by Ernest O'Neill

The Heart of Christianity

Luke 1:38, "And Mary said, Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; (and then these are the words) "let it be to me according to your word." The heart of Christianity is; faith in Jesus' death and resurrection. Most of us have seen the need for that, first of all, in relationship to the guilt, we feel, for the things we do wrong in this life. The wages of sin is death. That's the first way we understand what Jesus' death means for us. God is committed to destroying us.

Then we read in this dear word that Christ died for all therefore all died. So we realize with relief that God is not going to destroy us again. He has destroyed us once in Jesus and He is satisfied with that. So that's how most of us have first experienced faith in Jesus' death and resurrection. We've experienced it in relationship to our guilt and a sense of fear that we have because of our sins.

But, you say: "I believe, yet I don't really feel the relief of it." It's because you're not acting on it. Take the step today and say, "God I am going to stop regarding you as a terrifying tyrant. I am going to stop regarding you as somebody who wants to punish me or kill me for my sins. Lord, I am going to confess my sins to you now and repent of them. I am going to start treating you as my loving Father."

What more can He do? He's given His Son, what more do you ask Him to do? Faith is us acting in that way towards Him. It's starting to show our trust and confidence in Him instead of fearfulness. But many of us realize that we're into more difficulties then just that because we find that we cannot be what we should be.

It's then, that we have seen the truth of Roman 6:6, that when Jesus died, He didn't only bear our sins. Roman 6:6 says, "Our old self was crucified with Christ." We begin to realize that our old personality was destroyed with Jesus. It's dead and gone forever. If we will believe that and act accordingly to please the Holy Spirit only and not ourselves, then the Holy Spirit makes that real in us and it is "unto us according to our faith." We find that we're delivered from the old traits of the old personality.

We enter into faith in Jesus' death and resurrection not only for the forgiveness of our sins but for power over sin. Many of us who call ourselves Christians, who know freedom from the guilt and power of sin, nevertheless live in anxiety, worry and fear. Yes, we are saved from the guilt and the power of sin, yet we still live under great anxiety and fear because of the circumstances in our life, which we cannot control. We do everything possible to control them, but we cannot. That too was crucified with Christ. (Galatians 6:14) The world itself was crucified with Christ.

The Dangers of Positive Thinking!

It is possible for us to walk in victory in our circumstances. Now what works against us exercising our faith like that? What works against us exercising our faith for practical adversity in our life is that we're continually sinking from faith into the power of positive thinking.

The Dangers of that:

#1-When you exercise just faith in a mental concept then you run the risk of Satan answering you and giving you part of an answer if only to entangle you in his own life.

#2-You're using scripture to strengthen your mind instead of strengthen your spirit.

#3-You're grabbing at a piece of scripture and you're enforcing it in your own mind in desperation, whether God wants to make it real or not. You can't be bothered with finding out how He wants to manifest it.

So positive thinking has real dangers. You end up telling God what to do. You end up building up your own mind instead of your spirit and you end up possibly putting yourself under the psychic powers that are under Satan's control. Now, how do you avoid that?

Strengthening Your Spirit

By strengthening your own spirit. And how do you build up your spirit? You do so by this dear Word- the Bible.  This book (the Bible) is inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. This book is to be eaten. In other words, it's just as Mary said, "Be it unto me according to thy word." And Jesus was born inside. We need to start feeding on God's words.

Now how do you do it?

Look at that verse, "In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."  Then, you actually put yourself in that verse. "In all these things, I am more than conqueror through Him that loved me."  That's what you memorize.

You mediate on that and ask God to make that word part of you. You ask Him to miraculously take what is just an intellectual truth and make it part of your spirit. As you begin to do that, God begins to work a miracle inside your spirit and begins to build up your spirit and strengthen your spirit so that you begin to be what you are in Jesus.

Instead of reading chapters and chapters, verses and verses, and analyzing them intellectually, begin to take little pieces of His dear word and apply it to yourself and then ask the Holy Spirit to make that part of your spirit. He has to do it. You can't do it.

It's possible to overcome the circumstances of this world because you've strengthened your spirit in the days of peace. Then you're able to meet the days of war. This Bible has the life of God in it. This can feed you and build you up in your spirit. The promises in this book are not just to encourage us to think right. The promises in the Bible are statements of what we are in Jesus. As we mediate upon those we can ask the Holy Spirit to put them into our spirits and make them part of us. He alone can make us like God's word and miraculously do that.