“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (Jesus Christ)
“With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.” (King David)
“Heis the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” (The Apostle Paul)
”Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.” (The Apostle John)
These statements have some things in common, one of them is that they can be taken to sound outlandish, bold, and even arrogant…especially when one considers them from a standpoint that doesn’t share their confidence. As followers of Jesus, we are recipients of the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead; yet so often we cower to our fears and don’t feel or act very powerful. In one way or the other, this is the result of sin. What I mean is that sin, all forms of explicit disobedience and subconscious distrust, has a way of distancing us from the miraculous truths and transcendent experiences that are available to us as children of God. Not only are they available, they’re supposed to be normal!
I find that, when I’m not feeling powerful in my connection and empowerment with the Lord, there’s always sin involved. It may be a sinful attitude or behavior, unforgiveness of a wrong done to me, materialism and greed, inner ambition and pride, the list goes on. But the result always includes a sense of distance from my Master, dampered ability to hear the Spirit’s whispers, and loss of belief that He is guiding my steps and words with power and meaning. In my opinion, this is the primary cause of the “sleeping giant” phenomenon of the American Church. We don’t need better worship music or deeper sermons, we need more surrender and obedience!
But when I’m truly, fully, unobstructedly walking with the Lord; there’s nothing in me to make me stumble. That phrase from the Apostle John is from 1 John 2:
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”
The subject here is loving others, but this principle carries over into all others. When we say NO to a sin in our lives, and thereby say YES to the Spirit’s promptings to sacrifice it in order to achieve closeness with Him, we open the door to those aspects of the Kingdom of God that are accessible to us in this life. This doesn’t have anything to do with salvation for the next life, it’s about being victorious while we’re still in this one. The feeling, vitality, and hope produced come with a sense of being unobstructed in our connection with our God….there’s nothing between us, no discord, no disagreement, no reservation. This kind of trust in an essential element in experiencing intimacy with Him. Intimacy is the foundation of right relationship with the Father. He already knows us completely, inside and out; and when we banish sin there is nothing in us to prevent us from knowing Him inside and out. I may be overstating the effects, but that’s the feeling and the joy that we experience in daily life when we allow God full-access into every nook and cranny of our lives!
It’s like running down a steep incline while trying to protect one’s knees. The momentum of gravity wants to pull you down the hill faster and faster, but to control your speed you resist its downward pull with every step. When I’m out of running shape, I have to go slowly down hills so I don’t injure my weak knees; but when I’ve been strengthened through prolonged training, I can run freely down hills without reservation. The exhilaration of that speed, that fresh wind in my face, is what it feels like to walk (run) in the Spirit!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” (Hebrews 12:11-12)
What are you waiting for?!