I want to share a story about an event, which my mother told me almost took my life. I was there of course, but my memory is sparse. I can see pictures in my mind directly after it happened, but that’s all I remember. The story’s not so much about me anyways, as much as it’s about her and God and how he manifested himself through her in a supernatural way, even though she wasn’t a believer.
When I was in kindergarten, like any kid, I loved playing outside. And where I lived at the time, there was plenty of space to play. This I do remember. We had a small front yard on a very busy and noisy street. But our backyard was very large, down a long hill and then disappearing into the train tracks in the far distance where our property ended.
Our house had three levels. The upstairs had two rooms that were really walk in attics and then a third room, which was the largest bedroom in the house. The main level held the living room, bathroom, two more bedrooms, dining area and kitchen. The basement was separated into three sections, the biggest being the family room. There was a space for laundry and also a work area where my grandfather kept many of his tools for wood working and other types of repair work.
One afternoon my mom was doing laundry. She had the washer and dryer going and was folding clothes. From the basement amidst all the noise and clatter of those machines, she clearly heard me groaning as if in pain. She stopped what she was doing and went into the family room. I wasn’t there. She searched the main level. Then the upstairs. She couldn’t find me anywhere in the house, but clearly she heard me moan.
Moving outside and into the backyard, she could see the neighbor boy doing something far off in the distance, but she couldn’t tell what it was. He had been bullying me and it ends up this boy would continue to do so for several years to come. I can remember many times he and his friend from up the street, caused me great terror and sometimes even physically hurt me. She decided to see what he was up to.
Arriving on the scene, my legs were sticking out the end of a thick rolled up blanket, with the neighbor boy stabbing into it with a stick. She pulled the stick from his hand and pushed him aside. Unrolling the blanket, I emerged drenched in sweat and gasping for air. She was convinced I would have suffocated to death if not rescued when I was. It was impossible from the house to hear me groaning like she did and immediately, she knew she had witnessed a miracle from God.
When this happened, she was not a follower of Jesus. It wasn’t till many years later that my mother committed her life to Christ. But what stands out to me is just how much He loves us all, even in our separation from Him. Even though she didn’t yet know him, still he anointed her spiritual hearing.
She was one who is made in the image of God. And being made in his image, she already had spiritual eyes and ears and whatever other senses God has endowed us with. And by those spiritual senses, she heard me groaning and in trouble, when it was literally impossible for her to have heard me with her physical ears.
You reading this, have also been endowed with spiritual senses. It’s who you are. You are made in the image of God. If you’re human, you have the goods. All of us do.
As spiritual beings, we are also walking within the context of a spiritual kingdom that’s all around us. Most of us are usually unaware of that kingdom because we operate so much out of our physical senses and what we see, feel and hear in the natural, or physical realm. The realm of the spirit is all around us too and can be discerned. We just have to learn how to be sensitized to it.
When people think of the realm of the spirit, it’s usually associated with some weird or horribly scary manifestation of evil. Maybe they think of fortune tellers and zodiacs. Many think of religion, which has a tendency to lead one to associate spirit to that of an angry God, sending people to hell left and right. It conjures up lists of “do this” and, “don’t do that”. We seem to intuitively know that the spiritual kingdom operates by laws, but we greatly misunderstand the nature of those laws.
Faith, is a fundamental law of the spiritual dimension. The Bible defines faith as that which we’re convinced of, even if we can’t yet know it by our physical senses.
Hebrews: 11:1 – Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (New International Version)
For all of us, faith starts with knowledge that comes to us from the realm of the spirit. For the Christian, it’s the word of God, either through the Bible or directly into our mind. That’s the starting point of our faith. Thus the importance for us to learn to hear and discern his voice.
1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (New International Version)
For those who don’t follow Christ, the Bible tells us the word revealed by God to them, seems as foolishness and so the tendency is to not believe. This then sets people up to instead believe knowledge from spirits who are of a different kingdom. That knowledge instructs them there is no God or no spiritual dimension. For some, it tells them they’re good enough. They don’t need God, even if He’s there.
For others, deceiving spirits release knowledge through pathways of fortune telling, palm reading, horoscopes, religion and other things people use to gain knowledge from the spirit realm. The important point is whether good or bad, there is knowledge we all receive from the spirit and by our spirit and which forms the basis of our faith when we believe it.
From the perspective of a Christian world view, within the spiritual dimension are basically two kingdoms, the Kingdom of God, which I’ll refer to as a Kingdom in light. The second is a Kingdom in darkness. Both kingdoms are part of the overall spiritual landscape.
One plane of existence is characterized as the dwelling place of God. It’s a place where the government of God is active and where grace and mercy flow. The other is characterized by a governmental dominion opposed to God and one which will fall under His final judgement and harsh punishment.
When someone is in unbelief in Christ as the Son of God, the Bible says they are already standing as one condemned. That’s because our faith acts as our decree of citizenship to one kingdom or the other, whether we realize it or not. It’s what comes from our core.
John 3:18 – Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (New International Version)
John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (New International Version)
Jesus stated that he was the only way to the Father. So if we neglect or reject Jesus as the only way, we take up a position of faith that is contrary to that statement and therefore by our own decree, we subject ourselves to the dominion of that dark kingdom. It’s a kingdom that’s subject to the law of “Sin and Death” and we thereby as it’s citizen, are waiting to be judged by it’s law, which specifically condemns.
I want to qualify what it means to believe in Jesus. I’m not talking about mental ascent. Some people believe in God or at least acknowledge something bigger than us that’s out there. Even the devil himself believes in God. It’s not enough to just believe. We must believe in a way that results in our surrendering ourselves to him.
When we change our position and instead, put our faith in Christ and his shed blood through the mission of the cross, having surrendered ourselves to that, we are translated spiritually into the Kingdom of light. We are then by virtue of our new citizenship, waiting to be judged by a law shaped around mercy. It’s called the law of “Life in Christ Jesus”.
Colossians 1:13 – For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, (New International Version)
Romans 8:2 – For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (New American Standard)
No one is condemned because God’s out to get them, but rather because our faith determines which kingdom and it’s laws we should be judged by. It’s not about how well we follow a list of “to do’s” or “to don’ts”, but rather, about what Kingdom we are surrendered to, and that being determined by our faith.
Many think they are basically good and justify themselves by their perceived goodness. Good works doesn’t translate one into the Kingdom of light. Only faith in and surrender to Christ and what he accomplished through the cross does. He’s the only way to the Father. It has nothing to do with how good we can be.
The proof of this statement is demonstrated in the thief who hung on a cross next to Christ. He was being crucified for crimes he committed. In that moment he looked to Jesus and believed in him as the Messiah. Jesus stated to him, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” It was based completely on him coming to that confession of faith. Something he really, truly believed in his heart at that moment. It had nothing to do with how he lived his life. (see Luke 23:39-43)
This may not be a great way to illustrate it, but let me try anyway. Because I love my children, I’ve tried to explain the dangers that playing in the street can present. I want them to be safe. So when they were young, I told them, “Don’t go there.”
But if they decide one day, that I’m being harsh, or I’m preventing them from really living. Maybe they have friends who’ve played in the street and nothing happened to them, so they simply don’t believe me. For whatever reason, they play in the road and as a result are hit by a car and are injured or killed, did that happen because I’m a mean father? Did it happen because I condemned them to be hit by the car? No, it happened, because for whatever reason, they didn’t heed my instruction.
As a result of their faith, they have subjected themselves in a sense, to the laws of man and machinery. And in the case of a human body vs. the machine, the machine wins that battle. Thus the reason why I tried to instruct them from the beginning, not to act so foolishly.
God in his love has reached out to us through Christ, to provide a way of escaping the dangerous kingdom and instead, enter into a Kingdom of life. But in order for that to happen, we have to believe and put our trust in Him. In so doing, we then fall under a completely different set of laws and judgement. Instead of us paying the price for our sins, the law of “sin and death”, we find forgiveness, grace and mercy, in spite of our sins, in the “law of life in Christ Jesus”, since it’s he who paid the price for them on our behalf.
Our Christian statement of faith is not about us somehow being good enough and earning our way to God. Actually it’s the opposite. It’s a confession of our own stubbornness and sinfulness. And in humility, we turn to a merciful and loving God who offers us eternal life through Christ. Not through us earning it, but through what he did to ransom it back for us.
Ephesians 2:8 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (New International Version)
He gives us the faith to believe unto salvation, if we’ll ask Him for it. And in the same way, he’ll give us the faith for all things pertaining to life and Godliness, so we can continue in a life that’s worthy of his calling.
We’re all made in the image and likeness of God. We all have spiritual senses to interact with an unseen kingdom. Sometimes, people who do not profess faith in Christ, such as my mom in that moment when I was almost suffocated, can operate from their spirit man by direction of God. They may not even realize it’s happening. Their spiritual senses are stirred up, because in his mercy, God is working something out in that moment, perhaps to protect.
When this event happened, she didn’t really know anything about God. But yet, he intervened in our lives, through opening up her spiritual senses. She wasn’t trying to get counsel from the spiritual world. She simply was operating out of who God made her to be as a spirit being. She was completely unaware that she was even operating this way. And it was in lieu of a specific purpose He had in mind, which was to save my life.
When we are in Christ through faith, we gain the ability to deliberately operate out of spiritual faculties we’ve been designed for. We move from a place of experiencing his presence by seeming accident or divine providence such as mentioned above, to one where we begin to understand the laws of His Kingdom and through them, find ourselves engaging his presence in wonderfully more deliberate and consistent ways.
We follow after an incredible God and a kingdom of which we’re inheriting, one we can know and explore. But outside of Christ, spiritual experimentation and engagement is extremely dangerous. There truly is another kingdom with spirits and beings who will bring us to disaster through the knowledge they provide to us and from which we then live out of.
Our faith in Christ translates us into that better Kingdom. One that every person on earth, throughout all of time and even now, are invited to enter into, through him. God offers you a heavenly rescue that will literally save your spiritual life. The choice is yours, to surrender to and believe in, or not.