What influences you?
What are you "under the influence" of?
Individuals, communities and entire nations are driven by influence. After all, whatever or whomever you give influence in your life determines where you belong, what you believe and who you become.
The enemy of our soul knows this well. That's why so many followers of Jesus Christ find themselves attacked every day with thoughts and emotions that seek to place them under the influence of condemnation, fear, and weakness. As a result, they are spiritually paralyzed, as well as rendered ineffective for the kingdom of God.
But Christ has called us to live our lives instead in His perfect freedom and under the influence of His love, joy and peace. How is this possible in the face of the enemy's relentless attempts to capture and captivate our attention in order to hijack our hearts? By living under the influence of the cross!
"So Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you.' When He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (John 20:21-22).
When Jesus went to the cross, it was the most important event in both heaven's and earth's history. Christ's work on the cross changed everything. It literally changed the playbook of our lives and rewrote the laws that governed the relationship between God and man. Every moment of our lives is impacted by Christ's work on the cross.
The disciples and followers of Christ must always live under the influence of the cross. How do we do this? Just as the Law instructed God's people to bind the words of God on their foreheads in order to keep them at the forefront of their attention, we must remain focused on Christ, the Head of the church.
The great prophet John the Baptist gives us extraordinary prophetic keys to the revelation of Christ. John reveals whom Christ is and what He was to accomplish. He also revealed the powerful combination of the cross and Holy Spirit empowerment, as well as the importance of the influence of both in our lives:
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29b).
"He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Matt. 3:11b).
This boils down to three key truths:
We enter the kingdom through the cross, through Christ's blood on the cross.
The kingdom of God then enters us through the resurrection.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, the kingdom of God expands in us and as a witness to all around us.
Let's unpack that a bit. Andrew Murray said, "The Spirit led Christ to the cross; the cross leads Christ and us to the outpouring of the Spirit; the Spirit leads us back to the cross!" The Holy Spirit draws every human being to the cross. To all who surrender to it, the cross then leads us to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit: "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Matt. 3:11). The bridge between the cross and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the resurrection. There can be no outpouring of the Holy Spirit without the cross, and we cannot have the full fruit of what happened on the cross until we receive what God did on the Day of Pentecost.
Through His cross, we die.
Though His resurrection, we live.
Through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit we learn, we live and we love in His power and influence!
Mikel French has challenged spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with the book of hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide soul-winning celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor's conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia's 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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