Fine-Tuning Your Mind and Spirit

Gary Wilkerson

If there is one word that expresses God’s nature, it’s harmony. From the moment he spread out the heavens and filled the earth with life, every component worked together. We see this symphony all around us, from the stars to the jungles to the hidden caverns deep in the ocean.

It is the same with humans. God designed every part of us to work together in divine synchronicity. Today, even with our advanced knowledge, we have only scratched the surface of the interconnection between mind, body and spirit.

What we know for sure is that good, balanced health is up to us and that we are stronger in some areas than in others. Squeezing in time for physical exercise competes with my need to spend time with God. My phone and computer threaten me with mental overload, and I’m then stressed around my loved ones. Where do we find balance?

First, ask God to show you the areas in your life that need nourishment. Sometimes we even need to ask for desire and motivation. Ask for wisdom, for resources, for help from others. He is the source, so ask big! Scripture gives us a boost of faith: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV).

Second, take it one step at a time. One phone call to encourage someone, ten minutes in prayer or a walk around the block are more beneficial than you think. It’s important to set realistic goals that give us confidence to move forward.

Third, reach out. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Asking for help honors God and gives others an opportunity to serve. People in leadership often struggle with this, feeling like they should always be the ones to help. It’s important to remember how much Jesus relied on his disciples and modeled relational living.

Don’t underestimate your value. You and I are exquisitely designed and worthy of care. As “instruments of righteousness” (see Romans 6:13), our lives are a song of praise to our creator. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Discerning Between Good and Evil

John Bailey

As far as I’m concerned, all Christians are meant to have general discernment in the Spirit. Some believers say things like “Oh, I don’t have that supernatural gift, so I’m just going to go on trusting God will take care of me.” That sounds nice, and yes to trusting God, but the Bible warns us that we all need to grow into spiritual maturity, and part of that is being discerning.

Look at what the Bible says here. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14, ESV).

Spiritual maturity involves studying the Bible and growing in your understanding about how scripture applies to life. That means paying close attention to what’s happening in life because you’re not going to be able to apply the Word to something you don’t even see happening, right? Sometimes Christians can be really gullible, and that’s a shame. How often have you heard stories about some con man that no one in the world would believe for an instant, but there’s a Christian writing him a check?

Whatever happened to believers applying the apostle John’s command for us to be wary of frauds? “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). John’s basically saying, “Use your head! Get into the Word, and grow in discerning good from evil.”

Now I’m not saying Christians need to jump into every grimy scam out there so you get experience, but you shouldn’t be a fool either when it comes to identifying counterfeits, evil schemes and when people twist scriptures to their own ends. You don’t want to spend your life stumbling around, falling prey to wicked people and ending up in compromising positions. With all your heart, cry out to God, “Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live” (Psalm 119:144).

John Bailey is the COO of World Challenge Inc. and the Founding Pastor of The Springs Church in Jacksonville, Florida. John has been serving the Lord in pastoral ministry for 35 years, ministering the gospel in over 50 nations, particularly as a pastor and evangelist in Cork, Ireland.

Do with Me as You Please

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Martin Luther, at the height of all his trials, testified, “Lord, now that you have forgiven me all, do with me as you please.” Luther was convinced that a God who could wipe away all his sins and save his soul could certainly care for his physical body and material needs.

In essence, Luther was saying, “Why should I fear what man can do to me? I serve a God who can cleanse me of my sin and bring peace to my soul. It doesn’t matter if everything around me collapses. If God can save me and keep my soul for eternity, why wouldn’t he be able to care for my physical body while I’m on this earth?”

What a liberating attitude! Luther knew that the secret of contentment is being utterly acquiescent to God. Our life here on earth is short, and we are as powerless as reeds blowing in the wind. To know our limitations and God’s unlimited power is to rest in the knowledge that we are in safe hands.

You may look around at our world and feel like everything is out of control. “I’m so worried and afraid,” you may say. “The unrest and ungodliness is worse than ever. I dread the future. The way this world is going, we are all doomed.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. All things are in the hands of almighty God. Scripture comforts us with these truths: “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10 NKJV), and “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?” (Luke 12:24-26).

We are not promised a life of ease at any stage, but we are promised something much better. Our true reality is eternal life in the presence of our blessed Lord.

He Makes Wars to Cease

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“He makes wars to cease...” (Psalm 46:9, NKJV). What welcome news this is to the child of God shattered and torn by warfare of the soul. The battle in my soul is his battle, and he alone can end it. My loving Father will not permit the flesh or the devil to bully me into defeat. My war is clearly defined by James, who wrote, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1). These pleasures include covetousness, pride and envy, enemies of the soul that are common to us all.

Throughout the ages, holy men of God have asked, “Will the lust-war in me ever end while I am alive?” That question sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It is the same question we who love the Lord still ask today.

The war, of course, will end. It will inevitably be followed by the greatest peace ever known. How will it end, though, and who will end it? Sometimes it is our battle and our obligation to enforce godly discipline in our lives. If it is a battle beyond our control, God will end it in his time and way. Until then, he will give us patience and the assurance that he loves us to the end.

The Greek word used by James is stratenomai, which suggests a battle against carnal tendencies, a soldier at war. It is derived from stratia, which means a host, or army encamped. Didn't David speak of hosts encamped against us? Our carnal inclinations come against us as a powerful force determined to undermine and keep us in turmoil in hopes of shipwrecking our faith by attacking our minds with fear and unbelief.

However, if you study the Hebrew word for war used by David in Psalm 46:9, there is cause for great rejoicing. It is milchamah, which means to feed on, consume and devour.

What the Word says to us here is simply marvelous. God is going to stop the enemy from consuming us, from devouring us. He will no longer permit lust to feed on us or overcome us. Be encouraged! God will cause our inner war to cease. This is his battle, and he never loses.


David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

When we are hurt, lonely, afraid and overwhelmed, we are often prone to turn aside from our true source of peace and look to human resources. How tragic! We know God is still on the throne, waiting for us to call on him. We know the answer to our needs is to be found alone with God, shut in with him. We will even confess to our spiritual friends, “I know I need to pray. I know God has the answer, and I need to turn to him.”

It is discouragement of the worst kind to give in to fear and despair while ignoring the majesty and faithfulness of a loving Father. God said to Israel, “...I have talked with you from heaven… In every place where I record my name I will come to you, and I will bless you” (Exodus 20:22, 24 NKJV). Sadly, Israel answered, “God has forgotten; he hides his face: he will never see” (Psalm 10:11). “But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.’” (Isaiah 49:14).

Are you a discouraged Christian? You are if you ignore the Lord's majestic promises and doubt that he will fulfill them. He means it when he says, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

We will be downcast if we keep carrying unnecessary burdens of guilt, fear, loneliness, anxiety and turmoil simply because we refuse to rest on the Lord's great and precious promises. These words from Romans remind us to rest in him: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

David reminds us in the psalms, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. …The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:15,17).

Let us not become impatient and act according to our feelings. When we get into trouble and cry out to God, all of heaven goes into motion on our behalf. If we could see into the spiritual world to behold the good things he is preparing for us, it would be an incredible sight for our eyes.