2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NIV)
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
With the arrival of 2016 comes immediate change in our family’s healthcare benefits. Our insurance provider and benefits have been the same for many, many years now. Before our son was diagnosed with cancer, our family seldom used our health insurance for more than the occasional injury or minor illness. I understood our benefit planned and how it worked. I knew who was a “provider” and what medications were covered. When our son became ill, my knowledge and experience rose to a whole new level as we encountered the limits of medical insurance. A few months back, my husband’s company was sold and new benefit packages were provided. I have to admit that while I am thankful we are provided the blessing of healthcare coverage, it has also caused some anxiety. I was comfortable with our old insurance. Even with its limitations, I knew what it would and would not cover. I was familiar with the cost of care and the fact we could afford it. Now as the New Year arrives, it is with a new insurance company, new providers and a new plan.
The Irony of God does not escape me. God is doing a “new thing” in our family. He is doing something “new” in me which culminates with the arrival of 2016. We have experienced many new things recently. New job, new company, new cars, new church, and more new things are just around the corner. I am excited to see, feel and know God is moving in us and through us again, but I would be a liar to say that I am not a bit uneasy. I relish my comfort zone. I really like order and control. When the Lord moves in our life, there is always change. Change brings uncertainty that makes us need more faith and confident hope in order to continue moving in the right direction. I want the Lord to use me in 2016. I want Him to have my whole heart. I am willing to be moved and changed to walk in true freedom. I long to experience all the many benefits that the Lord has promised but it will require change. I will be uncomfortable in the process because faith, trust and hope are required.
“Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” As our family prepares to enter a fast to start the New Year, I know from experience that during times of fasting and prayer as we turn to the Lord that He will begin to reveal new things to us. Things maybe that need to change, be redirected, or refocused. The Spirit of the Lord in us is always leading us to new freedom in Christ but sometimes the way seems hard and unyielding. It is with good reason. I have many benefits available to me in Jesus Christ that sin and rebellion keeps me from each day. It is when I turn my life back over to the Lord completely that I am set free again. It is in this capacity that the Glory of God transforms me and ever-increasing glory makes its way from the inside of me to the outside where others can be impacted. This is my desire. To experience new freedom in Christ and all the benefits that I may be missing.
Psalm 103:1-12 (NIV)
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) It is by faith that we experience all the benefits offered to us by God through His Son, Jesus Christ. If we do not have faith, we remain powerless. Salvation is not possible if we do not have faith. To believe is essential to freedom. It requires acting on what we know about God and His Character without every seeing His Faith. We believe in His Word. (Romans 10:17) We must believe that God is good and rewards those who “earnestly” seek Him. The trouble is our humanity grows comfortable with controllable “faith” and confident that what “hope” for is a now thing rather than forever endeavor. Hope never leads us to disappointment. Our hope is not something found in this world but in Jesus. If we can see it, do it, attain it, make it or have it in this life, it is not a product of hope. Faith in God that becomes confident hope makes the impossible possible.
Do you know the Benefits you have been given by God and accessible through Jesus? It is important that we do to know what is attainable by faith and decide if it is worth having. Freedom in Christ means that He will never force them on us but we can choose them if we so desire. According to Psalm 103, my life is praiseworthy. (vs.1) I have the potential to live from victory to victory and glory to glory by faith in God alone. My life is full of benefits. I am beneficial. (vs.2) If I do not feel blessed or have not experienced the Glory of God around me, it is not because it is not available to me. I am forgiven. I am healed. (vs.3) Healing is an act of the body, mind and spirit. Although I did not undergo rounds of chemotherapy for a cancer attacking my body to go it with our son produced psychological trauma which severely impacted my life until Jesus healed and restored my very soul. I am redeemed bought with the highest price and crowned with love and compassion which quite simply means that I have the Favor of God. (vs.4) I am blessed with good things from a Good Father who is intent on my complete contentment and total satisfaction. (vs.5) I am renewed. His Mercies are new each day to heal the broken parts, forgiven the hidden sins and bring me to wholeness of body, mind and spirit. (v.5) I am free. (vs.6) I am loved tremendously, overwhelmingly and unconditionally every moment of every day. (vs.7-8) His Grace is always enough for me. (vs. 9-10) Though the world may try to shame me and others guilt me, the Lord says otherwise. Guilt and shame are worldly offerings that are overshadowed by His Grace for that is always sufficient especially when I am weak. I am in right standing with the most, high God. (vs.11-12) There are some days that I forget all the blessings and benefits that are provided through Jesus Christ for my life. It doesn’t mean that the Lord forgets. No, He patiently and lovingly waits for me to extend my heart, pay attention and listen for His Careful Instruction to lead me directly to them – each and every one.
Proverbs 2:1-8 (NIV)
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
When the new company took over, my husband was sent a booklet that explained the new benefit package offered to employees. It outlined the coverage one would receive and the price they must pay. It also offered the option of opting out and not accepting any company benefits. You and I have been provided the same resource in the Word of God. If you can find it in the Word, it belongs to you. You must follow the instructions and steps to obtain those benefits. Why are we so quick to do this in the world but not in the spirit? We can see, feel and touch worldly benefits. Human beings thrive on immediate gratification. But when it does not meet our need or satisfy our soul, we are at a loss. Many turn to Jesus in that moment unaware that they could have been experiencing life changing moments all along. Prayer is not a crisis hotline. The Bible is not an emergency plan. Loving God and living for Him is a lifestyle. We are given everything we need to live a godly life. (2 Peter 1:3) If only we choose to put our trust in the Lord and live what we believe, our lives would be changed as His Benefits became our lifestyle. Others would be saved, healed and delivered as His Power and Glory made its way through us. We have benefits. We have a contract for coverage. We have everything we need to live a godly, prosperous life. Are we accepting it or opting out? It really is up to each one of us if we will live the blessed life we are offered or choose something much less.
I Corinthians 10:23-24 (NIV)
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) We are told that America is a “free” country. To some extent this is absolutely true, but in others ways it is not. True freedom means that we have the “right” to do anything. So when it says, if the Son sets you free that you are free indeed – we are not sure how to interpret it. Some think this means that I can live in whatever way that I choose and still inherit the Blessings of God. Other think that our covenant with the Lord requires His Grace to excuse our sin (willful or not) and grant us His Glory regardless. There are churches that tell Christians that God is going to make this life better if they just give what they have emptying their pockets disregarding their heart. We are free to do what we choose, BUT not everything is beneficial. Not everything we do is constructive, in fact we lean toward destruction most of the time. Our flesh longs for and presses us to live for today rather than thinking about tomorrow or even the future of eternity. This is the only time the flesh will live. We have been promised forever.
If the Benefits of God are not manifesting completely in our life, we must turn back to the Lord and dare to step closer. In His Presence, we find everything we need to be completely saved, healed, and delivered to prosper here into forever. If you are not completely satisfied and totally content, you can be. He is the Way, Truth and Life. Jesus is our access point to God but no one can come to the Father outside of Christ. One way. The only way. You can know the way. You must decide to walk that way.
“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” What does this mean? How does this impact our life as believers? Well, it doesn’t say that whenever anyone turns to the Lord, He does a new thing and makes a new way. No, it says that when we turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away. It was there all the time friend. We have benefits that we fail to use or take advantage of in our life. Most of the time, it is ignorance. Other times, it is rebellion. God shows us the way but we choose our way. The way that we know or may be comfortable with. If I want all the Benefits of God in my life, I must walk His Way. I must give Him my whole heart. I must seek to know Him more and apply new understanding to my life which turns it into wisdom. All things are permissible because I am set free.
Not all things are beneficial or constructive to a blessed and prosperous life – there is only One Way to accomplish that. I must follow Jesus. So as I prepare for 2016, I am asking the Lord to reveal to me those things that are not beneficial or constructive and remove them from my life. I want to walk in the everlasting and experience God’s Glory and Favor as He has planned, promised and purposed for my life. I completely understand and acknowledge it means going where He goes, doing what He says, and following His Lead. I want to experience all His Benefits so I am willing to go! How about you? Will 2016 be the best year of your life? Will it be beneficial? Will it be constructive? Well now that’s up to you isn’t it? God called us to a glorious standard of life that we had once forsaken by our sin. Through righteousness it can be easily attained for those who desire it.
Ephesians 3:16-21 (NIV)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.