Christianity is a progressive journey on a spiritual continuum. I realized this truth when I first encountered the Holy Spirit’s reality in physical life. It was a spiritual experience which could be confirmed by physical reality. The encounter transformed my life and my direction in life. Over the years since I changed course I have experienced the abundant life as Jesus has promised to His believers and followers in all aspects of my being, physical, mental and emotional, and spiritual. The change is from within and can be discerned externally. Here is a summary of what happened on the spiritual continuum based on my personal experience and how I perceive and recall it:
1. The baptism of the Holy Spirit first came to me as an overwhelming love of God. It poured out on me during a worship. The worship was not particularly emotional or anything. It was orderly and “conservatively” Spirit-filled. A guitar accompanied the singing of short choruses and hymns. The participants were mainly fellow business travelers like me who happened to stay in the group of hotels or its vicinity. The pastor preached on Joseph’s business model. It was calm and unemotional and rational. I was on a six-month corporate posting in that city and lived in the hotel. My colleagues introduced me to that Sunday service.
2. The Spirit-filled experience led me to read God’s words passionately. I spent nearly all my off-duty time reading the Bible. It was a journey to see God in His words.
3. My prayer life started then. I prayed/talked to God a lot. Asking questions and receiving answers through reading the Bible.
4. Many important changes started: value system, perspectives, priorities, interests and hobbies. These changes led to changes in daily life. New lifestyle and habits were being formed and built.
5. My worship life changed and I actively sought out a Spirit-filled and Bible-believing church to join when I returned to my home base.
6. I began to be interested in serving God and joining voluntary ministries to serve others.
7. My monetary giving to churches, missionaries and the poor began to align with God’s words.
8. Other visible cognitive-emotive, internal and external changes began to emerge: attitude, thoughts about self and others, communication, connection, association, social life, relationship and behavior etc.
9. During the early stages my struggles between following God’s words and my own words continued.
10. After some years I was stuck and stagnated spiritually.
Many years later I had another spiritual encounter with the Lord. I call it the second phase of accelerated growth on my journey on the spiritual continuum in which I experienced the reality of signs, visions and dreams. I have already written a lot on the second phase in my previous blogs. One significant change was a specific calling of a spiritual watchman’s role in the reading of God’s words. Demonstration of more pronounced gifts include: interpretation of God’s words as led by the Holy Spirit, manifestation of the word of knowledge and word of wisdom, and discernment in the spirit. When warranted by occasions, other gifts like gift of faith and gift of healing manifested.
I find an unchangeable constant factor of “a passion for God’s words” on this spiritual continuum. Jesus has declared that His words are spirit and life. This has been true and real to me as I progress. I find that the minute I stop having this passion I stagnate. Stagnation in the spiritual realm is the major obstacle to living an abundant life in the Kingdom of God.
Stagnation means: cease developing; become inactive or dull: stagnate into a set of routines. How to ensure not to set in a set of meaningless routines? My way of dealing with this is to be spiritual. Worshiping in the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit. Singing in the Spirit. Taking Holy Communion. Talking to God. Writing/copying God’s words. Looking at the spiritual perspectives when I look at worldly events. The apostle Paul reminded us that sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. Thus my motto is: be led by the Holy Spirit.