GROWTH THROUGH ESTHER – New Blog Series
Ever imagine Christian Growth through the book of Esther? Well, this blog series will be an excellent one that you can easily apply to your Christian life. CHRIST IN YOU will become so real as you delve into this series. Just be blessed and have an open heart. The Holy Spirit will not disappoint. (I will have new parts posted every few days.)
My Personal Thoughts
Jesus has become my primary passion in life. A personal relationship with Him is the only thing in life that makes sense. I am so passionately in love with Jesus. Jesus is the only reason for life. My main prayer has become, “May all who come in contact with me only see Jesus as God living in me and through me.” I pray you also see Jesus in my words, and in my website www.LifeUnderGrace.com.
Yes, growth is always a must. We never “arrive” at a point of our Christian walk where we know it all. If that were ever the case, we would not need God because we have become our own god. (Sound familiar? Remember Satan’s temptation to Eve in Genesis 3:4-5. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”)
Because of indwelling sin (flesh), we must grow “deeper” in love with Jesus everyday. This is critical to understand, no matter how many spiritual victories or losses we have. There is always a “deepness” in God waiting for us to discover. And this deepness is always found in Jesus. God purposely sets this up so we would reach for Him, to pursue Him. Proverbs 25:2 “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings to search out a matter.” Yes, do you passionately seek out a deeper relationship with Jesus above all else? (See Philippians 3:7-11.)
God frequently keeps Himself hidden from us. One reason I am sure is because of the evilness of indwelling sin (flesh). We really have no idea how “deeply” evil our flesh is. How often, after being saved 32+ years, do I so easily yield to sin through my flesh? Sure the devil tempted me, but I took the bait because it appealed to the lusts of my flesh. So it is easy to see why God hides Himself, because if He did not, our flesh will often take its “wrongful” place over Him on the throne of our heart.
WOW! Yes, one remarkable quality about God is how He so easily hides Himself from us, despite residing in us 24/7 (Colossians 1:27). This is why “Christ in you” is the mystery of the gospel. No wonder God only reveals Himself to the humble, to those who pursue Him with a pure heart. The humble are full of grace; the proud are full of flesh. The proud are not given God’s grace because they refuse to receive God’s grace. They believe they do not need it. And God will never give His grace to those who believe they do not need it. Our flesh will subtly sneak in at any opportunity and resist us from receiving God’s grace. Never forget this.
James 4:6-10 “But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”
So I encourage you, my fellow brethren in Christ, do not ignore for a moment the impact indwelling sin can have on you. See the flesh for how evil it is against God. Indwelling sin (flesh) would rather take you down with itself than bow down and submit to the Holy Spirit for even an instant. But, the flesh must bow down and submit as the apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2:9-11. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Victory over flesh is done daily by crucifixion – and only the Holy Spirit can crucify the flesh successfully. And He always is successful. The flesh is crucified on Christ’s Calvary cross. Galatians 5:16-17 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
In Dead, Buried, And A New Life In Christ, I shared some very personal details of my life that displayed the evidence that Jesus has grown me through severe depression. My success over the depression was that I permitted Jesus to take me through it. He could have removed it very easily. But, I needed to grow through it, into a more-refined and mature Christian person. The results being is that I now am a mature Christian because my focus in more on Jesus as my new life. And yet I still need to mature. Yes, growth was necessary then and is just as necessary today. Yes, I do need it very desperately. (We all do. We never “arrive.”)
My growth in my new life in Christ actually seems little, if any at all. To me, I only see clearer my old Adamic sin nature, Mr. Flesh. And Mr. Flesh comes out repeatedly and consistently every day. Romans 14:23 “…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” How can I be growing in my new life in Christ if I persistently sin? Makes no sense. But, a sure sign of quality Christian growth is an increasing awareness of the flesh in one’s life. One becomes more aware of how wretched and evil she is by nature. She loves the Lord so much and does not want to grieve Him. This is why it is grace when she turns to Jesus – so undeserving, yet so rewarding. Alleluia!
It makes no sense in “man’s eyes.” It makes perfect sense “in God’s eyes.” I Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
It is only God’s opinion that really matters. His ways are way higher than ours. We are so accustomed to making observations about someone based on their external, physical appearance or life. We often neglect the internal, spiritual life where Jesus resides. This internal growth occurs for lengthy periods of time (sometimes many years) even if we know it to be “theologically” true. Life experience is not lived in the mind. We must appropriate by faith daily the resurrected life of Christ (our new life) into our everyday life. Romans 11:36-12:2 “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present ye bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
This nourishes the seed of “Christ in us” (Colossians 1:27) to begin growing “behind the scenes.” Then, whenever the time is right (according only to God), the fruit of that seed will begin to flow through us. This is a key component of one’s growth in the new life in Christ. We must remember frequently: Only God’s opinion matters. This “renewing the mind” mindset now trains us to look more at Jesus, and less at us – to look more on what Jesus is doing on the inside, and less on what is occurring on the outside.
John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.” This is a consistent reinforcement we need. Yes, this type of growth in Christ I know and have experienced. I expressed it years earlier. Now, though, I am learning more than ever that my growth in Christ must be experienced on a daily basis – even despite changing circumstances.
Yes, another reinforcement we consistently need to remember is that without Jesus we are 100% NOTHING. We need total dependence on the life of Jesus to flow through us. John 15:3-5 “Now ye are clean through the word I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.”
In this blog series, Growth Through Esther, we will look at the specific story from the Bible that is excellent example to use in examining your own Christian walk with Jesus. The story is from the book of Esther. I pray that, after you have completed your readings, you see more clearly the importance of the following:
- Jesus in you.
- Jesus growing His love in you.
- Jesus attempting to live the Christian life through you.
I invite you to participate in each of the studies. Place yourself right there in the center of everything – where Jesus always is. The story of Esther are also spiritual stories. They provide significant lessons for you to learn – to the extent that you participate. I encourage you to participate fully because Jesus is waiting to grow you deeper in love with Him. Yes, your growth is very necessary and is done within you. Only Jesus can do the growing in you. So relax, rest in His love, and let the Holy Spirit grow you deeper in love with Jesus.