The Hidden Person of the Heart Part 5

I wrote that I believe strongly that our beliefs empower our behaviour. It is because our beliefs, heart beliefs, determine our actions that the scriptures say so much about our thinking. It is thus important that we embrace what Paul taught in the following scriptures.

5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:5 (NKJV)

1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)

These two powerful passages are significant in our spiritual walk. What about that little word “let.” It highlights both choice and responsibility. Our mind is not renewed by some mysterious force acting upon us. It is renewed by embracing Jesus life and actively engaging with Him through His word and presence. So how do we do that?

A friend of mine often says things like, “We need to hear what the Spirit is saying.” Or “It needs to be mediated by the Spirit.” What I then see him do is inwardly pay attention to tune into what the Spirit is saying. In fact he is frequently in this state of inward attention. He is actively turning theory into practice. Knowingly or not he is demonstrating the truths revealed in the passages below. The hidden person of the heart functions by learning to be quiet, to become internally calm and hear His voice on an ongoing basis.

Have you ever thought of connecting the two passages below?

10  Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10 (NKJV) 11  For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:11-12 (NKJV)

This is part of ‘letting’ Jesus mind be in us guiding our behaviour. The other part is being grounded in His word. For our beliefs to align with scripture we need to know and adhere to what the scriptures teach, in particular the New Testament, as it defines how we are to live as Christians. At the same time what we learn above from 1 Corinthians 2 is that the Holy Spirit can reveal to us the mind of Christ as we learn to depend on Him and weigh what we hear against His word. After all, Paul who told us that we are to let Jesus mind be in us summed up this section of 1 Corinthians 2 by saying that the spiritually mature have “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). I believe that as Christians we all have access to His mind, the mature have cultivated a lifestyle of hearing Jesus heart and mind.

Where are we at?

The Hidden Person of the Heart Part 4

Do you know anyone who never struggles or has never struggled with sin since their conversion? It is a rhetorical question. However, that being said, how do we walk in victory in this ongoing battle?

I think a large part of the answer to that question lies in where we put our focus. If I focus on sin and failure I cause it to grow in my life. If I focus on walking with Jesus His presence grows in my life (2 Cor. 3:18). To be clear I am not suggesting there is no need for repentance when we sin, we need to be sensitive to conviction from and by the Holy Spirit and address issues. However, we will never overcome sin by giving most of our time and attention to it. Imagine being locked in a hold in Greco-Roman Wrestling. Even if you pin your opponent to the mat and hold him there you are still in contact with him and focused on him. That is not how we walk in spiritual victory.

We walk in spiritual victory by focusing on Jesus and addressing any issues the Holy Spirit highlights as they come up through ongoing and immediate repentance. In theory this is simply profound and profoundly simple yet we are often drawn away to the wrong focus. Why is that? I think we need to recognize what Romans teaches us, even though we are no longer in the ‘flesh’ once we are born again, there is still ‘flesh’ in us. What dominates is really a matter of what we feed and nurture. To understand how to nurture and feed our spirits we need to understand something about ‘flesh.’

In Romans 7 and 8 and other places the Greek word sarx is translated as flesh, carnal or carnally. Some translations refer to our ‘flesh’ in Romans 7 and 8 as our ‘sinful nature.’ However I think this translation is one reason for so many in the church failing so often in dealing with temptation. I believe strongly that our beliefs empower our behaviour. If we believe our very nature is sinful we will expect to fail. Yet we do not have two natures, we have a new nature at conversion (2 Cor. 5:17-21). There is still something in us that has a propensity toward sin but it is not our nature or identity.

18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. Rom. 7:18 (NKJV)

However, Paul, like us, had Christ within him and so he taught the value of a right focus.

6  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6 (NKJV)

The word ‘carnally’ above is again the Greek sarx. Paul’s says if we focus our minds on our flesh we produce death, if we focus on the things of Christ we experience life and peace. A clear choice with clear consequences.

Paul in his letters often focused on our identity as being ‘in Christ’ or similar phrases. He focused on our new identity and new nature and thus empowered his readers and hearers to walk in victory. When in faith they applied his teaching they could be victorious and thus their expectation and experience would be walking in intimacy with Jesus and victory over sin.

Paul was perhaps at his most pointed in his shortest letter

4  I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5  hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6  that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. Philemon 1:4-6 (NKJV) – emphasis mine. See also Eph. 4:20-24, Col. 3:1-2, 2 Cor. 5:17

Again, Paul’s point is that we walk in victory by focusing on who and what Jesus is in us. Focusing on sin and failure only leads to more of the same. So let us lock in our focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2).

The Hidden Person of the Heart Part 3

In continuing to look at the hidden person of the heart let me share an obvious aspect of our culture. In our culture there is a strong propensity to shift responsibility anywhere except to ourselves. This is not just true in the dominant culture, it has deeply infected the church. However, Jesus tells us to look to our hearts. He has a different standard, one that calls us both higher and deeper at the same time. If we embrace pursuing His kingdom first (Matt. 6:33) then we will walk deeply in truth, integrity and responsibility. We will be salt and light (Matt. 5:13-14) and be a preserving and illuminating influence in our culture. We all know people like this and perhaps we are those people already.

If we are not like this I pray we would develop the attitude of Daniel.

8  But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel 1:8 (NKJV)

Other translations say Daniel “made up his mind’ or something similar but I believe that misses the heart of the verse. The primary meaning of the Hebrew word translated as ‘purposed’ means to ‘put’ or ‘set.’ Daniel set as a seal upon his heart an overriding principle that guided his decisions and thus his behaviour. There is the expression, ‘A man makes the decision and the decision makes the man.’ This speaks to the reality of what Daniel did.

Daniel was one of the greatest examples in scriptural history of being salt and light. What made him salt and light was how he stewarded internal realities. He made heart decisions that produced the amazing influence he had. If we had been able to gaze into Daniel’s internal reality we would have seen his character rooted in the character of Yahweh. As it was his internal reality was externally visible for time and eternity. As Francis Frangipane has put it.

“It is not hard to recognize one who has spent extended time at a newsstand: his conversation overflows with the drama of current affairs. And it is not hard to discern a person who has come from a sporting event, as their face reveals the outcome of the game. Likewise, people can tell when an individual has spent extended time seeking God. An imperturbable calm guards their heart, and their countenance is radiant with light, as with the morning dew of Heaven.”

What are we reflecting to others?

The Hidden Person of the Heart Part 2

Have you ever considered what your heart is? Obviously I am not talking about the physical organ. However, our physical heart is reflective of spiritual realities. We can live without some organs; one kidney, no gall bladder, an amputated limb or other things, we can’t live without our heart. It is meant to be reflective of spiritual reality and just as Eden was, is a garden that needs to be cultivated. Consider some things the scriptures say about our heart.

Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Prov. 4:23 (NKJV) Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Matt. 5:8 (NKJV) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt. 6:21 (NKJV) Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. Matt. 12:34-35 (NKJV)

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12  Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13  But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14  Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15  But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. Lk. 8:11-15 (NKJV)

There is a lot in the verses above. The first injunction from Proverbs is to keep or guard our hearts. Secondly Jesus tells us that seeing Him is connected to purity of heart. Next Jesus tells us that what comes out of our mouth is reflective of what we have cultivated in our hearts. Lastly, we find in the parable of the sower that what we produce comes from our hearts and is dependent on the condition of the soil (our heart) that receives the word. The conclusion being that if we are not producing the crop that we desire in our lives we may need to check the condition of our soil (heart).

Have we allowed the soil to become hard through lack of use? Have we allowed weeds like anger, bitterness, apathy or lust to take root and grow? (For a fuller list of some weeds see Romans 1:28-31, Galatians 5:19-21 and Colossians 3:5-9). Have we sufficiently watered the soil with worship so that it is prepared to receive new seed from His word? Have we exposed the soil to the light of His presence?

If we have watered and prepared the soil of our hearts the main issue is the removal of weeds. In my own experience I am effective in weed removal when I practice keeping my heart attuned to His presence and purpose during the day. Many things seek to draw my heart away and many still do, yet when I consciously choose to set my heart upon Jesus weeds are removed and the light of His presence breaks afresh upon my heart.

Happy sowing and weeding.

The Hidden Person of the Heart Part 1

In both our current church and secular cultures we tend to focus on outward manifestations and experiences. To what end? Why not give more attention to internal realities? Consider the importance of Peter’s instruction below.

3  Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – 4  rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Pet. 3:4 (NKJV)

While the focus of Peter’s instruction is to wives in relationship to their husbands, the wise will discern that this instruction applies to all of us. Why? Simply because Peter is highlighting the importance of inward realities. Jesus said the same thing when He told His first century hearers, and by extension us,

33  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matt. 6:33 (NKJV)

So how much time do we spend developing our inner man and what process do we use? Why is it important? I think the answer to the questions I have posed are;

  • Daily,
  • We need to spend focused time drawing near to His presence, and
  • We are called to be changed from ‘glory to glory’ (what we carry from time into eternity is the character of Jesus that has been formed in us in our life on earth).

Paul prayed that the Ephesians would experience inner transformation and the prayer is applicable to all believers today. We have the same need.

16  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17  that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, Eph. 3:16-17 (NKJV)

How does this happen? Think about seeing a beautiful sunset, a painting or some other piece of art that seems to arrest your heart. Why does it do that? It resonates with something in our hearts, we are drawn to it. Are we drawn to Jesus presence in the same way? If not can we be?

We can. Part of the process is joining in Paul’s prayer above, another part is choosing to just focus on and sit with Him. We will find our hearts regularly drawn to Jesus. After all, in the midst of a very busy life as administrator of a kingdom David expressed it this way.

4  One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. Psalm 27:4 (NKJV)

In the midst of his very demanding life how did he arrive at this point? He answered that question for us. He prized Yahweh’s presence over convenience.

8  When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8 (NKJV)

Let us respond when He calls.

NOTE – a small book (12 pages) that is very helpful in this regard is an old one called The Changed Life by Henry Drummond. If any of you are interested please send me an email and I will email you a Word version.

Pursuing His Presence Part 5

I want to further pursue understanding our gifts and callings. There are some different gift lists in the New Testament.

4  For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5  so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7  or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8  he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:4-8 (NKJV)

6  And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8  for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10  to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:6-11 (NKJV)

11  And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12  for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, Ephesians 4:11-12 (NKJV)

10  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11  If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NKJV)

There are a few things to consider here. Generally the five-fold ministries listed in Ephesians 4 are viewed as leadership roles in the church while the gifts in Romans 12 are viewed as motivational, our natural bent. Another piece is that the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 support the callings in Romans and Ephesians. For example, if someone has a prophetic bent or calling they tend to function in the revelatory gifts from 1 Corinthians 12 such as words of wisdom, words of knowledge and the discerning of spirits. These gifts support a prophetic ministry or bent, though they are not exclusive to the prophetic.

As a side note, while many want to view prophesying as preaching, the language used in 1 Corinthians 12 does not allow for it. The Greek word used to refer to spontaneously speaking in tongues is the same word use to refer to prophesying. It is God’s mind in the moment not a planned or prepared sermon that is the fruit of study and research. I am not disparaging these things as what I have just shared is the result of my research. I am simply calling for an accurate application of the scriptures.

The last point to be made here is that Peter says all of these gifts are to be stewarded by the recipient for the glory of God. To that end I encourage you to join me in some things I regularly pray for from a corporate or church body perspective. The supporting scriptures follow each prayer point.

O Holy Spirit

  • Open our understanding, establish our hearts in a flow of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Yourself; enlighten our hearts to see in the spirit, bear Your burdens and discern in love.  Eph. 1:17, Phil. 1:9-11, Col. 1:9-11
  • Release grace and supplication as You intercede in and through us to bring about Your strategic and corporate purposes in the earth. Zech. 12:10, Rom. 8:26, Eph. 6:18
  • Draw our hearts into intimacy and intercession throughout the day, unveil Your divine strategy to make us effective in the demonstration of Your kingdom. Eph. 6:18, 1 Thess. 5:17
  • Release Your fiery grace and the passion and interchange within the Godhead deeply into our hearts – impart a deep, pure and abiding passion for Jesus. Shepherd our hearts into abiding in You. Ezek. 8:2-4, 2 Tim. 2:1, Acts 2:2-4, Jn. 15:7-8
  • Reveal Jesus in His passion, zeal, wisdom, power and purity – to humble us and establish our hearts in Your graciousness, dignity and strength. Phil. 1:9-11, Col. 3:16, Rev. 1:12-16
  • Awaken our hearts, stir up and release the gifts You have placed within us. Awaken within us a passion to fulfill the purposes You have called us to through Your word. Col. 4:17, 1 Tim. 1:18, 4:14-16, 2 Tim. 1:6, 2:1, 4:5

Pursuing His Presence Part 4

I ended my last post saying, “Do we see our purpose and calling in His Word? It is there.” So how do we find it? I love spending time in the mountains and woods and have many times been far from anywhere. In the forest it is easy to walk in roundabout ways and think you are covering a great distance, which you may be, and yet not really go very far because you are not taking a direct route. It is the nature of hills, valleys and trees. Something that can help is a compass, yet I have rarely used one, what I look for is a reference point I can line up or connect with.

So, what is our reference point to identify our calling in the scriptures? How do we know we are responding to His call on our lives? One reference point is understanding the inextricable link between gifts and calling.

29  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Rom. 11:29 (NKJV)

While this verse is about the calling of Yahweh on the nation of Israel, the broader principle is that gifts and callings go together. The Holy Spirit releases gifts in our lives that support our calling. If we look at our natural bent and inclinations we can better identify our calling. If I use my own life as an example, I struggle not to teach but don’t at times because much of it can be unwanted advice, or be rooted in judgment, the dangerous potential downside of a teaching gift. At the same time I constantly see opportunities to help or do things in different ways. I also have a seeming built in desire to help and encourage others, often through prayer ministry. Gifts that operates in my life to support that calling are words of knowledge and words of wisdom (1 Cor. 12:8). In this case I prayed for the release of these gifts, and still do, because I wanted to help others.

If we want to understand our calling we need to only look at where our hearts are drawn. At the same time we will also go through challenges, struggles and failures in the process. That is pretty much guaranteed. There is an old adage in football, ‘keep falling forward.’ The idea is that every time you are tackled and brought to the ground if you fall forward, over the course of the game it can make the difference between winning and losing.

So did Peter, Andrew, James and John know what they were getting into when Jesus asked them to follow Him and become fishers of men? Did they fall forward? Peter is famous for his failures and we can perhaps learn as much or more from his failures as from his successes.

Did Peter fully understand his calling? The plain answer is no, just as many of us struggle to understand our callings. One thing that causes much unnecessary soul searching is the sermons on how the early disciples just dropped everything and followed Jesus as soon as He called them. These messages are generally based on Matthew 4:17-22 or Mark. 1:14-20 and sometimes the parallel passage in Luke 5:1-11. Now some of Jesus followers did immediately drop everything and follow Him as soon as He called, I am not negating that, what I am challenging is the message that this was the norm. I have heard a few of these sermons and while they are well intentioned they all demonstrate a lack of scriptural knowledge or understanding. Why do I say that?

For one thing, a number of Jesus early followers had already been followers of John the Baptist, they were ripe and ready for Jesus, John had been preparing them (Jn. 1:35-50) and they already knew one another. The events in the first chapter of John happened near Bethabara (Jn. 1:28) not far from Jerusalem and very near to where the Jordan River empties into the Dead Sea. The events in John 1 took place before Jesus called Andrew, Peter, James and John away from their fishing in the Matthew, Mark and Luke passages. This calling took place in northern Israel on the Sea of Galilee, which is where Peter, James, John, Andrew and Phillip were from. Peter, Andrew and Phillip, and likely James and John, were from Bethsaida on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee (Jn. 1:44).

So we don’t need to lose heart if we don’t fully respond to Jesus the first time in everything. We also don’t need to lost heart if we don’t fully understand our calling. Our primary calling is to follow Him. None of these men knew they were going to be the apostles of the early church. They knew they needed to follow the calling of their hearts to follow Jesus. When we do that the other parts emerge over time if we keep falling forward. Only Jesus ever fully fulfilled His calling. Peter failed many times, Paul had to publicly rebuke him (Gal. 2:11-21). Paul missed it and said Satan hindered him (1 Thess.2:18). He also spent time trying to go places the Holy Spirit didn’t want he and his team to go (Acts 16:6-10).

My point, we can discern our general purpose and calling by following where He is leading our hearts. We know He has called all of us to share the gospel and disciple others (Matt. 28:18-20). We will do this to varying degrees but we all have it as part of our calling. Some will pair this calling with a teaching gift, some with an evangelistic gift, some with a gift of helps or others. The Great Commission isn’t for all of us to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers. It is a call to be faithful with what He has given us.

Finally, part of a prayer document I developed over the years includes this regular prayer of mine, “Father, I ask for continual growth in openness and sensitivity to the realm of Your Spirit and an awareness of my place, purpose and destiny in You (Eph. 1:17-23, 1 Jn. 2:20, 27).”

I encourage you to join me in this prayer and to pursue walking with Him each day.

Pursuing His Presence Part 3

Having spent the last two posts looking at what is in the Word I now want to look at how some key figures in scripture lived out of and by the Word. What do Josiah and John the Baptist have in common? They both saw themselves in the scriptures.

We will start with John since he is so familiar to the church. The verse below was quoted a number of times in the New Testament.

3  The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.” Is. 40:3 (NKJV)

This verse is part of a longer passage where Isaiah begins to speak comfort to Israel and prophesies a future hope.

The Gospel writers, Matthew (3:3), Mark (1:3) and Luke 3:4-6) all speak to this after the fact and reference John’s ministry as the fulfillment of what Isaiah prophesied. What is more interesting in John is that when asked who he was John the Baptist answered.

23  He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the LORD,” ’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” Jn. 1:23 (NKJV)

John embraced the scriptures as a heart level and thus was able to see his own calling and purpose in them.

What of Josiah? Josiah was the greatest reformer and revivalist in the history of the kings of Judah. Jeremiah the prophet extoled Josiah’s virtues (Jer. 22:15) and lamented his death (2 Chron. 35:25). The scriptures provide this testimony.

25  Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him. 2 Kings 23:25 (NKJV) 

Josiah became king at age 8 and became a great reformer at age 26 when the Book of the Law was found in the temple and read to him. Scripture doesn’t tell us what portion of the law of Moses was found or whether there were more than the books of the law. Did Josiah have the following read to him? Is it what launched his great reforms and revivals?

1  And behold, a man of God went from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD, and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. 2  Then he cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, “O altar, altar! Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you.’ ” 1 Kings 13:1-2 (NKJV)

This prophecy was given over 3 centuries before Josiah was born. Was Josiah a passionate fiery reformer because he, like John the Baptist, saw his calling in the scriptures? Do we see our purpose and calling in His Word? It is there.

Pursuing His Presence Part 2

In John 6 Jesus said something very interesting.

63  “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. Jn. 6:63-64 (NKJV)

I want to focus on a couple of things in these verses. The first, it is the Holy Spirit who breathes life into the scriptures that we read. We need to depend on Him not our intellect and understanding. Jesus views them as flesh. The second is that we have the capacity to choose to believe.

With this as a foundation I want to look at another passage.

1  For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2  that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Col. 2:1-3 (NKJV)

There is a lot in these three verses. Key is that all the wisdom and knowledge we need are contained in the Father and in Jesus. So how do we access this wisdom and knowledge? Paul, like Jesus, tells us it is by the Spirit.

9  But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10  But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 1 Cor. 2:9-10 (NKJV)

In the two verses above Paul’s echoes what Jesus taught in John 6. The deep things of God are revealed to us by the Spirit, not by our own understanding or reasoning. That is not to say we don’t use our understanding and reason, we just need to learn how to submit them to the Holy Spirit. Have you ever had the experience of reading a verse many times on many occasions, then one day you see and it comes alive? That is what Paul is referring to.

We use our reason and understanding to read the word and understand the context but for it to become life in us we must embrace it with our hearts Rom. 10:9). When our heart embraces His word the Holy Spirit breathes upon it and releases life in us. That is why Solomon wrote,

5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Prov. 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Where are we leaning?

Pursuing His Presence Part 1

Identity Theft

In recent years Identity Theft has been a growing concern in western society. Yet if we look at church history Identity Theft has long been a major issue with significant impacts. Paul addressed this in Colossians 2.

9  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10  and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Col. 2:9-10 (NKJV) 

Paul’s point here and many other places is that as Christians our identity should be found in Jesus. Anytime our identity is found in something other than Jesus we know we are to some extent missing the mark. We know we truly understand our completeness in Him when it leads to humility and understanding we are complete in Him not because we are worthy but because He is faithful and glorious.

What are the implications of seeing ourselves complete in Him? What is the power of this one sentence? Think about it. If we are complete in Him then our identity and sense of status is not in our position, our intellect, our physical features, our income, our marital status, our social status, or our possessions. I could go on but my point is that great transformation that can come in our lives simply from reflecting on two short verses of scripture.

What do these verses tell us? The whole of the Godhead, Father, Son and Spirit are embodied in Jesus. If we want to understand the Father, He is revealed in Jesus. If we want to understand the Spirit, He is revealed in Jesus. If we want to understand what His goal is for our lives, it is revealed in Jesus.

What else to do know from these two verses? As the Head of all principalities and powers Jesus has authority over all the power of the enemy that seeks to undermine and destroy our lives. As we rest in our identity in Him we know that final victory is assured. So, take some time and rest in this small portion of His word and it will lead to encountering His presence and a right identity.