Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dead People Are Free

The freedom Jesus promised those who would receive His divine life can be nothing less but the freedom found in God. If a person is to be truly free he has to be free from everything to such an extent that he is accountable to no one or nothing. He is not bound to any doctrine, article or law save the law of liberty. In freedom there is no fear, obligations, commandments or coercion.
Freedom must start in desire. It is desire that is the driving force that puts a person in motion. Every desire is unique because God is unique in every person in whom Christ dwells. It says that God grants the desires of your heart - not the desires that others might have for you. He only rewards what He has deposited in every unique person because freedom is individualized and it has to be this way or else there would be no corporate freedom.
The feet must have their individual freedom or else a person would not be able to walk. The eyes have to function independently from the ears, or else there would be no clear vision or hearing. It is each body part’s freedom that ensures that the whole body works in harmony and according to its design without any conflicts of desire or expression.
The arms do not expect the hips to function differently from their unique construction or that they are to take over for the arms. Each body part has its burden, but at the same time they carry the other parts of the body exactly because they are free. And freedom equals loneliness. Force the kidneys to be the liver, and not only would the kidneys be unhappy because they desire to be kidneys, but the whole body would suffer tremendously.
Freedom must spring from the heart of God or else it is not freedom. God is not deterred or petrified by freedom, because there is always a cross in true freedom. The knees are worn out and spent so that the rest of the body can be mobile. It says that God will fill up every valley and close every gap, that is, fill every need, but most of us are surprised that He does in, as and by us. Freedom finds its ultimate expression in that He was rejected, despised and a man of sorrows dying and rising for those who hated Him, and every day this is reenacted in us because we are free.
Freedom is to step out of ourselves and assume our position in the heavenlies beholding He living our lives for the benefit of others. Freedom is to accept ourselves and our unique desires and makeup because it is He living. Freedom is to be dead and raised to newness of life. It is to assume no responsibility because dead people are free from any responsibility. And all this would be impossible without the Spirit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Math of Faith

Always when we are confronted with a complex math problem we will wrestle with doubt as to whether we can actually solve it. We will feel insecure how to approach it and the path towards the solution, which we know exist, is far from obvious. This is the agony of faith or laboring faith, if you like. It in many ways resembles or feels like laboring up a steep hill. There is nothing wrong with having a laboring faith and we do not take any condemnation for it.
In accordance with the nature of math different paths will have to be explored in order to find the one that leads to the answer. These paths might be Hagar, Saul or even Judas, and they will contribute nothing towards a solution. But, there is wisdom to be extracted from each of them.
While wrestling with the problem still laboring uphill in faith you will pass a certain point of elevation and in the instant you are there you suddenly know that the answer is within your reach. It is like you are standing in front of a wide open expanse, and a profound peace settles in. This is the laboring faith becoming the rest of faith. There is still terrain to traverse, but now the steps are light while the final calculations are made with confidence, peace and a quiet joy.
In a true faith adventure the settling in doesn’t come from the persons involved. Nor does it come from circumstances. It comes from He who is the Substance.
In any commission humbleness is a deed. Don’t think too highly about yourself when there is no reason to. If you are wrestling with doubt; admit it. If you are stuck; admit it. If you don’t radiate the level of faith you thought you had; admit it. Call for assistance from the Teacher who gives liberally without upbraiding anyone. Stubbornly wrestling with the problem without calling for assistance will only leave you mulling over it without making any progress.
The mystery of faith (and of math) will remain unknown to a person if he does not have the will to enter therein. He enters by his own free will and by that is joined to the Spirit of faith. To stand on the outside is safe, but the glory belongs to the one who is inside the adventure.
The desire that drove a person to commit himself to a given task might grow cold halfway through. He might either give up his desire or have it renewed. If he give up he will be praised for his heroic effort and applauded for that he tried, but he will soon be forgotten. No one will charge him for having given up. No one will condemn him for it, but only those who persist to the end will be remembered in the spirit of Abraham.
Of course there will be pain and suffering along the road. It will sometimes hurt so much that we are tempted like Jonah to run away and build our own shield to cast a protective shadow over our heads. However, the shield will soon wither and the sun will find us again and burn our heads until we give in and move on.
A Norwegian poet wrote: Without uphills it is impossible to climb higher.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Seamless Robe

The Old Testament temple with its three different parts is an image of man. It consisted of an outer court, the holy place and the holy of holies. These represent our body (flesh), soul and spirit, respectively. The Bible teaches that man is three-part. However, the three parts always operating as a whole. Man is further created in the likeness of God who also is three-part, but the three Persons function as an undivided unity in intent, will and expression.
Until the veil that divided the holy place from the holy of holies was rent in two our identity was basically a soul identity. Such an identity is never fixed, but is fluctuating and under the influence of varying conditions. Most of us long believed our soul was our true self until we by the Spirit’s enlightenment discovered that our center, our spirit, was fixed in God who is changeless and immutable.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebr 4:12).
It is not for us to chop up ourselves, but in order to exchange our soul identity with a spirit identity where the self is truly located in a union with the true Self, the word of God teaches us the difference between soul and spirit.
The wisdom that Solomon asked for came to expression when he threatened to split the baby in two with the sword. The one who loved the baby and who was its true mother wanted it to remain whole. The other woman involved in the dispute wanted it split in two. Wisdom hence is to perceive spirit, soul and body as a seamless whole. Jesus’ robe was one seamless piece - an image of how He functioned as a whole person.
In the context of our personhood Jesus gave us a very telling picture of man being as a lamp.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16).
The lamp or vessel was made from clay. Man is likewise made from the dust of the earth, and God is the potter molding the clay as He pleases. For the lamp to function and give off light it had within the wick, which is a fibrous fabric. This is an image of the soul and its inner weaving or mesh of feelings, reason, emotions, likes, dislikes etc.
The lamp is filled with air until the air is replaced with olive oil. John wrote: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). It is the Holy Spirit who fills the vessel and gives it life. The oil was to flow through the fibers of the wick and its different components to its outer point of ignition - ignited by the love of God - giving off the light of Christ to the world we live in.
The lamp analogy accurately shows how the entire man is involved in expressing the indwelling Christ. Not least our souls are now rightly used by the Spirit to out-picture or manifest the life of Christ which otherwise would have been hidden. To put the lamp on a stand means that we are now free to embrace our souls as a merit and not a liability. To know this effectively dispels any notions regarding that we have to change in order to fit into some kind of pattern or mold. We are free to be ourselves. Don’t hide your precious self and expression “under a basket”, Jesus is in effect saying.
That Jesus has filled the entire temple is vividly pictured in the Old Testament. It was the priests who brought the Ark of the Covenant, which is a type of Christ, into the temple. The Ark was made from wood and overlaid with pure gold. The wood represents the humanity of Jesus, whereas the gold represents his deity. The gates to the Outer Court were to be opened so that the priests could carry the Ark through the Outer Court to the Holy Place. Then the doors to the Holy Place were opened to bring the Ark through the Holy Place to be placed behind the Veil in the Holy of Holies typifying that we are one spirit with Him by the Holy Spirit.
It is also noteworthy that the distinction between the soul and the spirit is spiritually discerned like Hebrews 4:12 states, and Paul said the same thing: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14).