One way we discern the spirits is by looking for Jesus in all that is said and done. Is Jesus lifted? Is He glorified? Is what they say something He would say? Is what they do something He would do? After it is said and done, are we feeling encouraged, exhorted, and edified?
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. When we feel oppressed, fearful and defeated it is not of God. We recognize faith vs. fear by detecting flesh vs. Spirit. Anything that comes to elevate anyone is not of God. We have to guard against words that tell us we will be famous; we are called to the nations! Personal prophecy will relate to us and will say things about us, but the focus will be about who the Lord is and what He will do in and through us. It’s never about how great we are, but always how great He is.
Does what we are hearing identify with “self” or “Him?” It is important to identify who is being exalted. The enemy, satan, comes to lift flesh and feed the ego of man. The Holy Spirit always comes to lift Jesus! When the Lord is being glorified, we grow in faith and grace and we worship Him! More of Him is the fruit we look for in every situation, from glory to glory!
John 16:14-15 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”
It was their works of faith, labors of love, and patience of hope in the Lord that exhorted worshipers in the Thessalonian Church. They really believed and served God. It is through these same characteristics that our maturity in Christ is known to others.
Faith without works is dead, but works of faith are alive and obvious; we know this because of the opposition we encounter. True faith is obvious because of the amazing ability it brings to press through trials. Faith sees, says and seizes the promises of God. Our labor of love is not in vain in the Lord. The love of God in our hearts becomes increasingly real as we grow in the knowledge of who God is, and as He reveals its magnitude. We love one another, heart to heart, in all circumstances. It’s a labor of love because it takes the work of faith to walk in such love. Our patience of hope also makes known the reality of the Lord in our lives. How else could we stand believing in life in the midst of death?
When pressures come, what we really believe can be heard and seen. Faith now is where fear used to come forth. Love is given where offenses tried to establish their lying ways. Forgiveness is granted where resentment used to hold back the blessings. Patience has replaced anger. The works of the Spirit are seen instead of the works of the flesh, really, from glory to glory!
1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.
Paul mentions that he was separated, called from his mother’s womb. We were also separated for what God has called us to do, before we were even born. We understand our lives looking backwards. We see how God’s protection, guidance and provision were with us even when we weren’t aware of it. We are so grateful for His grace.
When we thought no one cared about us, God did. When we were involved in the wrong things, God was correcting our steps. When we were questioning God’s existence, His presence was with us. When we believed in the wrong things, God knew a time was coming when the Holy Spirit would remove the veil from our eyes and we would see and be saved.
Today as we walk by faith, in His grace, some of what we are called to do is yet to be realized. No matter what it looks like today in our lives, and the lives of the people we are praying for, we can trust and believe that our tomorrow carries greater glory than we can see. We grow in the knowledge of who God was, is and is to come. What is to be is being revealed, from glory to glory!
Galatians 1:15-16 “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood.”
When we believe in the Lord’s presence and power, we seek after Him with desperation in every situation.
As the woman with the issue of blood pressed through the crowd to touch the hem of the Lord’s garment, she knew she would be healed when she reached that point. She believed she would be healed if only she could touch Him. That day there were many others around the Lord crowding and pressing against Him; but they were not believing and seeking Him the way this woman was. She was reaching to submit to His authority, His Word, His Lordship. There was a throng of people around Him; only one touched Him. At the very moment that she touched Him, Jesus perceived power going out from Him.
We believe in who He is with all our hearts. We seek after the cloud, not the crowd. We believe His Word is true and trust the manifestation of His glory. We touch Him as we worship and commune with Him, in spirit and in truth, from glory to glory!
Luke 8:45-46 “And Jesus said, ‘Who touched Me?’ When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, ‘Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, Who touched Me?’ But Jesus said, ‘Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.’ ”
As we go through difficulties and various trials, we realize that our adversary continues to bring pressure upon us by asking us “Is it true that you worship God? Is it true that you trust Him? Is it true you believe He is going to deliver you out of the fire? Is it true?” We come to know that yes, it is true.
Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith, and during our trials, He increases His ability within us to stand by faith. As He walks with us, we grow in our trust in knowing who He is and what He can do. He never leaves us, nor forsakes us. We become strong in our dwelling place in Him because of our daily communication with Him. We pray, read His word, worship and enjoy His presence. Even if it is only for a short time each day, this daily time with Him fortifies the place of victory we have in Him.
It is true that we believe He is our savior, healer and deliverer. It is not based on natural circumstances, but on the reality of our faith in Him as we go from strength to strength. It’s a process to be in the place where we stand immovable in Him. There used to be a time when we would have one foot in The Word, and the other in the world. We would believe God is going to bring us out, but we were easily fearful and anxious. Now our confidence in the Lord is becoming more and more consistent. Less and less do we let disturbances move in our place of rest in the Lord. We believe because He is the truth. We are walking the talk, from glory to glory!
Daniel 3:14 “Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, ‘Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up?’ ”
God keeps the best for last. No matter what our past held, we can expect that our latter days will be greater than our former days. Our futures are brighter than we can ask for or even imagine, filled with riches and unspeakable joy.
The enemy will make things appear to be so great at the beginning that we won’t see the destructive end he has in store for us. In God, things may not appear to be the best at the beginning, but we can rest assured the ending is glorious. When we start walking with the Lord, we go through a lot of surrendering, dying to self, letting go of the old and learning to walk free. We walk by faith and do not always see the breakthrough that is ahead of us.
The enemy tempts people with immediate pleasure and short cuts with no cost; an easy way out; a quick fix; something appealing to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. The Lord doesn’t show us the best that is yet to come. We believe it and receive it by faith. He bestows so many blessings on us along the way and then takes us to the ultimate best: living in His glory for eternity.
In all we go through the Lord keeps us with His mighty power, grace and amazing love. He not only keeps us; He keeps the best for last so we can rest as we truly are going from glory to glory!
John 2:10 “And he said to him, ‘Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!’ ”