Reputation and Discipleship

Reputation and Discipleship

“But made himself of no reputation…”
Philippians 2:7

The God and creator of the universe made Himself of no reputation. He was not motivated by the approval of men, He required no support system to propagate His message. He did not need marketing efforts and promotional strategies for the proliferation of His purposes. He was born in a lowly stable, raised by simple folks in a village of no regard as evidenced by the question “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)

This passage has deep things that can be learned in our own interaction with Him in this world. There is a freedom from strife, from craving recognition and acceptance. Sooner or later there comes an acknowledgment that truth requires nothing but His Spirit to stand. We stand in His righteousness, His merit, and we are fully dependent upon His Fire burning within our own hearts. We are to be witnesses of Him, not of ourselves, and for that reason we feel the great responsibility to be faithful to represent Him.

Humility is a fruit of the Spirit rooted in the power of relationship.

“Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that, he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.”
John 13:3

Jesus’ ability to gird Himself as a servant and to wash their feet was based on the security of being in a right and pure relationship with His heavenly Father. His freedom was a revelation of true power; to Peter, it was an offense. Service to God will often offend the carnal aspirations of men. The same freedom that allowed the Son to speak the truths of the Kingdom of God without restraint is to become ours. Freedom from self allows us to be free in His Spirit. There can be no true freedom in Christ while we cling to the corruption of self.

As we walk with Him in the experiential realities of life we discover the taint and malaise of self. We see it in our interactions with others, in our own internal conflicts, and in the hidden motives of our hearts. Thankfully He is faithful to correct us, and we must be willing to heed those corrections. Failure to do so will result in selfish living and disappointment.

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”
Matthew 6:1

There is a precious internal work of the Holy Spirit whereby our intentions are freed from the lust of the acceptance of men to live for His approval only.

“Because of this, we also are striving to be pleasing to Him,
whether being at home, or being away from home.”
2 Corinthians 5:9

Why was Paul so passionate about this?

“For we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive the things done through the body, according to what he did, whether good or bad.”
2 Corinthians 5:10

Only by the fear of the Lord are we freed from the fear of men. Accountability to God frees us to live right and to walk right. He who made Himself of no reputation will free us to do the same

True humility is always predicated on the power of truth.

“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.”
John 8:31-32

The fear of man, and the need for acceptance, bring men and women to the snare of conformity to a group, a congregation, or to something other than Jesus Himself. The scriptures declare emphatically:

The fear of man bringeth a snare:
but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe”
Proverbs 29:25

There are many precious people in God who because of their own insecurities develop unhealthy alliances to leaders, denominations, groups, or teachings. Too often this results in tragic and heartbreaking situations, broken and impoverished lives. The disillusionment and realization that they have been bound to something other than Christ leave them isolated and wounded. Freedom in the fear of the Lord must be the atmosphere of serving God.

“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
John 12:42-43

See: Faithful and Wise Servant

___________________

“Jesus Christ is always unyielding to my claim to my right to myself. The one essential element in all our Lord’s teaching about discipleship is abandon, no calculation, no trace of self-interest”
– Oswald Chambers (Disciples Indeed)

Brian Troxel

 

 

Religion and Light

Religion and Light

 

Religion and Light

“Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
Matthew 15:12

We can only imagine how the disciples felt at the growing realization that their Master was becoming unpopular with the leadership of the religious order of that day. Here we see them seeking to “inform” Him of the rising animosity. Healings and miracles had drawn the common people to Him, for He walked among them, ate with them, and related to their everyday life in His parables.

But His words pierced the religious with the light of truth. They revealed the hypocrisy and the vanity of men drunk with pomp and self-proclaimed importance. As centuries passed they slowly twisted His Word to support their own darkened ways, resulting in a blindness that bolstered their own pride and filled them with contempt for the common man.

Jesus responded to His disciples’ concerns with:

“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
Matthew 15:13-14

The religious teachers of that day were not teachable. Their hard hearts and pride prevented the beauty of Truth from invading their consciousness. Their knowledge and pre-conceived ideas prevented them from seeing the Glory of the Father standing before them; moving, healing, forgiving, and pouring out the mercies of God to all who would come. Jesus made no attempt to reach such, for spiritual blindness is the result of obstinacy and self-will.

Religion is simply men seeking to make God in their own image. Religion defines God for themselves rather than seeking to discover who He is. The true in heart do not allow others to define them or their God. As they grow in Truth they see themselves as they are and become free in the light of Him.

God is true. He is who He is. Those who fashion their religious ideals to suit their own forms of brokenness and blindness will never find Him. To those who come in childlike faith and humility, He will show Himself in the wonder of His own way in the human heart.

“And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free.”
John 8:32

Truth alone restores the broken heart. Truth alone fills the unmet needs, cravings, and deep distress of the human race. Ideas, suppositions, and the banter of words will never alleviate the human condition.

Christ alone can set the captives free. In Him is Life and that Life is the healing balm for all who would come with their wounds, their lusts, and their sorrows. No one but Jesus can touch a life in the intimate places of the spirit.

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
John 10:10-11

He did not come to bring another teaching or to add to our knowledge. He came so that all who will receive Him have the right, the privilege, and the power to become the offspring of God!

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“But as many, as received Him, to them He gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in His name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
John 1:12-13

Brian Troxel

Effectual Prayers – Liberty

Effectual Prayers – Liberty

Effectual Prayers Arise
From Hearts That are Free

“Take heed to thyself…”
Deuteronomy 8:11

One of the great benefits of prayer is His redeeming presence. In touching Him we are reminded afresh of Him being our reference point concerning the temper and attitude of our hearts. It is in His presence where the impartation of His greatness, His gentleness, His Fire and peace strike the core of our hearts to restore a “right spirit” within us. It is easy to get carried away in the commotions without, the antagonism of the world and the stress of everyday life. Without the communion with Him in prayer it is easy to fall into the morass of self-wherein we fail to “take heed” to our ways and our words.

There is a quiet filled with the power of His dynamic life, ever moving, ever flowing and yet garmented in a stillness and peace which ever settles and stills our hearts. It is in this great presence we are afforded the divine enablement to become subdued and “right” before Him.

It is in our communion with Him where we touch the immensity and grandeur of His being. Humility is simply the fruit of touching His Presence. In our seeing of Him we see ourselves. Pride, anxiety, sorrow and our human-ness are engulfed in His Divinity. Our seeing of the situations around us, the broken relationships, the animosity of others and the perplexities of our own hearts become clarified and our path to walk through them become clear and filled with the dominion of His peace.

Prayer is God’s answer to the human condition. Time with Him is the only place where we can truly “take heed” to ourselves. Truth is more than words and teachings. Truth is revealed in the essence of the character in which we walk. The majesty of Christ was not only in the words He spoke but the life He lived. It was His life which gave weight to His words and so will it be with us. Prayer becomes the essential element to a life of change within the nucleus of our being. He is and ever will be our hope and source of life.

Effectual prayers arise from hearts who offer them in the same disposition as Christ Himself.

Liberty to pray effectually comes from our being in the Spirit of Christ.

“Now the Lord is that Spirit:
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is liberty”
2 Corinthians 3:17

See Other Writings:
Effectual Prayers Part One – Incense
Effectual Prayers Part Two – Love
Effectual Prayers Part Three – Righteousness
Effectual Prayers Part Four – Humility and Repentance
Effectual Prayers Part Five – Wisdom
Effectual Prayers Part Six – Asking Largely
Effectual Prayers – Part Seven – Elisha and Jericho
Effectual Prayers – Part Eight – Ruth and Boaz
Effectual Prayers – Part Nine – Discipleship
Effectual Prayers – Part Ten – Knowing Jesus
Effectual Prayers – Part Eleven – The Fragrance of Prayer
Effectual Prayers – Part Twelve – Praying for Others
Effectual Prayers – Forgiveness

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today

Thought for Today

Right Words from Right Hearts

“When the heart is right,
the tongue will be eloquent for God”
Joseph Parker

“My heart overflows with a noble theme.
I recite my verses for the king.
My tongue is like the pen of a skillful writer”
Psalm 45:1

The love of God loosens the tongue and frees the heart. His presence graces the lips of men with praise and fills their lives with joy.

“…in thy presence is fulness of joy”
Psalm 16:11

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – The Freedom of the Son

Thought for Today

Freedom of the Son

At Home in Our Father’s House

“Think for a moment how Jesus was at home among the things of His Father.

What was His place of prayer? Not the Temple, but the mountaintop.

Where does He find symbols whereby to speak of what goes on in the mind and before the face of His Father in heaven? Not in the Temple. Not in its rites, not on its altars, not in its Holy of Holies. Rather He finds them in the world and its lovely, lowly facts–on the roadside, in the field, in the vineyard, in the garden, in the house, in the family, and in the commonest of affairs: the lighting of the lamp, the leavening of the meal, the neighbors borrowing, the losing of a coin, the straying of a sheep.

See how He drives the devils from the souls and bodies of men, as we the wolves from our sheepfolds!

The World has for Him no chamber of terror. He walks to the door of the sepulcher, the sealed cellar of His Father’s house, and calls forth its four days dead. The roughest of the world’s servants do not make Him wince; none of them is so arrogant as to disobey Him. He falls asleep in the midst of the storm that threatens to swallow His boat. Hear how, on that same occasion, He rebukes His disciples! What, the children to tremble at a gust of wind in the house! God’s little ones afraid of a storm! Hear Him tell the watery floor to be still! See how the wandering creatures under it come at His call! See how the world’s water turns to wine! How its bread grows more bread at His word! See how He goes from the house for a while, and returning with fresh power, takes what shape He pleases, walks through its closed doors, and goes up and down its invisible stairs!

All His life He was among His Father’s things, either in heaven or in the world–not only when His parents found Him in the Temple at Jerusalem.

He is still among His Father’s things, everywhere about in the world, everywhere throughout the wide universe. Whatever He laid aside to come to us, to whatever limitations He stooped, He dealt with the things about Him in such a lordly, childlike manner as made it clear they were not strange to Him, but the things of His Father.

He claimed none of them as His own, would not have had one of them His except through His Father. Only as His Father’s could He enjoy them–only as coming forth from the Father, and full of the Father’s thought and nature. That the things were His Father’s made them precious things to Him. He had no care for having, as men count having.

All His having was in the Father.

To be lord of space, a man must be free from bonds to place. To be heir of all things, His heart must have no things in it. He must be like Him who makes things, not like one who would put everything in his pocket. He must stand on the upper, not the lower side of them. He must be as the man who makes poems, not the man who gathers books of verse…

Oh, for His liberty among the things of the Father! Only by knowing them as the things of our Father can we escape enslaving ourselves to them. Through the false, the infernal idea of having, of possessing them, make we them our tyrants, make the relation between them and us an evil thing.”
– George MacDonald  from an article titled: “Jesus, Son in His Father’s House”

“As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing;
as poor,
yet making many rich;
as having nothing, and yet possessing all things
2 Corinthians 6:10

In losing we gain, in giving we receive and in dying we live. In having Him we are free to let go of all other things. We are to be faithful to things He gives us as stewards and yet entirely free from their hold on us.

Brian Troxel

 

Doing the Truth

Doing the Truth

“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…”
John 3:21

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”
John 8:32

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”
John 8:31-32

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.

Ω

“Being then made free from sin,
ye became the servants of righteousness”
Romans 6:18

Brian Troxel

 

Thought for Today – Little Children

Thought for Today

Little Children

“And said, Verily I say unto you,
Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:3

The other day I was holding my newest grandchild and was simply basking in the wonder and the handiwork of God. Her freshness of life and the incredible spontaneity of being was not only a joyful experience but one of instruction. As she was looking at the largeness of the world around her and trying to absorb what she was seeing the thought came to me “Every thought has a face”. The spontaneous expressions on her face were the mirror of what she was thinking. Sometimes it was puzzlement and the next minute sheer joy when she caught a glimpse of a someone she knew. In the environment of surrounding love, she had no need to filter or mask her spur-of-the-moment responses. This freedom from concern or worry of what others think is a liberating lesson.

“And the servant abideth not in the house for ever:
but the Son abideth ever.
If the Son therefore shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed”
John 8:35-36

Authenticity of being is the only means by which we are truly free. The purpose of truth is to make me true. In my becoming true within I will know the wonder and joy of being right and free in God. The child-like being of whom Jesus spoke is the fruit of a true and full conversion by the ministration of His Spirit. Here we discover the quality of heart required to enter into the Kingdom of God. It is as we become as a little child that we have the rightness of being to enter into all that He has so graciously made available to us.

Spontaneity is the fruit of Authenticity

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Simplicity

Thought for Today

Simplicity

“Whoever claims to abide in Him
must walk as Jesus walked”
1 John 2:6

In this Epistle John kept truth very simple. His teaching, his life and his depth of knowing Christ produced an unpretentious presentation of Christ. There is little attempt to soften the blow of truth. Grace is not presented in an obscure, generic fashion. Truth is depicted as the verity of one’s walk. Eternal life is set forth as the “now” life, wherein the actions, thoughts and intents of an individual’s heart IS the revelation of their relationship and life in God.

With the simplicity of the Spirit of God the truth in these powerful statements declare that what one does reveals the spirit in which one walks. There is no escaping these blunt statements regarding our condition. In the reading of this Book we are forced to face the authenticity of our own character.

Religious obscurity offers a shelter with enough ambiguity to give the illusion that things are fine. There is a dimming of the light and the promise of a bright future with no correlation to the life now lived. There is a compartmentalization which disconnects our current walk from our future end. Such a concept is a lie.

Whenever and wherever truth is obscured, and teachings and precepts cloud the current state of one’s condition, grace becomes a sentiment which comforts an individual rather than a ministration which empowers them to arise and live godly in Christ Jesus.

The cry of the sincere heart is one of embracing truth, loving truth and desiring the piercing revelation of all Christ is in order to bring change into our current life, our “now” life. The true in heart seek no alternative. They pursue no hiding place from the Light of God in their own hearts. They find no comfort in anything other than His power producing within them the life of Christ. The true in heart love the simplicity of truth and seek the Living Word of God to reprove, correct and cut away all that is not of Him.

Truth is come to make us free. This freedom brings not only an emancipation from sin but a life unfettered and spontaneous which unconsciously expresses the verity of Him. May we find the joy of His Word as it illuminates, reveals and burns away the dross and contagion of self. Let His Truth be simple, powerful and above all evident in the life we live.

Authenticity is simply the fruit
of being free in Christ.

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – William Penn

Quote for Today

William Penn

“Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants”
William Penn

“And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable”
Isaiah 3:4-5