In this interview I recommended a watching a teaching called ‘5 Ways God Guides Us’. It’s packed full of helpful advice on how to hear God’s voice and how to avoid being led astray. Watch it now:click here.
This 11-minute radio interview is all about the changing seasons of life, how God sometimes has us in a particular season for a particular purpose, and how we can remove the blockages to entering into what God has for us next.
Do you value yourself? Do you sometimes struggle to know who God really made you to be? Do you sometimes feel confused, lost unsure of what to do or even like you were a mistake in the first place? I went to Premier Christian Radio to talk about what God’s Word says about this and how the truth of the bible can set you free from your identity disorder!
The bible says that God has a unique plan for each of our lives and that we’ve all been called to bear fruit for His Kingdom. However, sometimes we struggle to know exactly what God is calling us to do or where He’s calling us to go. So, is God willing to speak to us specifically? …and if so… how can we recognise His voice?
(This is only a portion of the full transcript) David Steele is here to give us some tips on how to find God’s will for our lives. So, whenever we’ve got big decisions to make we all get down to praying, even those who don’t have much faith perhaps offer up a prayer to God, whom they perhaps don’t know, to find out what to do, where to go or what decision to make. Is discerning the will of God hard, would you say? I think it can be difficult. Sometimes we ask God a question and because we don’t really expect Him to answer, we kind of move on before we’ve waited for the answer. Or we expect Him to speak in a particular way and perhaps He’s speaking to us in lots of different ways but it’s not the way we’re expecting Him to speak. Then we’re thinking ‘God’s not speaking to me’, but when we understand that God is a creative God who speaks in lots of different ways, we are in a better position to hear what He’s saying to us. So if we have a series of coincidences (and some Christians might call them ‘God-incidences’) in our lives, that seem to all point in a certain way, would you say that was God speaking? I would say that that is one of the ways that God can speak – through the circumstances of everyday life. I wouldn’t want to make decisions only on that, because as you say there can be coincidences, there can be things that happen that make us think that God is leading us in a particular direction. However, if He’s also speaking to us through His word, and it’s in the same direction… perhaps He’s also speaking to us through His Spirit and we have that deep sense of peace about where we feel He’s leading us (and the circumstances kind of fit, so the doors are opening before us), then I think that is a really good sign that that’s the direction God is leading us in. (Got to 2:23)
God’s grace can achieve far more in our lives than many Christians realise and I hope this interview will help you to recognise that when you need God’s power, it is more readily available than you thought.
If God has used this teaching to impact you by His Spirit, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it!
It is Maundy Thursday, a time when Christians all around the world meditate on Christ’s personal suffering as he prepared for death and the sacrifice for all people which the bible says broke the power of the law over our lives. So this morning we’re talking about grace and the power of it. A preacher once explained grace to me the word ‘grace’ with this acronym: grace is ‘God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense’. We know that we’re saved by grace and no longer under law, but does that give us a license to sin, knowing that we’ll be forgiven afterwards? It’s something that Christians have struggled with for centuries but here to help us understand it this morning is David Steele from Ellel Ministries. Grace is a misunderstood word in all sorts of ways, I know that Paul had to try to redefine it for people in the new testament didn’t he. Defining it is difficult and some of the most detailed theology textbooks don’t offer a concise definition so it’s up to you now to give us the definitive definition of grace. Well I think we have a lot of different preachers and speakers often speaking about lots of different facets of grace, I think it’s a big subject. One of the things I did when I was looking at grace is that I looked at the Greek word for ‘grace’ and looked at what the definition of that is. Strong’s Greek dictionary says that the word grace (and the word is ‘charis’) is ‘the divine influence on the heart and it’s reflection in the life’ and I think often we’ve understood the first part of that; that it’s the divine influence on the heart, but actually this biblical word ‘charis’ here is saying that it’s also the reflection of that in our lives. So, if somebody really has grace in their life there will be evidence of that. I think some people talk about grace as if it only has to do with our justification but actually it also has a huge part to play in our sanctification as well. If you think about what God said to Paul when Paul cried out in his moment of weakness, God defined His grace as His power. He said “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. So I think of grace as God’s power in our human inability or weakness. There are two things that we are totally unable to do as humans; firstly we’re unable to save ourselves so we need His power to come and save us, and the second thing is that we can’t live the Christian life in our own strength; so in our weakness His grace comes and empowers us to do that as well. If you think about ‘the divine influence on the heart’, well something that’s divine is of God. So it’s God’s influence on your heart and the reflection of that. So I believe that the goal of grace in our lives is to make us like Jesus, because it’s His divine influence in our hearts. Just a moment ago you used the words ‘justification’ and ‘sanctification’ which work well in a church or bible study context. I always think at Easter time that people remember that Jesus died on the cross but I think it’s becoming increasingly difficult to explain to people what that actually means and what actually happened spiritually when Jesus died, so can you help us with that? Yes, think when we’re talking about what it meant for Jesus to die, we first need to understand why he had to die and we have to go back to the book of genesis to find that out. God laid out a plan for us and created a wonderful world for us but he said of the tree of knowledge of good and evil “if you eat of it you will surely die”, and of course we know Adam and Eve did eat of it. Their punishment was to be death and we know scripture says that the wages of sin is death. So Jesus died on the cross because our punishment was supposed to be death. In Colossians is says ‘when you were dead in your sins’ so actually what it’s saying is that Jesus didn’t just come to make bad people good, he came to make dead people alive! So for Christ to die on the cross for us means that the dead life that we’ve been living, through His death and resurrection (the resurrection is really important as well because if Christ is not alive then we can’t be alive with Him) it’s actually really death to our old lives and a new start; a new life in Him, without the guilt and the shame perhaps of the things that we did before that are holding us back. Many years ago Dietrich Bonhoeffer coined a term that’s come to characterise evangelical Christianity. It’s the term ‘cheap grace’. We’ve probably all heard this occasionally in church. What’s your understanding on what that means? Well I think what he was talking about was when we offer grace without some of the things Jesus said we need to do in order to take hold of grace. Grace comes as a free gift but Jesus says ‘in order for your to take hold of grace you need to turn from your own life’. Cheap grace is grace without repentance or grace without denying yourself. Jesus said “whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it”. So He’s saying ‘there’s nothing you can do to earn this gift, but if you want to take hold of it it’s going to cost you everything’. If we’re living under grace (which the bible says we are), does that mean we can do anything and say sorry for it afterwards? How does it work? That’s a really good question. I think there’s a misunderstanding around this. There’s a scripture that talks about grace in Titus 2 which is very rarely preached when we talk about grace. It says this: ‘For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age’. So i’s not saying ‘grace is going to save me now and then when I get to heaven I’m going to live an upright and godly life. It’s saying that grace (now) will teach me to say no to ungodliness. So, I believe that when the true grace of God is preached, it should lead a person to their knees in repentance, actually now wanting to live like Jesus and not the way they were living before. Does that make sense? Absolutely. That’s why when you come back to the definition it’s the divine influence on the heart AND it’s reflection in the life. So we will look different, we will live differently, we will speak differently, we will act differently, we will become like Jesus if we’ve experienced grace. Living in God’s grace, does it matter if we do thing’s wrong? I suppose it does, you’ve talked about this already. Yes, I remember God speaking to me one day and saying ‘David, you don’t understand my grace’. He said to me ‘you keep asking for grace after you sin. If you understood my grace you’d be asking me before you sin so that I will supply the power to enable you not to sin’. Of course God’s grace comes with His forgiveness when we do sin, but there’s that aspect of God’s grace that comes to empower us to live the Christian life and to resist temptation. But it is impossible for us not to sin isn’t it? We’re humans! We cannot be holy, holy, holy, can we? True, but we have also been redeemed from the hands of the enemy and it says in scripture ‘if you sin, we have an advocate before the Father’, it doesn’t say ‘when you sin’. I think as Christians the aim is to live like Jesus. One of the most challenging scripture is ‘Whoever claims to be in Him, must walk as Jesus walked.’ Jesus said “not everybody who calls me Lord will enter the Kingdom of heaven, only those who DO the will of my Father”. So of curse we’re not talking about a perfect Christian life because that’s why His grace is there when we fail, but I think a lot of Christians don’t understand that His power is there to enable them to live a godly life. If we think about one of the most amazing sermons Jesus gave in Matthew 5, he started to say things like “you’ve heard it said of old ‘do not commit adultery’, but I say to you ‘do not look lustfully at a woman’ and then he says ‘you have heard it said of old ‘do not murder’ but I say to you ‘he who calls his brother ‘Raca’ (which is like idiot or fool) is in danger of the fire of hell”. In John 1:17 it says ‘the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ’. So Jesus comes along and brings this much higher standard. He actually say that grace and truth is a much higher standard of living than the law. Therefore He wouldn’t say these things to us unless He was willing to empower us to live it! It was an understanding that the law is an external thing but actually God’s holiness is complete right through to the whole thought process. And now it starts on the inside. So rather than being externally governed by this law, now He puts His Spirit on the inside. He empowers us to live to a much higher standard than we could have ever lived by when it was the law that was governing us. David what started this whole journey for you? How did you get obsessed by grace? For me (and perhaps this is indicative of my generation), when I read the scriptures, I like to read them as if I haven’t seen the Christian experience around me because I find they don’t always match up. When I read the scriptures I see a gospel that has power to change people’s lives, I see a gospel that has power to transform people’s lives. My story is that I had issues in my life that I was struggling to overcome and God spoke to me one day when I was in desperation – I was crying out to Him asking Him if it was really possible that He could set me free and send His power into my life and heal me. He said to me ‘David, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’ and so I started to pursue God rather than man and as I started to pursue God, I started to realise that if we have perhaps preached for many years and written many books about grace but we’ve only understood half of it, then we’re going to have a weak and defeated church, but when we get the full understanding of grace from the scripture, we see a gospel of grace that has the power to radically transform our lives and to me that is so exciting. In 2 Corinthians 9:8 it says this ‘and God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work’. I want people to have the confidence in God’s power that He can transform them to live a radically different life to the life they lived before they received His grace.
If God has used this teaching to impact you by His Spirit, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it!
I thoroughly enjoyed being interviewed by Nicky Gilchrist (songwriter & worship leader). He is as passionate about the topic as I am and asked some fantastic questions which made this a really good discussion.
(This is only a portion of the full transcript) We’re talking all about fear. They say that love makes the world go round but sometimes you would think it was fear. Fear can hold you back, it can manifest itself in all sorts of ways including anxiety, worry, apprehension, tension, terror, timidity, fright, panic, phobias, the list goes on. Whether it’s fear of public speaking, fear of intimacy, fear of the dark, fear of death or even fear of the future, Satan will use fear to try to stop you taking steps forward into everything tat God has for you. Fear can affect all sorts of areas of our lives as well as our ability to function normally. All of us who’ve had to speak publicly or sing publicly know what it’s like, suddenly you can’t be at your best because you’re afraid. Where does fear come from? We’re told that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom so there must be a healthy side to it? Absolutely. Actually, there are three types of fear. It’s important to define what they are so we know what we’re dealing with. The first type of fear is a fear that God has actually given us, it’s what we might call a natural fear or a rational fear. For example, if you stand too close to the edge of a cliff, there’s going to be an element of fear in your heart but actually that’s a good thing because that’s going to stop you from falling off of the edge of the cliff! It’s a good thing that God has given us, it’s perfectly rational and we can thank God for it. The second type of fear is the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord isn’t being afraid of God but it’s actually revering God – knowing Him for who He is. Actually, the fear of the Lord comes from love. We revere God because we love Him so much and we know how much He loves us, therefore we don’t want to sin against Him. It says in Exodus 20:20 that the fear of the Lord will keep you from sinning. However, the type of fear that we’re going to be talking about is what we would probably call ‘ungodly’ fear. We know that God has a plan for each one of our lives and the enemy wants to use fear to try to hold us back. For example, the person who is called to public speaking is most likely to face anxiety and fear in that area, because fear often comes as a direct attack on the call of God on a person’s life. That’s so true, I can testify to that myself. I suffer from anxiety to do with various different things. Do you think that anxiety and fear are the same thing? Is fear a bigger thing than just anxiety? I would say that anxiety is a type of fear. Anxiety is usually fear of the future. You’re anxious about what might happen, you’re not usually anxious about what is happening now. Just like faith, fear projects into the future, but of course fear is the opposite of faith, and you can’t be fully trusting in God for what’s going to happen tomorrow if you are anxious about it. If you make big changes in a business and you don’t do it carefully, people will get upset because they’re afraid of something changing. They’re anxious about their comfort being affected. Every time an angel appears in the bible, it strikes me that they say ‘do not fear’. Again, when something out of the ordinary happens we’re suddenly terribly afraid. I think it’s really interesting that you’ve mentioned that. I remember when I first encountered the Holy Spirit and there was almost an element of fear. I think it’s the power of God and the wonder of being in His presence. One of the things that people are very afraid of is the spiritual world. However, it’s usually a lack of knowledge that makes us afraid of the spiritual world. For example, if we begin to speak about angels or demons, the person who has a lack of understanding about these things is likely to be afraid. Naturally we are afraid of things that we don’t understand. You mentioned that fear is the antithesis of faith, so when we feel afraid, do we just need more faith? Not necessarily. Faith is really important and perhaps as we unpack what fear is and how to overcome fear, we’ll start to see what the keys are. One key is the word of God. If you look at what King David said in the scripture about fear, he speaks about the word of God. In Psalm 56 it says ‘What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee’, so he’s talking about trust. That is a type of faith, but it’s not just a passive trust, it’s an active trust. It’s the kind of trust where you can just spread your arms out and fall back into God’s hands, completely trusting in Him. But then he says ‘In God I will praise His Word’, so when he’s speaking about fear he immediately goes to the Word of God. ‘In God I have put my trust, I will not fear what flesh can do unto me’. Then he goes on in verses 9 and 11 ‘In God whose Word I praise’, ‘In the Lord whose Word I praise’. So it’s not just that I need to have more faith, it’s that I need to know what the Word of God says, because I can trust in that. We minister to many people and we find that behind almost every fear is a lie, and we know that Satan is the father of lies. If you start to ask somebody questions about their fear, you’ll find that behind that fear is a lie and this is why the truth of the Word of God is so important. We need to apply the truth of God’s Word in order to break the power of the lies that are behind our fears. When people struggle with fear, is it the case that they need to change their perspective, for example knowing the truth of God’s Word and knowing the truth about what God says about you, or is there actually healing that needs to happen? It can be both and it usually us both. If we look at where fear comes from we can find the antidote. If we go back to the garden of Eden, do you remember that Satan lied to Adam and Eve? He said ‘you will not surely die’. So first of all there was a lie and we’ve already spoken about that. The next thing that happens is that God goes looking for Adam and Eve and he says ‘where are you?’ and it’s really interesting how Adam answered. In Genesis chapter 3 he says ‘I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid’. But Adam was naked before that! But now he’s saying ‘I was afraid because I was naked’. So he was naked before but he wasn’t afraid. So this is the point at which fear entered the human race. It started with a lie, and it led to Adam feeling like he was uncovered. Now we know he wasn’t any more uncovered in the physical than he had been before so there’s something about being spiritually uncovered and separated from God that brings fear. There’s an element of needing to come back into close relationship with God, perhaps the enemy has been lying to you. Perhaps he’s saying to you ‘because of a particular sin you’ve committed, God can’t love you and God can’t come into your life’. And of course, fear speaks. I don’t know if you’re aware of this. I’ll give you a little example which you’ll probably find quite funny. I’m not used to speaking on the radio, this is only my third time. So I got the email from the producer just the other day saying ‘can you come on the radio on Saturday to speak about freedom from fear’. I thought ‘oh wow, this is an opportunity’ because I believe God’s called me to speak His truth. Now, usually God speaks first, and then immediately fear will speak: “Who do you think you are to go on the radio to speak to people about freedom from fear?”, “What have you got to say that could possibly help people?”. So fear comes in and speaks lies to you, in order to throw you off track. So there’s the daily walk of overcoming fear. I would encourage anybody who is dealing with that kind of fear that comes in the moments when you think God is opening a door, to cry out to God and say “God, would you give me a Word that I can stand on?”, “Would you give me a Word that I can proclaim when that fear comes so that I can defeat the lie”. For me, the Word is from the book of Joshua. It says “As I was with Moses, so shall I be with you. I will always be with you, I will never abandon you”. Then listen to these words “Be determined and confident”. So when that anxiety comes and I know it’s attacking my calling, whether I’m going to stand up in front of 500 people at one of our conferences or whether I’m coming to speak on the radio, whatever it is, I can come back to that word and say ‘Lord I know you’ve called me to do this, and I shall be determined and confident’. That way I am literally standing against those other voices. Message from caller “David, thank you for what you’ve said so far today. You’ve given me food for thought and highlighted that I don’t know how to love God, resulting in me being anxious. Great, something to work on and move forward with. “Hi there David, basically I just wanted to speak to you because for myself fear is a really big issue for me at the moment. I’ve always been a person of faith. I’ve grown up with God and I still continue on my journey but I do feel that fear is something that God wants to remove from my heart – it’s one big obstacle in my life at the moment. For me it’s a question of how you cope, how you trust in God’s love and how you remove the fear of suffering. I’ve had some pretty bad experiences in my life and it’s really shaken my faith and my trust. When you’ve experienced complete despair and complete fear, it’s difficult. I lost my daughter half way through my pregnancy and I had a terrible time when I had my son. I experienced kind of like terror and panic attacks afterwards. I prayed all the way through those experiences and it felt like I’d been totally abandoned and that fear is still in my life about what awful things might happen”. So you want to know how your trust in God can be restored and how that fear can be driven out? Got to 14:08.