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rivermountainroadChristianity isn’t about being a worm and letting life roll over you. It’s about understanding the principles that open the power of God to you.

You and I don’t deserve to be saved. There’s nothing we can do to earn our way to heaven. We can’t take enough communion, say enough “Hail Marys,” go to church enough, or give enough money.

We are saved only by God’s grace. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Grace is a gift to us that produces not only eternal salvation but access to the God-kind of life on this earth as well.

If we don’t understand the grace of God and its operation and applicability to our lives, then we will limit the things salvation can do for us. Whether it be healing, protection, or deliverance, we need to understand not only what the grace of God is but its application to our lifestyles in order to experience the fullness of life He’s made available to us.

You Humble You

Look at 1 Peter 5:5–7:

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (KJV).

There are three main points from this Scripture I want to touch on briefly. Number one: God doesn’t humble you. You humble yourself.

Some people humble themselves without realizing it. They go their own way and experience the frustration of their inability to deal with various kinds of adversity. That frustration will eventually bring them to their knees. They’ll be confronted with the fact that they are powerless to generate a meaningful life outside of the grace of God.

But the Lord doesn’t want any of us to have to learn that way. He doesn’t want us to be humbled by our circumstance or the enemy of our souls. He wants us to voluntarily humble ourselves beneath His mighty hand.

Hopeless Without God

The second point is that the grace and power of God will only work within the environment of humility; therefore, we need to understand what humility is. Now I could preach a whole series on humility, but I won’t take the time to do that right now. I’ll simply say that humility is, in a basic sense, a refusal to exalt oneself. It is an acknowledgement of one’s inability without God.

When you humble yourself, you recognize your inability to produce anything that will bring contentment or fulfillment in this life. As long as you think you can make enough money to find a little happiness or to buy those things you want, as long as you think if you just had a little success in the marketplace or a little recognition as a good businessman then you can be happy, you’re in for a resounding disappointment. You cannot do anything to find fulfillment or contentment in this life outside of the grace of God.

This heart recognition is where humility begins.

Humility isn’t the mindset of “I’m just a lowly person who can never do anything right.” It isn’t getting walked on by the circumstances of life and never raising a defense against what might come your way.

Humility has to be interpreted within the context of other scripture such as “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13) and “You’re more than a conqueror through Him who loves you” (Rom. 8:37). The idea is this: Without God you can do nothing, but with God you can do all things.

This is genuine humility: A heart recognition that without the Lord, you can’t pull it off, but with God you can do all things. To the people who recognize this truth, God gives grace.

He Will Exalt You

The third point is that it is God’s will and plan to exalt you. But as Peter wrote, He’ll exalt you “in due time.” (We’d like to get rid of the “due time” part and get on with the exalting, right?) Due time will come if you humble yourself. And as time passes, God will give you visibility, more and more influence, more success and more increase. That’s what “exalt” means. The reason why is simple. When you’re living for Him, your life will make the kind of statement that He is the only One who gets the glory, not you.

Look at James 4:6–7, 10:

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. … Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (KJV).

Do you see what the theme is? Humility. And the humble person is the one who receives grace from God. Look at these verses in the Amplified:

But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. … Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant].

Christianity isn’t about being a worm and letting life roll over you. It’s about understanding the principles that open the power of God to you and bring increase in every arena of your life. That increase is God lifting you up so your light can shine brightly in this dark world and bring change to bear.

The Focus of Your Faith

So where should you focus your faith as you watch increase come into your life? Paul writes in Ephesians:

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph. 2:4–9)

Grace is appropriated through the operation of your faith.

But here’s where the hang-up is for many people. They think they’re focusing their faith properly by simply concentrating on the promises of God. Since I need healing in my body, since I need provision in my finances, since I need wholeness in my marriage, I should focus my faith on that area and the promise will manifest.

That’s not quite right. The Scripture teaches that grace has to be the focus of our faith for any of the benefits of salvation to come our way. Once you have made grace your focus, then the power can work that will bring the benefits of salvation, which include healing, provision, and many other things.

Yes, you need to know what God’s promises are and you need to believe them. You need to believe the Bible’s truths about healing. You need to know it’s a done deal in the spiritual arena. Proverbs 23:7 says a man is as he thinks (or believes) in his heart. Jesus said it’s going to be unto you not according to the color of your skin, not according to your socioeconomic background, not according to your educational level, not according to your job opportunity, but according to your faith! And the Word says that we need to focus our faith on God’s grace.

Defeat Evil Tendencies

How can we do that?

Well, I’m glad you asked. We focus our faith on God’s grace by knowing that the primary application of the grace of God is to help us defeat every evil tendency. The Word will produce fruit if there are no evil tendencies to inhibit that fruit production. God sent the Word and healed them all—not a few, not occasionally, but all! When you hearken diligently to the voice of God’s Word, your gold and your silver are going to multiply, your flocks and your herds are going to increase, you will build goodly houses. That’s a fact because the Word produces results on its own.

But if you have an evil tendency in your life, that tendency will stop you from seeing the promise of God manifested in your life, even if you believe what the Bible says is true. Evil tendencies inhibit the Word’s production; they are things that take us away from the Bible’s principles.

We live in an unregenerate body of flesh and deal every day with a carnal nature that will inhibit the will of God from unfolding in our lives. We have to be genuine in acknowledging our own shortcomings and then use our faith to apply the grace of God to it.

An evil tendency might be described as having a hard time extending forgiveness, or getting caught up in resentment and bitterness, or simply being easily offended. If you have any of these tendencies and you don’t deal with them, there is no point in praying for your marriage or your relationships to work.

This is where the body of Christ has missed it. We’ve tried to orient our faith just toward the promise of God without recognizing that His grace is given to us, first of all, to destroy every evil tendency. Hallelujah!

When the battle comes, you need to examine yourself with some degree of honesty and see if you have an evil tendency you need to deal with. Do what the Bible says: Examine yourself whether you be in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). And when you find something that you know is not right, be man or woman enough to acknowledge it to God and say “I know my motive isn’t right, Lord. I know my desire is not right. I shouldn’t desire that thing.”

Yes, the Word tells us there is a due season for the Word to produce fruit, and so this is not to suggest that if you’re in a battle right now, then you have an evil tendency that you better deal with. That may not be the case. That’s why you take time to examine yourself.

If you do see an evil tendency or even the root of an evil tendency, deal with it by saying, “Lord, I have this evil tendency that I know is robbing me of the fruit of the Word of God. So I hold this up to you and I focus my faith on Your power and Your grace. I will rejoice in the certainty that when adversity comes, it’s an opportunity for the power of Christ to rest upon me.”

Deal with evil tendencies. Focus your faith on God’s grace, which helps you overcome those tendencies, and the benefits of salvation will shortly follow.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2–4)



Copyright © Mac Hammond Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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