By Charles E. Sivley
There is an experience for God’s children described in Galatians 5:17: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye CANNOT do the things ye would.” The challenge to all believers is to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. Though they may no longer be drawn by the things of the world, yet they find that they are helpless, lacking power in overcoming the devil because they have yet to overcome the flesh.
In everything but this, the mere religious person can imitate the true Child of God, for it is this that distinguishes the merely religious person from the real born-again believer. The one is stopped, usually by doctrinal bondage or traditions, and can go no further, the second, having found freedom, is nevertheless still struggling to overcome the flesh. To know the truth of the Word and not to have the experience of the Word is fatal and leads to eternal disaster. The true remedy is to learn all we can from the Word of God — the Spirit of God, to be taught by Him and to become God’s true “Workmanship,” his masterpiece.
Most true born-again believers took the first step into God’s supernatural realm when they received the gift of tongues, or began to pray in the Spirit. Sadly, many have stopped right there, some even never, or rarely, exercising that supernatural God-given gift. Praying in the Spirit, or tongues, is the launching pad for revelation knowledge from God and will usher in the other gifts of the Spirit. It can bring us into the transformation that God has for us so that we are finally able “to do the things that ye would”.
The reality of transformation and the Divine nature burst into my own life as I was praying intently in tongues, consuming the Word of God, and in an intense state of seeking Him. It has continued over a period of many years, opening the Word, changing me, changing my ministry and downloading revelation knowledge to me. Romans 12:2 was becoming reality in my life as it is meant to become in every believer: “And be not conformed to the world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 3:17 (AMP), where we see the Word and the Spirit working together: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, (emancipation from bondage, freedom) (18) And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit”.
If you are seeking a revelation from God, read the Word of God, the Bible, pray earnestly and unceasingly in the Spirit and meditate on what you want to know.
We all received the Spirit when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, but it is essential to understand that when Colossians 1:27 says, “... Christ in you, the hope of glory,” Christ is not the Messiah in us, it is Christ, the anointing, that activates the Spirit within us. The gift is called Spirit; Christ is the action, the manifestation, of the Spirit. The Spirit alone in us does not result in power; it is Christ that activates that Spirit within us, that manifests as power in our lives. When we begin to understand and believe that the Spirit residing in us is actually changing our lives, bringing us into position, then we know that we are in the process of being transformed — “transfigured into His very own image”. We know also that the Word of God, the living Word, works in the same way as it becomes engrafted within us, for Jesus said: “... the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63b)
Again, we see the combination of the Word and the Spirit working in us in 2 Peter 1:3 (AMP), “For His divine power [Spirit] has [it’s already done!] bestowed on us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness through the [full personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own Glory and excellence (virtue). (4) By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.”
We must understand that, “... the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6) — the Spirit gives life to the Word of God. Psalms 45:1 says: “My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” Think about it! Both are energizing and life-giving statements because they are born of the Spirit, and we know that: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.” (John 3:6)
So how does this work in our life today? How does God accomplish this transfiguration, this transformation in us? Hebrews 10:16 (AMP) says: “This is the agreement (testament, covenant) that I will set up and conclude with them after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their hearts, and I will inscribe them on their minds (on their inmost thoughts and understanding.” It is the Spirit of God that will do this work in us as we utilize our heavenly gift of tongues, praying in the Spirit and reading the Word of God. Our tongue begins to carve that Word into our mind and heart. We begin to put on the new man: “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him That created him.” (Colossians 3:10)
Hebrews 8:10 (AMP) reaffirms the above-cited scripture: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will imprint My laws upon their minds, even upon their innermost thoughts and understanding and engrave them upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Some will say, “But I was already born again with the Word of God; I don’t need to read it.” Not true, for as we pray in the Spirit, what we have read becomes engraved upon our hearts.
Verse 11 explains: “And it will nevermore be necessary for each one to teach his neighbor and his fellow citizen or each one his brother, saying, Know (perceive, have knowledge of, get acquainted by experience with) the Lord, for all will know me, from the smallest to the greatest of them.” We will “know” Him by experience.”
Few in the Body of Christ have understood the true nature of the powerful supernatural gift they were given when they received the gift of tongues, and even fewer have experienced how that gift will transform their very being, daily lifting them into the higher realms of God, into Divine revelation as they speak unto Him Who gave them the gift. We cannot forget: “For one who speaks in an [unknown] tongue speaks not to men but to God, for no one understands or catches his meaning, because in the [Holy] Spirit he utters secret truths and hidden things [not obvious to the understanding].” (1 Corinthians 14:2 AMP) We may pray often in our own language, yet how much time do we spend praying in the Divine gift we have received?
How does the Word bring transformation? Jesus taught us that the Word is the seed, and in Luke 1:37 (AMP) we see a powerful example: “For with God nothing is ever impossible, and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. (38) Then Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her.” What was she saying? How did it happen regarding the birth of Jesus Christ? The Spirit of the highest (the Holy Spirit) came upon her. When she received the Word of God, the Spirit came upon her, giving life to the Word: “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14) Powerful! He was “... the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29) explaining our own newborn experience.
Peter made it very clear: “You have been regenerated (born again), not from a mortal origin (seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23 AMP)
I have known many during my ministry who knew the Bible backward and forward, but it was not until they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit that the Word of God opened to them with heightened and exciting meaning, and their understanding of the Bible they thought they knew so well was greatly increased. There are two types of Bible readers today. There are those who read it by the Spirit and those who read it to support their theology.
James tells us that we are a kind of firstfruits: “And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] [How?] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself.]” (James 1:18 AMP)
We were created in God’s image and likeness “... and we are constantly being transfigured [transformed] into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
We are being transformed by the Word because we, too, are born of an incorruptible seed (the Word) and we, too, are born of the Spirit, and because “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; [gives life]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63) Does it then not follow that the words we speak are also Spirit and life? Do we speak words of Spirit and life to those around us or are they yet to be carved upon our hearts? If we are lacking, if we are struggling to overcome our flesh, reading the Word by the Spirit and praying with commitment in our heavenly language to the One Who gave it to us can bring the transformation we are seeking.
“For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:19) “Beloved, now [That’s now!] are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2)