Friday, February 17, 2017

P2 - Cultivating A Proper Spiritual Atmosphere

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Psalm 133:1-3 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever."


In the last post we considered what it takes to cultivate a proper Christian spiritual atmosphere. We noted that a spiritual atmosphere has to do with the climate necessary for heightening awareness of God's movement. We then noted three ingredients required for this atmosphere:

1. Forgiveness
2. Obedience
3. Prayer

Today we will consider three more ingredients and conclude this short blog series. What else is necessary for cultivating a proper spiritual atmosphere in the heart, home and church? 

1. Faith. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

No less than four times does Paul allude to the proper spiritual atmosphere of which we are expounding in this post (with words like "aroma"). A Christian life and church exercising itself in a proper spiritual atmosphere for Jesus' sake will give-off a certain scent. Psalm 133:1-2 states - "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes." 

Anointing oil in the Old Testament was a special mixture of spices and oil, meant to give off a scent and to symbolize that person's place in the things of God. Ephesians 5:1-2 uses this same "aroma" imagery to capture the walk of faith with God as we aim to be "imitators of God." Certainly, who can forget the woman who anointed Jesus with her feet by sweet oil and her tears in Luke 7:44-50. The aroma released in the house of Simon the Pharisee was a stench to those untouched by grace. Yet, Jesus said of the woman: “your faith has saved you." The proper spiritual atmosphere was resident in the woman's heart due to faith. Notice fifthly...

2. Bible. 2 Corinthians 2:17a

We have seen thus far that in order to have a proper spiritual atmosphere that heightens our awareness of God's movement, we need forgiveness, obedience, prayer and faith. Here we find Paul referring to another ingredient, the sacred scriptures of the Old and New Testament. In 2 Corinthians 2:17a, we read: "For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity....". Hebrews 4:12 reminds us of the place of scripture in cultivating a proper spiritual atmosphere: "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Colossians 3:16 tells us: "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God."

It wasn't too long ago that our family had attended a concert put on by an award-winning harpist. The church where this event was held was among the more beautiful sanctuaries I had visited since moving to our area. As I listened to the harp being played, I marveled at the architecture. The large stained-glass windows, the statuary, paintings, grand-organ in the background and sweeping pulpit were all for the purpose of expounding the sacred book of God. We could say that the sanctuary was "richly adorned" for God's Word. Paul's point in the above text is not just to have our interior hearts adorned for scripture, but to have scripture richly adoring or dwelling the heart!

3. God. 2 Corinthians 2:17b

In this final ingredient, we find that this is not just any ingredient. We could say that without God, the other prior ingredients fail. God is God, and there is no other like Him (Isaiah 44:6). Romans 11:36 puts this final point so concisely and eloquently: "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." We need God for our proper spiritual atmosphere in our hearts, homes and churches, since He is the one for which it is set. Psalm 63:1-3 states: "O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. 3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You."

Closing thoughts: 

When I was a boy growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I recall herds of deer roaming the country side of my home area. It would be during the late Autumn, usually after the fall rains and when the little creeks were trickling with water. The deer knew the right atmosphere and places to find the water they needed. They searched it out. What are you and I in search of today? Do we want God? If the answer is yes, then let us be sure the spiritual atmosphere or climate proper for heightened awareness of God's movement is evident in our hearts, homes and churches. Let us exercise ourselves in forgiveness, obedience, prayer, faith, the Bible and God.