The Glorious Answer (Part 1)
Turn to Jesus and not to ideas about Him. If we are going to find reality then we must exercise the discipline of heart to treat Him as a person, which means apologizing to Him on the spot and not waiting until later. There are things God hasn't and has promised us. We ought to view trials and difficulties as our friends.
As I’d been looking for some answers to some specific “dilemmas” I was seeing in my life, I was refreshed once again by the glorious truth of Christ IN me, my Hope… I was reminded again that the pain and struggles I encounter are for my refining, not something to be avoided or skirted or resented. They are my friends and like Paul said, I too am meant to “delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties” (2Cor. 12:10). Delight!
I was thinking about what my expectations for life were and I thought of a number of things that God HAS NOT promised:
*an easy time
*no confusing situations
*no trials, struggles, testings, temptations
*a method to… a procedure for anything immediate
*understanding explanations why
*control over circumstances
*steady emotions all the time
BUT… what He HAS promised us is the Life and Spirit of His Son Jesus! He promised us that His Spirit would live inside of us to counsel us, instruct us, lead us, teach us, guide us, and fill us. He has made FAR MORE provision and done a MUCH BETTER thing for us by giving us Jesus in all His Fullness. Far better HIM, alive, currently with us, moment by moment… far better than to give us promises of externals working out or immediate escape from every foe or difficulty. He has given us the BEST promise, that of Himself living in us. With THAT truth, we can face ANY situation, enemy, difficulty, heartache, failure or temptation. When God sent His Son, and His work of the atoning sacrifice was made for all time and eternity; when the way was finally won, for His Spirit to now come to earth to DWELL IN MAN; when that happened, every single problem over time, space, culture, century, language, race, circumstance of every kind was answered. With Jesus. HE is our answer. His Life, current. God with us, now. And NOTHING will stop that.
AND, if you don’t see that as clearly as you’d like, you WILL see it more and more as you understand that the above list of what we “don’t have” is EXACTLY what God often uses, as part of His plan for us to see Jesus more clearly. Do you see it? It is not cruel that we’re exposed to hard things. It is a NECESSITY, because we are prone as human beings to not put forth effort to find God and seek Him with all our hearts. We really do need “desperation situations” to drive us to GOD. Hallelujah, that He hasn’t let us wander. Those difficult moments or scenarios are GOOD.
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that,who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or… [nothing] in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:32-39).
Here are a few more promises:
“…I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn. 14:6).
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you… Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (Jn. 14:16-21).
“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (Jn. 14:23).
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (Jn. 14:26-27).
“If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (Jn. 15:7).
“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (Jn. 16:7).
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you” (Jn. 16:13-15).
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).
“I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Eze. 36:25b-27).
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2Cor 1:20-22).
“But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir” (Gal 4: 4-7).
It is a far better thing to fill our minds with the promises God has given and the Word from His heart that He has given us, than to fill our minds with “figuring out” how to solve or avoid our problems in life (which, by the way, we must STOP seeing as being problems—they are our friends). Expect and somehow even ask for the difficulties, the trials, the heartaches. But KNOW that every single one is for your good, not for your harm. Every single moment of your life is designed to be an avenue to KNOWING GOD BETTER. And the way that that is possible is because He has given you His Spirit so that you could find Jesus and His Way through in the midst of ANYTHING. THAT is FAR BETTER than if God had promised you “things” or guarantees that you wouldn’t suffer certain things, or methods to solving problems or “answers” or quick fixes. If THAT was what He gave, you would NEVER KNOW THE JOY OF FINDING HIM AS YOUR FATHER AND YOUR FRIEND. He intends on using the circumstances, difficulties and pressures of your life to get you to seek His Face and find His Life and fellowship with Him more deeply. Those times are meant to deepen your love and trust and faith in Him. You can know Him and discover The Life of His Spirit more and more. Remember how we’re changed? As we behold HIM, we are changed from one degree of glory to the next.
So with all of that, remember that His primary goal for us is not to:
*unravel the dilemma
*”solve” the problem
*take away the difficulty
*get us to understand “why”
His primary goal is that we would find HIM, turn to Him, be with Him, rest in Him, know Him in the midst of the difficulty, struggle, trial or temptation. We cannot assume that “this way” or “that way” is how the situation will be handled. We can’t meet things with certain expectations of how He’ll do something. That’s tree of knowledge. We dare not “force” a thing to be resolved or to “get out” of something. Rather, you CAN expect, every time, that if you draw near to Him, He’ll draw near to you. His Spirit lives in you and God has promised you, not to take stuff away, but rather to meet you—IF you’ll search for Him and find Him in the midst of your situations. Right???
He’s not thinking, “Boy, I hope this child of mine finds the way out of this mess.” And then we’re knocking our heads around trying to figure “it” out. Rather, just maybe He’s thinking, “I hope this child looks for Me, searches, and calls out for Me. Grabs hold of ME! Knows Me better as a result. Trusts Me. Gets closer to Me and understands my ways more deeply.”
He wants to place an impression of His life on our hearts in those times. Looking back, we’d know a little more of His faithfulness and love for us. We’d grow a little more in our gratitude and thankfulness. He really does want to fellowship with us, that our spirits would testify with His Spirit, “Oh, Father!!” We’d be His friend and lean on Him, live IN Him, abide in Him. What a wonderful inheritance He’s given us. It reminds me of what God said to Abraham:
“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward” (Gen. 15:1). (Emphasize the word “I.”)
Glory be to Our God for His very great and precious promises. He has made a glorious way for us to not only be cleansed and forgiven, but also that we can come boldly before His throne of grace with free, unhindered access to the Father, now and always. Let’s really honor Him and thank Him in all circumstances for His goodness and grace He’s richly poured out on us.
P.S. It is easy to lose sight of how we ought to approach life because we lose sight of the GOAL which is to know Jesus better—fellowship with him, be his friend, be changed into His image. The people perish for lack of vision, or lack of seeing the goal. Our lives, really, have no “interruptions.” Remember, every moment is packed with opportunity. Let’s help each other keep God’s highest desire at the forefront: that we’d know Him like He knows us. To be one, the Son with His Bride—united, being one in purpose, goal, vision, love, and spirit.
Glorious Answer Conversation Afterward
You need to realize, if you don’t know this already, one very fundamental basic thing about what Christianity is. Register this, grab a hold of this thought and hold onto it forever: ‘Those that call on the name of the Lord shall be saved, shall be delivered.’ That basic thought runs all the way through the New Testament, that those who will actually talk to Jesus will find deliverance and healing and the power of life. Turn your heart not to thoughts about Him, not the right way to live, the right way to do things, that is somehow in cooperation with basic Christian thought; not that, but actually turn your heart towards Him and call out to Him. Romans 6 talks about baptism and putting on Christ. But even baptism itself, done in a horizontal way, just because it is the right Christian thing to do and Jesus commanded that we be immersed (and Peter commanded that we be immersed) just to do that really is of little significance. Peter said that true baptism is the crying out of a good conscience towards God. It is calling on the name of the Lord. It’s to look towards Jesus and say, “Save my soul. Wash away my sins with Your Blood, I beg You.” There is no such thing as baptism apart from that. It’s just taking a bath.
Talk To Him, He’s Alive!
Basically in all of life you’ve looked at Christianity through so many different angles, so many different lenses, you keep coming back to this one point: That if you won’t discipline your heart and mind to turn towards the living Jesus, you have lost everything. All you have is a superficial form. There is no power in it. If you read the book of Acts, you will see that Paul keeps making a statement that almost seems sort of odd, like you wonder, “Why does he keep saying that?”. He said, “I stand on trial today for the sake of the resurrection.” What?! He keeps saying stuff like that. What is he saying? He’s saying that Jesus isn’t dead. He’s alive. That’s the thing that kept driving Paul is “He is alive.” He is a Real Person and He’s alive, and He is the Messiah. He is the only one that can save your soul, that can heal your inner man, that can make you wise, that can make you full, that can free you from bondage, that can make the poor rich and make the slave a free man. He’s the only one that can do that. And you need to talk to Him, because by the way, He rose from the dead. The Father demonstrated that He was the Chosen One by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand, the place of authority now and forevermore. Because that’s true, if you function in a Christian form of singing songs or doing the right things and sacrificing and having the right attitudes, if you do all that stuff apart from saying, “Jesus, I am so sorry. I’m sorry I embarrassed You in that moment when I reacted that way. I’m so sorry I hurt Your feelings when I neglected to thank You for this thing that You did for me. Jesus I am so ashamed that I allowed this temptation to overcome me when You fill me with every good thing and every need is fulfilled in You and yet I got distracted and my self life carried me away and I’m so ashamed of that. You deserve better than that. I love You. You are so amazing. You are so wonderful, so marvelous and I want You to have my life. I’m stupid. I’m sorry.”
That kind of talking to Him is the only thing that can save your soul; it’s the only thing that can change your character to be like Him, to actually talk to Him and relate to Him as a person. He’s alive. He is resurrected from the dead and He is the Messiah, the Chosen One of God, the One that can be your intermediary, the One that can bring you to the Father and set you free. It’s not just a superficial thing. When you feel some sort of penetration in your heart, some sort of conviction for something you’ve done or said or acted or thought, if you neglect to say, “Jesus, I’m sorry, from the heart” and look Him right in the eye, if you neglect that one little small point, you’ve neglected the whole of Christendom. Anything else is just doing the right thing—“I’m sorry, everyone, I did the wrong thing.” There is no life in that, there is no power in that. It’s not sustainable. It’s not supernatural. It’s just a collective thought or philosophy of living that is, in fact, very tedious. Sometimes it could even be boring. But at bare minimum it is very burdensome. If that is all it is is a philosophy for living, then “we of all men are most miserable.” But if it is to be friends with the Master who is leading us on this journey, on this adventure through life and showing us all the things the Father has—“In my Father’s house there are many rooms and I am going to take you on a guided tour. Come with me.” If we do that and follow after Him, not as a figurehead, but as a Person, if we literally follow after Him every day of our lives, like Peter, James and John did and let Him take us through the chambers of the Father’s house, the Father’s mansion, then there is some exciting stuff for us. Just to say, “I’m sorry” to Him, or to say, “I love you” to Him—a lot of men have a macho thing—“I don’t want to say ‘I love you’ to a guy. Jesus is a guy, I don’t know how to feel that.” There are just certain things that we are just going to have to get over if we are really going to be like Him and caught up into the third heaven with Him, we are just going to have to get over some of that superficial stuff. Be willing to look Him in the eye from the heart and say, “I love You” or, “I’m such a fool for not loving You more. Please help me. I believe, help my unbelief. Son of David, have mercy on me.” These are discussions with Jesus that we need to have.
This is very basic. This is the most basic thing that anybody could ever say to you, but I think it is easy to forget it and I don’t want to do that. I don’t want anyone to turn their life into a Christian form based on certain rules and regulations or thought processes or folkways and mores of life. It just has to be, “Jesus, let me talk to You about something for a second. I was thinking recently….” and just open up your heart to Him as a person. If you hear yourself praying, “Father, uh, guide, guard and direct us to the next appointed hour Father, Father….” If you hear yourself doing something real chintzy like that, remember that you wouldn’t do that with someone you love and care about. You wouldn’t do that with your husband or wife or children. You would talk in a tone of voice that indicates that you really think they are a person and not some statue in a corner that you are burning incense to. You would talk to them as a person. You can, in a way, test your heart to see whether you are disciplining your heart and mind to treat Him like He is risen from the dead, like He is a person, by how you relate to Him. The kind of things you talk to Him about, and even so much as your tone of voice when you talk to Him, is a real good indicator as to whether or not you are really disciplining your heart to receive Him as a person and to treat Him as such.
I encourage you to do that when you sing and every other possible opportunity along the way too. “Those that call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That’s where the life is, that’s where the supernatural blessing comes from. That’s where something happens that can raise a dead person. That can heal a sick man. That can give sight to the blind, that can take my corrupt, foolish, weak soul and turn me into someone that has something to offer, to be able to love other people and to help make them free and whole. That’s the only thing that can provide supernatural power, is my willingness to call on the name of the Lord, that sets me free and allows me to help others to do the same thing.
Maybe it’s easy for you, but for me it’s a discipline—I have to say, “Oh yeah. You’re alive. Well, let me talk to You about this thing.” I really have to force myself to call on the name of the Lord because it doesn’t come naturally. I fall into this horizontal plane so easily, and I have to force myself to say, “Oh yeah. For the sake of the resurrection. You’re alive. You’re not dead.” Please do that. That’s the only place where you will find life and peace and power in Him.