Out of 39 years in this fleshly tent on planet Earth, 18 of those years have been spent pursuing the Lord and knowing Him more. Jesus Christ found me at 21 years old because I was lost, and He was not. Over the years, I have suffered my fair share of personal blows and heartache, both before and after being born again. Yes, it can be part of the prophetic, but we are told that we will face trials and tribulations and to understand that Jesus has overcome the world.

In the past four years, God has been teaching me more and more about how to draw closer to Him when it seemed easier to retreat in times of personal warfare. I can remember in 2015, standing in my garage and crying out to the Lord during a very dark time. Seasons and situations come like this and instead of reacting, we as the bride of Christ must learn to respond. Not only that, but we must run toward intimacy with Him, and not for vindication or the entangling web of bitterness. You will find out where you are in your personal relationship with God by where you run when hell rages and flesh manifests.

One of the greatest genes of the Father that we must have ingrained in our spiritual DNA as sons of God is forgiveness. We are repeatedly instructed to forgive and to not grow bitter. The Word of God does not tell us to not be angry, but it does tell us to be angry and sin not (see Eph. 4:26).

Forgiveness is freedom. One thing I am learning in my walk with the Lord is that I cannot afford to be intimate with unforgiveness. It is a redirection of affection that should be surrendered to God. Intimacy with Christ is not simply in the times when all is well. It is also in the times when you have to speak by faith, “It is well.”

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Even if you must say, “It is well” through tears, do it. Refuse to curse and refuse to water unforgiveness. It is quite easy to give ourselves over to soulish reactions because they are intoxicating to our soul. They feed the parts of us that do not desire going from faith to faith and glory to glory. They are a massive spiritual fertilizer that will allow a bitter root to grow while causing the field to stink. When you go from glory to glory, you are being transformed to emanate His nature more and more.

I know this is not a flashy message, but it is a prophetic word for the body of Christ at large. This is part of the Good News. Jesus has given us a New Covenant, and part of the covenant calls us higher into His ways. Intimacy is the high call, and in order to demonstrate true and pure intimacy with Him, we live out what we have heard in the secret place.

Are you hearing retribution in the secret place? Are you hearing retaliation in the secret place? In all humility, I pose this statement: Things like this are not found in the secret place but in the secret places of our hearts, where the light of Christ is to illuminate and push back darkness so healing can come.

The Answer by His Word and Spirit

One morning not long ago, the Holy Spirit directed me to read Matthew 18 in its entirety. As I read this chapter, I noticed it went from demonstrating humility as a child to dealing with sin and forgiveness in the kingdom of God. After reading that chapter, I knew that God was wanting to do surgery on His people, myself included.

Years ago, I had to make a decision to forgive my father for rejecting me. The Lord reminded me in a time when that rejection was made publicly evident to bless and to not curse and to pray for those who would mistreat. He reminded me to forgive and to move forward.

As I personally go through seasons that would be better with a convenient fast-forward button, there are lessons in the difficult times. The lessons come in the growth of asking God to examine my heart and to bend to His ways. The relationship grows when we run toward and not away from Him.

When you are truly intimate with God, things are exposed that need exposing. In those moments, areas of brokenness are made whole, and pruning can come forth. We must allow God to not only cut the branch of bitterness if it is there, but to strip it out at the root. We yield to the digging up of even a seed of resentment, because once that seed dies, something begins to grow and soon, we die spiritually.

Beloved, run to the Bridegroom in every season. Let the weight of glorious intimacy with Him mark you. I believe part of the cleansing needed in the body of Christ is a deluge of forgiveness of others and of self. Along with that will come confessing our sins one to another and demonstrating real love, which can only come from the Father. If you have battled in this time, forgive and recognize who the real enemy is around you. We must resist the echo of how the world handles issues. Forgive others, regardless if you ever hear it in return. Move forward and embrace His holy nature. He is the greatest refuge you will ever know, and knowing Him requires forgiveness.

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