Evidences of the Deeper Life
Posted 24 December 2012 - 02:44 PM
I often hear people describe themselves as "Spirit-filled" believers and wonder just what they mean by that. As I want to be truly such, I seek the Scriptures to see how I can 'measure' myself.
Whereas the ‘deeper life’ (or the Higher Life, as I would prefer!), begins with a sovereign work of God in baptizing one with the Holy Spirit in response to a consecrated, hungry longing for God Himself, it is our responsibility to “keep on being filled with the Spirit’ (Eph 5:18). It is so easy for us, having experienced God on the mountain-top, to fall back into the old ways, relying upon our own thoughts and strengths (weakness). How then can I maintain that ‘higher life’? I believe Ephesians 5 should be understood in this context.
Paul exhorts us to ‘walk in love’ and as children of light. We must have no fellowship with works of darkness, redeeming the time. We shall be able to do this as we keep on being filled with the Spirit (as I believe the meaning in the Greek implies). There follow three evidences of such a “spirit-filled” life.
V19: we are to have a worshipping attitude. I cannot claim to be a “Spirit-filled” Christian if I am not a worshipper. The Spirit now filling us has but one goal and that is to glorify Christ in and through us. Don’t tell me you are a “Spirit-filled’ believer if there is anything of self in which you glory. You may not be able to sing but your greatest delight is to sit at His feet in adoration while your heart is singing love songs to Jesus. I love to go alone out in the countryside where there is no one (and no cell phone!) to interrupt the sweet communion I enjoy with the Lord.
V20: we are to have a thankful attitude. I cannot claim to be a “Spirit-filled” Christian if I readily complain about things; if I am easily offended, often critical. Can I say “thankYou” even when I am struggling through a dark valley, knowing that He is there with me. Do we really believe it that “ALL things work together … to them who are the called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28)? My wife’s favourite verse is Phil 4:6 with its promise … and the peace of God which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. How well she has proven this through her present bout with cancer.
V21: we are to have a submitted attitude. This means I am to live as your servant, to ‘wash your feet’ by encouragement and refreshing, I am to be a “one another” man, caring, exhorting, loving, etc. for others in the Body of Christ.I cannot claim to be “Spirit-filled’ if I am only happy when I am in charge, when I have a need for honours and acknowledgment of others. We do not find it easy being submitted to others. It goes ‘against the grain’!
Paul goes on to show how this submitted life is seen in the relationships between a man and wife, children and parents, masters and servants. (By the way, husbands are to be submitted to their wives as well as vice-versa!! The word “submit” is not found in the Greek original of 5:22)
Posted 26 December 2012 - 01:11 PM
Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:36 PM
After Christ’s death and resurrection, He asked the Father to send us a helper, the Holy Spirit, to be our teacher, guide and friend. I don’t believe that this was a special dispensation just for believers, but instead the Spirit was released on all flesh. Hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit takes humility and the setting aside of the cares of the world. It is an attitude of the heart; an attitude that does not come naturally. The closer we come to God, the more attuned we will be in hearing the Spirit’s voice.
One of the Spirit’s jobs is to draw people into relationship with God. As the Holy Spirit speaks to people's hearts, if their heart is in an attitude to hear and they have a willingness to obey, they can begin to do God’s will. Even if they don’t know anything about who God is or how Christ died on the cross, they can be drawn into a relationship with Him, in the midst of their ignorance. All it takes is a willingness to heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit. God’s main concern isn’t in our beliefs, but in our willingness to walk in obedience to Him, through the Spirit. As they continue to walk by the Spirit, they will begin to understand God’s ways, simply by walking the path in which they are being led. You can learn much about a person simply by paying attention to how they lead others.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit, as we usually think of it, never really made sense to me. It seems that our doctrines behind it are more a way where we can lay claim and ownership of it as a way to build up the “religion” of christianity. The more of a mythos created around it, the more of a draw the idea of it will have in drawing people to the religion. From my understanding of the concepts behind the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it is God giving individuals the power and ability to accomplish the calling and tasks that He places on their lives. Examples of this are when the kings and priests of the Old Testament were given the Holy Spirit to help them lead the people. Or when workers were given special wisdom and understanding so they could make the instruments of worship used in the tabernacle. This seems to make sense to me where the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as we typically think of it, doesn’t.
The Deeper Life is something beyond having the Holy Spirit or the subsequent baptism. It is a thing that comes only through trial and baptism by fire, where we are tested and purified. Our understanding of faith, grace and mercy are little to nothing until we find ourselves in the position where these thing are all we have to hang onto. Our relationship to God is nothing until walking by the Spirit is our only means to survival.
I know these ideas aren’t the doctrines the church teaches, but these are some of the things that God has given me as convictions for over the years. They make sense in a real way to me, where many of our doctrines don’t. God wants each of us to come into a relationship with Him. Because of that, He doesn’t set up a bunch of rules and regulations for us to follow or expect us to change where we don’t have it in ourselves to. He sees us where we are at and has come to meet us wherever we are. Even if we aren’t ready to accept Him as “God”, He is willing to begin a relationship with whatever we have to bring to the table. The main thing is that we be true to whatever the revelation of Him that we are given, however much or little that may be. As long as we don’t give up and continue to fight the good fight, He will bring His work in our lives to completion.
Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:17 PM
Getting to this point in my walk (after more discipline) is what has fired up my whole life and given me the strength to keep on going in this sad world. Now I am driven in my heart to show this to others, to talk to them about the deeper life of thankfulness and praise to our Savior. I'm 62 yrs old and finally I walk with my Lord through out the day, read my bible daily. I've gone from just trying to be a giving person and taking care of my daily needs to looking for the little things God puts before me each day so He can work through me. Those are the things I live for. I've got a long way to go but I know my direction and my Light. My thankfulness is full and I see His Hand all the time.
I think one final thing that characterizes my spirited filled life is that I don't let anything come between me and God. I will protect this at all costs. And if I have to forgo some of life's pleasures or not get what I think I want it's Ok. I'm moving towards being content with what ever state I'm in. And all the glory goes to my God and Savior who gave me faith and His love.
Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:56 AM
I want to stress again that this is how it is for me. A lady once prophesied over me and she said, "Jesus is inviting you, but you will also be invited." She also said that she saw a vision of me sitting alone with a basket and inside the basket were journals that I had penned after spending time with the Lord. Recently the meaning of this prophecy came true as I struggled between two paths. Both paths seemed good. One direction took me alone with the Lord where I could continue towards seeking to serve Him outside the church. It would be Jesus and me in solitary places. A church would still be in the picture, but it wouldn't be my primary focus. The other path placed me inside a church with the aim of seeking to help the church expand. The invitation from this church came in the mail. Both seemed like good choices and I bounced back and forth. Finally, I realized that for me to walk in the spirit where I found God's infilling and joy, meant severing the branches that contained the church. Indeed, it was draining me of God's infilling, for it was not God's plan for me.
As soon as I realized this the infilling of God came flooding back and I felt the return of His peace and favor.This path is not the same for everyone. Thus, to be infilled, I think, one has to find God's perfect plan. The result is God's peace, and God's nature flowing through His vessels. What does this look like in me? Well, it is a peaceful surrendered countenance, a feeling that I am walking in God's presence, and there is joy. I also feel God's love for me and extending to others through me. Thus I see fruits of love, peace, joy and the rest (see Galatians 5:22-23).
Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:14 AM
Friday, December 28, 2012
We can only know and prove the fullness of the Spirit as we step out into the larger purposes and plans of Christ for the world.
Perhaps the chief reason why the Holy Spirit has been so limited in His work in the hearts of Christians is the shameful neglect of the unsaved and unevangelized world by the great majority of the professed followers of Christ. There are millions of professing Christians and, perhaps, real Christians-in the world who have never given one real, earnest thought to the evangelization of the heathen world.
God will not give the Holy Spirit in His fullness for the selfish enjoyment of any Christian. His power is a great trust that we must use for the benefit of others and for the evangelization of the lost and sinful world. Not until the people of God begin to understand His real purpose for the salvation of men will the Church ever know the fullness of her Pentecost. God's promised power must lie along the line of duty. As we obey the command we shall receive His promise in His fullness.
Lord, help me to understand Thy plan.
The Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him—Acts 5:32
Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:38 AM
Posted 28 December 2012 - 03:30 PM