Have you ever wondered what life is supposed to be like for the Christian? Nearly all of us have. The reason this question arises is simply that many believers don’t have a way to properly gauge the quality of their Christian experience. Certainly we can find a myriad of religious alternatives all vying for our attention, yet can we be confident that they offer us a proper view of the Savior. The good news is that most of the people that will read this book have already begun a search for spiritual truth. Having initially said yes to Jesus they know that encounters with Him are possible, if not proper; but there is a problem.
If God’s perfect gospel is interrupted, unanswered, or is not actually given its proper place, then we will find ourselves jumping into all sorts of error. Instead of achieving God’s highest, we will only be producing results that serve natural inclinations. For some that might seem like a worthy cause; this world offers all sorts of imaginative perks; however God wants to offer us a better reward. As we trust Him with the journey we are invited to live a renewed life based on His power to save.
Think about it; our highest call is to be brought up into a heavenly reality; one rooted and grounded upon eternal principles. This means that every decision in life can be immersed in the nature and character of Christ. The life we live and the fruit we produce, even while on this earth, can then be of a greater quality than that which we have previously known. However the truth is we sometimes miss the way.
There are times that we become confused about what actually represents true faith. Consequently if the “Adam in us” (Sinful man, old man, fallen nature, human nature, Adam or Adamic nature.) decides to take charge of the journey, then we will quite often find ourselves accepting damaging religious detours. In other words, if our natural man has been leading with his own brand of reason he will improperly put his hands on every aspect of Christianity.
For our study we will define the difference between religion and true faith in this way;
• Religion is a search for God, but subject to man’s own strength and definition of a savior (We are in control).
• In contrast “Christianity,” or our “faith,” refers to a pure expression of relationship which has been initiated and delivered to us by God (God is in control).
This is our battle in a nut shell. Will it be Adam’s view point that rules our hearts and minds or is it time to truly trust in the life of our Savior? Fallen activities may not disqualify us for heaven; however dabbling in Adam’s religiosity can certainly divert our course.
The Christian Journey
This brings up another important point; our Christian journey is Spiritual. We call upon a Spiritual God for Spiritual answers and participate in a Spiritual new life and Kingdom. We also participate in the divine nature and receive from the Holy “Spirit” His counsel and comfort. Finally we worship Jesus in Spirit and in truth; believing that His victory is an anchor for how we survive this life and beyond. As we trust Him to be supernatural it leads us into effective service and unity with our Savior. Yet we are not the only spiritual people on the earth.
1 Corinthians 2:12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.
Fallen man is also moved to make choices that are spiritual. By utilizing misplaced faith he invites ethereal powers to lay claim to him. Subsequently by being made aware of how natural man goes about making bad deals with the flesh, the world and the Devil we can steer clear of many of these same points of error.
(For our study and throughout this book you might notice that I have capitalized the word “Spiritual” to coincide with the work of the Holy Spirit and represent a true definition of salvation in God. Likewise I have left a small case “s” in “spiritual” to represent a generic understanding of spiritual things as well as describe the fallen works of creation.)
In the pages ahead we will be looking for truth in Jesus and His Word, but we will also be considering many of the pitfalls that can blanket religious thinking. What we want to offer the reader is an invitation to become Spiritually aware and awake to a greater victory that is in Jesus. Here are some key subjects that we will be discussing in the chapters ahead.
Covenant: The right to agree with God is a privilege, but going beyond God’s covenant plan can cost us dearly. Added agreements with men, organizations or a demonic realm have put us under serious spiritual oppression, leaving us powerless to show forth a true faith.
The Serpent: Through intrigue and deception the Devil has taken hold of Adam’s world and declared himself a god. This fallen angel also tries to entangle believers in an alternate example of spiritual success.
The Anatomy of a Contract: The Serpent holds mankind captive to a very old contract. If we can recognize how that contract still impacts our lives in the negative, we can escape many of the strongholds that have accompanied poor choices.
A Tale of Two Kingdoms: If we become subject to a fallen world it is likely that we won’t reach for heaven and heaven will have a hard time reaching for us. It all depends on where we choose to dwell.
The Shadow of the Spiritual: When religion is central to our faith it means that “we” are central to our faith. This can make the Church a dangerous minefield and rob believers of their God given innocence.
Duality in faith: When true faith becomes joined with ideas and concepts that are merely religious in nature they end up supporting a different agenda and invite other gods to speak. The Church and its ministry have taken a turn for the worse under such influences.
The Religion of Old Testament Covenants: An improper dependence on the Old Covenant message by a New Covenant Church can become an unhealthy template for success. Old Testament ritual has fueled many of Adam’s attempts to be good and godly, yet a better Covenant is now available in Christ.
Spiritual Ministry: Ministry that seeks to confront spiritual trouble can find itself just as vulnerable as the people it is trying to help. By challenging our ideas about religious practice we can return to a pure expression of ministry guided by the Holy Spirit.
The Search for Christian Identity: The question of who we are and why we were made can never be answered based on human reason. Yet such attempts create a lack of true clarity in our search for Christian identity. This is especially true when we are made subject to questionable religious systems. Yet God has provided us away out of the confusion.
The chapters ahead will address numerous beliefs rooted in man’s search for the divine. This may challenge some of your own connections with religion and make you wonder about various church movements. This author’s own journey followed numerous church denominations as well as Charismatic faith; some of it was Jesus and some of it was not. But what we long for is a foundation in faith that remains singular under one God and one Spirit. Certainly every need has been answered in Christ, and God does remain available as we draw near to Him. He fulfilled all things long before we existed, so that we could draw from a Source of Life that is always constant and never fading. In fact the miraculous can happen as we start to trust Him with the Journey. That is actually the most comforting thing I have ever known, especially as I have begun to walk free of many years of spiritual and religious distractions.
Are you ready to take a journey; a journey that will show you a powerful way to separate from Adam’s religious madness? Come along and experience the freedom for which Christ has set us free. The most precious of promises can be realized when you come out from,
“The Shadow of the Spiritual”
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