Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John 3:5-6)
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7)
You will not experience the spiritual if you pursue the fleshly. The Kingdom of God requires a spiritual approach. The manifestation of God’s presence and power in our natural world is the expression of His Spirit inside of us, much like a prism that divides light into many colors.
There are four practical stages for us to manifest the spiritual plan of God:
- Learn to receive the plan and purposes of God in your life.
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled?” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:34-38)
When Mary was visited by the angel, she listened intently and responded by humbly submitting to the Word of the Lord. We must learn to listen to God’s Word in His presence.
- We must protect that Word with divine discernment.
And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. (Matthew 2:12-16)
Like Jesus father, we must learn to discern God’s voice and respond with obedient hearts.
- We must become mature in our thoughts and actions.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:13-14)
God’s plan is rarely smooth and nice. Over the course of 40 years in the desert, the Israelites’ experience in the wilderness was not all that inspirational or exciting. Joseph had to literally run for his family’s lives after the birth of Jesus. Remember that, while reality may seem insurmountable, the grace and protection of God will always succeed. We need to become mature in the Lord and seek to understand His ways.
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:40, 52)
Jesus grew stronger in wisdom and stature and found favor with both God and man. What a great example to follow. We need the power of God, and the favor of men will likely follow. We must work to develop our character so that God can develop our gifts and accomplish His purpose for our lives.
- We must release God’s power by relinquishing control.
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:11)
Jesus did His first miracle, and in doing so, He revealed His glory. This happened as a part of His maturing process.
Mary never controlled Jesus. On the contrary, she remained steadfast in her faith, standing by when He was crucified, trusting the greater plan of God.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:3-4)