Choosing the Higher Realm of Spiritual Life
Wade E Taylor

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

There is a process that we must go through in order to make this higher realm of identity with our Lord a personal reality. This is the end-time "witness" that will greatly affect the world - Jesus will become the manifest head of His Body, which (body) will have become so transparent, that only He will be seen.

"But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth." Acts 1:8

In the original, the word translated "witness" is "martyr." This means that I am to die to my self-life and its expression, to become the expression of the life and word of the Lord. Thus, I witness "to" Him, not "of," or "for," Him. As I come into a personal relationship with Him, and become one with Him in intent and purpose, His life is reflected through my life.

We are, by divine design in our creative makeup, capable of becoming this witness.

"So God created man in His own image." Genesis 1:27a

Through man's transgression, this image (our spirit) was lost. In redemption it is restored, but must be developed (we grow into spiritual maturity).

"For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son." Romans 8:29a

The words "to be conformed" tells us that this is a process, to which we must submit ourselves.

"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." I Peter 1:2a

"Elect ... to obedience," tells us that this relates to our being predestinated to be conformed to His image (spiritual maturity). When we come short of this, we are forgiven through the blood of Jesus, and we can again move forward, toward the goal.

"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

"Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind." Philippians 3:12-16 NKJ

Not all Christians will respond to this opportunity to "press toward the mark for the high calling of God." This is conditional. Thus, as we continue to "press," or rise above all opposition, we become an "overcomer."

"To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me on My throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne." Revelation 3:20

"For many are called, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:14

Notice that man was formed of "dust." Had he been formed of "clay," his creation would be more understandable, as dry dust cannot be molded. The natural man would like to think that God took clay and molded him, complete and independent within himself.

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Genesis 2:7

Man was created to live on two levels of life, the earthly, and the heavenly. Therefore, the Lord breathed into Adam the breath of "lives." This word is plural in the original. He was "formed" (soul) and then "breathed into" (spirit).

Because man was created to be "dependent" (dust), he was placed in a probationary environment.

"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die." Genesis 2:16-17

Adam could not be "dependent," unless he also had the opportunity to become "independent." By abiding in a dependent state, his spirit could continue to commune with the Lord, which was the intention and desire of the Lord.

"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." Genesis 3:8

When Adam partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the part of Adam, which was "spirit," died.

"And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." Genesis 3:8b

Without this "impartation" of spirit that had been breathed into him, man is but "dust" (soul) and cannot rightly "cleave" to anyone or to anything, nor is he able to enter into the purpose for which he had been created, apart from a redemptive act by his Creator.

The natural man acts as he does because he cannot cleave. There is something that must be "added" to him so he can function in the purpose for which he had been created. Through redemption, the Lord must breathe "spirit" into him.

"And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and says to them, Receive you the Holy Spirit." John 20:22

When we repent and receive Jesus as our personal Savior, that which Adam lost (spirit) is restored, and begins to function within us.

"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again." John 3:6-7

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby." I Peter 2:2

As a spiritual baby, this restored part of our being (spirit) must be developed. After our "new birth" through redemption, there is a new consciousness of these two realms within our being: the earthly (soul realm), and the heavenly (spirit realm). The first relates to our natural life.

"And as we have borne the image of the earthly ..." I Corinthians 15:49a

This is essential. For us to live in, and communicate with our environment, we must have a means whereby we are compatible with the earth realm. We put a seed in the ground and cover it over. It grows, and then we pick it, put some salt on it and eat it. We may not understand how brown soil can produce red tomatoes, white onions and green peas, but we must partake of these to receive nourishment, because we are of the earth.

We easily relate to, and function in the "earth realm," which is the place of our natural environment and life. But there is more, as our creation did not end with our identity with the earth realm of existence. The "breath of lives" (earthly - soul life, and, heavenly - spirit life) had been breathed into man.

"We shall also bear the image of the heavenly." I Corinthians 15:49b

We were created to also function in the "spirit realm." But, there is an active enemy who ever seeks to keep us "earth bound" - living in the soul realm. Therefore, we must come into a measure of "dependent" identity with the Lord, in order to function in this heavenly realm, in which there is available to us, ever increasing levels of relationship with the Lord.

"And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:6

Man was created "soul" and "spirit" so he could live and function in both the "natural" and the "spiritual" levels of life. The Lord had a purpose in mind, so He placed within man a "capacity" for his development and growth, in each of these different realms.

We relate to, and communicate with our earthly environment through five senses (taste, touch, sight, hearing, smell). These "natural" senses operate in the earthly realm of both the natural (earthly) and the redeemed (spiritual) man. We differ in our "soul" life both in personality and in potential. Many are born with natural gifts, such as a special ability in art or music. Those who have these gifts should be encouraged in their development.

But there is a higher order of life available to the redeemed. In "redemption," we are given "spiritual" senses. These "spiritual senses" are a counterpart of our five "natural" senses and are just as real as natural taste, smell, or sight, and operate only in those who are redeemed.

"In whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Ephesians 2:22

This is a marvelous thing - the finite (man) can relate to and commune with the infinite (God) in the heavenly realms. And, we can become the visible "expression" of the life and ministry of the "corporate" Jesus, as the last three and one-half years of His ministry is fulfilled, in the establishing of the Millennial Kingdom of God.

"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant." I Corinthians 12:1

The word "gifts" is in italics because it is not in the original inspired text. Thus, this verse relates to our being able to function in that which is "spiritual" (concerning spirituals ... I would not have you ignorant).

Our spirit is recreated through a "new birth" in which these spiritual senses are restored and begin to develop. It is very important that we spend quality time "waiting upon the Lord" in order to develop our ability to "sense" (spirit), or "feel" (soul) His presence, and "hear" His voice, deep within us.

"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." II Corinthians 4:18

A "natural" (not redeemed) person can only relate to the earthly realm, but a "spiritual" (born again) person can function in both the earthly and heavenly realms. The spiritual person also has gifts or abilities in his "new creation" makeup. These are counterparts of natural gifts and abilities. These also should be cultivated and developed, as the Lord has an intended purpose and use for them.

"And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion." Genesis 1:26

There are three areas in which the Lord intends us to develop and function - the "image" and "likeness" of God and then "dominion." A proper response to "image" (created natural and spiritual potential) and "likeness" (developed natural and spiritual capacity and abilities), will result in our being able to exercise "dominion" (spiritual authority, which is the result of a process of testing and spiritual growth).

Man was created with the "potential," or ability to function in both the natural and spiritual realms of life experience, but his spiritual life and function was lost in Adam's transgression. Only in redemption is this restored. Then, as we respond in obedience to the workings of the Holy Spirit, our spiritual sensitivity and the deposit of spiritual life within us (divine substance) is enlarged.

"I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me ... that I may cause those that love Me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures." Proverbs 8:17, 21

The Word says that we have "the mind of Christ" (the ability to relate to the thought and intent of the Lord). We were not born with this ability, but as we "wait" upon the Lord in His presence, we are "partaking" of new creation life, which results in our understanding that which is "spiritual."

"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. However we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that comes to nothing: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world to our glory.

"Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.

"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." I Corinthians 2:4-13

These spiritual senses are further developed and matured through our obedience to a process of "testing," which is designed to draw us up into a higher realm of spiritual awareness, understanding, and experience.

As the Lord tested Adam by placing the tree of "life" and the tree of the "knowledge" of good and evil in the "midst" of the garden, we also must face a process in which we are tested to determine the outworking of the Lord's purpose for us. Therefore, these two "trees" are placed in the pattern of each of our lives. The tree of life (spirit) represents our utter dependence upon, and trust in, the outworking of His purpose and provision for us. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (soul) represents our desire to be independent and choose for ourselves what is right or wrong.

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." Genesis 3:6

This tree appealed to every aspect of man's soul, but the Lord had said "no," and established a penalty for disobedience.

"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die." Genesis 2:16-17

Isaiah 53 gives us a prophetic picture of Jesus, and also a description of the tree of life. By changing one word, this description of Jesus can be seen as being a type of the "tree of life." Thus, it can be said that Jesus is the "tree of life." Therefore, He told us that we are to "eat His flesh" and "drink His blood," just as Adam was told that he was to partake of the tree of life.

"For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him ." Isaiah 53:2

The tree of life was as a "root" out of a dry ground. The other was a tree with beautiful, luscious fruit in full color. The enemy was there, saying, "Has God said? Does He really want to take all this away from you? Does He want to deprive you? Would God really do that to you?" It appears that the Lord has made it easy for us to make the wrong choice at this point, because He is looking for those who desire His presence and Glory "more" than they desire their own self-centered soul satisfaction.

Therefore, we must make a choice concerning these opposite pulls upon our being. We can choose to satisfy our soulish, sensual desires, as expressed in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; or we can choose the higher realm of spirituality, as expressed in the tree of life (over-comer). If we think more of these sensual desires than our spiritual desires, and then choose to satisfy them, our spirituality will progressively suffer loss until we no longer have spiritual perception, and we will die spiritually.

Because the Lord has given man so much, there is a severe penalty if he makes the wrong choice.

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die." Genesis 2:17

Adam failed and "died," as the Lord had said. This affected his ability to stand in the presence of God.

"And the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him, Where are you? And he said, I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." Genesis 3:9-10

Adam being "naked" had nothing to do with clothes, but with the loss of the covering of "Shekinah." When Adam lost this "covering" of Shekinah, he could no longer enter the presence of the Lord to "commune" with Him, but instead, was "convicted" by His presence, and hid from it. "Shekinah," speaks of the glory of the Lord in relation to man; it is the "covering" that allows us to come into and abide in His manifest presence.

As a result of his transgression, the Shekinah that had been upon Adam as a covering, was now external, apart from him. As a flaming sword before the tree of life, the "Shekinah" has become an "enemy" to keep him from the spiritual life that he had once enjoyed, and could have maintained by partaking of the tree of life.

"To Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them." Genesis 3:21

The Lord took an animal, slew it, and covered Adam with its skin. This involved the shedding of blood as a type of redemption. Now, Adam was "covered" and brought back into the possibility of relationship. This covering was a "substitute" for the Shekinah that had been lost, and gave Adam acceptance, but man was still prevented from coming back into the realm of spiritual life that he had once known.

"So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." Genesis 3:24

Jesus died on Calvary's cross to become our covering for sin. But there is more in our redemption. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus demonstrated that the Shekinah had been embodied "within" Him, but was not available to us. Now, in His resurrection and ascension, the Shekinah is again openly "upon" Him. The veil has been rent and a way has been made for us to enter into identification with Jesus in His abiding Shekinah Glory. The "flaming sword" is no longer a hindrance to our experiencing His manifest glory.

We can continue to abide in the "covering" for sin that Jesus provided through His shed blood upon the cross, receiving His forgiveness, but never coming back to the place that Adam (we) lost - that of being "clothed upon" with His Glory, and having our spiritual senses quickened.

"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." Ephesians 1:18

When the Lord came to walk with Adam in the cool of the day, Adam hid from His presence. Then the Lord said, "Adam, where are you?" Adam answered this question and talked with the Lord.

Notice that we can commune with the Lord in the realm of our soul and never come back to the place of full and open fellowship with Him.

Many are satisfied with only the redemptive covering that has been provided for them through the atonement of Jesus on the cross, and they feel comfortable to stay there. However, the Lord greatly desires us to come beyond this, and experience the "full redemption" of all that had been lost.

"Then said Jesus to His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." Matthew 16:24

Just as Adam, through disobedience lost his "spirit life;" we must, through obedience, die to our "soul life." This includes not only the provision of a covering for our sin, but also, the restoration of the original covering of the Shekinah, which will enable us to experience His abiding, manifest presence (visible glory).

Our spiritual senses only function as they are quickened, or sensitized in His presence. Their development must be cultivated, and this takes time. While experiencing a time of communion with our Lord in His manifest presence, or when we respond and enter into a "moving" (quickening presence) of the Holy Spirit, our spiritual senses develop and function. These responses to His presence are far more important than most realize.

The Lord is looking for those who desire a "full restoration" of all that was lost. We have experienced forgiveness, but this must give way to the greater victory of an active life in the Spirit. Especially at this present time, the Lord is restoring His Glory to His people. He greatly desires to demonstrate this through the lives of an overcoming people who have chosen the higher realm of spiritual life - those who have died to their self-life and refuse to respond to the pull of their soul.

These will walk with Him in the restored covering of His "Shekinah Glory" and will witness His manifest presence and power to the world in these last days, as Jesus expresses His life through them.

"Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising." Isaiah 60:1-3