Cultivating A Heart of Devotion

This verse applies universally, transcending gender, social status, or any other classification. It is a profound truth that, if you are in Christ, you are a new creation—right here, right now.

October 4, 2023

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

This verse applies universally, transcending gender, social status, or any other classification. It is a profound truth that, if you are in Christ, you are a new creation—right here, right now. The term “new creation,” derived from the Greek language, conveys the idea of being a unique species that never existed before. You are, in essence, a brand-new species.

You are not just ordinary humans; you are not merely Earthlings. You are an entirely new species. Whoever is in Christ undergoes a profound transformation into something entirely new. You are new, unquestionably new. This transformation occurs simply by accepting Jesus into your life. The scripture further states that all old things have passed away, and everything has become new.

Now, I understand that some might say, “But Pastor, I don’t feel this way.” However, it’s essential to realize that you don’t have to rely on your feelings. What you need to do is believe it. Have faith in it. When you’re told you have new kidneys, you don’t immediately sense them. Instead, you would undergo the appropriate medical tests, such as X-rays or ultrasounds, to confirm their existence. When it comes to your spiritual transformation, there is no external technology to validate it. Instead, the Bible is your spiritual technology. Regardless of how you feel, your spiritual report states that if you are in Jesus, you are unquestionably a new creation.

As indicated in your report, you are affirmed as a new creation in the spiritual sense. Amen. Imagine if you underwent a blood test, and despite your hopes for negative results, everything came back positive, signifying that your health was excellent. How would you react? You’d undoubtedly rejoice, feel glad, and experience relief.

Similarly, your spiritual report affirms that you are a new creation. It declares that old things have passed away, and everything has become new, emphasizing this transformation repeatedly. However, the challenge often lies in the devil’s attempts to disqualify you from accepting this truth. He might say, ‘You can’t be a new creation; just look at your thoughts yesterday when you contemplated skipping church.’ But remember, these tactics aim to prevent you from embracing the spiritual reality.

God has supernaturally recreated you, transforming you into a supernatural being. It’s the truth. You are now supernaturally positioned and blessed by God. God has placed you within the realm of His blessings. You didn’t achieve this on your own. You didn’t work your way into the blessing zone; God moved you out of the curse zone and into the blessing zone. It wasn’t your doing, but God’s. The devil cannot, I repeat, cannot remove you from the blessing zone. He can’t harm you or touch you. However, what he can attempt is to deceive you into disqualifying yourself from the blessing zone. So every time you feel disqualified, it’s because you’ve allowed your own thoughts to take you out of the blessing zone. How does this happen? In your mind. Your spirit remains in the blessing zone, but your thoughts can lead you away.

Let me illustrate this with a personal example. Back in school, when I was in the fourth grade, I would appear attentive to the teacher, but in my mind, I was on the football field. While looking at the teacher, my thoughts were entirely focused on playing football.

Now, the key point to remember is that your spirit will always reside in the blessing zone. However, if the devil manages to deceive you into believing that you’re in a cursed state, even though your spirit remains blessed, this can impact your experience.

The Bible teaches that you are a new creation, old things have passed away, and everything has become new. It’s crucial to believe this every single day. Why? Because the devil aims to prevent you from experiencing the reality of the blessing zone. He doesn’t want you to realize that you’re supernaturally blessed, recreated, and repositioned. You’ve been elevated from a lower state to a higher realm; you’re seated with Jesus.

Now, I want to continue teaching you how to combat the deception of the enemy because you are already blessed. The only weapon the enemy has is deception, and I’m here to equip you with the tools to defeat him, to have him for breakfast every day.

The Role of Devotion in Transformation

2 Corinthians 11:3 – But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Paul expresses his concern to the Corinthian church, saying that he’s afraid that, despite all the work God has done in their lives, the devil might deceive them and lead their thoughts astray. From what? From a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

First, it’s crucial to understand that when Eve was tempted by the devil, it didn’t just happen out of the blue. The serpent approached Eve, and Eve wasn’t foolish to engage with the serpent and listen to its cunning words, ultimately falling for its deceit.

It’s essential to grasp that these things happen over time. I want you to understand that Eve didn’t simply obey the serpent out of the blue. She was already familiar with the serpent’s voice. Likewise, nothing suddenly derails your life. You might think, ‘I was doing so well—I was praying, giving, tithing, and fasting—everything was on fire.’ But then, seemingly out of nowhere, it all falls apart. It’s not sudden; it’s a gradual process where your passion and devotion to Jesus slowly wane.

You may not notice it until the devil strikes, and you’re left wondering, ‘How did this happen?’ The truth is, it started months ago. It’s like a fan that keeps running even after you turn it off. It may seem like it’s still running on the outside, but it’s moving toward a stop. That’s what happens with our spiritual life when we’re not devoted to Jesus daily. It appears fine on the surface, but underneath, it’s heading for an attack.

The devil is cunning. He waits for your vulnerability to strike, just like he did with Jesus when He was hungry. He observes you, like he has a dossier on your patterns and past failures, knowing precisely how to trigger them for your downfall. But remember, the devil doesn’t have many tricks, just a few. If you learn and discern them, you can always overcome them.

Paul’s message is clear: Maintain your devotion to Jesus consistently. Why? Because your devotion reflects the spiritual condition of your inner self. It’s like a spiritual mirror that reveals what’s happening in your spirit.

Imagine you’re going through a psychological issue where you genuinely believe you have kidney stones. This belief is causing you to experience physical pain, and you constantly worry about it. You might even say, “I’m in pain; I must have kidney stones.” However, when you visit the doctor, they present a medical report that clearly states you do not have kidney stones. Instantly, you feel relieved, thinking, “Great, I don’t have kidney stones.”

However, the next morning, out of habit, you start feeling the pain again, and that familiar worry creeps in – “I have kidney stones.” But then, your husband reassures you by showing you the doctor’s report once more, confirming that you do not have kidney stones. And once again, you experience relief, realizing, “Okay, I don’t have kidney stones.”

This analogy perfectly mirrors our spiritual journey. The devil will attempt to disqualify you time and time again, bombarding you with lies like, “You’re unworthy, unloved, and graceless. Look at the poor choices you’ve made; you’re useless.” However, the spiritual report, the truth you find in your devotion to Jesus, tells a different story. It affirms that you are accepted, chosen, beloved, forgiven, and sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Your simple devotion to Jesus serves as a mirror reflecting who you are in Christ. As the Bible says, “Just as He is, so are we in this world.” Is Jesus sick, sinful, or struggling with demonic oppression? No. Therefore, you are exactly like Jesus – whole, righteous, and free from oppression.

It’s essential to grasp that we are meant to be like Jesus right here and right now, not just in some distant future in heaven. This reality becomes evident when we devote ourselves to Jesus. Children often imitate their parents; they want to be just like them. For example, I know someone who saw their father shaving and began mimicking the act, even before they had facial hair. That’s how much we desire to imitate our role models.

In the same way, if you want to truly understand who you are in Jesus and comprehend the transformation He has brought into your life, you must consistently look to Jesus as your example. Jesus is not sick, He doesn’t struggle with a poverty mindset, and so, if you’re dealing with these issues, it’s crucial to reject them in the name of Jesus.

Your devotion to Jesus is like a mirror that reveals your true identity because, in your devotion, you encounter who Jesus is, and who He is, is who you are meant to be. Allow me to emphasize this: your transformation is closely tied to how much you focus on Jesus. The more you see Jesus, the more you’ll be transformed into His likeness.

The more you focus on Jesus, the more you will be transformed. You become what you see. It’s a simple truth – if you keep your gaze on your dog, you might start acting like a dog. You truly become what you fix your eyes upon. So, I urge you to behold Him.

2 Corinthians 3:18 – And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

It all boils down to having a pure devotion to Jesus. But let me clarify something. When I talk about seeing and imitating Jesus, I’m not referring to the historical Jesus who lived 2,000 years ago and had a ministry for three and a half years. No, I’m talking about Jesus who is alive today.

2 Corinthians 5:16 – From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.

The words ‘from now on.’ It signifies a shift. ‘From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. What does this mean? Paul is telling us that the Jesus we used to see as merely a historical figure with a successful and glorious ministry is not the Jesus we should focus on now.

he Jesus we once regarded according to the flesh defeated death, was raised from the dead, and had a triumphant ministry, healing the sick and performing miracles. However, we shouldn’t fixate on that aspect anymore. We are to see Jesus beyond the physical, historical context.

Jesus ministered for three and a half years on Earth. But after His resurrection, a remarkable transformation occurred. He ascended to the right hand of the Father and has been seated there for 2,000 years, reigning far above all powers, principalities, and every authority and name that exists.

Now, consider this: which is the greater reference point? The three and a half years of Jesus’ earthly ministry or Jesus, seated on the throne, ruling and reigning for two millennia, far above all? The answer is clear. While it’s essential to appreciate and imitate the Jesus we encounter in the Gospels, the Apostle Paul urges us to recognize there’s more to Jesus than His earthly ministry.

We shouldn’t limit our understanding of Jesus by regarding Him only according to His earthly flesh. Instead, we should focus on where He is now – seated at the right hand of God, reigning in unmatched authority over all. If that’s His reality, then that’s your reality too.

When we were young, many of us wore wristbands that asked, ‘What would Jesus do?’ It was a reminder that when faced with a dilemma, we should consider what Jesus would do in that situation. Typically, we’d refer to His actions during His earthly ministry.

However, I want to emphasize that this reference point is lesser than the one we have today. We now have access to a different reference point – Jesus seated at the right hand of God. This Jesus has already defeated death, sin, and shame. This Jesus is our true reference point.
It’s crucial to understand that Jesus is not someone who is in the process of defeating sin and death; He has already achieved victory. When we are purely devoted to this victorious Jesus, it unveils the incredible work God has done in our lives.

You’ve received Jesus into your heart. Now, think about where Jesus is. He dwells within you. Does this Jesus have the power to overcome the entire cosmos? You live in Delhi, in India, on Earth, in the solar system, within the Milky Way galaxy, amidst multiple universes. And yet, the Jesus residing within you has the power to transcend all of this. So, why do we doubt His ability to overcome our minds, hearts, or negative emotions?
Understand this: Jesus within you is not content with staying in a ‘two-star hotel.’ He yearns to expand and be revealed through you. Your body cannot fully contain Him; He can overpower your physical limitations.
In a significant biblical story, Jesus went up to a mountain to pray, taking with Him Peter, James, and John. While they were with Him, they experienced a profound moment. Jesus, in His prayer, encountered Moses and Elijah, representing the old covenant, the law, and the prophets.

As they were sleeping, Peter woke up and, in a state of awe, suggested building three tents – one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah, seemingly equating them. However, God the Father responded from heaven, rebuking Peter and making it clear that they were not equal. He said, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him only.”

What does this mean? It signifies a transition from the old covenant represented by Moses and Elijah to the new covenant, where Jesus is the central figure. Jesus is the new way, and the old has passed away. Even the least in the kingdom of God is greater than Elijah.
When Jesus descended from the mountain after this experience, His entire being radiated with light, a phenomenon known as transfiguration. This same concept is mentioned in Romans 12:2, where Paul instructs us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. The idea is that when your mind is renewed, your body can undergo a transformation or transfiguration.

Jesus, who resides within you, is not merely there to rest comfortably. He is inside you to take control of your mind, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and even your physical body. His presence can lead to a remarkable transformation, similar to the transfiguration He underwent on the mountain.

He’s here to wholly possess you. Yes, completely. He’s here to take complete possession of you so that you and He begin dwelling in this state eternally. This is the essence of the gospel. Amen. Absolutely. I’m enamored by it, my friend. The gospel is truly good news. Yes. So, when Jesus, who resides within you, fully occupies your thoughts, emotions, and body, what do you call it? Heaven. That’s the very definition of heaven. Just envision this with me: If we were to pass away and find ourselves in heaven without our thoughts and emotions having undergone transformation, we would be in heaven, where Peter welcomes us, saying, ‘This is your abode.’ That’s mine. That’s yours.

Instantly, jealousy consumes you, for your heart and emotions remain untouched by transformation. What’s the significance of being in a heavenly place when your body retains its earthly nature? Does this make sense? So, heaven isn’t just a change in geographical location; it’s about Jesus transforming you from the inside out, completely.

Now, let’s explore another scenario together. Imagine that Jesus has transformed everyone’s hearts here. There are no negative thoughts, no jealousy, no strife, no envy, no anger. Jesus has completely changed our hearts and thoughts. When we gather in fellowship, what do you call it? I’d call it heaven. The fellowship of saints becomes heaven when families, mothers, and fathers unite, professing their deep love for each other.”

Not from a place of demanding, ‘I need love. Love me,’ but from a place of abundance, recognizing that God has poured His love upon me abundantly. So, how can I extend love to you today? How can I be of service to you? When this mindset shifts, and a father and mother unite to bring a child into the world, and that child is born into an atmosphere where love isn’t expected from them but freely given, that child is indeed living in a heavenly environment.

This is why Jesus resides within you, to completely possess you and transform your heart of stone into a heart of love. The hardness within you will dissipate once Jesus takes possession of your heart. He has the power to do so; if He can encompass the entire cosmos, He can surely take hold of your heart and thoughts. That’s His desire. But the question remains, do you grant Him permission? He isn’t a dictator who forces His way in like a bulldozer. He is gentle and seeks your consent because everything He does, He does in the atmosphere of intimacy.
You know, it’s true; you can accept Jesus and still carry jealousy with you throughout your life or remain offended. Someone says something to another person, and you might take it personally, leading to offense. Offense can linger. However, if you grant Jesus permission, He can transform your heart. Jealousy will no longer reside within you. Why? Because you become new. The old things have passed away, and everything has become new.

Temptation of Sin‭‭

1 John 2:16 – For all that is in the world the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world.

These are the temptations to sin. The devil will attempt to deceive you by exploiting your flesh. So, what are these three things?
Firstly, it’s the desires of the flesh, often related to food. Why do you desire your next promotion? Sometimes, it’s merely to enjoy good food. Desires of the flesh emerge from a place of lack and hunger, where you feel like you don’t have enough.

Secondly, there are the desires of the eyes, which often involve greed and cravings. This comes from wanting more than enough. You might have an iPhone, but you want the latest model. Desires of the eyes aim to satisfy your cravings.

Now, let’s look at the gateways to these temptations. One is the stomach (desires of the flesh), and the other is the eyes (desires of the eyes). The third is the pride of life, which stems from the belief that ‘I am more than enough.

I don’t need anybody—family, friends, or even enemies. I am self-sufficient. Where does this attitude originate? The desires of the flesh come into play when I feel like I need more, that I don’t have enough. It stems from a sense of lack and hunger. Desires of the eyes arise when I want more than enough. And the pride of life asserts that I am more than enough. It’s quite something.

You can observe these three dynamics at work in the Garden of Eden. When the devil was deceiving Eve, what was the first thing he asked her? He inquired, ‘Did God tell you that you can’t eat from any of the trees?’ But that wasn’t true. God had only forbidden them from eating from one tree, among millions of trees in the garden.

God instructed them not to eat from one tree, yet look at what the devil did. He asked, ‘Did God tell you not to eat from any tree?’ What was he attempting to accomplish? He aimed to manufacture a sense of hunger and lack that didn’t exist. There was no lack in the Garden of Eden, but the devil was fabricating one. Why? Because once you create a sense of lack, it sparks a craving. Now, ‘I don’t have enough, so I want more than enough.’

Have you observed how children, when told not to do something, are often drawn to precisely that forbidden thing? Yes, because you’ve artificially created a sense of lack. The devil was doing the same thing. ‘Did God tell you not to eat from any tree?’ Why? So that the next time Eve gazed upon the fruit, she desired it. The Bible tells us she indeed desired it; she longed for it, as it appeared beautiful to her eyes.

At a certain point, the devil said, ‘Hey, do you know what? If you eat from this, you’ll become like God.’ Now, here’s the thing: were they not already created in the image of God? So what did the devil really mean when he said, ‘You will become like Him’? He meant that you could become like God without needing Him in the picture. Because when you have God as your Father and you depend on Him in this intimate relationship, you don’t need to strive for that independence. Why would you need to rely on Him when you can be self-sufficient?

The devil’s strategy operates from a place of creating lack in your life. He’ll tell you that you don’t have enough – your salary is insufficient, why tithe, why give more, you didn’t get that promotion. He fosters a sense of lack, and as a result, you desire to have more than enough. Eventually, this desire can lead to pride, where you believe, ‘I am more than enough. I don’t need God, church, friends, or even parents.’

These three strategies – creating a sense of lack, triggering the lust of the flesh, igniting the lust of the eyes to desire more, and culminating in the pride of life – are what he employs to deceive us.

The devil employed the same strategies with Jesus. In the first temptation, when Jesus was hungry, the devil urged him to turn stones into bread, capitalizing on Jesus’ hunger, creating a sense of lack. Then, in the next temptation, the devil took Jesus to a high mountain, displaying all the kingdoms of the world and tempting him with the offer of rulership over them in exchange for worship. Here, the devil was fostering greed in Jesus’ mind, insinuating that this was the ultimate goal of His mission: ‘Just worship me, and I’ll grant you all this power and authority.

Finally, he takes Jesus to a high mountain and says, ‘You’re more than enough, bro. You’re the Son of God, right? Just jump, and let’s see the angels.’ What is he attacking here? Pride. The devil uses food, greed, and pride – these three elements together. They often come bundled, and we may not even realize when we fall into their trap.

To counteract this, we must maintain a simple and pure devotion to Jesus. This is why in Matthew 6, Jesus instructs us on three things to do in secret: praying in secret, giving in secret, and fasting in secret. Why? Because praying addresses pride, giving combats greed, and fasting addresses our hunger and desires.

Jesus said, ‘Whatever you do in secret, God will reward openly.’ Let me emphasize this: your secret life profoundly impacts your public life. The level of glory in your public life reflects the depth of your intimacy with Jesus in your secret life. Your secret life holds immense significance.

When a child is born, we witness the culmination of a process that took place in secrecy. After nine months of pregnancy, the child is brought into the world, but much of the formation occurred in secret. Even before that, the moment of conception was private and intimate.

Similarly, intimacy with God takes place in the secret places of our hearts, behind closed doors, in the hidden chambers of our souls. Your secret life with Jesus carries great importance.

If you aspire to reach greater heights, you must also delve deeper, for the depths remain hidden while everyone notices the towering tree. When a tree grows taller, people exclaim, ‘What a magnificent tree!’ But what often goes unnoticed are the roots that have burrowed deep into the earth.

Your secret life, the part of you concealed from the world, will inevitably manifest in your public life. To attain glory in your public life, you must invest in your secret life. When no one is watching, do you continue to pray? When no one is looking, do you still give? When no one observes, do you persist in fasting without making a show of it? Avoid broadcasting your actions; instead, engage in them secretly. Why? Because when you pray in secret, you encounter Jesus. It’s the eyes that often trigger cravings.

When you close your eyes and pray, whom are you addressing? Jesus. In doing so, you shift your source from the physical world to the spiritual realm. Now, you see Jesus as your source.

Similarly, when you fast, you’re making a deliberate shift in your source. You declare, ‘My energy isn’t solely reliant on the food I eat, but on God’s word.’ You’re changing your source. Remember the words, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ You’re emphasizing that God is your true source.

And when you give, once again, you’re proclaiming that finances are not your ultimate source; God is. By giving generously, you’re reinforcing this truth. This is why giving combats greed, praying addresses pride, and fasting confronts hunger.

What you see is what you become. What you eat is what you become. Where you place your confidence is what you become. So, feed on Jesus, fix your gaze on Jesus, and trust in Jesus. How do you see Jesus? Through prayer. How do you consume Him? Through fasting and communion. How do you place your confidence in Him? Through giving.

It’s simple and pure, not complicated at all. Just ask yourself, ‘How is my spiritual health today? Have I devoted enough time to the Word? Have I spent time in prayer? Am I passionate about Jesus?’ If not, then that should be your priority. It doesn’t matter how many earthly meetings you may have missed; those meetings can wait.

They might try to pressure you or even make you miss out on promotions, but let me tell you, the time you invest in the secret place will determine the level of glory in your public life. So, don’t overlook it; prioritize it. Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness. Be devoted to Jesus, just like David was.

God had a special commendation for David, calling him ‘a man after My own heart,’ despite his flaws and mistakes. Why? Because David was deeply devoted to God. Devotion to Jesus is the key. Do you want to be ablaze with passion for Jesus? It’s simple, my friends. You can only be devoted to Him when you realize how devoted He is to you. Your love for Him depends on understanding His love for you, and your worship of Him stems from recognizing how adored He is by you.

It all begins with Him. That’s why when you’re devoted to Him, you may start by thinking, ‘I want to love Jesus today.’ But in that secret place, you come to realize, ‘Oh, man, Jesus loves me so profoundly. He adores me immensely.’

For me, this connection deepened in 2012 when I began hearing God’s voice more clearly. Every time I close my eyes to listen, the first thing I hear is, ‘You are My beloved son in whom I am well pleased.’ Just a couple of weeks ago, I asked the Lord, ‘Can You tell me something new? I’ve been hearing the same thing for the past nine years. Can we spice it up a bit?’ You know what the Holy Spirit replied? ‘I keep saying the same thing because you don’t fully believe it.’

You might wonder why you keep hearing the same message again and again. It’s because you don’t fully believe it. Can you visualize the devoted Father who loves you today? Can you see Him? He’s not demanding your love; He’s supplying it. Powerful people don’t demand love; they give love. They say, ‘I choose to love you, regardless of how you respond to me. I choose to love you.’ God is a powerful Being, and He chooses to love you, regardless. He chooses to love you every day, whether or not you are devoted to Him.

That’s why every time you make the choice to be devoted to Him, you instantly experience intimacy with Him. It doesn’t take time. Amen. Yes, amen. God loves you. He loves you, my friends. He is passionately in love with you. He is devoted to you. He has made the decision to love you deeply. Yes, He loves you, and He cares for you.

About the author

Samuel Thomas

Samuel is a second-generation pastor with a rich heritage in the Holy Spirit. He has been the pastor of Lighthouse Church since 2017 with a two-word mission statement: transforming lives. Samuel's priority in life has been to know Christ and to grow deeper in His love.

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