What Does Your Spiritual Ecosystem Look Like?
Over the past twenty-seven years that I’ve been an ordained minister, more than seventeen of them as a pastor, I’ve had many opportunities to observe peoples’ spiritual lifestyle through various means – from the pulpit, during Bible study, during counseling, home fellowship, workshops, seminars, training sessions, conferences and even committee meetings. As a keen observer of human behavior and relationships (sociology), mental characteristics of people (psychology), as well as interrelationships between people and their environment or atmosphere (human ecology), I have developed an acute perception of the complexity of what people look like – individuals as well as groups – and how they function within God’s ecosystem, the living organism we call the church.
Please stay with me. This is not some spooky, new age teaching. On the contrary, it is a Holy Spirit revelation of how things look from the mind of God. Holy Spirit searches the mind of God – the deep things of God (See 1 Corinthians 2:10). Whatever exists on earth existed fully in the mind of God prior to creating the earth. Holy Spirit revelation of the mind of God is a prophetic privilege that mature believers have through an intimate relationship with God. Much of our problems as believers reside in the fact that we haven’t learned how to think supernaturally. We haven’t come to fully trust the Creator of the universe whom we call Father. True believers “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinth. 5:7).
For the sake of emphasis, which I pray will lead to a better understanding of what this article is about, and ultimately direct the reader to examine his spiritual stature and answer honestly the question posed in the title, I will take on the role of both psychologist by the Spirit of God (one who studies, by the Spirit of God, the mental or behavioral characteristics of people – individual or group) and psychiatrist by the Spirit of God (one who treats – in accordance with the Word of God – mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders). This will allow me to awaken the consciousness of believers who have been asleep spiritually to recognize the imbalance of their mental and behavioral characteristics as they relate to an all-loving Father, who embraces relationships that produce generations –succession, longevity. From there, I will prescribe the God-ordained treatment that will procure His cure to His children’s unstable mental, environmental, and behavioral disorder.
Simply put, true believers live in the spiritual habitat of God’s habitation. “LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions: how he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob; Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, until I find out a place for the LORD, a habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.” (Psalm 132:1-5)
The word habitation is the Hebrew word mishkan, which means a residence; a dwelling place. This word is from another Hebrew word, shakan, which means to reside or permanently stay: abide, continue, cause to rest (Strong’s). Biologists define habitat as: The environment of an organism; the place where it us usually found. Habitation is: A form of learning; a diminishing response to a repeated stimulus (Singer, Mason, and Losos, “Biology Eighth Edition”, McGraw Hill, 2008).
“Maintaining a consistent exposure to the presence of the Lord is essential for our well-being…We have no successful survival rate outside the presence of our Lord…The “Habitation” of the Lord is essential to our healthy existence. One of the ways that God provides these habitats is through human relationships.” (Dr. Gordon. E. Bradshaw, “The Technology of Apostolic Succession”; Kingdom House, 2010, pp. 150 – 151).
Therefore, a habitat provides a proper environment for growth, development, and healthy relationships. Inhabitants must therefore study the nature, habits, and interrelatedness of their habitat in order to produce longevity and a thriving environment. If these characteristics are not properly understood, the organism may face extinction. So then, in any habitation, there must be order for the procurement of generating generations. Every organism must take responsibility for the overall well-being of the habitation.
I will submit to you that the church – The Body of Christ – is a spiritual habitat which operates within a spiritual ecosystem. At the highest tier of biological organization, an ecosystem is a biological community and the physical habit within which it lives together (Biology Eighth Edition, p. 4). So then the church lives within God’s supernatural ecosystem. “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22) The Greek word for habitation is katoiketerion, which means to house permanently, reside, dwell as an inhabitant; a dwelling place (Strong’s). “But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place (habitation, KJV); and there you shall go.” (Deuteronomy 12:5)
There is danger lurking for the believer who chooses to abandon their God-ordained habitat and ecosystem. “The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the home (habitation, KJV) of the just.” (Proverbs 3:33) “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude, vs. 6) Endangerment, and possibly extinction, can occur when believers defect or refuse to interact in a healthy God-environment to produce stability in their life and the lives of others.
There is also blessing and protection for believers who continue abiding – dwelling in the habitation of the Lord. “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” (Ps. 91: 9-16, KJV)
“God gave us a precious “family gift” by the name of Jesus Christ, His begotten Son. He did this for the redemption of the human race. God gave this “family gift” for the purpose of prolonging His lineage and heritage. Our lineage, through faith in Jesus Christ, will help us advance the Kingdom of God on the earth. It was a gift to “generations.” Reproduction can only occur when we have healthy environments where the presence and glory of God are evident. Since everything reproduces after its kind, it will take healthy environments to produce healthy, reproductive lives. The “Habitation” of the Lord is essential to our healthy existence. One of the ways that God provides these habitats is through human relationships. Even though we must develop and maintain natural familial relationships, we must remember that God is the “Source” behind the “resource” of family ties. When the Lord places mentors, companions and covenant connections into our lives, we must appreciate those contacts, while remembering that God Himself is the originator of those resources…A healthy habitat is one in which the entire tribe takes responsibility for the overall well-being of the family tree. This is a true representation of the apostolic community, as described in the book of Acts.” (Bradshaw, “Apostolic Succession,” pp. 1, 151, 155)
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:46-47)
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (Acts 4:34-35)
The church then, since it is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20), can be depicted as an “Apostolic Community” and a “Prophetic Population,” living inside God’s habitat, learning His ecology, while interacting with His ecosystem. “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and boundaries of their dwelling” (habitation, KJV). “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17: 26, 28).
As in the natural, so it is in the spiritual; there are dynamics of ecosystems. All organisms, including humans, depend on the specialized abilities of other organisms to acquire the essentials of life. Maintaining a healthy environment conserves ecosystems and prevents habitat fragmentation. Ecosystem stability occurs through species richness – the number of species [in our case, the variety of ethnicities and cultures) present and interacting within a community. These types of communities are more stable, more constant and better able to resist disturbance. More diverse communities, through their interrelationships, help preserve community stability and breeds succession. (Biology, pp. 1190, 1205, 1258)
Likewise, the Church – the spiritual ecosystem of God – a system of order, must understand the intricacies of God’s habitation. We cannot allow our misunderstanding of, or non–compliance with, our environment to hinder our personal and group growth for generating generations. Merriam-Webster defines environment as: The aggregate of social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual community. We are an apostolic community, a prophetic population which must abide within the boundaries of God’s habitation, where Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone. We have a mandate from the King of kings. He has commanded us to “occupy (do business, NKJV) till I come.” (Luke 19:13) Our mission is to occupy the ministry, marketplace, municipality, and realign The Seven Mountains of Culture with God’s Kingdom order through the teaching and preaching of “this gospel of the Kingdom” globally (See Matthew 24:14). Through our persistent abode in the presence of God – dwelling in His habitation – we move on toward completion of our mission: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelations 11:15).
In all of his epistles, Paul the Apostle paints a masterpiece of God’s habitation and how believers are to grow, develop, and reproduce God’s Son, Jesus, Who Is the firstborn among many brothers. One of my favorite passages is written in Paul’s epistle to the church at Colosse:
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scyth’i-an, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowel of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (Colossians 3:10-15)
After you’ve had time to digest, in your spirit, the enormity of this Holy Spirit revelation to the Body of Christ – the church – you can begin to examine your spiritual stature. You can compare where you are now, in your walk with God, to where God desires you to be – a member of a universal tribe (The Body of Christ) who understands the importance of dwelling in the habitation of God, is developed spiritually, and interacts through relationship with all the inhabitants [kingdom citizens]. This is how we maintain the stability of our spiritual ecosystem. This is how we generate generations. And this is the cure to our misguided behavioral and mental disorders. Now you can answer honestly, the question posed, from a personal perspective: What does my spiritual ecosystem look like?
Apostle Dr. James Brewton is a published author, Senior Pastor of Community Empowerment Ministries, Allendale, SC, and Community Empowerment Family Worship Ministry in Claxton, GA. He is President of The Identity Institute School of Ministry. Dr. Brewton is the Vice-President for Intercession and Prophetic Ministry, Kingdom Congressional International Alliance (KCIA).
To learn more about Dr. Brewton, please visit www.community-empowerment-ministries.org Also visit www.theidentityinstituteschoolofministry.org