A Revelation ........
Good morning sweet friends, I would like to preface this with...... I am venturing into deep water for those that are truly thirsty today. You may need a little time to digest all of this and even rearrange it to find your own confirmation, but I thought for some of you who are really searching that you may find this interesting....even encouraging to press on as a mighty warrior princess?
I suppose I would call this a personal revelation? I do not claim this to be THE TRUTH, but how the TRUTH is coming together for me to lead me to some understanding of all that is taking place in my life, and hopefully yours, as well. My mind has been set in motion searching with hope to find some clarity to this journey we call the "narrow road." I would say that I have been perplexed by verses intersecting lately. One says the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy while the other says that you can not walk in light and darkness, and if you do the truth is not in you....and my mind settles on this thought.....then why does it feel like the closer I get to Him, the more under attack I become? Why does it seem that my pursuit to the light brings on the darkness in a powerful way? Is there ever relief to warfare?
This past weekend my friend, Carrie, was sharing with me her findings in 1 John. She has actually written a Bible study on this chapter, and hopefully she will find away to lead us online through it, but as she was walking me through her findings, my heart grabbed hold to a few verses that spurred me to dig deeper. First, this idea of perfect love was evident. It says that as we walk in obedience His love is made perfect in us.......perfect....the kind of love that we are told cast out fear. My heart then grabs hold to how as we love others that His love is made perfect in us. Again this perfect love that takes away fear, can be made perfect in us. How many of us feel we are walking with Him, yet still clinging to fear? This says to me that there is more of His love to be had. More to seek. A love that cast out all fear. Then my mind couldn't escape the words..... if we say we walk in light but darkness is there, we do not have the truth in us. There are days when the darkness hovers still, but please God tell me I have the truth in me? You said the enemy seeks someone to devour, and some days I feel I am the only target on his mission. How can this be when I am so desperately seeking? I may have thoroughly confused you, but hold on for a moment longer, and I 'll put it all together. My spinning thoughts landed me to this diagram, and I pray it gives you light and hopefully engenders some hope to persevere on forward, because there appears to be relief, and there is light and truth and love that is just waiting to be made complete in us. (This diagram is not perfect, but in progress and certainly revealing much to my thirsty soul:)
So this is how I see our lives.....
When we are at the bottom, we are at a place of complacency or by definition- smug satisfaction. If we were honest, we long for more or we fill something is missing, but we feel safer not stepping out. We take no risk, so there is no reward. We bare no fruit. We may even be in church, but still missing it. The enemy needs not war against us, because we are no threat to his kingdom in this place of complacency. We are the lost and even the lukewarm.
However, there are a number of reasons why we move from this place of complacency into this path or perhaps a tunnel. Some of us begin to see the seeds we have planted begin to take root and bear fruit. Jesus teaches that the Father prunes the branches that bear fruit. So now the Father seeing fruit steps in with His pruning sheers and starts pruning, so that we bear more fruit (John 15). The fruit bearers enter the path. We may also get here by turning to Him and becoming unveiled to the knowledge that there is more (2 Cor 3: 16) . Out of desperation or pain or failing or crises, we decide to turn with hope that He is the answer. Finally, others realize that life does not satisfy and they begin seeking more, and choose to take a step hoping He will be there with more. (Jer 29:13) For those that choose to turn, to seek or to bear fruit, our paths shift to this narrow road. The reason that it is narrow is because it leads to a joyous yet painful trip; one that many aren't equipped to make. (Enter the need of a Warrior Princess with her full armor of God:) Ephesians 6
On this path, God is pruning what must go from our lives to journey deeper with Him (relationships, careers, habits, comforts, things) Ouch! We have now begun to threaten the enemy, so while God is pruning on one side so that we can walk in our calling, the enemy is seeking to halt our purpose on the other. It feels like a refining process. While one seeks to remove the impurities, the other seeks to make it so hot we can't stand the pain. This is why James says to persevere because God is using this to make us into the person He has called us to be. James also says that those that persevere are blessed, because we will receive the crown of life for enduring with love. (James 1:12) Our pain brings purpose. Beauty from ashes, if we stay the course.
The closer we get to the end of the tunnel or road the more we feel pressed on each side. It is much like the pains of birth or the point of death to self that births forth Christ in us. The Father is sending us through the final purifying fire hoping we finally hand over that one last thing we have been clinging to, while the enemy is making his final attempt to thwart our destiny. Perhaps this is why it is said that we feel hard pressed on every side, but not destroyed (2 Cor 4:8)? This verse follows with confirmation of this death to self....For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.(2 Cor 4:11) His desire is that in our mortal bodies His life is revealed, not simply as we enter His kingdom, but here wrapped in this flesh others should see death of us and the life of Him.
So we arrive at this place, not where we are perfect, but where His love is made perfect in us. It is the light. The sweet spot of abiding in His love. The revelation of Jesus in our mortal body. 1John tells us that His love is made perfect in us as we obey and as we love others. He also tells us that light and dark do not exist and if we resist the enemy that He will flee. I just have to believe that there is a place where we are walking in love and obedience that makes us cut off from the enemy. A place he can no longer touch us. As the Word speaks, he must flee. A place where the darkness can't come near the light that radiates from us. A place where we walk fully in His perfect love, the truth and the truth has set us free. It doesn't mean suffering ends, but that we become immune to it?
So what holds us back? My thought is this......so often we look at "big sin"- murder, adultery, debauchery, immorality, idols and thieves and we think we have mastered those, but we fail to see how the little nicks of sin here and there can be just as powerful at keeping us from the light as those we think are a given. Pride. Ego. Jealousy. Anger. Bitterness. Withholding forgiveness. Harboring Resentment. Selfish motivation. When I look at the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, I do not see the successful, the proud, the accomplished, the arrogant, the perfect that make the list to inherit the favor of God. Rather it is the meek, the poor in spirit, the merciful, the peacemakers, the pure in heart, the mourners, the hungry and the thirsty.
I would say that this diagram is best fully understood upside down, because it is more of a falling and loosing that truly brings us to the place of humility that we can be made new in the image of Christ. Richard Rohr has tagged the phrase, "Falling Upward," and I couldn't agree more.
Sweet friends, we have always known that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but so often we think that physical death brings us to that place. Scripture leads me to believe that there is a light here to be lived in and walked in and operated out of, if only we were willing to lose everything to find it. I don't know about you, but if there is more to be had of Him in this life, I am ever so thirsty to find it!
You may need to marinate over the weekend in this one:) I love you sweet friends.
Seek. Love. Follow.