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105 Inner Victory
Before we attempt to minister to others, we should first ensure that we are a vessel fit for the Holy Spirit to use.
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Hence we should first look to the condition of our own souls before we think of attempting to minister to others.
Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Matthew 7:3-5 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
From the time of belief in Jesus as both the Son of the living God, and our acceptance of and commitment to obey Jesus as the Lord (owner and ruler) of our lives, (Romans 10:9-10; John 14:21) comes the assurance of salvation, and with the baptism in the Holy Spirit comes the infilling of the Holy Spirit and the gift of speaking in tongues (Acts 1:5 & 2:4).
From the instant of salvation, or any time thereafter, may come instant relief or deliverance from ungodly thought patterns and addictions that may have plagued us before, but generally, though we are saved and our spirits have been renewed, we are in other respects just the same, and the life-long journey of renewing our souls (heart, and minds) has just begun – we are to “grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). Maturity is gained as we “.. grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 peter 3:18). Our aim must be to become more like Jesus – to be transformed into His image with ever increasing glory (2 Cor 3:18) through the “renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2). This process is achieved by reading, studying and meditating (thinking and pondering on) the word of God and by spending time with the Lord in Prayer, and (as we have seen in an earlier course) this will be aided by deliverance from genealogical bondages, un-godly soul tiles, and from demonization.
Philippians 3:12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
Maturity as a Christian is a process, and growing in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus is a process, with each person growing at his or her own rate. Growth typically involves different seasons, with peaks and valleys, times of victory and times in which we appear to be in a wilderness and not moving at all, but all of these are steps in the process. The key is to always stay in faith – the conviction that God is always in control, to stay determined like Paul to press on, and to stay humble and teachable.
God loves us so much that that He does not want to leave us in the same spiritual condition we were in when we first believed, but to draw us and to lead us to a closer relationship with him, to be a clearer reflection of the character of His Son Jesus.
1 Corinthians 6:11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
This process will involve a shift in our beliefs, thoughts and habits, in our values and in the things we have valued or trusted in that may have become idols in our lives. It will involve a greater dependence on the Lord and His leading and a decrease in our reliance on and trust in our own abilities, gifts, talents and resources.