“What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.” A. W. Tozer

Sermon #95: On Being Led by the Spirit

“…those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14, NIV).

Who are the sons of God? Who are the sons and daughters of Abraham? It is “those who are led by the Spirit of God”. Glory to God!

The unsaved cannot be led by the Spirit of God because they are not of the Spirit. They, however, might eventually become of the Spirit. On the other hand, the saved need to seriously think about Paul’s statement in Romans 8:14.

A Christian should always be attentive to the Holy Spirit’s direction.

We need, as Christians, to keep our antennas high and searching, so that we remain in touch with the thinking of the Spirit at every point of our lives.

Consider the radar; it’s always on the alert. Once an airplane gets into the radar’s area of coverage the radar immediately shouts, “An airplane has just entered my airspace!” That’s exactly how alert Christians should always be!

We should never miss the Spirit’s mind concerning our lives, not even once. A Christian who is always attentive to the Spirit is able to capture the thoughts and guidance of the Spirit at every turn.

It doesn’t mean that one should necessarily hear a voice, although some people do hear God’s voice. Even without hearing a voice, one would know what God’s thoughts are with respect to any area of their life, if they are attentive.

You might decide to go somewhere, but before you go, you need to ask yourself the question: “What does the Spirit of God say about my plan?”

You might have been wronged by somebody and you are in the process of considering your options; you should ask, “What does the Spirit of God expect me to do under these circumstances?”

You might be in a clothing shop, trying to grab some fashion. Before you buy, you should be in a position to tell what the Spirit’s mind is regarding any item of clothing that you might be admiring.

God is a God of a Christian's entire life; not just a part of it. We therefore shouldn’t surrender just a portion of our lives and affairs to God; instead, we should surrender every aspect of it! God should have the final say on everything concerning our lives.

I do not believe people who say God approves of everything that we might decide to do or to be; if He did then to me He wouldn’t be God. Does your earthly father approve of everything about you? Hasn't he directed you at one point to change certain things concerning your life? What more the Heavenly Father, the Father even to your father!

We should never confuse our will for God’s will. Under all circumstances, it should be very easy for a Christian to come to a decision. All one has to do is ask themselves, “What is the mind of the Spirit on this?” The mind of the Spirit becomes the decision!

Some of God's children are in not so good a shape. These people allow God to direct them only in some areas of their lives and keep certain areas exclusively to themselves. They reach certain decisions and stay put even if God were to direct them otherwise. That is disobedience!

Several Christians disobey the Lord in certain respects. Even when they know too well what God’s direction is regarding something about their lives, these people proceed as if they knew nothing. Just because they like it that way, they say, in effect, “Even God will not shift me from this.” What do you make of it?

The Bible mentions some people who ‘wandered from the faith” (see 1 Timothy 6:21). I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the disobedient Christians eventually wander from the faith, because their conduct is already inclined that way. They might end up disobeying the Father in everything!

I implore you to act and react only in a manner that’s consistent with the direction of the Spirit. There might be something that you love to do, or a behaviour that you might find irresistible, or gatherings that you are weak to avoid. The bottom-line is, “What is the mind of the Spirit regarding this?”

You should always be convinced that your conduct in life is exactly what the Spirit ordered.

“What is the mind of the Spirit on this? What does the Spirit instruct me to do? Would God be pleased if I were to do it this way?” That’s how Christians make decisions.

I have met Christians who say, "But I do not know the will of God regarding this aspect of my life." In response I normally say, "Do not worry about what you do not know now. What are you doing about that which you know?"

If one did their best regarding the will of God that they know, they are in a good place. I think going forward, the more such people learn about the will of God, the more they adhere to it. In addition to advising them about their situation, I also urge such people not to remain a minute in a state of ignorance because nothing stops them from searching the scriptures for answers!

Just as I was about to fall asleep one day, the thought of writing this message entered my mind. Because I was tired and wanted to rest, I decided to postpone the writing until the next day. However, when I asked myself the question, “What does the Spirit say I should do?” I realised that the Spirit wanted me to wake up and write the message straight away. So I did.

I sure hope this sermon has helped you in some way. If it has, then it was worth my writing. Remember that you will never mature if you don’t give the Spirit free reign in your life.

Sermon #94: Your Prosperity - Wealth, Riches, Money

I could do with more wealth, more money. I would be better off with lots of it. I am not the only one in this condition; you too could do with more of it.

I know a number of people who are seeking an improvement with regards to the status of their wealth. They are frantically looking in various places for this.

Yet when I look at it, I sometimes feel as though people generally take the lead when it comes to wealth creation, leaving God behind, leading to a lot of debris all over the place, as people blunder their way.

And Moses said unto the people, ‘Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD’” (Ex 14:13, KJV). God is wonderful. He says, “As far as your life and wealth creation are concerned, panic ye not.” What comfort! Stand still. Be at peace. Praise God!

Consider this as well: “So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them” (Matt 6:31-32, NIV). Your Father, the unlimited provider, knows that you need these things. 

Because He knows you need these things and because He is your provider, He will “satisfy you fully” (Joel 2:19, NIV). 

So “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil 4:6, NIV).

I have noticed some misfiring in a number of believers - they desire more wealth to the extent of negating all that God has already done for them. They don't seem to appreciate what they already have! They are always anxious, edgy and sullen, simply because they have not got that which they seek.

Consider this: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5:16-18, NIV).

Believers should be joyful always; they should give thanks in all circumstances. This is something! Whatever situation you might be in, you've got to give thanks to God, with joyous hymns, because life is good!

There should be no room for anxiety in a Christian’s life. Jesus’ instruction on anxiety is clear enough. He says, “Do not be anxious about anything.” 

If you find yourself in a closed box with regards to wealth, you now know what to do. Don't get angry or restless. Instead, present your requests to God, keeping in mind that you should ever be joyful and thankful. Thank Him for what you possess. Thank Him also for what you hope for.

If you have the basics of life, then you are in a good state. God will take you from there to yonder places if you dedicate yourself to living in accordance with His teachings. Just listen to this: “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1 Tim 6:7-8, NIV). 

Do you have food? Do you have clothing? Do you have shelter, even if rented? If so, then you should be ashamed of yourself if you are living a miserable life! Jesus said, “…we will be content with that.” We will be satisfied with that. You should be content with that. You ought to be thankful and your gratitude should beam right into the throne room.

Of course you should always take steps to create new and more wealth, but your starting point ought to be different from the starting point of non-believers. While non-believers might start from a point of dissatisfaction, believers should make it a point to start from a point of satisfaction.

I have learnt some valuable lessons. Here they are:
  • God delights in the prosperity of His children.
  • God is willing and able to take His children to spacious places in terms of wealth. He can enrich us exceedingly above even the wildest of our imaginations.
  • However, God wants Christians to begin their journey from a point of satisfaction, not dissatisfaction, acknowledging every good thing that He has already done for them.
A satisfied life is a life well-lived. It is a full life, without any regrets. With God the past, present and future belong to you. You can reclaim, with compound interest, everything that was meant for you, but which had somehow eluded you. So, while you work towards more wealth, you need to do so calmly, peacefully, with God each step of the way.

Wealth is on my mind, and life is good!

Sermon #93: Victory for the Christian

"Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and your helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their places" - (Deuteronomy 33:29, NIV). 

Wow! What more can I say? We are in the best of places...glory to God!

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Sermon #92: Setting an Example

People should learn to pursue comprehensive success.

This is the kind of success that I have always exhorted people, through the medium of my books and blogs, to pursue.

I do not think that it is helpful for anybody to have some dark patches. Instead, people should learn to live complete lives, always guided by the Word of Light.

Each of your actions or omissions gives you an identity or label before God and mankind. People look at you and make specific deductions about you.

Your actions or omissions either build your identity or destroy it. So doing nothing is not actually doing nothing, as some people think. By doing nothing you would, in fact, be doing something!

What example are you setting in life? Are you a role model? Would people with good intentions want to emulate you? These are questions that you ought to be asking yourself always.

What perceptions do fellow church members, co-workers, friends, relatives, etc, have about you? Are they comfortable in your presence? Do they befriend you? Would they confide in you? Would they ask you for advice from you on their personal problems? Would they ask you to help them in any other way? Do they think you are fair in your dealings with them?

The Word of God is our greatest teacher. Listen to this: "Set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). Praise God! 

You’ve got to set an example for fellow believers:

  • in speech;
  • in life;
  • in love;
  • in faith; and
  • in purity.
Now let us prepare a small checklist. 

I want you to read each of the following statements thrice, after which you would then consider if it relates to you. If it relates to you, say, "Yes, that's who I am." If it doesn't, shout, "Oh my God!"

Here we go:

  • I set a good example for believers in the way I speak;
  • I set a good example for believers in the way I live;
  • I set a good example for believers in the way I relate to them;
  • I set a good example for believers in the way I exercise my faith; and
  • I set a good example for believers in purity.

You need to use your tongue in a responsible way. You should use only the words that people would listen to with delight - positive words, encouraging (uplifting) words, words that build people up, words that bring value to the listener.

There are great problems in the area of speech. Several believers speak toxic words almost on a daily basis. Some seem to speak such words almost exclusively; each time they open their mouths you can be sure that they are on a mission to hurt somebody. That’s quite regrettable.

You should always be conscious that God expects you to set an example to fellow believers in speech.

What does setting an example in life mean? I think this is a global view - over a period of time, one observes how you conduct your life in general. If you are setting a good example for them in this regard, they should end up desiring to be like you.

You should also set an example for others in love and in purity. This is something! Love, purity. Some people do not understand these words. What is love? What is purity? You could already be asking yourself these questions.

What does it take to be a pure human being? What does it take to have genuine love? These are higher positions that no natural human being could attain, only those who are quickened by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In purity, one deliberately sets themselves apart from ungodly beliefs and practices or actions, being fully conscious of who they are in Christ Jesus.

To fully understand love, I refer you to Sermon 83 on this blog.

If you are in Christ, I salute you. I am sure you do not ask the same questions asked by those who are not born again. This is because in Jesus Christ you have a role model, a perfect example.

If you want to know what purity is, you should look at Christ. If you want to know what true love is, you should again look at Christ.

Nothing shall give Christians confidence, except them being like Christ. Christ is our confidence.

Some people behave in a manner that is seriously worrisome. By their conduct they seem to say, “I am rubbish, and I admit it.” They have no boundaries with regards to their actions or omissions. Yet Paul is teaching us that we ought to pay careful attention to how we walk this earth as Christians.

Whatever you do or say contributes to the perception that people will have about you. If you take advantage of other people, if you ask for or accept bribes, if you spit venom, if you fly with rage, if you exhibit arrogance, then you certainly do yourself serious injustice.

I wonder how one could live comfortably in a house that they obtained through corruption, sit in sofas that they stole from somebody else and unashamedly enjoy music from a radio that they obtained through tricks.

What happened to conscience? What happened to self-respect? What happened to honesty, decency and integrity? What example would one be setting by such conduct?

What example are you setting yourself?

Sermon #91: How to Defeat the Devil

[Based on the NIV except where specified]

“The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you’” (Luke 10:17-19).

So we declare that the devil is a defeated foe. The question that begs an answer is: do we see the devil defeated in the life of every Christian? Don’t we see defeated Christians all around?

Indeed we see victory, sometimes total victory, in the lives of some Christians. On the other end we see Christians who are so defeated that they wish they were dead.

Before I got saved, I used to hang out with one young man who looked like he was on fire for God. Then he abandoned the way of the Lord.
“Why did you quit?” I asked him.
“I had realised that there was no God,” came the reply.

The reply satisfied me at the time, because it was consistent with what I believed. But looking back I now realize that Satan had thoroughly defeated the young man. The young man's is a destination we all need to avoid at all cost!

The devil is defeated. This however doesn't mean that the devil does not fight Christians. It doesn't necessarily mean that he just walks away. Neither does it mean that we should relax. What it really means is that if we put our focus on it, we will always emerge victorious over the devil. If we stay prepared, the devil will flee from us. The authority that we have in Christ Jesus is in actual fact potential or capacity, something that becomes useless unless put to use!

In the opening verse, we are told of our authority over the devil. We have to believe this; not only that, but we also need to exercise the authority. If we do not exercise our authority, then the devil will do as he pleases with us, to the extent that the words of Jesus would appear a lie.

An armed person could be defeated by an unarmed one if the armed does not appreciate his superior position. He could be apprehended using bare hands while holding a fully functional, state-of-the-art assault rifle, loaded with a thousand bullets!

The point is that we, as Christians, are superior to Satan. But we will not defeat Satan unless we exercise our superiority!

The question that I am going to address in this sermon is: How could one exercise superiority over Satan? How could they overcome the devil? 

I thank God, because His Word contains the answer(s) that we all need.

I want you to picture a biblical warrior. 

Imagine him getting ready for battle. I am sure you have seen some drawings or films that attempt to capture the images of such warriors. The warriors used to dress in a certain way and carried a specific kind of weaponry. They would, for example, have a helmet on, a covering for the chest and legs in place, a shield and of course a sword in hand!

Below, I am going to give the outlook that you need if you are to overcome the devil each time he comes stooping at your doorstep.

First“I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord's mighty power within you” (Eph 6:10, TLB). 

This is an important lesson. Your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. There is a mighty power within you and that power should be the source of your strength! But what we see in some Christians is that once the devil attacks, they run almost everywhere for solutions.

The Word is telling you that the source of your strength is inside you. So if you've to run anywhere, then you ought to run inside. Some Christians still visit witch-doctors for solutions to their problems; such Christians take the witch-doctor to be the source of their strength. This is unfortunate. 

Years ago, a Christian woman said to me, Mukuwasha, kana zviri zvekuti mwana arwara ini chero kun’anga ndinoenda,” meaning, “If it is about my child’s health, I will never hesitate to visit a witchdoctor. I will do whatever I can.” The question is: did the woman appreciate the ability that had been deposited in her?

Your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you!

Second"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes" (Eph 6:11). 

I have given you a picture of a warrior ready for battle; how the warrior should be dressed and how he should be equipped. Ephesians 6 v 11 is too important to underrate. The verse gives us the outlook that we should have if we are to overcome the devil.

Note that the verse does not instruct us to put on the armor of God; instead, it instructs us to put on the full armor of God. Only then would we be able to effectively stand against the devil’s schemes. Victory is not assured for somebody who puts on partial armor, for the devil will find in that person some weak points to exploit.

Why full armor? It’s because, for example, if the warrior does not have his helmet on, then his head would be exposed. Once Satan sees that the head is exposed, he will go for it! If the warrior does not have a shield in hand, then his entire body is exposed. If he doesn't have his shoes on then his mobility is limited, for his feet are exposed to thorns and other dangerous objects. If he doesn't have the sword in hand, then it becomes difficult to take him seriously! It has to be the full armor.

Third“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Eph 6:12-13).

For a Christian to overcome the enemy, he needs to first be clear in his mind as to who the enemy is. One shouldn't waste time and resources fighting imaginary enemies; it must be the real enemy! 

If one fights against an imaginary enemy, all it means is that he is already defeated because he is doing nothing about the real enemy. He would be spending his ammunition on the wrong target.

People are never our enemies. Our enemies are never physical. Our battles are never physical. We are not physical beings, but spirit beings. So we have no business fighting in the physical!

Our battles are spiritual, because our enemies are spiritual. Every person who behaves like an enemy is actually being propelled by a spiritual force; so we target not the human being, but the force behind.

We will lose all our real battles if we think they are physical.

After defeating the devil, the Christian should be found standing. Glory to God! It’s only when you have the full armor of God that you will be able to achieve this.

Some Christians achieve shaky victories because they lack certain pieces of the armor of God. At the end of the battle, although having succeeded to drive the evil one away, some Christians appear as though they have passed through a fire; some are badly bruised and some are found not standing, but leaning against trees and rocks. This happens when one exposes part of their territory to the devil.

After defeating the devil, you should be found standing.

Let us now look at the means to victory:

First“With the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Ephesians 6:14). 

You need to keep the belt of truth buckled around your waist. You should never unbuckle. The moment you unbuckle, the ‘fasten your belt’ sign lights up. If you unbuckle, you expose yourself to the dangers of turbulence. As you travel, as you sleep, as you work, as you make merry, the belt of truth should always be around your waist!

But what is this ‘truth’ that Paul wrote about? Truth is what the Word of God says. Paul said if you are to defeat the devil, then you need the belt of truth. The devil might come in the manner of Goliath. You could see him towering over you, with you appearing like ‘just a boy’. 

But what is the truth? 

The truth is that Goliath is a defeated foe, glory to God! That’s what the Word of God says; that’s the truth. If you appreciate this, then you will defeat Goliath. He might even flee without a fight. But it only happens to those who keep the belt of truth around their waists.

If one does not keep the belt of truth in place, then you will find them defeated, lying down, in need of rescue. And if you ask them how the devil could have defeated them, they are likely to say, “I looked like a grasshopper against him.”

Second“The breastplate of righteousness in place” (Ephesians 6:14). Paul was addressing the saints at Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus. So his message is as relevant to us as it was to the Ephesians. We should keep the breastplate of righteousness in place if we are to live victorious lives. The Living Bible uses ‘God’s approval’ in place of ‘righteousness’.

We are the righteous ones of God. But do all Christians keep their righteousness in place? I think it’s not every Christian who does. But what does it mean to keep one’s righteousness in place? First it means that one should always be conscious of this status that has been bestowed on them. They should also understand its importance.

Some Christians actually believe that they are not righteous, and Satan feasts on them because of this. Ignorance is a big disadvantage.

Second, it also means that the righteous should live lives that are consistent with their righteousness. Some of those who appreciate their righteousness actually live like they are not aware of it.

Imagine you bathing a three year old and dressing her nicely. Imagine that you then go on to instruct her to sit on mud. Would she obey your instruction?

“What!” she would exclaim, “You want me to get dirty? Don’t you see how smart I am?” This should be the attitude of the saints of God! 

At one meeting we were taught that among the things that we teach the members of our groups, we should also teach them language. Which language? The language of righteousness of course! The kind that is consistent with our righteous nature. I am sure there are things that you now avoid because due to your righteous nature, they have become repulsive to you.

“Brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice” (Philippians 4:8-9).

ThirdYour feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).

Paul is talking about the kind of shoes that you should wear. He says the readiness that comes from the gospel shall be your shoes. You go only because the gospel has prepared you for the journey. You overcome Satan only because the gospel has prepared you for it. You put on the readiness and run! The readiness is your shoes!

This demonstrates the importance of the gospel. Without the gospel we can never be ready for anything. Without the gospel Satan will find us unarmed.

How much time do you spend in the gospel, i.e. studying the Word? Remember the more time you spend in the gospel the more prepared you will be to face both the good and the bad.

Fourth“Take up the shield of faith” (Ephesians 6:16). 

Faith is one’s response to the Word of God. If the Word tells you that you are the dominant one and you believe and act on it, then you have faith. If the Word tells you that Goliath is actually at your mercy, then you should believe and act on that. Whatever the Word says, believe and act on it. Paul says it is by your faith that you could extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. So you need faith; you also need to perpetually grow it and only through the Word could you do so.

Paul said “take up the shield of faith.” It’s within your means.

Fifth“Take the helmet of salvation” (Ephesians 6:17). 

Salvation is a process. It does not end at the point of receiving Christ. We are saved over and over and on various issues pertaining to our lives.

Salvation is our helmet. Without it our heads could be destroyed by the enemy’s sword. Paul says “take the helmet”. He does not say “receive the helmet”.

We have come to a point at which we have matured enough to take. The ball is in our court. If one where to go before God and say, “Lord, please give me the helmet,” God would answer, “I actually have been wondering all along why the helmet is still here. It has been available to you for ages but you've not collected it. If you want the helmet then go ahead and take it.”

As we stay in and meditate on the Word, as we shut out the many worldly voices that clamor for our attention, we get to a point at which we take. Glory to God!

Sixth“The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). 

Good God! The sword that we use! The weapons of our warfare! Mighty through God! 

The Word of God is our sword. 

The Spirit of God is the sword that we use. This is why we do not fight in the physical. Our weapons are not physical, but spiritual. Just take a moment to reflect on what the Word of God could do in and for your life.

Seventh“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18). 

This also is a piece of armor. Prayer; glory to God! We overcome the devil by our prayers. And we do not just pray; instead, we pray ‘in the Spirit”. And we do not pray for just one thing; we pray for various things, we make various requests. 

Neither do we pray just for ourselves, but we also pray for others, whether in our country or abroad, whether we know them or not, whether they hate us or not; as long as there is a genuine cause, we pray. 

As we achieve victory for others, we also achieve victory for ourselves. Satan truly is a defeated foe!

Eighth"With this in mind, be alert" (Ephesians 6:18). 

As I walked through the plains one afternoon, a snake holed up nearby sensed danger. It raised its head so high that it could clearly see 360 degrees. It focused on me as I walked, making sure I kept my distance. The snake remained ready to strike, ready to destroy. I kept my distance. I appreciated the fact that the snake was on high alert. It was ready for the enemy; never to be found napping. That’s how alert we always should be!

There is a lot of noise in this world, but never allow any of it to blur your focus, your alertness. When the evil day comes, the devil should find you ready and alert. Otherwise you will be bruised!