Putting First Fruits Into Action | Part 4
It Is Not About You
We must recognize that it is not our limited abilities that release the promises of God.It is not solely our getting up and driving to work every day that provides the paycheck at the end of the week. No, it is God who blesses and favors us. It is God who gives us the ability, the power, the anointing to get wealth, prosper and succeed. It is His goodness and kindness to us!
Once again I want to remind you that wealth is not limited to your income. Wealth has to do with your whole being, it means nothing missing, nothing broken, nothing out of order (first things first). It means having the blessings that God lists in Deuteronomy 28:2-13 made manifest in your life: peace on all sides, protection, provision, healing, restoration, redemption, guidance, wisdom and everything that you need in life and for your unique destiny. As the psalmist wrote in Psalm 66:12, “We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.” It does not mean that you will not have adversity or opposition or that everything will go your way. However, it is an assurance that everything is working according or in harmony to the purpose and counsel of His will. I say if it’s not “God sent” it is “God- used!”
Yes, God wants to bless you, and those abundant blessings are predicated by keeping Him first in your life!God established that we honor Him throughout all generations with the giving of a first fruits offering. He declared that it is a holy ordinance to be kept forever. And we see in Deuteronomy 28:9, as well as in Deuteronomy 8:18, it is through His blessings that He establishes His covenant, causing others to see that the Lord is God! It not only proves your faith, but brings honor to God as well. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV). To honor means to promote or to give glory, or make glorious.
If you are walking according to the natural or carnal man, you are not walking by faith; “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5). Without faith, it is impossible to please or come in agreement and alignment with God. Further, a carnal, fleshly mind brings death according to Romans 8:7. The carnal mind is enmity against God. The word “enmity” means hostile, hateful, in opposition and adversary. I don’t know about you, but these are very sobering words!
Let’s break it down even further. I would say, based on these verses of scripture, as believers we can examine things that are dying in our lives and often trace them back to a decision made with a carnal mind. Again, it may not be a direct disobedience or rebellion that is causing you to make poor quality decisions, but learned behavior, bad habits or even lack of knowledge. It is time to be pro-active by taking ownership and responsibility for a renewed mind that comes in alignment with the thoughts of God.
On the contrary, everything that has life, peace and abundance, you can trace back to a decision made with a spiritual mind.Look at the fruit of your life. What do you see? Are your thoughts in alignment with God’s Word? Are your relationships in alignment with God’s Word? Are your emotions and soul in alignment with God’s Word? Is your physical body in alignment with God’s Word? Is your life and financial responsibility in alignment with God’s Word? If you are to prosper as your soul prospers, you must examine what condition your soul—that is your mind, will and emotions—is in. It’s the attitude of the heart that manifests itself on the outside.
From my own life experiences, I could take you through almost every emotional, psychological, physical, or natural disaster a person could walk through. For many years “death” and or destructive behavior was produced in my life from carnal mindedness. When I was just 5 years old, my father, my hero, committed suicide. Not understanding the reasons for his actions, my young mind embraced a faulty belief and decided somehow I wasn’t good enough or that would not have happened. Our fragile family soon experienced financial and emotional devastation after the death of my father. A year later, a cycle of sexual abuse began to twist my life into even deeper places of confusion and shame. These events created a false belief system that impaired my perception of my true identity and authentic self. From that faulty belief system I behaved in self-destructive manners throughout my childhood and teenage years. I wish I could tell you all my ill-behaviors immediately ceased when I surrendered my life to Christ and began an intimate journey with God. However, it is a lifelong process of daily dependence on Him. His mercies and grace are new every day. He takes us from glory to glory with a continual growth and renewal each and every day we choose to press into His presence.
The starting point of my personal transformation was when I surrendered, accepting Christ as my Savior, and was born again, that my carnal mind that I’d grown so used to serving began a process of change. My mind began to be renewed on the Word of God. Even when I fell ill in the mid-90s and the doctors examining me said my lungs were only operating at a fraction of the normal percentage, the mind of the Spirit was my comfort. They gave me a bleak prognosis with not much hope, but I believed the Word of God for my healing. Abiding in the Word of God, doing things God’s way, not only transformed my mind, but also gave me revelation to walk in the provision of healing that God had already made for my life. It was a gradual process of walking day by day in wisdom and faith. So it has been with every area of my life. His Word is my compass to navigate my journey. I have discovered that we must do our “part” and be responsible to build a healthy life and lifestyle with the “tools” we have to work with. However, we must build on the foundation of God and His “part.” This is not a “magic formula” for quick fixes in life. It is an intimate relationship of trust, nurturing and companionship that is bound by a beautiful covenant given to us with unconditional love and acceptance. Some seasons you will simply walk out a “sovereign strategy” that your mind struggles to comprehend, but your spirit can trust!
The battle between the spirit and flesh permeates every area of our lives. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, NKJV). Your problem is not always your boss . . . or your neighbor . . . or your spouse . . . or your pastor. Your problem can be the enemy of your soul who is battling to gain control of your life and your mind in order to rob you of all that God wants to give you. Matthew 18:7 says, “For offenses must come . . .” (NKJV). You will be challenged and tried, but you cannot fight a spiritual battle in the natural. You must deal with your problems in the realm of the spirit, through God’s Word.
God has already released you from bondage. But the enemy rejoices when he sees that 2,000 years ago there was liberty provided through the blood of Jesus, and yet so many still stand on the outside of freedom because they don’t understand or know how to properly exercise their authority and covenant rights.
God’s provision for you is a complete package. Paul said, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3, NIV). The decisions you make today will determine the quality of life you live tomorrow. Therefore make sure you have the thoughts and mind of Christ directing your daily life!
By keeping first things first, you bring your life into the order God has established.The first fruits set the pattern or establish the destiny of what is left. What is offered as a first fruits offering establishes the protecting hand of God on what follows. Don’t wait until life throws you a “curve” ball. Walk out the patterns of God every single day of your life. When you do, you will build a firm foundation that will not be shaken. The “things” are added to you when the foundation is in place to be built upon. Psalm 11:3 (NKJV) reminds us, “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?”
When you stand before the Lord and offer Him a first fruits offering —whether it is a full day’s wage, a week’s wage or a month’s wage (that is the whole of the first), it is just one step, but it is certainly the “right” step to set in motion many wonderful manifestations and results in your life. You must work out your faith—believe day after day that God has seen your offering of first fruits and blessed the rest. Now live in the blessing for generations to come! God has given you the “blue print”—the pattern to follow in order to release what He has provided for you: abundant life!
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