It’s time to acknowledge the fact that you have come a long way from where you first started. Remember the days when you did not know whether you were coming or going (up one day and down the next)? Remember when peace of mind and emotional freedom were not a part of your life? Do you remember when that low-level anxiety was always running in the background of your mind? Do you remember all of the internal pain of needing validation from other people? Do you remember the days when you needed the outside props from men, your job, compliments, designer clothes, and the overall “need to be seen” in order to feel good about yourself?
At some point along the way, you made a huge, significant shift -- a giant leap of faith where you actually laid hold of and grasped the promises of God for your very life, your sanity and peace of mind. By the sheer grace and mercy of God, you found the strength, the wherewithal to actually receive and apply His grace that helped you to arrive at this particular season of your life. You now walk in greater emotional health and peace of mind. You know deep down inside that you are loved and valued by God. You are no longer screeching internally for outside validation.
Now you have been walking the path towards greater degrees of wholeness, you find the grace you first walked in seems a bit elusive. What happened? You know that you have experienced a mighty deliverance. You know what God has done in you, for you and through you. But now the road is a little trickier. The tests keep coming. You have suffered to maintain the level of wholeness you now walk in and it is a battle to move to the next level. What happened? You did run well; who did hinder you…? (Galatians 5:7)
The first thing we must understand as we “up-level” in wholeness is we will be continually tested in every area and in every degree of wholeness we have won. God can’t trust us with the anointing, the capacity and the ability to impact other lives until we have been tested in the area of our calling. This is to protect us and the precious lives we will touch with our words.
There is a wise saying out there – “New Level, New Devil”. Every time you reach one level, you must fight and press to get to the next level. All of the wisdom that you learned through the experience of your wilderness season is what must be tested before you can be ready for the next level of wholeness. It is like being in grade school. You cannot be in the 5th grade and somehow expect that you will automatically be promoted to the 11th grade. The knowledge obtained at each grade level builds upon the knowledge of the grade level prior.
What happens if we decide that we are ready for certain benefits, blessings, spiritual promotions, and promises outlined for us in scripture, and then we commence to prematurely promote ourselves to that level? We will struggle to get to that level and inevitably fall right back to the level that we belong to because we failed to learn the lessons of the lower levels. Each level brings a greater degree of truth, wholeness, strength and influence upon others. God promotes us when we pass our tests in His timing and His way. Psalm 75:6 states, for promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. It is God who judges: He brings one down, He exalts another.
The second key to advancing at each new level of wholeness is to remember to give yourself grace every time you go through a test. During this season of your life as you slowly, but surely and steadily take baby steps and sometimes giant leaps into greater levels of wholeness, it is crucial to remember to be kind to yourself in the process. Transitioning from being rooted in the earthly, fleshy and temporal to the eternal wholeness and security in Christ is no easy task and is not for the faint of heart or faithless.
Not only must we know how to receive the grace of God, but we must also learn how to daily apply that grace to our own lives. Sometimes it is easier to give grace to others, but much more difficult to apply to ourselves. We think that we are receiving the grace of God but our daily mental and emotional struggles as we go through things show something entirely different.
A good example of this happening would be when the same exact situation shows up in your life one more time. You feel all of the same emotions. The same thoughts run through your head. But this time it is different. You sense the Holy Spirit gently showing you the correct way to handle it. You go through an internal battle. A big struggle ensues within your mind. At the end of the day, you make the correct decision, but it was not easy. You then think, what in the world was that all about? Why was that so hard? What is wrong with me? I know the right thing to do. I had already purposed in my heart when such and such occurred I would immediately do what I know the Lord would want me to do. I will operate in grace, integrity, self-control, etc. I made the right choice, but why did I have to be hot mess about it on the inside?
It is as this point, when these questions roll around in your mind, that you must stop the madness and receive the grace of God. You made the right choice. Regardless of whether or not it was messy or neat, at the end of the day you were able to follow after the Holy Spirit and pass the test. Give yourself immediately grace after the test. Don’t give the enemy of your soul a foothold by entertaining self-condemning thoughts, the things you did wrong, how long you took, how bad you struggled and simply enter His rest. You must now understand you have just increased in another dimension of wholeness. There is a time and place for introspection and for the Holy Spirit to show you what you could have done differently, but immediately after you finish the test, Give Yourself Grace. You passed!
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you. I Peter 5:10 (AMP)
[photo: Luis Hernandez, Creative Commons]
Maria Breeden has been an undercover writer for many years and has just recently obeyed her calling to write for the glory of God. She is a single mom, a full-time corporate bookkeeper and is actively involved in Reaching, Teaching and Releasing at New Hope Church in Durham, NC. You can reach her at ladieslovinggod.wordpress.com.