Posted by: tscottmorton | March 21, 2008

Familiarity

Familiarity leads to a redundancy that breeds a reliance on performance. This in turn, leads to a prideful way of independent religious excellence. If the heart of religious lifelessness is “order”, it’s blood is “familiarity”.

Familiarity causes us to look backwards at what worked in the past to copy and then recreate it. This is a deadly way in regards to the Kingdom of God because the Kingdom is always advancing into the new thing. By it’s nature, every new thing of God is unfamiliar simply because we’ve never seen it before. Spiritual perception followed by our first choice to act upon it overcomes familiarity.

2 Cor 3:17-18  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Isa 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

A key strategy of the enemy of God is perverted familiarity. (I define perversion as an overall falsification of a particular truth.)

God placed in our soul a need for familiarity so that we would cling to the things that are true and important. Problem is that in our flesh, we experience ungodly things that we also tend to cling to. Herein lies the strategy of our enemy. It’s the ungodly stuff that wars against our soul and which draws us away from what is important in the Kingdom of God. A primary tool the devil uses to do that is familiarity. This is such an important strategy to the devil that he assigns demons specifically to deal in familiarity towards humanity.

Lev 19:31 ‘Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God. (NKJ)

This reference to familiar spirits in the King James Bible references demonic spirits who are familiar with what is going on; in essence, “demons that know”. Is not familiarity, in its most simple form, a knowing?

My key point is that God is moving us from what we know into what we don’t know by faith. If we get stuck in what we know, we become unable to gain anything new or unknown.

For the Spirit filled Christian, familiarity is only valuable as it pertains to the principles of God that never change. In “being familiar” with them, I stay out of trouble. By this familiar knowledge, I know who my Father, my Savior and my beloved Holy Spirit are. But as to the “current events” of God, what God is doing now and tomorrow, familiarity tends to cause me to turn towards yesterday’s familiar experiences and reject the new things he is doing.

The new thing of God always flies in the face of familiarity. God does this for many reasons, not the least of which is this: In a word, trust. Or better said, faith.

He tests us. Will it be about us and what we know, or will it be about God and what he knows? So long as we remain here on earth, we must know, God will always put our faith and trust to the test. He does this by presenting us with the choice to accept or reject the unknown radical new thing of God. He brings new things in ways that offend our flesh.

What really is being offended is our sense of familiarity to what has been.

We must know this: Living on the cutting edge of God means that we will offend the “wise.” We will offend the norm. And so, we must be as devoid of self and our own offendability as possible so as to withstand the attacks that will most certainly come.

Truly the wise people of God are those filled with the Holy Spirit who understand the Kingdom need to be totally dependent. For the wisdom of the Kingdom of God is not concluded, it is given by way of revelation. All wisdom therefore is given not figured out. Independence blocks reception of knowledge from any source other than one’s own mind.

Those who move in the new thing of God thrive on the daily given manna of revelation knowledge. As it was in the desert, so it is with us. The manna that comes only lasts so long as to see the new thing come to pass. Then it goes bad. We become dependent for tomorrows manna tomorrow. When it comes tomorrow, we gain the new thing for tomorrow. God works in this way so that we will be forever dependant upon his means rather than our means, his thinking rather than our thinking.

Deut 8:3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Everything of the Kingdom of God is made known by the Holy Spirit, it cannot be concluded by the mind of man. So, the more we yoke our minds to the mind of Christ, the less effective the spirit of familiarity is against us. The more we listen and hear in times of intimacy and love with the Father, the more we know and move in the new thing of God.

As to the Kingdom of God, the renewing of the mind can only happen by revelation in the Holy Spirit. It cannot happen by anything we can do, either cranial or physical.

Whatever we are certain of in our minds, we defend to the hilt. And so the mind that is independent not only gets in the way of God, but over time becomes a wall to change.

True Godly wisdom and control in the church happens when people give up the reigns of control to Jesus in trust and in faith of the Holy Spirits manifesting Presence. The result is the manifestation of right order and right knowledge. We protect the church by hearing, not thinking (i.e. thinking is supposed to happen after the hearing!). We know what is out of line by revelation, not conclusion. We grow the church by a firm supporting Foundation (capitalization intended…), not by a filtering intellectual coverage. I see a picture of the church to come… it has no roof!

What we become familiar to in the world and in the flesh, we cling to. But were the Kingdom of God is concerned, what we experience is what we are supposed to cling to, only in so much as to prepare us for the next new thing. We are then supposed to build upon yesterday’s thing and grow. Familiarity kills inheritance! Paul understood this when he spoke the following words:

1 Cor 3:10-19 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight…

Paul was saying that all wisdom of any value comes from the foundation who is Christ by way of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in and upon us. What I, or the world thinks is meaningless, unless it is born out of revelation knowledge. What I build on my foundation, I will be charged for. Will I build upon my foundation what I or the world thinks? Or will I build upon my foundation while under the yoke of the mind of Christ, of what the Father thinks? The only way for me to rightly build is by revelation lest what I build fail under the test.

Familiarity causes me to rely on me. It turns me inward rather than outward. It causes me to look backward rather than forward. It is a warped perverted way of thinking.

Familiarity is an easy and very comfortable way. But we are not to become comfortable in our faith. Earth is only a tiny portion of the whole of the Kingdom of God. What we live in here on earth is very limited indeed.

Faith is the very essence of growth. But, we grow into ever-increasing maturity by way of an ever-increasing faith.

Faith says that there is more than what I see. I then experience up to what my faith allows. As I think with limited faith, I am incapable of seeing or thinking greater than the level of faith I am in. Therefore, my faith level must always be willing to experience the radical new thing of God. Then, with each new experience, my faith moves up.

But then God comes with revival. Revival is chock full of things that we have never seen before. Among so many other things, revival is designed to increase our faith.

I have faith, and then I have experiences. But without faith, I am incapable of witnessing the experience even if it happens right before my eyes. Faith is the substance of spiritual vision.

Experiences increase my faith if I am willing to allow it. Experiences become my new word of testimony. I have received the new thing that is supposed to become the substance of the inheritance that I am to give to the next generation.

I have a new testimony. That testimony, spoken to those who yet see, builds new faith for those who have ears to hear. They then move up! The result is the ever-increasing Kingdom of God manifested on earth as it is in Heaven.

Ever-increasing! This is what the Christian life is all about. The comfort of familiarity is the bane of ever-increasing.

This Christian earthly life is a “forever becoming.” This means that we are not complete or “done” until we are home in Heaven with God. We are forever learning, seeking, and growing. In this earthly life we are always moving in the flow of God’s Presence for the purpose of the flow of God’s plan made manifest on earth. It is a fluid thing. If we stay in yesterday’s thing, we have gotten out of the River and onto the banks and have become motionless. Familiarity renders me spiritually motionless.

If I rely on what has become familiar to me, I signify to myself that “I have become.” I don’t need further growth because I am happy in what I have and know right now. It is a form of pride that says I need no more. Depending on familiar knowledge and familiar experience is a form of pride that shunts growth. It starts honestly but finishes pridefully.

Jack Hayford once said, “Nothing is more limiting than the self-imposed boundaries we clamp around our own lives when we require God to fit into our expectations.” 

In reality, familiarity is the material we build our boxes with.

Familiarity blinds me to anything that does not fit the mold of what I know or have experienced. Familiarity is based in fear of the unknown. But perfect love casts out fear. One can also say therefore that perfect love causes us to trust God for the new thing.

So, true growth is found in the ever-increasing nature of God. It is found off the map of what I know. I take what I know of God or have become familiar with of God and I apply it to the supernatural unknown of what God is doing or is about to do. In so doing I position myself on the very edge of God’s wonderful current plan. I trust him. I wait for him. And, when the new thing happens, however good or bad in this world, I rejoice and move into the new thing easily! I am not offended when the world comes down around me. The radical new thing does not offend me because I trust in faith that God is much bigger than my flesh or the devil.

Therefore, we must learn to overcome our need to steer towards what we know of in the world and move towards what we don’t know of the Kingdom of God.

Right order is both embracing the knowledge of the unchanging principles of God and seeking the radical new thing that God wants us to move into for the future.

Simply said, familiarity is deadly as to our spiritual growth and effectiveness in our call here on earth. And so we must identify the insidious presence of familiarity and cast it out, then trust in faith as God does mighty and wonderful acts in our day.

T. Scott Morton

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Responses

  1. Hey Scottie!

    I like your new digs. Congratulations on your new blog!

    I like your post on familiarity. Good thoughts. It is good to know each other after the Spirit and not the flesh.

    Keep writing!

    Bonnie


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