(AAA)-Mountaineers describe the wind that is on high peaks as “rarefied air”. It is invigorating, pristine and inspiring. I have been in many places where the mountain views and lakes are astounding. But the most exhilarating thing is the air. It literally takes me into the sweetest sensation of a wakeful dream.
One day, 45 years ago, a twenty year old dude named Michael (Oh, hey. That’s me.) became riveted on the words “the wind blows where it wills so is everyone born of the Spirit” (Jn.3:8/Jn. 4:24/1 Cor.15:45/Heb.4:12). In a world where every image of a man of God is a self-righteous fat-cat, a religious monk, weirdo nutcase, or just down right boring, the image of being caught up in the WIND captivated me with wonder; What does this mean? What does this look like?
Wind was the perfect description used by the only Man Who rose from the dead to describe what it would mean to follow Him. I was fascinated to the bone. I heard instant authorization to break with status quo Christianity and become a “Mountaineer”. Not through a “sinner’s prayer” or weekly sermons. Wind.
My dear friend, Jesus does not exaggerate. This “wind” is not a moral life style. The Spirit is waiting to baptize your “senses” with “rarified air”. God’s heaven scent can take you beyond the grief of living in this world (Heb.5:14/2 Cor. 2:14-15/Jn.18:36). It is not my promise. It is His; the Spirit of the living Jesus (Matthew 3:11/Mark 1:8/Lk.3:16/Jn.1:33/Acts 1:4-8). The air of this world is the stench of dark depression, hypocrisy, apathy and agonizing routine (Eph.2:1/1 Jn.2:15).
As a young man I saw how churches like Assembly of God, Pentecostal, etc. falsely exemplified the “Holy Ghost”. It didn’t require much discernment to realize it was a fake and emotionalism. Such nonsense as being “slain in the Spirit” causes immense disillusionment and delusion. The ways of the Spirit do not violate but employ a man’s free. Today deception fills the land in regards to the activity of the Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts reveals the true church of those who stand in Deep Heart.
Jesus said, It is better that I leave… so the Helper (the Holy Spirit) can come to you…He will guide you into all truth…and explain sin, righteousness and judgment. Most of all He will not leave you as an orphan, without identity, ALONE, to the crippling sadness of loneliness (Jn.14:27,16:7ff & v.13& v.32). His Presence is life altering. He is the Paraclete, the Comforter, the Defender (against accusations), the One Who comes alongside. The Holy Spirit can reach into our every problem out of His high places if we will simply humble ourselves.
When I carried the football in college, there was a breakaway play in which I felt so alive. The opportunity for a full expenditure of all my individual ability was exhilirating. It is a greater thrill to sense and live in His wind. It is to be freed, from bondage to men, through suffering, into the “air” of the Father. It is the release into His anointing of divine intelligence and perspective (1 Cor.2:7-16/Romans 8, 11:33). It is to be carried by a power unmistakably beyond yourself.
We only live once, my brother. Will you settle for man’s ways? The systems of men have proven, over generations of time, to offer nothing other than typical phony ways. The “revival” invention of the “sinner’s prayer” (“to process the multitudes”), in the 17th century, by John Wesley and Charles Finney, established the institutional tradition for salvation and no one has since challenged it as the unbiblical formula that it is today.
Nothing today even remotely demonstrates divine reality of the Spirit. This is why multitudes of “church people” contradict their “testimony” by a life of misery consumed with self-pity no different than unbelievers. It’s like members of Salvation Army processing used clothes. Nothing new. And a great deal of it reeks with hypocrisy. The truth is that the Father yearns for interpersonal involvement by His Spirit in the redemption of all phases of our failures to Personally touch our pain and lift us into the beautiful ways of His High Places.
God promises to make us “higher” than our situation (Jn.10:10). The Holy Spirit promises to anoint our behavior mechanisms, like intelligence, logic, reason, experience, common sense; so that we are not subject to the impulsive emotional reactions of our sinful human nature. The composition of faith is calculated resolution, as seen in Abraham, to believe God will provide everything we need, when we bow our inner knee before Him.
Rachel sings a song, that we changed a bit for our prison ministry. It is by Roy Orbison from the series “Prison Break”. It is called “Crying”. It is the Father’s answer to our every problem; “What more can I do than give My Son?” When faced with problems, the natural tendency of pride is to insist “I can do it”. As if God expects us to handle what He knows we can’t do. The Father yearns to provide us with the living Jesus in Whom we concede to His rest. Give up. Give in. Many wrongly identify God’s grace as self-striving and thus actually nullify God’s will to bring them to a place of humility.
“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you…I dwell on a HIGH PLACE…and also with the lowly of spirit (1 Pt.5:6/Is.57:15).
If you have no answers it is because you have not yet humbled yourself as you ought to humble yourself. Paul warns not to stop short of the “rest” waiting in true faith (Hebrews 4:1-12). It’s at that final, last step, when lingering pride can spook you away from total surrender. The Father is crying out for the one who will ‘go the distance’ and truly die with His Son (2 Chron.16:9/Is.65:2/Rm.6:6). He promises, to anyone who will invite Him, to walk through all things and intervene in every detail as the “Helper”.
Satan plays our pride in so many ways when we refuse to see it. The “I’m trying harder than ever before” is not the answer. Neither is the “Oh, heck. I give up.” The third answer is called persistence. It proves desire. Going somewhere, we never went before, is the answer. Finding that “place” and time, to be alone, think alone and talk alone to the Father is the difference-maker. When we just can’t do something we want to do, the one and only answer is to enter the massive grounds of transparency escorted by faith.
I remember when I was a little guy I was terrified to go into the damp and spooky basement of my parents huge house. It was scary. I just knew someone lived under those creepy stairs. At any moment I imagined being slain by a monster. I could never tell my friends. I couldn’t even admit it to myself.
It may sound funny, but it took me until I was a teenager to stand alone in the pitch black. I remember it like yesterday. I had to humble myself and recognize that these ways were stupid. I had to seize the courage to take control. That experience was of extreme significance for me to become a man. I had to realize the destructive power of imaginations (2 Cor.10:3).
The only way to get out of our basement and approach the high places of divine reality is to face our total inadequacy. So many things, known or subconscious, can determine a behavior we don’t even realize. The Father is waiting to do in you what you cannot do, to take you to places you cannot go. To do something beyond our imagination. The Father’s mercy is greater than anything our crazy little brain can muster up to keep us from Him.
One time in Bogota, Colombia, we were performing on the streets. My children had just finished such an amazing dance choregraphy that an old dude like me could only sit back and think of younger days. But without even realizing it, I started sharing these thoughts with the crowd and, by the Spirit, finished by saying “But I can offer you these moves that can take you to the top of those mountains (pointing to the peaks in the distance)”. Then I got on my knees and then on my face.
The floor, or ground, beneath our feet, is waiting for us like an elevator at the bottom floor. “Going up?” asks The Attendant. Indeed, it need not be a physical floor but simply a placemat for our “face”. I admit: “I am nothing. And the more I try, the more I fail. I really am “worthless”. I deserve hell-fire. I am a maggot”.
Repentance requires accurate contemplation of our deprivation. Where are you in life? What is your experience? How old are you? How many times have you “tried?” How bad have been your failures? Such thinking touches reality. “Come, Holy Spirit, scan my life, see any presumption and convict me” (Ps. 139:23). Such thinking will not only destroy the slightest glimmer of false natural hope that “We can do it”, but it will leave us bare and open-minded to His voice.
It is here that we can implement the Abrahamic “hope against hope” (Rm.4:18). You see, my friend, natural hope is actually a hostile hope because it promotes procrastination. It’s like a fairy tale Alice-in-Wonderland. It is mere wishful thinking. We dream about this, or that, but when we realize it is not happening we give up. Satan wins. The hope of Abraham, was not for some THING, but in Someone; the Character of God. He has clearly proven, beyond a shadow of doubt, His love for us (Rm.5:8). He will never fail because He cannot fail. God IS love (2 Tim.2:12-13/Heb.6:19). We can hope in His redemptive outcome IF we come to Him.
It is written “Thus says the Lord, ‘Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool…But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word‘” (Is.66:1-3). “God is opposed to the proud….but gives grace to the humble”…” (1 Pt.5:5/Jm.4:10).
Such is the very attitude that God displayed in His redemptive holy ways of dealing with our wicked ways. He “came down” (lit. condescended) from His high place to walk this earth in the utter humiliation of Jesus becoming a man. Jesus stooped low to wash our feet, to cleanse our heart, and by so doing reflected both the low and the high places as the One Mediator. He has proven His Character. Therefore our hope in Him is sure and steadfast. He can and will redeem us if we obey His plan.
We are to love others more than ourselves because humility is a high place.
If you want to enter higher ways of living life the only way is to go low.
I have been a fighter all my life. I won awards in wrestling and football and learned to transition this “violent” grit to stand in Him. Never did I realize back in college, that all the while God was using injuries to bring me lower, He was actually bringing me higher.
I learned to accept that God does not necessarily redeem events, relationships or things. He redeems my mind so that I can rightly process my thinking in regards to them. I have learned ‘the only way’ to enter His redemptive process is to instantly identify the inevitable downward spiral of self-pity as sin and choose faith. Jesus confirmed such an attitude is God’s will when He said “I am lowly of spirit” (Jn.14:6/Mt.11:29). It is THEE way because it was His way.
I too could have easily become deceived by my own hurt and bitterness, but all it would have done is expose that I really never believed that His ways are higher than mine, and that His redemptive love will bring me into His destiny. I can’t emphasize enough how I constantly was brought to my end by my numerous injuries, only to, much later in life, realize God was protecting me, not only from my ego, but from serious head trauma.
I chose then to surrender, despite my lack of any understanding; “Maybe I don’t understand God as I think I do”. I chose to ‘wrestle’ with God Who might actually answer my question: “Why?”. Among others, I learned from a man named Jacob who did exactly the same (Gen.32:22). God is much closer and willing to respond to us, if we humble ourselves, than we can possibly imagine.
The question is how does His Spirit work in our life? Good old-fashioned honesty is a rare commodity, especially with “Christians”. Not little “white lies” or subtle exaggerations. Just cold blunt force reality. It’s like an ancient art form. Today’s Christians are afraid of truth when their security in Christ is in question. Consequently, the Spirit of Truth restrains His blessing. The vex of the law remains. Blessing only comes with truth (2Cor.3:17). The only reason to fear truth is if you don’t believe His grand plan of mercy.
I am not afraid of my wicked ways and thoughts because I am grafted into His ways and thoughts. My teensy little brain and body cannot possibly create or process a wickedness greater than His mercy. This is the Cornerstone of the building in which I live. All things start with nitty-gritty heart alignment to the witness of conscience. Here is where the Spirit will meet you. Truth is the stairway to heaven.
How much do you really want to breath “rarified air”? Ultimate, Spirit-led humility is our concession to the cross where we are brought to the death of our pride. Our final give-up. His reward is to elevate our inner man into the ultimate perspective of His Spirit (Col.3:1ff/Heb.11:6). We see Jesus (Heb.2:9,12:2). Can’t go any lower. Can’t go any higher. He is all in all.
When you open all the doors to every nook and cranny of your character, His wind will drive out the stench and odors of the outhouse called self. True conversion is to go beyond the “falling short” token ways of a carnal Christian; a prayer, a passing sense of remorse, trying to talk or act more Christian. Humiliation is a step beyond humility. It is staring shame in the face and welcoming it’s full say. No more excuses. No more “Ya, buts….” “Maybe tomorrow, next month, some day”. Today is the day of salvation.
The Holy Spirit does not start making you better. Rather, He starts showing you the truth of your wickedness and you become more aware of how evil you really are. At the END of his ministry Paul said “I am the worst of all sinners”(1Tim.1:15).
When I began to breathe the rarified air from the Scriptures, I slowly began to “see” and “touch” the spiritual realities of the intimate love the Father Hand-delivered to me… unworthy Michael (Jn.3:3-8/1 Cor.2:1-16/Rm.8:1-17/2 Cor.5:19/Rm.5:6). If any of this sounds “out there”, it is because you do not understand the “there” of there; the Spirit. It is because the system of Christianity has long established an institutional “salvation” identified by shallow answers to deep problems, and men accept them as the only alternative to their predicament. It is actually rooted in a dead Jesus because their “answers” always come down to trying to emulate His past teachings. There is nothing real of God. This is the curse of the “works of the law” rather than the work of the Holy Spirit (Rm.8:3/2 Cor.11:4/Gal.2:16,21).
When I was a lost dude, I never imagined that some of my greatest pain would come from the rejection and accusations of carnal Christians who defy my testimony because it is not to a “preacher”, church or prayer. My spirit bears witness in truth to the living Jesus alone. The Father cries for anyone to come, taste and see these High Places of His Spirit (Psalms18:33/Hab.3:19/Phil.3:9ff).
A natural man cannot understand how Jesus can live in a man (1 Cor.2/Acts 17:24/Jn.4:24). How can a man no longer be vexed by things of this world? A spiritual man is able to “more than overcome” because spiritual discernment is a phenomenal provision (Jn.14, 16/1 Cor.2:11/Rm.8:37/1 Cor.9:20). It is the ability to decipher deception and regulate the thoughts and feelings of the old man and new man (Heb.4:12/2 Cor. 10:3/Lk.17:21/Mk.7:15/Mt.12:34,5:18).
Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on my vines or produce for food and no cattle or sheep. Yet I will exult in the Lord…the Lord Is my strength..He has made my feet like deer to walk on my high places (Hab. 3:17-19). If this is possible without the resurrection, surely how much more we can do this with the Spirit.
We are dead people. Kind of like zombies only we made it all the way through death into new resurrection life so we don’t stumble around making weird sounds. Although I do occasionally drool on myself.
You can actually perform a Self Test on your heart right here and now. No piece of paper or pencil required. Simply evaluate the focus, content, quality, and tone of the words you speak each day (Mt.12:34). Are the words proud or humble? Instead of pride “I already know”, we say “I don’t know anything. Please Lord, help me. Fill me. Teach me the ways of your Holy Spirit.” Such prayer is the essential ‘groan’ of the Spirit (Read Rm.8:26/ 2 Cor.5:4/1 Cor.2:6). The inner flow of “living water” produces an outer flow to “lift up” Jesus (Jn. 7:37,15:26,3:14,8:28,12:32).
When He changes us inwardly, we reflect Him outwardly.
Think of all the struggles people have in life with alcohol, drugs, divorce, a job, etc. Compare these struggles, of death and misery, to one that produces eternal light. Paul says we “carry about the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Cor.4:10-11). Imagine the Risen Jesus living within your conscious life, despite your sinful humanity. This is a marvelous struggle(2Cor.4:16-18). We can tap into how Jesus thinks, see as Jesus sees, love as He loves, plan as He plans, touch men with His Spirit and know His eternal glory (Col.3:1-4, 1:27/1 Cor. 2:16).
I surely don’t mean to sound “super-spiritual”, because I am a scum bag. But I know Whom I know and His Spirit compels me to write of His love for you. Don’t be tricked by the one-and-done “sinner’s prayer”. It is the sales pitch for a “tithe”. Salvation is not found in a prayer but in the Person of Jesus. He is the only One Who can give of His Spirit to you. He is the beginning into a grasp of the height, depth, length, and width of the Father (John 17/ Eph.3:20). Jesus says “Come to ME… learn from Me… My words are spirit and life” (Mt.11:27/Jn.6:63,7:37). Discover Him as a Brother, Shepherd, Savior, Warrior, King and living Bread.
Passive acquisition of Bible knowledge may be helpful, but to breathe His air requires you fight with all you are. Jesus says “The kingdom of God suffers violence and violent men seize it by force” (Mt.11:12). Within the black letters on white pages of Scripture is “the living and active Word of God” (Heb.4:12).
My friend, agreeing with what I write does nothing for you. At any time, out of nowhere, anything can come upon anyone, who is outside His Lordship. (Col. 1:21/Mt.28:18, 3:11/Lk.3:16/Acts 2:3). So don’t play games. You must go low. You are vulnerable to the random chaos of this world as long as you stand in your high places of ego. God’s redemptive destiny is designated only for those of the cross who fight that “violent” fight “in such a way so as to win this prize” (1 Cor.9:24/Mt.11:12/Col.1:11/2 Cor.10:3/Phil.4:7).
If you find yourself asking yourself the question “Why?”, over your situation in life, it is an absence of His revelation. It was answered by the Son; Satan rules this world through the random chaos of sin (Jn.10:10,15:25/1 Jn.5:19). Come into His Spirit and uncover His redemption. God’s voice is not audible. It is “heard” by understanding His Word and learning to love someone else as He loves you (Jn.10:27/Rm.12:2).
Don’t sell yourself short. Cultivate a solitary inner life in Christ. Reaching into the high places of God’s Spirit in Christ is the sole means to champion all obstacles on earth (Ps.51:17).
I am a soldier. I am a branch. I am a sheep. I am a son. I am a brother of the living Jesus. Join me.