A garland of grace and a crown of beauty. Proverbs 4:9
Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence. 2 Corinthians 5:17
This year, the Lord has been showing me things that I didn’t know were inside of me. I didn’t know they were a part of me, but He did. He sees what we can’t or what we have refused to see. I’ve been seeking the Lord on why this season has been uncomfortable because I’m not really “doing” anything like I have in other seasons of leadership or fighting for my life, or my marriage, or my family?
I want to be who God has created me to be and I am willing to do what He says to do, but I know there is this balance of working hard but not striving, a resting but not being lazy. I could almost describe this year as a “stand still” in a sense. I know there are seasons of planting, and seasons of growing, seasons of fertilizing, and seasons of harvesting and He has revealed to me that I am in the season of pruning and refining.
God references refining throughout His word, but why? Why does God need to refine us if we are already born again? A lot of times, believers can think “we already have our salvation ticket to Heaven, we just have to hold on until our time comes.” The moment we prayed our salvation prayer, we received Christ’s salvation but there is more to it. Our spirit awakened and we were reborn and in that instant we received the fruitful seed of what salvation fully includes. That seed God gives us will grow just like He promised it would through a life of being transformed. A culture of cultivating the fruit of salvation one day at a time.
We know that God warns us to not copy the culture of the world. The culture of the world is dark, rebellious, diseased, selfish, violent, and unsuccessful. We have to humble ourselves and allow God to transform us through His word. See, His word is a mirror for our lives. Just like when we look into a mirror, we see things we may not have known were there. When we read His word and remain in His presence these things that we didn’t even know were there are exposed.
For me, one thing He has shown me is where there has been a self-made strength. I’ve gone through a lot, each of us have gone through times of hell and high water. The Lord showed me where I slowly started building up a self-made strength because the world hurts, its unfair and cruel and hard. I knew of God, but I didn’t know Him. He would reveal himself to me as I was growing up and I slowly allowed Him in, but I still had my “so-called strength to lean back on in case I needed it”. This year He showed me it’s time to dig out that corruptible foundation I cling to (unknowingly) as an extra safe guard because He is my rock, my fortress, my safety.
Don’t get me wrong, what I have come through is because of His strength in me. I can’t even begin to take credit for it. His strength and word is part of my foundation, but my foundation needs to be strong at all levels-every square inch. He has shown me the self-made strength parts will crumble eventually, so let’s get them out now before you go into the next season I’m equipping you for.
“By my power I will make my people strong, and by my authority they will go wherever they wish. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Zechariah 10:12
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into trials, for we know they that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with love. Romans 5:1-5
A true child of God is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people. Romans 2:29
Last year, the Lord started highlighting the concepts of “culture” and “cultivate” to me. I love how He always starts building on revelations and what’s going to be needed.
Culture can be defined as the attitude and behavior of a group. To culture something means to develop life and to maintain that life in conditions suitable to grow and flourish.
To cultivate can be defined as to prepare the land for harvesting; to develop, improve, grow, and maintain something in it’s culture.
So as believers, when we prayed and received our salvation; remember, we received the necessary seed to develop a life in Christ, right! He gave us the culture (attitude and behavior) of His kingdom through His Holy Spirit and Christ Jesus living inside of us. This is where most of us stop though. We are so thankful for our salvation! But God gave us a seed…. Why?
Because God’s desire is to CULTURE AND CULTIVATE that seed for a massive kingdom of Heaven harvesting! God prepared the land and then gave Adam and Eve the instructions.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night”. Genesis 1:1-5
This light that God spoke of when He said, “let there be light” took an entire day! Check out my blog post: 24 hours
Remember this light was not visible illumination yet, but this light was the CULTURE, the very essence of who God is! God knew the first step was to transfer The SUBSTANCE of HIMSELF (everything good=light) on to earth! Think about this for a second. Out of all the days of creation, day 1 can seem pretty simple at surface level. Why did He dedicate a whole day to just this?
God spent ONE entire day transferring a piece of Heaven onto only a piece of earth. He was cultivating, preparing the land for His people. God was defining the culture of what life on earth should look like. God was not only culturing the earth, He was and still is culturing His children for kingdom life. God developed life and He prepared the conditions to maintain it.
God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over it…” Genesis 1:27-28
We see that God created male and female for a purpose of undivided unity. We see that God created the human race (variance of color is never mentioned). We see that He said to “be fruitful and multiply over the whole earth” and that He has given them everything that has life, He was instructing them TO MAINTAIN THE CULTURE, TO CULTIVATE THE LIFE HE GAVE AS AN EXAMPLE in Eden upon the WHOLE rest of the Earth! And that He gave them His Power, His Spirit, His Blessing to cultivate His culture of life. A culture revolution. This next scripture was mind-blowing to me,
When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had NOT YET sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. Instead springs of water came up from the ground and watered all the land. THEN the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground, He breathed the breath of life (HIS GLORY/HIS SPIRIT) in to the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living (SPIRIT FILLED) person. Genesis 2:4-7
God created the earth and it was flourishing without the help of man by providing an internal source of living water. God couldn’t send an external source of water (rain) yet because His children weren’t there or ready to begin cultivating yet. So many of us struggle when trying to find our purpose in life and it is outlined right here at the beginning of creation in the first 2 chapters of the 1st book of the Bible.
How can we cultivate (develop, improve, grow, flourish, and maintain) the Kingdom life culture in this world?
And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the attitude and behavior (culture) of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think [through renewing your mind on the word of God]. THEN you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good, pleasing, and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
We cultivate this kingdom life by the CONTINUOUS renewal of our minds. Often times that last step, maintenance, is the toughest one. To maintain something is hard to do through all the different seasons we face. Think about it.. To maintain your shape, body..to maintain the healthiness of your garden… To maintain the cleanliness of your home…etc. Here, we are being told to maintain the culture of life itself.
To maintain life is to enable the state of life to continue at the SAME LEVEL. For something to continue living, there has to be the same level of life support by providing the necessities it needs to survive. Again this “same level” of life is defined in the culture God created that first week of salvation and then through the life of Jesus.
So how do we know if we are maintaining or cultivating this kingdom culture? Just like anything else, through check-ups/examinations and repairing it regularly when something gets out of balance. When are we having these check-ups? What are we doing at these check points? What is the culture of your home? Your church? Your city? Your nation?
Satan knows he does not have the power to overtake God. So what did Satan do- he tried changing the culture God prepared through deceiving Adam and Eve. What did God do in response? He sent us us Jesus for a culture revolution! We no longer had the ability to cultivate and support life at that same level until Jesus cleaned the slate for us! Jesus is the life support! In Jesus, we have everything we need to cultivate God’s culture!
Today is the anniversary of our nation that was won and given to us by God. Our past mistakes don’t matter, but our future decisions do. We are facing a culture revolution. The enemy is working non-stop for his culture to thrive on a greater level than we have seen in our nation, but God is victoriously transforming His people and this nation for an even greater culture revolution.
Our mission is to cultivate, to enrich the culture God set up in the beginning and through the victory of Jesus Christ! We, His church, gets to transform our nation. We get to develop a culture shift and “break up the old ground” of our previous culture, cultivating the ground full of honor, humble humility, unconditional love, peace, unity, and all things defined as “light”. It’s time to say “let there be light”.
Sending my love, Sara