In the spiritual life, we can look a little more closely and see that every decision we make is our responsibility. Every word we say is our reality. Our independence in the natural has placed us as guilty before a holy God because we have learned to operate in a filthy world, and so spiritual maturity requires one more spurt of growth. We must learn to be dependent once again. We must learn to lean on God as Adam and He leaned on each other. We must learn we cannot make one decision without asking the Lord what He wants, and lovingly, admiringly, wait for our best-friend-forever’s counsel.
When I first encountered the Lord in my life (He’d been there all the time, I just looked right through Him), and He told me I must say with my mouth that He was my Lord, my answer was this: “No one is going to be my Lord but me!” I did not realize at the time that there is no deeper section of hell than that. The essence of sin manifests itself by declaring it is god and not God Himself. We don’t have the right to be our own gods, or anyone else’s for that matter. We cannot spend our lives lavishing our attention on ourselves or any other icons we make.
When God made Adam, the two of them did not have to take the time to get to know each other. Adam had been aware of every pat of that Hand that put him together. God knew Adam in more detail than Adam knew he had. They started out as soul brothers, best friends forever, inseparable. It was only when Adam sinned that he became afraid of God. That’s the purpose of sin—to separate us from God. We don’t run to someone we fear. What was Adam’s sin? He disobeyed. Then he blamed his action on Eve. Two sins in a row sent him running for cover in the bushes, hiding from God.
In the natural life, we are born as such weak babies that we can’t even lift our head by ourselves. But we grow, slowly it seems to us, as we want to be so independent. “Mine,” is one of the first words we learn. “I’ll do it myself,” is one of our first sentences, and our parents are proud when such vocalization takes place. After all, we raise our children to be independent, able to take care of themselves, individuals with a sense of self-worth. But the child of God takes it a step further.
Underneath all those negative attributes I saw in myself, like Competition, I saw one stone on which they all rested: Murder. It is no accident that the story of Cain and Able is in the Bible. That one incident of Cain killing Able is the example of every action we take against someone else, when all we’re trying to do is promote ourselves. And that’s the whole point. We don’t have to promote ourselves. Our God has planned everything, if we’ll just follow His directions. He is the lifter of our heads.
As a young woman I loved playing tennis, but I don’t remember ever winning a match, or even a game. I loved the action it took to play, and I was happy for whoever won. That’s the only activity I could say that about; for the rest I was out for “the kill.” I don’t want that kind of competitive spirit to be in me; I don’t want to defeat anyone, so I asked the Lord how to get rid of it. He said to starve it. Don’t feed that spirit, and it will go away. When I participate in life by enjoying the action, promoting other people, without focusing on who will win, my Creator enjoys me, and He is the one who wins.
What did I see in myself? Competition. Manipulation. Defiance. Control. Self-Interest. Pride. I mustn’t forget Greed! And many more. I tried to put up a good argument, after all Lord, these are human attributes. Society teaches us that if we want to succeed, we'd better develop these things in ourselves. But Society is wrong. Let me paint a picture for you.
My daughter-in-law sent a picture of my grand-daughter, age six, standing on a dais, waiting to receive her gold medal for having won a lengthy foot-race. Her stance on the dais was humble, almost embarrassed to have won, although happy to have won. Then I looked at all the children surrounding my grand-daughter. Not a single face reflected love, peace, or joy. No one celebrated my grand-daughter’s win. There was anguish, anger, despair, envy, rage, and a few other negatives I could name, on every single face. That’s what competition does. That’s why the Bible says to prefer your brother. Let the other guy have the best seat. Am I saying don’t compete? Certainly not. I’m saying that when I lose, I want my face to shine with love and joy for the one who won, just like Jesus would do.
Because of attitudes, words, and actions formed against me by others, when I was first born again, I was filled with lies that I believed about myself—lies that had haunted me from my early childhood. Because of the turmoil within me, I asked the Lord to help me sort things out. He said, “It’s not what has happened to you that created this turmoil (I was an illegitimate child, my stepfather raped me for years, etc.); it’s because of the lies you’ve believed about yourself that has created the chaos.” He then gave me a prayer process to expose the lie (one at a time), recognize the damage it had done and where it came from, and then to receive the truth, pull out the lie, and plant the truth in its place. I used that process to pull out more than 200 lies.
I have been changed, and yet I could see quite clearly that I was not the very image of Jesus Christ. Though my mind was renewed and my emotions were healed, where was the nature of my Lord? I wanted to be like Him. What more was required of me? Then I saw it. Beneath that layer of lies lay the mass of myself. No one had inflicted on me the disgusting matter that I saw; I had created myself to be like that. I probably entered into a state of what the old-timers called “Dying to Self.”
To be continued. . . .
The new creation we become is hungry for The Word. Like a baby cries for milk, the only food that satisfies our new spirit is The Word of God. We want to live up to it. We plant the Word of God in us simply by reading it, and then the Spirit of Christ, who lives in us, uses the Word to rebuild our lives. If we read it enough, we’ll start talking like it does, and believing what it says, and we will have and be what God created in us from the beginning. His Word is Jesus. His Word is life. His Word is light. His Word is love. His Word is clear and emphatic, and when we live His Word we bring Him satisfaction and He says of us, “It is good, very good. . . .”
Jesus said we sow The Word, we speak it out of our mouths, and that Word produces a harvest, slowly but surely. Just like a stem cell has the full, mature life of the baby in it, that cell must divide and multiply—grow, in other words—and it will produce a harvest. The seed we sow is The Word of God, words coming out of our mouths that agree with God’s Words, and we sow them into the Wind of the Holy Spirit. Every seed, every Word from God, contains a full, mature life, and when it is sown, other forces come along side to promote the maturation of the seed. A seed of wheat needs soil, water, and sun. A seed of the Word needs perseverance, loyalty, and faith. Loyalty means He can count on me. Faith means I can count on Him. Usually, only adverse conditions can produce the other forces we need.
This new life that we live will work itself out from the deep place in us where it has been planted. Just like a seed sends forth a shoot, The Word will begin to grow in that deep place and illuminate our thoughts. Just like leaves will unfold from the new stem growing out of the ground, our words will be formed by the Word growing in our spirits. Just like fruit will ripen for harvest, our bodies will reflect our Lord Jesus Christ. We will react to adverse conditions with the love, the tenderness, the honesty, the forthrightness, the boldness, and the humbleness that Jesus taught just by living among us as our example.
To be continued. . . .
It takes the Bible a long time to present Jesus Christ. The Old Testament is a long progression of introducing the Son of God to the world as He is found in every book, becoming more and more real, and the world more and more ready to receive Him, though not all. But when the Light of God opens the eyes of man, his first reaction is to see himself as being full of sin. He sees the devastation he has made of his life, when the Creator had set before Him true existence, yet he chose darkness. Most people, when they see the Son of God, want to be just like Him. Some prefer the dark road, the sinful path that makes man an enemy of God. However, the soul of the man who chooses the Light is then broken up, the whole creation he made of himself goes back into chaos, and the Holy Spirit starts to build him once again, building him into the very image of Jesus Christ.
God’s creation satisfies the Creator, and what the Holy Spirit re-creates in a man satisfies God. It may take time. In fact, the time it takes depends on the surrender of the man. Did he surrender all to the Light? Or did he harbor some darkness on the side? Once the Holy Spirit has been invited in, He never leaves, and eventually all the darkness will leave. How does the Holy Spirit work? By The Word.
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life,” (John 6:63).
To be continued. . . .
There is another part of us which no one ever sees, yet God also created. Our souls. The Bible says He is the lover of our souls. This invisible part may be what the Bible calls unpresentable; after all, the first human beings were naked, and God didn’t object. The soul has three parts: 1) the mind, which is not a part of our brain, in fact, the mind uses the brain; 2) the emotions, which are not a part of our heart, but our emotions use the heart; and 3) the will, which is not a part of the vocal chords, but our will uses our vocal chords. Our will is the least understood of all three parts of our souls. Suffice it to say, for the moment, that what we say is what we will, because what we say brings into being what we want to have happen. Quite often the will is in opposition to both, or to either the heart and the mind. Our words determine the winner.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:1, 2).
Chaos is actually the foundation of the earth. Within this “ball” we call home, are found all the resources that we know we need, or can use, and still others we have not yet discovered, but they are all here in a raw state. The Creator, our “Manufacturer,” brought some of these resources into Order so that man could live here. See Genesis 1:3–31. Then man was put here to bring Order out of the rest. In other words, man does not create anything new; he simply organizes God’s creation into something usable. If man organizes something that is outside the plan of creation, it will be destroyed.
Our bodies are magnificent, even though The Book says they are made of dust, but they are noble just the same. Our bodies are amazing works of art that science still cannot fully comprehend. For instance, scientists cannot answer the question, “How is a baby formed from one stem cell in nine months in a mother’s womb?” Scientists label that creation “The Force of Life,” whatever that means. Why do human beings reach a certain pinnacle somewhere in their 50s and then start a steady decline? Same answer, “Force of Life.” Why should we get weak and die when our cells are replaced every seven years, or thereabouts? Same answer, because they don’t know.
To be continued. . . .
Every child born into this world must find the answer to the questions, “Who am I?” and “Why was I born?” Everyone asks the same questions, and in the end finds the same answers. But the questions cannot be answered without the process. Life, as we know it, is a process. There really are no final conclusions in the process of living. Some quick examples; the death of a loved one does not end the relationship. The living continue it on. The building of a house does not end with the completion; the house constantly changes with the life lived in it, or the decay when not lived in. Divorce does not end the marriage. The ex-partners carry the relationship in their souls.
To propel us through this process of living we have only one irrefutable resource, one sure guide, earth’s only manufacturer’s manual, the Bible. The words we read there are revelation facts. There is no argument, no offer for debate, no compromise given, nothing is ever suggested; we are simply told facts: This is the way it is. The Book is known as being progressive revelation as the beginning speaks of physical creation and what mankind did with it, and the information progresses until, at the end, we understand the spiritual realm in which we have always lived.
To be continued . . .