The Good Fight

The Good Fight

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,
whereunto thou art also called…”
1 Timothy 6:12

We are called in Christ Jesus unto Eternal Life. The depth of its wonder and reality in our lives is determined by the fight of the faith residing within our hearts. Eternal life is far more than a gift; it is the very life of Christ ruling and reigning in the sanctum of our lives. The strength of its hold is determined by our freedom from sin, the freedom of His Spirit to have dominion over the affairs of this world, and the consecration of our lives unto His Will. It is short-sighted for us to think that a born-again experience settles the matter of eternal life.

Eternal Life is the very power of Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith. Eternal Life is the living dynamic of Christ putting to death the resident sin nature. Eternal Life is revealed in those who are captivated by the love of Christ living a life of continuous change and transformation.

How little we appreciate the necessary intensity for us to fight with great diligence the war of faith within and without. Read Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to “lay hold” on eternal life by fighting the “good fight”. Few Christians today know of this battle to find themselves “apprehending” the promises and purposes of God; few comprehend the dimensions of His Victory to be wrought in each of our lives. We have been deceived into thinking of salvation as simply being saved from some distant judgement with no real and eternal consequences for the thoughts we think and the life we live now.

“Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:12

Can we not grasp the language of the Holy Spirit throughout the sacred scriptures? We have been called to “lay hold” on eternal life and to “take hold” of that which to which we have been called. This is no passive Gospel as the one that is often presented. We have been called by the God of all Glory to “fight the good fight”, to discover the weapons of our warfare with the intent that we may “lay hold” of the eternal riches of Christ’s life.

Even a casual reading of the message of Christ to the seven churches in the book of Revelation shows the promises of God are given only to those who “overcome”. May we read afresh the call of God to be found in the “fight of Faith” whereby we are enabled by His Spirit “to war a good warfare”.

If there is no fight within a child of God,
there can be no crown.

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”
Revelation 3:21-22

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Desire the Revelation of Life

Thought for Today

DESIRE
THE REVELATION OF LIFE

“For indeed we who are in this tent do groan, being burdened; not that we desire to be unclothed, but that we desire to be clothed, that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life”
2 Corinthians 5:4

Life, whether earthly or heavenly, is by nature filled with longings, desires and pursuits. As the natural life is filled with unholy lusts and affections so the heavenly life is filled with holy pursuits and desires.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh:
and these are contrary the one to the other”
GALATIANS 5:17

The nature of the life of an individual is known by the thing it covets and pursues. Just as the lust for the things of this world is the expression of the worldly man so is the desire in the life of the believer to be “swallowed up” in the LIFE of the SON.

Where there is no cry for heavenly things
There is no heavenly life

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – The Visitations of God

Thought for Today

The Visitations of God

“Thou hast granted me life and favour,
and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit”
Job 10:12

Nothing less than the presence of God can preserve, restore and refresh the soul of His Own. The heart of the true child of God was made for His presence. The focus of life is to live in Him and to have His life holding us in the firm grip of grace and glory.

“Whom have I in heaven but thee?
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee”
Psalm 73:25

The longing and pursuit of life is summed up in knowing Him. The Pearl of Great Price incites a singularity of purpose (Matthew 13:45-46). In His beauty the desire for other things is dissipated and drained of force and power within the human heart. Life becomes a journey consumed in the one great love, the one great quest and the one boundless pursuit of knowing Him.

Religion with all of its rituals, precepts and demands fail man’s inherent need… the visitations of God Himself! It is by His Presence we are preserved, refreshed and made right. He is our salvation, He is our strength and in Him alone are we kept clean from this present world.

“Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name:
the upright shall dwell in thy presence”
Psalm 140:13

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – The Soul’s Desire –

Thought for Today

The Soul’s Desire

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks,
so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”
Psalm 42:1

The soul is the seat of our affections. What the eyes behold the soul pursues. Those who set their affections upon heavenly things know the longing, seeking and pursuit for God. Those who behold earthly things, lust and desire after the things of the world and the praise of men know nothing of heavenly things. It is not difficult to discern the true longing of any heart for it cannot hide the thing it desires most.

“For where your treasure is,
there will your heart be also”
Matthew 6:21

The heart of a life is revealed in the thing it covets.

“Set your affection on things above,
not on things on the earth”
Colossians 3:2

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

LOVE AND FIRE

LOVE AND FIRE

Fire, like Love, cannot be kept to one’s self. Those who love God cannot contain His Fire; they cannot see apathy and not speak. Love is sacrificial. It must speak and express itself even in the face of opposition and indifference. It will not choose the easy way, it will always contend for truth, and will not compromise for the sake of acceptance.

Men who hold teachings and doctrines dear are content with those things. Men filled with God’s fire must speak, must move and must give way to the inner burning of the heart, for the message is more than the man himself. The desire to reveal God’s heart exceeds the desire for men’s approval. It is better to burn than to fit in. It is better to be alone than to be tempered into the current theology of comfort and acceptance.

Love, like fire, must consume the very object from which it springs. Men who hold God’s love in their hearts are like the fuel that feeds the flame. Dead and insignificant in themselves they cast the very heat and light of God as they are consumed in His Glory. Life lived outside of such a grip is not worthy of Him. Acceptance of a life lived on any other level is to fall short of Him.

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance:
but he that cometh after me is mightier than I,
whose shoes I am not worthy to bear:
he shall baptize you
with the Holy Ghost, and with fire”
Matthew 3:11

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info

ENTERING THE KINGDOM OF GOD

ENTERING
THE KINGDOM OF GOD

“Not every one that saith unto me,
Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven.”
MATTHEW 7:21

Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God. He taught His disciples to pray for it, seek it first in their daily lives and, most importantly, to ENTER it. The above scripture tells us that merely calling upon His Name is not the door through which God’s rule becomes the reality of our hearts. The Key to the Kingdom is obedience. Many are satisfied in talking about it and praying about it; we are ever exhorted throughout the New Testament that FAITH is synonymous with obedience. Obedience is the revelation of the Love of God in our hearts and the “works” of a living faith.

“For this is the love of God,
that we keep his commandments”
1John 5:3

The revelation of the Love of God in our hearts is in the keeping and obeying of His commandments. Love is the root and the atmosphere of the Kingdom of God. It is the motive behind every good work that glorifies our Heavenly Father. It is the fountain from which every word is spoken and the very expression of the Son within the lives of His own. Those who obey not, love not.

This Kingdom for which every true child of God seeks first, must be sought through the reality of obedience to Him. Obedience is a learned thing. Men are not born obedient; they become obedient through the discipline of the life of the Son. The Love of God moves in such power and beauty, overwhelming the hearts of His own, that they forsake their own will to DO HIS.

Those who seek God’s Kingdom by any other means will be sorely disappointed at the outcome, for in truth obedience is the highest form of worship; it is the very essence and revelation of His Love in US. Just as Faith cannot be separated from obedience so also a true and sacrificial obedience is not possible without the very Love of God beating in our hearts.

Men who seek their own know not Love. Obedience is the only means of seeking His Kingdom, entering His Kingdom and abiding in His Kingdom. As the Son only did the things that pleased His Father, if He is alive in our hearts, His Life will be evident in our desire to please Him.

“…Thy Kingdom Come
Thy WILL be done
In EARTH
As it is
In Heaven”
Matthew 6:10

Ω

“Faith, as Paul saw it,
was a living, flaming thing
leading to surrender and obedience
to the commandments of Christ”
A.W. Tozer

Brian Troxel

DESIRE – The Revelation of Life –

DESIRE

The Revelation of Life

“…for we also who are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened,
seeing we wish not to unclothe ourselves,
but to clothe ourselves,
that the mortal may be swallowed up of THE LIFE”
2CORINTHIANS 5:4

Contrary to the present day “gospel” of a large segment of the church heaven is neither the theme nor the purpose of the New Testament. Jesus is. The purpose of the New Testament is to produce people whose lives have been gripped by the LIFE of Jesus within their hearts. The New Testament was not given just to take us to heaven but to INFUSE His Own with the DIVINE NATURE (2Peter 1:4). The purpose for which Jesus came was to GIVE us life, HIS LIFE, without which we are not able to live in heaven.

“I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly”
JOHN 10:10

In the Book of Revelation John, speaking of that Heavenly Jerusalem, declares what is required to ENTER into the gates of this Glorious City…

“But nothing unclean will ever enter it,
nor anyone who does what is detestable or false,
but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life…”
REVELATION 21:27

The prerequisite to being found in the Lamb’s book of life is to HAVE the LAMB’S LIFE. It is in having HIS LIFE in us by the which we are freed from the falsity and detestable expressions of the fallen nature of man. This LIFE is found in having HIM not by reciting or adhering to some religious teaching or doctrine.

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life;
and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”
1JOHN 5:12

Eternal life is not about longevity of life. It is HIS eternal LIFE in us by virtue of our HAVING HIM! Our enjoyment of it, our growth and development IN it, is found in our partaking (sharing and communing) of that LIFE (2Peter 1:4). Peter tells us the reason the New Testament promises are given is that we may become PARTAKERS of the DIVINE NATURE. May God open our eyes to see beyond the rote of sitting in a pew listening to sermon after sermon while the true purpose of preaching is to motivate God’s people to arise and participate in HIS LIFE.

Life, whether it is heavenly or earthly by its nature, is filled with longings, desires and pursuits. As the natural life is filled with unholy lusts and affections so the heavenly life is filled with holy pursuits and desires…

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh:
and these are contrary the one to the other”
GALATIANS 5:17

The life of an individual is known by the thing it covets and pursues. They that have the life of the Son seek and pursue the things that are consistent with His nature. A lack of desire or longing for more of God reveals a heart that is not under the influence of that LIFE. Paul speaks of this groaning and burden which is the echo of the LIFE of the Son within (see Romans 8:22-23 and 2Corinthians 5:4). This desire is the fruit of the Spirit of God within an individual. Lust for the things of this world is the expression of a worldly man. The expression of a believer is the groan and cry to be “swallowed up” in the LIFE of the SON.

“IF ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above”
COLOSSIANS 3:1

Ω

Where there is no cry for heavenly things
There is no heavenly life.

Brian Troxel

FOR THE TIME WILL COME

“For the time will come…”

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers,
having itching ears”
IITim: 4:3

(Greek Exegesis)

“…shall heap to themselves teachers…”

Shall they heap to themselves teachers (ἑαυτοῖς ἐπισωρεύ σουσιν διδασκάλους) A vigorous and graphic statement. Ἑπισωρεύειν to heap up, N.T. Comp. σεσωρευμένα laden, 3:6. The word is ironical; shall invite teachers en masse. In periods of unsettled faith, skepticism, and mere curious speculation in matters of religion, teachers of all kinds swarm like the flies in Egypt. The demand creates the supply. The hearers invite and shape their own preachers. If the people desire a calf to worship, a ministerial calf-maker is readily found. “The master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise men follow fools” (Bacon, Ess. 17).

Having itching ears (κνηθόμενοι τὴν ἀκοήν) Or, being tickled in their hearing. Κνήθειν to tickle, N.T. lxx. Κνηθόμενοι itching. Hesychius explains, “hearing for mere gratification.” Clement of Alexandria describes certain teachers as “scratching and tickling, in no human way, the ears of those who eagerly desire to be scratched” (Strom. v.). Seneca says: “Some come to hear, not to learn, just as we go to the theater, for pleasure, to delight our ears with the speaking or the voice or the plays” (Vincent’s Word Studies)

The word narcosis is the result or state of temporary being that arises from this pursuit of mere gratification. As it speaks in the scriptures of a famine of the “hearing” of the Word of God, and because of this “…they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it” Amos 8:11 – 12. There is a lust for knowledge that is not for the purpose of becoming but simply for the pursuit of accumulating more knowledge. It is a day of great obscurity as the wheat and the tares grow together until the day of harvest when the sheep are separated from the goats. This separation is not based on the accumulation of knowledge but is determined by the nature of the individual (IIPet. 1:4). It is through the process of obedience and the pursuit of His person that what we hear becomes what we are. When teaching no longer creates a cry within the hearts of its recipients to become, it is simply another means of entertainment for a people who “heap to themselves teachers”.

I felt impressed to send out this short article that I wrote in 2007 and though it is not meant as something easy to read it is simply a Greek word study on 2Timothy 4:3.

B. Troxel
March 18, 2007

An Open Heaven Part One

An Open Heaven?

PART ONE

FAITH

“Truly, truly, I say to you,
you will see the heavens opened*
JOHN 1:51

How wonderful is the spontaneous response of Jesus to Nathanael’s heartfelt declaration “Rabbi, You are the Son of God!” An “open heaven” is really the ability of an individual to see and understand the things of God; to see past the appearance of a thing and to see the substance and reality of that which is real, eternal and true. The open heaven is not available based on our intellect, cleverness or schooling. It is open to all on the basis of Faith, Obedience and Purity of heart.

FAITH

“By faith we understand…”
HEBREWS 11:3

Without the faculty of FAITH the word remains sealed and uninviting. It holds facts and doctrinal statements that we may use to form a religious guideline by which we navigate this world with an understanding of its precepts. While there is great benefit to be garnered by these we are merely sailing upon the surface of the waters of life that he has for us. We can study the scriptures and put together sermons based upon a topical analysis of them with some profit to the hearers. There remains however that hidden dynamic pulsating with the breath and life of the Son. It is the precious function of FAITH to enable us to see THE SON in the reading of the WORD. While some see facts, concepts and precepts others see and hear the Living God and because of this they are pilgrims and sojourners in a strange land. They feel the futility of man’s ways and efforts and the absolute necessity of why Christ was crucified. They know that without the branch abiding in the vine they will wither and die. They are no longer content to dwell and gather in temples made with hands for they have heard and seen a LIVING TEMPLE “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”. The Word is no longer a historical document, no longer an ethereal book that tells us of things to come after we die. For those who by FAITH survey its sacred pages it is THE TRUTH that is LIVING and RELEVANT TODAY. As it states in the Book of Hebrews “TODAY if you will HEAR HIS VOICE…” Those who are content with the status quo, the division and sectarianism and the powerlessness of the religion of today, have not touched the heart and cry of the SON. Those who are not broken over the carnality, strife, emulations, and the spiritual poverty of the North American Church have not felt the heart of the Son; that same Son who wept over Jerusalem and the fate that awaited her. They could not see HIM of whom the scriptures spoke for they had not the faith of Abraham. Jesus said that “Abraham SAW HIS DAY and was glad”. Faith ever sees and beholds the Living Christ. An OPEN HEAVEN is the fruit and the recompense of the wonder of HIS FAITH living and breathing within our hearts.

Ω

“The Bible without the Holy Spirit
is a sundial by moonlight
DL Moody

*Spoken of the heavens, to open the heavens or to have the heavens opened or divided so that celestial things become manifest (Matt. 3:16; Luke 3:21; John 1:51; Acts 7:56; 10:11; Rev. 19:11) SPIROS ZODHIATES (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament)

Brian Troxel

Children or Sons? Part Two

Children or Sons?

PART TWO

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man,
I gave up childish ways”
1CORINTHIANS 13:11

What a man speaks, thinks and reasons reveals what he is. The true revelation of what one has become is by what one does. By virtue of being born anew we all start our journey in Him as children. What a privilege it is to taste of the free unmerited Grace of God! Peter encourages the young ones in Christ…

“As newborn babes,
desire the sincere milk of the word,
that ye may grow thereby”
1 PETER 2:2

It is in drinking the sincere milk of the Word that we grow. That desire for His Word is the hallmark of one who has the Spirit of God living and dwelling within; a desire to know and understand this God who by Grace has called us unto Himself. That very milk of the Word is to produce growth and change where we go from being fed and nurtured into the place of BECOMING bread and substance for others. We begin to put away the childish things and begin to care more for our Father’s will than our own. We aspire to see HIS HOUSE become a place where HE is honored and glorified. We learn to care less about what others think of us and more about living life to honor Him.

This process of growing and becoming is only known through the life of Discipleship; the reality of knowing His Life is found through the medium of identification. The true giving up of childish things can only be realized by the process of BECOMING a man (…when I became a man, I put away childish things…). The idea of becoming is a concept that few understand for we have equated salvation as an ACT rather than a journey. Salvation is a LIFE not an event. The cry of Paul’s heart was…

“Not that I have already attained,
or am already perfected; but I press on,
that I may lay hold of that
for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended;
but one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind
and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
I press toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore let us, as many as are mature,
have this mind”
PHILLIPIANS 3:12 – 15

The only way for one to know such a cry is through the process of becoming a man in His image. We may fill our lives with teachings and intellectual understanding but to know of this heart one must be a partaker of HIS LIFE. This pursuit is not a desire of the natural man; it is the CRY of the Spirit of God to go from a child into the maturity of Christ.

We live in a time of complacency and compromise; childishness and immaturity are commonly accepted. Little is expected of one another and as a result little is changed. May God press us into greater heights and depths in the knowing of HIM. May His Grace so abound in us that we know in reality the joy of counting our lives expendable for the sake of knowing and pleasing Him!

“…THAT WE SHOULD NO LONGER BE CHILDREN,
tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
but, SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE,
MAY GROW UP in all things INTO Him who is the head even Christ
from whom the whole body,
joined and knit together by what every joint supplies,
according to the effective working by which every part does its share,
causes growth of the body
for the edifying of itself in love”
EPHESIANS 4:14 – 16

Ω

“The spheres God brings us into are not meant to teach us something
but to make us something”
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

Brian Troxel