Friday, March 21, 2014
How do you see yourself – as someone with a little old garden fork, or one of these?
WE READ about Christianity in the New Testament era, but how familiar is it? How close to, or far from, our individual and church experience? The broad answer is that we miss much of God’s design for our lives and body life as a church. We dumb it down.
Why do we read it; the Holy Spirit explains it and teaches it, conference speakers champion it, the pastor preaches it (bless him!); people on overseas missions see it, the small groups discuss it – but we still struggle, in parts at least, to get it?
Strongholds in us act as places where God’s truth can’t reach. Imagine a sponge that has had paint spilt on it. There was a clean up and, through use, the outer part has become quite sponge-like again but the inner bit, which can’t be seen, has hard places which don’t absorb. Fortunately we’re far too valuable to throw away like a sponge, and we have great capacity to be made new.
Strongholds make it difficult for us to interact with both realms, the natural and the realm of the heavenlies, as we are designed to. We’re more likely to be resigned to “this is how I am” or “this is how it is” rather than asking why, yes WHY? – with holy dissatisfaction. We lapse into a less-than-biblical expectation of how our prayer life, interacting with the realm of the heavenlies, brings beneficial change in the natural realm with all its problems and difficulties.
- The Holy Spirit encourages us – and gives revelation
- Strongholds hold us back – and cause spiritual blindness
Once we understand those two things, it is a different story. We have to work at it, but our walk becomes a power walk. Every step brings incremental change. If God is for us, who (effectively) can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
Knowing who we are in Christ, and knowing how God wants to use us as those who are His, is a big key. We need to hold these two pictures together – the natural picture, with us trying to make life work here on earth. And by the side of it, the spiritual picture, how we are viewed in the perspective of the heavenlies, the power and favour made available to us just because of who we are in Jesus – and the threat we are to the enemy.
Paul writes to the Ephesus believers about “understanding the wonderful future He has promised to those He called… a rich and glorious inheritance… the incredible greatness of His power for us who believe Him… the same mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him in the place of honour at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 1:18-20)
As the saying goes, He’s done it before.
He wants us to realise, get hold of and start using the “mighty power at work within us” that we are plugged into, as those who are in Christ. The enemy, using every stronghold he can maintain, wants us not to realise, to feel unworthy to take hold of, and fearful of starting to use, this power. But that’s not really an opposing power at all – it is a barrier. It’s a film-set, made of paper and plywood, with no real substance. The truth is that Jesus is the victor, and “His mighty power at work within us… is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope for.” (Ephesians 3:19-20). So hop up, push open the throttle, drive at that film-set barrier and go through it and beyond. The purpose God has for you, He will surely empower you to carry out.