Journey: Greater

As we learned the last few weeks, God has us on a journey.  We were challenged to take our next step; to keep moving forward in our life in faith and obedience.

Yes, it’s important to celebrate our successes.  God instructed Joshua to build a memorial after crossing over the flooded Jordan on dry ground for generations to remember the goodness and faithfulness of God.  He set aside times and seasons for celebrating and feasting and rejoicing.

Marie shared God’s vision with us last week that we have arrived!  We are on a mountain top and have achieved a large degree of success at coming together in unity and finally moving beyond some things that held us back for so long.  God even paid off our mortgage and miraculously enabled us to be debt free!  He has given us so much to celebrate and rejoice in; more than we could even mention!

We’re beginning to see a move of the Holy Spirit bringing about the miraculous and we firmly believe that He’s just getting started!

God is now calling us up higher.  He is calling us to ascend to the next mountain.  We’re moving from glory to glory!

As Marie shared last week, there are several different ways to reach out destination and according to the Lord’s revelation; we choose.  God also has a purpose laid out on each of those paths.

Whether flying across on a horse or on the wings of eagles to help prophetically guide those below and to go ahead to cheer and encourage others on.  Whether running and not growing weary or walking and not growing faint as we walk in the Spirit and run the good race getting to explore firsthand the details and wonderous, deep revelations found in the valley.  Whether crawling or being carried, but doing all that we can to push forward into God’s destiny for us no matter what it takes to get there. 

No matter what, we’re all heading to the same destination and doing what we can to help one another be successful.  Our goal is to all reach our destination with no one left behind.  The key is that we keep encouraging one another along our journey, no matter what each one of ours looks like and what challenges each one of us face, so that none of us give up.

We’re all at different stages in our lives, we are all in different levels in our faith, and we are all different parts of Christ’s body.  We have unique perspectives and strengths and weaknesses and abilities and gifts.  However, the Holy Spirit is able to bring unity in the midst of all of these differences as we care for one another.

Maturing in our faith, however, is a bit like a double-edged sword.  There are huge benefits, but also some responsibilities that may not be comfortable for us.

Spiritual maturity can look a lot like our natural maturity.  In fact, Paul used this very analogy when teaching about how Jesus became perfect through obedience and suffering and discipline and fervent prayers and tears.

Hebrews 5:11-14

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

The more mature we become, the more responsible we become out of necessity.  The more responsible we become, the greater things that God can entrust into our hands.

When we are born, we are reliant on others for everything and we receive everything we need exactly when we cry out for it every time.

As we grow up, we learn self-discipline and patience and how to do more things on our own to meet our own needs.

It’s a good and necessary thing, but it’s not something that any of us wanted to do.  Let’s be honest, adulting is no fun.  But at the same time, adulting enables us to be and to do things we could never do without maturing into adulthood.  We had to be weaned from a milk-filled bottle to a juice-filled sippy cup and cereal and finally to a grown-up glass and meat.

When we put our faith in Jesus and begin to follow Him, Jesus described it as being born again.  Born not only of flesh and blood, but born for the first time spiritually.  This process begins all over as we grow up and mature in our faith.

For years, God miraculously provided water and manna for the entire nation of Israel as they left Egypt and moved through the desert wilderness valley toward God’s promised land.  Then, as they physically stepped on it, just before the walls of Jericho fell, another transition happened:

Joshua 5:10-12

10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. 11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.

Its exciting to grow and to mature and to receive the great promises of God.  However, those promises fulfilled often also come with responsibility.  In the same way, the giftings that He gives us that we discover within us also come along with responsibility.

No longer did God’s people have to eat the same manna day after day.  However, they also had to work and toil in cooperation with God to grow and harvest the foods that were now theirs.  No longer could they just walk out and gather what they needed every morning.

Growing up, we took for granted the full cupboards and fridge at home.  Now that we are adults and responsible for filling them, we understand better how blessed we were and what is required of us to keep them filled.

Now theologically, God was still their provider.  He provided the land and seed and animals and water and sun and their strength and knowledge and abilities.  God continued to provide everything for His people, but they now played a larger role in bringing about that provision.  They faithfully did their part and God faithfully made it all grow until the time of harvest.

Instead of every day (except for the Sabbath) being a harvest day, they now had to plan and prepare and plant and water and weed and harvest and store. 

God would no longer miraculously bring in a huge flock of quail three feet deep and a day of walking in either direction for their meat.  Now they would need to raise and breed and butcher their own livestock.

All of this was far better and God’s plan for them, but it came with more responsibility.

As we transition from mountain to mountain, from glory to glory, there are better things in store for us.  However, there are also likely more responsibilities for us to also each step up into.  All of us will need to grow and mature a bit more as we together explore the greater things that Jesus is calling us into.

The greater the responsibility, the richer the reward!

The greater the sacrifice, the higher the promotion!

The greater our obedient trust, the more miraculous our experiences and the deeper our revelation will be!

Essentially, there’s more!

There’s so much more and God is calling us into all of it! 

But how do we get there?  God says that we choose.  But what path should we choose?

Jesus was sharing with His disciples a reminder that He was soon going to physically leaving them through His death and three-day-later resurrection.

They were going to have transferred to them the responsibility of continuing His ministry.  Of course, they were also going to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with the fire of God to be equipped and enabled to be able to carry that responsibility, too.

Still, there was a journey in between.  There was a season of waiting and uncertainty.  There was a journey to make and it was going to be a challenging, dangerous, and emotion-filled one.  Jesus was concerned for them. 

Would they have the courage and strength and faith to stay the course and continue the journey without His physical presence?

Out of His concern, He told them in just a few simple words everything that they needed to know about the path that lie ahead of them.  They didn’t understand it at the time, but as they journeyed on, those words became a lamp for their feet and a light to their path.

Those same simple words are the answer for each of us as well.  They are our guide and compass on our life journey, too.  They are the key to walking in the Spirit and unleashing the miraculous in our everyday lives.  And, we’ll learn those simple words next week.  You won’t want to miss it!

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