2020 was an historic year when God brought the Church out of spiritual Egypt into the Promised Land. Jesus is coming back soon therefore God’s purpose now, is to prepare his bride so we can reign with him. Previous newsletters shared the importance of character and truth, two essential areas we must focus on. Another key area of preparation is our relationship with Christ.
In Hebrews 6:1-3 the writer outlines the first principles of Christ, “Repentance from dead works, faith toward God, etc”. Finally the writer says three key words, “if God permits”. I was surprised because it does not say, go on to maturity after we have studied these truths, or when Pastor says so or when we feel like it. It says go on to maturity “if God permits”. If it is God who decides what we do, then we must have a relationship with him.
Through the Holy Spirit we can all have a relationship with God. God wanted a relationship with Israel but they refused saying, “Give us a King like the other nations!” How shocking for someone to pass up an opportunity like this. From Genesis to Revelations, we see God having a relationship with man. This is the privilege of every Christian, so a good discipleship program will include developing a relationship with Christ.
An important way God speaks to us is through our conscience. Paul kept a clear conscience between God and man, Acts 23:1. Paul also warned, in the last days Christians will go into the demonic, being led astray by people whose conscience is seared, 1 Timothy 4:1-2. As a non-Christian hooked on drugs, I violated my conscience many times. After becoming a Christian I backslid, then when I came back to Church the Holy Spirit reminded me of the many times he convicted me of sin and disobedience. I was shocked! The convictions went totally over my head, I had seared my conscience.
The devil cannot convict of sin, only the Holy Spirit. Conviction is very precise. We know when there is a pricking of the conscience and we see our sin clearly. The devil can only accuse, condemn and make us feel guilty, but not convict. After coming back to Christ I paid close attention to my conscience and repented of all the Holy Spirit’s convictions. Therefore an important part of our relationship with God is our conscience and conviction of the Holy Spirit. As I mature, I make every endeavor to keep a clear conscience between God and man.
As a young Christian the Holy Spirit convicted me of 2 Chronicles 7:14. I spent hours seeking his face and repenting of all known sin. During this time I had a dream and the following Sunday, our Senior Pastor preached on the topic in my dream. I knew God had spoken. The facts of the dream were crystal clear and vivid, it was as if I was really there. God will also speak through visions.
He will also speak through an audible voice, a still small voice and revelations to our spirit. The revelations are crystal clear, dividing between soul and spirit, Hebrews 4:12. It is the Holy Spirit revealing something to our spirit. It is not imagination or a thought, but a revelation directly to our spirit.
Often my calls to intercession come through a burden or concern for something. When I sense this, I put aside my thoughts and feelings on the matter. In this way it is reasonably easy to discern the burden of the Lord rather than my own feelings. As I pray into the matter, the Holy Spirit then gives me understanding on how to pray.
The clearest, most balanced teaching I have read on divine guidance is, Loren Cunningham’s book “Is that really you God?”. Some people teach about lining up three lighthouses to know God’s will. When Abraham offered up Isaac he never had three lighthouses. He only had a word from God and he didn’t know the outcome. Sometimes it is like that. When we went overseas we only had one word, “Go”. We didn’t know where, what or why but we obeyed. Sometimes God gives us more guidance than this, but not always.
One key thing Loren Cunningham wrote is, “Go back to the day you were born-again. What was that experience like. What was the revelation like?” Only God can bring us to Christ, either through conviction of sin, a revelation of himself or the cross. No false religion or cult know who God is, who Jesus is and the truth of the cross. So it is only God who can do this. When I had a revelation of Christ’s death it was crystal clear, as if I was standing at Golgotha. Then I had a revelation of Jesus saying to Mary, “Do not touch me, I have not yet risen”. Then Jesus rose into heaven. Only God can give us a revelation like this.
For Faith it was different. As a suicidal fifteen year old kid with a broken heart, she saw Christ died on the cross for her sins. Then she cried and cried at the altar, receiving healing from her trauma. However we come into the Kingdom, take note of that experience. Only God can do this and although he will speak to us in different ways, the clarity will be the same as the day we were born-again.
A lot of what we do, will come out of our relationship with Christ. Remember to balance your guidance with biblical principles, the word of God and common sense. Keep balanced, listen to your conscience and be guided by the Holy Spirit as you go on to maturity.
Your Christ followers
Love Tim & Faith