"Altitude, Awareness, Attitude, Access, Action"
Allow me to be alliterative. Life, as defined by God, involves altitude, awareness, attitude, access, and action.
"God… hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4; 6).
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (I Corinthians 2:12).
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee" (Isaiah 26:3).
"We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:2).
"we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).
The Apostle Paul taught that a part of us, the very heart of us, already "sits together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Paul refers to the spiritual reality of our union with Christ. "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit" (I Corinthians 6:17). In these terms, where our Lord is, we are also. Thus, our "altitude" enables us to view God, life, and reality from a viewpoint that transcends earthly perspectives. "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (II Corinthians 4:18). Scripture provides this transcendent view, and the Holy Spirit illuminates, encourages, and challenges us to believe that we live our earthly lives as enabled by the Heavenly reality of our heart's true home.
We must "know the things freely give to us of God" if these gifts of His grace are to have the consistent and growing impact necessary for our Christ-enabled walk with God. Our spiritual treasuries are full if we have trusted in Christ, enabling us to walk in faith and faithfulness. "God… hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the Heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). If, however, we are unaware of such grace, believers can unnecessarily and inexcusably live as paupers dominated by fleshly weakness rather than the spiritual enabling of our present, active, and involved God. "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 2:10).
Life is completely different when we realize we can actually live it. "The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). I woke up yesterday with a chest cold, and not feeling well at all. Several other matters concerned me, and I felt the strong temptation to dig a hole, as it were, and jump into the pit of unbelief and discontent. By His Spirit and His Word, however, our gracious Heavenly Father reminded me of our altitude in Christ and its accompanying grace. The awareness encouraged and challenged me to throw down my carnal shovel, affix my gaze on Heavenly realities, and go forth with an attitude of peace, expectation, and confidence. The Lord enabled me to conduct three services despite having very little voice, and to live the day in joy rather than gloom. He changed my attitude by making me aware of my altitude. "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:6).
In Christ, God makes available the resources of Heaven, to be accessed for our earthly walk with Him. "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). We may come "boldly" because the Lord Jesus died for us in abandonment and rejection. "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?!" (Matthew 29:46). To the degree the Lord Jesus was denied access to His Father, we will never be rejected as we come in faith, humility, and the hymnwriter's exultant affirmation: "Nothing in my hand I bring. Only to Thy cross I cling!" The aptly titled "throne of grace" awaits us as its blessed Occupant beckons us to come in confidence, and in the expectation of accessing Him and His enabling grace. "We have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him" (Ephesians 3:12).
Finally, actions proceed from from altitude, awareness, attitude, and access. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13). Faith and works are inextricably bound. The former empowers the latter; the latter confirms the former. No genuine experience of the Lord Jesus in the heart can be viewed as authentic if it fails to engage the hands and the feet. "Faith without works is dead… "I will show thee my faith by my works" (James 2:17; 18). A changed attitude, based on awareness of altitude, leads to accessing God's grace and thus acting in a manner pleasing and honorable to Him. As in my experience yesterday, the Lord receives all the glory and honor as He illuminates His available grace in Christ, and enables us to live our earthly lives according to Heavenly realities. Or, as the Apostle so beautifully testified…
"By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
(I Corinthians 15:10)
Weekly Memory Verse
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple" (Psalm 27:4)