Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

The Real Argument ~ February 27, 2014

It is interesting what Christians fight over—what it is that divides God’s people into different groups and denominations. I can’t imagine that Jesus intended his followers be divided over anything, but here we are 2,000 years later with approximately 41,000 Christian denominations, according to Wikipedia.

 

One of the areas of dispute is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. Some groups believe that the presence of Christ’s Spirit—known as the Holy Spirit—comes into an individual at the time of conversion. Others believe it comes with an experience known as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, with many other opinions landing somewhere in between. There is also a great deal of controversy on how much of this Spirit is granted to the believer.

 

Personally, I believe the real argument is not if He comes, how He comes, or when He comes. The scripture is clear on the issue that He does come! The real argument is more clearly found in our capacity to recognize His presence and the ability to draw upon that source of power once He is within us.

 

The fact is that if we are full of the world, we have little capacity for the presence of God. If we are consumed and controlled by “self” (the fleshly nature we inherited from the fall), we have little ability to access the Spirit within. Therefore, our faith is small, our strength is small, and our results will be small.

 

If that describes us, we will not know the power of His Spirit even though He dwells inside us. We will not be able to utilize this power when we need it, but will be overpowered by our fleshly nature. This applies to even those who have a great experience when being filled with the Spirit. It’s what we do with the Indwelling Christ that matters.

 

Jesus clearly said, “To Him that overcomes, I will give to eat of the tree of life.”1 Ever wonder what He meant by this? Overcome what? Could it be those who overcome their “self” –Satan’s representative in every human being? Those who deny their “self”? Those who crucify their “self” and put “self” to death? Those who overcome the power of “self” and allow Christ to reign in their lives? Could that be the overcomers Jesus is talking about? If so, then am I an overcomer?

 

I fully believe that it is this “self” we must overcome—and not the devil, his works, or even the world. Jesus did that!2 We have one thing to overcome in our individual lives and that is the “self” that sits on the throne of our hearts and rules what we do, what we say, how we act and react, how we spend our time, what we love, and what appeals to us. But Christ will not unseat my “self”—I must do it!

 

It is time the truth about “self” be revealed to our own hearts. We yield to its persuasion over us; we act as if it has some right to exert its ugly behavior as some honorable entity that doesn’t have to please God or adhere to His commands. After all, it’s “me” and I can’t help being “me!” Did I mention that “self” comes directly from the “father of lies?”3

 

We have been lied to long enough. Unless we face this truth, we will be deceived about who “self” is. Self is our enemy. Self is God’s enemy. We must not protect our self, not if we want to eat of the tree of life.

 

This might be a good time for a “self” test. Do my actions, words, thoughts, behaviors, desires, and loves line up with that taught and modeled by Jesus, or am I mostly doing my own thing? I can explain it away all I want, rationalize all I must, justify myself, my rights over and over, but when I stand before the Lord will my arguments hold up?

 

I do not want to wait until that day to figure out that I might be of the world and not really a follower of Christ at all.  Like it or not, I best get on with doing what Jesus said to do: deny my “self.”4

 

Whatever you do, don’t forget this all-important fact: He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell inside me to help me do that very thing. Come on, Jesus Followers, let’s figure out this mystery of the gospel—Christ in me, the hope of glory.5 ~ Janie Kellogg

 

1Revelation 2:7; 2John 16:33; 3John 8:44; 4Matthew 16:24; 5Colossians 1:27

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Higher Ground ~ A Recipe for Joy February 13, 2014

Filed under: Vision — Janie Kellogg @ 1:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Is it possible that our level of joy is a measuring stick for our faith in God? The more I see into the spiritual world, the more I trust the One who controls all things, and the more I trust the One who controls all things, the less I fret and worry about earthly things, and the less I fret and worry about earthly things, the more joy I have!

 

For those of us who like visuals, my theory looks something like this:

 

Spiritual sight = knowledge of God = faith in God = trust in God = less worry = more joy!

 

What we see of God could be the single most important factor in all of life. Our spiritual eye health should be of utmost concern to us. Without a healthy vision of God, we are stuck in the muck and mire of earthiness—yet with it, we can soar to levels high above our worldly existence. Unfortunately, if we never learn to soar, we will continue to dwell far below what Christ made available for believers.

 

Listen to how the Apostle Paul described what God has given to us: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”1 Did you get that—blessed in the heavenly realms?

 

Look at another statement by Paul that describes where believers are: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus….”2 Did you get that—seated in the heavenly realms?

 

What could this mean? Please understand that God is not teasing us here. It means we can live above the world—above our earthly circumstances. It means we are no longer held in a decaying flesh by sin’s dread sway. Our flesh must submit to our higher order of life.

 

What are we thinking? Why is it that we submit to our flesh and give it such allegiance when we don’t have to? Why do we allow depression to darken our days; anxiety to hijack our faith; worry to weigh us down with burdens we’re not meant to carry; or fear to stop us dead in our tracks? Why do we bow down to this fleshly nature as if we are frail, helpless creatures? We are not!

 

It could be time to start thinking out of the box or out of this world. We need only take our rightful position in the heavenly realms beside our Conquering King. And when the enemy of our soul says, “What do you think you’re doing UP there with Jesus?” look down into this earthly pool of accusation, doubt and discouragement, and reply, “I’m up here in the heavenly realms where God put me.”

 

That should make our joy barometer rise!

 

It has been said that many Christians live beneath their privileges. But why? I believe we live beneath our privileges, which includes a lack of joy, because we do not truly know our God. We do not know experientially where He has seated us, mostly because do we understand heavenly realms.

 

So where are you and I? Do we see and understand heavenly things from where we are now? Or is it time for us to reach for a higher spiritual plane where we can see more, understand more, believe more, trust more, and worry less? Is it time for you and me to have more joy?

 

The writer of the song “Higher Ground” got it right. Read these powerful words:

 

My heart has no desire to stay | where doubts arise and fears dismay;

‘Tho some may dwell where these abound | My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand | By faith on heaven’s table land;

A higher plane than I have found | Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.3

 

As for me, “I’m pressing on the upward way; new heights I’m gaining every day!” I hope you will come and go with me. ~ Janie Kellogg

 

 

1Ephesians 1:3; 2Ephesians 2:6; Higher Ground by Johnson Oatman, Jr.