You need to understand that the Word is not just a concept that you hear or learn. The Word is Jesus, the person you receive. When you receive the Word, you're not just listening to a lecture, but you're engaging with a person.
April 10, 2023
You need to understand that the Word is not just a concept that you hear or learn. The Word is Jesus, the person you receive. When you receive the Word, you’re not just listening to a lecture, but you’re engaging with a person. Therefore, you should respond to the Word as you would respond to a person during a coffee date or any other conversation. Your body language, words, and gestures should show that you are present and attentive to the Word. This has nothing to do with any particular culture, but it’s about understanding and responding to the Word. When you watch sports or TV shows, you engage with what’s happening on the screen through your body language. Similarly, you should engage with the Word when you receive it. Think about when Messi scores a goal or when Kohli hits a six. Everyone gets excited and jumps out of their chairs. It’s because they’re engaging with what’s happening on the pitch, as if they were there themselves. They might even have commentary to share, such as what Messi should have done or where the ball should have gone. Similarly, when you listen to the Word of God, don’t just think of it as a concept to be learned. Instead, remember that the Word is a person, and you should engage with that person. Don’t just passively listen and say, “Hmm, I like that word.” Instead, actively engage with the Word, just like you would engage with the excitement of a sports match. To truly engage with the Word, let me share a story from the Bible. In 1 Kings 17, there’s a prophet named Elijah, and Israel is going through a three-year famine. God was providing for Elijah through ravens, but then God changes the source and tells Elijah to go to a woman in Zarephath, whom God had commanded to provide for him. Have you heard this story? When Elijah arrives, the woman is preparing her last meal. She’s a widow and plans to eat this meal with her son and then die, as it’s the last thing they have.
It seems arrogant of the prophet to tell the widow to cook for him and that he must eat. It’s either absolute arrogance of the prophet to demand this, or absolute humility for him to obey the voice of the Lord. Have you thought about that? It’s arrogant for him to say, ‘Hey, give me that,’ or humble for him to obey what the Lord told him to do. Then, we see that she gives him the last meal, but miraculously, the food in her house never runs out. There is an overflowing supply of food in her house. Now, let’s focus on what God told prophet Elijah. He said, ‘Go to this woman, for I have commanded her.’ However, based on the interaction between the prophet and the woman, it does not seem that the woman had heard God’s command, or at least it wasn’t evident. Sometimes, God’s commandments may not be fully comprehended until a prophet comes and reminds you of what the Lord has already commanded. Therefore, the word of the Lord that you’re hearing today may already be a great deposit in your spirit, but your mind may not have processed it yet. It takes time for the mind to comprehend what has been deposited in the spirit. However, what you hear from the word of the Lord through a prophet or pastor is a confirmation of what you may have already received in your quiet time or personal walk with Jesus. “That’s why the Bible says, ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.’ It does not say, ‘Faith comes by hearing the sermon.’ You have to hear God’s word in the sermon to have faith. And that’s why the word can be preached from the pulpit, but everybody can be fed in their own individual context of their lives because it’s God’s word that has been spoken to them. When you’re listening to the word of God, it’s contextual and applicable to your life. So, God’s word in the sermon produces hearing, and that hearing produces faith.”
1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
That power of God is the power of resurrection. Consider this: if you didn’t know Christ and you saw the cross, it wouldn’t be a symbol of God’s power. The cross represented death, the most torturous death in history. It’s like looking at an electric chair or gallows and calling it the power of God. But Christ redeemed the cross, and through his resurrection, he showed his power over death. If he could redeem the most painful death, he can redeem your life too.
The message of the cross may seem foolish to some, as they may question the significance of a symbol representing death. However, according to the Bible, the cross is the power of God that leads to salvation, as it represents the power of resurrection. This power of resurrection is available to everyone, including you and me. While some may think that the resurrection of Jesus is not a big deal, as he is considered to be God, it is actually a crucial part of the Christian faith.
It’s true that God can do anything, but the significance of Jesus’ resurrection is that it makes that reality available to us. This is the big deal. When we read the gospel, we see Jesus healing the sick, casting out demons, and delivering people from sin and oppression. Some may think that it’s not impressive because he did it as God, but the beauty of it is that he did all of these things as a man who was submitted to God. This means that if Jesus could do all of these things as a human being, then there’s good news for us too. Jesus even said that we could do greater things than him.
It’s a wonderful example for me to follow. There’s great hope that if Jesus could do it, I can do it too. The truth is, we have been woven into his reality, into the same resurrection reality. Let me share a story from my experience teaching Sunday school children. Whenever they lost attention, I would come up with stories. Here’s one: there was a boxer in a championship fight. Despite getting his teeth broken and his eyes bleeding, he fought hard and was able to knock out his opponent in the final round.
The boxer had trained hard for the tough fight and finally won the championship belt. He was called a champion and everyone celebrated his victory. But when he went home, he gave the championship belt to his wife, making her more than a champion. That’s how we become more than conquerors, by taking the name of the conqueror, Jesus. His name is above every other name, and when we unite with him, we take on his name and become one with him.
The good news is that it’s a free gift. You can rejoice! Through Jesus’ death, life, and resurrection, you have been brought into his reality. You can walk into the newness of this life. That’s why Romans chapter six explains that if you have died with him (which is what baptism signifies), you can be confident that you will be raised to life and woven into his newness of life. Christianity is not about having a retirement plan or an insurance policy after death. Rather, it’s about living an abundant life right here and now because Jesus has come into your life and is risen. We have joy and faith because of this, and everything that he has is available to us. It’s amazing!
When Jesus died on the cross, he took sin, sickness, oppression, and depression upon himself because he hates to see those things in us. He loves to see righteousness, health and healing, prosperity, and God’s blessings, and he gives us those things in exchange.
2 Corinthians 5:21 – For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
That’s the good news: Jesus did it. You don’t need to strive to attain this; you’re already there if your surname is Jesus. When people get married, they are pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Jesus. If your surname is Jesus, you have already been woven into Jesus’ reality. This is not something you will attain after you die; it’s something you receive freely by faith. Your life can be absolutely new and heavenly because of this.
Heaven is not only a physical location, but it’s also a dimension that exists right now. Jesus said that the geographical location of the kingdom of God is in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17), which is within you. Therefore, you have heaven within you because Christ is within you, and he is the hope of glory. Without Christ, heaven would not be heaven, but because Christ has come into you, you become the reality of heaven.
Isn’t that good news? When you carry the reality of heaven within you, you can walk into any store and bring the righteousness of God. You can transform anything that is wrong into something right and invoke the justice of God to address any injustice. By simply stepping into a place, you can bring peace to any chaos. This is the good news! I look forward to being in heaven one day, but I am already in heaven right now because heaven is not a physical place; it’s within me. The king of heaven is within me, and wherever the king rules, his domain and reality come within me.
Romans 10:9 – if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Have you made Jesus the Lord of your life? I heard a clear message from Jesus: “You cannot have me as your friend until you have me as your Lord.” Some of us are content with having Jesus as our friend, but we need to acknowledge him as the Lord of our lives through our confession.
Submission is a requirement of lordship. If we do not submit to Jesus’ lordship, we cannot enjoy his friendship. This does not mean that Jesus operates on a transactional basis, saying “do this, and I will do that.” It is about our personal experience of it. Just like the sun shines constantly on the earth, yet we still experience darkness if we are not facing in the direction of the sun, we must be aligned and submitted to Jesus’ lordship to experience his friendship. Abraham believed in God, and this was counted to him as righteousness. God called him his friend, and it is a privilege for us to be called friends of God. However, this privilege starts with recognizing his loyalty and submission to his lordship. Similarly, we want our parents to be our friends, but this begins with acknowledging that they are our parents.
Our relationship with our parents is different from the way we interact with our friends. Similarly, the level of submission we have to Jesus’ lordship is directly proportional to the level of reality we experience in his kingdom. It is important to emphasize that surrender, humility, and submission are the keys to experiencing the overflowing power of his kingdom. This does not negate the importance of reading the Bible or doing good things, but true power comes from surrendering and submitting to Jesus.
If you pray for eight hours but lack an attitude of surrender, I wonder who you are praying to. It’s not enough to wait for heaven; when you receive Jesus, heaven’s reality comes into your life. What you are waiting for is for heaven to unveil itself and overflow within you. Let the streams of living water flow in and through you. Recently, I heard the Lord say that some people are waiting for the second coming of Christ to fix things, but the power of the gospel with a renewed mind can fix everything. Don’t wait for Christ to come; take action now and let the gospel transform your life.
He can fix anything in your life that you require. However, you don’t need to wait for that time. By believing in the power of the gospel and having a renewed mind, which is the mind of Christ, you can have it now. Jesus thinks differently when he sees a problem; he sees it as an opportunity, and he is never afraid of a challenge. For example, when he saw the 5,000 people who needed to be fed, he saw it as an opportunity to perform a miracle. We need to have a paradigm shift in our thinking and adopt the mind of Christ. We often react negatively when someone hits us from behind while driving, but if we change our perspective, we may see it as an opportunity to show love and forgiveness. Don’t wait for Jesus to come to fix everything; let the gospel transform your thinking and change your life now.
“When someone hits our car from behind, we may feel frustrated or angry at first, but shifting our perspective can be transformative. We can learn to see situations like a broken taillight as an opportunity for healing in someone else’s life. However, this requires having the mind of Christ and renewing our thoughts. Although our spirit is completely new when we accept Jesus, as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:17, ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’ our minds may still be stuck in old patterns of thinking. That’s why we need to continually renew our minds with the word of God to think like Jesus and see the world in a new light.”
I wish we could hit a “hard reset” button for our minds so we could all behave like Jesus. However, even though we have a new spirit, our memories continue to remind us of our struggles. For example, we may still have anger issues or be prone to overthinking. To overcome these challenges, we must renew our minds.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Testing takes time and is not a one-and-done process. It’s like a teacher grading an answer sheet and approving it. We can only approve of God’s will for our lives with a renewed mind. Without a renewed mind, we cannot recognize that God’s will is good. Otherwise, we may question God’s presence during difficult times such as three years of lockdown due to COVID.
Oh, you’re on vacation, but with a renewed mind. You have a new perspective and a deeper understanding that even though everything is happening in the physical realm, God is at work and doing something much greater. Let me share with you that many churches in Delhi, including those I’m connected to, grew rapidly during the pandemic. Some people believed that Christians in India would face dire consequences when a certain political party came to power, but it was during their reign that the Kingdom of God propelled even faster.
I am not saying that we should not pray for our leaders and exercise our right to vote. I believe in partnering with God to bring about positive change in our communities. However, I also believe that ultimately, the kingdom of God will continue to advance regardless of who is in power or where we are located. The kingdom of God is a superior power that cannot be stopped by any human authority.
Although our inner being has been made new through faith in Christ, we may still struggle with memories of our past. The enemy will try to use these memories to make us believe that we have not truly been renewed. But we must remember that our identity is found in Christ, and we have the power to resist the lies of the enemy and live in the truth of who we are in Him.
It’s possible to have accepted Jesus as your Lord and still struggle with issues like alcoholism and anger. The devil will try to bring up memories of your past to make you feel like you haven’t really changed, and if you take ownership of those thoughts, you may act like your old self. But the truth is that your old self died with Christ on the cross. When Jesus was raised from the dead, He raised you up as a new person in His image.
So what should you do when you’re struggling with these issues and the devil is tempting you? The first step is to resist the urge to take ownership of those thoughts. Remember that your identity is in Christ and you are a new creation. Instead, turn to God and ask for His help in overcoming these struggles. Seek support from other believers who can encourage and pray for you. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you can overcome these challenges and live in the truth of who you are in Christ.
It’s important to remember that our identity is not in our struggles or past sins, but in who we are in Christ. We are the righteousness of God, even if we still struggle with certain things. Our identity has been transformed from that of a sinner to one who is righteous in Christ.
When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he did not address them as sinners saved by grace. He wrote to them as saints, because that is their true identity in Christ. We should not identify ourselves by our old, dead selves, but by our new selves in Christ. It’s important to focus on the truth of who we are in Him, rather than resurrecting our old selves and living in the past. Through the power of Christ, we can overcome our struggles and live in the truth of our new identity.
It’s crucial to understand that our old identity is dead and gone in Christ. We are new creations, reborn in the righteousness of God. God sees us as complete, whole, and accepted in Him, and He desires for us to be conformed to the image of Jesus.
What we choose to identify with is essential. If we focus on our diseases or sins, we will become more conscious of them. But if we focus on the righteousness of God, we will become more conscious of that. Instead of asking why we have cancer or what the root cause of our sins is, we should identify as the righteousness of God and walk in that truth.
We must be conscious of our identity in Christ, rather than our struggles. Every generational curse and sin is broken on the cross, and we are set free. We can reject any negative thought or belief that goes against our identity in Christ and choose to walk in His righteousness.
The problem with medical science is that it focuses more on studying diseases than on studying health. As a result, we become more conscious of our illnesses. If I were to tell you not to think about a blue monkey, you would likely still think about a blue monkey. Similarly, we need to replace our memories of being a sinner with memories of being righteous. We can find these memories in the Bible, which teaches us how to behave, think, and walk in righteousness. As we immerse ourselves in this reality, it begins to transform us. We do not do good to become good or righteous to become righteous. Rather, we are already good and righteous, and our actions flow from that identity. We struggle to do what is right when we still identify ourselves as sinners in our minds.
I am a sinner, saved by glory. I continue to struggle because this is a fallen reality on earth, but the gospel says that I am the righteousness of God through Jesus right now. The gospel doesn’t say that I will become righteous in the future; I already am. The power of the gospel is greater than death, so why wait for death to become the savior and start living in the newness of life? Jesus has already saved us from the power of sin, and this is our reality.
Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” The word “transformed” is the same word used in Matthew to describe the transfiguration of Jesus. In Matthew 17, Jesus takes Peter and John with him and is transfigured before them. His face shines like the sun, and his clothes become as white as light. Think about that powerful image. The verse in Romans is reminding us not to conform to the ways of the world, but to allow our minds to be renewed and transformed by the power of God.
During the transfiguration, Jesus’ face shone like the sun and his clothes became as bright as light. Just imagine being Peter, James, or John and waking up to see Jesus in such a radiant state. That experience would certainly shock anyone out of their sleep. The transformation described in Matthew 17 is the same word used in Romans 12:2, where Paul encourages us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. When our minds are transformed in the spiritual realm, God sees us as shining like the sun, just like Jesus during the transfiguration. We become so radiant that even the clothes we wear begin to shine.
In the new covenant, everything you touch has the power to overflow with righteousness. In the old covenant, lepers were sent out of the camp to prevent the spread of disease. But in the new covenant, we see Jesus going among the sick and lepers, and they all get healed because of the power of the overflowing kingdom. As a believer, you have the same power to step into any situation and overwhelm darkness with light, dispel chaos with peace, and bring transformation wherever you go. A renewed mind allows you to be transformed into the image of Jesus who shines like the sun during his transfiguration.
According to the Bible, when your mind is renewed, your inner soul can begin to shine and that radiance can overflow through your physical body as well. When we talk about the kingdom of God, we’re not just referring to inner peace and joy. Those feelings can emanate from within your heart and spread throughout your body. Proverbs says, “A cheerful heart is like medicine” and a joyful heart brings health to your body. A peaceful mind can deliver you from the oppressive torment of the devil. Therefore, the kingdom of God within you is not just limited to the spiritual realm, it should overflow into your heart, mind, and body. When you pray for the sick, healing can flow because the health and life of Jesus is moving in and through you.
Renewal of the mind is essential. It involves aligning your thoughts with those of Christ so that your focus is on God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will. But what is God’s will? Jesus taught us to pray, saying, “Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This means always expecting heavenly reality in every situation. When we encounter sickness, we should not accept it as a heavenly reality because there is no sickness in heaven. Instead, we should pray for healing and divine health. When we see someone struggling with sin or addiction, we should pray for their righteousness and deliverance. Renewal of the mind means shifting our paradigm to think like Jesus, to believe that everything we see in our natural reality can be heaven because the King of heaven is within us.
It is important to align your mind with the reality that the King of heaven is within you. When you are conscious of this reality, it flows through your body and overflows in every aspect of your life. However, the biggest battle that we face is not external but internal. Our mind is the biggest battlefield, and all spiritual warfare happens within it. Most of the time, we take ownership of thoughts and feelings that are not truly ours. For example, when we wake up feeling depressed or sick, we are taking ownership of negative thoughts and feelings that are not of God. We must remember that our true thoughts and feelings are righteous, and we should not give in to negative thoughts and feelings. Instead, we should focus on the reality that the King of heaven is within us and declare it over our lives. The more we affirm this truth, the more it becomes a reality in our lives.
We must take every thought captive and reject any thought that does not align with the message of the cross. When negative thoughts arise, we should recognize them and refuse to give in to them. For instance, if we feel jealous of someone, we must take that thought captive and reject it by saying, “This is not my thought.” Just like we would return a gift we don’t like, we should not accept the negative gifts that the devil tries to give us. We must guard our minds and take control of our thoughts so that we can live according to God’s will.
If you walked on the streets of Delhi and a crow happened to poop on your shoulder, what would you do? Would you be like, “Wow, interesting!” and stay there having a pity party? Or would you quickly wash yourself and feel new again? Having thoughts is not a problem, but taking ownership of those thoughts and feelings is problematic because it means dwelling on them. Don’t stay there, don’t dwell there. Instead, stay in the Word of God. That’s what Jesus said. “If you abide in my words, I will abide in you.” So, when you have conflicting thoughts or feelings, abide in God’s word. The devil may throw so many different things at you: “You are a fool,” “Your future looks hopeless,” “You’re not going to survive,” “You’re in this rat race,” “You haven’t done enough, you’ll never be enough.” The devil will throw different things at you at all times.