Have you ever played a musical instrument then stopped for whatever reason? Then you may relate to this message. At one point in my life, I played the guitar, banjo, and piano well enough to play and sing on stage publicly. I played at county fairs, church, weddings, and during intermission at the local auditorium. But that was over forty years ago. When I began working, music took a back seat to raising my family and I sold my instruments.
Recently, over the past five years, I regained the desire to play once again. But the songs and runs that came easily to me years ago are impossible to play today. I am once again a beginner albeit a slightly advanced beginner. I can hear my errors but need to retrain my fingers to play what I hear in my head. I haven’t been using my talent for many years and consequently, have gotten rusty at playing every instrument I used to play well. Over time, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Muscle memory is gone. I have to start over.
Fortunately, if I invest the time into playing the instruments once again, I know I will regain my ability to play them. And this time, it won’t take quite as long. But the fact remains, I do need to practice to regain my skill. I need to use my skill to lose my fear.
So what does that have to do with Radical Christianity and the walk of the Spirit? Believe it or not, everything. When a person becomes born again, they are filled with the Holy Spirit and their whole being is refreshed. At that moment in time, they are tuned into the power of God and His love in their life. If they were raised in a “spirit filled” environment, they know what to expect and what to do with the Holy Spirit to allow it to fill their being and become tuned into its voice and direction. These Christians are fortunate in that they know the difference between the happiness of excitement by becoming born again and the joy of living with God over time.
Happiness and euphoria will come and go. They are feelings that gauge the emotions at that moment of time. Joy, on the other hand, is a long term condition that is not determined by emotions, but in the strength of the relationship built with God. In that respect, it is possible to have joy, happiness, and euphoria all at once. That is the best description of the moment of the new birth that I can give.
But what usually happens within three days of getting born again? That new believer goes back to work and faces the same problems they faced last week. They feel better because they are born again, but they are still inexperienced. Joy at the beginning is not established and is easily confused with happiness. When the troubles resume and the happiness goes away, the average Christian, raised in a less “spirit filled” environment can honestly question their salvation. Some may even doubt that they are saved at all and fall back into their old habits.
Their “muscle memory” is too strong at the beginning of their spiritual walk and they choose instead to continue to walk in the flesh of their old ways instead of learning how to walk by the Holy Spirit in the new way. Most of us, including myself, was raised in the conservative, Christian, mainstream church. That means, we’ve had no example of “walking by the Spirit.” Instead, we’ve all been trained to live our lives in the world and confess Jesus as our Lord, by living our lives according to all of the rules and traditions of the church we attend. We tithe from our paychecks. We say “God bless you” and “We love you.” We conform our speech to the acceptable pattern of “church talk.” But we still have no concept of listening to God and obeying His voice from the Holy Spirit.
We’ve confused our religious walk in the church with our walk in faith with God. So we continue to walk in the reason and logic of the flesh, making no change at all in our daily lives with God. But since we also learned how to walk the proper “church walk,” and changed our habits to conform with “church expectations,” we think we are walking in faith with God. But the window of opportunity to learn how to walk in faith with God is lost. We didn’t use the Holy Spirit when it was new and fresh enough to establish our faith in God. Most of us believe we are doing things right with God, but we are only doing things right before men.
We look religious. We attend church. We say the right things and offend unbelievers and God rejectors, but have no relationship with the Father. What’s worse, we have no clue that something isn’t right until our lives come crashing down in the midst of following all of the right rules and habits. Then we ask, “what have we done wrong?” And the answer often comes back, “you’re not right with God so bad things will happen to you.” In a sense, this religious, pat answer is true. When we don’t know how to walk by the Spirit, we are still walking by the flesh. The problem is not our lack of effort, but our lack of examples for spiritual instruction.
The church began with the active and powerful operation of God’s Spirit on the day of Pentecost. For many years afterwards, Peter and John were the leaders of the church and they worked many miracles similar to those that Jesus did. In fact many believers were strong in the Spirit and their walk was well known in the church. When Paul became a believer, signs, miracles, and wonders were a strong witness of his ministry as well. However, by the end of the book of Acts and the first century, this form of spiritual power in operation was no longer the rule in the church.
The walk of faith by the Spirit of God was replaced by the walk of the law instead. It is much easier to gauge a believer’s commitment to God by their confession than it is by their walk. Over time, the walk of religion under the laws and doctrines of the church overshadowed the walk of faith with God altogether. Disagreements with doctrine were cause for excommunication, torture, or even death. The church enforced its rules with a vengeance and did not tolerate any dissension. It was no secret that the church had problems. It wasn’t even a secret that the church was very carnal in nature and enforced physical and political power instead of spiritual power.
When the leadership of the church walks by the flesh and judges by the flesh, everyone in the church learns and does the same. This has been the rule of the church for 2000 years. When the church failed to use the Holy Spirit in its daily life and teaching, the Holy Spirit became a forgotten and ignored part of every Christian’s walk. Spiritual revelation and power became a hit or miss part of a Christian’s life. It could no longer be counted upon. Only the doctrines and traditions of the church were stable and every believer in Jesus Christ was expected to change their lives to conform to the expectations of the church. Walking with God was simply not a part of the picture any more and this is why so many believers do not now how to walk by God’s Spirit today.
There are no Christian churches that walk fully by the Holy Spirit like the first Century church today. However, there are some who are very close and some that are just beginning to learn the walk of the Spirit. No matter what sort of Christian church you attend, God is still the same. He desires a close and personal relationship with His children. So the most law bound church can still be filled with spiritually strong believers. Have we forgotten Jesus’ promise when He was teaching?
John 14: 2 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
Father’s house has many mansions and Jesus is preparing a place for each and every one of us. We’ve seemed to have forgotten the “many mansions.” God doesn’t expect us to conform to one another, but He knows that we will. Instead, He expects us to build a personal and unique relationship with Him that works in harmony with our chosen church. How can we expect Jesus to build a personal and unique place for us without a personal and unique relationship with Him? Maybe the mansions are our separate and distinct Christian beliefs, but our place will be personally made for us. But there is something we need to keep in mind as we learn to walk by the Spirit.
John 15: 6 “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Christ in us is the new birth. But to be in Christ is our relationship with Him. If we do not abide in Christ, we would be “cast forth as a branch,” wither away, “cast into the fire,” and burned. Think about this, we can have Christ in us, but never build a relationship with Him. We can be born again, but never be in Christ simply because our leadership only knows how to walk and judge our actions, our words, our dress, and our tithes by the flesh. To the degree that they cannot teach us how to walk by the Spirit, we are unable to build our relationship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit within us. This is directly due to the fact that the Christian church forgot how the Holy Spirit worked, then eventually rejected spirituality altogether as devilish.
Fortunately, the church’s spirituality is being restored in these last days. But it will take many people walking by the Spirit to make it happen. The goal is not to change church doctrine. It’s not to change church leadership. It’s not to change anything in the church itself, but your own personal relationship with God, but only if you want to have a strong relationship with God. You see, God will never overstep your free will.
If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. I forgot how to play instruments because I simply quit playing them years ago. The church has forgotten the importance of the spiritual relationship with the Father years ago as well. As a consequence, the majority of everyday Christians don’t know how to build that relationship with Him. But, I devoted my life to learn how to get to know God. However, I didn’t want to learn just for myself, I knew I wasn’t alone. There are more believers who want the same strong relationship with their heavenly Father. I wanted to understand the process for building that relationship so anyone else could learn as well.
Because I had to look in so many diverse places to learn how to build a relationship with the Father, I knew that it would be nearly impossible for the average believer to learn the same thing. There are too many obstacles for the average believer in the average church to learn how to walk in faith by the Spirit. It cannot be learned by following doctrines, (the law), or traditions, (rules of man). You have to use the Spirit to lose the desires of the flesh.
Are you willing to learn to forget pleasing the desires of your flesh to learn how to please God? It’s possible to forget the ways of the flesh by walking in the way of the Spirit. I’m not talking about the spirit of the world or of principalities that reject Jesus Christ, but the Spirit of Christ Himself living within you. It’s possible to be both spiritually minded in love and change the world back to believing God. It’s possible to return the Christian church to the power of God and faith in His Word just like it did in its beginning. It only begins with one believer walking in faith. You can be the one in your church, your family, your town, or your country. Together with God, we can turn the tide of darkness and bring God’s true light back to our culture.
Get the book below to get the details of building your own walk of faith by clicking the link below, and while you’re at it, click the following link to vote for the book at the Author Academy Award site. I’m in the running for the best Religious Non Fiction book. I would really appreciate your vote. (My book is found on page 11 of 16 categories and pages.) God bless you and have a great day with God at your side.