by Kenneth Copeland
Start today practicing the life of love. One way to do that is by practicing God’s presence in your daily life. Develop an awareness that Love is constantly with you by talking to Him all the time.
And when you talk to Him, just get real. First thing in the morning when you open your eyes say, “Good morning, Lord. I love You and praise You today. I’m so glad You never leave me nor forsake me. I receive Your love for me and I want You to know my desire is to be a blessing to You. Help me, teach me and train me—whatever You desire for me to do, I’ll be willing and obedient. I’ll do it with a happy heart.”
When you start to practice God’s presence like that, it will change how you act throughout the day. You’ll start being more loving and kind—even when other people aren’t around to notice—because you’ll know the Lord is there and you have no desire to grieve Him.
The higher life is walking in the spirit, walking with God and walking in victory and power. It is walking and being ruled by our new reborn nature, filled with the Holy Ghost, even though we are still living in a natural body.
In Luke 18 Jesus tried to get the rich young ruler to follow Him into a higher life, but the man was unable to do it. Now Jesus did not tell everyone He met to sell what they had and give it to the poor, but He said that to the rich young ruler for some reason. The reason probably was the rich young ruler was trusting in his riches instead of God. When put to the test, he cared more for the riches.
It was of prime importance to Jesus to obey whatever the Father asked. When He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, His soul was crying out, knowing He was going to have to endure separation from God. He was so pulled by what was going to happen to Him, He prayed:
Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:42, 44).
God may be telling you what to do. He may be saying, “I want you to spend more time in prayer.” Perhaps you have been hearing that for weeks or months and thinking, I really ought to do that.
He may be prompting you in your spirit and saying, “I want you to spend more time in My Word.” You have thought, I ought to do that. Don’t put it off. Do what God is telling you. Lay down your natural desires and obey the higher calling of God.
In Matthew 28, Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel:
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (verse 20).
In Mark 8, we read one of the most important things that He told them. Read it carefully and receive it in your heart:
And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it (Mark 8:34-35).
In The Amplified Bible Jesus said it this way:
If any one intends to come after Me, let him deny himself—forget, ignore, disown, lose sight of himself and his own interests—and take up his cross, and…follow with Me—continually, [that is,] cleave steadfastly to Me. For whoever wants to save his…life, will lose [the lower, natural, temporal life...]; and whoever gives up his life [which is lived (only) on earth], for My sake and the Gospel’s, will save [his higher, spiritual life in the eternal kingdom of God].
Now Jesus not only was talking about our going to heaven, although that is included. He also was talking about our living for Him while in the earth. To live for Him, we cannot cling to our natural lives, or the things our souls desire in the natural realm—ambition, money, recognition, or any other desires of the flesh—things that natural man seeks after with his whole heart.
He was saying, “If you will lay down your natural desires, lose sight of yourself and your own interests, you will lose that lower life. Take up your cross. Do what you are told. Follow Me and you will find that higher life.”
Think of how Jesus spent time with His Father during His earthly ministry. He would get up a great while before daylight so He could pray. He would spend a whole night in prayer, communicating with His heavenly Father. After Jesus was baptized by John and the Holy Ghost came upon Him and anointed Him, He spent 40 days in the wilderness fasting and praying. Then the Scripture says He left that place in the power of the Holy Spirit.
As a result of His time with the Father, He knew what He was to do and He did it! He perfectly pleased God. Afterward when Satan came to tempt Him, Jesus knew exactly what to do to have victory.
We need to let Him teach us. We need to read His words as if we have never heard them before. Picture in your mind Jesus talking to you now, saying to you the same words He spoke to the disciples.
In Christian circles we have been raised in such a sloppy way with an attitude of “just get born again and live anyway you want to,” that it has cost us the blessings God wants to manifest in our midst.
Getting born again is not something you just do so you will miss hell. He tells us to go win the lost, so we do it, but this is not the entire purpose of the Church. Our purpose is to please God—to be His special possession in the earth and do whatever He tells us to do. We should cleave unto Him, live in fellowship with Him, and be vitally united with Him. We should spend enough time with Him that we hear and recognize His voice so we can be pleasing to Him. When we do that, winning the lost will be the result.
In order for God to be God in the Church like He so desires to be, we’ve got to obey the Word of God and follow after the voice of His Spirit. According to John 10:15-16, that is the key to a unified Body. If we can get into agreement with God, then we can get into agreement with each other: “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
No matter where we come from or where we are in the earth, we can be united with each other. You can be on one side of the world, praying, walking in the written Word, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. I can be on the other side, praying, walking in the written Word, listening to the Spirit. Regardless of our location, we can be in agreement. We can be one spirit with the Lord and with each other.
If we do this, then we’ll be walking under the direction of one person—Jesus. He is the Head. Our responsibility is to choose to walk in obedience so He can tell me what to do here, and can give you the same instruction there. We can flow together in the Spirit, even though we may not know one another—if we are walking in obedience to His Word and the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is in us to bring us into this unity of the faith and into the image of the Son of God. We have been predestinated to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29). There shall be one fold and one Shepherd! Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
Oh, we have such adventure ahead of us! We have been living in the low life of this natural realm, when we could be walking in the Spirit. As God gives us revelation, we are able to walk in the spiritual realm with Him. He is revealing things to our generation to bring us to that place. He has made a way to help us be successful.