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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 17

Prayers of Thanks continued...

Ephesians 5:18-21, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

In recent years this passage in Ephesians has been wholly misinterpreted, and as such has given way to certain manifestations that have nothing whatsoever to do with being filled with the Spirit. The signs, and proofs that one is filled with the Spirit, are not barking, howling laughter, incontinence, or feigned drunkenness, but rather speaking in psalms to one another, in hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in our hearts to the Lord, and giving thanks always for all things to God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Because men choose to read the word of God in passing, as though it were just another book, and not the divinely inspired word of God, they draw conclusions they would not have drawn had they meditated upon it as they ought.

There is no such thing as being drunk in the Spirit in the Bible. Paul does not tell the Ephesians not to be drunk with wine, but be drunk with the Spirit; He tells them to be filled with the Spirit, the demonstrations thereof including true fellowship of the brethren, and perpetual thankfulness to God for all things in the name of Christ.

Apparently it’s more acceptable for some individuals to act the fool, than to have true fellowship in the presence of God.

We’re still in this cycle of adolescent spirituality, wherein we disregard simple yet profound experiences in the presence of God such as giving thanks always to Him who is worthy of our thanks, and continue to cling to extra biblical manifestations that do nothing to feed the spiritual man or mature us in the way of righteousness.

We cannot experience the fullness of God by practicing things outside His word, nor can we be filled with the Spirit if we refuse to submit to the authority of Scripture in regards to what being filled with the Spirit entails.

We might think we know better, but we don’t! We might think that there are shortcuts to maturity, and experiencing the fullness of the Spirit, but there aren’t!

There is purpose to every word written in Scripture, it is the definitive and singular instruction manual for the regenerate and transformed individual, and in order to achieve the results which the word tells us are achievable, we must do as the word instructs us to do.

I have a friend, who like me, has a predisposition to weight gain. We constantly have to watch what we eat, because it seems even if we breathe a little too deeply, it somehow converts into a caloric surplus, and the scale starts inching upward. While I was in the States for a few months, my friend decided to go on a diet. He bought a book, leafed through it, and then proceeded to make up his own diet as he went along.

Upon returning to Romania, I ran into my friend, and he seemed huskier than usual. Since we’re honest with each other, I mentioned it to him, and blushing slightly, he said he was angry, and if there was a way, he would sue the writer of the diet book he had purchased because it guaranteed results, and no results were had.

When I asked him if he followed the diet plan however, his blushing cheeks turned redder still, and with a guilty look he said, ‘no, not really, I followed it the first couple days, but then I started eating what I shouldn’t have been.’

So here was my friend, who although didn’t follow the prescribed diet, still blamed the creator of the diet for his failures.

Often times, we as believers act in much the same manner. We don’t follow the instructions plainly laid out in the word of God, yet when we don’t see the results we were expecting, the results the Book promised that we would see, we get angry at God for the lack of progress in our lives.

Follow the instructions, and you will see results! Do as the word of God commands, and you will see a growing intimacy in your spiritual life, a growing strength in your spiritual man, and a growing maturity in your spiritual understanding.

It’s not God’s fault that rather than obey Him, we chose to heed the voices of the wolves among us, who said we can experience God without the requisite repentance. It’s not God’s fault that rather than obey Him, we chose to heed the voices of the wolves among us who said that we need not pray, or know the word of God, or spend time in His presence as long as we sent a few dollars to their ministry because they, magnanimous souls that they are, would be kind enough to pray to God on our behalf.

When we truly hunger and desire God, spiritual surrogates and middlemen just won’t do. I can’t pay someone to be spiritual on my behalf, nor spend time with God on my behalf, nor have a right understanding of scripture on my behalf.

It is incumbent upon me as a child of God, redeemed and sanctified to pursue Him for myself, to spend time with Him for myself, that I might now Him and the power of His resurrection personally, and intimately.

An individual filled with the Spirit, is by definition a thankful individual, one who comes to realize the importance of giving thanks always for all things to God Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, when ought we to pray prayers of thanks to God, what ought we to be thankful for? Give thanks always, and be thankful for all things! Those are the instructions!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Michael,
I've had to re-read the past three days entries in order to understand, but -- finally! This is the first time anyone has explained the difference between prayers of praise & prayers of thanksgiving. I always thought they were the same...Thank you for all the time, effort & study you are putting into this series!
Cyndi in MN