Series: For edification
Message – Laying Hold of
Laying hold of
Last week we addressed the need for desire.
That desire is NOT bad in and of itself.
In fact, desire is intrinsically good!
Ours is a journey of desire – but the source of our desires and the source of our fulfillment can lead us to death rather than life.
God used this reasoning with Israel? Why did Israel leave me – was I an empty well to you? Why are you spending money for what will not truly satisfy?
So James tells us the truth of it…
James 1:14, 15
“But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. (15) Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin (EVIL FRUIT – PROOF of UNION), and when sin is finished, it brings forth death.”
Everything in your life is a result of responding to seed that was planted.
Put in raw terminology – we are the wombs of the universe. It is up to us to play the part of the bride of God or the whore of the cosmos…but make no mistake, you WILL be bearing someone’s offspring!
Both the Word & Temptation are seeds, planted in the heart intended to bear the fruit of union with life or death. Faithfulness to God = satisfaction, joy and life. Unfaithfulness and infidelity towards God – is soul sabotage, is empty and brings death!
All seeds need is the right environment to germinate.
In heart language that is the result of contemplation… Meditation… You have to TAKE the thought!
Remember last week we looked at the parable of the heart soils in Luke 8 instead of Mark 4 and it offered us further insights.
Luke 8:11-15, Each heart had associated “key phrases”
- The first heart – Failed to hear and so failed to believe.
- The second heart – heard, received with joy, but then abandoned belief when oppression came.
- The third heart – heard, but went out and developed a divided heart – torn between two opinions and the shear volume of opposing voices drowned out, stifled and totally choked the maturing plant of life. They lost focus of belief.
- Weeds – Heard and WENT OUT (little time spent with what was heard. They heard and ran on….This is a BIG PROBLEM TODAY).
- The fourth heart – hear with a good and noble heart, kept it and bore fruit WITH patience.
This last one is rife with meaning.
Honest or noble – Expresses beauty as a harmonious completeness, balance, proportion.
Kept it – This word DOES NOT mean to obey it – but diligence to retain it – hold on to it – take possession of it – seize it!
It is like the words of Paul who said,
Php. 3:7-15 “(7) But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. (8) Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; (10) that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, (11) if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (12) Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. (13) Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, (14) I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (15) Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.”
And in 1 Timothy 6,
1Tim. 6:9-14, “(9) But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (11) But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. (12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (13) I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, (14) that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing,”
Skip on down to verses 17-19
“(17) Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. (18) Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, (19) storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
The first 3 hearts in the parable of the heart soils were not balanced and did not hold to or regard truth in balance or proportion.
Balance and proportion in regard to revelations of Jesus (seed) is a Jacob heart – a heart of tenacity that will not let go!
Those that hold on, will produce fruit WITH PATIENCE!
What did we read in Heb. 10:35-39, “DO NOT CAST AWAY your confidence…you have need of patience…you will receive the promise”
So both God’s Influence and satan’s enticement requires our attention to germinate.
They require our affection and meditation to thrive and produce!
You have to focus your thoughts and/or emotions on the seed for it to germinate and keep it there long enough for it to produce fruit and bring it to maturity. – YOU NEED Mediation and patience.
Now notice – desire CONCEIVES…This is a term of intimacy!
Don’t we see this later in James? Turn to chapter 4…let’s read verses
“(1) Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? (2) You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. (3) You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. (4) Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
God calls our desires for other things – adultery and friendship.
This enticement of desire is the fanning of the flame!
When you take that planted WORD (that thought, that suggestion, that influence) and think on it – set your mind or affections on it – it will have all the fuel it needs to grow and produce!
- If it is a Word from God – it will produce LIFE – UNION with God and bearing His likeness.
- If it is a Word from satan – it will produce death – separation from koinonia with God and bearing the image and likeness of satan – the rebeller.
Now, let’s look at verse 15 and introduce verses 16-18 to see if it all comes together for you…
(15) Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin (EVIL FRUIT – PROOF of UNION), and when sin is finished, it brings forth death.”
When desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin:
- Springing forth from corrupt desire is sin.
- Springing forth from sin is death.
This progression to death is an inevitable result that Satan always tries to hide from us, but we should never be deceived about.
Satan’s great strategy in temptation is to convince us that the pursuit of our corrupt desires will somehow produce life and goodness for us.
We MUST know our enemy and be sober-mided enough to remember that Satan only comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10), which is why James goes on to say,
(16) Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. (17) Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. (18) By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures.
Why does James bring this up here?
Because OURS is a journey of desire! Only, we need to set our affections on the right things and in the right places.
Col. 3:1-17, “(1) So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. (2) Set your minds and your affections (the words “set your minds” mans to be mindful of and devoted to) on what is above, not on what is on the earth. (3) For you have died (THAT body Paul wanted to be set free from has been rendered inoperative – powerless), and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.
So James is telling us that the good and perfect gift is to become like your Maker – to be fully reborn in His image – spirit, soul & body! ANY OTHER THING will produce NOT union with God (LIFE) but separation (death).
Continuing here in Colossians…
(4) When the Messiah, Who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
The words “in glory” refer NOT to a place – such as heaven, for when Christ appears He will be in the clouds. The words “in glory” refer to our transformed state.
It is what Romans 8 called, “The revealing of the mature Sons of God.” – which ALL of creation is waiting for with eagerness – because they will not be released from the bondages of death until we – the ones who placed them INTO bondage – are fully free ourselves!
So what should be our response?
(5) Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly (your fleshly tendencies): sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. (6) Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, (7) and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. (8) But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. (9) Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices (10) and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator. …skip to verse 15 (15) And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts!
(16) Let the message about the Messiah (the seed sown) dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Cultivate your seed)
(17) And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
So let’s connecting these dots.
James is telling us to not be deceived by fleshly desires. They are promising satisfaction and fulfillment – but they cannot deliver. The only thing which will satisfy is Jesus.
Jesus without and Jesus within!
We were created for THIS – this union and oneness with God both now and forever.
For the time being however, (what Paul called “this present distress”) we are perplexed and pressed from every side with desires which attempt to supplant our desires for Christ in us – with temporal and temporary satisfaction from our flesh.
King David understood this even under the old Covenant and it is the PERFECT summary to this portion of our lesson…Psa. 17:1-15,
“(1) A Prayer of David. Hear a just cause, O LORD, Attend to my cry; Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips. (2) Let my vindication come from Your presence; Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright. (3) You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. (4) Concerning the works of men, By the word of Your lips (seed of the Word – not conformed but transformed) , I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer. (5) Uphold my steps in Your paths, That my footsteps may not slip. (6) I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech. (7) Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You From those who rise up against them. (8) Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, (9) From the wicked who oppress me, From my deadly enemies who surround me. (10) They have closed up their fat hearts; With their mouths they speak proudly. (11) They have now surrounded us in our steps; They have set their eyes, crouching down to the earth, (12) As a lion is eager to tear his prey, And like a young lion lurking in secret places. (13) Arise, O LORD, Confront him, cast him down; Deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword, (14) With Your hand from men, O LORD, From men of the world who have their portion in this life, And whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure. They are satisfied with children, And leave the rest of their possession for their babes. (15) As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”
We will start with John 15 and how abiding affects the development of the fruit of the spirit!
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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