Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Change Can Be Good

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Many of us are used to God operating in our lives in a specific way, and when we don’t feel Him moving in a way that we’re used to, we can become anxious, confused, or even defiant. Of course, there can be different reasons why we may not be experiencing God’s presence, but one of the reasons is that God is constantly moving. He never remains stagnant, and though God Himself never changes, times, seasons, and administrations of the Spirit do (I Corinthians 12:5).

Many years ago, Martin Luther (a Roman Catholic at the time) got the revelation that the “just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38) at a time when the church was deeply involved in religious tradition and control. Though this was by no means a new revelation, it had been lost to the church and obscured through the traditions of men. God used Martin Luther to help bring the church back to this foundational truth. It was a “movement” that had a season, and once a foundation had been laid, the “movement” ended and the church was expected to build upon this foundation and move forward (Hebrews 6:1-2). Many indeed did move forward, and the Protestant Reformation was birthed. However, others camped there, and relished in the glory of “bygone days,” and instead of moving forward and building upon the foundation of what God had revealed, they established the Lutheran Church as an icon, a relic, and a divisive symbol instead of continuing on a path that was intended to bring freedom and unity. They did the very same thing that they had accused the Catholics of doing, and it brought many back into bondage (I Corinthians 1:11-13). The devil has used this tactic for thousands of years. In fact, this is precisely why God hid the body of Moses after he died, and why Satan so diligently contended for it (Jude 1:9).

When Moses died, God intended the people to move forward (Joshua 1:2). Joshua was to lead the people across Jordan and into their promise, but they couldn’t adequately follow him while holding onto Moses. Moses needed to remain dead, and not be resurrected by the people. This is how our lives work, we must know when something is dead, and be able to recognize the next phase of what God wants us to step into. We must be willing to adapt to change. A religious spirit will always resist change.

When Jesus appeared on the scene, He did and said nothing that was unscriptural according to the Old Testament or the Law of Moses. But because the Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t have an understanding of what God was doing, they missed the time of their visitation. God had been speaking to them for centuries through prophets and kings, but they couldn’t hear because it was not what they were accustomed to.

The people of God understand the wisdom of God, because they are attuned to the Spirit of God. When Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, the lions became peaceful, but when Samson ran across a lion, he tore it to pieces (Judges 14:6, Daniel 6:22). Daniel could have said, “I know how this is supposed to be done!” “I remember Samson!” “I must tear the lions to pieces!” But if Daniel had attempted to do this, the book of Daniel would most likely have been cut short. Daniel knew his God, and he was able to discern the correct administration of the Spirit for the season that he was in. For example, today many Christians are persecuting the “prosperity message” of the gospel, not realizing that they are opposing a genuine move of God, a move of God that is as blatant in scripture concerning the end-time church as were the prophetic announcements regarding the birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus (Isaiah 60:1-5, Haggai 2:7-9). Sure, there have been abuses, but there are abuses with every move of God. Religious tradition and pride blinds people from seeing God’s call for the hour.

Different seasons bring different mandates, and just because God moved in a certain way once, does not mean that He will do it that way again. Jesus addressed this with the Pharisees who were puffed up and gloating in the fact that if they were alive in the days of their fathers, they would not have killed the prophets, which of course was a bunch of… “Hogwash!” They were full of pride, and could not discern what God was doing presently in their midst (Matthew 23-29-33). Many believers relish in the days of Martin Luther, John Knox, John Wesley, John Calvin, and others, but they persecute the apostles and prophets that God sends them today (if they even believe that there are modern day apostles and prophets). Of course no one is perfect, and all of these early reformers had their problems, and some of them were serious. But religion loves dead preachers and hates and persecutes those who are alive. Why? Because dead preachers are of little threat, as they bring no present day anointing or revelation.

God’s working in our lives as individuals also changes. There may have been times in our lives when we did nothing but pray, but then things change. If we are not careful, we will think that we have missed God, and that He is not talking to us, when in fact, He is. If we attempt to pray in a season when we should be working, we will grow weary, frustrated and discouraged. There will be no grace on our lives to do what we are attempting to do, because we’re not supposed to be doing it! A wise man discerns both time and judgment (Ecclesiastes 8:5). He knows the season, and he knows what he is supposed to be doing in that season. “Well, I long for the good ‘ole days!” No, forget about the good ‘ole days! The Apostle Paul declared by the Holy Spirit, “Forget the things which are behind, and reach forth unto those things which are before you…” God has something else for you to do. The devil will try to hold us in the past, whether by reminiscing about pleasant memories, or rehearsing past failures, offences and hurts. Jesus told us that after putting our hand to the plow, looking back, we become unfit for the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). Religion always looks back, but God always moves forward.

Understanding time and judgment will cause longevity in our walk with the Lord, for Jesus said “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).There is a rest that God wants us to enter into; a place of rest where we cease from our own works, and take His strength upon us. It is a place of peace, a place of power, and a place of lasting victory. This place of rest can only be found as we adjust and align ourselves to the way that God is directing us in the proper time.

As a child matures, the way that a parent relates to that child changes; there may have been a time
when you felt the presence of the Lord all the time, but now God wants you to step into a new level of maturity and live by faith. God hasn’t left you, but He has declared to every believer, “The just shall live by faith…” The Holy Spirit admonished us to labor to enter into His rest (Hebrews 4:9-10). This seems like a paradox in terms, but it is not. We must labor to keep our mind renewed, and labor to resist the temptation to organize and orchestrate our own lives, independent of God. Much of the time (though we don’t say it consciously) we say, “Well, you just sit right back there Jesus!” “I’m your man!” “I’ve got this thing covered!” “You’re going to be so proud of me!” And then we fall flat on our face. God wants to live His victorious life through us; He doesn’t want us expending fleshly energy attempting to “please” Him (I Corinthians 1:29).

God wants to be involved in every facet of our lives, and He desires that we have perfect peace and victory one hundred percent of the time (Isaiah 26:3, II Corinthians 2:14). He desires to orchestrate our lives in perfect precision through the working of His grace in our lives. He wants us to abide there and to never come out.