Have we decided?

THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty
PART 39
HAVE WE DECIDED?

“Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, and with ALL thy soul, and with ALL thy mind. This is the first and greatest (most important) commandment.” (Mathew 22:37) Is this our highest priority?
One sure way to measure the fervency of our passion, is how we react to an article about spiritual commitment. If we yawn and roll our eyes, thinking that we are far too advanced for such elementary instruction, most likely we have a bad attitude problem. Actually, the wise and humble person is always interested in learning everything they can about God and never gets tired of growing and serving Him or His people. The “mature” disciple realizes how easily it is to be deceived with our own pride. If the Christian life seems boring, it is time to listen very closely, because somewhere deep inside of you, there is a blaring alarm that is going off. It is a warning message that is pleading with you to be renewed with blazing zeal and white-hot passion like you felt when you were first born-again. “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels”. (Proverbs 1:5) Now, allow me to ask a rather basic question that many may feel is ridiculous since they have been professing to be a Christian for several years. Is following God really in your heart? Brother, what kind of a question is that? I am saved, what more do you want me to say? Well, I have been thinking about my relationship with God and doing some “inventory” within my soul and to be honest, I am not satisfied with what I have found. Why are my eyes filled with tears right now? Because I know where I am and where I need to be, but they are NOT the same place. I believe there are many levels of commitment and living in the lower levels is NOT good enough!
This is the point in our conversation where many will say they are very busy and do not have time to finish the rest of this. They consider this type of talk for babies and have progressed far beyond this level of spirituality. For those of us who choose to remain, let us pray together, “Lord, the world is harsh and cold and sometimes we get tangled up in it. I love to retreat into your presence and I am learning it is the ONLY safe haven in the world. I do not want you to show me your glory so that I can brag about how spiritual I am – I want to know you just for who you are. I want to learn how to walk with you ALL the time. I do not want the sins of my flesh to keep me from being passionately intertwined with you. I desire to make you my highest priority. Help me, I so desperately need you, amen.”
My uncle is one of the closest people to my heart. He lives beside the Ocean and often takes walks down the beach as he talks to God. He worships and praises the Lord as the gentle winds blow, and as the Holy Spirit fills him to overflow, he becomes filled with joy like a little child as he listens to the whispers of heaven. He drinks in the beautiful sun and all of God’s wondrous nature as he pours his heart out to the Father. What freedom and peace to be saturated in the divine presence of Jesus! The holy of holies is not a geographic place on earth but the location is a humble heart that enters behind the veil of pure love, trust and obedience to God. We can experience the Lord in this manner anytime we want, and it does not matter where we make contact with Him – as long as we become determined to do it! It is this “vision” to be absorbed “into Him” that will make the difference between reading about other people’s encounters – and experiencing our own. Is being with Him the MOST important and valuable treasure in your life? Only you can search the depths of your soul and come up with an honest answer. If it is not – what is hindering your relationship and preventing your joy from overflowing?
You see, most Christians are only interested in receiving the promises and blessings that God desires to give. It is a no brainer to hold out your hands and take all of the supernatural miracles we can contain. However, this type of relationship is not necessarily a covenant VOW relationship – because only one side is doing all the giving. Well brother, I go to church and sometimes I give a little money, what do you want me to do? This is where many people have never had a revelation of what God wants. They believe we are “paying God back” with our deeds like going to church and being nice to the check-out girl. This religious idea is something we have come up with that relieves our guilty conscience from being convicted by “substituting” what we fear God really wants from us. Simply – He wants our will. Selah. He must have ALL of our heart before He can be our LORD. He is not interested in making deals, excuses or playing games. He just simply wants someone to love Him as much as He loves them – that is true covenant!
Our heart is like a thermometer with many different little indicating marks that represent the level of temperature. If we feel strongly (passionate burning desire) about something, we focus our attention and energy into it and our mercury rises into the range of highest priority. If we are “fickle” about an idea or opportunity, we become hesitant and start rubbing our forehead in contemplation and thus the temperature of our fire falls into the “cool” zone. We huff and blow and say we need to think about it, which usually means we are just not interested in it enough to “commit” our time or heart into it. And let us not forget that if we stay “room temperature” all the time, then we just float through life settling for mediocrity and a laid back, middle of the road attitude. This general lack of intensity about everything, (especially things related to God), becomes a problem in the spirit realm as it is commonly referred to as “lukewarm” and we all know that is NOT how God wants us to live. The old saying is true; we do what we really want to do!
Allow me to give an example, we have all listened to the experts tell us how healthy we would be to eat all the correct foods and exercise daily. Many of us have struggled with dieting and we may have even bought a piece of training equipment because we felt guilty about our weight or just wanted to improve our appearance. However, allow me to say that unless this idea becomes a burning passion we will NOT be successful! Why? Because we were never determined nor committed to the vision IN OUR HEART. Do not misunderstand me, it was a great thought and in our minds eye we could see it, but it was only a “whim”, it was a passing thought that we were never really serious about! We notice other people who are trim and athletic and we may feel inferior or intimidated but it still is not enough to convince us to change. We may look in the mirror and cry and moan and be depressed but this is still not enough inspiration for us to do it. In this particular area, what do you believe would be the one thing that would flip a switch in your heart that would cause you to become so focused that NOTHING could stop you from achieving your goal? Can we agree that to become the Christian that God is waiting for us to be, the process is the same? Does it not come down to a basic determination that nothing is going to stop us from making His will our highest priority? Is that the cry of our heart today? Is that what we want more than anything? Do we even believe this is what we desperately need?
Remember the rich man and Lazarus the beggar? The sick beggar cried at the rich man’s gate everyday but the rich man never helped him. They both eventually died and the beggar went to heaven but the rich man went to hell and in his misery he could see Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham. The rich man begged Abraham to allow Lazarus to go back and warn his five brothers to repent but Abraham said that even if someone came back from the dead – they would NOT listen. Change does not come from an external event but rather from a “quickening” of the spirit. God’s Word is the revelation that awakens and illuminates our DESTINY. Selah.
When the revelation switch is turned on, it will open the door to where the miracle of spiritual metamorphosis becomes a walk – instead of a talk. In our personal life we need more spiritual manifestation and less religious thinking. Being religious is easy because it is about looking good on the OUTSIDE and that always includes giving glory to the flesh. That is why religion has been so popular and will always be held in social and political prominence. Being spiritual is a completely different world that is focused on God who sits on the throne of heaven AND is supposed to be sitting on the throne of our heart. The life of a Christian is generated from the INSIDE and how dedicated we are to Christ is the result of this reality. In this light, we are our own “demonstration” of Christ and our level of commitment to Him will manifest how “filled” with the Holy Spirit we are. I am not referring to doctrines or rituals but simply revealing the agape love and holy “image” of Jesus Christ. Religious people live in the outer court because the flesh avoids sacrifice and repentance. God’s children make the CHOICE to be refined within the Holy place and the delight of their life is to be in God’s presence in the Holy of Holies. I was listening to a preacher on the radio the other day and he kept talking about a, “made-up” mind. That’s country talk for settling an issue within our heart to do something. It is making a final decision by coming to a point of no return that we are going to give everything we have in order to accomplish our vision. A made-up mind does not allow doubt and fear to convince them to quit. A made-up mind does not allow their flesh to distract them with temptation. A made-up mind refuses to listen to those who laugh, reject and criticize. A made-up mind KNOWS they have heard from God and are committed in their FAITH that God’s power never fails! Jacob had a made-up mind when he wrestled the angel as he would NOT LET GO until he received the blessing! Are we that determined to dedicate our life to Him? Do we desire to be RED HOT enough to stay on our knees until we KNOW where we are going and how we are going to get there?

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