The Great Call – Part Four

The Great Call

Part Four

“As the Father hath loved me,
so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
John 15:9

Jesus continues in John 15 by presenting the disciples with the way for them to enter the Great Call and to remain in His empowering love and grace.

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love”
John 15:10

There can be no misinterpretation of the enormity of His call. Discipleship is not a comfortable teaching. It is not a popular invitation, nor an aspiration for those who seek a life of ease and respectability. It is a call of full surrender to the Will and purposes of God, a life of subservience to His Ways. A true disciple obeys His commandments to abide in the power of His Love. Love is the only motive able to transform a selfish, egotistical, and lost soul through the workings of the Cross. In dying to self, we discover the pure wonder of a Love so encompassing, so vast and so freeing that the cost is considered nothing in comparison to the “weight of glory” we will know.

“And he that taketh not his cross,
and followeth after me, is not worthy of me”
Matthew 10:38

There is something radical, even unnerving in His Call. Accepting the offer of Christ is not a trendy and popular decision. It is a Call to selfless living and selfless giving. Obedience is not optional to the disciple. But the Love we hold, or more correctly which holds us to His Way, culminates in pure joy. The context of John 15 leaves little doubt as to His Call or His purpose. Let us see through the eyes of the Spirit the power of all Jesus is implying.

John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”

John 15:10 “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

In verse 9 Jesus presents to us the all-encompassing love of God; a Love of heavenly origin. It is a Love that knows our condition, that feels the agony and the lostness of humanity. It was a Love that sent Jesus into this world to walk as a man, to feel the oppression of mankind’s sorrow, to experience the corrupt and self-serving religious and political systems of the day. He spoke the truths of love in the parables of everyday life. The common man, the addicted, the afflicted, and the wounded were His focus. He exposed the religious elite who walked in the pride and arrogancy of hypocrisy. The Parable of the Good Samaritan revealed the beauty of a selfless life, caring for others more than ourselves. He called out to the poor and the needy to come and find the solace of heaven. He took notice of the offerings of the poor widow and saw the value of her mite; He was unimpressed with the rich who flaunted their offering. He was God in the flesh. His compassion, His uncompromising and unflinching walk was a source of anger and hate for the religious but a source of inspiration for the common man. He was the breath of heaven clothed in human form. He was and is the image of God’s purpose for all humanity.

Mat 20:25 “But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.”

Mat 20:26 “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,”

Mat 20:27 “and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,”

Mat 20:28 “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The nature of man apart from Christ is one of self-seeking, self-pleasing, and self-gratification. This focus on ourselves is the source of our own misery. Ask the addicted, the abused, and consider the countless stories of human sorrow which we have all known. It is to this crisis of human nature that the Cross is presented. In its deep work, we find rest, freedom, and the Divine enablement to love as He loved. We are free to forgive injustices and the tyranny of the human condition; to offer to all who would hear the wonder of freedom found in the Love of God!

Feel the depth of the Great Call of God in Christ:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29

The Call goes forth to all who would hear and respond. The “yoke” of Christ is His invitation to enter a rest for our weary souls. The “yoke” of Christ is His Cross whereby we are freed from the poison of self to know His Joy in our hearts. This life of joy cannot be known by sitting in a pew, believing in a teaching, or adherence to a doctrine. It can only be known through the intimacy of a relationship, walking in the yoke of His grace and love.

Jesus spoke of His true intention for us being captured by His Love to a growing obedience:

“…that my joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be full”
John 15:11

See: The Great Call
See: The Great Call – Part Two
See: The Great Call – Part Three

Brian Troxel

Be Still

Be Still

“Commune with your own heart upon your bed,
and be still… Selah”
Psalm 4:4

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…”
Matthew 11:28-29

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”
Psalm 107:29

Brian Troxel

FOR THE BED IS SHORTER

FOR THE BED IS SHORTER

“For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.”
Isaiah 28:20

It is the nature of man to seek rest in something less than God’s true provision. These other things may provide some semblance of rest. They might offer some sense of relief by covering our true need, but it is only religion. We seek rest in teachings, doctrine, submission to someone or something, even in the scriptures themselves, but God has designed these things to provide only a partial rest. True rest is found only in Him. Man lays hold of concepts to hide in; that everything is put off to someday in the future; some great work of God that is yet to be. This actually produces poverty of mind and soul. It obscures the relevance of today and leaves its adherents bereft of any sense of rest in the today of life. We seek rest in the fact that that we are in “submission” to an organization, perhaps some apostle, some teaching or religious order while Jesus cries out in the simplicity of truth,

“Come unto me… and I will give you rest…
take my yoke upon you and learn of me
and ye shall FIND rest unto your souls”.

Matthew 11:28 – 29

Our need is to begin to look objectively at the fruit of our ways. The journey into truth must start by us becoming truthful to ourselves. This is the day of which the scriptures declare that the “effect” of every vision is at hand. What is the effect of our personal vision? Is it producing a greater, more intimate walk with Jesus; a greater apprehension of His Life and Power in us? Has it created a deeper experiential truth of Him in our daily lives? What is the fruit of the things that we hold to? Do we pass each day in the “rest” of adherence to a belief while we sit in faithless inactivity and squander the precious time that we have by saying “someday….”? Or do we, as Jesus beckons us in the scripture above, “Come unto Him…” every day? Do we rise up each morning with the earnest desire that today we actively “take up His yoke” and seek that life of walking and doing in the great adventure of life with Him? For that is the true place of learning. It is the only place where we will “FIND” rest unto our souls. The FIND here speaks of something that is the result of searching. The “COME unto Him” speaks of rising up from where we are and going to Him. These things speak of movement and change. They speak of relationship and submission to His will on a daily basis. There is no full or true rest in anything outside of JESUS. The wisdom of God has designed this life so that the bed of men’s concepts will always be “shorter” than the need of man.

True rest comes when a man can stretch himself out in full and never worry about the “edge” of his resting place. This is a place of wonder and peace for we have found that our resting place is larger than our being. We are free from worry and anxious care for we have found our rest in Christ himself. This is a rest of great activity! It is the rest of being so one in Him that we naturally do and live as a pure expression of the Father’s Heart. Jesus is the Sabbath of God yet as He walked among men, the scriptures testify that He went about “doing good”. Oh, the glory of such a life where, without taking thought, we naturally live and move and have our being in God’s SON!

Brian Troxel