We live in a society where Believers have lost sight of who God is, when traditions and rituals have lost their significance, and religion has replaced intimate relationship with God.
As a result, the world reflects the deficiencies of our spiritual immaturity.
The Ekklesian is for those with a hunger to know who God really is. If you realize that occupying a seat in church doesn't make you righteous, or you're one of the too many who've been wounded or disenfranchised with church, then listen and discover what the Lord is doing differently, supernaturally, in the world today.
Why Is The Chosen So Impactful?
I haven’t mentioned it before here, but I’m a big fan of the independent television series “The Chosen.” Its portrayal of Christ and his followers is not just inspiring, but inspired. The creators, producers, and staff of this show have aligned themselves with the Spirit of Heaven to capture something that evades most Christian productions: an air of authenticity.
What Are You Led By?
Many who sincerely seek to walk with the Lord and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, fall prey to the adversary's well-honed schemes of distraction by circumstance. Even as they perceive the direction and guidance of the Lord, challenges present themselves.
Instead of staying focused on God’s will and promises, they give their attention and efforts to the problems they are facing as seen from a natural perspective, allowing the circumstance to become greater than God in their own minds, forgetting the promise of Romans 8: 28 that “all things work together for good to them who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
The desire of the Lord they have previously been pursuing has become secondary and any perceived success hinges upon overcoming this or that challenge to their personal satisfaction.
God orchestrates even the worst of circumstances for our good. We do not have to, and are not called to, manage them ourselves. But we must keep our focus on the Lord at all times. To do otherwise is to put our trust in a house built on “shifting sand.” (Matthew 7:26)
Never give more attention to the factors and circumstances that constrain you than to the Lord Learn to live and put your faith in the spiritual, to abide and operate in Heavenly realms. It is the spiritual that affects the natural; the Heavenly that affects change in the physical on earth.
Fix your attention on the Lord and on Who He wants to be for you in the situations you are facing that He couldn’t be to you before. Every event is an opportunity to learn more about Him.
The bottom line is this: There is a real battle over what you will be led by. (Some would say who.) You must make a conscious choice. You cannot abide in the Spirit and walk in the flesh. The flesh opposes the spirit (Galatians 5: 16-18) and in my experience will try and sabotage the spirit at every opportunity. There is no middle ground. It is one or the other. You cannot serve 2 masters (Matthew 6: 24; Luke 16: 13).
Faith Or Flesh?
The Holy Spirit molds you into the image of Christ. This transformation is a natural result of the work the Spirit of God is doing in your life as you cultivate a personal relationship with Him. In doing so, you don’t live, operate, or stand in your own strength, you stand in the glory and power of the Lord.
Keeping the law that you might be good enough to earn salvation was never an option. Several thousand years of recorded history with His people proved the point time and time again. The Israelites couldn’t do it back in the day and we can’t do it now.
Any attempt of men and institutions seeking to establish their own interpretations of what God wants from us is just as worthless. If the very law of God could never justify and only convict us of sin (See Romans 3:20), there is no representation of men that could ever hope to save someone either.
God knew this from before the beginning and that is why everything in the Old Covenant pointed to the Savior that He provided. Christ came and paid the price of redemption and restoration that no other human or created being could ever pay.
This is why it is foolishness to think that what God is primarily focused on are the things you do or do not do. Christ has already paid the price for sin. God’s not worried about your performance because when you accept Jesus and His death on your behalf, the “old man” becomes dead to sin. We aren’t called to do things to curry favor with God, we do them naturally because His existing favor is already at work in our lives and we are being transformed by the Holy Spirit. Which brings us to Paul’s questions for the churches of Galatia:
>>>> This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?… —Galatians 3:2
This wrong-headed attitude of “being perfected by the flesh” has led to all kinds of problems in our lives, our churches, and in our culture. It frequently cloaks itself as the “moral superiority” smugness that many possess, but that is a deceit and a conceit that masks the lack an intimate relationship with God.
Never forget that your redemption, salvation and destiny lie in Jesus because of what He did, not because of what you did, do or do not do. It is a matter of faith, not of flesh.
Most of us know that the Fruit of the Spirit (found in Galatians chapter 5 - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), these fruit are characteristics we aspire to achieve as followers of Christ. These are the things that are supposed to define us as Christians. But why do so many struggle to reflect these attributes and values consistently? Why is it that some Christians don’t seem to possess these character traits at all?
The answer is right there in the name. These character traits are not called “the fruit of the“flesh” or heart or mind. You cannot achieve and maintain the characteristics of Christ through your own decision, determination, and effort to do so. They come as a result of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
And there are a great number of so called Christians who have little to no desire to obey Christ, submit to the preeminence of the Holy Spirit, and embrace their God-given spiritual identities, preferring instead to retain control, or the illusion of control, by adopting man-made philosophies and ideologies that suit their interests and preferences. As Paul warned Timothy,
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. – 2 Timothy 4:3
So, the fact that there are people who claim one thing and act another way entirely doesn’t come as a surprise. Jesus was very clear that there would be imposters in the Body of Christ and how we would recognize them:
Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. – Matthew 7:20-21
But this isn’t about them, this is about you. I want you to know that it is the Spirit of God who transforms us, gives us the “mind of Christ,” through which we bear the Fruit of Spirit.
The power to change and be transformed into someone more Christ-like doesn't come as a result of your will, determination or internal strength. Jesus did not leave us a self-improvement, personal development, or behavioral modification program to become “better.” He sent the Holy Spirit to guide and walk us through a spiritual transformation process.
Spiritual growth occurs within as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit entwined with your spirit, that is, the spirit God placed within you, which means the renewing of your heart and mind can only be accomplished through direct relationship with God.
Don’t Hold God At A Distance
Many believers prefer to hold God at a distance. They really don’t want to get too close and they certainly don’t want intimacy with Him. They have little desire for a direct, personal relationship with the Almighty. They want to keep something between the Lord and themselves: denomination, church, doctrine, tradition, a pastor, bad habit, ANYTHING instead of a personal, one-on-one encounter with God.
I imagine some of these people are afraid of what a one-on-one relationship with God might mean for their lives or how it might affect their plans for themselves. Some actually prefer a God who is distant, rigid and puritanical; One who is too busy to be interested in the details of their personal life, or a God that has any genuine interest in them as an individual. It’s more comforting to think they can get “lost in the crowd.”
Many people are legalists. They typically prefer laws, rules and regulations over the grace of God which they don’t understand. Laws provide a means by which they can measure their appearance against others.
Besides, following rules doesn’t require getting to know God on a personal basis.
Even many who recognize that their salvation is based on grace and faith in Christ, frequently aren’t interested in drawing any closer to God than they think they have to. I can’t count the times I’ve heard, “Praise the Lord, I’m saved by the blood of Jesus! What more do I need?”
Saved, yes. But, as I’ve said before, salvation is not the finish line. It is the starting block.
To accurately reflect the image of Christ in your life, to achieve the fullness of your divine destiny in this world, to advance God’s will and His Kingdom, you need a great deal more. You need grace. You need transformation. You need the Holy Spirit.
Grace is very personal. It restores your divine familial relationship with God. By grace, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit inhabit your being. Under grace, there is no place to pretend you can hide. Everything comes down to you and God. God knows you intimately, and you know He knows you intimately.
Adopting an attitude or position that holds God at bay fails to recognize that salvation is the beginning of the journey with Him, not the finish line. This means moving beyond just settling for an association with a church or denomination and into actively, conscientiously, cultivating a direct, dynamic, intimate relationship with God.
How Do We Worship In Spirit and In Truth?
What is it to worship “in the Spirit and in truth” as Jesus related in John 4:23-24? Even ardent believers struggle, stumble, and fail in their faith because they are trying to use their will, determination, and intellect not just to worship God, but to solve the challenges that life, and the enemy, throw at them.
You simply cannot approach your faith as though it were a matter of intellectual knowledge and application. Those have no power to transform you. Faith is not an issue of human logic, it’s a reality of divine trust. It is not believing what you see, it’s seeing what you believe. It is perceiving beyond what your senses tell you in the natural, to growing in spiritual maturity so that you might have discernment and wisdom about what a God who is Spirit is doing across Heavenly and Earthly realms.
John 16:13 tells us, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.”
Many don’t believe, or worse yet, fear this text because they don’t know how it’s possible. As a tool for maintaining control, religion has often led people to believe that being in error is itself sin and God punishes us for being wrong. This is a demonic fabrication that implies the Lord has little to no capacity for guiding His children directly into truth. Religious institutions often present themselves as the authority and the masses cling to dogma and tradition as though their lives depended on it, instead of embracing the active direction and guidance the Holy Spirit makes available to each of us:
If we fail to cultivate intimacy with God for ourselves, we will never understand that God’s ability to correct us and reveal His truth is greater than satan’s ability to deceive us. Without that deeper relationship with Him, we suffer for our lack of faith.
Faith the size of a mustard seed is a faith we muster up in our mind and soul. It is miniscule, but it is something the Lord works with to increase just as Jesus did with the loaves and the fishes. That increase is planted in your spiritual identity connecting and allowing a much greater faith that flows to you from the throne of Heaven.
It is through this Heavenly faith – found only in direct relationship with Him — that the transformative power of God’s presence, through the Holy Spirit, renews your heart and mind, to change and heal your inner-being.
Again, faith is not an issue of human logic, it’s a reality of divine trust. It is not about you, it’s about what God is doing in you as His child. Jesus told us in Matthew 11:25:
“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.
We worship God who is Spirit in spirit and in truth through direct relationship. This is also how we fully receive His promises, are transformed, and extend the true love, mercy, and grace of Heaven to the world.