You and I want to find God.
If you’re reading this, that’s why you’re here.
You want to find Him in clearer understanding than you have to date.
And you want to find Him in closer relationship than you have to date.
Last week we discussed that in order to chase Him passionately and unendingly, we need to have a spark generated in us for the search. But this week, you and I will discuss the single most important element of the search process, that without, will land us significantly shy of both true knowledge of God and intimate relationship with Him.
Cutting right to the chase, the absolute most important element in our search for God is…
the Holy Spirit.
SEEKING THINGS ABOVE
The truth is, you and are are seeking for Someone who lives in a realm higher than earth. He lives in a location and sphere that has it’s own ways, agendas, timelines, customs, history, power, and even language. If you and I want to understand the One who resides there, and the Book He’s dictated to communicate to us through, we are going to need the help of One from that actual realm.
To give an earthly example, my husband has been watching “The Crown” on Netflix recently. I have only been able to catch one episode with him. But from what I gather, royal life in England has it’s own customs, history, language/jargon, agendas, timelines, power, etc, that are altogether different from those of where we’re from. If my husband and I were to get a long letter from Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth today, I know for certain that my husband would have a far easier time understanding the communication from the palace than I would. He’s through (or nearly through) every episode now. He’s learned a lot about royal life and history from the show. Not only that, watching the show has piqued his interest to learn more about the ins and outs of the English Government. This has lead him to do further reading about the monarchy and government of our friends “across the pond.” I, on the other hand, have done no such research, and don’t even have a clear picture of the overall scope of the show… other than a few brief things he has shared with me about it.
(Note: We realize the show is based on the true story, but not a perfect representation of it. But please go with me here, for the sake of the illustration.)
If the letter to us from Her Majesty arrived in the mail at a time my husband was home, he’d be able to help me understand the message of the Queen. Though this would still be from his relatively limited knowledge base, and through his American lens. On the other hand, if we received the letter from the hands of a royal courier from not only England, but the royal Palace itself, AND she or he stayed on hand as we read it, to help us interpret it exactly as the Queen meant it, our ability to understand the Queen and to respond appropriately to her would increase exponentially.
In the same way, you and I desperately need the Holy Spirit in our quest for God. We need the Holy Spirit to teach us and lead us into all truth concerning life and customs of Heaven, time as it is understood in Heaven, the language and jargon of Heaven, the agendas and timelines of Heaven, as well as the power that resides there. You and I can actually learn much about such things in the Bible. In fact, the Bible is (of course) absolutely essential in our search for God. However, if we read the Bible through the lens of earth, through the customs, language, and culture of the locale we call home on earth, as well as the time in which we live on earth, we’re going to significantly misunderstand God’s great big letter to us… causing us to significantly misunderstand God Himself—the very One we’re seeking to know! And so, we must come to understand the Scriptures, and God Himself, from the perspective of Heaven!
OUR PROVISION FROM HEAVEN
The good news concerning our s e a r c h for God this side of the cross, is that every single human living and breathing today has acute access to the Holy Spirit of God. It is as though the royal letter of the Queen has been personally handed to us by her own royal courier, and he or she’s stayed put—rather, moved in permanently—to answer all of our questions and then enable us to respond appropriately to the letter. Only, the Bible has been dictated by God, delivered to humanity through the Holy Spirit’s work of enabling humans to pen God’s words onto parchment and paper. And then has given all those interested in understanding its true meaning, the option to have His permanent presence with them as they seek to apprehend all contained in it.
As we’ve discussed around here a lot, the Holy Spirit enters the heart of man when she or he believes the Gospel (Eph. 1:13), that is, the good news that Jesus has defeated the devil (by dying on the cross), has resumed ownership of the earth, annulling the Edenic curse (through being buried), and has reconciled the human race to God, making her an official nation with royal rights and privileges, including that of defending herself against the darkness that seeks to yet overthrow her (because of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead). The moment we believe this good news of Jesus and His work of the cross, we are immediately sealed by the Holy Spirit as a recognized member of the kingdom of God, and the Holy Spirit enters our hearts permanently to lead us into all truth, and to empower us to live from all that’s now ours because of the cross, burial, and resurrection of Jesus!
Does it get any better than that?
THE STORY IS NOT COMPLETED YET
So the truth is, a Day still future is coming, when both the Earth and our bodies will be rid of all darkness (Rom. 8:19-23). The head of the dark regime is dead (because of the cross), but his minions still lurk around us, seeking to blind us, rule over us, destroy us, and keep us from God. But do not lose heart, they will be overthrown on the Day decreed by God for vengeance against them.
In the mean time, a message has been sent to us in the form of the Bible and it’s Gospel. A message of good news. A message of union with God. A message of freedom. A message of all royal provision to us leading up to that Day. But we can only understand it with the help of the Spirit of God.
LEARNING TO WALK
And so, in our quest for God and knowing Him in knowledge and fellowship from Earth, you and I need the Holy Spirit. The first part is receiving Him within us—which I’ve just discussed happens by faith in Jesus and His cross-work on our behalf. The second part is that we must learn to “walk in the Spirit” we now have within us. Doing so will allow Him to teach us all things concerning the Heavenly places and God. Without His leading and teaching, we learn of God through Earth lenses, and this is no true means of arriving at High Heaven Truths!
I believe that in our seminaries, Bible colleges, and Sunday School and Bible Study classrooms around the globe, entire courses should be devoted to teaching believers how to “walk in the Spirit”. In fact, I believe these courses should always be prerequisites to, or at least be required at the same time as courses on Bible Hermeneutics (i.e.: Bible Interpretation methods). Unless we learn to walk in the Spirit and discern His guidance and teaching, you and I simply cannot arrive at God’s intended meaning of His Words, penned from Heaven, with its different jargon, language, customs, culture, and so on.
PRINCIPLES FOR WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
I believe with all my heart in learning crazy-smart methods of interpretation of information. But to close out our devotional today, let’s discuss some basic principles about “walking in the Spirit,” so we can begin to learn to function and learn from the Spirit as we read and study our Bibles.
1. Before you read, Reckon.
I am applying the concept of ‘Walking in the Spirit’ specifically to the task of searching for God in the Scriptures today. The truth is, believers in Jesus, who have the Holy Spirit residing in them, are called to ‘walk in the Spirit’ at all times of every day. We need the Spirit to walk in even one speck of freedom. “For the law of the Spirit of Life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:2). We cannot walk free of the oppression of our flesh (the sin ruling in our physical bodies), unless we walk from the Spirit of God, who is not only powerful, but overrules the forces of darkness in these bodies.
This explains why we need to ‘walk in the Spirit’ as we seek for God. Without the Spirit’s leading and teaching, we will be unable to discern God’s real meaning behind His Words, because the sin in our flesh will prevent us from seeing and perceiving it.
So the first step to ‘walking in the Spirit’ is reckoning, that is thinking on/counting on/considering/believing who we now are in Christ. Romans 6:11 says, “Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” As we remember the Gospel, the good news about what Christ did for us, we can remember that we are royally decreed and sealed as belonging to the kingdom of God, and as such members (knowing who we are is critical!), we are dead to the sin in our flesh. We no longer have to obey the commands of the flesh because we’re no longer its slaves. Rather, we are alive to God in Christ Jesus. By being a member of Christ Himself, His body (this happened at the cross too, Eph. 5:30), we now live from Him in Heaven. He is seated next to the throne of God, outside of the confines of the flesh of earth, in a glorified body, and free to function from God’s glory. So before we begin our days, our Bible studies, or any activity at all… as we journey through this life, it is our birthright to reckon, to mentally count ourselves as “dead to the sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” This is who we are. And this is who we can now live from! We no longer need to serve the sin in our members, but can now live serving God from His free, and high, and good, and loving glory.
Don’t just bet on it, count on it by faith.
2. Before you read, Trust.
Directly linked to ‘reckoning’ is the concept of trust. We must trust the God we’re believing we’re in. The One who has made us a people, a kingdom, His very possession and inheritance, empowers us to live free, and therefore understand high, Heaven things about Him… when we trust Him. Whether we realize it or not, you and I trust ourselves to live life. By trusting ourselves, we’re actually trusting the flesh we’re in. This is why so many of us are insecure and fearful. Our flesh is not reliable, because our flesh is actually against us (Galatians 5:17). But the Spirit is for us and loves us. As we reckon on Him, remembering we’re in Him, we must learn to trust Him too. Sometimes we get this confused and return to trusting ourselves because we think in Christ we ourselves are now reliable. No, what makes us “new creations” (2 Cor. 5:17) is that the Holy Spirit connects us to Jesus now. Our flesh has not yet changed (though one day it will! 1 Cor. 15:51), but our access to God through the Spirit has changed. We must trust Him to give us understanding, as well as to give us glory and power for Life.
So as you read, searching for the truth of God, trust God to reveal it to you through His Spirit in you.
3. Before you read, Pray.
Never crack your Bibles open before asking God to reveal His meaning and Himself in it to you as you study. Reckon first that you are alive to God in Christ Jesus, trust God as you seek Him, and then talk to Him, asking Him for your heart’s desire—the knowledge of Him (on every level)!
…I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… (Phil. 3:8)
4. As you read, Listen.
For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Heb. 5:13-14).
In the same way as you hear sin-in-the-flesh through your thought life, you will also hear the Holy Spirit. He communicates to us from the inward man, and specifically through the thought life.
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. (1 Cor. 2:10-13)
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak… (John 16:13)
So the Spirit speaks to us through the inner man, in our thought life. But, as Heb. 5:13-14 says, we must learn to discern His voice from the voice of sin/darkness. The enemy is deceptive, and masquerades as an angel of light. So we must exercise this muscles, growing from strength to strength. And one of the surest ways to do so, is by being in the Scriptures of God. The Spirit will always confirm and explain the Scriptures, not contradict them.
So friends, we just hit the proverbial “tip of the ice berg” on all we could discuss regarding ‘walking in the Spirit’ today. But if anything, we’ve at least learned this is an absolute essential when it comes to discovering the high things of God! When it comes to finding and knowing the God of Heaven! And if this is our only take away today, that’s great! But let this be a spring-board for you to search for understanding how to “walk in the Spirit.” Take the principles above, and dig for deeper understanding. Seek to learn this way of Life. Search for it with all your heart. At all cost. Your finding God depends completely upon it! And your experience of life—whether you live from life or death, light or darkness, freedom or slavery—hinges completely on it.
I encourage you today, keep going! If this all seems out of your league, don’t believe that lie. That’s from the enemy in your flesh who wants to keep you from God and ruin you. God and Life-through-Jesus is far far far more attainable than we realize. But the key is the Holy Spirit, and learning to walk in Him as you go. Yes, this is a journey. So keep seeking this, Friends. Seek Him through His Spirit. You will never ever be disappointed if you determine to never ever give up searching!
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Col. 3:1-2)
All my love to you!