Spiritual Ascent

Change must take place in a way that God is glorified. It must take place in each one’s heart and then a collective effort to cause a change is possible. For this reason also, gathering together as an assembly to worship God is important for believers. It puts the mind of God into perspective. Many claim to have changed, but true change is one that is visible to the eye. We can see a glimpse of it from the following. “Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah, broke the pillars in pieces, cut down the Asherim and pulled down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, as well as in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the sons of Israel returned to their cities, each to his possession” (2 Chron. 31:1).

All impediments must be removed from us for true change to showcase in us. When we consider Israel and the change they had, it brought glory to God as well as joy to them. King Hezekiah declared the celebration of the Passover to the Lord God something which has not been done since the days of King Solomon. All those who accepted the king’s invitation came to Jerusalem and took part in it. At its completion are the events that took place which are also stated in the above verse. Evidently, they gathered awareness of who the Lord God is. It was immediately shown by their actions. If a complete change should occur in us, the first and foremost requirement is to know who the Lord God is. It is the firm foundation for an immaculate spiritual ascent. Then, spiritual ascent happens by being in the know of God on a daily basis. It is the reason for complete change in us and enables us to showcase it. Our actions and words always demonstrate the kind of people we are. They either help us prove God or lead us to defame Him. If they are proving God, we become a people that unconsciously display change. This is the reference to our spiritual ascent.

When we are proving God, there is yet another work that is taking place. It is the removal of impediments. However, some impediments reappear. An example for reappearing impediment is pride. Again, we are constantly barged with situations that can result in the reappearance of impediments. So, there is always a chance of being spiritually capsized. Nevertheless, that which keeps us steady is constantly being in the know of God. Then, at some point all impediments vanish, even the reappearing ones, because in the knowledge of God are also His ways that fine tunes us. All impediments are obstructions to obey God. The reason many Christians become spiritually lethargic is that they allow impediments to come back into their life or they do not strive to get rid of the ones they have. In other words, they do not seek the zeal that is in the knowledge of God. When Israel destroyed the pillars, Asherim, high places and altars, it was by the zeal in the knowledge of God. They were their impediments to revere and glorify God. A change similar to that of Israelites is necessary in today’s Christians. While the impediments may not be the same, the lust of flesh and eyes, and the boastful pride of life are still carrying great weight for disobeying God. Thus, true change is not being showcased.

When we are unable to showcase a true change after all God through Christ has done for us, there will be consequences. It is not good to test the patience of God. He will not hesitate to remove peace and joy from us. No matter how great a people we are, we are never greater than His law. Calling ourselves Christians and yet not being able to display true change means we considered ourselves above His law. This is also termed as pride. The consequence of such attitude is seen in the following. “Is this your jubilant city, Whose origin is from antiquity, Whose feet used to carry her to colonize distant places?” (Isa. 23:7). God utterly destroyed the kingdom of Tyre. Hence, Paul also at two places said that whatever things were written in the aforetimes are for our learning. When we realize how fearsome God is, our inner man beckons us to display true change. Now, in Christ we do have an advantage. That is, our salvation will not be annulled. But, could we bear or be content when joy, peace and honor are removed from us in this life? And, Paul at another place also says that we are not to continue in sin so that grace may increase. For we who have put on Christ ought not to trouble God with our disobedience, pride or any other impediment.

So, what is the best way to showcase a true change? It is following our Master. “But so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here” (John 14:31). Two things are crystal clear of Jesus and one is a lead-up to another. He wanted to display to the world His love for the Father and to accomplish it was to do exactly as He commanded Him. The greatest thing about Jesus is that He obeyed no one other than the Father. Unless we do exactly as the Father commands us, we cannot showcase a true change. Jesus obviously did not need any change, since He Himself was God. But, He was speaking those words for the sake of His disciples. When we are obedient to God in all things, our love for Him will inescapably be revealed in us. Here is the truth about true change: a person with it can never be able to hide it; for it is God who shines forth from him. Impediments will have no place in him.

When we are built on our Master, there will be good consequence. It is working in a manner that is pleasing to God. This again has benefit. “If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward” (1 Cor. 3:14). We work for God in order that that which we build by following Christ remains. Our work glorifies Him, since all impediments whether on the outside or inside have vanished. When God gives us a purpose and we dwell on it, we are indeed building something precious for Him. For example, a godly mother or father’s work to raise their children to God will remain on Christ for a reward. God does not ignore even a slightest of work we do to glorify His name. But He ignores it, if is not from a true change, for He knows it does not bring forth the true image of Him. We all desire to be rewarded by God. And the way for it begins from displaying true change. Through it God will use us mightily for His kingdom. He does not miss an opportunity and so, Paul said, “constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father” (1 Thess. 1:3).

The three things that are missing in many present day Christians are work of faith, labor of love and steadfastness of hope in Jesus. While their presence indicates true change, their absence indicates falsified change. Work of faith can be plainly termed as righteousness. Anything that is done “by faith” is according to God’s will and has a reward. Labor of love means to love unceasingly no matter the conditions. Steadfastness of hope in Jesus means immovability concerning the things God promised in Christ. People without true change can never exhibit these qualities, because the nature of God is not in them. A falsified change can be recognized by the attributes possessed and displayed. “Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah” (Jude 1:11).

See, the effect of not having a true change. Nevertheless, thanks be to God that our change is for an immaculate spiritual ascent and not for deception. The presence of impediments is no small matter. They are the reason for falsified change. Many are deceived into it and through them many more are being led into it. To them it all seems wonderful just as it is written “and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, ‘This man is what is called the Great Power of God’” (Acts 8:10). Some of you may still have impediments and are desperately striving to remove them. God will not ignore your efforts for His glory. As much as you strive, He will help you. And when you have completely removed them, He will empower you to lead others to be like you. He will supply you with good things. There is more glory and joy awaiting you. God bless!

Posted in 2012, Archives.