Ephesians 4:4-6, One Spirit who helps us in prayer when we are humble, part 2.
length: 64:05 - taught on Nov, 11 2020
Wednesday November 11, 2020
Veterans Day. The following is a blog published today by Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie.
I’m Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie.
On Veterans Day in 1988, Ronald Reagan said … “We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty. . . Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause.”
Each Veterans Day is a remembrance set aside to honor those who have defended our country in peace and war.
On November 11th, we pause to reflect on American Veterans, men and women who have served and sacrificed while wearing the uniforms of the Nation—ordinary Americans performing extraordinary service.
In March of 1864, after almost 3 years of devastating fighting in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln reminded the nation of the sacrifices veterans make for us all … “All that a man hath he will give his life for his country … the soldier puts his life at stake, and often yields it up in his country’s cause. The highest merit, then, is due the soldier.”
That demonstration of “highest merit” has now spanned 244 years, founded upon a singular, enduring principle—Liberty and Justice for All.
Every American is a beneficiary of veterans’ vigilance and valor, and their contributions to our way of life are incalculable. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, every day is Veterans Day. We are privileged to work to repay, in full, our country’s debt of gratitude… to Veterans who were there when we needed them most. We represent our grateful nation in delivering to those Veterans the programs and services they earned.
In doing so, we keep faith with the promise of President Lincoln, who promised in his iconic second inaugural address to “care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan. “On Veterans Day 2020, we remember and honor all “champions of a noble cause” … and pledge never to forget the sacrifices they made for us.
Thank you and God Bless you all.
And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
We return to our study of the Holy Spirit’s ministry for us in prayer.
In order to enjoy God’s gifts unless we are the type of new humanity that with virtuous hearts, transformed by knowledge and understanding, we are capable of handling them as God would have us do so.
The blessings we desire can only be used and enjoyed as God would have us to when we have become people of the type of Christ. Taking Paul’s foundation of unity in Eph 4, we need to be people who are full of humility, meekness, forbearance, patience, and love. When we ask God for things in our life, it is His building of these virtues in us that are the beginnings of His answer.
Remember that we believers have been given life, eternal life. The life was in Christ and that life was the light of men. We could be dead, but we are not, because of Christ.
This is the gift of God - eternal life. Life is meant to be lived as it has been designed by Him. Beyond all other things, this is the ultimate gift.
There is a truth to this life, for the Word was God and dwelt among us. There is a spirit to this life, for the Holy Spirit is its driving force. There is a love to this life, as well as a joy and a peace because this life has fruit. There is nothing greater than this. A believer who focuses more on their earthly life than their eternal life will lose sight of the glory of life, losing all wonder, passion, and freedom.
There is a superficial “I” to all of us. Self, or old self, is not the true self in Christ. It is at best a vesture, mask, or disguise of the true self in Christ.
Our external, superficial self is doomed to disappear as completely as smoke from a chimney. It is utterly frail and evanescent. The true self can only be found when God reveals him or her to us through our greater understanding of the Person of Christ. It is a self that has been lifted far above the world of men, and all who have believed in Christ have been gifted with it. The journey of discovery so often feels like a war, for the flesh wars with the Spirit and the Spirit with the flesh, and we must fight the good fight of faith, and we must buffet our bodies and make it our slave. In the world of men, where they talk endlessly and nauseatingly about themselves, the true I has nothing to say, for it doesn’t have a word about itself. The true self only speaks of truth and virtue. The true self only seeks the work of God and therefore thinks of others before itself.
The war of discovery will continue our whole lives since the depth of truth and reality of God’s life is bottomless. Yet faith in Christ’s work to overcome gives us peace when we find ourselves in tribulation, even when the distress is within ourselves. As we discover Christ all our worn-out cliches, slogans, rationalizations, and some of the truths that we thought were dogmas, holy conceptions that we thought were rock solid will be found to be idols in God’s temple, and no graven thing must be set up there. Often enough our discovery of Christ will make us uneasy within, but I have found that these are the times of greatest learning.
We ask God for things. God desired to give us Himself and then make us aware of Himself. God is not a thing, not a what, but a Who - I AM.
We ask for things when the real goal of fulness is not a thing but an existential, omnipresent, without boundaries or limits, eternal Person.
We don’t know how to pray particularly in the way of asking God for what we need right now. We bring to Him our desires with a broad stroke, and the Holy Spirit helps us by intervening with the very particular petition for what must happen now, today to set us on the road to desire fulfilled. We are told that He helps us so that we don’t agonize over the specifics, having no knowledge of them, and find comfort in knowing that those specifics and every detail of what needs to be done for each of us individually, will be asked for by the Spirit and will be done by the Father. So keep asking, even for the same things: God is working and you will comprehend something of that work as you keep on petitioning Him.
There is an order in God’s gifts, and we cannot have the greater unless we first have the less. So often, what we want requires virtue. Fruit can’t grow until the branch and the bud grow first.
We ask God to give us this or that grace, as if it could be suddenly conferred upon us, irrespective of our present character; and we ask it without considering how much we ourselves may have to do and to suffer before we can attain it. Virtue doesn’t grow in us without our own efforts and continuous good decisions under God’s grace.
Character has an organic integrity and a consecutive growth as a tree has. You cannot expect fruit if there has been no blossom. No power can cause fruit to grow before a branch has grown to bear it. But in many of our petitions we ask God to give us fruit without either branch, blossom, or time. We ask to build the top story of our house before the bottom story is begun. We wish the ability to accomplish certain objects before we have the fundamental graces out of which that ability can alone spring.
So when we are suddenly put to shame by our lack of Christian temper, or courage, or charity, or sobriety of mind, or unworldliness, we as suddenly ask the Father for the grace we need, apparently supposing that it is as easily manufactured and assumed as a new suit; that we have just to give the order and put on the ready-made, tailor-fit clothes.
Let us bear in mind that many of the gifts we are in the habit of asking are such qualities of soul as can be produced only by long and painful processes. You ask for something, and the proper use of it or enjoyment of it requires humility or self-control, and usually, a number of virtues. Do you consider that humility requires humiliation, failure of independent self, mortified vanity, and disappointed hopes (and good, not sinful, hopes)? Do we consider that virtue requires a heavenly mind and that requires us being drawn into that which painfully shows us that we have no permanent home but for Christ Himself? As when John and James used their mother, likely Jesus’ aunt, to ask Him that they may sit on His right and on His left, to which He responded, “Are you able to drink the cup which I am about to drink, or be baptized as I will be?”