In the late 80’s, my best friend was given a scholarship to play college football. Right after we graduated, he needed to begin weight lifting to prepare for the fall football season. He needed a partner so I agreed and we began lifting together. He went to college, we parted ways but I discovered something I loved to do - lifting weights. I still lift to this day with some slight redistribution of where my concentrated ‘weight’ is at. I tell people I contracted the furniture disease – my chest fell into my drawers. Over the years I have learned many lessons from weight lifting. One in particular carried a tremendous truth that I have followed for close to 20 years.
We had been doing good, growing and getting stronger; when all of sudden, things stopped. We were eating right, getting adequate sleep, but there was just no growth. After a couple of weeks of this, I talked to one of the trainers at the gym we lifted at. His name was Gary and Gary at one time had won the Mr. Indiana Bodybuilding contest. He was muscular, strong and smart. I saw him one day and shared with him what was going on. He said one simple thing that carried a huge impact – he simply said – go back to the basics. He recommended we go back to the simple compound movements that we started with that gave us the foundation we were trying to build upon. You see, over time we had begun implanting ‘new techniques’ and followed some of what the magazines told us to and realized we had in fact got away from the basics. So taking Gary’s advice we did exactly what He said, and we began to once again see growth. God has used this same advice for me over the years pertaining to my walk with Him.
To be justified means to be declared righteous and this is accomplished ONLY by placing our faith in Jesus the Christ.
Grace is perhaps THE most foundational truth we live out of in our walk that gives us the chance for growth. The Apostle Paul being led by the Spirit used the phrase justified by faith through grace. This is one of the most basic truths in all of Scripture. To be justified means to be declared righteous and this is accomplished ONLY by placing our trust in Jesus the Christ and the grace He provides. All we learn and grow into as a believer began the day Jesus declared us righteous when we put our faith in Him. This is like a wedding. We are wed, but from here we enter into a relationship called marriage. When we are saved, we are justified. Once we are justified though, this is where the relationship with Jesus begins.
Over the tenure of our walk with Jesus, we will find incredible realities made known to us - hearing God’s voice, walking in the Spirit, seeing angels, dreams, visions, trips to heaven and so much more. These are the tributaries of our faith, but Jesus Himself is the River. There will times and seasons Jesus will lead us into a tributary to teach us and develop us in a truth. But like all tributaries, the water doesn’t flow. If we stay there too long, we will begin to stagnate in our faith - we will always need to return to the refreshing, flowing water of God's River. You may be in the prophetic tributary, the spiritual warfare tributary, or the emotional healing tributary. You may find a part of your calling here and even find yourself anointed for such service. The thing is though, you cannot stay there forever. Regardless of what our ministry calling is, our first and greatest call is and will always be Jesus, simply Jesus.
If you want to make your spiritual house go upwards, it begins by expanding the foundation downward.
If you find yourself dry and having a hard time growing spiritually, examine where you are at. Have you moved out of the river and have spent too much time in a tributary? You need to do what Gary told me to do – you need to go back to the basics. You need to rediscover the joy Jesus has in you. Read Romans and Galatians again and see the beauty of God's grace. Be reminded of what God did for you to get you where you are. If you want to make your spiritual house go upwards, it begins by expanding the foundations downwards. You will never go higher than your personal foundation can handle. You will often find the seasons of growth preceded by seasons of cleansings, dealing with the faults in your foundation, and new revelations of the core truths of our faith. God deals with your foundation in order to take you higher and higher. So if you find yourself plateauing and not able to go higher, get on your knees, open God’s Word and get back to the basics. This will allow you to soar as high as you hunger for.
The gifts, dreams, visions, prophesy, healings and so on are all fun and exciting. These things though, should never take the place of our first love. Remember where you came from and remember what God did to His Son to bring you home. This is and will forever be the greatest of all things – living in the pure, flowing river of God's love.
If you are anywhere near the South Bend/Mishawaka, IN area July 9, I will be hosting a one day seminar on the Kingdom of Heaven. We will be praying for the sick and oppressed and will have prophetic ministry available. Here is a link for MORE INFORMATION
Hope to see you there