6. We are called to discern the times in which we live.
Jesus criticized the religious leaders of His day for not being able to discern what God was doing among them (Matt. 16:1-4). There are always transitions and changes taking place in culture that produce megatrends. God is sovereignly involved in either allowing or orchestrating this confluence of humanity and has sent us into the world in this day and age to function as lights in this world (Phil. 2:15; Acts 17:26-28). We are called to be like the sons of Issachar who understood the times they lived in and how God wanted Israel to respond (1 Chron. 12:32).
To represent God to this world, believers are not to immerse themselves serving their communities robotically, but they are to study their surrounding culture in order to apply the truth correctly to live out their purpose.
7. We are called to be in this world but not of this world.
In order to represent God, we need to put up boundaries so that while we are serving in this world we do not become part of it. Believers are called to be like ships that are in the midst of the sea without taking water into its structure—to be in the water without sinking and drowning in it. Many believers make a huge mistake when they attempt to be relevant to the world by acting like the world because it dissipates the distinguishing boundary of separation God called us to have from the values of the world (2 Cor. 6:17; 1 John 2:15-17). When believers live in conformity to the world, they are not representing God (Rom. 12:1-2).
8. We are called to walk in the fruit of the Spirit.
It is not enough to walk in the power of God; we need to walk in the holiness, meekness, joy and peace of God. Case in point: There have been many great evangelists and pastors who moved powerfully in the supernatural but undermined the gospel by their lack of integrity and godly fruit. The apostle Paul clearly told us that the flesh is contrary to the Spirit and vice versa (Gal. 5:16-17) and that there is a huge contrast between a person living and striving for accomplishment according to the flesh and those living by the Spirit.
To represent God we need to be continually filled with His Spirit and exhibit His fruits that include love, joy, peace, patience, thankfulness, kindness, goodness, modesty and faithfulness (Gal. 5:22-23). Nothing is as contagious in this world as true joy. That is perhaps the greatest witness we have of the reality of the gospel. Unless and until the church embraces and celebrates the fruit of the Spirit over exhibitions of power, self-indulgence and flesh, we will not represent God adequately in this world.
Joseph Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church, Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Visit him at josephmattera.org.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
- << Prev
- Continue reading
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.