FIRST Focus

Those in church circles (at least this one) have heard about the importance of living above what is beneath us. I speak of the persistent pull of the flesh that seeks to disregard the promise of blessing associated with being filled with the Spirit

(Ephesians 5:18).

Living above what is beneath us is not possible without faith and focus. We see that truth illustrated on one stormy night on the Sea of Galilee when Peter was given an invitation to do the impossible and walk on the water (Matthew 14:22-31). Peter, along with the other disciples saw the Lord standing in the storm on the water with the turbulent sea beneath His feet. Peter says, 'Lord, if it is really you, permit me to come to you." And Jesus responded, "Come." The Bible says that Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. Peter was walking above what was beneath him; the waves of uncertainty, the fear of being swept away by the wind, even the threat of death by drowning. All that was put away through faith as Peter focused on his Savior. We hear about victory in Jesus and life abundant, but is that really possible? And if so, how? Is it something that is reserved for only the most committed or is this available to anyone that desires it? Here's the good news of grace! The Spirit-filled life is available for anyone willing to allow God His rightful place in their soul as Savior and Lord. A password or secret code is not necessary to access God's life-altering power and this kind of limitless potential. However, only a surrendered soul will open the portal of possibilities. There are those in church circles who would like to be able to live, as the scripture says, as more than a conqueror through Christ (Romans 8:37). And few by comparison appear to be. Faith often fades and fear surely follows and we begin to 'sink' into what we once walked above. Sound familiar? Thankfully, some have the wisdom to cry out as Peter did, 'Lord, save me.' And He does. We all have had our moments when we lost our focus and our faith suffered. And we have all needed a second chance to correct it. Praise God for His grace and His long suffering with us. Praise God that our salvation doesn't depend on our grasp of Him but instead His grasp on us. Part of being in His grip means that His Spirit remains within me to remind me that I can because He is with me (Philippians 4:13). When God supernaturally saves, God sends His Spirit to come and dwell within the soul of the servant of God for one purpose and one purpose only: His. The giftedness of God is made available because of the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit. These gifts are designed to help us help others experience the life God desires for humankind; the life Jesus provided through His life, His death, and His glorious resurrection! And as the hymn so well states--'I live, I live because He is risen.' I am alive because He made me so by His grace. Therefore, our whole life (from our conversion to conclusion on earth) when yielded to God becomes the overflow of God's blessing in us that is to be consistently directed toward others. Life is not necessarily easy after Jesus saves my soul, but life is easier as I am reminded of Jesus' invitation to walk with Him every hour of every day regardless of the circumstances I face. His promise to never leave me alone helps with the loneliness that can crowd my mind occasionally. Although we have been made free in Christ, we find ourselves entangled in the intangibles of life; what we can't see and what is often beyond our control. When my heart's desire is to be free of the flesh, being filled with the Spirit fills the void. And all that His Spirit affords in me is better enjoyed! If you truly desire to walk above what is beneath you as a child of God, you may every day. But you must be willing to release what you're holding onto or hiding behind. Those 'things' must be released to His Lordship knowing that He can much better 'handle' what you and I too often prefer to manage to our own detriment and defeat. Victory in Jesus is more than a song. Being more than a conqueror in Christ is more than just words on paper. It's life: abundant (John 10:10) and eternal. And it can become a way of life for you instead of something you only savor on a seasonal basis. If you're serious about serving the Lord, trust God to help you remember this--"While each/every believer has all of the Spirit of God indwelling them, obeying the command to 'be filled with the Spirit' (Ephesians 5:18) enables the Spirit of God to have all of us." That remains the key to living above what is beneath us as the redeemed of God. Not perfect but being 'perfected' through His powerful presence daily. It's not what we do, have done, or are doing that makes the difference in daily life. It's what we are willing to let Him do through personal surrender that provides the victory He secured for us even before He saved us (Romans 5:8). If you want to be free of the rule (and ruin) of the flesh, you may, but only in Christ. If you want to be filled with the Spirit of God, you may, through Christ. God has made His move to help you and me walk as a winner in life. And in the same way that Peter stood in a boat on a stormy night many moons ago and heard the Lord's invitation to walk above what was beneath him, Jesus says to you and me today what He said to Peter; 'Come'. While life isn't a game, the stakes are still very high in matters of your soul and eternity. God has made His move to help you and me become a winner in life. Now it's your move as to whether or not you actually enjoy it. Be encouraged this week as you step out of the boat and always remember to fasten your focus on Jesus! You'll find yourself walking above what should remain beneath you as a child of God in matters of the flesh. Pstr K Jeremiah 29:11