“For as in Adam all die, even so, in Christ shall all be made alive”
1 Corinthians 15:22
The key for life, any life, is to be in Christ. There are no formulas, teachings, or concepts that can replace the pulse, the purpose, and the indomitable press of Him. Jesus is the Life and the secret to His vitality is found as we abide in Him.
“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”
1 John 5:12
There is something so essential in the LIFE of His own, simple and yet so powerful. The Holy Spirit has been given for this reason: to lead us into this growing relationship.
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me…”
The Life of Christ is the sum of all truth; not just an addition or influence. He is the fountain of doing and reasoning. It is this Presence that transforms life from a series of unrelated events to an adventure full of purpose.
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory”
The quest for an ever-deepening relationship with Him is the joy and purpose of life. There is no point of arrival; His depths are eternal and blessed are those who are captivated by His sheer beauty. This pursuit is fueled by the mystery that unfolds within the common course of life. No wonder the Psalmist cries out with joy:
“O taste and see that the Lord is good…”
“For too long, we’ve called unbelievers to “invite Jesus into your life.” Jesus doesn’t want to be in your life. Your life is a wreck. Jesus calls you into his life. And his life isn’t boring or purposeless or static. It’s wild and exhilarating and unpredictable”.
Russell D. Moore
“And he said, WHO art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, WHAT wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” (Acts 9:5-6)
Prayer is the means to discovering the “Go” of God’s Will. It is in our time with Him that He communicates and empowers. In the enormity of Jesus facing Calvary’s wretched death, He who knew no sin about to become the sin-bearer of the world, He drew near unto His Father for strength and grace to walk out the Will of the Father. So it must be for us. Through the intimacy of prayer, we hear Him speak and have the privilege of participating in His Will in the earth.
“…making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself”
– Ephesians 1:9
The KJV of this verse speaks of something past tense: “having made known to us the mystery of His will”. There is something amiss in this past-tense translation which is not at all expressed in the original Greek. The Will of God is a daily thing. It is a mystery which unfolds as we commune with Him and allow His Lordship to speak into our hearts His purposes for the now of life. The true Christian Life is an adventure which can only be experienced through the medium of Obedience. Paul, writing to the Church at Ephesus, used the Greek participle concerning God “making known unto us the mystery of HIS will”. How blessed we are to discover fresh opportunities of Faith to walk in His purposes!
The more we obey the impulse of the Spirit the more we discover confidence; a growing boldness, a dynamic which arises out of our own experience with God. It is here the depth of our prayer life is revealed and established. Prayer without the communication of the Will of God to us should be disconcerting, for prayer is simply the participation of our heart with His. Obedience and prayer are harmonious. I know from my own personal experience the wrestling and struggles to obey that which He has given me to DO in my time alone with Him. Knowing and discovering His Will is a mystery which is only solved when I personally step into it. I can have a word or an impression of God to go, but until that step is taken His Will lingers, unfulfilled.
“Go ye therefore…”
“Go” is the impulse of God; “Go” is God’s heart to His Own. It is the word of God for us to explore, venture and invest ourselves in His purposes to make His salvation known to this world. What does that “Go” look like to you? Where does that “Go” personally take you? That is the exciting thing about the glory of prayer!The Go of God is bound up in us first coming in prayer, the secret place of communion (co-union) with Him.
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee…”
Unless we come to Him with a heart alive and burning with a desire to do His Will there will never be a “sending”. His Will is waiting for you to take His deliverance, His word of life and His love to heal the broken and lost of humanity. His House is filled with many who need His touch in their lives. Do we not hear the “Go” of God within our own hearts to be involved in making Him known?
It is the “lukewarm” who say, “I am rich, and I am made rich, and I have need of nothing”. They are content and feel no need to venture into the world around them nor expend themselves in making Him known. Those who need nothing will see nothing concerning the will of God. The soil which at one time received the seed of life with gladness has now become infested with the cares and comforts of this life and the life is choked with the thorns and thistles of their own sowing.
It is needful that we draw away from lukewarm living, carelessness and deception. Let us discover afresh the secret chambers of prayer and communion with Him. It is in this holy place that we feel the Fire of His Being igniting the altar of our hearts.
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee…”
God has a very simple and powerful remedy for us all: Prayer. The kind where we meet with Him and spend time alone in the holy atmosphere of His majesty. Not prayers asking Him for things, but prayers of communion where we learn to simply wait, child-like, without any other need but HIM. It is as we thus wait upon Him that we will find a renewing of our strength and a rising up to the honour of doing His Will. Prayer to the true child of God is not optional; it is the essential element of a fruitful life in Christ!
Eternal destinies are bound within our faithfulness to the talents He has graciously given us. The slothful, disobedient and the careless reap the disregard they show to the deposits of His gifts to us.
“And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine…”
To which Jesus declares:
“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
“It is not the incorrect that the Lord despises but the proud; it is not the hot or the cold that the Lord spews out of his mouth but the lukewarm. When we are standing still out of fear of being wrong, we will certainly be regarded by him as ‘wicked and slothful’ not cautiously prudent.”
– Eric Foley
Relationship with Christ is the spring from which His Life flows. This flow of Life is the essential element of ministry.
The Womb of Ministry
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:16-17)
“I am a debtor both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to wise, and to foolish, so as far as lies in me, I am eager to preach the gospel to you in Rome also”
The secret of the power of Christ at work within the human heart lies in grasping our total indebtedness unto Him. The same God that saw the need to send His only begotten Son to the earth, desires that we in turn see the necessity to preach the Gospel of God to all who would hear. Notice the secret of Paul: “so far as lies in me”! The power of Christ is pressing and empowering us to make known the wonder of this salvation; expending ourselves in order to make the living Christ known. The power of the Gospel lies not in words but in the unction and the impression of His heart.
The Kingdom of God is not in word. It is not in the multitude of the words we speak amongst ourselves. It is in the dynamic of His Love launching us into “fields” ripe unto harvest. Only by the Love of God have men and women through the ages spent themselves for the sheer honour of declaring Him wherever they were sent.
The preaching of the Gospel has more to do with the power that lies within an individual than in the knowledge of words and religious phrases. Love is the power of the Gospel – it is the Gospel!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son”
That same Love burning within our hearts is the epicenter from which we reach the world. Without the breath of the Love of God, the New Covenant becomes nothing more than something to discuss and dissect with others of like disposition. It is a thing rather than a life; a mere idea which produces no wonder of empowerment, no horizons to pursue and no sense of the overwhelming purposes of God in Christ. The result is dimness of soul and a life bereft of participation in the declaration of Christ.
What is the power which is at work within us?
This does not put in question the power of the Almighty God. It does ask if we have allowed Him to empower us within.
“Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power”
The evidence of the gift of Grace within His own is men and women who are able ministers of Christ. Grace received produces an effectual ministry of grace to others. A genuine receiving of grace leaves us with a deep sense of our unworthiness and an awareness of a Love beyond comprehension. Love by its very nature is sacrificial and selfless. As we grow into the heart and mind of Him, we cannot remain untouched by the human condition within and without the family of believers. There is an abandonment to the will and passion of Christ to make known the Salvation He has provided to all.
Paul was “Made a minister, according to the gift of the grace”. Grace received cannot be held in fireless hearts.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me”
1 Corinthians 15:10
The evidence of grace received is the labour of the spirit within a life, just as the evidence of conception is the labour it ultimately produces.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called”
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Phil 2:1-5)
“For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)