Tag Archive: death to self

v4.26 The Big Picture – Part 9

The Big Picture – Part 9

Works, The Heart of Religion

I know I said I would go into Plan B – how God is reconciling the world to Himself through His disciples but He would not let me go there. I must needs go through the heart of Religion first.

God came to earth, a temporal and terrestrial realm, and entered our Time to make Himself manifest through His Son, the only begotten of the Father.

Jesus came as Light and Life and Love to show us the Father, to manifest Him by His life that we might see and hear and touch and know Him.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:1-5.

The darkness comprehended it not, the darkness did not understand Him. The religious leaders and world system leaders did not understand Him. So much did they miss Love in Flesh that they saw Him as a threat to their system.”From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” Matt. 16:21.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  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 Cor. 2:9-14.

Lets do a little math here. The darkness comprehended it not. The elders, chief priests and scribes (the religious leaders) comprehended it not. The nautural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him. My math tells me that the religious leaders are darkness and natural men. They did not comprehend the things of the Spirit, they were foolishness to them.

Let this be a solemn warning. Religion can cause you to miss God in the Flesh! Man has made an industry of the things of God — we call it religion. It is an idolatrous and adulterous system of man-made traditions and trappings that claim to have command of the things of God but do not.

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Cor. 10:12.

“As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.  For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.” Gal. 6:12-13.

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Tim 3:5.

Religion is nothing more than mans attempt to be like God. The thinking is that if we dress up the outside to look like God then it is God. It is a system of belief that the outer man manifests the inner man. It is full of woking to look right, be right and act right so that there is no room for condemnation. It is a system of works.

Relationship is God’s method to reveal Himself through His sons (spiritual offspring). He is bringing many sons to maturity, completion, so that He might make Himself known and glorified through His sons. It is an effortless (not of God’s working but man’s working), yet not painless, process whereby a man is brought to a fullness, an abundance of Life by a death to Self. Our work is to believe and submit, and yield and depend — like a branch in a vine — you must abide. How? By faith. Then the inner will be made manifest through the outer. It is a work of Grace through faith.

So there are these two dichotomous ways. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Prov. 16:25. You are either in the Way, in Christ, or you are in the way of what God is doing in the earth. Men are trying to make a god out of flesh. God is, by the working of His Word in man, longing to become Flesh…And the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us, so that He might be made known to the world.

This is what religion misses and does not comprehend. That God is the creator of man. Man is not the creator of God. God must do the work. We must be the clay, He is the potter. We work and work and work to be like Him and we do not trust Him nor come to Him. We do it our way.

So all along there are these two systems. The world system, the realm of darkness, of which religion is the representative counterfeit of Relationship, and the kingdom of God, which the darkness does not comprehend.

This world has always rejected God. It must. He is at war through His sons to bring it back under His dominion, to crush the head of the serpent and put their foot upon its (his) neck. Yet the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but spiritual.

For all time, men have loved darkness rather than light. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19.

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.” John 1:7.

But the sons of God are diligently seeking Him, they are drawn by the Light of His Love and the Truth of His Word to a relationship with God in Christ. These are in the earth like seeds, producing fruit in keeping with righteousness, advancing violently the Kingdom, separated unto God. These are them “that love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

v4.13 Not My Will, But Thine

Not My Will, But Thine

Jesus wants you to walk with Him and learn of Him. He always prepositions this offer with “If”, if you will. What is your desire? Do you want to do My will or not? Jesus wants you to be His disciple. Do you want what He wants or do you want what you want? This simple test speaks volumes about your heart toward Him.

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23.

If. If what? If any man will, if any man has a heart to do My will. If any man is seeking relationship with Me and to please Me. Then I will show him things with eyes that see, then I will speak things to ears that hear, then I will give him understanding and knowledge and wisdom, then will you enter into abundant Life. Then you will enter into Peace and My Rest. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matt. 11:29.

Rest. We can’t even conceive of the bliss of being delivered from our Self. Self rages and wars and lusts to have, to hoard, to covet, to take, to consume on itSelf. Self knows nor cares about no one else. He or she is true to his name. Self has one ambition, to exalt, to feed, to worship Self and exact the same from every one else. You must see this and stop defending him. As long as you have Self pity you are his slave.

The Lord beckons you, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself.” Do you not see that the first order on the agenda of being a disciple, one who follows after to learn and become like his Master, is bringing to nothing this Self. Judas did not deny himself. Judas stands as the foremost example of the tragedy of a man who would not follow Jesus. Are you a disciple or a Judas? Any man or woman who will not deny themselves may easily become a Judas for the right price.

You see that any Self ambition can be placed in the balance against your relationship with Jesus. And if you have not learned and practiced and solicited God’s help with this self denying business then Self ambition will weigh heavier than your allegiance to Jesus Christ. What is the price of your allegiance? What weighs heavily in the balance against Christ and sells Him out time and time again?

Money is often the root cause. It is the root of all evil. For the soul that is lost and separated from their heavenly Father, protection and provision are the foremost concerns. A clear indicator that you have not denied yourself is that you are always fearful about the future. This is the perpetual message being piped out by the Prince of the Air. “God can’t help you. You have to watch out for your Self. You can’t trust Him. If you don’t take matters into your own hands, then you won’t get what you (e.g. Self) want.”

If you have learned to trust Him, learned to deny your Self then you can say with confidence and by faith, “I know my heavenly Father loves me and has complete power and resources to provide for me and protect me. If it appears that I lack something or will not have enough I am being deceived. I have faith in my Father. I trust him to protect and provide for me. If I do not have it, it is because He knows that it is best for me.” Is this not what Jesus told Satan when tempted in the wilderness? “Bread is not my only food, but My Father, He is Life to Me. He will never leave Me nor forsake Me.”

So the money in the balance (i.e. currency) comes in many forms. Most often it comes in the form of what I have to do to get what I (Self) want. And we listen and obey Self all day in this regard (yet not all of us, not you right? ;). We see what Self says we want and need, we listen to Self’s plan for getting it and set out like a slave to do his will. Self assures us of our right to be happy. It is our right to be happy isn’t it? Not even remotely. “Thy will, not mine.” If you are a child of God you have no rights. If you are a child of God you have a lot of duty — love one another, keep the commandments, be ye therefore holy, come ye out from among them, do not love the world, etc.

All those rights you give yourSelf are lies and very marketable deceptions of the enemy, like the ones sold in the Garden. Are you buying all this stuff?

Listen to what Oswald Chambers says:

“It is not the bad things that are the stumbling-block to becoming a disciple, anyone will give up sin and wrong if he knows how to, but will I give up the “rightest” thing I have got, viz., my right to myself? will I crown Jesus as Lord? Whenever Our Lord talks about discipleship that is what He bases it on, the giving up of my right to myself—“ . . . let him deny himself.” Many are called, but few prove the choice ones, that is, few of us take up the cross and follow Jesus, the reason being not that we are irreligious and bad, but we don’t prefer that Jesus should be Lord.

We like to hear about deliverance from hell and forgiveness of sins, but this comes a bit too close, this demands too much, and we back out. “Upon this many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him” (rv), they went back from following Jesus and never became actual disciples. If I do become a disciple my career may have to be ruined, am I prepared for it? is He worth it? “IF any man would come after Me . . .” “If” means, “You don’t need to unless you like, but you won’t be of any account to Me in this life unless you do.” Wherever Christian experience is proving unsatisfactory it is because the Holy Spirit is still battling around this one point, my right to myself, and until that is deliberately given over by me to Jesus Christ I will never have the relationship to Him He asks for.”

So God places Jesus Christ in the balance against any and everything in this world system. (And there are a lot of things in this world system: money, fame, health, power, material things, even your affection for your family, anything and everything that Satan can use to further his purpose), Now they are not all there at once, but essentially they are. You must not love the world. God will systematically ask you to give up these things, He will place them opposite your relationship to Jesus Christ.

Self will join hands with the ruler of this world system and assure you that you have rights to these things that the world offers. After all, “everyone is doing it, having it, enjoying it”. Not everyone. Those who are following Christ have denied themselves, taken up their cross and are following Him.

Its a tough sell. And only those who want to do God’s will choose this life. Those who want to follow Self and his will deny Christ. They want to exercise their own Self assigned “rights”. I can’t say for sure where this places them in eternity. I just know that I want to please God and do His will. I am not interested in my will.

Not my will, but Thine be done.

v296 Holey, Wholly, Holy

Holey, Wholly, Holy

Each of us is born naturally, not of the spirit but of the flesh, by human effort and work. We are born in Adam. As such we live unto ourselves and die by ourselves. We know this instinctively and by experience. We soon learn how we have to perform and do things so that others applaud to get the things that we need. We do and do and do it seems, but we just cannot get enough to make us secure. Even the most wealthy men in the world go to sleep wrestling with fears of loss and insecurity (why do you think they worked so hard to get money in the first place?).

We are each born with a huge hole in us — we are holey. We spend our years trying to fill our holes with things that we think can remove the gnawing pangs of an empty soul. We live in fear and unrest, lacking peace and joy.

Then by God’s will and design He makes Himself known to us. We hear Him (with spiritual ears) by the Word of His testimony and we respond to know more of Him and then one day we see Him (with spiritual eyes) as He reveals the Light and Truth and Love — Himself to us. Some quickly take inventory of their worldly stance and goods and weigh that they will not pay all that for Him and go away having seen but not believed unto salvation.

Others see Him and begin to gaze upon the beauty of His holiness and realize that He is the One who fills the hole. They take possession of Him by faith and begin to live in Him. Yet the transaction is only partly complete. We want Him to fill our hole but we have gathered so many things that are dear to us.

We are not willing to depart with our worldly riches. God cannot fill the hole till you empty it. He is the perfect fit yet he cannot occupy His place fully till you remove the worldly things you have gathered to yourself. He wants to live in you wholly.

Years and years go by. You have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. You wonder why you too cannot have this holiness that He promises. Then slowly, thing by thing God begins to show you that you do not need them, that you need Him. One by one, often painfully and grudgingly we hand over the remnants of an old dead person’s treasure. We make more and more room for Him.

When once He is wholly yours you become like Him — Holy.

Holey, Wholly, Holy.

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