Spiritual Life

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Foundations of the Spiritual Life | The foundation of a spiritual life is a call to holiness. We (the human race) must decrease as He (God) must increase. This, in essence, means dying to self, and no one in this age of temptation can say they do not struggle with this from time to time | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #ConsumedByJoy #ResurrectionPeople #Episode307 #GodIsWithYou #Peacemakers #SpiritualBaggage #FoundationsoftheSpiritualLife #SpiritualLifeFoundations of the Spiritual Life ~ Episode 307

The foundation of a spiritual life is a call to holiness. We (the human race) must decrease as He (God) must increase. This, in essence, means dying to self, and no one in this age of temptation can say they do not struggle with this from time to time. We all, if we are striving for holiness will be before the face of God at some point, and we will have to account for our lives. Sure, there are many who believe that once saved, always saved, but this only goes so far. My Christian friends who share this philosophy will agree that you can not live a life of sin and claim to be saved. So, it is, yes–an acceptance of God as Lord and Savior, but also renouncing sin.
One of the greatest sermons of all time is the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5 through 7. Here, we learn at the feet of Jesus how we should live our lives. It starts beautifully with the Beatitudes Matthew 5:3-11 When I was younger, I read these passages and thought – well, I’m a failure; I am never going to make it to heaven. This is a tall order, and how can someone who lives as a mom and wife mourn, become poor in spirit, develop a pure heart, become a peacemaker, and be persecuted for righteousness’s sake? Well, as you know, just being in a family qualifies you if you are open to God’s will– and Christians are currently being persecuted for what they believe. Just putting the 10 Commandments in schools, as several states have asked, seems to cause an avalanche of lawsuits and cries of injustice.

Recipe for  the Spiritual Life:

Let’s read the Beatitudes: (Read on air)

Only through the gift of God’s grace can we achieve this. Doing it on our own will cause us to fail. And we need God’s grace to get through each day. The Kingdom of God was created for us; God created us to be immortal, to never die but to live forever with Him in the beautiful garden he created, but due to sin, this door was shut, and death and destruction entered, so that leaves us with free choice and free will. Evil happens when good people are too scared to speak out and to stop it because, as Matthew 5:10 states, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We all want heaven without persecution!

Can you believe that the Creator of the Universe allows us a yes or no in deciding whether or not we want to serve Him? That is why Matthew 5:13 is so scary to us. It says,

The Narrow and Wide Gates

How can we find that narrow gate? How can we find the road that leads to life? Let’s look at the Old Testament for some help: 2 Kings. The book of Kings is about – yes, the Kings. Here, we learn the sad fate of the people who turned their backs on God. The intermarried people of different faiths were swayed in their worship, and the decline and collapse of Israel and Judah were devasting. Israel was captured by the Assyrians, and Judah was exiled to Babylon. They disobeyed the covenant of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob and were handed down by Moses. God said, “I am your God, and you are my people.”

A quick search shows this verse is in Exodus and Jeremiah.

  • Exodus 6:7: “You will be my people and I will be your God. I am the LORD your God, and you will know that I made you free from Egypt.”
  • Jeremiah 30:22: “And you will be My people, and I will be your God.”
  • Jeremiah 32:38: “They will be My people, and I will be their God.”
  • Exodus 29:45-46: “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them.

Our cry, personally in prayer, should be, “God! I want to be your people — please, please be my GOD!” We should also look at the example of King Hezekiah; he showed us how to find that narrow road and narrow gate.

  • 10:1-7 and King Hezekiah. Read on air.

What did the King do? He repented, renounced his sin and the sins of the nation, fasted, and paid homage through sacrifice to the Lord. He also asked everyone to do the same. And God heard his prayer. The Lord is the beacon of light for those who love and trust Him. King Hezekiah trusted God no matter the outcome. He prayed and fulfilled another scripture—not to throw what is holy to the dogs or throw your pears to the swine.

Who would throw pearls to the swine? This is a colorful example that we read in Matthew 7:6, where Jesus says, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord is teaching, strengthening, and preserving our faith. Here, the Lord shares a jarring description of what happens when we take what is holy and should only be reserved for God, and we throw it, if you will, toward those who will not appreciate it. Take, for example, a movie star or perhaps a pop star. The obsession people have with these stars is an example of throwing your pearls. You are talking about a kind of worship and giving it to someone who won’t appreciate it coming from you. Collectively, we often hear the stars say how they appreciate their fans. But individually, no. The appreciation and worship you have are one-sided; they are not reciprocated.

However, our love and worship of the Lord is appreciated and blessed. Our worship does nothing to make God greater, but it is something we were created for — to love and serve the Lord. Getting too involved with the world can rob us of our faith and make it difficult to live our convictions. It takes our eyes off of God and puts them on another created being. This could be anything that we spend our time and focus on without time and focus on the Almighty.

In addition, these obsessions often cause compromise. We lose sight of what is holy. Sadly, this doesn’t help us eternally, and it isn’t going to get us anywhere. Surely, it is the wide road most traveled, not that narrow gate. We need time for God and a place in our home where we can pray and focus on our time with the Lord and not lose faith.

Ultimately, the spiritual life can be summed up in the Golden Rule, Matthew 7:12: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Basically, this means treating others as you would treat yourself. And this, my friends, is the key to finding that narrow gate. With confidence, we pray for God’s grace to follow this less-traveled path. Amen!

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