Living life as a Christian can seem overwhelming, and in some instances, impossible. God’s ways are not man’s ways and without supernatural help, obedience is very difficult. However, if you have read and confessed the teachings on who you are in Christ, the “I am” teaching and the “I have” teaching, your faith should be built up so the it is possible to believe the “I can” scriptures.
The Holy Spirit – Our Helper
God did not have the Bible written by inspired men and then leave us on our own to figure out how to live in a way that pleases Him. Jesus told His disciples that it was better for Him to go away so the Comforter could come. The men did not understand how anything could be better than having Jesus right there with them, teaching, and demonstrating the love of God.
John 16:7 Amplified Bible (AMP)
7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the [a]Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].
Our God exists as three spiritual entities, Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When the Apostle Peter spoke to a large crowd of people on the day of Pentecost about Jesus being their Messiah, their Savior, he promised that all who believed in Jesus would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:39 Amplified Bible (AMP)
39 For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is for you and your children and for all who are far away [including the Gentiles], as many as the Lord our God calls to Himself.”
1 Corinthians 6:19 Amplified Bible (AMP)
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]?
When you consider all the words used to describe the functions of the Holy Spirit, you begin to see His role in making it possible to live successfully as a follower of Jesus.
We live as a Christian the same way we became a Christian. We hear, we believe, we repent, we surrender our life, we confess Jesus as Lord, and we trust Holy Spirit to empower us. When it comes to living according to God’s ways, we go through similar steps. We hear or read His commandments and we believe they are true, needful, and possible. We surrender our will to His will and ask Holy Spirit to help us be obedient. When we confess the “I can’s”, which agree with God’s words, He empowers us to do what He says to do.
It is vital for believers to realize the significance and power in God’s Words. The Apostle John wrote about the connection between God, Jesus, and the Word in John 1:1-3.
The Importance and Function of the Word of God
Jesus said His words are spirit and life. When we speak His words, the creative life of the Spirit of God in them is released into us and into the spirit realm. Angels, who are ministering spirits for us, delight to perform the words of the Lord.
John 1:1-3 Amplified Bible (AMP)
1 In the beginning [before all time] was the Word ([a]Christ), and the Word was with God, and [b]the Word was God Himself. 2 He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God. 3 All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being.
John 6:63 Amplified Bible (AMP)
63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh conveys no benefit [it is of no account]. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life [providing eternal life].
Psalm 103:20 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Bless the LORD, you His angels,
You mighty ones who do His commandments,
Obeying the voice of His word!
Hebrews 1:14 Amplified Bible (AMP)
14 Are not all the angels ministering spirits sent out [by God] to serve (accompany, protect) those who will inherit salvation? [Of course they are!]
Hearing and Following God’s Words
Our pets learn to recognize our voice and they respond to our words. When we make a certain calling sound to our cattle, they start “mooing”, talking back, to us. Then they come toward us, because they recognize our voices.
Jesus referred to his followers as “my sheep”. He said that we would hear his voice, so in faith we should expect that to take place.
John 8:47 Amplified Bible (AMP)
47 Whoever is of God and belongs to Him hears [the truth of] God’s words; for this reason you do not hear them: because you are not of God and you are not in fellowship with Him.”
John 10:3-5 Amplified Bible (AMP)
3 The [a]doorkeeper opens [the gate] for this man, and the sheep hear his voice and pay attention to it. And [knowing that they listen] he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out [to pasture]. 4 When he has brought all his own sheep outside, he walks on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice and recognize his call.5 They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me.
The Apostle James explained what it means to “follow Jesus”. We simply do what God’s Word instructs us to do in real life circumstances. This study will focus on the scriptures that tell us what we “can do”.
James 1:22 Amplified Bible (AMP)
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth].
The manifestation of the commanded blessings of Deuteronomy 28 was dependent upon the people diligently listening to and obeying the voice of the Lord their God.
Deuteronomy 28:1 Amplified Bible (AMP)
28 “Now it shall be, if you diligently listen to and obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all of His commandments which I am commanding you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
Jesus taught the importance of acting according to His Words.
Matthew 7:24 Amplified Bible (AMP)
24 “So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, will be like a wise man [a far-sighted, practical, and sensible man] who built his house on the rock.
John 14:15 Amplified Bible (AMP)
15 “If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments.
There are times when Holy Spirit will “speak” words to you in your spirit. These words may actually be audible as if a person was speaking to you or they may be an impression of a thought that comes to your mind. It is important to know that these rhema words will always agree with the written, logos, words of God found in the Bible. God is not the author of confusion so there is always an agreement with His messages whether from Holy Spirit or through the written Word.
One such event occurred in Gil’s life when he was very ill and was only able to live in the one “safe” room in our house because he was so allergic. We had removed everything from the room that had any odor or chemical coming from it. He was reading an old Bible I had given him years before. He was able to tolerate holding it because there was no longer any ink smell on the pages. As he read, he heard Holy Spirit say to him, “If you will believe what you are reading, I can use your life.” This was a significant turning point for him. It gave him hope that he would live and would get well enough to be used by God.
There are several instances recorded in the Bible where Holy Spirit spoke to believers and gave them directions. The following account resulted in Paul’s first missionary journey.
Acts 13:1-3 Amplified Bible (AMP)
13 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets [who spoke a new message of God to the people] and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called [a]Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with [b]Herod [Antipas] the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them [in approval and dedication] and sent them away [on their first journey].
God Promises Grace
As believers, we can be confident that we “can do” what God commands because of His promise to equip us with His grace. As God perfects us into the image of Jesus, He changes us to think, talk, and act according to His will. Some Bible teachers explain grace as God’s unmerited favor. We don’t deserve His help and favor, but it is what He does to equip us for the work He planned for us to do in His kingdom.
Grace is one of those words that seems to be so beyond our scope of understanding that it is difficult to define. Webster’s dictionary states it is favor, kindness, mercy. Divine mercy or forgiveness. Divine assistance given to man for his regeneration or sanctification. Strong’s Concordance defines grace, #5485, as the divine influence upon the heart, and its liberality, pleasure, thankworthy. One of our favorite Bible teachers, Charles Capps, recorded in his writings that Holy Spirit told him that grace is “God’s willingness to use His power and His ability on our behalf, even though we don’t deserve it”. No wonder the song writer wrote, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound”.
The Apostle Paul told the Christians at Philippi that God was at work in them so they could fulfill His purpose for their lives. This is a great verse to declare over your life. Thank God that He is doing what is promised in this verse.
Philippians 2:13 Amplified Bible (AMP)
13 For it is [not your strength, but it is] [a]God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.
Every believer has their favorite verses that represent a “light bulb” moment in their lives when Holy Spirit quickens, makes alive and personal, a promise or a principle from the Bible. II Timothy 1:9 is one of those verses for me. As I have come to better understand God having a designated purpose for each person’s life, knowing that He also gives us grace to fulfill those purposes is a comforting and strengthening understanding.
2 Timothy 1:9 Amplified Bible (AMP)
9 for He delivered us and saved us and called us with a holy calling [a calling that leads to a consecrated life—a life set apart—a life of purpose], not because of our works [or because of any personal merit—we could do nothing to earn this], but because of His own purpose and grace [His amazing, undeserved favor] which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago],
God writes a plan for a person’s life, has them born into this world, calls them to His Kingdom, and then empowers them to fulfill the plan He made for them before they existed. No one should doubt their importance to Him or doubt their ability to receive His help in fulfilling His purpose for their life. For this reason, the Apostle Paul could make the ultimate confession about what he could do in his life.
Philippians 4:13 Amplified Bible (AMP)
13 I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]
What was true in Paul’s life is also true in the life of every believer. Philippians 4:13 can be the confession, declaration, of each one of us as we fulfill the plan God has made for our lives.
Declare: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens and empowers me to fulfill God’s purpose for my life. Because I am in Christ, I have all sufficiency to handle anything in life as He strengthens me. I am filled with inner confidence and peace.”
Jesus – Our Example
Jesus’ mission on earth was monumental in its scope and function. To reconcile mankind to God by becoming a human sacrifice, to defeat all the works of the devil, and to show the Father’s love to people around him required constant commitment to listening and doing the Father’s will.
John 5:19 Amplified Bible (AMP)
19 So Jesus answered them by saying, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, the Son [a]can do nothing of Himself [of His own accord], unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever things the Father does, the Son [in His turn] also does in the same way.
John 5:30 Amplified Bible (AMP)
30 “I can do nothing on my own initiative or authority. Just as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just (fair, righteous, unbiased), because I do not seek My own will, but only the will of Him who sent Me.
John 8:28-29 Amplified Bible (AMP)
28 So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man [on the cross], you will know then [without any doubt] that I am He, and that I do nothing on My own authority, but I say these things just as My Father taught Me.29 And He who sent Me is [always] with Me; He has not left Me alone, because I always do what pleases Him.”
Jesus listened to His Father and obeyed what He was told to do or to judge. He was teachable and relied on the constant presence of Father God to be with him. He had total commitment to please His Father. That level of commitment made it possible for him to perform the miracles and teach the people the principles of God’s Kingdom. We are to follow his example.