Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Walking in the Spirit

Galatians 5 says that if we walk in the Spirit, we will not carry out the deeds of the flesh.  But what is walking in the Spirit.  I believe it means faith.  Believing that what God has said He has done, He has actually done.  He has made us new. He has made us complete.  He is able to work this newness and completeness out into our actions and lives to the praise of His glorious grace. 

If God has transformed us. If God's promises are true of us.  If we have been impacted by the power of God in raising Jesus from the dead.  If the God of the universe, the creator of all things, who was and who is and who will always be.  If He said He has transformed us into new creations in Christ, then we are indeed new.  To say otherwise, is to call God a liar and to walk according to the flesh, believing the lies of the flesh.  But if we agree with the Truth of God's word, renewing our minds according to the truth, then we will walk free in Christ.

I don't know if this makes sense to anyone, but it seems so clear to me.  It's like the lame man on the mat. Jesus said to him, Get up, take up your mat and walk.  The man had a choice at that moment. He could have questioned Jesus, challenging Him on the physical reality that he has been lame for only God knows how long.  He could have said that he didn't feel his feet, so he'd lie there and wait until some feeling came, then he would get up.  Jesus expected this man to obey Him, by faith.  Against all the odds. Against all his past.  Against all his pain and emotional turmoil.  Jesus expected this man to rise up, take up his mat and walk.  Impossible according to the world of sight.  But not impossible for the world of faith.  The world of faith is the world of God, the unseen reality of God.

We have been born again of imperishable Seed.  We who were dead in our trespasses and sins, He has made alive, having forgiven everything.  And now He enables us to walk by faith and not by sight.  He enables us, who once were blind, to see.  He enables us, who once were lame, to walk.  He has entered into a holy union with us, filling us with Himself, and connected us into Himself.  We are engulfed in God and all things are possible for us in Christ, for those who believe. 

Is it any wonder that Jesus answered those who wanted to know how to work the works of God, like feeding 5000 people, and He said, Your work is to believe in the One whom God sent.  Is it any wonder our work is to believe?  Belief defies emotions. Belief defies sight.  Belief looks to God who created us and believes that He is true and does not lie.  What He says about me is true.  Water is really hard. I will not sink.  Though my legs are lame, I will walk.  Though emotions stir inside me and threaten me with dysfunction, I am fully functional and stand in perfect peace.

We look to the God who made us, who is able to make us stand.  He is the one who is working in us to will and to do for His good pleasure.  He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. We can stand victoriously in this life, on this planet, now.  He is sufficient and the work He accomplished on the cross is complete.  He has finished the work and calls us to believe Him and to walk with Him by faith as He fully saves us, fully completed what He has begun.  He is always working all things together.  We cannot fail.  We trust in God and He is ruler over all.  He was before the beginning and with Him there is no end. We are connected into Him and He alone is our strength and shield.  In Him, we have refuge and peace in the midst of storms.  Our minds are fixed on Him, as He has authored and He is now perfecting our faith.

As I sit here, in the quiet cabin when everyone is asleep, I am meditating on these truths, the reality of who I really am in Christ.  Of who we are as Christians.  Of why so many of us struggle and live less than the abundant life we have been promised.  The answer, I believe, lies in Faith. We don't believe.  We would be like the lame man who questions Jesus and refuses to get up until he feels like he can.  Instead, let's be like the lame man who took up his mat and walked.  Let's believe the impossible because God says it's true.  And in believing we will walk by faith and not by sight. Day by day we will walk by faith, resting in God who has accomplished all He would ever expect of us.   We will walk in the Spirit and will not carry out the deeds of the flesh. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Listening to God

At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. " 
Matthew 11:25-27

To enter kingdom of heaven we must be like a little child is a profound mystery.  Jesus could have said become like a big child or a teenager. Yet, He said a little child. 

Who did God hide the hidden things from?  He hid them from the wise and prudent.  Surely He didn't mean those that were wise with the wisdom of God.  For the wisdom of God is revealed by God. He was saying the wise in their own eyes.  He was hiding the hidden things from those who were relying on their own thinking.  We tend to think that our thoughts are pretty good.

Who did God reveal the hidden things to?  He revealed them to babes.  Think for a moment. What is a babe like?  A babe must be fed, clothed, given drink, instructed, guided, protected, held close.  A babe is dependent, totally and completely on the parent for everything. A babe can do nothing on it's own. A babe does not know how to think yet or how to interpret his/her world. Jesus said we must become like a little child, one who is completely dependent on the Father for everything. As we come to Him like a little child, the Father reveals Himself to us.

Think of how Jesus lived.  Jesus said only what the Father said to say.  Jesus did only what the Father said to do.  Jesus lived in perfect obedience. What He spoke was revealed to Him by the Father.  Jesus lived like a babe all the time.  He always listened to the Father and did exactly what the Father said. The Father interpreted reality to Him because the world of the Father was not seen with physical eyes.  Jesus never had an independent thought of His own.  He never had an independent action.  He did and said, perfectly, only what the Father said to do and say. He lived in abandon to God.  Selah.  Think about this for a moment. Let it sink in.  Why did He do exactly what the Father said to do, even to the point of death on a cross. 

Jesus obeyed God because He knew and loved God and He knew that God was right all the time. He knew that God was actively working out His righteousness all the time, working all events and all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He walked within this intimate connection to God, doing and saying exactly, and only, what He told him to do.

The moment we surrendered our lives to Jesus, we entered into Christ. God connected us into Himselfr through faith in Jesus Christ.  We are in Christ. The fulness of God is in Christ and we are in Him.  He is in us.  We are engulfed in God. and now move and live and have our being in Him. We have gone from being independent and disconnected, to being connected and dependent upon Him for everything.  

We no longer know how to interpret the seen world.  We have been born again and we now exist in the unseen. The problem with being in an unseen world is that we can't see it!  It's a world of faith.  Now we must listen to the Father. He has given us the Holy Spirit and He now teaches us, constantly and continually revealing Himself to us.  The Father speaks to us and teaches us through the Spirit, showing us the hidden things of His Kingdom, teaching us and enabling us know Him and grow as His child. 

We begin to realize that we have no wise thought on our own. Everything we once knew, we no longer believe.  The worldy systems, the religious rules, no  longer dictate reality to us because we are not of this world any longer.  Our reality is not of this world.  It is unseen and we listen to the Father for commands to do or say or wait and we move with Him as He sets captives free, as He binds up the broken hearted, as He raises the dead man and give him life.  The Father is always speaking, always working, always conforming us to the image of His son, in complete abandon and trust in His word, because He is always right in all His ways. 

Jesus said, "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."   What is eternal life?  That they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  That's it. How do we know God? We know Him as He reveals Himself to us. And the amazing thing is that He is always revealing.  He is always working out His will in and through us.  He is always conforming us to the image of His Son.   So we believe Him and obey Him, showing our  love for Him with complete abandon because He alone is right and He is good.  This is Christianity. It's not a religion.  It's a walk of faith.