Scripture Reading:
Gen. 4:26; 1 Cor. 1:2; Acts 22:16; 2 Tim. 2:22

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us.”(2 Corinthians 4:7)
ways to exercise our spirit

When we pray we are exercising to have fellowship with God, and this is to exercise our spirit. When our conscience is touched and we immediately deal with the matter that was contrary to God, this is also to exercise our spirit. An example of this is when we are among friends and are speaking loosely. We may begin to feel something inwardly; we may sense an "alarm" going off inside of us telling us that we should stop. If we hear the "alarm" and don't obey, we are not exercising our spirit. The next time it happens it will be even more difficult to obey. But if we obey when we hear the "alarm" of our conscience, then we are exercising our spirit. The next time, we will be even more sensitive when we are speaking what we shouldn't and will stop immediately. Why? It is because our spirit will be stronger.

Another way to continually exercise our spirit is to call on the name of the Lord Jesus. Of course, calling on the name of the Lord shouldn't be something we do only with our mouth. Romans 10:9 shows us that we confess with our mouth and believe in our heart. When we call on the name of the Lord Jesus we should also use our spirit. To call on the name of the Lord Jesus is something very real and practical, but very few do it. Satan always wants to keep us quiet, keeping us from practicing this. He wants to shut the mouths of all the Christians. In Genesis chapter four we see a contrast between Cain's descendants and Seth's descendants. Whereas Cain and his descendants were pursuing something that would replace God, Seth and his descendants were depending on the Lord because they saw that they were weak. The name of Seth's son, Enoch, means weak. Then they began to call on the name of the Lord (v. 26).

As vessels of clay, we are weak. However, to have the Spirit in us signifies that we have a treasure within us (2 Cor. 4:7). God knows that we are weak, but He has given us His Spirit. Today we can be strengthened through the Spirit who lives in our spirit. This is the same Spirit who was indwelling the Christians at the time of Acts. They were not discouraged even though they were persecuted for the Lord's sake. At that time they didn't even have the New Testament. They didn't have the resources or facilities that we have today, but their lives were victorious. What did they do? Were they better than we are? Was their flesh better than ours? No. They simply used their spirit and called on the name of the Lord in every place (1 Cor. 1:2). We see this clearly in Stephen's experience in Acts 7:54-60. While he was under violent persecution he was praying and calling on the name of the Lord. How could he bear being stoned? He was not weakened by being stoned; rather his manner, words and prayer weakened his persecutors. The Bible says that in that hour Stephen was calling, "Lord Jesus." Though his body had fallen asleep, he was victorious in his spirit. His testimony must have impressed Paul. Later, this same Paul became one who called on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). He even advised his young co-worker Timothy to be with all those who called on the name of the Lord (2 Tim. 2:22).

The Lord is rich to all who call upon Him. Has He changed? If the Lord is so wonderful, powerful and available, why are we still living a life that is so miserable, weak, dry, hungry and desperate? The Lord is the Spirit and He is now in us. We need to know His work within us. The more fellowship we have with Him, the more we will be filled with the Holy Spirit. The more fellowship we have with Him, the more enriched we will be with His elements and will experience life, vigor, freshness and newness inwardly.

Key Point:
How were the early Christians able to be victorious even though they were being persecuted?