The snakes and ladders of belief
My walk started sometime at the beginning of our universe, when God thought me into existence and before he spoke me into this physical world.
He told me this when He said 'before you were formed in the womb I knew you',
He told you that also, but possibly you were not listening?
I know I was not (listening) for the first 42 years I was here and wondering why that was, being here that is, not wondering why I was not listening, the wondering why I was not listening came after I started hearing from Him.
Being forty two years old made it easier to get a grip on what was coming down the tubes, first off everyone knows that forty two is the meaning of life, Douglas Adams told us that, secondly I had been out of the commercial world for about seven years by then and was what I considered to be 'sage' in my approach to life, i.e. nothing impressed me much and I thought I was always saying wise things that folk listened to, when in fact I was saying dumb things that people wanted to hear.
Small point, big difference!
Anyhow, getting here was hard enough as I was recommended for abortion, but fortunately my mother loved me then, even before I was born, more than life itself, so she was prepared to die if I could live.
There's another thing, I took another 42 yeas to find the same love, and then realised that Christ had played out that scenario 2,000 years or so before I even entered the picture, but like I said, God had me in view way before then and frankly, as I obviously cannot remember what happened prior to getting this gig, I have no idea really and it may well have been that I saw Christ die for me in the spirit way before I found Him in the flesh.
This weekend I bought my daughter a 3D came of snakes and ladders, you remember that game of chance where you go up ladders and down snakes according the dice you throw.
I love those sort of things, but multi dimensional games of life fascinate me even further.
Many times I have found myself playing three dimensional games of chess for real!
Imagine a three level chess board, and the players have the ability to move on any of the three levels, and each move has effect on all three levels.
Get the picture?
Life's like that, we start off playing chess and hope that our opponents will be merciful with us as we learn, then as we become proficient as we learn more moves and win a few games, finally becoming good at the game and learning to be considerate to those less skilled or proficient than we have become.
Some may even become Grand Masters of the Game of Life, reigning Supreme over other mere mortals.
Some never learn.
Then one day, they realise there are other levels to play on and that the rules are marginally different as you start adding levels of play.
Anyone who has played video games will recognise the progression from novice to warrior supreme.
Now try it for real.
All authority comes with responsibility, if anybody tries to sell you on authority without responsibility, they are lying and you should refuse the task.
Obviously if someone tries to load you with responsibility but no authority you MUST refuse, it's a loaded gun which can only shoot YOU.
Having established that, lets look at authority and rebellion.
For the convenience of this scenario lets place God as the epitome of Authority, meaning that He has total authority over everything.
And for conjecture lets say that the enemy (add your own name here, he is known or recognised by many) represents rebellion.
From the moment you leave the safe haven of Gods authority you start heading for the dangerous waters of the enemies rebellion.
For ease of understanding I am going to call our chosen vessel of travel from authority to rebellion EGO, so let's see what the good ship EGO offers us.
Firstly EGO demands to be written LARGE and CAPITAL just so that you know EGO is IMPORTANT. If I had more layout possibilities here on the hub, I would make EGO's name even LARGER and MORE BOLDED and RED in colour, just so you knew HOW IMPORTANT this EGO is.
But for now we will just accept that EGO thinks it is important and we should humour him whilst he is around.
Of course some folk don't just humour EGO, the worship him, and try to become EGO themselves.
That's a downward snake, no matter how you see it, and if you are worshipping EGO, you will probably not even see it, for EGO is so large it obscures vision.
So, one day you realise that your EGO has kind of gotten in the way of your life, the second sign of BIG EGO is SUCCESS and it's fairly sure that if you buy into the whole EGO business, you will probably become successful, after all EGO will not allow you to be a failure, that would reflect badly on EGO, of course EGO will only really come into play if you WORSHIP EGO and make it the central aspect of your life.
Celebrities are pretty good at this.
But you do finally see that although you are successful and have your own growing EGO you are not actually happy in the inward parts, in fact you feel bloody vile in the inward parts and even though you manage to hide the fact most of the time, you are miserable.
Down that snake you go.
Unfortunately EGO is tenacious and determined to destroy you, OH, sorry you thought EGO was your friend, how quaint and totally understandable, for EGO has been befriending folk since time began, and EGO loves to take people to the top of the tower and tempt them to jump, and you know what, many will do that, feeling (in their invincible EGOs) that they are bullet proof, and can do anything the want to.
Some survive the fall and come to their senses.
Your fall may have come from cocaine or sex or just sheer power lust, and of course power corrupts and total power corrupts totally, so when we leave Gods Authority we can end up a long way away from God before we find the good ship EGO leaks and is sinking.
Drugs will get you from A to Z pretty quickly dependent upon the drug of your 'choice'.
Sex addiction will work well also, but power will take longer to dump you on the scrapheap of reality, because you will worship EGO slavishly in order to attain power, and as you rise through the power levels you will hardly notice your corruption and defilement.
At some point any relationship with God you may have had will disperse and then you will soar to new heights of power and success as EGO promotes you to his first levels of leadership.
You will feel like a real WINNER and that you truly do have the secret of SUCCESS at your fingertips.
Nice one, you are heading for destruction, flowing towards hell on a snowball of success.
EGO loves you and you must pull down anybody or anything that does not submit to EGO.
Anyone feeling uncomfortable here will be blessed, your consciousness has not yet been seared to such a degree that you have a hardened heart, and there is still hope for you yet.
The hope comes from realisation that you have been in rebellion, once you attain that acceptance, then you can start seeking the protection of Gods Authority.
The route back from rebellion can be just as fast as the decent into it, or just as slow.
I was blessed to see that from the start (42, remember) and also had the time to take a good look at what I had been rebelling against and was placing myself under the authority of.
My choice was to throw out every notion I had previously held as sacrosanct out and start again, weighing each piece of knowledge acumilated against my new yardstick... the WORD of GOD.
Now for those of you still in rebellion, now is the time to start ridiculing what is written, for EGO (your master) will demand that you do, but for the rest of you, stay tuned, it gets better.
Before you come under Gods authority, you have either a dead spirit, or the spirit of the world, which is from the enemy.
The litmus test of spiritual things is who is getting the 'glory' from what you do in the 'spirit', i.e. where the power that is being utilised by you comes from.
God does NOT do party tricks, nor is He summoned, so any spirit that 'performs on command' or is 'invoked' (no matter whether you are at a coven, in a church or sitting on a bus) is NOT from God.
God works in this realm through His Holy Spirit, so nothing we do will be done without Gods authority and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Believers may pray in the name of Jesus, but the action is carried out by the Holy Spirit.
Gods Holy Spirit will only do what God commands, through Christ (all power and authority was vested in Christ until the battle is won, and Christ returns it to God) and what happens will conform and comply with the Word of God, a.k.a. The Bible.
You can get some pretty screwed up translations of the bible, but even in the worse bible out there, the truth is there to be found, by those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, and who are led by the Holy Spirit of God.
So how do you get this Holy Spirit?
Slowly would be my suggestion, sure you will be 'in filled' in an instant, however you get the spirit, from laying on of hands or just revelation, but there needs to be an absorption of the Holy Spirit as it engulfs your personality, kills the ego and brings you to obedience in Christ, in whom all things are possible.
If that sounds unattractive, you are not ready yet!
Baptism of the Holy Spirit, not to be confused with baptism of water, requires marination, a slow long immersion in the Spirit so that it literally changes you from flesh to spirit, a short sharp dip may work for charismanics on day release, but to move forward with God, you can't beat marination.
When we start out, we are barely alive, babes 'born again' of the spirit and still carrying the trauma of the new birth, we cling to our new faith and 'body' seeking security from what we now recognise as a cold cruel world.
As we gain strength, we gain bravado and start flexing our spiritual muscles to test our strength.
At this stage we may become a bible thumper or self styled 'spiritual warrior' and nobody will be safe from our scrutiny.
Pastors, family and complete strangers will be accosted with our bold rhetoric calling them to redemption and repentance for our sins perceived in them.
Teenage years in the spirit (no matter how many earth years you have gained) will lead to more thorough but less ardent testing of the spirit, as we begin to relaie that we need to get serious with God.
In this stage we may well start to explore strange and exotic, probably heretic, avenues of belief that we test our faith upon.
Most will grow through this, some will find their faith lacking and drop the ball, declaring their 'deconversion' from a relationship they cannot have held.
Eventually we marry, to Christ we marry, and swear to forsake all others, and so our married life commences, as we learn to be the 'bride of Christ'.
Many men falter here, when homophobic overtones of the relationship invade their insecurity and they seek instead to be an equal partner with Christ.
This hesitancy causes many men of God to be less effective than they could be, if they were to understand the 'bridal' relationship that we enter into, and were able to submit to His will.
Many women have the same problems in earthly marriages, and suffer the same frustrations and resentment that men do with Christ.
Listen men, we are the Bride, all of us, men and women alike, just as all women are our brothers in Christ, nobody said the Kingdom would be recognisable, and indeed it is normally upside down to what you view on the earth.
So as our new born spirit rises to heaven, to attain the fullness of Christ if we are willing to go the distance, our earthly desires slowly die to self and ego is diminished.
Scripture says that He must increase and I must decrease, and until we bring the balance into that order, we will simply tread water.
Maybe more later, or a part two, what do you think, do we need more or is this enough for folk to get the general drift of how things work?