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Text Box: The 1st Step: Give Everything Up!



Text Box: (Matthew 5:3 NIV) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 5:3 GWT)  “Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(Philippians 2:5-7 NIV)  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
(Romans 6:5 NIV)  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
(John 10:10 NIV)  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(Romans 6:11 ASV)  Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.


Text Box: What does it mean to be poor in spirit ?
Poor in Spirit = Spiritually destitute. 
--A realization of who we are in comparison to God.
--A realization of what God did to save us.
(Philippians 2:8 NIV) And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!
     Like the song says: “Out of the Ivory Palaces, and into a world of woe — only His great eternal love, made my Savior go.”  I learn from my Master the meaning of being poor in spirit.  He led the way!  Only by humbling Himself and becoming obedient did He gain exaltation and glory (Philippians 2:9; Hebrews 5:7-9).
     In the same manner, I must give everything up in order to gain the Kingdom of Heaven (Luke 14:33; Romans 12:1,2).  It is not just a shedding of the outer skin that God desires from us, but a cleansing from within.  From the heart and from the mind we are to be renewed (Luke 11:39-41; Matthew 23:25-28).  Only a submissive soul is able to gain God’s Kingdom, because His Kingdom is about being obedient to Him.
     This first attitude is about being aware of our spiritual needs; knowing that we don't know it all and can't do it all;  realizing that we are so poor in righteousness that we can only look up to Heaven to be redeemed.  In our relationship with God, this attitude must precede all others because then, and only then, will we be willing and able to be led and accept instruction.  We must be leveled and humbled by the fact that we are sinners and we need Jesus to be alive (John 10:10)!
     When I was dead in my sins, sin reigned in my mortal body.  It (sin) was in control -- I was a slave to my passions.  Now, in righteousness, God's grace reigns!  AMEN!  What a relief!  Take notice: in order for God's grace to reign in my life, I need to walk in newness of life!!!  I need to STOP living in sin!!!  Living in sin will not increase the grace of God. Rather, it will invoke His anger.  Grace was offered to me upon hearing the gospel. I received that grace when I obeyed the Gospel.  God’s grace allowed for the forgiveness of my sins at this point.  I continue to benefit from God’s grace  (His forgiveness and His favor) as I walk according to my new life in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 2:20 NIV)  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
     Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  As we were buried with Him in the water, our old self was buried too — so that — when we came out of the water, we were raised in newness of life!


In His Footsteps © 1998   





Text Box: The 1st Step: Give Everything Up!




As you begin this series, keep in mind that you will walk with Jesus, if indeed you have been baptized in His name.  Don’t let anything hold you back!  Read Luke 8:4-18.  What happened to the seed that fell along the path (verse 12)?  What about the seed that fell on the rock?  What do you think the root is?  What happened to the seed that fell among the thorns?  Why didn’t they mature? What was it that prevented the three soils from yielding a good crop?  Could you say that they submitted and yielded?  To what are the thorns and the rocks on the soil analogous?  Could you say they are analogous to an attitude of resistance?  What kind of heart is necessary to be the good soil?  What three factors determine that you have the kind of heart that is the good soil?  List some thorns and rocks that you may need to clear in order to be good soil for God’s Word.  What must you continue to plant in yourself?  How do you retain this word? In what do you need to persevere to yield that plentiful crop?


To better understand the concept of yielding, let’s draw upon some analogies given in the Old and New Testament.  Read the following passages: Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 18:1-10; Romans 9:18-26.  Why do you think God compares us to clay in His hands?  Can you sculpt a work of art with clay that gets hard and unyielding?  Should you resist the God who desires for you to be molded according to His will?  Read over the list of thorns and rocks you made Monday.  Read Proverbs 29:1.  What happens to the man who remains unyielding?  Is there any hope?  How can we avoid being destroyed by the Potter?  Is it the Potter’s desire to destroy, or to make beautiful things (Romans 9:22,23)?  To whom does He make His glory known?  To whom does He show His wrath?


Let’s read about the fruit that humility yields in Luke 15:12-32.  List some of the reasons you may think the younger son had to leave his father and go on his own.  (Remember that the Father here represents God and the sons represent us.)  The fact that the younger son squandered his wealth in wild living tells us much about the attitude he had!  Do you think the younger son was trying to obtain some self-worth on his own?  At what point do you think the younger son recognized how much he was worth without his Father?  What did it take for him to discover this?  Did the older son need to go away from his Father to recognize his worth?  Was the older son showing the fruit of humility when he complained to his Father, though?  How was he showing or not showing humility?  Do you agree that the older son perhaps forgot that grace is to be shared?  Do you think he thought he had self-worth all on his own because he obeyed his Father?  Should we obey God because we think we are righteous or because He has given us righteousness in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 2:24,25)?


If you truly have given everything up, that means you are ready to start anew -- new mind, new attitude and new ways in Christ.  What happens if we look back to our former life for comfort or direction?  Let’s read Genesis 19:24-26 and Luke 17:26-33.  Why does Jesus ask us to remember Lot’s wife in verse 32 of Luke 17?  Why do you think Lot’s wife was looking back?  From verse 33 in Luke 17, what happens when you hold on to your life (old ways)?  Do you think you will be ready for the coming judgement if you hold on to your old life?  Does holding on to your old life help you grow and mature spiritually?  Have you really emptied yourself and become poor in spirit if you still are holding on to things in your past (attitudes, ways of thinking, habits, etc)?  List some things, attitudes, habits or ways of thinking that make you want to look back.  Read Luke 9:57-62.  What does service in the Kingdom of God require?  What happens if we look back?


Pride comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18). Often, we resist the good work the Holy Spirit is attempting to do in us.  Read carefully Ephesians 4:17-32.  This chapter spells out in very practical ways what it means to live a new life — something only possible for those who have taken the first step: becoming poor in spirit.  Do you think there is any way you can get around verses 22 and 24 in this chapter?  Can this teaching be ignored without serious spiritual consequences in your life?  Review, from the Scriptures we read this week, the consequences of looking back onto our old self.  Who is grieved if we don’t “put off our old self” (hint: see Ephesians 4:30)?  In the spirit of this week’s theme, Give Everything Up, List some sins that are listed in this passage that you see in yourself that are interfering with your spiritual growth.  What are some fruits of the spirit that you see being produced in yourself? Remember 2 Corinthians 13:5: Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you -- unless, of course, you fail the test?



I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. -- Galatians 2:20


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