As God has done since first creating offspring; He provides for our needs, beckons us to respond to His fatherly guidance, and tries to guide our steps. Notice, I said, “tries.” He does not force Himself upon us. God’s gift of free will includes responsibility; we choose to either receive or ignore our heavenly Father’s guidance. The fact is many choose not to receive.
So, why wouldn’t we choose to receive His life-enhancing insight? For starters, we battle the residual effects of our first parents’ decision to ignore God. We still lean toward seeking wisdom from other sources. Hence, our limited understanding of God and His purposes complicates our partaking of His provisions.
Thankfully, our heavenly Father so loves His offspring (you and me) that He goes to all lengths to save us from our life-restricting perceptions. As with the Israelites coming out of Egyptian slavery, God wants us to know the same level of son-to-Father fellowship that Jesus demonstrated, so we can learn to live triumphantly. Jesus said we can!
“… I go and prepare a place (a dwelling) for you…that where I am (in communion with our Father), there you may be also” (John 14:3).
Accepting “Fresh” Truth
Do Jesus’ words stretch you? Even for some who have experienced an initial deliverance, it may be hard to wrap your head around the reality of such deep fellowship. Perhaps you wonder, “How can what Jesus says really be possible?”
Accepting God’s insightful guidance may test what you currently believe.
Accepting God’s insightful guidance may test what you currently believe. This is not uncommon; in fact, the same was true for Israel of old, as they journeyed to the Promised dwelling place.
In the first two blogs of this four part series on salvation, we examined Israel’s response (and lack of response) when God delivered them from servitude: You Can Be Free From Life-Restricting Perceptions and Why Salvation Actually Involves Stages. As we observed what Israel did and didn’t do with God’s guiding insight (or “fresh” truth), it is helpful to look at our role in accepting God’s guidance.
Receive Fresh and “Let Go” of the Old
For example, when God came to Israel after their initial deliverance, He told Moses to gather the people so “I may let them hear My words” (Deuteronomy 4:10-12; Exodus 20:22). He spoke and they heard His voice, but their perceptions of reality complicated their acceptance and they put Him off.
God shared a fresh reality with them. However, they were not ready to let go of what they believed. Unwilling to let go of their learned perceptions, they remained in bondage to their beliefs. Likewise, our release from bondage is often complicated and stalled by conscious and subconscious misperceptions of God’s purposes. Too often we remain stuck in past experience and knowledge.
Our release from bondage is stalled when we remain stuck
in past experience and knowledge.
As difficult as it is, growth into maturity requires that our perceptions adjust. This is shown in life’s growing perceptions. They change as we progress from infancy to toddlerhood, into disciplined children, into adulthood, into parenting, and then into grand-parenting. Growth requires us to learn from our past, yet go on into maturity. Are you settling for your past experience and previous beliefs rather than conversing with God with an open ear to hear what He is trying to say today?
As with Israel, it’s possible to become stalled and fail to enter into God’s intended fullness for your life. Our personal salvation is never accomplished in one swooping action. As we’ve addressed in this series, salvation involves at least 3 major stages: saving deliverances, belief transformations, and learning to live in the promise as overcomers.
Following the initial deliverance, everyone needs to experience transformations in order to live as overcomers in the promised “abundant life.” Our transformation happens in seasons, as we accept God’s life giving insights, attitudes, and way of life. In these seasons we learn to think and live as God intends while we shed previous perceptions of truth.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of you mind, so that you may prove (make so) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (mature) (Romans 12:2).
Each of us transitions out of our old character, attitude, and personality traits one thought, outlook, and expression at a time. Quite often these changes are overlapping processes.
Everyone needs to experience transformations in order to live as overcomers.
Our Role in Accepting Guidance
The overlapping processes of our salvation involve multiple transitions. It takes time to allow what has begun to become fully established in our lives. So, we want to give ourselves to the process of responding to God’s presence among us and “work out” our salvation (Philippians 2:12).
With God’s help, we can learn to think and feel differently; maturing from our deathly separation and entering the experience of God’s relational guidance. The processes described in my book, The Christ Culture (God among us) help us transition from our separated self-dependency into people who appropriately relate to God and to one another.
Let’s not ignore the spiritual side of our senses that allow us to sense God speaking and leading. We can receive greater, fuller and more relevant understanding of God and His purposes if we are willing to let go of some of our past perceptions.
Grab Hold of New Life
God’s saving process helps each of us transition into relational intimacy with our heavenly Father. This second stage of salvation helps us begin to live with eternal perceptions. Through the process of grasping new life in Christ, we put off old ways and begin to partake of eternal life qualities – more abundant living.
We’re anxious to hear your response! Please leave a reply in the comments below.
Stay tuned for Blog #4, “We Can Live in the Promise as Overcomers, NOW.” Sign up to receive an email notification of our latest blog so you won’t miss any fresh insights! And, get your copy of The Christ Culture, A Way of Life Like No Other. We’ve prepared a Guide to facilitate group discussions.
Keith Carroll, “The Relationship Guy”
Relational Gospel Founder