This month's teaching : Repentance

Being Led by The Spirit

Being led by the Holy Spirit is often viewed as being some kind of mystical experience of spiritual ecstasy. This is far from the truth in every way. Being led by the Spirit is an act of obedience to that which the Holy Spirit has inscribed within our heart. I have found that some of the greatest miracles performed by God’s hand in my life, were simply brought by obedience to something burdened in my heart by the Holy Spirit. I have often said that He leads our feet where He wants our face. Many are led by their face and what they see and hear, walking away from the place where God wants them to function. Lot is an example of this, having been led by what he saw by his face, he walked into Sodom.

The problem with most Spirit-filled believers is that they do not trust what is in their heart to do. When the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes upon a man, he is called to walk in the presence of God by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The sign of divine sonship is the basic truth of a walk of simple obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit within, not without. We must recognize unquestionably that the Holy Spirit lives within the true children of God. Many clearly do not carry that authentication, having no confirming results of fruit of the Holy Spirit.

The affirmation of the Holy Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit is not our own fruit, but solely the fruit of the Holy Spirit. This spiritual fruit cannot be cooked up or produced by ability outside of the power of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Some have forms of this fruit, but they are circumstantial and not spiritual fruit. Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance… These fruits abide under all circumstances when the presence of the Holy Spirit is within the temple of God. A lack of the fruit of the Spirit, speaks of a lack of the presence of the Holy Spirit. A lack of the presence of the Holy Spirit, speaks of the misunderstanding of the importance of being led by the Holy Spirit. When we are not being led by the Spirit, we are led by ourselves. When we are led by ourselves, we are not sons of God. When we are not sons of God, who are we? Many stand in this unsure position, not knowing who they are. Our confidence is in the conclusion of who we think we are.

Most professing Christians have almost no sense of the Holy Spirit within them, they are missing the link we must have between us and heaven. While many would argue this position, it is because they lack regard for the importance of being led by the Spirit—this being the only way to true sonship. Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit and came forth out of the wilderness by the power of the Spirit. When we are obedient in being led by the Spirit, we become empowered by the Spirit. This truth is the difference between powerlessness and living by the supernatural power of the Spirit. It was never God’s intention for His children to live out a form of holiness, without being filled by the power of the Spirit. Once one experiences the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, He becomes a reality within. This person is aware of His indwelling, and overflowing presence always. This brings a constant desire to be led by the Spirit. He becomes a guiding reliance that you are lost without.

When we are led by the Spirit, we are led into all truth; we love embracing the truth regardless of the cost. He comforts us, and we are receptive to being taught by Him. Many will desire to teach us preferences, but we cannot receive it when it is the opinion of man and not from the Holy Spirit. There will always be those who desire to derail the Spirit-filled man by foreign opinion, and mixed concoctions of self and pretense. But when a spiritual man knows the voice of the Spirit within, he is not persuaded by opinions or things contrary to the truth written in the Word and in his heart. Being led by the Spirit is being faithful to that which is written. Being led by the Spirit is being faithful to that true voice. True followers, who are full of the Holy Spirit, are as sheep to their master. John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Jesus said in John 18:37, “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice”. If we are of truth, we hear His voice and it can be difficult to follow at times, but we hear it distinctly. Hallelujah!

The Jesus Effect

There was a clearly visible work that was present everywhere Jesus went. The devils fled, the lame walked, the blind saw, the deaf heard, and the Pharisees opposed Him tirelessly. Jesus cast out devils and was accused of doing so with satanic powers from Beelzebub. Around these self-righteous people, Jesus could do nothing right. The Pharisees had fewer problems with those that were bound by Satan than with those that were freed from Satan. Jesus healed a withered hand on the Sabbath and they took counsel on how to destroy Him because of it.

Jesus was a tender and careful man toward those of true faith. Matthew 12:19 He shall not wrangle, nor yell; neither shall any man hear him protest in the streets. V.20 a bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench. The meaning of verse 20 is vastly different than what is depicted by most translations. The original writings indicate that a reed was a pen. He therefore would not break the pen even if it was bruised—indicating that the pen of a writer who wrote things about or against Him, He would not crush or deal with. The smoking flax He would not quench. The original words here portray a different meaning than is commonly understood. The word flax means linen and smoking means gloating. We have heard the term, “someone blowing off smoke”. It would simply mean that He would not destroy someone’s pride unless He could help them, whether a writer or a smoke blower. In other words, there are times the natural man desires to correct someone merely to deflate and demean them. Jesus would not do so for those reasons, but rather, only if He could help them and by judgment bring victory. This was the Jesus effect. People with big egos are always troubled if they see someone else’s ego. Jesus had no ego and it was seemingly not bothersome to Him if others did. If he saw that in someone, He would leave them alone unless His judging them would bring them victory. This appears to be what is portrayed here.

The old religious nature is so toxic that it passes judgment without assuming any responsibility for redemptive gentleness toward someone. When Jesus truly is within our heart, there are certain effects that become visible wherever we go. Jesus was not critical of people who had spiritual issues. This was His divine purpose in appearing to mankind. Jesus did, however, have a big issue with those who had forms of godliness, yet without God’s resident power. He knew that the power of God is manifested within the character and nature of a man who has the presence of God within. Those who professed God through religious formality, yet had great absence of his genuine power, were problematic to Christ. This hypocrisy was far from the authentic experience that Jesus knew. Conflict perpetually followed Jesus because of the introduction of overflowing virtues of grace, love, and truth. It was completely genuine and heavenly. This power prefaced a kingdom where man could be transformed from the lowest corrupted conditions of depravity, to spiritual equality previously unknown to man. This caused disturbing conflict with the pretenders and still does so today.

Caring kindness is never absent around Jesus. Love with understanding is always present. Restoration and receptiveness are like musical harmonies drowning out petty criticisms when Jesus is present. The Jesus effect is not nosiness in other people’s matters. The Jesus effect hopes all things and is kind and wishes well to all.

Many have desired to be more like Jesus without looking to Jesus. No practice or strict discipline will replace the effect that Jesus has. Many have pursued this alteration, but with frustration, collapse back into the old religious habits of judging with the eye and with the ear. Wherever Jesus went and whatever He did, the pious and self-righteous were always stirred up so that they were continually angry with Him. They could not stay away from Him, yet all they spoke of was the problems they had with Him.

Many seem to have some form of godliness and we might never know who they truly are. However, there are some general characteristics that define the actions of man concerning Jesus. We are either with Him or we are against Him. Jesus defines this further in Matthew 12:30“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathers not with me scatters abroad”. From within the heart of everyone, shines a beacon that represents a source. These effects may be subtle, or very evident. It will tend to either gather or scatter the saints. We must ask ourselves the question, do my effects tend to gather or scatter?

Moments of Importance

We can suppose Adam and Eve may have met their temptation with thinking along these lines—we’re the only ones here, nobody else will ever be affected if we taste of this fruit or if we don’t. Surely it would take more than one little thing between God and us to ruin such a perfect relationship. God’s kindness and understanding would never allow us to be separated; He is very indebted to us, He created us! If only they had known the condition of the world and the effects shown in everyone’s personal life, 6,000 years later. How can that one moment in the Garden be so enormous? Was it that much more significant than the decisions we face today?

I have observed that it seems the smallest and most insignificant events, produce the greatest life-altering circumstances. The fruit of the tree of knowledge was not to be tasted or touched. How small is that? A fruit! How can a small fruit change the entire future of billions of souls, plunging them into corrupt adulteration? How powerful and vast are the small things! How can touch and taste be so powerful? How can that one moment of suggestive logic be so devastating? Was it the serpent or was it disobedience?

Israel was in the midst of a huge spiritual defeat, defined by a final threat from a Philistine giant. There was no one powerful enough to take down this adversary of God’s people. A young, inexperienced shepherd boy from the hills of Hebron, near Bethlehem, was delivering cheese, corn, and bread to his brothers at the warfront on the ridge of Elah, when he heard about Goliath. He was scorned by his brothers because of his inexperience and stature. David should have never approached this confrontation; it was not in his category of duty. The moment seemed all wrong.

Lodged deep in the experience of time there was a moment when a prophet poured oil upon the life of a young lad in the hills of Judea. His life was never same from there forward. 1 Samuel 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. Then he became an armor-bearer for the king. Among his grand duties, he still fed the sheep of his father, and amongst the carrying out of tasks insignificant, here was this moment when he saw the giant man with a 5-gallon-sized head, being almost ten feet tall.

I’ve stood on this hill in the valley of Elah several times to envision the conflict. There was a moment when David remembered the oil of anointing upon him—it was in the valley of Elah, when things came alive by the mighty hand of God upon a lad of no recognizable significance. There was oil upon him from the hand of God; It was the equipment he needed in that moment to trust the Lord with power and faith in His purpose. He was transitioning from shepherd to heavenly warrior. A lad transitioning to a king of highest cause, directed by Almighty God himself! It was the earliest preforming of a rising emperor. It was a moment of importance and purpose, much deeper than the grasps of highest human wisdom could comprehend. David’s mighty work started with a stone. It was a defining moment in world history and still is to this day. God’s moment with you and a stone could break the tallest and strongest of human strength.

Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tested. Forty days later, He came out of the wilderness, empowered by the Holy Spirit. We read that Jesus had four specific encounters with Satan. Three times in the desert while being Spirit-led; once while walking with His most useful disciple, Peter. It was after Peter suggested to Jesus that He would not have to die on the cross that Jesus said to Peter, “Satan, get thou behind me”. Satan always tries to get in front of us and influence us wrongly. The place for Satan is never in front of us, he must be ordered to get behind us, in the name of Jesus. If Jesus would have yielded to any one of these suggestions, it would have obliterated the plan of salvation for humanity.

Moments of great importance nearly always appear as instances of no great significance. We tend to allow our minds to deviate from the consequential reality of our decision-making moments. All moments are assigned to accomplish the will of God, and all opportunity is a gift released alone by His grace! Hallelujah!

God Answers A Hurting Man

The despair of the righteous in difficult times is often so profound that hope appears as a foolish notion one dares not discuss, not even with God. There are professing Christians who are shallow, having very little depth in their walk with the Lord, and with sloppy reverence they try to be Christians. There are those with a sincere and yearning heart to follow after God with what they know. Then there are those who are truly followers of Christ, who walk in greater depth of faithfulness and have been sealed by the Holy Spirit through faith deeply established by years of loyalty. In all the different categories of our spiritual experience as Christians, we at times become bewildered and deeply grieved by disappointments that occur amidst our time of peaceful serenity in Christ. This can happen when something, or even someone, creates an unanticipated situation designed to displace our loyal service to Christ. I am not referencing light afflictions, but the extremely difficult situations with effects that linger to disrupt our purity and holiness—established in the presence of God.

These disappointments can bring us into grave situations of utter despair and anguish for a season. At times, even trust seems to fail; we may even question our faith in God. Sometimes there are tragic circumstances that encounter us and are designed to destroy the tender love and faith we have in our relationship with Christ. When we get into these situations, we’re often encumbered with utter despair. In these places of anguish, we tend to look at everything in a way that takes us even deeper into misery. We find ourselves in a place where we become distraught and troubled on every side. There seems to be nowhere to look for refuge; any ray of hope is only a façade leading to further dismay. At times, every move we make thrusts us into deeper cycles of dejection and inconceivable feelings of isolation. These advanced stages of testing can even bring a vibrant prayer-life to a sudden halt. We begin to process thoughts of questioning, sifting through ideas of what could cause this torrent of despair. Is it something I did wrong? Are we in the crosshairs of Satan’s conflict against our very soul? What went wrong?

Often, I refrain from speaking much about this, because there are many who will associate their troubles with spiritual trials, when in truth, it is only that their sinful life is being exposed. I am writing about the many afflictions of the righteous, not the unrighteous. We must never misunderstand this in any sort of way. The issues that encumbered Job did not result from sin he had fallen into. It was simply that he was a righteous man, with loyalty even observed from heaven when his name was brought up at a meeting amidst the sons of God.

Job was a man that was perfect and upright, he feared God and hated sin. Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters. He had 7000 sheep 3000 camels 500 yoke oxen 500 asses.

He was the greatest amongst the men of the East. Job sanctified his family continually unto the Lord, in case they fell into hidden sin. His integrity and loyalty before the Lord was so solid, that Satan remarked on God’s blessing and protection over him. Satan said, ‘If you take that away from him, he will curse you to your face’. God told him he could take all from Job, except for his life. Satan did it all in one day. This calamity was to an extreme degree that few people in all of history have ever experienced. It is estimated that Job’s assets were around 20 million approximately 3,600 years ago, far richer than anyone in our day. It appears that all was lost in a day and nothing was left for him. His health was taken, and his friends became ill-advisers, turning out to be enemies.

So, in a short conclusion, Job was extremely troubled—he lost everything, and had every reason to be the most down-cast man on all the earth. God gave him to Satan to be nearly destroyed in order to prove to him that Job would not sin with his lips, but would only fear God. He lost all his wealth and his children, and his friends greatly misunderstood him, basically accusing him of sin. We would think if ever a man needed tender care and understanding, and the love of God in a way that brings hope, it was Job in this moment!

This is what he got from God: Job 40:6 Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said V.7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Job 40:10 Deck you now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. V.12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. V.13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. V.14 Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.

‘Get up and stop crying, clothe yourself with excellence and beauty and cast away the rage of your wrath: look at the one that is proud, and humiliate him.’ And Job was fully restored and given more than he ever had before, including sons and daughters. What was his victory?

The Spirit of Man

If there is any one thing on earth that God desires to compare Himself with, it is mankind; it is in us that He is expressed. We are created in His likeness and image. The source of God’s expression of similitude in likeness and image, was His own eminent righteousness and holiness. We tend to recognize this only in the physical sense, but the greater aspect is spiritual. This is exemplified in that God created us as spiritual beings, designed to live forever. These details of image and likeness have multi-dimensional depth that most do not recognize for lack of the pursuit of understanding. The fall of mankind in Eden was a massive shift away from God’s pattern of righteousness and holiness. There were no slight shifts of mere error in Eden that day. It was a gigantic and extremely destructive phenomenon which massacred the relationship between God and man. To begin to understand this collapse of horror, we must understand the Creator’s mighty spiritual impregnation of our eternal spirit within.

Within man there is an incredible edifice, designed to be strong enough to contain the presence of God and to disperse the resemblance of the majesty of His presence. This is a holy place and a temple of God, garnished as His office where the sacred meeting of His presence with man occurs. The directive given to Adam had connotations of maintaining order and beauty of the garden and everything within the garden. The outworking of this union was through spiritual strength with primary elements of dominion. This spiritual union between God and man was to subdue everything that was above and beneath the earth.

The destroyer was already present in the garden, lodged in a tree called knowledge. Somehow it was the tree of knowledge that he found to be the instrument of enticement. The contamination of that tree was to be subdued in one way—by leaving it alone. ‘Do not touch or eat of it’, was the simple solution of obedience. Herein we must understand that Adam’s dominance was to be propagated by these two directives—firstly, do not touch, and secondly, do not eat of that which hangs on its branches.

The pure and complete defense mechanism with which God equipped man, was righteousness. The opposite of that righteousness was to touch and eat from the branches of the tree of knowledge, where good and evil lodged together. When we look at God’s righteousness as being the defense against Satan’s artillery, we begin to understand our position in Christ. Paul instructs us in Ephesians 6:14 to cover the heart with a breastplate. He calls this breastplate, righteousness. We think of guarding the heart and tend immediately to forget that our heart is protected from the inside out. The righteousness of Christ is what protects the heart; it protects the heart against engagement from within. With this shield in place, the heart is protected from engagement through the mouth as well. The defense of Christ in the wilderness was alone what was written. We also must remember the silence of Christ throughout His trial, prior to His death. Satan goes about to steal, kill, and destroy. Satan wants to steal what is in the heart, which is what he did in Eden. This he can do if we give in to him with the mouth, for out of the mouth, the heart speaks. This is when the breastplate stands in full defense and we shall never flinch here with reasoning. Oh, that I would have understood this earlier!

God’s expression of likeness and image is exemplified in man. Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the heart. 1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him, even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Our spirit is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Our spirit knows all about us and God’s Spirit knows everything about God and us. This lies within us and is called a temple. This temple headquarters between God and man is lodged within us and is called our spirit. Never do we find the Bible teaching that the spirit can be annihilated or become extinct. This one function was designed to house the voice of God, or the Spirit of God. At the fall of man, the voice fled and was later found walking in the cool of the day seeking Adam. The spirit of man chased out the presence of God from within him, becoming void, dormant, and hollow—vulnerable to death and all its forms.

When Christ transforms fallen man and the Holy Spirit enters him, all that was stolen from Adam in Eden is restored. Christ’s righteousness is restored immediately and man becomes a new creature. The forgiveness of sin and acknowledgement of iniquity starts a radical and progressive move of restoration in man’s spirit. The Holy Spirit immediately finds the place originally designed for Him and flies with wings of a dove to His place of rest, and the glory of the Lord restores the temple of praise and power and majesty to reign till the return of Christ!