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It is so important to see this life for what it really is in order to prepare for the eternity that is to come. Our jobs, spouses, kids, health and friends, while being important, are not the sum total of this life. This temporary state is only training for our lives in the eternal state.

Revelation 1:5-6 gives us critical insight into the two most important elements for understanding the framework in which we are to live.

"And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."

The first insight is found in the phrase "firstborn from the dead". Jesus is the firstborn from the dead. Well, if there is a firstborn there has to be a second-born, third-born and so forth. If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your number is in there somewhere. You have experienced a new birth in your spirit. When you were born again, your spirit was made alive. But upon Jesus' return, bodily resurrection is going to follow as well.

The second insight is found in the phrase "has made us kings and priests". This is past tense; it is already a done deal if you are born again. The Lord has called us to be kings and priests.

What does a king do? He reigns with absolute authority, and every resource in his kingdom is at his disposal to promote his purpose. This is what we are going to be doing eternally. Kings are appointed for life; and since we will never die spiritually, we will never cease to rule and reign with Christ.

But God wants us to begin now. He has made us kings and priests right now; that is part of the preparation for our eternal destiny.

Let that sink down into your heart. That is what we are called to do and to be, more than anything else. That calling transcends any denomination, faction, branch, ministry or organization. The most basic calling we have in common is to rule and reign with Jesus for an eternity. Our destiny is to rule with Him.

Now in that process we are not the "top dog." We serve Him, but we serve Him by reigning over the vastness of creation on His behalf for eons to come. Another term the Bible uses for this is "being His stewards." What a steward does is exercise the full authority and power of his lord to manage his household and estate for him.

That means we exercise God's dominion and authority to manage His affairs on His behalf. He has given us His name, dominion, power and authority, and we are to use them as He wills in this earth, as well as in the eternal state.

What we do in this life as God's stewards will determine the extent of our destiny, the shape our role takes for eternity. If this ever hits home with you, it will make you think more than once about the decisions you make each day.

The Parable of the Talents
The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 is an example of this truth. The master goes on a journey to a far country and entrusts his belongings to his three servants. This is a type of Jesus' ascension into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father, while we oversee the work here on earth until His return.

Two of the servants invested their portions and brought increase to the master, while the third hid his portion in the ground. When the master returned, the servants had to give an account for what they had done while he'd been gone.

The master said to the two who had brought increase to his kingdom, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord" (Matt. 25:21).

The extent of your eternal rulership depends on how faithful you are to use the resources He has entrusted to you to bring an increase to His kingdom in this earth. You cannot read that parable any other way.

How faithful have we been to produce increase in the kingdom of God?

Priests Unto Our God
We are priests as well as kings. Unlike people in the Old Testament, we no longer have to go through a person to get to God. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit; He lives in us. We have immediate access to the Trinity anytime we want. We can be closer to Him than we are to our spouses.

We are a royal priesthood and kings with absolute dominion over our circumstances. There is not one single circumstance confronting you to which you must bow your knee.

The devil has squeezed these two truths out of God's Word by the tradition of man. That is why Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that they were "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition" (Mark 7:13).

John's Revelation of Christ
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev. 1:8). After this verse announces who the Revelator of the vision is, John introduces himself and in verse 10 begins to tell his vision:

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," and, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea." (Rev. 1:10-11)

I want you to see something important in verse 10: John said, I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice. In the Spirit is where he received the greatest revelation of His life - one that has affected everyone who has ever named Jesus as Lord.

If you ever want to receive a revelation from God, if God is ever going to be real to you, you must learn the importance of being in this place called "in the Spirit." That is where everything God does in our lives is done.

Kenneth Hagin defines it this way: When you are in the Spirit, the things of God, beginning with His person, are more real, more eminent and more prominent in your life than things in the world.

When you are in the Spirit, God and His Word and the things He talks about in His Word have a larger and more real place in your thinking and your life than the things in the natural world do. It is nothing "weird," or "flaky," or "far out."

Flowing in the Holy Spirit
It seems as if my wife, Lynne, has a vision or dream every other night or so. She hears the audible voice of God as well. It used to upset me when I would wake up in the morning and she would start telling me what "God said" to her. I would think, "I do not want to hear it. If God wants to talk to me, He can do it Himself."

She would get wonderful revelation, and I was hearing nothing. I would pray, "God, You said You are no respecter of persons. But that does not seem to be true in my marriage. I am supposed to be pastoring my church, and I never hear from You! Supernatural events do not occur in my life as they do in hers. What is the deal?"

No answer.

I finally realized "the deal" was that Lynne was spending three-fourths of her life in the Spirit. She found that secret place and learned how to access it any time. So I began to put more of a premium on being in the Spirit. Then I began to experience more of God in my own life as well.

You can live by the Word, be blessed and prosper and still never experience the kind of things God wants to bring you when you are in the Spirit. That is the only way you can access those things. We have to learn where this place is and give it enough importance in our lives that we do the things the Bible says are necessary to experience it.

The only time in your life when everything is under your feet is when you are in heavenly places with Christ Jesus in the Spirit. If we are going to be spiritually equipped and brought to our highest level in God, we must learn how to get in the Spirit.

How To Begin in the Spirit
Assuming you are born again, your journey to learn how to be in the Spirit begins in Romans 8:6: To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. It begins with what you allow yourself to think. If you are filled with carnal thoughts, they minister to your flesh and make you mindful of the way the world thinks and acts.

You have to start being spiritually minded; you have to start thinking about God. You must begin thinking about God as you make an effort to get in the Spirit; you have to orient your thoughts toward the things of God.
This is what the apostle Paul meant when he talked about bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). It is not necessarily an easy step, but it is the first step.

Something that works for me is to start thinking about eternity; it draws me right into the Spirit. I am personally really excited about the things the Lord has shown me about eternity and the place we are all going to hold in it. When I think about these things, the things of this world become less real and begin to have less impact on me.

Lynne told me once that she would get in the Spirit by thinking of the Lord just holding her in His arms and cradling her. That never worked for me, but different people need different things to help them focus. For her it was comfort; for me it was excitement. Both worked just fine.

Focus your mind on God and the things in His Word that really minister to you, and you will start becoming spiritually minded. Our ability to do this is a prerequisite to accessing the Spirit.

Worship Into His Presence
Worship is another way we can experience being in the Spirit. "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). But it has to be in the Spirit. If you listen to someone singing a hymn and you raise your hands but your mind is out on the golf course, you are not worshipping in anything but your flesh. But when you focus your mind on God and begin worshipping Him in Spirit, you will be brought into the truth - the reality - of His presence.

"What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding." (1 Cor. 14:15)

This shows us that praying in the Spirit is different from praying in our understanding. If we do not understand what we are praying, then it is a mystery to our minds but not to our spirits.

Another way we access that place of being in the Spirit is to pray in other tongues. Singing in the Spirit, also known as singing in tongues, combines worship and praying in the Spirit.

You begin putting these things together - becoming spiritually minded, being a worshipper of God, praying in tongues, singing in the Spirit-and you will find the joy and peace of being in the Spirit. If you make this your fundamental approach to life and do not reserve it for your prayer closet or when you come to church, then being in the Spirit will start to feel like home.

When this becomes a pattern, you will become conscious of God throughout your day. I have heard it said that someone once asked Smith Wigglesworth how much he prayed each day. He replied that ten minutes was the longest he would ever pray but that he would not go ten minutes without praying.

Walking in the Spirit
Wigglesworth was conscious of abiding in God's presence every moment of his life. We can become so skilled in pressing through to the place of being in the Spirit that we do what the apostle Paul calls walking in the Spirit.

Walking in the Spirit means we are walking in the highest purpose of God and where His anointing is most present in our life. We are well able to meet whatever challenges we might encounter from the position of walking in the Spirit. Interestingly enough, it is also where we will get the greatest revelations from God. It is not coincidental that John recorded, "I was in the Spirit," as the first thing he remembers about receiving the revelation from God.

Source: The Last Millennium by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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