The very first time that God asks man a question is found in Genesis 3:9. Genesis 3:9 reads But the Lord God called to the man “Where are you?”
The reason the Genesis question is so notable and beautiful is because this question is regarding the broken fellowship that has occurred between God and humanity. This question occurred immediately after the fall when Adam and Eve chose to take a different route apart from the path God had chosen for them. Adam and Eve decided to separate themselves from the Lord.
It wasn’t just a physical distance that had occurred, but a spiritual one. Their sin had distanced them from God, and God in His mercy and intense love for Adam and Eve called out “Where are you?”
This question in Genesis is a question that confirms that God wants fellowship with us. God loves us, He cares about us, and He wants to know where we are. Yeshua reiterated an identical question to His disciples in Matthew 18:12 which states:
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?
If you are far from God, He is asking the question “Where are you?”
The Trinity is one of the most controversial and misunderstood subjects in theology. It has divided many Christians and even separated us into factions between those who believe that God is three and one and those who do not.
However, I think that the evidence for the Trinity is seen in man himself, whom God made in His own image. In man, we have three parts – spirit, soul, and body. And in God, we see three manifestations -a spirit (the Holy Spirit) – a soul (the Father) – and the body (the Son).
We see throughout scripture that often the word used for spirit and soul are used interchangeably. However, we know that there is a distinction between the two. The word for soul in the Hebrew is the word nephesh. This word is best described as the literal soul and is a representation of a person’s life, emotions, desires, mind, and passion. It is the activity of his will.
However, the spirit is a different word in the Hebrew. The word spirit is ruwach. This word spirit is described as wind or breath. I believe that the spirit (or ruwach) is simply the energy or force that emits from the soul.
We have a spirit, a soul, and a body. We are triune. We are made in His image.
God has a spirit, a soul, and a body. He is triune. This is the nature of the Trinity.
When we ask if a competitive spirit is a good thing, the first thing I think we should ask ourselves is which word is more important in the phrase “competitive spirit”? Is it the word “competitive” or the word “spirit”? I think it’s the word spirit because that is precisely what it is. And any spirit that doesn’t quite resemble the Holy Spirit is a spirit that you don’t want to have.
Is the Holy Spirit competitive?
When you compare the difference in characteristics between the Holy Spirit and a competitive spirit, you’ll find that there is a stark difference. A competitive spirit is prideful, it always strives for more, it’s greedy, it’s not content or satisfied, it grasps for the wind.
The Holy Spirit, however, is humble. The Holy Spirit is peaceful and fulfilled, joyful and content. The Holy Spirit doesn’t grasp for the wind because the Holy Spirit is the Wind. There are stark differences between a competitive spirit and the Holy Spirit.
Competition isn’t encouraged in the Bible – not in the Old or New Testament. Ultimately, the Christian’s goal should be to look like Christ.
Is Christ in competition?
When Christ walked the earth, the Pharisees and religious authorities were in competition with Christ, but Christ wasn’t competing with them. Christ didn’t compete with anyone. Christ was the very nature of God, but did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; instead, he emptied himself, and took on the form of a servant, being made in human likeness.
When the disciples of Christ displayed a competitive spirit and quarreled about who was the greatest disciple, Christ rebuked them and told them that the greatest among them should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. They were not encouraged to compete for the title of super-apostle. Instead, they learned the highest form of power is servitude and humility.
2 Corinthians 10:12: We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
Fasting is not an option. If you are a Christian, fasting should be part of your Christian walk. If you have never fasted, I highly suggest you do it. However, before your fast, there a few things you should know.
1. Not everyone is ready for 25 days on water.
When I was in my early 20’s, I could fast for three days (water only) with relative ease. But, my diet was also a wreck so I had extra fat reserves. Now that I’m healthier, older, thinner and have a child, I’m ready to fall on the floor the second day of water fasting. My husband, on the other hand, could fast 25 days on water with ease, but he’s also a superhero which is another story. I felt guilt about my inability to fast for long periods until I watched Marilyn Hickey speak on fasting. She explained that three day water fasts don’t work out well for her either, so she lives a fasted life. Each day she foregoes a meal or two. I made a commitment to live a fasted life.
2. A fast from television is NOT a Biblical fast.
With that said, everyone should fast from tv and technology because many people (including Christians) are addicted. However, Biblical fasts always involves food – it never involves entertainment.
3. When you fast you should avoid tv commercials.
The only thing that you’ll see on television during fasts are burgers and pizza. Also, people will invite you to birthday parties and dinner parties. A million people will call you at once to invite you to eat. This happens to me every time I fast. Don’t fall for it. Be socially prepared for fasting and prepare to turn invitations down because whatever you are doing for God is more important than what you were going to do with friends or family.
4. The devil will throw the kitchen sink at you when you fast.
My husband and I went on a forty day fast together several months ago, and the spiritual warfare was intense from day one!! It’s not uncommon to encounter spiritual warfare during a fast – be prepared – wear the armor of God. God knows you are fasting for His glory and He will help you.
5. Fasting breaks chains, demolishes strongholds, and it sets people free.
Fasting provides revelation – fasting can give you answers. Fasting is one of the most beautiful and powerful weapons God has given us. Use fasting to your advantage.
Are things going a little crazy in your life? Are you dealing with confusion? Are you mentally or emotionally drained? If you are going through a difficult time – I have one recommendation – fast!
Fasting exposes the enemy.
I know what it’s like to be in a position where you are wondering “Why God?” “Why is this happening to me?” I know what it’s like to feel stuck. But, I also know that fasting brings answers.
Fasting brings revelation. Fasting brings understanding. Fasting opens your eyes and makes you more sensitive.
Whenever you deny something as essential as food to get closer to God, you become more sensitive to spiritual things and the voice of God. You receive revelation because you’re not focused on yourself – you are focused on Him; and when you’re focused on Him, wisdom and understanding come.
True story: my husband and I bought a beautiful bohemian rug for our living area. We spent a lot of time on the rug. We didn’t know that our rug was leaking dye. The skin is your largest organ and absorbs anything that you place on it – in this case, we were absorbing synthetic dye. We didn’t know it. We weren’t aware of what was happening to us.
For some reason, we felt compelled to go on a fast. During the fast, we discovered that the rug was leaking unbeknownst to us. There was a danger in our home that we were completely unaware of, and I am certain that fasting exposed the danger.
Fasting exposes danger, but it also reveals revelation.
I’ve experienced scenarios like this on more than one occasion, and I know that many, many other Christians have experienced the benefits and power of fasting.
Fasting provides direction, revelation and understanding but another key component of fasting is that it exposes the enemy. If you are going through a difficult season, fast and get answers. If you are enduring hardship, then fast, gain clarity, and get free.
Food is a contentious subject among Christians. It’s almost as “controversial” as tithing. Money and food are two of the most powerful motivators in life, and people often want these areas all to themselves – completely free of any moral boundaries. But, is this what God wants?
We know a few things from scripture. We know that He speaks of money often. In the Old Testament, money is often connected with one of two things – either blessings or greed. And in the New Testament, we see more examples of money’s profound effect. But money isn’t the only issue that causes some Christians to clash – food is increasingly become an issue, especially as more and more Christians advocate a healthy diet.
The question is: Does God care about what you eat? But I think the question should be: Does God care about your body?
If the answer to the second question is yes. Then the answer to the first question is also yes.
God cares about what you eat.
He wants you healthy, and you don’t have to look far to discover that food has a profound effect on the body. I think it’s important to remember a few things:
Gluttony is a struggle for many of us, but nothing is unconquerable with the Holy Spirits’ help. His Grace is sufficient to help you even when you’re weak, and if you have a food addiction, there is hope in Him.
The general belief (among Christians) is that the Holy Spirit comes and remains in the Christian at the moment of belief. However, as I’ve read more about the Holy Spirit’s presence and work throughout the Bible, I’ve found that it’s more complex than that.
Acts 5:32 adds to the layer of complexity involved in the Holy Spirit’s work and presence in the life of a Christian. It reads: We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.
In Acts, we find that there is a contingency. God gives the Holy Spirit – but He gives to a specific group of people – those who obey Him.
Just by logic, we can conclude that people who are disobedient to God do not have the Holy Spirit. And what is obedience? It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s listening to and following Him. It’s keeping His commandments and honoring Him.
We have to keep in mind that the Holy Spirit, is well, HOLY! The Holy Spirit isn’t going to dwell and live in just anyone or anywhere. Conditions must be met, and one of those conditions is obedience to God.
David was a man after God’s own heart, and yet in his disobedience, he prayed something so profound, he says “God, please do not take your Holy Spirit from me.”
David was no stranger to the power of the Holy Spirit, and he was also not a stranger to the absence of the Holy Spirit either, He had watched Saul fall into complete disarray – tormented by an evil spirit when God’s Holy Spirit was removed. Saul hadn’t always been that way. Before being crowned king of Israel, the Holy Spirit fell on him with such power that people asked the question, “Is Saul among the prophets?” But Saul wasn’t obedient to the commands of God and as a result suffered the consequences.
Let us not take the Holy Spirit for granted. Let us not assume that the presence of God will remain with us despite how we live, think, or speak. Let us not grieve His Spirit and resist Him through disobedience, but instead, let us run our race with endurance, trusting God, loving Him, obeying Him, and honoring (with reverence) the privilege of the Holy Spirit’s presence.
When an armed robber burst through the door of a Christian store in Texas, the store owner didn’t submit to the threat. Instead, she told the robber to get out of her store “in the Name of Jesus.” The thief left the store immediately. The store owner was the epitome of a spiritually strong Christian. Below are ten traits of spiritually strong people.
1/ One characteristic evident in people who are spiritually strong is that they walk by faith, not by sight. They aren’t focused on circumstances; they’re only focused on God. They don’t worry about what’s going to happen because they fully trust God to take care of them. People who are spiritually weak, walk by sight. They focus on what they can make happen, instead of what God can make happen.
2/ Spiritually strong people carry the peace of God in their hearts. Spiritually strong people are not anxious. Anxiety has no agency over a spiritually strong person. The only force that has agency over a spiritually strong person is the Holy Spirit.
3/ The spiritually strong spend time with God. Moses was on the mountain with God for so long that the Israelites wondered what had become of him. Throughout Scripture we see men and women of God who dedicated themselves to prayer, worship and fasting for extended periods. David praised God seven times a day, and Daniel prayed at least three times a day – both were spiritually strong.
4/ Spiritually strong people have compassion for others. To be spiritually strong you have to have the Holy Spirit residing in you. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, and God loves people – John 3:16. The spiritually strong love others and they are kind, gentle, generous and patient.
5/ Spiritually strong people run TO God when they sin. In Psalm 51, David acknowledges his sins and pours out his heart before the Lord. David begs God to have mercy on him. Spiritually weak people run AWAY from God when they sin. But the spiritually strong run TO Him. The spiritually strong approach the throne of grace, believing fully in God’s mercy and love.
6/ Spiritually strong people are humble. Moses was very meek. Abraham and Joseph are also men of humility. Many of God’s servants throughout the Bible were humble.
7/ Spiritually strong people provoke others to jealousy. They are so close to God that others yearn for what they have spiritually. They cause others to want the fullness of the Holy Spirit operating in their lives. Yeshua provoked the Pharisees to jealousy. In the book of Acts, Stephen provoked the Sanhedrin to jealousy. Acts 6:15 states that the religious authorities saw that Stephen’s face was like the face of an angel. They became so jealous and enraged with Stephen that they killed him.
8/ Spiritually strong people are disciplined. Daniel decided that he was not going to partake in the King’s delicacies. Daniel was a disciplined man. (Daniel 1:8) Daniel didn’t allow the culture to dictate what was on his plate; he submitted to God in discipline and spiritual strength.
9/ Spiritually strong people are not afraid to take risks. We see this clearly in the book of Esther. Esther was afraid to approach the king, but she was willing to take the risk. Esther knew she needed spiritual strength. So Esther declared a three-day fast for herself and her servants. During the fast she increased her spiritual strength and took a risk that could’ve cost her life. She approached the king with the help of God.
10/ Spiritually strong people obey God rather than man. The spiritually strong don’t care what other people think of them. They are only concerned about whether or not they’ve pleased God. The disciples and apostles are great examples of spiritually strong people who obeyed God rather than man. The apostles preached Christ despite the opposition. They continued to be obedient to God despite the threats, imprisonments, and even death. Spiritually strong people are not afraid to die for the sake of the Gospel.