Wednesday, November 18, 2009
A New Way Of Living
I have posted here before on both of my blogs wonderful and encouraging insights my friend Art has shared with me, this is but a continuation on a theme he is still working on.
I trust you will enjoy!
The Necessity of Suffering
“Glory” is a word that seems so amorphous and indescribable. In practical terms and for our purpose it actually means the inherent expression of a life. We can see the matter of glory as the inherent expression of a life by the metaphor of the seeded flower’s life in its full expression as a blossom. The flower’s life, derived from the life in its seed, is ultimately fully expressed in the flower’s full blossoming. Each flower contains seed needed for life to beget life, which is reproduced after “its own kind.” The blossom of the flower is the glory or expression of the life that is in the original flower seed. God the Father in Christ, as the original seed, is the original eternal spirit-life who begets eternal spirit-life in the believer – all believers share His one life.
For the flower’s seed to germinate, it must first suffer death to its outer shell. The life is then released out of that death, to grow to maturity. This is similar to the allegorical description of the life-process Jesus spoke of concerning the release and multiplication of His life. “Verily, verily, I (Jesus) say unto you, Except a corn (seed) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24 ). Here Jesus is saying, by His death His life would become germinated, multiplying itself. The Father’s life-plan would bring “many sons to glory” (Heb 2:10) out of Jesus suffering and death. All the believers are the multiplication and enlargement of God’s family that comes by sharing the one life of the “seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16, 1Peter 1:23). We now possess the Christ-seed within our spirit and we thereby have the potential of being the “glorious expression” of the Lord’s life. We contain His life in our spirit, so that His expression may flow through our souls as He wills. Only His life released brings forth the genuine fruit of God.
I have described “glory” in terms of the flower in order to explain the necessity of suffering in the believer’s life. The flower’s seed has a “shell” that must be broken to release the life within. Our shell, which is our independent soul-self, must be broken, in order to release the life of Christ from within our spirit. Thus we see that there is a great connection between suffering and glory (expression).
Suffering deals with our being deceived. With no suffering, there can be no knowledge by realization of who we are NOT. We are Not the gods of our own life. We are wayward souls, separated from God often living waywardly independent from God even after our salvation. Suffering exposes this truth to us. We are NOT adequate within ourselves to live the Christian life overcomingly, as evidenced by our lack of rest and peace.
We may think we can do what we need to do, but we are not really in control of anything. We learn this only by suffering the failure of self-rule and self-effort. To me, the greatest suffering is not necessarily physical, but rather the loss of control. God desires that we give up control to trust Him and His leading, moment by moment. Suffering situations and circumstances that are beyond our control brings us to the realization of that need and His desire.
Satan has inspired the illusion of control in all of us since the day he tempted Eve, saying if you eat of the forbidden tree of knowledge “you shall be as gods” (Gen 3:5). This illusion must be broken before we will turn our hearts to trust Christ in us as our life. Without suffering failure, we cannot come to the knowledge of who we really are – we are the dependent children of God, the Almighty Father who loves us and cares for us. He is fully sufficient to father us, and guide and protect us in love.
The Lord suffered for us, but we also will endure suffering. The cup of suffering (Mark 10:39) is crucial to our being able to realize the truth of our state, as it was for Paul when the Lord denied his three pleadings to remove the thorn Paul suffered in his flesh. The Lord told Paul “my grace is sufficient.” Christ Himself is the very grace of God and His life in us is sufficient for all that we will endure.
The cup we drink from in life is always at the hands of our loving Father. Jesus willingly took the cup of suffering at the hands of His Father, so that His glorious life might be multiplied to us and expressed in us. “…Jesus unto Peter… the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11
Taking the cup revealed Jesus’ true state of utter yieldedness and dependence upon the Father. Paul admonished the Philippians Christians to have the same attitude or mindset of Jesus, who suffered obedience unto death of the cross (Philip 2:5-8). The Father now administers the cup of suffering to us, that we might let go of self-dependence in order to trust Christ in us as our life and innermost guide. Only then may we go from a “Christ in you THE HOPE of glory” to His actually being glorified or expressed in and through our lives?