ASCENDANCE is a Christian activity.
Not in correspondence with prosperity doctrine, but in congruence with resurrection reality. We were saved to follow Jesus, to die to self and be raised in Him.
In practical terms, this means a direct correlation between losing what we cannot keep to gain what we cannot lose. We seek the Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) and God gives us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). Because those two things are uncompromisingly aligned, the latter linked with the former.
Seek what God wants and God will give you what you seek.
See how these are one and the same thing?
We are a resurrection people. We are into building, not destroying. We are people who may stumble but don’t ultimately fall. And even if we do fall, we do rise again, by virtue of the fact we don’t give up.
Here’s what I mean:
Where’s our focus? It’s not on the people who do or don’t like us. It’s on those people who seem to ‘get’ our purpose. It’s on being kind to all no matter how they treat us, and we save a special form of respect for those who mistreat us. This is a Jesus teaching. How good it is to do kindness to those who cannot be anything but our reproach! We know our kindnesses are not motivated for our own gain, but for God’s glory. This is why we’re unconquerable when we choose joy in untenable circumstances, and hope when despair hits the ground running. How? Because we can. And we’re not perfect, we get that. Love for enemies is what we strive for. Because it’s powerful and dignifying to treat someone with respect when they’re disrespectful to us. See?
It’s on those situations that build people up, and it’s not on those circumstances that tear them down… why on earth would we make the cancer spread? It makes no sense!
The Holy Spirit comes in power when we seek what God wants, and that power gives others power.
Social media in this age is responsible for suggesting something insidious in our psyches. We seem to be in constant comparison mode, and there is a significant portion of our population who are stressed through the fear of missing out. Or, the other nemesis is getting set on ‘having’ our opinion, as if it glorifies God to fight for our right, which it almost never does. There’s no use in obtaining the whole world through influence if we lose our soul in cutting down our neighbour.
Before we know it, as Christians, we get sucked back into the ways of the world, forgetting we’ve been saved from these tyrannies. But we must work out of the grace we’ve been given. And that grace is surrender; the forfeit of ego.
It’s too easy in this life to focus on the things that destroy others and therefore ourselves, what with bitterness and self-esteem issues at the forefront. What stands before us as Christians is a simple choice. Which way will we go? To build up or to tear down. To appreciate or to deprecate.
Every choice is either one or the other.
Steve Wickham is a writer and pastor who holds degrees in Science, Divinity, and Counseling.