“Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for [My] power is perfected in weakness.’
“Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2Co 12:8-10)
Did you know that a believer’s greatest weakness can become their greatest strength? Yes, this is Biblical language. It has to do with something that God does in our lives. Turning weaknesses into strength is one of the great wonders of the new covenant walk. It is the secret to what beautifies a believer’s life. Yes indeed, God wants to add beauty to your life.
Listen as the Lord speaks through the prophet Isaiah;
“[I will] grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isa 61:3)
We need a good starting place. Let’s begin with the word ‘spiritual‘.
The apostle said…
I can do all things through Christ
The New Testament term so often misunderstood is the term ‘spiritual. The Greek term for spiritual [pneumatikós] comes from two words that have to do with invisibility and power, or that which proceeds from the Holy Spirit.
So, whether it is a spiritual song, a spiritual gift, or a spiritual enlightenment, it will always be of the Spirit and never of the flesh or by natural tendency.
Spirituality is not something to be earned. It comes to us by way of the cross. And yet spirituality is something that the believer learns to draw on. The reason is that in every believer there is a spiritual fountain of life.
Listen to Jesus explain this to the Samaritan woman:
“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
“She said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?”
“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but …
“…the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.’” (John 4:10-14)
From grace to grace
Spirituality is the outflow of God’s grace. Grace is not something that is measured to us on the basis of our merits. No one earns grace. And there will never be a day in a believer’s life where they are unable to draw on grace. (Cf. John 1:16)
God’s grace will always be amazing. It seems to come to us out of nowhere. Paul said it this way:
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal 2:20)
The apostle also said,
“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Php 4:11-13)
A secret to be learned
Paul said he had ‘learned’ the secret. The word ‘learned’ in the Greek context speaks of an entrance into a new condition of living.
Paul had been taught by the Lord how to be independent of outside considerations. What he learned was that the Lord can infuse His strength into any every need that Paul the believer had. Paul’s weakness could become his strengths.
However, it would be important for Paul to recognize his own weakness before the power of God’s grace could become his source of strength.
Another way of saying this is that Christ is living His life in each believer.
This is where we hear Paul say,
“…Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2Co 12:9-10)
You don’t put new wine in old wine skins
A problem for some today is that they try to live new covenant life on an old covenant level. While there are defined callings in the new covenant, in no sense is one believer granted a higher spiritual life than any other. Certainly we should thank the Lord for pastors and other ministers, however, these ministers should never be given a place where they become the voice of God in our lives.
And in no case should a believe be running to and fro, trying to find someone who can give them a word from the Lord. The era of the Old Testament prophet is over. His job was fulfilled in John the Baptist.
Jesus specifically said that the law and the prophets concluded with John. The new covenant is a covenant of spiritual life. This spiritual life is resident in each believer.
It is not that the Lord can’t speak to us through others. He can and He does. The Lord can speak to us through nature or even by way of a sinner. But none of this precludes the essence of spiritual life in the new covenant.
Hear what Jesus had to say about the new covenant:
“When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (Joh 10:4-5)
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (Joh 10:27-28)
The Way of the Cross
After Jesus took His place in heaven as the resurrected ‘Lord of glory,’ the Spirit then came to fill the new covenant church. The purpose of the cross was a new creation wherein each believer would be God-indwelt with resurrection life. This is why Jesus told the apostles that it was to their advantage that He went away.
The Lord went on to speak of the cross to the disciples:
“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”
[The term 'truth' in in the Greek speaks of the realities of God that comes to us by means of the cross.]
“He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said to you that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (Cf. John 16:12-15)
[He would take of the finished work of the cross and will disclose it to you.]
Out of the cross would come a new kind of man and woman, a people of the Spirit. These spiritual people would also be ‘heavenly’ born, that is, they would be heavenly citizens in earthly bodies. In their hearts would be a heavenly-consciousness.
They would also be given the mind of Christ.
Our spirituality is the working of the cross in us. It is also the working of heaven in us. If we keep the term, ‘the finished work of the cross’ in view, this will disallow confusion about what it means to be a person of the Spirit in the new covenant.
Jesus Christ is not only Lord and God, He is also the firstborn of many brothers and sisters. John said that His fullness has been given to all believers. Thus we have become men of Christ and women of Christ, that is, we are Christians.
These are things to think about. In the meantime for our locals, don’t miss out the Mora Homecoming Revival next week.
Just for Old Times Sake
Martins in Revival
Mora House of Prayer – Mora, Louisiana
Friday and Saturday 6:30 p.m. – June 29th and 30th
Sunday Home Coming 10:30 a.m. – July 1st
Martins: Nathan on the guitar. Shana on the Piano, Faith on the base guitar, Buddy on the banjo, and Rich Waring on the harmonicas.
In Christ always,