“And he said, WHO art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, WHAT wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” (Acts 9:5-6)
“And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.”
The riddle of every believer can only be solved within the equation of their own experience. Samson’s riddle was one of personal experience and victory. There is no other living person who can solve the riddle of “Christ in you the hope of Glory”. Paul spoke at length of this mystery in Ephesians and Colossians.
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”
The matchless wonder of the mystery can only be solved individually through the medium of obedience and victory. Samson’s riddle was his own; he did not share with anyone (initially) the victory over the young lion he met in the way. It was his victory and God’s strength that prevailed in the vineyards of Timnath. “Timnath” in the Hebrew means inheritance or allotted portion. What was true of Samson is true of everyone who truly knows the Lord. In our pursuit of Christ Himself (our Timnath) we will encounter the enemies of our soul that confront us, condemn us, and seek to destroy us. It is here we find provision in God to contend with our enemy until the victory is ours and our place in God is discovered.
Many Christians have no sense of spiritual identity, no comprehension of the call to walk and discover the unfolding mystery of Christ within them; a Christ who is known to them in the fierceness of the battle, a Christ who is known in the personal victories over sin, temptation and failure. To be an overcomer in Christ one must experience the victory of Christ within the riddle of their own life. The mists of confusion lift and doubts fade in the light and victory of Christ through our obedience to Him.
He is ever calling us to explore, walk and live within the sureties of His wonder in our lives. Like a flower ever unfolding, like the rising sun of each new day, He is beckoning us to explore and discover His riches within the sanctum of our own hearts. No one can solve this mystery but the individual to whom He is given. It requires walking, trusting, and a living faith to step into the Timnath of His Call in each of us.
May we, as Samson, know that out of that which sought to destroy us God prepares strong meat. Out of the strength of our enemies comes the sweetness of victory and the secret of the Lord. It is our glorious riddle to solve within the fabric of our own being.
“Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight”
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ”
In this scripture we read the language of one in whom the Cross of Christ was a living reality. This expression is the “the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”. The power of God revealed within the life of an individual is summed up in this one verse. Men and women may fast and pray for this power but the essence of God is expressed through the lives of those who walk in the substance of this truth.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…”
Religious people often pray for things that only obedience can unlock. Prayer is essential to a life in the Spirit; it is through prayer that we find Grace and divine enablement to live the life of obedience. Religion attempts to replace obedience with prayer. The true Christian experience is through prayer we become obedient. When power is lacking in God’s house it is the result of the church embracing a crossless Gospel. The Gospel of the Cross of Christ will bring His Life, His Power, His character and His Glory into this dark world through the medium of a surrendered people.
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ”
The measure of all that we do, embrace, declare and allow into our lives is to be measured by this one principle: His Life in us. The decree of God is such that in order to live in one realm we must experience death in the other. We cannot find life in this world and expect to hold on to His Life in the other. We are living in a day of choice. Discipleship is a decision that no one else can make for us. It is a decision of the heart; a decision based upon love. What men love they serve, as Jesus sums up so succinctly in this verse…
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”
It takes very little discernment in our interactions with others to discover what the treasure is in their lives. Out of the abundance of the heart men speak and thereby reveal their primary love.
“So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God”
Spiritual poverty is the result of the choices we make. We are the “epistles” read of all men. The depth and power of God is expressed through “earthen vessels” and as such we must bear the responsibility for the life we express. We have lost sight of our responsibility to show forth His light and life in this world. It is the fruit of a Gospel which has lost sight of God; a gospel that is centered upon people rather than God. Where men absolve themselves of accountability and relegate their walk to words, teaching and statements of faith, Godlessness and unrighteousness become acceptable. It is in such a time that God raises up the Prophetic to “show the (heavenly) house to the (earthly/fallen) house” (Ezekiel 43:10).
“Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities…”
The religion of today wants to be able to love this world, walk and live in the ways of this world and yet take hold of all the things of God. Such things will never be.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him”
1 John 2:15
It is through the true fellowship of the Spirit and in the worship of Him where the things of His life become more real to us than the dim things of earth. Wherever His people gather and commune together in the Love of Jesus that men and women are drawn out of this world and into His.
“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”
“This dandelion has long ago surrendered its golden petals, and has reached its crowning stage of dying–the delicate seed-globe must break up now–it gives and gives till it has nothing left.”
Art Work by Lilias Trotter (14 July 1853 – 28 August 1928) A Missionary who poured out her life to the call of Christ in Algeria. Her artwork is the expression of her devotion to that Call.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves”
Spiritual identity is the fruit of obedience. Those who hear the word without doing it will spend their entire Christian experience void of any sense of spiritual identity. They will remain undeveloped children of God without a sense of knowing their call or expression. This state of many of the people of God in our land is the result of an empty gospel that does not call men and women to radical faith; faith that is not in word and doctrinal statements but a faith that is characterized by obedience. James goes on to say…
“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was”
It is in the doing that we grow into the knowing of who our God is and in the discovery of this we begin to lay hold of who HE is in US. Many go from meetings every Sunday, to reading the latest teaching on the internet, going to conferences, and accessing all manner of books and resources. Yet they remain undefined and lost in terms of a real knowing of who they are in God. This dearth of understanding within the household of faith cannot be remedied by more teaching and more sermons. One act of obedience will bring greater clarity to an individual’s heart than twenty sermons; the things of God become clear when we hear His Word and OBEY it.
“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed”
We do not see this expression in the New Testament. Men and women were of such stature that they knew their call and their identity. It is those who have come to know God via obedience that grow into confident expressions of His glory and power. Those who obey not know not. Forgetful hearing will never produce an expression that is able to articulate God with precision and power. Consider Peter as he interacted with the crippled man at the temple gate… “Then Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”. There was no prayer meeting just the simplicity of a man who knew that he was in God and that God was in him. The same Jesus whom he declared is alive in our hearts today to produce living epistles known and read of all men. The impotent gospel preached in our land is incapable of producing these expressions. The power and authenticity of a thing is revealed by its fruit. We need not look very hard to see what the “churchianity” of today has produced; an environment where many have become insensitive and unaware to the call of God.
God has called us unto GLORY AND VIRTUE not an impotent religious life.
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to GLORY and VIRTUE”
2 PETER 1:3