By Brother Michel Lankford
How are you Pursuing God? It’s an awesome question. The advice that I would give to any person who is seeking to pursue after Abba (יהוה YHWH) Almighty God, is make sure that you are taking care of the basics very well first. The principle is that if we can be faithful in little things, then God will trust us with greater things. That is why I always advise disciples to make sure that they are doing the basic and simple things effectively first, (Luke 16:10–12). So first, we need to make sure that we have the basic issues fully covered.
- Make Certain you are Born Again.
- Let God Re-Raise You as His Little Child.
- Grow into Your Responsibilities, (Trust God to do what He Says is HIS Part, but DON’T expect God to do what He SAYS is OUR Part). That is HUGE.
- Focus on Fulfilling His Stated Purposes.
- Focus on Character Targets.
- Make Biblical Overcoming a High Priority
Are You Absolutely Sure That You Are Born Again?
(Matthew 7:7-8; John 3:3,7; Ezekiel 11:19-20; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Philippians 2:13)
“Blessed are You יהוה Almighty One; Creator and King of the universe; Who Sanctifies us with Your Commandments; Who establishes the days of our life; and Who Provides for us everything we need for life and godliness. Please make me truly Born Again by Your Holy Spirit. Save me from my sinful nature and make me entirely new through Yahshua/Jesus (ישוע) the Messiah. Please grant me the gift of Your Salvation, by Your Unfailing Love, and through the Life, sacrificial death, burial, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. Help me to truly walk as Your child. Help me to learn and to choose, and to DO what is most pleasing to You, day by day. Thank you for granting me these requests, as you promise to do that for EVERYONE who asks You, so I know that you will do that for me as well. Omein.”
(2 Peter 1:3; Matthew 7:7-8; John 3:3,7; Ezekiel 11:19-20; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Matthew 18:1-3; John 6:37; Romans 10:13; Romans 8:5-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Romans 8:11-13; 1 John 3:7-10).
Note: You will NOT be able to obey ANY Commandment or Instruction in God’s Word consistently with any lasting success, UNLESS you are first Born Again. Even Paul said as much, (Romans 12:1-2; Romans 8:5-8; Romans 6:1-4, 12-16, 19). Before we are born again, we CANNOT successfully obey God, but after we are Born Again, we should see and ever growing stronger desire to obey God, and stronger ability to do so. In fact, a stronger desire and ability to obey God is one of the key signs that you ARE INDEED Born Again. That’s the whole point, (see 1 John 3:7-10). In fact, if you don’t see a growing desire and the growing ability to OBEY the Father, then you are probably not truly born-again, according to Scripture.
Are you letting Abba (יהוה YHWH) Almighty God, Re-raise you as HIS little child?
(Matthew 18:1-3; Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17; 1 Corinthians 14:20; 1 Peter 2:2; Ephesians 5:1; 1 Peter 1:14-16).
One of the hardest things for us to recognize is how little we really are in God’s eyes. It could be a matter of pride for us. In some cases, it could also be a matter of fear if we had a traumatic childhood. Nonetheless, the fact remains that we are required to be converted and transformed as little children before God. When we think about it objectively though, little children is what we actually are. I mean, compared to Abba YHWH’s vast knowledge, His Perfect Love, His Perfect Righteousness, His Perfect Wisdom and Maturity; compare us to that, and we are literally children by comparison to the Heavenly Father’s Perfect Maturity. In light of that, letting God re-raise us is not a shameful thing. It’s an absolute necessity.
Overview of Letting YHWH Almighty God Re-Raise You
Are you noticeably Receiving & Digesting His Love, and His Affection regularly?
Are you Receiving His Coaching, Guidance, and Direction as you go through your day?
Are you Receiving His Correction, and His Discipline as you go through your day?
Are you Repenting in accordance with the direction in His written Word?
Are you Receiving His forgiveness and Restoration as you repent; (i.e. choosing to respond correctly to His Corrections and to negative circumstances; choosing not to be embittered by them)?
Are you Using all of that to help you to overcome and produce Godly character that pleases YHWH, instead of indulging your weaknesses?
That is an overview of letting God Re-raise you.
Are You Focusing on YOUR Responsibilities as You Grow?
(Understanding the difference between what God’s Responsibility is, and what is MY Responsibility)
This specific issue cannot be overstated. If there is one overreaching problem within modern Christianity, and the free Grace/ultra-Grace/seeker friendly church movement, it is this issue right here. People are so drunk on what they MISTAKENLY believe to be the Grace of God, that they lose understanding of God, and they cast off all restraint and all discipline, (Proverbs 28:19; CF Romans 1:22-23); which amounts to foolishness. Modern Christians don’t grow, because they don’t expect that they need to push themselves to grow. They don’t push themselves to grow because they MISTAKENLY believe that pushing yourself to grow and developing the character that God wants you to have, is now allegedly a lack of Grace. According to the heresies of the FG/AG type movements, if we do anything in physical obedience to what Scripture requires, you are now supposedly attempting to become righteous by your own works, and not trusting YHWH and Messiah to save you. It is on the basis of this LIE that so many modern Christian leaders are calling it a sin, (and a lack of Grace), to OBEY the Heavenly Father and Messiah. Many in modern Christian circles are now calling it grace to DISOBEY God and they teach people to do what even the New Testament defines to be sin. In modern FG/AG circles, it is now considered a work of Grace to do the OPPOSITE of what Scripture Commands you to do, because that supposedly proves that you are trusting YHWH and Messiah to save you, and that you are not relying on your works to save you. Talk about calling evil things good, and good things evil. We are seeing that very practice happening in modern Christian circles today.
FACT: There are 1050 Imperative Commands in the so-called New Testament. Every one of those Commandments was written decades AFTER the life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah. So, if God did not want us to obey Commandments and Instructions in Scripture because obeying Instructions is supposedly a lack of Grace, then WHY are there so many Commandments and Instructions written to believers, even in the New Testament?
FACT: There are approximately 7,487 Promises from YHWH to humankind throughout the Scriptures. The critical thing is that with rare exception, almost every one of those 7,487 promises have specific CONDITIONS attached, which the believer MUST DO in order to receive the benefits of the Biblical promise. If doing works of obeying God’s stipulations is truly a lack of Grace as many in modern Christianity claim today, then WHY is almost every promise of God in Scripture a CONDITIONAL promise, that requires us to do something? IF Grace truly meant that we should not do any works of obedience at all, wouldn’t all the promises of God be UNCONDITIONAL Promises, instead of being conditional :Promises? Think about it.
FACT: Jesus the Messiah clearly SAID that only those who DO the will of the Heavenly Father will enter Heaven, (Matthew 7:21-23).
As It Is Written:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21 NKJV)
FACT: Jesus the Messiah was and is full of Grace and Truth, (John 1:14).
FACT: Grace and Truth worked inside of Messiah, and CAUSED Him to Love the Heavenly Father, to DO the Father’s Will, and to KEEP His Father’s Commandments, (i.e. John 4:34; John 6:38; John 15:10).
FACT: We are commanded in the New Testament to walk in the SAME way that Jesus walked, (1 John 2:3-6).
QUESTION: Since Grace and Truth clearly worked in Jesus to CAUSE Him to Love the Father; since Grace and Truth worked in Jesus to cause Him to obey the Father’s Commandments; since Grace and Truth caused Jesus to pursue and to DO the Father’s Will; then HOW can it be the Grace of the SAME God telling people now, ‘Don’t try to do the Will of God, that’s works Righteousness? Or, “Don’t try to obey Biblical Instructions, because that’s works Righteousness? So, Grace and Truth worked in Jesus to empower Him to love God, to keep God’s Commandments and to do the Father’s Will, but now, supposedly the Grace of the SAME God is going to work inside you, and tell you to do the OPPOSITE things then what Jesus did?! The FG/AG heresy is CLEARLY FALSE doctrine. Modern Christianity makes ZERO sense from the biblical point of view.
As It Is Written:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV)
One of the big LIES of the FG/AG type movements is that, in practical terms, they teach people that we have no responsibility before God. Just believe Jesus and God will take care of everything because we are under Grace. Not only is that a lie, but what is worse is that it does not equip people to learn and live up to the responsibilities that God says we have in Scripture. It severely weakens believers and would be disciples. That’s beyond terrible. There are many things in the Bible that Scripture teaches are the individual believer’s responsibility.
Part of growing up into a mature disciple is learning what God says is our responsibility, and to practice doing that. I will give you just a few of the many Biblical examples:
EXAMPLE: “Do the FATHER’S Will.” Learning and practicing doing God’s will is OUR responsibility, (Matthew 7:21; cf. Ephesians 5:17).
EXAMPLE: “See to it that no one repays evil for evil.” That is OUR individual responsibility, (1 Thessalonians 5:14–15).
EXAMPLE: “Let no one deceive you” Making sure that we DO NOT Allow ourselves to be deceived is OUR responsibility. At LEAST 17 times throughout Scripture we are solemnly WARNED and instructed that it is EACH believer’s OWN responsibility to make CERTAIN that he or she is NOT deceived.
‘Making sure that I am not deceived or led astray is NOT my pastor’s job. It’s NOT my Rabbi’s job. It’s NOT my congregation’s job. It’s MY job.
IF these people are truly Godly, they will HELP and NOT hinder me to succeed in doing MY responsibility; but ULTIMATELY, making CERTAIN that I am NOT DECEIVED, is still MY OWN Personal RESPONSIBILITY, before (יהוה YAHWEH), and no one else’s.
It’s high time that individual believers took much greater careful notice at what Scripture tells us that we as individuals will be held responsible for, so that we do not neglect our Scriptural responsibilities, into the hands of someone else, and assume ourselves to be safe in so doing. Let us each carefully consider our ways and walk circumspectly before (יהוה YAHWEH). If you have any doubt concerning each believer’s responsibility to guard himself or herself against deception, then consider the following verses as a guide and a warning, (Matthew 24:4; Mark 13:5; Romans 16:18; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Ephesians 4:11–14; Ephesians 4:22; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 2:4; Colossians 2:8; Hebrews 3:13; 1 John 3:7; 2 Peter 3:1-11; and many others).
There is a plethora of Scriptures with specific Instructions just like these; Scriptures that identify specific things that God wants us to do as each believer’s OWN responsibility before God. Part of growing up as an effective disciple is learning the difference between what God says is HIS responsibility, and learning what God says is OUR OWN responsibility before God as believers. Part of becoming a mature disciple is making certain that I TRUST God to do what He SAYS is His part, but at the same time I also grow to take genuine responsibility for effectively doing what God SAYS is MY part.
TRUST God to do His Part.
Don’t try to do God’s part.
Be faithful to do YOUR part.
DON’T expect God to do YOUR part for you.
God’s Grace will HELP us and empower us to do our part successfully, but I’m still responsible to do what God says is MY part.
Don’t expect the blessings of God if you refuse to do what God says is your part.
That’s a growing disciple in a nutshell.
Are You Focused on Developing Kingdom Character, While You Practice Obeying Biblical Instructions?
Obeying Biblical Commandments and Instructions is critically important. So is learning Biblical Promises and learning to practice meeting God’s stated conditions to obtain those promises; but please, don’t miss the point of Biblical Commandments. Don’t miss God’s stated purpose behind His Promises, and the conditions to receive His Promises. Every Biblical Commandment in Scripture is meant to give us the mechanics of HOW to love God, and to give us the mechanics of HOW to love our neighbor. Doing Biblical Instructions teaches us HOW to Love God, and HOW to love our neighbor, from a biblical point of view, instead of a sinful world view. Obeying is important, because it helps us perfect and fine tune our love for God and our love for our neighbor.
This is HOW We Love God
As It Is Written:
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3 NKJV)
Note: Don’t forget that 18 times throughout the Whole Testament of Scripture, God specifically equates Loving HIM, with KEEPING His Commandments. There is NOT a single Biblical example that demonstrates that we can show God that we love him, by BREAKING His Commandments; NOT ONE.
(Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:10; Deuteronomy 7:9; Deuteronomy 11:1; Deuteronomy 11:13; Deuteronomy 11:22; Deuteronomy 19:9; Deuteronomy 30:16; Joshua 22:5; Nehemiah 1:5; Psalm 119:127; Daniel 9:4; John 14:15; John 14:21; John 15:10; 1 John 5:2;1 John 5:3; 2 John 6).
This is HOW We Love our Neighbor
As It Is Written:
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.(1 John 5:2 NKJV)
This is HOW We Get Fine Tuned and PERFECTED in Loving God and Our Neighbor
As It Is Written:
“But whoever keeps HIS Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.(1 John 2:5 NKJV)
What God’s Promises Were Given to Accomplish in Us
God gave us 7487 promises in His Word, but each of those promises were given to us to accomplish some specific purposes in our lives.
- God gave us His Promises to convert and transform our nature AWAY from sin, and to make us partakers of HIS Divine Nature.
- God gave us His Promises with the intent that we should ESCAPE the corruption that is in the sinful world through lust and sinful passions. He did not give us His Promises merely so that we could indulge our passions and desires. Don’t miss that point.
As It Is Written:
“As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.(2 Peter 1:3–4 NKJV)
Please don’t miss that point. When you desire, yearn, and pray to receive the Promises of God, are you focused on obtaining those promises ONLY to fulfill your own desires, or does it at least enter your mind to focus on receiving His Promises, so that by those Promises, God can fulfill in you His Stated Purposes for giving us those promises in the first place? That’s important.
The Character God Wants to Develop in Us
While we try to obey God’s Commandments and Instructions; while we try to learn God’s Promises, and practice meeting the conditions that He sets to obtain His Promises, we also need to focus on developing Kingdom Character at the same time. The whole point of the commandments and the promises was to give us the mechanics to develop these characteristics. For details, please study the following passages carefully:
- Psalm 15:1-5
- Psalm 24:3-5
- 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1
- 2 Peter 1:3-11
- Revelation 21:7-8
Are You Focusing on Overcoming as a High Priority?
This target (of overcoming), is one of the most often overlooked objectives of Biblical Living. You see, our goal is NOT merely to escape hell and to abide in YHWH’s Loving Presence forever. That is an awesome side effect when we succeed, but that is not the objective. Our ultimate objective is to be TRANSFORMED from the inside out in our spirits and immortal being, in our thoughts, in our desires, in our words, and in our deeds and way of life; so that we will agree with God in all of these areas, and we will actually be EFFECTUAL Citizens of God’s Kingdom; who truly BELONG in the Father’s Kingdom, because we produce the Fruit of the Kingdom. THAT is the GOAL. That’s what ultimate SUCCESS looks like as a believer. That is our target. Please don’t miss the point.
One who overcomes is one who persistently and successfully applies biblical principles until the weaknesses of their habits and character are no longer controlled by past traumas or by the sinful nature, but instead they are progressively transformed to exhibit the character words and deeds of YHWH and Messiah.
Every Commandment and Biblical Instruction that God gives us in Scripture is intended to help us reach that Ultimate Goal. Every biblical promise that we are given in Scripture together with their specific conditions, is intended to help us to reach that Ultimate Goal as well. That’s why each of those Commandments and Promises exists.
Beloved of YHWH, that is how I pursue God, and that is how I advise up-and-coming disciples to pursue God through the example of Messiah as well. Shalom.