Hey Everyone! I’m in the process of re-vamping my blog so just hang in there with me 🙂 You will probably notice that you can’t find some of my previous posts and that’s because I’m trying to redirect them all to one page since they were all on the same subject, all while trying to leave my homepage (this one) available for the new content I’m creating. So please hang in there with me because I’ll be back!
Trying to make natural sense out of spiritual things serves as a hindrance for many of us when it comes to our spiritual growth and understanding how God works.
What I’m about to explain is something that a lot of us probably never really learned or were able to grasp when we were growing up in church as kids and teens.
I also think that when it comes to speaking about things of the spiritual nature and the spiritual realm that exists outside of our physical one, people tend to get scared.
BUT, let me tell you this: this is one of those things where not being aware of it or ignoring it doesn’t make it go away and since it’s something that affects your life daily and definitely affects your communication with God, you should probably be aware.
You can’t stop it, you can’t change it. The spiritual realm exists and we as human beings, are like Gold medals in the Spiritual Olympics between two teams: Good and Evil.
So, as Christians, I think it’s crucial that we know where we fit into all of this and how our relationship with Jesus is the key to being gold medals to the winning team!
Did you know there was a difference between your Spirit and your Soul?
We, as humans are comprised of three parts: Spirit, Soul, and Body. (The world will tell you different by telling you that we consist of “mind, body, and soul” or that spirit and soul are one in the same, but God’s word says otherwise.)
Your spirit is what gives life to the body. Without the spirit, the body is dead.
Your soul is your personality, aka, your mind, will, and emotions.
Your body, of course, is your physical shell.
When we are born, we are born with the human spirit of life. We are NOT born with God’s spirit.
However, when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are then gifted with God’s Spirit, aka, The Holy Spirit.
And no, the Holy Spirit is NOT something you only receive when you’re in church and you have a reaction to the music that causes you to jump up and down, take off running down the aisle, turn a cartwheel, whatever.
I’ve had that same reaction at a Beyoncé concert and I can guarantee you there’s nothing “holy” about bopping to Drunk In Love.
NOW, In scripture, there is actually a distinction made between man’s spirit and God’s Spirit.
God’s Spirit is always capitalized when written about and man’s spirit is always written about in lower case.
Romans 8:16 states: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (see the distinction made between THE Spirit and OUR spirit?)
SO, what it means to receive the Holy Spirit is that a spiritual transaction ACTUALLY occurs upon your acceptance of Jesus.
This isn’t something you can physically make happen. It is a spiritual thing.
When you make that decision to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, God implants the Holy Spirit inside of you in seed form.
This is what it means to be “born again”. Your spirit, which was only human, is born again and intermingled with the Holy Spirit.
Now, just like any other seed, the seed of the Holy Spirit has to be fed and watered in order to grow.
The food and water for this seed is the wisdom and knowledge of God, which is the word of God, only to be found in the Holy Bible.
Now, as you take in this food and water, this nourishes and grows your spirit and you grow stronger in the wisdom and knowledge of God.
BUT, here’s where the hard part comes in and where the struggle happens with us as a whole:
God’s intention for us through our relationship with Jesus Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit is for us to operate in this order:
- To receive wisdom and instruction from the Holy Spirit
- Which then dictates God’s truth to the soul (our mind, will, and emotions)
- Which then dictates to the body how we are to physically respond to a matter.
BUT, unfortunately, we do it the other way around because our human spirit is now in conflict with the Holy Spirit and why is this? Because we have allowed our SOULS (mind will and emotions) to determine what’s right and wrong for so long.
How have we done this, you wonder? Well, it’s complicated but yet, oh so simple.
Our souls (our mind, will, and emotions) have led the way for so long and determined what is right and wrong according to the information of the world.
Our souls have accepted what the world tells us as truth and allowed the world’s truth to dictate how we live our lives and so forth.
So we haven’t been operating out of spirit. We’ve been operating out of man’s limited knowledge our own will and our own emotions.
Once you’ve been saved and you start to read the word of God, your new God-infused SPIRIT recognizes the word as truth, but if your SOUL is still taking the lead and determining what is true and false according to the world, then you’re going to constantly find conflict within yourself because you’re operating out of confusion.
This is because what the world dictates as truth and what the scripture dictates as truth are total opposites.
This is why Romans 12:2 says: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
This is where we have to get on one accord and decide whether or not we’re going to live out of our flesh or out of our Spirit.
And if we choose to live out of our Spirit, then the only way to overcome this is to surrender our souls (again, our mind, will and emotions) to our Spirit.
Because when you surrender your soul (your mind, will and emotions) to the Holy Spirit and allow it to dictate what is true to you, only then, can you truly be transformed.
Jesus speaks on this in Matthew 16: 24 when he says:
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
He’s basically saying that by denying your “self” (aka ego, which stems from your mind, will and emotions) and living by the Holy Spirit instead, only then will you receive eternal life.
NOW, knowing this,
This explains why there can be so many Christians who claim to love and follow Jesus, but their actions don’t reflect that.
It’s because they are still operating out of instruction of the world, versus submitting their souls to their new (BORN AGAIN) Spirit, and allowing the Spirit to lead them.
Too many times due to a lack of understanding, Christians do it the other way around: We become believers but we still operate from the outside in.
This is because we’re not growing that seed of the Holy Spirit through taking in the word of God.
I know this to be true because I did it myself. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior but I was still sinning it up!
But I didn’t do this on purpose. At the time, I didn’t understand the spiritual nature of the whole process and I wasn’t allowing myself to be transformed because I definitely wasn’t taking in the word of God.
I believed in the spiritual but I’ve always seen it as something that occurs invisibly around me only. I never knew that one of the gifts of accepting Jesus was receiving God’s Spirit.
So, I was believing in Jesus but I was attempting to manually control my sin by just saying, “oh okay, I know that’s wrong. I won’t do it anymore”.
Not yet realizing that if we were physically strong enough to resist temptation on our own, there would be no need for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit does a work in us that eradicates sin from our hearts. But when we try to do it on our own, we’re only removing that sin from our mind and trying to manage it without any true change of heart.
And again, I know THIS to be true because it happened to me. Over time, when I did fully surrender to the Holy Spirit, the desires of my heart began to change and it became much easier for me to say NO to the things I previously wasn’t strong enough to say no to in my own will.
When you do allow the Holy Spirit to take over, THIS is how you get Christians who truly DO change and it’s noticeable in the way they live their lives. You can tell it’s not a front and that they’re not trying to manage their actions and behavior.
This is what Jesus meant in Matthew 7:15-16 when He said:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.
Their “fruits” pertain to their output, or their actions and their behavior.
A lot of people don’t recognize this because they don’t recognize or acknowledge things of the Spirit.
And this is DANGEROUS! While you’re operating from the perspective of there being nothing influencing your life that is outside of your physical existence, demons in the spiritual realm are laughing at you and having a field day manipulating your circumstances.
BUT, that’s another topic for another post where I plan to talk about how the spiritual realm is the true source for MOST of our earthly, physical problems and how we can combat that.
THIS IS WHY it is CRUCIAL to have a personal relationship with God, OUTSIDE OF CHURCH, as well as inside.
Because I cannot stress to you enough how growing in God is a SPIRITUAL OCCURRENCE.
It’s not about just opening up a book, reading something and doing what it says.
It is about receiving the Holy Spirit and growing it through God’s truth.
ONLY THEN, can you recognize and understand the spiritual things of God and only THEN can you begin to have an impact on your physical circumstances.
One more thing I want to point out when it comes to the spiritual.
Science and Spirituality are NOT in competition with each other.
Science is amazing at explaining how things work in our physical realm but it CANNOT explain the spiritual.
Science breaks down the facts of how things work in the physical.
But you can have all of these facts and still have no truth.
1 Cor 2: 11– For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
For who among men knows the thoughts of man except his own spirit within him? So too, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
Translation: Just as no one can tell you what’s on your mind because they can’t access your spirit, no one can know the mind of God without His Spirit.
But think about how AMAZING it is that He grants us access to His mind through the acceptance of Jesus Christ! Talk about a blessing!
I’ve included a couple more verses that refer to the spirit of man and the Spirit of God below. I hope this has been helpful and I hope you’ve taken away the most important message that I’ve tried to convey here: A relationship with God through Jesus Christ is not about religion. Religion is actually the opposite. As a matter of fact, knowing the truth of God is more freeing than anything this world could possibly offer.
Through His word, God lets us know that there’s a whole lot of deception going on around us daily that has been happening since the beginning of our creation. Trusting in Him not only reveals but saves ❤
A couple of additional scripture verses:
1 Cor 2:12 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.
John 4:24 God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
If you watched My Testimony, I mentioned that my journey back to a relationship with Jesus was a long, winding, twisted road but I didn’t explain why. In this video, I explain how I had a very short experience with New Age Spirituality and how through that, I discovered that there are only two sides to this thing we call “Spirituality”: Good and Evil. This whole movement, however, has found its way into even the Christian church through things that seem quite innocent at the surface. They lead some to believe that we’re worshipping the same Jesus when in fact, we definitely are not.
Below are some links to testimonies of people who were deep into the New Age movement. They go more into the history and roots of it all and how they came to truly see it for what it is.
Steven Bancarz, a former New Age blogger turned Christian, explains how he discovered that New Age Spirituality at its roots, is a deception, leading people to believe that these practices lead to a closeness to God or a higher level of Christ-consciousness. Here are two links to videos he’s done:
Why Am I Exposing The New Age
Proof The New Age Is Satanic
Why is the New Age Movement Dangerous
1 John 4: 1-3:
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God”-New Age teaches the exact opposite: that Jesus is merely a prophet. If any teaching you follow teaches that Jesus is NOT the Son of God, it is a false spirit.
Bible verses that speak against consulting mediums, spiritism, etc.
Leviticus 19:31, 20:6, 27
1 Chronicles 10:13–14;
Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) implies that the dead cannot contact the living.
1 Samuel 28:3-23
I hope these references are helpful. I have lots of sources but didn’t want to overwhelm anyone. If you need more please feel free to contact me via email and I would be glad to send you more!
For a long time, I never understood what it actually meant for Jesus to die for my sins. I guess I thought of it from a sort of abstract perspective. But once I started studying and seeking for myself, I discovered that the reason is very concrete and very real.
My video, “Why We Need A Savior”, is part of a series of videos I want to do, getting back to the basics of what it means to believe in and have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ because, let’s be honest, Christianity (due to a ton of bad theology, the hypocrisy of man and several other reasons) doesn’t really do The Most High any justice. Unfortunately, people are unable to separate the religion from the reality, which is; if you take away all religions and spiritual practices in the world, The Creator of All Things and His Son would still exist. Getting to know about Him and what He expects from us isn’t a religion. It’s a matter of eternal life or death ❤
This video will live on the “My Testimony” page but I wanted to do it as a blog post as well. Feel free to share, comment, all that good stuff 🙂
Just checking in to let you all know I’m still here! I started this blog while simultaneously writing my first book that I have a goal of completing by the end of the summer. Little did I know, I would suck at trying to do both at the same time. With that being said, bear with me. I love writing on this blog and connecting with other people who can relate to my journey and want to share theirs in return. I’ll be back soon, I promise! Until then, I hope you are all doing well, learning, and growing along your journeys every day, whether they be spiritual, physical, whatever ❤ I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and if you have one of your own, please let me know. I’d love to read, comment and share it for others to benefit from!
I went on a breakfast date with a guy that a friend of mine thought I should meet because according to my friend, this guy and I seemed to be on similar spiritual journeys.
We met up for this date on a Saturday morning. I got there before he did, put my name on the list, (there was a wait) and waited for him outside. He arrived about 10-15 minutes late, but he was cute so all was forgiven.
At first, we only ordered coffee because we wanted to just talk and get to know each other. After about 20 minutes of laughter and conversation, we ordered breakfast.
“What can I get for you, Miss?” The server asked.
“You can take his order first. I’m not ready yet,” I replied.
He gave his order: a stack of pancakes with a side of turkey bacon. He eats carbs and sugar for breakfast? Hmph, doesn’t look like it. Maybe it’s his cheat day. Who knows? Who cares? I’m hungry.
“I’ll have two eggs, scrambled with a side of bacon, extra crispy, please.”
“Got it,” the server scribbled down my order. Just as she turns to walk away…
“You mean turkey bacon, right?” He asked me, glaring from behind his menu. It was similar to one of those looks your father or husband gives you when he’s looking up from the credit card bill, asking you to “explain these charges”.
“No. I meant bacon…from a pig.” I said this to him in a very stern, matter of fact tone. I needed him to know that if we were to go beyond this date, (although his judgmental tone towards my bacon was already sending the possibility of that on a steep decline) when it comes to what I put in, on or through my body, I’M the boss of me. Now, back to bacon…
The server caught ALL the subtext of my text and had already closed her notebook and scurried off. See, she knew what was up.
“You eat pork?” He asked me, face all scrunched up in judgment.
“Well, on occasions I will eat bacon if I’m ordering breakfast at a restaurant, and I had a pork chop 4 years ago at Taste on Melrose in Los Angeles, but other than that, eating pork is not a regular indulgence for me.” I got specific about the time and geography of that pork chop because it was that good! If you live in LA, Taste on Melrose’s, Caramelized cumin spiced pork chop will change your life.
He clasped his hands in front of him on the table and leaned in.
“I thought you were born again?” he asked.
I froze. Not because I felt embarrassed or like I had done something wrong. But because yes, I was born again and my normal response would have taken his head off. I needed to make sure for my own personal growth that I responded like somebody who was really trying to practice what Jesus preached.
“I thought I was too…” I stopped right there because I wanted to give him a chance to finish.
“Well, if you call yourself born again, you’re breaking one of the laws right now. You’re defiling your body with a pig”.
At this point, my mind went from “What Would Jesus Do” to “What Would Claire Huxtable Do?” If it’s one thing that pushes my buttons, it’s someone’s arrogance in the midst of their ignorance and I looooove to give a good, factual, read, hunty! He was no longer the attractive man I was on a breakfast date with. All I saw in front of me was Elvin Tibideaux when he insisted that Sandra do woman things and stay in a woman’s place.
“So what you’re telling me is, because I’m about to eat roughly, 4 pieces of bacon, I’m committing a sin against God?”
“Yeah!” He looked at me as if to suggest that I couldn’t possibly be a child of God since I didn’t know that eating bacon would send me to hell. I thought, “He’s not serious, is he?” But he was. So, I let Claire come on out.
“Really? Because I could have sworn Jesus stated, ‘It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that defiles and dishonors him, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles and dishonors him’. I could have also sworn that Jesus clearly stated He came to fulfill the law, which technically means if I want to go back to that kitchen and order an entire pig portion of bacon I can do that and do you know why?”
He doesn’t know why…
“Because on the glorious day when Jesus returns, he is NOT going to snatch away my salvation if I just so happen to have my teeth sunken into a pork chop, and since we’re talking about pork chops, that last one I had in LA was the bomb! Can I cook a pork chop like that? No. But, I am VERY fond of Shake ’n’ Bake and one day soon, I just MIGHT DECIDE I want to make me some Shake n’ Bake pork chops and you know what?”
Again, he doesn’t know what…
“I’mma STILL be saved.”
He just sat there, looking at me. I waited for him to respond but I got nothin’. Crickets…
Needless to say, this cut our breakfast date short. When our server came to refill our coffee I politely said to her…
“Could you just put my breakfast in a to-go box? But please, leave the bacon out. I’m gonna eat it right here”. I told ya’ll in my last post I was a petty work in progress.
I never saw him again after that and later that night, I picked up some pork chops on my way home. I never cooked them but I bought them simply because I could.
In the future, I will do my best to avoid going on dates with people who confuse the gospel of Jesus with religion. Religion is what got Jesus murdered but Jesus dying on the cross and rising again is what allows me to murder bacon. If a future date can’t grasp the reality of that, I’m not the one for him.
I don’t know about you but when God works with me, He uses situations and relationships in my life as a mirror to reflect the condition of my relationship with Him. Let me tell you what I mean…
The day I got engaged I was so shocked. I wasn’t shocked that he was asking. The shock came from the timing of it all. For the past year, we had been going in opposite directions. I was swamped with auditions, classes, and work, while he was laser-focused on building his company and our lives weren’t intersecting at all. We had gone from spending several nights and weekends together, to only seeing each other in passing, maybe a couple of times a week. This bothered me but I kept telling myself, “okay, don’t nag him about how much time you’re not spending together. Let the man work”. I’m not saying I wasn’t busy as well but you know how we are as women. We’re more likely to pause and shift everything around in order to make a relationship work.
But back to the proposal… When it happened, on the inside I was thinking: “Wait…what? where is this coming from? We’ve barely seen each other the past year!” On the outside, however, the actress in me came through and once he got down on his knee in the diner where we first met 4 and a half years prior, I gasped, I cried, I said yes. Of course, I was confused but what was I going to say with everybody watching? “Wait! I have questions!” I mean, sure, I could have said that but… who does that?
Almost a year after the engagement, the relationship ended. I’ll say that too much ambition and a lack of taking the time to make our relationship the priority definitely aided in everything falling apart. Is too much ambition a bad thing? Of course not, but it is when there’s no balance and I’ve watched enough Lifetime movies to know that this is how women end up having “afternoons” with the pool boy because they married men who would rather give their wallets than their time.
Fast forward to July/August 2016. I was spending some quiet time with God and as usual, He started to reveal some things about myself and my character that I had been slow to realize. About a week prior, I had a big argument with my ex. Most of our conversations ended in arguments these days because, despite how long it had been since we ended the relationship, I still harbored lots of anger and resentment toward him because I felt he had yet to acknowledge the reality of why our relationship went left.
Then, all of a sudden, it was as if God sprinkled “girl, you’ve got yo nerve” dust over my head. I heard Him say to me, “well, Stephanie, I understand your pain and your frustration with your relationship, how you wanted to be loved and prioritized. After all, that’s how I’ve felt your entire life about OUR relationship”.
That hit me like a ton of bricks. I was instantly humbled. How could I be so angry at my ex for not making me a priority when I couldn’t even prioritize the One who created me? When I had this, what I like to call “soul epiphany”, I immediately asked God for forgiveness. I wanted to call my ex and apologize to him in that very moment. I didn’t have the right to hold this over his head anymore. All my life I had been treating God the way I accused my ex of treating me. I still expected God to show up for me, be there when I needed Him, all the while giving Him none of my time in return. I held off on calling my ex, however, because that last conversation/argument we had…whew Lawd, it was so extra.
About two weeks later, I got around to apologizing to my ex. I explained to him how I had this encounter with God and how, through my anger, He had revealed to me that I was basically being a hypocrite. I don’t know if my ex fully grasped what I was saying but he accepted it and he apologized as well, for everything.
Ever since then I’ve thought twice about being so quick to make myself the victim in any situation where I feel I’ve been wronged. I’ve realized that while my emotions are important, they’re often secondary to the true lesson I’m supposed to be learning. That there’s always a bigger plan at play and if I’m caught up in my feelings, I’ll miss the lesson and the blessing of the whole thing.
As for my ex and I, we’re great friends. I no longer want to pay the barista at Starbucks to drop laxatives in his coffee, nor do I still fantasize about stealing his dry-cleaning and donating it to Goodwill. And don’t look at me like that. Being born again does not automatically cure your pettiness. We are responsible for the daily renewing of our minds and let’s just say, some days I’m slower to renew than others.
Next month, I will be 40. I don’t feel like it but my left knee does. I’ve always been a thinker. My mama tells me I think too much and for the most part, I agree. But most of the time, I’m honestly thinking about how I can learn from the things I get wrong (which is often) in hopes that I will grow to be a better human who’s capable of contributing some good stuff to the world.
Below is a list of things I’ve learned and/or observed throughout my almost 40 years of life. Notice for some of them, I wrote in the first person because they’re personal to me. Feel free to read them and see if they apply to things you’ve learned and to share them in the comments as well!
- Never wait on anyone to give me permission to be who God created and equipped me to be.
- It is very possible to live without the Internet.
- Hindsight will drive me crazy.
- I thought I knew who I was way before I actually did.
- Most of my health concerns can be eliminated through the foods I eat.
- If I left my acquisition of black history knowledge to American textbooks, I would only know about: Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
- Comfortable underwear/drawz/panties are underrated.
- It’s quite alright to cut some people out of my life. EVERYONE is of value but not everyone is of value to me.
- As I grew older, my life became more a result of personal choices than circumstances.
- It’s never too late to start over.
- When someone tells me I’m their only friend, RUN! (This especially pertains to romantic relationships)
- Most of the things I need (notice, I said NEED) are provided through & from the earth (Coconut oil, shea butter, and apple cider vinegar cover everything).
- Weed has yet to take a life and is prescribed by doctors to cure certain illnesses, yet it remains illegal in most states. Cigarettes kill on a daily basis, yet can be legally purchased in every convenient store.
- Wood paneling and popcorn ceilings are a sin.
- Failure is not an option as long as I try.
- Everyone is not going to like me and that’s okay.
- Jesus is real.
- Denim was not originally cut and created with my body type in mind.
- It is dangerous to let my imagination go unused or to stop dreaming.
- Vision boards > New Year’s Resolutions.
- Black women do not do passive aggressive and I, being one of them, am proud of it.
- Apologizing and admitting I’m wrong aids in my self-growth and is beneficial for the person I’ve wronged.
- Humility is admirable.
- I don’t believe in soul mates. I believe the person I select to do this life thing and build a family with is it. So I will choose wisely.
- Being a people pleaser often leads to disappointing myself.
- Only highly insecure people actually have the nerve to call someone physically “ugly”.
- No one can let me down like I can.
- My mom was right…about everything.
- The world is full of insecure people who are in positions of power and authority. Find ways around them.
- I can learn from someone’s successes and failures.
- Being resilient in love is a gift.
- If I don’t take me seriously, no one else will.
- Being active is the key to life.
- Wearing my hair the way God naturally intended it to grow out of my scalp should not be up for workplace dress code discussion.
- Showing up for friends and family is important.
- In relationships, repetitive, unwanted behavior from my partner becomes my fault.
- Be grateful for where I am while I’m there, not in retrospect (hence, #3).
- Michael Jackson vs. Prince should have never been a thing. They were different, amazing and there was room enough for both of them…obviously.
- A simple life is underrated.
- The kids are watching.
Hey There! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m so glad that you did! I’m in the process of updating my posts (adding some/taking some away), as well as the look/layout of my blog. Meaning, if you come here one day and things seem to be changing everytime you refresh, please be patient with me. It’s a work in progress. Look at it as if you’re walking into a store that’s currently under construction but you can still buy things. Cool?