2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.
Recently I was hosted again on the Transformation Podcast and shared some stories of how I've seen God work through my life while I've followed His callings to go to Mazatlan, Boston, and Macedonia.
When reflecting on my first year walking with the Lord, I realized that He had shown me so many things that may be helpful for new believers to know. So, I decided to reflect, ponder, and wrestle with the top 12 things I learned during my first year. These things are really important, and I did my best to explain why I chose them.
Obviously, the Lord's three commandments are paramount to our walk: 1) Love the Lord your God with all your mind, heart, strength, and spirit, 2) Love your neighbor as yourself, and 3) the Great Commission to take the gospel to all nations, tribes, and tongues.
It's been a while.
And what I know is that when you walk with the Lord, time flies.
I wanted to share this brief post because our testimonies are one of the most useful tools that we have to minister - as it is a personal witness to how Jesus has interceded on our behalf.
Revelation 12:11 KJV
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
For me, He not only saved me when I accepted Him as Savior, I also recognize that He was there with me all along the way, in my darkest moments, and even when I thought everything was simply A-OK.
Here's a link to a podcast called the Transformation Podcast, which I was interviewed on a few months back and shared the shocking goodness of God throughout my life. Enjoy!
Today I watched a testimony of a man who had been widely influential in the new age movement. His influence had brought him great wealth and prosperity, yet he was not happy, and in fact was deeply troubled. He had been led astray by seeking his own understanding. While he did not discard Jesus, he did not embrace Him fully either. After going through a period of trial and battle, he accepted the Lord. The testimony was powerful in that it showed how the Lord can gently guide us back to His path. I pray that those who are embattled with such strongholds seek the Lord, for His way is full of mercy and forgiveness.
In reading scripture after watching this testimony, I came across I Corinthians 2, which speaks of spiritual wisdom. The man giving his testimony in the video thought that he had great spiritual wisdom, and that it was a gift from God. Instead, he did not fully root himself in the ways of the Lord, and found out the hard way that it is not safe to do so. For in seeking the Truth, God will provide for us and reveal to us things that we should know.
1 Corinthians 2 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
In receiving the Spirit of God, we receive the Holy Spirit, which guides us, teaches us, and helps us to walk with Christ. It’s important to know that these are all gifts from God that we must accept so that we can receive His wisdom.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
I awoke from a dream of reading scripture, Matthew 4 (NJKV). In the dream there was a sense of urgency, a completion of sorts. A perspective shift that needed to expand.
I turned on my light and opened to the scripture, which I had read before, but to which I had forgotten its detail until I laid eyes upon it. Then I understood:
Satan Tempts Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’
I immediately understood these words, as they were the next step in my understanding. You see, yesterday I wrote about Faith from the Beginning, where God told Satan in the Garden of Eden of His Son to come, which took place at the very, very, very first instance of sin against God. The passage for today, which illustrates the next step, is that upon being baptized and having the Spirit of God descend like a dove and alight upon him (Matthew 3:16), he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
In other words, upon being baptized and receiving the Holy Spirit, the very, very, very first thing that happens is the temptation is beset upon Him. And being the most righteous One, He of course resists, and in resisting shows us that the temptation to nourish himself of this world is fleeting and that the word of God is eternal and should be where we rest our hearts. Even in His rebuking, He instructs us.
Now, I could end this post there, but alas, God had an illustration for me. A dear friend of mine was in line at the ferry terminal this morning, some few hours after this dream. She called me, and we were talking, when a rental truck in front of her backed into her front bumper. She told me what happened, was clearly jarred, and abruptly ended the call.
I was concerned, and asked if she wanted my presence. She called back, flustered, asking what to do. Without thinking, a key phrase, I entered the habitual mind, thinking of the norms of this world, and without reflection I suggested to get his insurance information and even to call the police if the situation warranted. She then said he was uninsured, and offered her money. Again without thinking, I told her to call her insurance and to see if she had uninsured motorist coverage. These are suggestions that most often would make sense, but what I had failed to do is to seek God in the situation, to seek His guidance and His Word. Immediately upon recognizing this I sent her a message saying “You can also choose compassion if it’s not a big deal to you and let God sort it out.” She replied she had indeed did that. Upon getting on the ferry, she explained that the driver of the rental truck was lost, had thought he was taking a road to the city, and was frustrated to be in line to get on the ferry. He was trying to turn around, and accidentally ran into her car. He was clearly confused, was new to the area, and was trying to make the situation right by giving her money.
Upon hearing this I sought the Word, and was shown Micah 4:2 (NKJV)
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
She again called seeking advice. I shared this passage with her and suggested that she give the money back, wish him a good day, and say God bless him. To this end, she did these things, saying he received her well, and that his eyes were kind.
What I realized in this moment is that temptation sometimes even presents itself veiled in what is seemingly good, what will seemingly nourish us. I discovered through this experience that God asks us to truly seek love, to love our neighbor, and to move from a place of love in all our dealings, even in the situations that jolt us and make us enter into habitual mindsets. It is through doing this that we will find true nourishment and shall truly live.
Derrick Rhayn is a new Christian and seeks the will and Word of the Lord.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.