God has spent more than a year impressing upon my heart the fact that alignment with my identity with Christ is utterly dependent on aligning my heart, my mind and my emotions with His will, His plans and His purpose for my life. This is what I have come to refer to as a plumb line existence.
I’m home from an early morning run having injections to treat pain in my back and thinking about alignment, truth, prophecy and destiny tonight. Pardon me if I wax prophetic.
If you run in charismatic circles – you might have an understanding and a resounding yes in your heart. Likewise, if you run in primarily evangelical settings you may ask what I mean by the word “prophetic” as you picture Elijah running for his life from Jezebel prophesying against the prophets of Baal. You might even see Isaiah in the throne room uttering the words, “Woe to me, for I am a sinful man.” Still – you likely think I’m out in the weeds. And if I tell you the truth, I believed exactly the same thing before joining Gateway Church seven years ago.
Well, the Lord is so gracious He gives us standards and examples of prophecy in New Testament Scripture. I have learned through experience that Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 14 remain relevant to the believer today just as they did for the believers in Corinth. This area of ministry and gifting has handily been one of the most life-changing things in my life behind my salvation experience at the age of twelve.
My husband and I find ourselves returning to our Baptist roots, but I am not going to lose sight of the revelation I received that continually bears good fruit in my life. I may have to change the expression of it in my life to be submitted to the church I am joining, but I will continue to test everything and personally hold onto what is good. I simply ask you to do the same. Test this message and hold onto what is beneficial to you.
I land here tonight thinking about the power of words. Scripture admonishes us to realize that the power of life and death is in the tongue, in our words. Our words convey agreement and agreement creates a covenant and covenant produces alignment. Alignment then shapes everything we experience in our life.
James tells us that the tongue is an untamed and powerful thing. It is like a rudder that can turn a very large ship. But, think about it, turning a ship doesn’t happen on a dime. It takes time, distance and a certain amount of nautical and engineering acumen to adjust the course of a ship. The captain calls out the command, then his first officer delivers the word to the engine room while the man at the wheel begins to crank the ship in a new direction. The movement is gradual, and in open seas would not necessarily be notable. And if a command contains an error, it could result in horrible consequences for everyone aboard the ship. It could even lead to physical death.
So it is with our words. The words we speak indicate two things. 1.) What we truly believe in our heart, and 2.) The kingdom with which we align ourselves. You see we really do live in two realms, a natural realm, this earthly life ruled by the principalities and the prince and ruler of the air (Satan). And, the Kingdom of God. the heavenly spiritual realm where we are now seated with Christ. The kingdom you agree with will either produce life or death in your lives and the lives you have influence to speak into. Weigh your words. What do you find yourself continually speaking and making agreement with?
Think of how you pray for people or what you say when you disagree with or disapprove of them. How do you speak to your children when they misbehave? One of the most powerful lessons I ever got on this subject came from a friend. Her two young children were in a near empty restaurant while we visited and her daughter kept going to a cooler with bottled drinks to bring to her mother. Her mother patiently and gently admonished her not to do it again and had her replace the drink. When the little girl walked away the third time I said, “She is a bit mischievous.”
Her mother smiled and shook her head. “No, not mischievous, adventurous. We are working on boundaries.”
Very appropriate for a 3 year old girl. No raising her voice, no negative commands, just a patient, gentle rebuke and a lesson on boundaries.
POWERFUL stuff right!
I share all this to say living a plumb line existence comes from understanding and valuing the life-giving words of Scripture. When we learn to speak and pray them over yourself, your family, and the people you influence. I would even say to pray and speak it over the people you’ve given up on or who have wounded you. OH! Now I’ve gone to meddling.
You see, prophets in the Old Testament spoke warnings and promises to the people of Israel while they lived in captivity. There were no Bibles to pick up and read, just a personal relationship with the priests and Levites in the temple and the things handed down by tradition from one generation to another. The prophets spoke with the authority and power of God. They helped to bring the people of Israel back into align with God’s covenant promises and His perfect will for their lives. The role of the office of prophet is to help the leadership of the community structure the worship of God to bring about the alignment of the leader’s vision with the purpose and plan of God. Let’s face it – Old Testament prophets spoke a lot about the judgment of God. Not a pleasant thought to be that kind of prophet right?
Prophets in the New Testament did one of two things… They prepared the way for the advent of Jesus, the Messiah, or they ministered the gospel through words of encouragement, edification, comfort and occasionally through stronger words of motivation called exhortation. These words never contradict Scripture and always line up with the character and nature of God. They do not “uncover” or reveal sin, but instead they open the door for healing, repentance, and speak to destiny as well as freedom. New Testament prophecy is administered through the Holy Spirit to each as He wills. It is available to everyone who is in Christ and has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Revelations tells us that the Spirit of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.
So living a plumb line existence with a prophetic edge looks a bit like this:
1. Rightly Understanding Who God Says I Am. My friend and pastor, Bob Hamp, often says, “Jesus didn’t die for what you did, He died for who you are.” Repentance then becomes not about saying your sorry and asking for forgiveness, but instead about responding to the Holy Spirit’s conviction by agreeing about unconfessed sin in your life and changing your mind about doing it. You see, if Christ died on the cross to redeem all of mankind from the sins of the world, then even the sins I will commit – that I don’t even know about yet – are completely covered if I am in Christ.
Do I need to share that again? IF. JESUS. DIED. ON. THE. CROSS. ALL. MY. SINS. ARE. COVERED.
So why do I need to 1 John 1:9 and confess my sins to Him? Because we have to change our mind about sin and the first step to changing our minds about sin is coming out of agreement with what led us into the sin and coming into agreement with God about the sin. It is not debasing and shame ridden – it is cleansing and freeing. I don’t have to beg God or make a list of reasons why – I just have to agree with Him that I sinned and I have no power to stop sinning apart from His power in my life. Every time I go to God and come out of agreement with a habitual sin, I become more and more released from its power over my life. Think about that. And realize, the more my identity begins to come into line with who God says I am the more Christ-like I become.
My daddy used to tell me my consequences would have been less severe if I had just come to him and told him that I had screwed up and needed him to help me through it. I believe that reflects the heart of God toward us. Just like when my father felt the consequence I needed was a spanking. My father would say, “This hurts me to do this, but I love you and I want you to remember not to do that anymore.”
God doesn’t want us to live in the consequences of poor choices and sinful behavior. He wants to redeem it but He cannot redeem what we don’t lay out and acknowledge honestly before Him.
Again, the first step to living a plumb line existence is to rightly understand who God says you are in Christ.
2. Learning To Listen To That Positive Still Small Voice Inside of You. For a number of years I would dismiss hopeful, positive affirmations in my thoughts because I didn’t realize these promptings were words of revelation and affirmation from God. Jesus says we are His sheep and His sheep know their shepherds voice. How do we know His voice? We study His Word and we learn about His character.
Does that thought or dream you are carrying in your heart bring life to you, encourage you, bring you hope, give you direction or even feel a bit like Deja Vu? What if you are dismissing God thoughts thinking that is just wishful thinking? Scripture admonishes us to live not as fools, but as the wise. And God uses the things that defy human logic to confound the world’s wisdom and culture. So test that word… Does it reflect His heart for you? Does it get your passion stirred up? Do you feel empowered by it? Then ask Jesus if that word is His voice. He’ll never lie to you. Be open to how God speaks to people in the Bibl: some see visions or dreams, some get words that turn into books, while others just have a strong sense or impression that what they are hearing is of God.
3. Aligning who you were created to be up with the words God gives you and speaks over you. If you have never done a strengths test, a spiritual gifts test and even your unique learning style or an emotional quotient evaluation, then do it. When you have your results compare these things with the things you do that seem to bring life to others and really bring life to you. If you have never sat down and done a personal assessment for yourself this way… DO. IT! Finding your sweet spot is more about who you are than what you are doing. Living your life on purpose, through a revelation of God’s life-giving power, will bring you more satisfaction and blessing than you can imagine. Plug into that tree of life, and let Him set the boundaries and teach you what risks are worth taking because He is in them with you.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. ~ Proverbs 13:12 (my memory)
I began to meditate on what a plumb line existence would look like a couple of years ago. When my identity is perfectly aligned in who Christ is and who He says He is in me, there is no limit to my potential in Him. I must discover that first. As I do, then these other things – learning to hear and respond to His voice out of who He says I am will bring about healing, deliverance, discipleship, equipping and empowerment to serve and minister in your unique role in the universal body of Christ.
It is the power of Christ at work in you, accepting you in the Beloved and creating the good pleasure of His will in your life that enlightens your heart and awakens you to the impossible possibilities of life on the prophetic edge with Jesus. Live it today!