“Jesus will not change Who He is to accommodate your thinking;
He will change your thinking to accommodate Who He is.” – Chip Brogden
For most Christians today, the Kingdom of God is a vague, mystical non-reality. Heaven is a celestial rest home for dearly departed saints. The Kingdom is mentioned twice in the ceremonial recitation of the Lord’s Prayer but has virtually no impact on the spiritual consciousness of the average church-goer.
“The Good Shepherd gives His Life for the sheep.” In one sense of course, in the most commonly interpreted sense, Jesus is speaking of his death on the Cross. He lays down His life for the sheep so they can be saved. Well, that is the natural side of it, I suppose. I’m not saying that’s incorrect. But is there a deeper meaning that can apply?
In my written and spoken messages I make frequent reference to the preeminence of Christ. Just what do we mean by Christ having the preeminence? What do we mean by giving Christ the preeminence in all things?
“Press” is the root word of “pressure.” When people feel under pressure they use another word to describe it: “stressed.” Stress and pressure. Too many things going on. Spiritual things, being invisible and intangible, become less and less thought of, as the things, concerns, and cares of the world press in upon us.
It is said that familiarity breeds contempt. In the beginning we coveted the presence of the Lord, but today perhaps we take it for granted. In the beginning we were awed by Him, but today perhaps we are not so amazed. His visits become more routine, more ordinary, more commonplace. The Lord is taken for granted.
We must allow our Husband to rule, and our desire must only be for Him. Some people want a “Prenuptial Agreement” with their Husband. That is, they are willing to come to Jesus, but they are not willing to bring all they have to Him, to have everything put in His Name, to forsake all others until death do they part. They are foolish virgins.
When everything is stripped away you are soon left with little but your own thoughts. In prison, John had a lot of time to think. And the essence of his thoughts were along these lines: Did I make a mistake? Did I really see the Spirit and hear the Voice, or was that just my imagination? And if He isn’t the One, do we need to start looking for another?
How can this man give us His flesh to eat? So wondered the crowd, and so we wonder, even when we know that Christ is referring to Himself in a spiritual sense. So what is meant by this strange command? How may we apply it to our Christian life?
There is more to the Christian life than just getting saved. That is the first step into a larger world. Jesus is continually calling out to you, saying, “Come to Me, and I will give you rest.” That is a progressive thing. It is a daily thing. Every day we come to Jesus, everyday we hand over something else, every day we learn to rest in Him, and trust in His life.
At His feet we discover there is a difference between the Holy and the Human; the One Who comes from Above, and the ones who come from Below; the One Who is Spirit and Truth, and those of us who are merely flesh and blood. His feet are burning brass. This is His majesty, and His righteousness.
Having the Son, possessing the Son, being one with the Son, we have and possess everything God is. It never has been a question of seeking ten, one hundred, or one thousand different things from God. If we do not know from our experience, we should at least know from the Scriptures, that Christ is the Gift of God.
Clearly, the knowledge of the glory of God completely fills heaven. But here on earth there is a gap between what God has declared and what currently exists. As with many prophetic declarations, this declaration brings the future into focus and describes something that has not yet occurred.
Pretend for a moment that you know nothing about Jesus Christ, and have heard nothing, and have read nothing from any Christian church or ministry. You overhear me talking about Jesus, and you ask, “Who is Jesus?” Without saying a word, I hand you a piece of paper containing five verses of Scripture…
When He tried to hide Himself, He could not be hidden. I want you to think about that. When God was ready to reveal Him then He could not be hidden. He could not even hide Himself. I tell you, this idea of Christ increasing is the most powerful reality in this universe! Nothing can stand before it, nothing can resist it, nothing can stop it.
God is not moving backward, but in the Son and through the Son, He moves steadily forward. Christ MUST increase. Just as we cannot have gravity without having the law of gravity, so it is impossible to have the Life of the Lord but not have the Law of that Life. And the Law of Life is that Christ must increase.
Demonstrating a victory that is already won is quite different from wrestling to achieve an uncertain outcome. There is an elegance and simplicity connected to preeminence. This is something God wants us to experience for ourselves.
Christ is revealed or hidden from men as He so desires. So many professed disciples of the Lord Jesus fail to recognize Him. The Lord tells them to go to Galilee, but they go to Emmaus. Many people sitting in church would not discern the Lord Jesus if He walked up the aisle and sat down on the altar.
As we grow out of infancy and begin to wrestle with the deeper questions and issues of the Christian faith we will learn to say, I know WHY I believe. The ultimate experience, however, is to be brought to a place where we can say with confidence, I know WHOM I believe. Knowing WHAT is a beginning. Knowing WHY is progress. Knowing WHO is maturity.
It should be obvious that Paul is talking about something other than a physical crucifixion and a physical death, burial, and resurrection. Although he says, “I was crucified with Christ” he does not mean that he was present with Christ in the flesh at the moment of crucifixion; instead, he intends to show us something much more profound.
Some Christians think they have to have the right book or the right man of God or the right formula or the right church or the right this or that before they can be victorious. My friend, you already have all the resources you need to live a victorious Christian life. Trust in His Life, yield to it, rest in it, revel in it, rejoice in it!
The branch who abides in the Vine does not have to know how it abides. So long as it abides, it shares in the Life of the Vine. It does not have to ask how it works, and it does not have to be concerned with producing the fruit. It does nothing but abide, and the Life of the Vine keeps it.
Christ is a deep well in which every spiritual blessing and treasure can be found, but we need something with which to draw upon those depths and bring them up to the surface so we can partake of them. How can we draw upon those depths?
So many times I do something thinking it is Good, thinking it is really Spiritual and Holy and Pure, but it results in Death. It is Death because it is “me” doing it. For many years that was the way I pursued the ministry. I was very busy doing things for God, and of course I thought I was a good, spiritual person. But I am in the flesh whenever “I” am doing anything apart from Jesus.
There is something more significant to be seen in Mary who sits at the feet of Jesus versus Martha who is “much serving.” Jesus is not contrasting service and worship and saying that worship is better. No, Jesus is contrasting “many things” with “one thing.”
In due course, God’s Purpose will be fulfilled, and we will see all things put under Him – even though we do not “yet” see it. So here is the question: once God has determined to do something, is there anything, or anyone, that can resist Him?
Compared to the rest of the world, most Christians make Jesus prominent in their lives. They give Him a place. They invite Him into their life and He takes His place among the many other things they have going on. They call Him Lord, they go to church, they sing worship songs to Him, and He is an important part of their life – but only to a point.
If we are abiding in Him then we will be as He is. If we have put on the Lord Jesus then we are being changed into His likeness, we are being made into His image, and we are in the process of being transfigured. The Light and the Life will respond spontaneously and effortlessly to any demand placed upon it.
There is an ocean of difference between repeating what you have heard and speaking of what you have experienced! Is it any wonder that there is much learning, but no experiential knowledge of Truth? If we speak of ourselves then we can only impart knowledge. But, if we resolve to only speak by revelation, we can impart Life. Only revelation can change a person.
Let me ask, how can you make the Lord your habitation, your dwelling place? How is that possible? This can only be interpreted spiritually, it is absolutely impossible, and hardly conceivable, if we think of it naturally. How can I live in the Lord? Well, it’s like Nicodemus saying, “How can a man enter into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
How do we touch the living Christ? The answer to this question depends entirely upon our relationship to Jesus. If we are part of the multitude then we must try and touch Him; but if we are one of His little children then we may simply abide in Him.
Trusting His Life effectively positions the fulcrum in such a way that you exert very little force, while the Lever (Christ) does all the work . Of course we eventually arrive to the place of total rest and exert no self-effort at all. Simply “ask, and it shall be given unto you.”
The one in Christ is seated with Him in the heavenly places. If we see ourselves in Him then we cannot help but understand that since the battle is already won, and Victory is ours, then we do not need a method or a technique designed to “get” a victory which we already possess.
Light is one of the most profound things God has ever created to teach us about Himself. The Law of Increase will be more easily understood when we consider it in the context of light.