What is the definition of an ascended spirit, and how can it be described?
This is one who has a spirit perpetually in an out-of-this-world into heaven state. When a believer’s spirit is united to the Lord’s and they become one spirit, he commences to live in the world as a sojourner, experiencing the life of a heavenly citizen. Following that, the Holy Spirit will call him to take one further step and give him a spirit of rapture. Formally, his mind was “Go Forward”, now it becomes “Ascend Up”. Everything about him rises heavenward. The spirit of rapture is that spirit that has tasted the powers of the age to come.
Not all believer’s, even mature ones, possess this spirit. This position is held by those who have ceased from their own works, have come to the end of themselves, and said “whatever you want Lord, I will do”. Peter came to this place, Stephen came to this place, Paul came to this place. In recent times other examples would be George Mueller, Smith Wigglesworth, Corrie Ten Boom, Watchman Nee, and numerous other’s.
When someone possesses this spirit, he not only believes in the second coming, but in his being transported. For him it’s not just an article of faith, to him it is fact.
Someone possessing this spirit also has the profound knowledge that all his work could cease at any moment, that all his effort for God could come to an end today. They keep themselves in a state of “always ready to meet the Lord”.
Being in this state does not mean we are to only be concerned with the getting out of the world and lay down the work God has put before us, but that, though we remain faithful and diligent in our task, we don’t let our labor hinder us from “keeping our eyes heavenward”. Heavenly attraction should be greater than earthly gravitation. The child of God should learn to live for the Lord’s service, but even more so for the Lord receiving him.
May the things of this world lose their power over us, so we do not wish to stay any longer than needed to finish the work He’s given us. May our spirits daily ascend, asking to be with the Lord as soon as He calls for us. A spirit in this state can look up and say with the conviction of understanding, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. 22:20
Characteristics of An Ascended Spirit
1. A contrite spirit-(Ps 34:18, Is. 57:15) Someone who confesses a sin as soon as it is revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. Having no desire to cover faults or deny them. Easy to be entreated. Susceptible to correction by the Lord.
2. A broken spirit-(Ps. 51:17) Someone who trembles before the Lord. Some people have no sense of uneasiness before God when they have sinned. A healthy spirit will be broken before God, as was David’s. It’s not hard to restore a person to God who has a broken spirit.
3. An afflicted spirit-(Is. 66:23) This person trembles at God’s Word and has reverential fear of the Lord. Self-conceit is shattered; the Word of God is his soul guide. He has a holy fear of God-and no confidence in himself. He dares not trust himself, his ideas, feelings, desires. He knows total trust in God and reliance on His word is absolutely necessary. Total obedience is his only goal.
4. A lowly spirit-(Prov. 16:15) Lowliness is not looking down on one’s self-it is not looking at one’s self at all. As soon as a believer’s spirit becomes haughty he is liable to fall. Humility is not only heavenward but man-ward as well. A lowly spirit is one who associates with the poor. God’s presence and glory are manifested in the life of the spiritually humble.
5. A poor spirit-(Matt. 5:35) The poor in spirit views himself as possessing nothing. This not only pertains to material things, but also to spiritual possessions. As a believer should view all his material possessions with an open hand-for we never know what tomorrow may bring-we must view our past spiritual experiences in the same way. Yes, they were wonderful, and we may use them to relay to other’s for their spiritual growth, as God leads. But, we cannot depend on them to be our bread and meat for today. The manna that feed’s us must be fresh every day, just as it was for the children of Israel. Our walk with God is new every day (or it should be), yesterday’s provision is gone.
6. A gentle spirit-(Gal. 6:1) Gentleness is the opposite of harshness. A gentle spirit can stop on short notice for the Lord, and obey immediately when the Spirit prompts him to do something. It is the Spirit of the Lamb that characterizes the Spirit of the Cross. “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten”. This is the description of the gentle spirit.
7. A fervent spirit-(Rom. 12:11) Someone possessing a fervent spirit is qualified to serve the Lord endlessly. He has gone thru many testings-has come to the place where all emotion and excitement of the flesh has died. He’s known times of coldness, an unfeeling heart, but kept on going in obedience with God anyway. Now he has reached the place of diligence and discipline. His emotions do not rule his actions. He is not overwhelmed by icy, indifferent feelings-his spirit has resolved to “serve the Lord, Always”.
8. A cool spirit-(Prov. 17:27, Prov. 16:25:28) A person with a feverish, excitable spirit is prone to error. They let their emotions and mind control their conduct, rather than the Holy Spirit. It is very important to keep the inner man calm and collected. We must disregard uncontrolled emotions, desires, or confusion of thought. By measuring a problem with a cool spirit, we maintain our feet on the path of the Lord. Someone with a cool spirit is able to maintain his calm and peace, no matter what chaos may be going on around him. To maintain our coolness, we must exercise our wills. We can and do have control of our inner emotions, we must be watchmen of our own spirits.
9. A joyful spirit-(Luke 1:47) We do not rejoice for our own sake, or an experience, or work, or circumstances, but because God is our center. No saint can genuinely rejoice out of any cause other than God himself. When pressed down by a heavy load of worry and care the spirit can quickly topple from its ascended position. Nothing can save the situation except to rejoice in the Lord-rejoice in who God is and that He is our Savior.
10. A spirit of power-(II Tim. 1:7) Timidity is not humility. While humility is self-forgetting, forgetting both it’s weaknesses and strengths; timidity recalls all the weaknesses and is self remembering. God does not delight in our cowardice and withdrawal. He wants us to tremble before Him because of our emptiness, yet on the other hand, proceed courageously in His might. He wants us to bear His witness fearlessly, to suffer pain and shame for Him valiantly, to accept loss of all things with courage, and to rely on the Lord’s love, wisdom, power, and faithfulness with confidence. Our spirit should be strong, but not unloving. It must be quiet and controlled, not easily excited. We must have a spirit of power towards the enemy, and self-control towards ourselves.
11. A quiet spirit-(I Peter 3:4) We should aspire to live quietly, to possess a quiet spirit. Many Christians talk too much. Confused thought and endless speech set a spirit to wandering away from the control of our wills. A spirit out of control often leads people to walk according to the flesh. Believer’s who can’t restrain themselves become unruly. An errant spirit ends up with an error in conduct. If our spirit is hushed, we can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit there, obey the will of God, and understand the leading of the Lord in our lives.
A quiet inner life is the Christians adornment.
12. Newness of spirit-(Rom. 7:6) This is a believer who conveys something new from the Lord habitually. When around them, we feel we’ve just left the Lord’s presence, as though they would bring us right back to the Lord. Instead of imparting old, dried, corrupted, worm-eaten manna of the mind to the people, these give fish and bread freshly cooking on the fire of the Spirit. Thoughts of a mind in the flesh, no matter how intellectual or beautifully expressed can never move people as a fresh spirit can, who is on fire with the evidence of a “daily walk with the Lord”. A spirit who endeavors to copy this cannot face up to the scrutiny of others, because it has not faced God. To enjoy a spirit that is always fresh and new, one’s inner being must be in constant touch with God.
13. A Holy Spirit-(I Cor. 7:34) We must seek holiness. A unholy spirit leads others into error. Inordinate thoughts towards others, assessing the evil of others, lack of love, sharp criticism (though there is a place for correction and admonishment), self-righteousness, refusing entreaty, jealousy, pride, and so forth can defile the spirit. An unholy spirit cannot be fresh and new. We must maintain an attitude of death towards sin lest it overcomes us and poisons our spirits. Without holiness, no one can see the Lord.
14. A strong spirit-(Heb. 1:27) Our spirit is capable of growth, and should increase gradually in strength. As the spirit becomes stronger the power of intuition and discernment increases. The Holy Spirit will not excuse us if we choose to remain ignorant of the Word of God. We are expected to “study to show ourselves approved of God”. When we regularly study scripture, the Holy Spirit then can access to our spirits and minds to appropriate the Word of God in every situation and circumstance of our lives, and on behalf of other’s. If our inner being is vigorous we can triumph in Christ, no matter how much our body may suffer, or our soul afflicted.
15. One Spirit-(Phil. 1:27) This is a spirit who is in fellowship with other believers. Even if in disagreement, we can still acknowledge each other as part of the Lord’s body, and live in peace with one another. A believer who intentionally seeks to spread strife or division cannot attain an ascended spirit, because their spirit is corrupted.
16. A spirit of grace-(Gal. 6:18, Phil. 2:5) The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is precious to our spirit. There we find the Lord’s grace to help in time of need. This is the peak our spirit can reach. We should always season our spirit with the grace of the Lord.
Since now he stands at the door of heaven and can be transported at any moment, the believer should choose to wear the heavenly white garment and perform work for the kingdom of God-as he leads. Such a position separates him from earthly matters. He will be diligent to the work appointed to him, but ready to lay it down at any moment.
Ephesians 2:5,6- But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 2:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
An excerpt from “The Spiritual Man” by Watchman Nee
I first read The Spiritual Man many years ago, when I was hungry to know God in a deeper way, and what moved the heart of God in the realm of prayer. The Holy Spirit led me to Watchman Nee's works, and this book in particular. I go to it often as a serious source of study, along with the scriptures. If you have a longing to know God and truly find a fellowship with Him, and a deeper prayer life, Nee's teachings will be true meat for your soul. I also suggest his work "Spiritual Authority", it will answer the question on where the Christians authority truly comes from, and how to walk in that authority.