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Saturday, March 23 , 2019, 8:36 pm | A Few Clouds 58º

 
 
 
 
Faith

Jim Langley: How to Awaken Your Spiritual Awareness

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

Those are the first two verses of Psalm 42. This maskil written for music by the Sons of Korah, presents a beautiful picture of how we as believers in the Almighty God should yearn to be near Him.

Are you aware of your need to be spiritually awakened? Many of us slumber and totally miss the closeness that’s available to all who follow Christ Jesus. How can this happen? It’s quite easy as we subtly get caught up in the ways of this world. In my personal opinion, we need to have our spiritual awareness awakened each morning as we arise. We must hunger and thirst for daily renewal.

In the Gospels, Jesus speaks to this point of desiring to walk closely with God. In Matthew 5:6, He instructs us, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” And in Luke 6:21, He states “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.”

I take this being filled and satisfied directive to simply mean that we can be filled with the Holy Spirit that dwells within all who truly allow Christ to be Lord of their life and we, too, can be satisfied and contented in knowing that we are pleasing God in our life journey.

We can also experience an inner peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Would you like to have true peace in your life?

In our business lives we can, unfortunately, get caught up in all kinds of distractions that take our focus off the intimate relationship that Jesus talks about in the Beatitudes. These words found in Matthew and Luke are so much more than words of encouragement.

First of all, they may sound simple, but they are not easily reached. And without the right relationship with our Father in Heaven, they are unfortunately unattainable. Yes, we can strive to reach a degree of hungering and thirsting on our own, but without the help of the Holy Spirit, our attempts will fall short of His desires for us.

The good news is that it’s quite possible to be effective in business and still hunger and thirst for righteousness!

Unfortunately, the term spiritual awakening these days often refers to the New Age movement. This form of spiritual awareness is a counterfeit doctrine that has led many church goers away from the Truth found in scripture.

A number of spiritual leaders over the past few decades have made an inroad into the ranks of Christianity by emphasizing a very old lie. It basically promotes Satan’s lie first promoted in Genesis 3 when he enticed Eve to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden. In verses 4 and 5 Satan slyly says “You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it (the fruit) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

There’s a huge difference between drawing near to God and desiring to be like God. Satan himself was thrown out of Heaven along with a third of the angels who followed him for wanting to take God’s rightful place on the throne of Heaven.

We are in the latter days of the Age of Grace and we are told in 1 Timothy 4:1, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”

We are also instructed in 1 John 4:1, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

These days, many talk about drawing close to God and how we can earn our way to Heaven. Christianity is unique in that we are told that we cannot earn a place in Heaven through our works. In Romans 6:23, we are told “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In other words, all who believe can receive this gift in their present sinful state.

The New Age spiritualist camp would have you believe that there are no absolute truths. Pluralistic perspectives have many confused and trusting that no single religion can make an exclusive claim to truth.

As for me and my family, we chose to follow the One Who died for us on a cross and boldly said in John 14:6-7 to the apostle Thomas “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Christ Jesus is the Truth and I trust you will seek Him daily with all you heart, mind, soul and strength.

Passages to Ponder

» John 15:5-6

» Romans 1:17-18

» Philippians 4:6-7

» James 1:16-18

» 2 Peter 2:1-3

» 2 John 4-6

» 3 John 3-4

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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