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Change Your Lenses, Change Your Life (part 2)

Last week we began a discussion on perspective; how we see the world, and ourselves. And we saw some things last week regarding the promises of God, and how they should inform us regarding our own outlook and estimation of our situation.

Today we are going to continue the conversation by looking at another example: the twelve spies sent to evaluate the Promise Land. And although we have looked at these scriptures before, there is still more for us to see in this account.

So join me today as we continue examining how to change our lenses and change our life.

Change Your Lenses, Change Your Life (part 1)

When having discussions about Christian living, one topic that often gets overlooked is perspective; how we see ourselves and the world around us. Many of us are so focused on our works and performance, that we miss the central aspect of our identity in Christ and how that should change our lenses.

This is actually integral to the Gospel, and living in your new identity in Christ – and the scriptures contain many examples of how our lenses (how we see and perceive ourselves and our circumstances), can have an effect on our entire life.

So today, and over the next studies, I would like to have a discussion about how our perceptions both reflect and affect our identity and life in Christ Jesus.

Healing is Easier Than You Think

Throughout my years in the ministry, I’ve had a lot of conversations with people regarding healing. Healing and finances are actually the two most popular topics – and we have numerous resources on both because of it.

What I have experienced in my time, is that people place healing on a strange pedestal, as if it were somehow more difficult to receive than other blessings, or even more difficult than receiving salvation itself!

This is another classic example of our human mind, reasoning and theology complicating what God has made simple. Healing is not as complicated as we make it out to be; and it’s actually easier than we think!

Join me today, as we explore, how to easily receive healing, as a gift from God, in Christ Jesus.

What You Say Is Important

Today I’d to share with you some things about the words that you speak.

Now usually when words and speaking are mentioned, there are those that pull away. They recoil and say that this is new age, or some kind of occult teaching… and they are afraid of it. However the reality is that the scriptures have quite a bit to say regarding the importance of the words that we speak and what we say.

Our words are actually quite powerful – although we often don’t take time to consider this fact. Many of us actually let our mouth run in a kind of autopilot mode, reacting to what we currently are seeing and experiencing, instead of using the God-given power of our words to shape our lives.

That’s right, I said that our words have God-given power to shape our lives. As I mentioned, many people do not believe this fact, and the enemy has been taking advantage of that oversight for far too long… so today we will be looking at the power of our words, as described in scripture, and how what we say, is actually important.

How to Be Righteous

Righteousness – it’s one of the main focuses of the Christian life, and many people are constantly striving towards the goal of being righteous; or being more righteous. There are entire books, study guides and conferences all centered around living righteously, and learning how to be more righteous.

There are countless numbers of Christians today who are on a quest to “better themselves”, to be more righteous, and be more like God and please Him. I used to be one of those people, as well. I know exactly how it feels, and it seems right; it seems like a very good thing. You may even be asking right now “why wouldn’t that be a good thing?! We need more righteous people, who want to please God!”

And I do agree that it is a very good thing for people to be righteous, and of course to please God – we all want that. However, the question isn’t really whether that’s a good thing or not; but rather how do we accomplish it?

You see, no-one is questioning the importance of being righteous, but rather where we diverge is how to be righteous. Because when you ask this question, most people immediately jump to their own works and performance, and what they need to do for God.

So today, we will be examining what the scriptures actually say about how to be righteous; and the answer may surprise you!

How to Love God (By Receiving His Love)

How many times have you heard that you need to love God? This popular phrase is often heard when referring to Christian living and the Christian life, and is used in an attempt to conjure up reciprocal love for God.

However, when a person is trapped in legalism, with the burden of religion weighing them down, this phrase “you need to love God” takes on a heavy meaning which causes people to be introspective and focused on their own ability to love, rather than focusing on the root of the issue, which is God’s love for them.

I’ve spoken with a great number of people (and been one in the past as well) who were so consumed with trying to love God, that they completely missed His love for them – and in reality, the only way that we can truly love God at all, is by receiving His love for us in the first place!

So today in this study, we will be exploring the topic of how to truly love God, not by trying harder, but by receiving His love for you.

Your Part to Play in Salvation

One of the most common questions that I receive in relation to the Gospel of Grace, is “so you’re saying that I have nothing to do; no part to play?” – and I understand that reaction. The Gospel of Grace in Christ is completely opposite to the typical message of religion, which says that we must constantly work hard, struggle and strive to earn redemption, please God, serve Him, and even work to love Him! Whereas the Gospel of Grace testifies that Jesus has done the work, made the final sacrifice, and we simply receive what He has done as a free gift.

Having said that, I do want to address this question and clear up any confusion, because you do have a part to play… though it might not be what you expect. So join me today as we examine what your part in the Gospel of Grace in Christ, actually is.

The Backwards Mentality of Religion

I had a conversation with a gentlemen once who asked me what I did [for a job] – and I told him that I was a Gospel minister – to which he paused awkwardly, and then said “Oh, I’m not religious”. So I chuckled and said, “That’s okay neither am I!” – after that we each went our separate ways.

It wasn’t until three days later, that we met again and he said to me in a puzzled voice: “What did you mean, when you said that you weren’t religious?!”.

You see, religion is not at all the same thing, as having a relationship, a union with Christ. And sometimes I think that we use the words and say these phrases, but haven’t really stopped to consider what they mean, or what the implications of them are.

It may also surprise you to hear that a great number of Christians also do not understand these differences. And so we are going to explore this today, and look at how the mentality of religion, is actually quite backwards to the truth of the Gospel of Christ taught in the scripture. And right-away I need to mention that when I say “backwards mentality” – I am not using that term as slang for stupid or unintelligent; not at all…

What I am saying, is that there is a religious mentality among many Christians, that is actually 180 degrees opposite to what the scriptures actually teach, and what the Gospel of Christ actually says. And this is what we will be exploring (and exposing) in today’s study.

God is Not Just a Bystander

What is your view of God? Some people see Him as a mere observer or a bystander; someone who is watching your life go by, but not taking part in it. In this view God is seen as more of a score-keeper, someone who is just watching your life, seeing the decisions that you make and keeping a record of your performance in order to judge you.

With this view of God, it is very difficult (or even impossible) to have any kind of real relationship with Him. You can never really have any closeness with someone who has real power to affect change and offer assistance, but refuses to act, and instead just uses your pain to judge you. Would you even want to have a relationship with someone like that?

The real question is, is this idea of God truly accurate? Is this the picture of God that we see in the scriptures?

We will explore this today; and the answer may surprise you.

Jesus Has Given You New Clothes

Several times in the past, I have heard preachers say something along the lines of:

If you were going to meet royalty, you would put you best foot forward behavior, and you would wear your best suit! Well God is here now, and you should look your best for him, too!

In a certain way, these pastors are correct… we should look our best for God. The question is “how exactly do we accomplish that?” By what means and method do we “put on our best suit”? Where exactly can our best clothes be found – spiritually-speaking?

There are some who think that we must strive, struggle, and sweat, to work for God, and exercise our own force-of-will in order to look our best for God… but is that the truth?

Today we will answer these questions in this study.