“No soldier on duty entangles himself in the affairs of life, that he may please Him who enrolled him as a soldier”
2 Timothy 2:4
Active duty is the posture of those who are alive in Christ. It is a Call which holds us to our posts ever watchful and ever engaged in the affairs of our hearts and in His Church. Their lives are governed by the full knowledge of the deceitful nature of their own hearts and the propensity of the church to slip into the darkness of slumber and lethargy.
It is ever the slumbering church which becomes the fearful church, for in her slumber she eventually awakes to discover that the enemies are at the gate and that she is ill prepared.
The Day is now dawning upon us, division and lawlessness is arising. Stay in the Spirit and we will not fall into fleshly carnal warfare. It is those who are not standing their posts, who are not on duty in Christ who get subverted to carnal issues.
“My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight…”
Jesus said IF His Kingdom was of this world then His servants would fight… but it is not of this world. If His people get caught up in the affairs of this dark world they cannot be active in His. It is a day to prepare ourselves to be at His disposal and to come to the place of grace and sacrifice. Suffering and glory cannot be separated.
May we encourage one another to stay in His Spirit and find grace to walk above the issue of this life. The rise of evil is upon us and blessed are they who find in Christ the grace to overcome evil with good.
Blessings to all my brothers and sisters; may we begin to feel the drawings of His Spirit into the union of His Life within us that we may be active in preparing one another to “stand in the evil Day”.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”
“…worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness”
1 Chronicles 16:29
Throughout the history of the church there have been those, whose pursuit of living holy lives, have resulted in something austere, rigid and without joy. True holiness, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, is something beautiful, joyful and pure. It is free from the hypocrisy of external things for its source is a spring continually flowing within to keep us clean.
Holiness is only valid as we abide in Him who is Holy. The more we grow in the love of the Father the freer we become from the love of the world (1 John 2:15). God Himself is the author and sustainer of holy lives.
As we partake of Him the “beauty” of holiness becomes a living garment enfolding our hearts with the very breath of heaven. There is a power to be found within the wonder of true holiness. It guards us, leads us, and enables us to live above the temptations of this world. The verity of increasing holiness will always be expressed in humility. Humility is the fruit of any life abiding in the immensity of God. Pride cannot exist in His presence. Selfishness, unforgiveness, and all the vices and impurities of the flesh are consumed in the magnificence of His Holiness.
Beauty is the unmistakable result of Him who is Holy dwelling within.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time”
“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God”
“And to know the love of Christ – The love of Christ toward us; the immensity of redeeming love. It is not merely the love which he showed for the Gentiles in calling them into his kingdom, which is here referred to; it is the love which is shown for the lost world in giving himself to die. This love is often referred to in the New Testament, and is declared to surpass all other which has ever been evinced; see the Rom 5:7-8. To know this; to feel this; to have a lively sense of it, is one of the highest privileges of the Christian. Nothing will so much excite gratitude in our hearts; nothing will prompt us so much to a life of self-denial; nothing will make us so benevolent and so dead to the world.”
– Albert Barnes
Love is the well from which the power and passion of Christ springs and through which His purposes and works flow from our lives into the world around us. Devoid of this love we feel no impulse to preach, teach and reach out into the lives of others. Where there is no impetus to make known the unsearchable riches of Christ there is something lacking. The remedy is simple and glorious.
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life”
We do God a great disservice when we try to do in our own strength that which only a “faith empowered by love” (Galatians 5:6) can accomplish. If the fire inside fades, spend time with Him “praying in the Holy Spirit”; only His fire can fulfill His desires. When the flames burn low and the internal inspiration fades turn again to the One in whom ALL glory and mercy resides.
“Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and He strengthened me…”
“Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head”
Ecclesiastes 9:8 (ESV)
The great gift afforded us of the garments of salvation require our attention to keep them white and clean. We walk in a world filled with contamination, temptation and sin at every turn. Uncleanness in conversation, things which would corrupt our thought life and offenses from which bitterness and unforgiveness may arise all threaten to stain our garments. Our exposure to all of these things in their varied forms require His grace and power to cleanse us from “all unrighteousness”; otherwise the residue can poison our minds and spirits. There is an aggregate effect upon us. John encourages us to deal faithfully with the sins and offenses in our life.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’
1 John 1:9
His dealings with sin in our life are not only to forgive but His power is released to also cleanse us from any residue. Many who deal lightly with sin never go deep enough in their transactions with God to the point of knowing and experiencing the cleansing which should accompany the regenerating work of grace. Bitterness, anger, sins of the flesh, anything which impairs our newness of Life in Him, needs to be fully worked out until we are clean and pure again in His sight.
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”
Bitterness that is not dealt with will always spring up defiling not only ourselves but others. Its rancor and poison cannot be kept from the tongue unto the spreading of malicious gossip often accompanied with unwholesome deeds that bring damnation and judgment upon many. May we be instructed in the way of the Lord by the simplicity of His words:
” And in the day time He was teaching in the temple; and at night He went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives”
Jesus set such a simple pattern before us: teaching by day and communion with His Father at night. In other words, an active life balanced by time spent with Him in refreshment and inspiration. We are called to this balance just as the workers on the wall in Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah. They built with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other (Nehemiah 4:18).
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost…”
First, we are to be built up in our faith that
we may encourage and exhort
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works”
“Fight the good fight of faith…”
1 Timothy 6:12
The need to be active and diligent in our sharing of His life with others necessitates His touch of renewal in the evening. I like the work used here: “at night He went out and abode in the mount”. The daily press of the crowds, the vehemence of religious rulers, and the constant treachery of those trying to trick Him into a response whereby they could accuse Him, is beyond comprehension. Time alone with His Father was crucial and is set forth as an example for us. He, the Only Begotten Son, has come to show us the way to live in this troubled and unraveling world. May we draw near to Him that we may be equipped to stand in the darkness of this day in which we find ourselves.
“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
“Abide in Me says Jesus. Cling to Me. Stick fast to Me. Live the life of close and intimate communion with Me. Get nearer to Me. Roll every burden on Me. Cast your whole weight on Me. Never let go your hold on Me for a moment. Be, as it were, rooted and planted in Me. Do this and I will never fail you. I will ever abide in you”
– J. C. Ryle
“Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still… Selah”
Stillness is a posture of the heart that comes as we commune with Him; as we allow His peace to infiltrate our being. His voice is one of stillness and His word will distill as the dew upon those who wait for Him. The quietness is a prerequisite for His whispers. In the hush there is a sense of His majesty and glory beyond our human understanding and we are filled with holy awe.
In these days of great trouble, the fear, anger and strife that reigns in the hearts of men would seek to draw us into the turmoil. God desires that we come into the pavilion of His peace. It is a resting place, a hiding place and a shelter from the storms of life. He bids us to come and abide under the shadow of His wings. The sheer intensity of our relationship with Him will be the security and peace of our times. Peace cannot be wrought by man; it is the temper of a heart at rest in God.
“Come unto me… and I will give you rest Take my yoke upon you and learn of ME…”
We have much to learn to bring us to the same demeanor of spirit in which He bore our sins in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Here and now He draws us to Himself in the holy bonds of discipleship that we may find humility and grace to walk as He walked. Let us find ourselves drawing near unto Him that we may be “hid with Christ in God”.
“He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still”
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God”
True servants withhold nothing of God’s counsel for fear of losing the approval of men. They speak the truth because they love the truth. Within their hearts beats the singular desire to live unto the Lord alone. They seek His approval alone.
“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God…”
2 Corinthians 6:4
To live unto Christ is to be free from the fear of man. Truth is the person and majesty of Christ Himself. This dynamic of His Life can only be known as we abide in Him. This ONE who purged the filth of man’s pollution from the Temple, also revealed the tenderness of mercy to the woman at the well; His Life cannot be held by the mere doctrines of men. The necessity of abiding in Him is what frees us to express Him in the moment, in the situation we are facing. It is the only means by which His Truth can be expressed! To speak of kindness when the Spirit of God seeks to confront a situation, is error. To speak judgment when God’s Spirit is soft and gentle is to miss Him grievously. A carnal concept of God has always been the bane of religion! To try and live by the precepts of Christ will inevitably end in failure and sin for we are to be in this world as HE IS in the moment.
Only His life can rightly express His heart. We are called unto a Life of abiding in Him to the intent that
“…as HE IS, so are we in this world”
1 John 4:17
The truth of our walk in Him must culminate in a life of abiding in Him. Present truth can only be known by those who live in the presence of God. As His Life becomes ours, we know the truth; His truth for the moment. Peter in dealing with Ananias and Sapphira did not violate the Love of God; He revealed it. Those who walk in a concept of the love of God will be offended by this expression of truth. Naaman the Syrian had a concept of how the Lord would heal him. Had it not been for the wisdom of one of his servants he would have missed God and remained a leper the rest of his life.
His prophets spoke the Word of the Lord to the situation they found themselves in. The Word spoken was present truth, The Word for His people in the Day in which they lived. It was not a random Word, pulled from history’s pages, but truth for moment.
“…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks…”
Yet in another day the word given was:
“Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears”
His Spirit will never violate the Word but it will breathe the life and wonder of God INTO His Word. Such enablement, grace and wisdom can only be known to those who abide in the ONE who is the sum of all Grace and Truth. Jesus did not come to expose the world to a new teaching or a new religious concept; He came to fill us with Himself. He did not come to give us A new life but to give us HIS Life that we might know the power of His indwelling word.
The “marks” (brands) of the true servant of God are those who withhold not His truth and counsel regardless of the “consensus” of men. Only as we are freed from self are we truly able to be His servant.
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ”
The true servant of God is one who is poured out in service to Christ. He seeks no following and does not desire the finances of this world. His only desire is to be true to the ONE who enlisted him into His service. Only then is he free enough to declare the whole counsel of God to his generation.
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ” ……………………………………. Romans 1:1 “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” .. James 1:1 “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ…. 2 Peter 1:1 “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ” ………………………………….. Jude 1:1
“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God…”
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” John 15:4
The Marks of a True Servant is a series of writings revealing the tried and true character of Paul as he met with the Church at Ephesus for the last time. His life was the testimony of a man who had spent his life as a true bond-servant of Christ. May God complete His work in each one of us. Blessings to All who have made it their life purpose to serve and honour Him.
“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you are not having life in yourselves. He who is eating my flesh and is drinking my blood is having life eternal, and I will raise him up on the last day, for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. He who keeps on eating my flesh and drinking my blood, in me is continually abiding and I in him”
John 6:53-56 (Wuest Translation)
The Wuest Translation brings out the correct Greek Parsing in these very significant verses where the “ing” speaks of a continuously feasting upon Him who is the True Bread of Life. They who feed upon the eternal living bread are filled with the eternal living life of Him. If an individual ceases to eat they cease to know of the fire and the life of Him who holds us in the mystery of His Life.
“The appetite grows for what it feeds on”