By David Stahl

Our spiritual life (the level of spiritual maturity to which we have attained)  is far more than the sum of the spiritual information that we have gathered or any compilation of our spiritual experiences. Rather the core and substance of our being “spiritual” relates to the level of inner peace and harmony that results from our making right choices and decisions along the pathway of our spiritual walk with God. The LORD is seeking those who are willing to go beyond that which they have freely received through redemption knowing that making these right choices and decisions will never be easy. Paul had it right when he said, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)No matter who or where we are in God we must make decisions as to what we will see, hear, do, or where we will go or not go. The ever present temptation is to compromise and go along with the questionable or difficult situations that we often find in our path or circumstances. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.”Ephesians 2:10 I often site this verse when I talk about us being the work of God “His workmanship,”  but this verse has other applications of truth as well. Please notice that our response to and our cooperation with these “good works” is conditional “that we should walk in them”an option or a decision we willfully make. These “good works”are preordained testing (from God not the devil ) points that will determine how far we will follow the LORD. We make few major decisions, but each day we make many “minor” (seemingly to us) decisions that feed either the carnal or the spiritual aspect of our being. and the accumulation of these choices will result in our becoming predominantly carnal or spiritual. As our spiritual decisions begin to outweigh the negative pulls and responses we become an overcomer, a noun or the verbtense we become victorious. To the extent that we rise above carnal soulish desires we are lifted into a place of communion with our LORD and we grow spiritually.  John tells us what we will receive if we can learn to become an overcomer, To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne,even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne.”(Revelation 3:21)Our position with Jesus in this throne relationshipis the result of our overcoming all that is earthly and carnal. We receive the privilege or honor of being seated with Jesus in His Throne as a result of the accumulation of the right decisions and choices that we make not because we are saved.. People ask me just how important are our decisions, well they are life or death to us.  The more decisions that we make which are toward the LORD and His purposes the easier it will become to continue making right decisions.  God’s idea for us is the further down the road that we go in our walk with Jesus we are to progressively become more detached from all that is either carnal or a temptation to us.  Believe it or not in the beginning it will be a struggle, but we will be amazed at the strength we have (really God’s strength) and as we begin to make progress then it becomes harder, much harder.  The longer we go with God the harder it gets because the more God expects of us.  I wonder why we think we are on a downhill slide into heaven.  So too is this method in our training of our earthly children. The older they get the more we expect of them. What we expect of a two year old we do not expect of a 10 year old and to even complicate things the more the older they get the less we should have to talk to them because they ought to have learned their lessons, but that is not often the case. So too in God.  The longer we go in God the less He should have to tell us what to do and feed our emotions  why? Because we should already know what to do, we have learned our lessons and now all we have to do is execute our training.  When I was a Corpsman with the Marines in the Navy we trained and trained for mass casualties; drill after drill I thought what a waste, but when we had a real mass casualty situation we did not have to think our training kicked in and we performed (here is the point) to the level of our desire and attention to follow our training.  A half hearted trainee could have cost the life of a Marine. As we make decisions that move us forward in God the pathway of our spiritual life can be considered as being an upward spiral. I think I have used this illustration before in a another article, but if we take a large wood screw and place a finger nail in the groove near the point and run it along the surface we will gradually progress toward the head. Job said,  “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.”  (Job 5:7)  That is the direction of sparks on the grinding wheel and seemingly troubles in our lives, upward to God. Though it may seem to us that we are going in circles as we continue to make right decisions we are progressively moving upward. If we do this in reverse and feed the carnal aspect of our being, it will lead us ever downward.  I believe we all have within us a qualityof spiritual life (God has deposited it within us) now it may not be apparent to us as to why this is so, but if asked we would testify that through the struggles of life we have been making quality decisions which brings them into increasing levels of fellowship with the LORD in His Throne.  Who knows the impact of the decisions we have made in darkness? Often we make decisions not knowing what will happen and often struggle with them until the LORD reveals to us some of the outcome, but we need not struggle so because if we are not over in sin and we are trying to do the best for the LORD as we can our decisions (even the ones done in darkness) will be the right ones.  God does not set us up for failure nor does He try to trick us into making wrong decisions. This is the thought Paul was trying to get across to the Christians in Rome.  In Romans Paul shares these words, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serves Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.”(Romans 14:17-18)The Kingdom of God begins with “righteousness.” As we make right choices (even if we do not know it) we place ourselves on a platformcalled “righteousness.”Due to an accumulation of these righteous choices we discover that there resides within us an abiding “peace.”This will also result in the approbation or the favor of God resting upon us and joyis then manifested. Our submission to His divine government will lead to our becoming a partaker with Jesus in His Throne. In this realm our decisions do not relate only to right or wrong, but with the motives that underlie right or wrong. It is here that the final test of our union with the LORD will find its outworking. If we truly overcome in this area of our being in that daywe will find ourselves seated with Jesus in His Throne. First we are tested concerning the choices and decisions that we make. As we progress up the spiral we will be tested concerning the motives of our heart which provoke the things that manifest as right or wrong. It is not enough to deny only the thingwe must overcome the very principle that allows it to abide within us and assert itself. Those who are satisfied with being blessed and eventually going to heaven have their reward (streets of gold and a mansion), but for those who intensely hunger for a higher level of spiritual reality there is much more. These in the place of pressure, complexity, confusion, and often bewilderment will deal with the issues of their heart so in that dayhaving become an overcomer they will be found on the throne seated beside Jesus.