“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
“I would have pulled Joseph out. Out of that pit. Out of that prison. Out of that pain. I would have cheated nations out of the one God would use to deliver them from famine.
I would have pulled David out. Out of Saul’s spear-throwing presence. Out of the caves he hid away in. Out of the pain of rejection. I would have cheated Israel out of a God-hearted king.
I would have pulled Esther out. Out of being snatched from her only family. Out of being placed in a position she never asked for. Out of the path of a vicious, power-hungry foe. I would have cheated a people out of the woman God would use to save their very lives.
I would have pulled Jesus off. Off of the cross. Off of the road that led to suffering and pain. Off of the path that would mean nakedness and beatings, nails and thorns. I would have cheated the entire world out of a Savior. Out of salvation. Out of an eternity filled with no more suffering and no more pain.
And oh friend. I want to pull you out. I want to change your path. I want to stop your pain. But right now I know I would be wrong. I would be out of line. I would be cheating you and cheating the world out of so much good.
Because God knows. He knows the good this pain will produce. He knows the beauty this hardship will grow. He’s watching over you and keeping you even in the midst of this. He’s promising you that you can trust Him. Even when it all feels like more than you can bear.
So instead of trying to pull you out, I’m lifting you up. I’m kneeling before the Father and I’m asking Him to give you strength. To give you hope. I’m asking Him to protect you and to move you when the time is right. I’m asking Him to help you stay prayerful and discerning. I’m asking Him how I can best love you, and be a help to you. I’m believing He’s going to use your life in powerful and beautiful ways. Ways that will leave your heart grateful and humbly thankful for this road you’ve been on.”
– Kimberley Henderson (Published on Being Created in His Image)
“For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place”
For the true child of God there is no darkness where He does not intend to bring us to the greater light. There is no trial too great that the Great Shepherd will not watch over the soul of His Own. There is no sorrow His comfort cannot fill and no separation too great that He will not compensate with Himself. Let us face this coming year with the true knowledge of His sovereign Wisdom at work on our eternal benefit.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion”
“Let your garments be always white.
Let not oil be lacking on your head”
Ecclesiastes 9:8 (ESV)
The free and precious gift of God in Christ is revealed in the garments of joy and salvation; unspeakable mercies of the One who died that we may live. Not only did He take upon Himself the shame, the filth and the degradation of all humanity, but he “became sin”. He who knew no sin “became sin” in order to condemn it thereby enabling us to become the very righteousness of God Himself. His intent was that by the deep operations of His Spirit upon willing hearts there would be a manifestation of His righteousness as He subdues our hearts unto Himself.
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…”
To what end was the pure manifestation of the Grace and Glory of God?
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
God in Christ crucified the weakness of our sinful flesh in order to “fulfill the righteousness of the Law” in people who walk and live in His Spirit. The precious blood of the Lamb has made a new and living way whereby we have access to the Throne of Grace. In Him alone is the power to live and grow into His likeness!
How long will we linger in the throes of unbelief; thinking His righteousness is in word only with no actual power by which we may overcome all sin? How long will we declare that the disobedience of Adam has greater authority than the perfect obedience of our Living Christ! We are here to overcome by Grace. We are here to reveal His Power by our growth into His Righteousness, not by trying to live up to the dictates of the law in the power of our own flesh. Rather as we yield our lives to Him, we will naturally walk and live by the Law of His Life within.
Growth and development into this wonder requires the tenacity of a life ever learning how to Live within the sphere of His enabling grace so “that as He IS so ARE WE in this world”. (1 John 4:17) Let us take a holy Selah here and let the wonder and the power of this glorious Word of God enter our hearts with the enormity of its “breadth, and length, and depth, and height”. (Ephesians 3:18)
Such a walk is not entered into lightly nor is it known by the confessions of the heart or the aptitude of our minds. It is entered into by faith; a living faith, which will not let us rest, compromise or settle for religious platitudes or doctrinal statements. True faith will press a heart ever onward, ever upward and will not rest until our hearts are in full submission unto Him. True faith embraces and rejoices in Christ as our Saviour, in Christ our Justifier, but its passion is to know Him as our Lord and Master.
“Why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?”
How is it that we are content with a salvation compromised with sin and failure? How do we settle for forgiveness of our sin without growing in the power of His Life to be free from its power and dominion? Why is it we sympathize with sin rather than contend with it? It is no wonder the world mocks the sad state of much of the church today. It is time to turn again unto Him who is able to present us faultless before His unutterable glory!
“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…”
Wherever the heartbeat of a living faith resides there is a quest for victory, a pursuit for the righteousness of Christ. This can only be known by those who live under His Lordship. Where He reigns, sin flees.
As we take our place as humble disciples in the school of Christ He will direct and teach us to live by His resources, free from our internal struggles and bitterness. It is in this school that we learn His way to keep our garments white even while we walk amidst the corruptions of this world. We learn through failure and repentance. We walk on, trusting and giving heed to the Living Word which cuts and heals, breaks and mends, until we live free in Christ.
Sadly, many would rather live a “declared righteousness” and see little need to keep their garments clean. They are content with compromise, sporadic and inconsistent living, and a faith lacking in the wonder of Him.
“Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy”
Revelation 3:4 (ESV)
God Himself laments that there were only a few who kept their garments white. It is to such that overcome God gives the promise of walking with Him in the whiteness of His Spirit. May we hear His call to keep our garments clean, looking “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”.
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame”
“Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ”
The school of Christ is the privilege of discipleship. It is a life of instruction filled with the ministration of powerful truths whereby our life in this natural world becomes subject to the realities of the Kingdom of God. Paul, writing from a Roman prison, lived and dwelt in dark and damp quarters, yet referred to himself as “a prisoner of Jesus Christ”. His view was heavenly. The intense lessons of the school of Christ had brought him to the place of sowing and reaping in all circumstances of life. He was not a prisoner of Rome; he was in fact the emissary of Christ!
The known world at that time was largely under a one world government and for the most part ruled by the iron fist of Roman decrees. Many of our brothers and sisters today live under the oppression of tyrannical regimes and savage Christian persecution. I have had the privilege of meeting with the underground church in a couple of countries and it was both humbling and inspirational. There is a feeling of oppression in our land of “freedom” which does not seem to exist for them. There is a liberty of the Spirit of God of which we have much to learn. These precious ones go forth each day with a boldness to declare the love of God in Christ which is both refreshing and convicting. Many of the things we call freedom here are based on our “legal rights” and reveal themselves in a spirit of entitlement and arrogancy rather than the humility of Christ. This so called religious freedom is founded in worldly declarations instead of the true liberty arising from a grace wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit. In those persecuted countries the true freedom of spirit is garmented in meekness in contrast to our demands to maintain our legal rights. The freedom in which they walk is that of the Spirit and not of man. It is one which has at its foundation the truth of our heavenly rights*. This freedom is only known to the extent to which we are freed from the life and the dominion of self. The truth of the Sovereignty of God can only become real in those who are in truth dead to self and alive in Christ.
True freedom is only known in our submission to Him. Wherever self reigns, there can be no freedom of the Spirit. The natural life will always reflect its natural surroundings, so also in the spirit. Those who live in the Spirit cannot but reflect the graces of the Spirit regardless of their natural surroundings. Bitterness, envy and anger are expressions of the carnal natural life. The school of God brings us to dark and trying circumstances that we might learn how to live in heavenly places. In our oppressive situations there are opportunities for us to discover hidden treasures of great value.
“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord…”
The school of Christ is a difficult and arduous journey. It is the “way of the cross” and blessed are those who follow the Lamb through obedience. There is a grace which quietly works within those who choose His way above their own, and a freedom which comes from His bonds at work in our lives. We will know the power of true fellowship as we walk in His growing light and develop in obedience and submission to Christ.
The life of Paul abounded in this rigorous school of Christ. His heart was set upon learning and growing in God. These lessons are reserved for the true disciples of Christ. The graces learned result in a life of victory in all circumstances.
“Not that I speak as to need, for I have learned to be content in whatever state I am. And I know to be humbled, and I know to abound; in everything, and in all things, I am taught both to be filled and to hunger, both to abound, and to lack. I have strength for all things in Christ the One strengthening me”
Philippians 4:11-14 (LITV)
Heavenly Father let the confines and the circumstances of the moment become the Secret Place of your indwelling. Let the fragrance of your Spirit bring its healing balm to our hearts. May our limited surroundings give way to vistas of your Glory. Bring to us the clarity of your wisdom by which you are weaving your graces into the very fabric of our lives. Let us learn that in all things you are working out the mystery of your Sovereign Will for our good.
“For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, for ever”
Freedom from self
brings us into the
liberty of His Spirit.
* Note: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake”