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1 Corinthians 9:11
"If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relationship With Jesus
The Key To Effective Ministry

Section 4, Chapter 6

Daily Feeding On Jesus
Through The Word

Chapter Illustration

Page 1 of Pages 2, 3
Study Questions

Jesus said in the Gospel of John, "He who is of God hears the words of God." (Jn 8:47). Jesus is saying here, Are you really interested in having relationship with Me and knowing My will and plan for your life and living on Me the Bread of Life? Then express this desire by daily reading My Word.

The important thing to understand here is that we do not daily read the Word to get saved, nor to find out what it says initially so we can try and conform ourselves to it. We go to the Word first of all because Jesus says if we want to have relationship with Him, if we want His Spiritual-Life for our healing needs, or if we are saying we want our lives to be centered in Him, then we will express this by reading His Word. Jesus says in the Gospel of John in another passage,

"He who has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and He who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him." (Jn 14:21).

Jesus says in this passage that when we express our dependence on Him by obeying His admonition to daily read the Word, He assumes that we want His Spiritual-Life and to have relationship with Him and know His plans for our life that day. As a result of this action on our part, He promises to give us His Spiritual-Life to live the Christian life and for our healing needs and to reveal to us Himself and the answer to our needs. For this reason, I personally daily have a specified amount of time I have set aside to feed on Jesus and His Word and to seek His Spiritual-Life and Power.

When I get ready to read the Word I tell Jesus by my turning to the Word that I am interested in what He has to say concerning my life and His Lordship over my life and that I am dependent on Him to live that plan through me in His power for that day. The days that I read the Word I find Jesus speaking to me in my heart and thoughts all day long as I come to different problems and concerns. I also notice I have greater power and strength to resist temptations that come my way during the day.78 On the days that I DO NOT expose myself to Jesus and His Word I find that I am confused and uncertain about my decisions and that my ability to resist temptation and keep from surrendering to it is weak, if non-existent.79

Why is this true? It is true because when Jesus created us He created us in His image. Part of what this means is having a free will. Jesus will not interfere with our free will, even after Salvation. Secondly, Jesus operates by faith just like you and I do. When we do not take the time to acknowledge Jesus in our day, He assumes that you and I do not want Him to rule over our lives or our day and so backs off. Jesus honors the freedom of choice He created us with.

What happens though when Jesus does back off and leave us to ourselves and our choice of self-rule? Since now we no longer have Jesusí restraining grace over our sin controlled soul and flesh, the sin controlled soul and flesh take over and we find ourselves falling back into sin and again in bondage to sin. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:28, "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."

When a person receives Jesus as Savior and Lord, what happens? I gave my life to Jesus and he delivered me from . . . . For any of us who know Jesus, this is our story. Myself, before I knew Jesus, I had a four letter word vocabulary I could not get rid of; but when I gave my life to Jesus, the first thing He did was take away whatever the driving force was that led to my cussing and swearing. Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying that I have not cussed since, but the daily ongoing habit of it is gone. In this way I am free. But what were to happen if I stopped seeking Jesus and his grace and strength to live for Him? What I am without Jesus would resurface and I would find myself with an uncontrollable four letter word vocabulary again. I have seen this again and again with Christians who leave their first love: all their vices return, whatever they may be, and even some new ones.

You see, you and I are no better than the people in the world. We are depraved sinners just as they are. Why is it then we do not practice the vices of the world? Is it because we are stronger willed and of better character of mind than they are? No. What is different about us and the world is that we acknowledge Jesus in our lives and days. What is the end result? Jesus gives us his restraining grace over our sin controlled soul and flesh and we find we are no longer controlled or enslaved to our sin controlled soul and flesh.

This is what is wrong with a do or don't Christianity; it is us trying to restrain our flesh, not God's grace through Jesus. Self-religious programs only produce strife, confusion and self-condemnation. Self will never corrected anything. Self-religious programs are not the answer to your vices and sin problems. Jesus is the answer to your needs. Only one self-will will give you the answer to your needs: the self-will to turn to Jesus for the answer to your needs.

In 1 Corinthians 15:31 the Apostle Paul writes, I die daily. Paul daily made a decision to acknowledge Jesus in his life and His Lordship over his life and to allow Jesus to have His way in his life. He daily died to self. Why? Because Paul knew that without Jesus he had no power over his flesh, the world or the devil. Paul recognized his total one-hundred percent dependence on Jesus. There is no deliverance from our problems and weaknesses except through Jesus. Do you want deliverance and answers from your problems and needs? Jesus is your only answer. Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. He is the only one who has the answer to your problems.

I must be honest and say that once I learned the importance of daily seeking Jesus through feeding on Him and His Word several years ago, I have not missed a day of spending time with him and reading His Word since. I consider it my absolute top priority of the day and will lose sleep if necessary to spend time with Him, because I recognize my total dependency on Jesus to live out His purpose and plan for my life and to maintain my healing needs.

Very seldom does the passage I am reading for the day have anything to do with my needs of the day. Nevertheless, either as I am reading the passage or sometime during the day Jesus will speak to me in my heart and tell me what the answer to my needs are whether the passage of the morning was relevant or not. This is because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

If the Scripture itself, you are reading for the day, is not relevant to your need of the day most of the time, then why does Jesus want us to daily express our need of Him through daily reading the Word? First, we need to daily read, memorize, and know the Word of God because it is the main tool by which Jesus leads our lives through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul commands, "and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." (Eph 6:17). The passage I am reading for the day may not be relevant according to my need of the day, but it may be tomorrow. Since I have read it and it is now in my memory banks, when needed Jesus is able through the Holy Spirit to bring it to my remembrance. Jesus said in the Gospel of John,

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." (Jn 14:26).

Second, we also read the Word so we can discern what is truly Jesus' voice to our hearts and what is truly Jesus-dependence. As Jesus said, "He who is of God hears the Words of God. . ." (Jn 8:47). Jesus will never lead us contrary to the principles and truths of His Word. The character that the Word portrays of God and Jesus' character are one and the same. They will never contradict each other, never. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 138:2, You have magnified Your Word according to all Your name. Francis A. Schaeffer states in his book, Escape From Reason,

"It is not a question of God revealing Himself in Jesus Christ only, because there is not enough content in this if it is separated from the Scriptures. It then becomes only another contentless banner, for all we know of what that revelation of Christ was comes from the Scriptures. Jesus Himself did not make a distinction between His authority and the authority of the written Scriptures. He acted upon the unity of His authority and the content of the Scripture."118/83

When we think Jesus has spoken to us about something concerning our lives, the first question we want to ask ourselves is whether or not it lines up with the Word of God, God's measuring stick for all truth and final authority on all issues whether objective or subjective, including what we may think is Jesus' voice or the Holy Spirit's voice. This is why just feeding on Jesus alone is not enough, it must be feeding on Jesus and His Word together. The Apostle Paul tells us in the second book of Corinthians, "And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." (2 Cor. 11:14).

Finally, it is through the Word that we learn fully what it means to walk in the Spirit, and be Jesus-dependent. You are walking in the Spirit when you are looking to Jesus for the answer to your needs, when you are making Jesus Your source.

I worked with Juvenile Delinquents for seven years. During that time I found that I could teach these boys about the Word of God until they were blue in the face, but real changes did not come into their lives until I started teaching them how to draw upon Jesus' spiritual-life and strength to live the Christian life.

A case example was a man I will call Pete. Pete came up to me in prison one day and said to me,

Pete: Dale, I am a born again Christian, but I have a drug problem I cannot seem to get victory over. I do not know what to do?

Dale: Pete, do you have a daily time of feeding on Jesus and His Word?

Pete: Well, I read the Bible once in a while.

Study Questions
Continued on Pages 2, 3
Bibliography & Notes
Section 4 Chapters
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