Saturday, 26 October 2013

May I live by His Life!

'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!' (Rom 11:33)
Why do men look for wisdom and knowledge anywhere else but in Christ Jesus alone? Col 2:3 says that in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge dwell in bodily form!
And yet we run around here and there, trying to get understanding for our lack of wisdom, from books, conferences, seminars, the internet; we seek advice from people who appear to have more knowledge and education than we, we rely on the wisdom and rules we have leaned from parents, school, college, employers, the media, religion, wherever we have gleaned wisdom from. But this is all worldly wisdom and it doesn't bear the LIFE of the Spirit of God because it doesn't COME from God.....
Where is the LIFE? John 1:4 says, 'In Him was LIFE,...'
As purported followers of the Messiah Yeshua, are we living from the Tree of LIFE; are we filled with His LIFE, or are we still living from the Tree of KNOWLEDGE?
We need to ask ourselves this question: What was the first knowledge that Adam and Eve attained through their disobedience? '.....And they knew that they were naked...' (Gen 3:7.)
In the awareness that they were naked, they felt self-aware; they felt insecure and weak for the first time and to cover themselves, they sewed themselves aprons of fig leaves. Before they had eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, they were only aware of living in the Presence of God. His Light clothed them. '...and the LIFE was the light of men.' (John 1:4) They didn't need anything else. The Presence of God led them in all they did. They depended entirely on Him and were content to do so. They knew nothing except God and His beautiful Life, filling them with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. They were innocent children, trusting in their heavenly Father for everything.
What did knowledge bring to Adam and Eve apart from the awareness that they were naked?
'But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.' (Gen: 2:17 KJV).
The result of eating of the Tree of Knowledge was death. And we see this same principle time and time again in countless ways; where man, who is spiritually dead, rejects LIFE,  he chooses death, and runs after many schemes, inventions, scientific discoveries, to cover up, make up for, substitute his insecurity, his weakness, mortality, his lack of control, with devices of his own making. These lead inevitably to more death.
What good is knowledge when all it brings is death? And why do we still insist on running after our own schemes or devices when the Lord has provided all we need in Him?
'So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.
“Look,” says the Teacher, “this is what I have discovered: “Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things—
This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.” (Ecclesiastes 7:25,27,29)
The word of schemes here is חִשָּׁבוֹן (chishshabown ), and in another verse, it refers to catapults and weapons of warfare like crossbow machines.
'And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented H4284 by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. (2 Chron.26:15 KJV)
Another word for devices is מַחֲשָׁבָ (machashabah ), which is connected to the above;
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts H4284 of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen.6:5 KJV).
All of man's ingenuity only leads to more death in the long run. We make weapons to defend ourselves, or attack others who would try to attack us, we try to extend our lives by health programmes and medical research, we attempt to discover things to increase our knowledge, to improve ourselves so that we can feel better about ourselves, because knowledge begets hunger for more knowledge, because deep down there is this insatiable desire to be LIKE GOD.
We seek to regain the pure knowledge of God which Man once had, which was a free gift, but which he lost by his own disobedience, by his deliberate decision to act on the foreign thought which the serpent/satan had planted in his mind.... the worldly thought that he must do something to be like God. In other words, knowing God was considered of less importance than being like Him. And by deciding to be like God, Man lost everything: 1. the knowledge of God, 2. being like Him (ever since then, man has demonstrably shown that he is anything but like God... but he still tries) and 3. his own life as well.
And so he decided to FEED on knowledge rather than FEED on the WORD and SPIRIT of LIFE. He decided to make his own wisdom his guide.
Now. All this is old hat as far as many Christians are concerned. They will say, 'Yes, yes, I know all that!'
What we fail to realise is that we are still far from walking in the truth, as long as we live by the old knowledge we have.
Where are the areas where we still do this?
In Colossians 2:3-4  it says: '....Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.'
What are the satanic, 'beguiling words' which deceive us into making worldly wisdom our guide, rather than Christ Himself?
May I suggest that these beguiling words can be the things we learned from our parents? The things we picked up at school, work, college, from friends, the media...the things we imbibed from our past experiences - even bitter experiences, disappointments, failures; dare I even say it, from our Christianity?
All our doctrine is of no use if we don't have the LIFE. It might keep us from outward sin in the eyes of others, but it won't give us LIFE. We still stick to the principles of death. And they will result in death. The fleshly problems will still be with us. All our righteous-sounding Christian rules, even those we put together from the New Testament... and those we patch together from principles in the New Testament, to make a safety net in case we stumble... they are not the LIFE. Only Jesus in us is the life. His quickening Spirit, leading us in all the multitudinous areas of our daily lives, as only He can, because He knows what is best for each one of us, better than anyone else does, is the One we need to listen to and follow.
All our rules and regulations, 'Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”, (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. (Col.2: 23 NASB).
Jesus rejected satan's temptation to turn stones into bread by saying, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'” (Matt.4:4)
By this the Lord was rejecting the wisdom of the serpent, the 'Prince of this world' with his worldly wisdom, and choosing the wisdom of God, GOD'S Word...the Word made alive by the SPIRIT of GOD. He chose the LIFE, not the serpent's KNOWLEDGE.
Satan was effectively saying, 'If you change these stones to bread (which being the Son of God, you can certainly do) you can keep yourself from dying.' Now this was very good advice. It is certain that without food, the body will eventually pack up and give up the ghost. Jesus had been without food for 40 days and nights and we are told that He was beginning to starve. So what satan told Him was undoubtedly true.
BUT... Jesus knew of a HIGHER wisdom. He knew that His life depended on His Father alone, not on any worldly wisdom or counsel, so He rejected the advice which sounded so good.
In just the same way, we are encouraged to listen to the Holy Spirit's voice IN ALL THINGS. Our life is now hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3) and we are no longer to be led by our own thoughts, ideas, wisdom, the things we learned in the past, no matter how 'good' these may sound.
Jesus said,  "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal LIFE, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” (John 6:27). He told us that His flesh and blood are our life... that is, His LIFE living in us...
“Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no LIFE in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal LIFE, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the LIVING Father sent me and I LIVE because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will LIVE because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will LIVE forever.” (John 6:53-58
In John 5:39, Jesus said, "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have LIFE. '
We might say the same today. We study the word of God to gain knowledge, but does it really benefit us? Doesn't it just add more to our pride, our self-satisfaction, our security in ourselves? Does it give us LIFE? Are we more joyful, are we freer, is there more praise and thankfulness in our hearts? Are we more forgiving, more spiritually beautiful, do we show more love for others because of it? Are we brimming over with Jesus? 
If not, then all our knowledge and good ideas, our rules and principles, what we have gained from past experience, (fruit of the Tree of Knowledge - food which perishes) are frankly useless. They are all destined to 'perish with use'...(Col.2:22) they are dead words.
Jesus took all the old worldly wisdom, rules, regulations, knowledge on the stake with Him, when He died. There are no more rules for those who are His. We are free. Free to follow where He leads.
Now, some may say that this is all very dangerous. It could lead to all sorts of irregular activities!
What does 'irregular' actually mean? I looked it up.
Etymologically, it comes from the late 14th Century, and means, 'not in conformity with Church  rules!'  In other words, institutional, Roman Catholic, or for the sake of argument, any other denominational church, rules.

Jesus took the church rules on the stake with Him when He died.
He also took our old man, our fleshly, sinful nature onto the stake with Him, when He died. This has now been neutralised. The flesh no longer has power over us because we are no longer controlled by the law of sin and death but the law of the Spirit of LIFE. (Romans 8:2)
So now we are to live and walk by the SPIRIT, (Galatians 5:16-25) not by rules and regulations, which are only useful for sinful man, to restrain his flesh. If we are in Christ, sin no longer has a hold over us, because we are living to please Him alone, and not ourselves. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM!
This could be very offensive to some, who in their pride, think that by keeping to what Paul and others write in the New Testament about church practice and moral behaviour, they will be able to please God. May I suggest that they actually just create a new set of rules to live by? Except that they don't live through them; they don't experience LIFE because of them; they are not able to, because it's only by being led by the Spirit that we experience LIFE. It's only by living in intimacy with Jesus that we will have His LIFE.
This is why this kind of life is offensive and seems dangerous to many. Because they rely on their own wisdom to keep them from falling, instead of the Life of Jesus within them. Their pride in their own wisdom blinds them.
....“Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and LIFE."' (John 6:61-63) 

What if the Lord told you to go into a porn shop, and didn't tell you why? Would you be able to hear His voice well enough to know that it was Him speaking, and not your flesh? What if He told you to buy a lottery ticket? What if He told you to drink wine or any other alcohol in a bar, or anywhere else for that matter (particularly for Americans)? What if He told you to do something, that if you did, all your family and friends would call you the worst sinner and you would lose your reputation for spirituality and goodness? Would your old rules rise up and say, 'Thou shalt not?'
What if He told you to marry a prostitute? Or bake your bread on human excreta? Or offer your child, your only child, as a human sacrifice? Or cut a baby in half? Or talk to a heathen, immoral woman, alone at a well, knowing full well that your reputation would be lost?
All these examples, of course, are just some of the things which God Himself told some of His beloved followers to do... All of which demonstrated the wisdom and knowledge of God... in hindsight.
If Hosea, Ezekiel, Abraham and Solomon (and Jesus Himself) could hear the voice of the Holy Spirit  how much more can we, who have the Holy Spirit living inside us, if we have come to know and follow Jesus?
But that's just the thing. None of these knew what would happen if they did what the voice of God was saying. They could have lost everything. Reputation being the very least of them.
We are called to trust the LIFE in us. It's a walk of faith, not trusting our own understanding, but trusting the LIFE in us, that He knows better than we do what He's doing, even when our own minds naturally rebel against it and say, 'This is madness! This goes against everything I have ever been taught, everything I KNOW.'
This is why Paul could say, in  1 Corinthians 2:2, '"And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling..."'
If we rely on what we know, then we despise and belittle the death of Jesus, which dealt with both our sinful nature and the rules against sin, because we rely more on our wisdom and knowledge to protect us than His LIFE.
1 Corinthians 1:23
...but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews (the moral ones) and foolishness to Gentiles (the intellectual ones),...
Galatians 6:14
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
1 Corinthians 1:30
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
Yes, because it's not KNOWLEDGE that we are called to live by, but the LIFE of Jesus.







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