FOUNDATIONS OF SPIRITUAL REALITY
I hope this teaching will be an introduction to a study of spiritual reality as a subject. I desire more for you than an interesting teaching. I pray that God will open to you a clearer picture of the realm of the spirit so that you will be able to distinguish clearly between deception and reality. The Lord is calling His church out of darkness into the light. However, much of the church thinks the darkness they walk in is light. When the Lord brings revelation of spiritual reality one can discern between darkness and light and then choose the light. Therefore I will endeavor to introduce this subject and stir your heart to study the whole matter.
John 4:24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
As taught elsewhere, the English word ‘truth’ in the verses above could be easily replaced by the word ‘reality’ and the intent of the original in Greek would not be harmed whatsoever. “You shall know reality, and reality shall make you free.” Our hope is that, in subsequent lessons, you will see that Jesus is truth. He is the sum of all reality and all reality is included within the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit of God. When our knowledge of this reality becomes firm footing we will face all issues of life victoriously. Fear is replaced with faith as we enter into the fullness of reality in the love of God.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”
9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, 16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
Before entering into this matter see that entering into spiritual reality is not different than our salvation. As we are saved by faith so we enter into all truth by faith. It is not by works. It is never dependent upon attaining to perfection, but upon believing. Neither ancestry nor circumcision are of any value here for Abraham had neither when he was accounted righteous by God. But he did have faith that what God said God would do. By that he received grace for salvation. From that point on he had a covenant with God he could stand on. Standing in that covenant he stood in spiritual reality.
HIS WORDS FORM SPIRITUAL REALITY
“My words form spiritual reality. And as My words are eternal; the reality they form is eternal.” I felt the Lord speak these words to me as I was gazing as Romans 4:17 “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;”
And I also recalled Luke 21:33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” (Also 1 Peter 1:25.)
Now add to this that Jesus said His words are spirit and life (John 6:63) and He said to the Father “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). We are saying truth equals reality. God’s words are spirit and they are reality and they are life. His word then also declares that His words form spiritual reality. Real life then, exists in the spirit. And God’s words define that existence. Whether or not we agree with His words does not change the nature of real life. We are as grass that fades. His words will endure and define reality forever after our mortality has ended.
But now consider that He can speak His eternal words through our mortal lips and they are as enduring as if He spoke them audibly from Heaven for man to hear on the earth. In fact they do originate in Heaven, though our mortal lips declare them on earth. All we are doing is agreeing with His reality when we declare it here.
However, the fact that we agree with His reality with our mortal lips here, as it is life in us, establishes that reality in our world. The eternal is brought into the temporal. The real is brought into the imaginary. The imaginary cannot overrule the real, but is cancelled when the real speaks, just as light cancels darkness (John 8:12).
In Genesis 11 men imagined they could build a tower to heaven. This word from mortal man took on form as men began to build. But it was a vain imagination to believe to reach heaven with their man-made tower. One word was spoken from the real Heaven and this imagination ceased in its progress. It remained only as a monument to man’s vanity. There are many such monuments around us today.
When God shows you the real, declare it in agreement with Him and watch it supersede the imaginations of men (Isaiah 40).
SPIRITUAL REALITY IS KINGDOM REALITY
Spiritual reality includes, as its highest point of truth, the knowledge, that over everything, Jesus reigns. He uses every event to teach us this if we have ears to hear. If not we remain prey to our fears. You see authority and spiritual reality go hand-in-hand. To know that Jesus rules over all creation and that you are a child of the Father, co-heir with Jesus and under His authority, is to know that His kingdom will reign over your entire world. Nothing will hurt you, oppress you or hold you back. Under His authority you rule and reign with Him. All darkness, sickness, destruction, torment and fear must flee before you at your command.
Luke 15:6, 8, 9, 23, 24
6 “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 “And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’
23 ‘And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 ‘for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
Spiritual reality is reflected in the parables of the kingdom of heaven. Likewise in the parables of Luke 15. The lost sheep is found, the lost coin is found and the lost son returns. In the world, controlled by fear, the sheep is found dead, the coin had been stolen and the son never returns but enters into deeper wickedness or kills himself in depression.
In God’s kingdom, where He reigns and His reality is unopposed, the lost sheep causes no fear. The shepherd merely asks the Lord to protect it and guide his steps until it is found. The discovery that a coin is lost causes no fear, even if it has been stolen. If it is to be found, God will guide the mind of the woman as she searches. Her time will not be wasted in fruitless going over the same ground 20 times, but she will find it quickly and rejoice. When a son or daughter leaves home in obvious rebellion, the parent does not fret or try in vein to corral or control the child or follow it around in fear. The parent releases in faith that God will control circumstances so that the child comes to an end of its rebellion and returns to find the parent at ease and ready to welcome him/her home, with ample provision to do so.
In God’s reality all is in control and He’s not afraid of our mishandling anything. He can correct any mess we make. And He will bring all who come safely home and none are lost but the one He foreknew would betray Him.
The only thing to fear is fear itself. It is our only real enemy. Satan’s tool to induce fear is deception. If everything is brought into the light, every deception is exposed and fear will have no place to alight.
Fear induced Eve to eat the fruit. Fear that Satan was right and she would miss out. Fear induced Adam to join her in eating the fruit. Fear that he would lose her to this unknown thing called death. In joining her out of fear, he worshipped her. She became his idolatry. Fear does this.
In Kingdom Reality it is fear that removes us from the kingdom and casts us into outer darkness; the darkness of fear. In Matthew 25 fear induced the servant with one mina to hide it in the earth because he knew the master was a hard man. The other two operated in the reality that the master rewards faith and gives principles to invest wisely by. They could look to his examples, invest, profit and receive great reward from the master. They saw him as a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. The one who feared saw him as a harsh judge who punishes. He received exactly what he feared. This is spiritual reality. You receive what you fear. But there is nothing to fear in serving God. There is much to gain as we labor with Him in faith. We must see that the first two labored with Him, not just for Him.
Jesus is calling us to see this when he says, in Matthew 11:29, “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me.” The picture is of two oxen. The older bears the weight. The younger is yoked beside the stronger to learn, but bears no real weight. He wants us to learn of Him; His meekness and humility. Every problem or struggle is meant to knit our heart with the Lord’s heart. It is to receive His help and learn of Him as we go through life. It is partnering with Him to learn of Him – to let go of self and learn how His principles operate for us.
We are not to fear that we will not be healed, be provided for, nor be taught the deeper things. We are to look to Him expecting to be healed, be provided for and taught the deeper things in the process. Each obstacle is for our learning. Take one lesson at a time and learn. I am stressing attitude.
Math lessons are taught in sequence. Each one designed to teach you what you will need to progress to the next, until you are handling very difficult problems with ease. The beginner should be able to look at the highly advanced and rejoice that he is on the same path and will learn as much, be just as able and even go beyond to the deeper things and higher levels. But the process, step-by-step must be followed.
STEP ONE: TAKE ON A NEW ATTITUDE
16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. 18 “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. 19 “Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?”
Set your will to do God’s will. When your will is so set, you will know what is from God and what is not. You will know spiritual reality when you see it. Take this attitude to do God’s will no matter what. Jesus is our Master. The Holy Spirit is our Teacher. Mark 7:37 says that He does all things well. God will lead and instruct us well. Do not fear. Look expectantly to be raised to the highest levels in the Kingdom of God and you shall. Take this attitude and you have just accomplished the first step in living in Spiritual Reality.
LIVING IN SPIRITUAL REALITY
To live in spiritual reality is to live in God’s reality not in man’s version of reality. What has God said? What has He declared? What does His rhema word say about it? What God says is reality. What man says must agree with what God says or the man is living in a false reality that can vanish with the sunrise.
Psalm 36:9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.
Look at how Jesus lived in spiritual reality. We will look at this in Luke 4:22-30. Compare it with John 8:52-59 and John 10:30-39.
22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” 23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ” 24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 “But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; 26 “but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. 30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.
The events of Luke 4 occurred in Nazareth, where Jesus had been brought up. As you consider these events, simply answer this question. Were they able to throw Jesus off the cliff? Why or why not?
The answer is: No. He ignored their false reality and focused on His reality. He knew that this was neither the day nor the way He was to give His life. The word of God declared and foretold that He would give His life as a sacrifice lamb. It had to be on the Passover (the Jewish celebration remembering the exodus from Egypt). Not just any Passover, but the one the Father selected when every prophecy was fulfilled. It could not be here, it had to be in Jerusalem. He could not die by being thrown off a cliff or stoning or any other way except by crucifixion between two thieves on a Friday morning, the night after a Passover meal and a morning of mock trials in which He was falsely accused and unjustly beaten. These other attempts to kill Him could not succeed. He would give His life when the Father declared, on the correct day and in the foretold manner so that God’s word would be glorified and His purpose fulfilled. Jesus was here to fulfill the law and die as a ransom for our sins.
So now, for the purpose of our study, picture yourself as Jesus. You are being shoved and pushed out of this city and grabbed by the arms. These people are pulling you up this hill toward this cliff. They are all around you. The crowd has swelled because of the commotion and curiosity. They are yelling and screaming and very determined. Men hold your arms tightly as they pull you toward the precipice to throw you off. What do you do? What did Jesus do?
Verse 30 simply states, “Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.”
Wait a minute! He had not died and become a total spirit being yet. He had not yet gone to heaven and returned in a glorified body able to pass through walls. He was still in an earthen vessel, as you and I, and must deal with flesh and blood.
John 8:59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
John 8:59 is another example. In that situation we see that He simply hid Himself in the midst of the people and passed by. He simply did a natural thing here. He did not suddenly vanish, although it probably seemed so to them. So what did He do?
I believe He simply focused on His purpose and turned to it. Look at the next verses in these passages. In John 9:1 He sees a blind man and heals him. I acknowledge that this event may have occurred right after the attempt to kill Him or it may have occurred some time later. We do not know.
Consider Luke 4:31. He had just been hauled up to a cliff, which was at the brow of a hill upon which that city was built. Verse 31 says that He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught. The sequence of events given in this narrative suggests teaching in Capernaum was the very next thing He did.
Jesus simply turned His attention away from the attempt to kill Him, before His time, and focused His attention on His purpose. The next place He must go is Capernaum, so that is where He went.
The scripture does not give us the details of how He accomplished this. But if Jesus had exerted physical force to escape, pushing and arm wrestling, we would not have this other picture of Him simply passing through their midst. After a scuffle to free Himself, He could not have passed by unnoticed. The only conclusion I am able to draw is that He simply turned out of their grasp and began to walk through the crowd. Somehow their attention was momentarily blocked or diverted.
One day I expect Jesus will tell us how He did it. It would not surprise me to hear that He commanded the demons that were controlling the crowd to take their hands off Him and to cover the eyes of these men while He turned away. If Jesus had commanded them in this manner, they would have had to obey. That is spiritual reality. Authority and God’s word will not be violated.
John 10:17, 18
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.18 “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
Here we see the spiritual reality of these scenes. When Jesus says He has power to lay His life down, and no man takes it from Him, He is declaring the reality of His authority. He says, “This commandment have I received of My Father.” The word of God has been spoken and cannot be reversed. Spiritual authority and God’s word are integral to spiritual reality and vice versa.
God’s word declares, in authority, that Jesus is coming for a bride that will be spotless and white, ready to be joined to her groom and the two shall be one. That is spiritual reality. Nothing will divert Jesus from His purpose.
STEP TWO: KNOW GOD’S PURPOSE FOR YOU
Ask God to reveal to you His purpose for mankind, for His church and for you. See everything in light of what He reveals. To understand what I mean, take a look at some troubling moments in the lives of the disciples.
35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
Yes, Jesus could rebuke the wind and the waves and they would obey Him. But why rebuke the disciples for their lack of faith? He wanted them to learn spiritual reality. When He declared His purpose was to cross over to the other side, nothing could prevent that, not this storm or anything that Satan might do. When you know what God has said and it has become reality to you, no storm can frighten you. If a storm frightens you, you have not touched spiritual reality. The storm is more real to you than God’s purpose. If they had heard the reality of His words they too could have slept through the storm on a pillow in that boat. Consider Paul.
Acts 23:11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
1 Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. 2 And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” 5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
Paul understood spiritual reality. God had told him he was to go to Rome to bear witness for Him. No viper would divert God from this purpose, nor would it persuade Paul to believe the venom in the snake was more real than God’s word. What has God said to you? When you know you have heard God, you will be able to stand on the word He declares. To you it will then be spiritual reality.
Where does this hearing and knowing take place?
1 Corinthians 2:9-15
9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Consider that when you hear someone preach a message or utter a prayer there are times you sense an agreement with what you heard arising from deep within you. When that happens you are touching spiritual reality. There are other times you hear a wonderful message followed by the most powerful sounding prayer, yet you feel no place of agreement within. You might even feel a coldness within. Your mind may follow the logic and see what seems to be a valid point, yet you cannot muster a genuine “Amen.” No witness from your spirit has touched your soul. Be sure you have either not really “heard” the message yet, or the Spirit of God has not authored the message.
The “knowing” we are concerned with always exists within the spirit of a Christian (1 John 2:20). But now it is crossing the separation (between spirit and soul) into your soul where you can consciously “know” and agree with what you are hearing. The witness from within is from the Spirit of God in agreement with our spirit giving compelling evidence to our soul to also agree. You sense that “Amen” from deep within. Agree with it and receive the knowledge of the truth. This is touching spiritual reality. Test this out by asking God to confirm this witness within His written word. Once you have proven it a few times you will begin to recognize the process and find places in spiritual reality where you can stand more readily and more surely.