“Change is the revelation of the power of God”
The unfolding of Christ to His Own is revealed in the consistency of our seeing of Him. No one may see Him and remained unchanged. Grace is the agency from which we arise from the deadness of the Old Adam into the living wonder of Christ.
“As HE IS, so are we in this world“
1 John 4:17
The impact of this powerful statement leaves one with no other alternative than to feel the Spirit of Christ yearning for it to be true in every respect concerning our lives in Him. Too much power is given by many who preach the gospel today to give us excuses and teachings which deny the ability of the Holy Spirit to make it true in us. Too many proclaim that the “old Adam” is of greater influence than the Living Christ within. The Power of Christ IS greater than the grave clothes of the natural man with its associated malignancy. Let us lay aside the unbelief of the “gospel” of men and lets us seek to see and yield our lives unto the ONE who is ABLE to raise us up in the “newness” of His eternal life!
“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater…”
1 John 5:9
Change is the revelation of the living Christ within our hearts, where there is no on-going change faith has ceased to touch the resurrected ONE.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another…”
2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
“Say NOT ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”
The context of this scripture illustrates God’s call to the “present” truth of His life within us. Jesus, being weary and hungry, had sent the disciples into the city of Sychar for food and sat at the well waiting them to return. As He was waiting a woman came to the well to draw water. Within a few short sentences He had exposed the secrets of her heart, revealed Himself and shared the desire of His heavenly Father for true worshipers. The disciples returned with food and He responds, “I have meat you know not of”! The profound truth is, in the present doing of His will, we are fed, strengthened and empowered in the “today” of His Life. The hidden manna is reserved for those who see and participate with Him in the opportunities afforded us Today.
Let us take his admonishment, “say not” to heart. “Say not” sometime later God is going to bring in a harvest; “say not” sometime in the future God is going to use me; “say not” God will someday move through my life. It is the deception of our own procrastination which is unable to respond to present day opportunities! God’s answer to the impotency of such faith? “Lift up your eyes” for the fields are already white unto the harvest! Those who see in the Spirit know of the works, the opportunities and movings of God as present truth. Too many of God’s people walk in the impotency of an apathetic faith, not seeing the opportunities of NOW. Delegating everything to sometime in the future results in fruitless and barren living. It is in the NOW that we develop a greater faith for tomorrow’s works of faith.
Jesus confronted the faith of Martha regarding Lazarus her brother; a faith stuck in the past:
“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died”
Her response to Jesus’ declaration “Thy brother shall rise again” also revealed a procrastination of faith to some future day: “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”. A true statement but one that missed the message that Christ wanted her to hear.
“I AM the resurrection, and the life…”
Too many of us live as if our faith is in a God whose name is “I will be” rather than His glorious name of “I AM”; the present God, the present truth and the present answer to the needs of fallen humanity around us. Of course, there are always more glorious things to come in God; such is the truth of His eternal plans. Yet, if I walk in His Spirit, I will see the glorious truth that there are fields, present tense, “white unto harvest”. The blindness of a “someday faith” deprives us of present truth thus robbing God of His present glory. It results in stagnation and spiritual death; ever waiting for some future thing while ignoring the bread and wonder of the present. The “hidden manna” falls every day to those whose eyes are open to see His fields of opportunity.
It is as we walk in faith today that we are prepared for the opportunities of tomorrow’s faith.
“Sanctify yourselves (today): for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you”
The sanctifying work of today is the precursor to the beholding of His works tomorrow. Sanctifying ourselves today means we are set apart for His works, His will and the doing of the “present truth”. David, before he met Goliath, had a spiritual history with his God. The faith which emboldened him to confront Goliath had been developed in the past victories of faith; overcoming the lion and the bear.
“Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them…”
1 Samuel 17:36
Those who walk in the “I AM” of today will be prepared of Him for the greater conflicts which await us. Present Truth is God’s provision for tomorrow.
“Today if ye will hear His Voice, harden not your hearts”
To those who whose walk in the present truth of our God the fields are “already” white unto harvest; there are (now) lives to be rescued, hearts to be encouraged, and lives to be transformed by the present wonder of our God.
“SAY NOT YE, there are yet four months, and THEN cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, LIFT UP YOUR EYES, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”
“But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great” Luke 6:49
Obedience is the fruit of Love. The Love wherewith He has loved us is the foundation and the fountain from which all true obedience flows.
“We love him, because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19
Only the obedience which springs from His pure love moving in us is worthy of His glory.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called”
“We admit no faith to be justifying, which is not itself and in its own nature a spiritually vital principle of obedience and good works”
– John Owen
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness”
If the heart truly believes in Christ it will always be UNTO righteousness. A life unchanged is a life untouched by the power of Christ. Any belief which does not bring a heart unto righteousness is religious, cold and dead.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”
1 Corinthians 15:22
It is not what a person believes but in whom they believe.
“A teaching is what one knows; truth is what one does.”
(While in prayer the other day, this phrase came to me; an admonition to remind me of the true Christian life. The subtly of knowing when it is not coupled with doing can become a deception. It is in the daily-ness of living that the reality of His life in us is truly known and shown.)
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light…”
Truth is the Life of Christ moving within the human heart. Truth is a Person and a power; the power of God. Truth cannot leave a life in bondage or apathy. Its relentless activity within the redeemed soul is ever moving and empowering, lifting us out of bondage and corruption.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”
Many may ascribe to the teachings of Christ, but those in whom His light and truth penetrate become a new creation fashioned into His likeness and nature. This change and transformation can only be known through the wonder of relationship; a continuing in His Word and a persistent seeking of Him to bring true freedom within.
“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”
Tenacity of spirit is a defining signature of the true disciple. Freedom is the fruit of discipleship; the joy of knowing and walking with Him. The creative power of God is released to become servants of righteousness in those who discover this new freedom in Christ.
“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness”
“He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction“
A tender heart is open to the instruction of the Lord. It is attentive to His whispers. It is as we come to know His voice and His way that we are able to grow and develop in our life in God. Our teach-ability is evidence that we are in “the way of life”.
Paul was ever attentive to the instruction of the Lord. His life was one of continual learning. His was a life-long quest to know His God.
“I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need”
This learning was experiential to the point where he could glorify God in every situation in which he found himself. While it is easy to gain knowledge, only the experiential knowing of Him will bring changes, eternal changes, into our lives.
It is in keeping His instruction whereby we can be confident that we are in the Way of Life. It is the verity of our life in Him.
“If I walk in the midst of distress Thou revives me…”
Trouble and distress are often the precursor to glory. Our heavenly Father’s purpose is to bring “many sons to glory”. He who “spared not His Son” on our behalf will not spare His rod and His staff from the lives of those who have purposed to know Him. In our distresses we become focused and aware of the eternal issue; to know and honor God. It is in the press where the grapes are squeezed, the spices are crushed and the pride of man is broken. These are the times that the vision of a true soul sees with the most clarity and the vanity of life is exposed. The fine wine is brought to maturity, the bouquet is sweetened and the flavor is deepened and refined as the dregs of self are removed. That which was once bitter is made sweet by the gracious work of God. In His economy the best wine is always brought out at the last to glorify the wonder of the work of the Son. The waters in the earthen pot have been transformed into the wine of the Spirit for others to drink and be refreshed.
“For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds…”
The quickening and reviving work of God is ever in the midst of the trial. In our holding fast to Him the storm inevitably gives way to the calm. That which has been torn will be restored; that which has been driven by the wind will find the harbor of His peace and security. Grey and angry skies will clear and the deep blue face of heaven will be more serene than ever before.
Do not fear the storms for He who knows our frame and our limitations also knows how to keep His own within the everlasting arms.
“Praise our God, you peoples! Make the sound of his praise heard,who preserves our life among the living, and doesn’t allow our feet to be moved. For you, God, have tested us. You have refined us, as silver is refined. You brought us into prison. You laid a burden on our backs. You allowed men to ride over our heads. We went through fire and through water, but you brought us to the place of abundance” Psalm 66:8-12
God’s end is to bring His own to the place of abundance!
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul”
The Word of God shining forth in its perfection is the very breath of heaven to every soul bound in the prison of self. It is filled with power; a power that converts and transforms the heart of man with the liberty and freedom of Christ. For those who hear His voice and call there is an unmistakable change fashioned within. The chaos and emptiness of human existence are dissolved by this New LIFE.
Conversion is the evidence of a life which has embraced this Living Word. Faith is the evidence of the Word’s power; it moves and motivates the people of God. It is bursting with vitality and a quest for more of Him from whom it originated. This faith cannot be defined by the words of men nor captured by a statement. It is the very breath of God breathed into fallen souls to bring forth a whole new creation.
By faith …………Abraham went out By faith ……….. Sarah received strength By faith ……….. Noah was moved with fear By faith ……….. Moses forsook Egypt By faith …………The walls of Jericho fell down
Faith is the mover of men and women by the power of God. It is demonstrative, active and living.
“Then faith is of hearing, and hearing through the Word of God”
“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink”
“For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.”
The Light of God penetrates all things. His life is His Light. The Words He speaks, the Works He works and the Nature of all that He is, is Light and Life.
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men”
The Life of God within the heart of an individual is one of His Light shining to uncover, pierce and transform. It is the nature of Light to illuminate and expose; it cannot be otherwise. Religion attempts to cover, conceal and overlook our sins and blemishes; God illuminates our wrongness with the intent of changing and transforming our lives into pure and simple expressions of the One who is Truth.
“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons”
Man’s initial response to the “voice of the Lord walking” (Genesis 3:8) in their midst was to hide and cover their nakedness. It was a spontaneous reaction to the Light of God. The fig leaves are a picture of man’s futility; a temporary solution to an eternal issue. In the fall Adam and Eve stepped out of eternity into the realm of time; in that moment the need to be covered was paramount and pressing. It was their consciousness of “now” that caused them to turn to a temporary solution. In the urgency of the moment their nakedness had to be covered; man’s response to the Light of God. The journey into truth begins with truth. In our acknowledgment of who we are, we are afforded the provisions of all that He is. “Come unto Me” is an invitation for change and rest. The stress and labor of “keeping up appearances” is burdensome and the accompanying fear of exposure is a torment to the soul.
Peace and rest are the result of being right with God.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”
“It is said that Gainsborough, the artist, longed also to be a musician. He bought musical instruments of many kinds and tried to play them. He once heard a great violinist bringing ravishing music from his instrument. Gainsborough was charmed and thrown into transports of admiration. He bought the violin on which the master played so marvelously. He thought that if he had the wonderful instrument that he could play too. But he soon learned that the music was not in the violin, but was in the master who played it“. Quote from Mrs. Charles Cowman
So it is with us; we are but poor instruments. Only as we surrender ourselves to the master do we become effective in touching the life of others. In His hands we can bring His light to a lost world and a living hope to those who sit in darkness. In His hands the five loaves and two fishes fed the multitude, a little oil delivered a poor widow’s two sons from slavery and the song of the Lord at midnight shook a prison and set the captives free. May we discover this powerful truth; it is not who we are, it is who we are in the Master’s hands.
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus“