Have you ever found yourself confused about the teachings of the old and new covenants, unsure of their differences? What if understanding the depth of these covenants could transform your relationship with God and clarify your purpose and destiny?
Understanding the Covenants
It’s crucial to understand that the Bible speaks of two distinct covenants. The old covenant, which was prophesied to expire, and the new covenant that reaffirms the expiry of the old. Too many Christians inadvertently blend the teachings of both covenants, leading to confusion and inconsistency in their spiritual walk. This intermixing can result in a tumultuous relationship with God’s word, akin to a muddled bowl of doctrines.
The Clarity of Galatians
Diving into the book of Galatians offers unparalleled insight into understanding these covenants. Esteemed as one of the most descriptive books in the New Testament, Galatians repeatedly underscores the sacrifice of Jesus. All our sins were placed upon Him, leading to our absolute forgiveness.
Through faith, we are justified – declared not guilty – and granted the gift of righteousness. This gift enables us to stand in right alignment with God, transforming our prayer life and reinforcing the truth that we can communicate with God anytime, anywhere.
Always in His Presence
Realizing our constant position in God’s presence is transformative. We often catch ourselves jumping through hoops to “enter” into His presence, maybe with rituals or tangible reminders of spiritual experiences. But the truth is, we’re already there.
He’s perpetually close, always a mere breath away. Unlike human relationships, where misunderstandings may cause distance or mistrust, God’s forgiveness is instant and all-encompassing. The moment we look to Him, we’re met with His unwavering gaze, reminding us that He never left. We must remember that God’s love and grace surpass human comprehension, and He’s forever eager to embrace us.
Beyond Brick and Mortar
Our vision must go beyond brick and mortar—it’s not about the physicality of a building but about seeing God’s people blessed, whole, and overflowing with faith. It’s about disciples making disciples, deeply rooted and grounded in new covenant realities, ready to share God’s truth anywhere in the world. This is more than just a mission; it’s a calling to be vessels of His word, filled so abundantly with His truth and love that it overflows and reaches every corner of the earth.
The Essential Role of the Holy Spirit
To envision a church or any spiritual transformation without the Holy Spirit is futile and fundamentally flawed. Attempting to enact change or cultivate an environment without His presence leads to nothing but frustration and a sense of spiritual void.
It’s the anointing of the Holy Spirit that enables us to be a New Covenant church, thriving in places even where many have struggled. The reality is that when you try to make spiritual advances, opposition arises, and Satan doesn’t willingly relinquish his ground.
Overcoming this resistance requires a deep understanding of who we are in Christ, relying on the anointing, and knowing how to receive it daily. It’s this anointing that propels us forward and addresses every struggle and hurdle we might face.
God’s Path and Our Choices
Ephesians 2:10, when read in its amplified version, speaks beautifully of how we are masterpieces in the eyes of God, made and reborn in Christ Jesus for good works. God has laid out optimal paths for us, yet we often divert, choosing different routes out of our free will. We might drift from His intended course, but the further we stray, the more challenges we face.
There’s a resonating truth in the Bible that says the way of a transgressor is filled with hardship and sorrow. Yet, with God’s guidance and anointing, we can discern the best path, leading us to a fulfilling life He preordained for us.
Misconceptions of Christianity
Many people have misconceptions about Christianity. Whether you grew up in a devout Christian household, like my wife, or experienced it sparsely as I did, external influences can paint a skewed picture.
Pop culture often presents Christianity as a crutch for the weak, or it associates it with defeat and poverty through images of exorcisms or somber religious rituals. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Christianity is a faith of victory and empowerment.
Jesus’s sacrifice, while seeming like a momentary loss, was the ultimate triumph, gifting us the chance for an abundant, victorious life.
Embracing the Good Life Through Faith
Yes, life will have its trials. But it’s essential to approach these challenges with faith and resilience. When you’re grounded in faith, even moments of suffering can be faced constructively.
Giving in to negativity and drifting away from God’s anointing can leave us feeling stuck and make change seem daunting. However, recognizing that God has designed us for a prosperous life in Christ is crucial. The key to tapping into this blessed life is realignment—removing the obstacles in our spiritual path and allowing the anointing to refresh us.
Understanding Spiritual Worth and Confidence
Recognizing the significance of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross is vital to developing deep faith and confidence. This isn’t about arrogance but about understanding the value of one’s faith and relationship with God.
When you truly internalize this, you realize that through Jesus, you are deserving of everything He intended for you. This spiritual confidence allows you to expect blessings and know that they are yours, delivered through the power of God’s anointing.
Personal Encounters with God’s Touch
Everyone experiences God’s touch in unique ways. For instance, when I was in college, I was taken by surprise when I felt God’s presence and found myself bursting into spontaneous laughter. It wasn’t something I anticipated, especially given my earlier reactions, which were more emotional and tearful.
Overcoming preconceived notions, like the belief that “real men don’t cry,” allowed me to freely experience these moments of unbridled joy. It’s vital to remember, whether it’s laughter, tears, or a deep sense of peace, these reactions are personal manifestations of our connection with the Lord.
The Diverse Responses to the Holy Spirit’s Touch
God’s touch brings about diverse reactions in people, from gentle warmth to overwhelming emotions. It’s essential to respect and honor these manifestations, understanding that they represent a profound bond with the Holy Spirit.
Whether it’s a calm, a burst of laughter, or even tears, these are all genuine responses to His presence. Regardless of how you respond, embrace it.
Always remember an authentic relationship with God is both profound and experiential.
Experiencing the Holy Spirit in Unexpected Ways
The Bible recounts numerous profound spiritual experiences, like those during the Day of Pentecost, where believers were so touched by the Holy Spirit that their reactions were wild and unrestrained.
Yet, in contemporary times, we might be quick to dismiss or be skeptical of such profound reactions, expecting spiritual moments to be calm and controlled. It’s essential to remember that God encounters can be diverse and intense, and just because they don’t align with our preconceived notions doesn’t make them any less authentic.
Embracing the unexpected can be key to a deeper connection with God.
The Birth of the Church and Its Impact
Why did onlookers think they were intoxicated? It wasn’t just because of the multitude of languages spoken, as some might assume. It was their demeanor: the sheer joy, laughter, and loss of inhibition that made them seem drunk.
This profound outpouring was the birth of the church itself. The atmosphere was electrifying, marked by an exuberant celebration, with Peter seizing the moment to address the gathered crowd. He acknowledged their perception but clarified they weren’t drunk in the usual sense.
Instead, they were intoxicated with supernatural joy.
The Challenge of Embracing Manifestations of The Holy Spirit
In our quest for God, we often look for structured guidelines, much like the laws outlined in the Old Testament. Interestingly, Apostle Paul refers to these laws as the “elementary principles” or the basic tenets of understanding our universe.
It’s an instinctive system: do good and receive good; do bad and face consequences. It’s familiar and comforting. But perhaps a true relationship with the Lord asks us to look beyond these ABCs, to surrender, and to let the Holy Spirit take over in unexpected, joyous ways. After all, the best moments often lie outside our comfort zones.
At the heart of Christianity is a call for a deeper, intimate relationship with the Lord, surpassing mere rules and regulations. While religious tenets have their place, faith in Jesus emphasizes an inner transformation guided by the Holy Spirit dwelling within believers.
This unique bond often baffles many who seek a structured path as they yearn for a checklist to spiritual fulfillment. But a true connection with God isn’t about ticking boxes; it’s about fostering a heart relationship.
The Essence of Spiritual ‘Drinking’
Imagine spiritual growth as ‘drinking’ from the river of faith and connection. Continuously nourishing your soul, like taking sips throughout a busy day, can be refreshing and revitalizing.
Contrary to popular belief, one doesn’t need to set aside long hours or follow elaborate rituals to feel close to God. It’s about stealing moments amidst daily routines, acknowledging the presence, and seeking strength. Often, misconceptions and old religious systems make believers feel they need prolonged preparations to approach God, but that’s a mistaken notion.
The Power of Immediate Connection
Even during times of self-doubt or mistakes, instead of succumbing to guilt, take a moment to ‘drink’ double, acknowledging the need for God’s love. It’s all about acknowledging the need, expressing humility, and allowing the warmth of the Spirit to envelop you.
Embrace this simple act of ‘drinking’ and watch your spiritual life flourish.
Lord, we surrender to You. Holy Spirit, come and fill us fresh. Cause our hearts and minds to overflow with your presence. We are hungry and thirsty for more of you. In Jesus’ name, amen.