impossible to “keep up with Jesus” and therefore they eventually give up. (The answer to this dilemma is found in being WITH Jesus) Instead of trying – we must shift our paradigm to trusting. (This is not word choice, it is much deeper within us regarding our philosophy.) In the much the same way, I believe that there is no such thing as failure – rather to fail is our First Attempt In Learning). This is to have a hope-filled faith in Jesus leading us to follow him in our weakness so that He will be strong. (2 Cor. 12:9-10) Jesus is neither interested nor dependent on our strength and ability, as the means to his ends. Jesus is our means and our end. As we lay down our attempts of trying – we will no longer be tired. We will be renewed in our spirit!
Have you ever been so exhausted, that you can’t imagine taking another step forward, when someone comes along to cheer you on, and you are able to finish – this is renewal of the soul.
Have you ever been so exhausted, that you can’t imagine taking another step forward, when you finally hit your pillow and sleep peacefully for 9 hours – this is renewal of the body.
Have you ever been so exhausted, that you can’t imagine doing anything, much less entertaining people in your home, yet God calls you to have people over and life transformation takes place; after this experience – you’re not depleted rather you are aware of the Lord’s pleasure over you….this is renewal of the spirit. (true spiritual renewal does not leave you empty when it is over…)
The impossible becomes possible only when our spirit is renewed in the Holy Spirit.
Being renewed in the spirit is different than resting/renewed of the body or soul…. The spirit of a person is rested/renewed when they are moving in the flow of the Holy Spirit. What follows below is the difference between good and great – The renewal of our body and soul is good and necessary – but it will not lead us to the greatness of trust in the power of Jesus.
One way the soul is charged through the love languages – as outline by Dr. Gary Chapman – (Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time). The soul is dependent on the body to be expressed; therefore the renewal of the body and the renewal of the soul are deeply intertwined. Introverts and Extroverts will find this renewal in very unique and diverse ways. In the Scriptures we find references to the Lord giving us rest for our souls. (which is good – Ps. 62, Jer. 6:16, Matt. 11:29) This rest is absolutely essential and a renewing gift of the Lord to give us the capacity to function in this world. The act of knowing what to say “Yes” too verses “No” –is a battle of the mind (which is an aspect of our soul) demonstrates and renewed soul. Paul was compelled to preach to the ends of the earth, but when the Spirit said no – he stopped, when the Spirit said go – he went – even unto chains and death. (Acts 21:10-14) The vision of the man of Macedonia (Acts 16) demonstrates how simply having a renewed body and soul is not enough, to overcome the power of the renewed spirit removes the concept of failure and trying and replaces it with trusting.
The rest of our bodies, is first enacted through sleep, but also includes the right nutrition and rhythms of life. However the rest of our spirit is not based on our personality or person-hood, in fact it is not dependent on anything that originates with us. In fact our spirit does not need to rest in the above mentioned ways, nor is it renewed by anything in the world or by the actions of others. Simply put our spirit does it need to be “shut down” to recharge. Our spirit is always awake and alert. The “rest” of our spirit is an action of Heaven coming to Earth – our spirit is rested or restored when the Holy Spirit of God rests on us. (Num. 11:25, Ps. 51, Isa. 11:2, and in the Book of Acts we the need to be filled continually.
We see this most clearly when a person is moved by the leading of the Spirit which compels and motivates them. Jesus was fully human, but he was not motivated by his need for food of this world (John 4:34) nor the rest of the night for his body (Luke 8:22-25), nor was He longing for the love languages as defined above. (John 11:1-43) The Love Languages are a great tool and often referenced by myself when dealing with relationships – but when our sole focus is on caring for our souls for the health of our relationships (especially marriages) we can quickly overlook the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God’s love language is prayer. This is why Jesus is constantly going off alone to pray. (Mark 1:35-36, Luke 6:12, 9:18, 22:39-41, Matt 14:23)
Jesus was able to walk away from the praise and recharging of the soul to be in solitude with the Spirit. For the Spirit rested on him –and that was His renewal. Peter’s mother-in-law didn’t need to sleep off her illness, she only need healing in the power of the Spirit.
So how can we rest our spirit rather than yielding to the needs of our body and soul? First, we recognize that the body and soul need to be rested and we acknowledge that need, but we do not seek to meet those needs at the expense or exclusion of the spirit. Further our focus needs to be in-sync and flow with the Spirit of God; in this place time stops, our body do not fade, our emotions are not subjected to approval of others. It is the Lord who does the work of the Spirit, not ourselves, yet we are participants in this great work. To rest our spirit we must give up our need to get the credit for the work that is done and we must renew our hope in the impossible.
Questions to guide us on this quest to rest our spirit:
- How have I allowed “love languages” to bring rest to my soul and the soul of loved ones, rather than investing in the growth of the spirit of my closest relationships?
- Am I involved in anything that cannot be done or completed without the Spirit of God making it so? If not, are you willing to allow God to lead you into where his Spirit can be made known to you? If so, in what ways are you seeing in the work of the Spirit as overcoming the limitations of your body or soul?
- Do you find pleasure in the same things that bring pleasure to the Lord? – If you don’t know what brings the Lord pleasure – spend more time in the Psalms.
- What am are you saying “No” to – at the leading of the Holy Spirit that my body and soul selfishly desire to say “Yes” to?