"COME UP HIGHER"
RANDALL J. BREWER
Many years ago a world renowned newscaster would always end his program with these words, "And that's the way it is." When hard times come many believers say the same thing. "That's the way it is. Whatever will be will be." They then go off and have a lousy day and wonder where God is while all this calamity is going on. These same people are a walking testimony of what the Bible says in Hosea 4:6, "My people and destroyed for a lack of knowledge." Surprisingly, the number of people who don't know all the glorious things that's been made available to them is phenomenal. For some reason they've always seen less than what God intended to show them. They put God in a box and continually struggle when it comes to believing a big God for big things. They can't grasp with their mind what is said in 3 John 2, "I pray that you will prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers." The Message Bible says, "We're the best of friends, and I pray for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health - that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul!"
Your mind and the way you think is part of your soul and "soul prosperity" is achieved when you study the Word and fill your mind with the knowledge of God and all that He desires to give you, foremost which is a good life. Most people would be shocked were they to find out that, more times than not, their hardship came as a result of a lack of knowledge more than the trial itself. There is, however, a ray of hope for believers living in the last days. Hab. 2:14 says, "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Notice it doesn't say "the glory of the Lord" will cover the earth. It says the "knowledge" of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth. How will this prophetic word come into manifestation?
The answer is found in Is. 60:1-3, "Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising." The "glory of God" can be described as the radiant, visible, manifestation of the presence of God. Ezekiel saw the glory of God coming in waves rolling in like a tide (Ezek. 47:1-9). The glory is rolling in like a flood, and a flood can't be stopped. As the world gets darker, the church will get brighter and brighter. Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound (Rom. 5:20). The glory of God will be seen in our lives when the world is at it's darkest hour. It will be in such manifestation in your life that the unsaved will see it. They will look at you and see that you're the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. In other words, they'll see you living the good life.
We read in 1 Cor. 2:14, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." The Message Bible puts a little more light on this, "The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can't receive the gifts of God's Spirit. There's no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit - God's Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God's Spirit is doing, and can't be judged by unspiritual critics." How can the heathen of the world see the glory of God if only true believers can understand and discern things in the spiritual realm? Simple. They will see God doing good things to those who are His. The natural world can tell when God has been good to somebody. Daily our lives should be a testimony to the goodness of God. Moses asked God in Ex. 33:18, "Please, show me your glory." God replied in vs. 19, "I will make My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
Moses asked to see the glory of God and God showed him His goodness. Therefore, the glory of God equals the goodness of God. So when Isaiah says the glory of God will be seen upon you he is actually saying that the heathen will see with their natural eyes God being good to you! That's the glory! The good life is the route that takes you to the top of your mountain. Jesus is coming back for a glorious church, a church that is walking in the fullness of the glory of God. We are that generation that will see great manifestations of the glory and goodness of God. God is calling each of us to come up higher and to go further than we've ever gone before. God wants us to experience the good life while living in the fullness of all the blessings that have already been made available to us. And, praise Jesus, He wants the world to see it, a world that is forever ready and willing to mock and criticize the church of the living God.
The psalmist asks, "Why should the Gentiles say, 'Where now is their God?'" (Ps. 115:2). It is our responsibility and privilege to let the world see the physical manifestations of God's goodness as we enjoy every day of our lives. Living the good life is not a series of exciting events and emotions where we feel like our bodies are being penetrated by millions of needles. Neither should we only be happy on weekends and vacations. More times than not normal every day life means you get up, go to work, come home, play with the kids, eat, do the dishes, mow the lawn, watch a little television, go to bed. You then get up the next day and repeat the same process all over again. But when you're addicted to Jesus, when you are living the good life, you will be anointed by God to live ordinary lives while at the same time being extraordinarily joyful. You'll wake up each morning and boldly declare, "This is the day which the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it" (Ps. 118:24). You can rejoice because your name is written in the Lamb's book of life and you can be happy because Jesus is alive in your heart. That alone is reason to celebrate.
David prayed in Ps. 51:12, "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your generous Spirit." With God's generosity comes a joy unspeakable that is overflowing and Neh. 8:10 tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. What an awesome scripture! You can enjoy God so much that you'll have the strength to resist whatever it is the devil brings against you. Yes, we are to take life seriously but in Jesus we can have fun doing it. After all, He's the glory and the lifter of our head. Paul says in Rom. 14:17 that "the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." There is a well of joy inside of you so tap into it. Train yourself to enjoy the normal activities of the day, things like doing the dishes and mowing the lawn. Life is to be enjoyed and not just endured. A bad day is a wasted day so be determined to enjoy every single day you're alive. Don't look at what you don't have but rejoice in what you do have. Yes, the other man's grass may be greener but he's also got a bigger water bill than you have. Think about that the next time you're tempted to get envious of what others have and lose your sense of joy.
Be happy and content with what you have and believe that God is working behind the scenes changing things in your favor. You've only got one life to live but you can only live it once. So enjoy the journey. God's definition of the good life is found in Deut. 28:1-14. Vs. 2 says, "And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God." The word "overtake" means 'surprise' and this verse is saying that when you live the good life the blessings of God will come on you and He will continually surprise you with things you have not even asked Him for. Vs. 11 says, "And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you." In the mind of God, if you are not in the over and above, then you have not yet entered into the good life.
The fullness of the good life is overflow, more than enough, above and beyond what you could ask or think (Eph. 3:20). The Message Bible translation of John 10:10 says this, "A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I come so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." The Message Bible also says in 2 Cor. 9:8,9, "God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, 'He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.'" Like Abraham, you'll be blessed beyond measure so that you can turn around and be a blessing to somebody else. Vs. 10,11 says, "This most generous God Who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can give away, which grows into full formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God."
Our God is extravagant, so much so that "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9). Success is the result of steady, forward movement and real success involves helping others. This is the path on which God wants you to travel and once you get on that path, and stay on it, there is no way anybody can stop you from living the good life. Successful people never quit. Paul tells the church in 1 Cor. 15:58 to "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." The Message Bible says, "With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort." Thomas Edison once said, "I start where other men quit." People are afraid to expect good things in their lives because they've experienced so many disappointments and failures in the past. Thomas Edison failed thousands of times but he did not quit.
In order to live the good life we have to forget about the failures of the past and raise the level of our expectations. Jesus once asked the blind men, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" (Matt. 9:28). When they said "Yes, Lord" Jesus touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith let it be to you" (vs. 28). Our faith limits and determines the amount of God's power that is manifested in our lives. This is why we must think big thoughts because God is able to do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Eph. 3:20). We cannot be moved by what's happening around us, but instead will only be moved by the Word of God and the image of the good life that we have on the inside of us. What you see down in your spirit will eventually become so real to you that no matter what the circumstances look like on the outside you will be fully persuaded that the good life is your destiny.
You were created to be successful. You were created to live the good life. This always has been and always will be God's plan and purpose for your life. This truth was evident way back in the Garden of Eden. Gen. 1:27,28a says, "So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then He blessed them..." Notice that the first thing God did to Adam and Eve after He created them was He blessed them.The word "bless" means 'empowered to prosper' and after blessing them God gave the command to "be fruitful and multiply" (vs. 28). To be fruitful means to be successful and this is a direct command from God Himself. We all know sin entered in and God eventually destroyed the earth with a flood and started things all over again with Noah and his sons. This was a new beginning to the human race and again the first thing God did was bless them. Gen. 9:1 says, "So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.'" Again the command was given to be successful.
The same thing happened to Abraham (Gen. 17:2,6), Isaac (Gen. 26:22), Jacob (Gen. 28:3), and Joseph (Gen. 41:52). In the New Testament Paul prays in Col. 1:10 "that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." Yes, you too were created to be fruitful and multiply. Success is a choice, not an accident. Neither is it a one-time event in your life but instead is a continuous journey. But you must believe for it. We all face impossible situations but Jesus said in Mark 9:23, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (see also Matt. 19:26). Your faith will only rise to the level of your dreams. In other words, if you think small, you'll stay small. Ps. 78:41 tells us that after Moses delivered God's people out of Egypt "again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel." How did they limit God? Vs. 42a says, "They did not remember His power..." With unbelief they questioned the power of God and His willingness to deliver them.
They asked continually, "Can God do this?" and "Can God do that?" They did not comprehend the good life that was waiting for them across the Jordan River in the land of Canaan, the Promised Land. They thought small and they stayed small. With the exception of Joshua and Caleb that entire generation died off in the wilderness and never experienced the good life. The same scenario happened in Matt. 13:54-58. Jesus traveled to His home town of Nazareth but "He did not do many mighty miracles there because of their unbelief." For sure, unbelief limits the ability of God to bless your life. If you think small, you'll stay small. Of course, the solution to all this is to think big thoughts. God wants to remove every limitation that would hinder you from living the good life. He does that by enlarging your thinking capacity. This is why Paul prayed in Eph. 3:14-20 that we would be able to comprehend all that God has planned for us. You can live the good life but comprehension comes first. If you can think it, God can do it. If you can mold it in your thoughts, you'll hold it in your hands.
Sad to say, people don't desire the things of God enough. Mark 11:24 says, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." Desire comes before possession. Here's how you live the good life: You see a promised blessing in the Word and you desire it in your heart. You then imagine receiving it in your thoughts. Next, you believe you receive it when you pray and in God's perfect timing the blessing will be manifested in your life. In other words, if you can conceive it, you can receive it. Your future is in your hands, or, more accurately, in your thoughts. Like an architect you can design for yourself a better future by reshaping your thought life. When you think like God thinks your future will match His plan for your life. Jer. 29:11 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Do you have thoughts of victory and not defeat, success and not of failure, prosperity and not poverty, health and not sickness? Vs. 14 says, "I will bring you back from your captivity." We are all held captive by our negative thoughts and fears. A person's downfall comes when they can't picture themselves getting out of their present condition.
Prov. 23:7 says, "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." Your life goes in the direction of your most dominate thought. Mentor your thoughts. Be selective about what you think about. Your imagination is a God-given gift and without it you can never receive anything from God. This is why God wants you to think big thoughts! We read in Is. 54:2,3, "Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your habitation; Do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited." Our God is a God of increase so think big thoughts! You'll disappoint Him if you don't. If times of hardship dominate your life we can go to 2 Cor. 4 and Paul will tell us what to do. First, he tells us in vs.16 to not lose heart. Don't abandon hope and never give up. We then read in vs. 18, "while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
The Message Bible says, "So we're not giving up. How could we? Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever." Think like God thinks and your circumstances will change. That's a promise from God. When all is said and done, the bottom line is that you must be thoroughly and completely convinced that God has made the good life available to you. Paul wrote in Rom. 8:38,39, "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Paul was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was willing and able to create for him a good life. He later wrote Timothy, "for I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day" (2 Tim. 1:12b). People have settled for too less for too long but by renewing your mind (Rom.12:2) you can also be fully persuaded that God wants to take away all your limitations. We all must have a fresh mental and spiritual attitude and come up to a higher way of thinking. It cannot be emphasized enough: we must think like God thinks. Is. 55:8 says, "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways.'" Ps. 45:1a says, "My heart is overflowing with a good theme..." On the inside of you think good thoughts because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34). It's your heart that gives meaning to your words and it's your words that determine your destiny. Count on it, what you talk about is what's going to come to pass in your life. Words are powerful so take them seriously.
This is how you fight the good fight of faith. A promise from God gives you reason for expectation but you must stand your ground and not waver. Nothing comes easy in the Christian faith. Living the good life is a fight but too many people are looking for comfortable Christianity. There is no such thing. To live the good life you must stand your ground and think Godly thoughts and speak Godly words. Heb. 10:23 says, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He Who promised is faithful." The AMP Bible says to "Seize and hold fast, retain without wavering" and the Message Bible says, "Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going." Vs. 35 says, "Therefore do not cast away your confidence which has great reward." The great reward the author speaks of is a good life and it's worth fighting for. To experience the good life we must have a "no quit" attitude. Speaking of Abraham we read in Rom. 4:20, "He did waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God." A promise from God gives you reason for expectation. Expectancy is the twin brother of faith.
Faith believes what it can't see and expectancy reinforces it. Faith always expects so stand your ground and don't waver. We read in Ps. 62:5,6, "My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved." You get what you expect. Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; as you have believed, so let it be done for you" (Matt. 8:13). When Jesus says, "According to your faith, be it done unto you" (Matt. 9:29), He is actually saying "become what you believe." The word "expect" means 'to look for, to fix the eyes upon, to reach for.' It means to be excited and enthusiastic and is founded on the evidence of God's Word and not just wishful thinking. Paul said in Acts 27:25, "Therefore, take heart (be of good cheer), men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me." Remember, the perfect will of God is available to you and it's all based on your ability to comprehend it. The good life is determined by a hunger for God, an unending search for Him and His will for your life. To experience the good life you must do three things. You must see it, say it, and seize it.
Prov. 29:18a says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish..." You must see in the scriptures the good life God wants you to have. See it with your thoughts and faith imaginations and then decree it. Say out loud what you believe. In 1 Sam. 17:37 David said that the giant would fall. Say what you believe. 2 Cor. 4:13 says, "But since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, 'I believed and therefore I spoke,' we also believe and therefore speak." Next, you act on what you believe. David ran toward the giant. Placed before him was a God-given opportunity to experience the good life and with no fear in his heart he ran toward his dream. You, too, must do the same thing. Run to your dream! Seize it! Grab onto it and never let go. That's how you experience God's best. That is how you experience the good life.