by Pastor E. A. Deckard
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times
“There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. It is the time to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart – and our neighbors as ourselves.” Thomas S. Monson
“At Christmas, I am always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story. A young mother and a dutiful father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar. They came with their gifts to worship the Christ child.” Queen Elizabeth II
“THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT BECOMING MORE CHRIST LIKE”
Forward Thinkers, as we enter into the spirit of Christmas let’s be remindful that Jesus is the reason for this season. Unfortunately many have lost focus and allowed this season to be about trees, gifts, and parties but today, I desire to refocus our attention on the fruit of the spirit and make it our goal to become more like Christ.
Christian is to be Christ-like
Forward Thinkers, when we became a Christian we made a decision to commit ourselves to becoming more like Christ and less like the person we used to be. Forward Thinkers, we must be developed and disciplined after new life experience if we expect to receive the full benefits of being Christ-like.
Forward Thinkers we didn’t get born again to stay the same.
12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
Forward Thinkers as we close out the year 2014 and enter into a new year I challenge you to become more mature and commit to becoming mature to the fullness of Christ. Forward Thinkers an immature believer will spend most of his or her life on a rollercoaster ride of life.
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil.
Forward Thinkers notice Jesus was tempted by Satan but Jesus will overcome and defeat every attack against me because He is being lead by the Spirit. Forward Thinkers God gave us the Holy Spirit to do more than just dance and shout in church but to empower us to make wise decisions and live successful lives.
Forward Thinkers living a defeated lifestyle is not being Christ-like because Jesus was more than a conqueror and He defeated Satan every chance He got.
3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[a]”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[b]”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[c]”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[d]”
Forward Thinkers let’s examine how Jesus responses to Satan’s temptation and commit to using the lifestyle of Jesus as a road map to living a winning life.
Matt. 4:1– Jesus was led by the Spirit
11) Flesh (vs. 3,4)
12) Pride, Ego (vs. 6,7)
13) Success, Wealth, Increase (vs. 8-10)
Forward Thinkers notice every time Satan showed up to tempt Jesus he is unsuccessful because Jesus never gets out of the Spirit.
Forward Thinkers, whenever we respond to Satan and his attacks outside the Spirit we are destined to be defeated. Forward Thinkers,whenever you don’t respond with the word of God you lose.
But Jesus overcame because, he was led by the sprit and responded with the Word every time. Forward Thinkers we must copy the pattern of Jesus even we desire to operate in victory this season.
5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery
Forward Thinkers Jesus Christ has set us free therefore we are no longer enslaved, imprisoned, or entangled by the things of this world.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Forward Thinkers, there is a constant battle between flesh and the spirit but, you have been empowered to determine which one “wins”. When you operate under the spirit and set your mind on becoming more Christ-like “victory” is guaranteed.
Forward Thinkers, in conclusion this season, put becoming more like Christ at the top of your Christmas wish list. It’s the best gift we will ever receive.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, 16711 Ella Blvd. Houston, Texas, 77090. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or the church website www.ghic.net