What a good feeling it brings when our fellow humans praise and tell us how good a people we are. Yet, all that is nothing and should remain as nothing till we also hear God’s voice telling us we are His as we walk with Him. His testimony towards us doesn’t just bring good feelings, no, it brings unspeakable joy that has grace to keep us walking with Him to the end Romans 8:16, Hebrews 10:38-39.
The bride of Christ is made up of many individuals (sheep). He walks and speaks with each one of us, confirming we are His. God the Father gave us to him John 10:29. He engages each sheep in discussions about the kingdom of His Father who also is our Father.
Before Jesus’ death and resurrection, His disciples had little or no comprehension of the Kingdom because they only received and understood Him in the flesh Acts 1:6. Earlier, when Jesus transfigured into the dimension of the Kingdom to which He was King, James, John and zealous Peter immediately wanted to start building three booths (what many consider as church today) Mark 9:2-7.
Also, when it was time for Him to go to the cross, die and resurrect so the disciples could start understanding and enjoying the Kingdom, they were rather prepared for fleshly war Luke 22:49-50. Meanwhile, as far as Peter was concerned, this Christian business is fight to finish! So, he decided to take down someone’s ear for starters. It will send the message to the enemies he might have thought. Though Peter may have known Zechariah 4:6 in the Torah, he hadn’t yet experienced it like many of us today who misunderstand Jude 1:3.
Since Christ’s resurrection, no one receives Him after the manner of the flesh again but only after the spirit. After He rose from the grave, He spoke of nothing to His sheep except as it pertained to the Kingdom. No more was He speaking about it in parables but clearly. With Pentecost, His sheep received the indwelling Teacher whose ceaseless work is to teach them “all truth” about the Kingdom, comfort and lead them John 14:17, 16:13.
His post resurrection and Pentecost disciples therefore, are spiritual people blessed to discern the Kingdom 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.
The teaching, comfort, leading and everything else the Holy Spirit does in and through each sheep’s HEART, SOUL and BODY exhibits the Kingdom visibly on the earth Matthew 6:10.
However, God’s instruction in our spirit or heart cannot be obeyed without our mind being renewed. Why? Well, what we have in our soul or mind gets acted out through our body or temple Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 6:19. This is why the greatest commandment captured true worship of God in spirit and truth—thereby encompassing man’s spirit, soul and body 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
Minus anyone of these three realms and immediately you get falsehood and religion instead of relationship.
The Lord of a man’s spirit or heart must be the lord of the man’s soul and body Deuteronomy 6:5, 1 Corinthians 6:20. Therefore, everyone who receives Christ Jesus into his or her heart gives Him their soul and body to reign in. It is for this reason that although we as believers have already given our hearts to Christ, His voice of scriptures still exhort and admonish us to, “Submit to God…” and, to put on Christ James 4:7, Romans 12:1, 13:14.
Those who have not received Christ cannot submit to God. Submitting to God goes beyond keeping laws to obeying Christ’s bidding through the Holy Spirit Revelation 2:29, Philippians 3:9. It is different from being humanitarian, doing loads of good works, going to “church” and being pious etc. Though self-goodness can come out of man, man’s nature is totally corrupt.
Our own righteousness unavoidably stained with serpentine craftiness is like a filthy rag in God’s sight. This truth will keep bewildering the religious world. Self has nothing to offer God because it is deceitful and desperately wicked. It deceives its own self and dishonors its Creator once sufficient allurement is given to its eyes, appetite and ego. For this reason, God’s voice is ever with believers through His word to renew our soul and help us subdue our bodies under Christ through the working of His grace in our hearts.
The Spirit of Christ must reign over the soul else, one will be like a person betrothed but who gives his or her mind and body to another 2 Corinthians 11:2-3.
Peter’s foretaste of the Power of His voice
Peter as a weak mortal man participated in Christ’s divine walk on water and did not sink. How? Because he looked to Jesus and hearkened to His voice. Peter’s spirit, soul and body submitted to God. But, after a while, like Adam and Eve’s experience in God’s garden, this level of loyalty and concentration on Christ was severely challenged, tempted and harassed.
Unfortunately, Peter looked away and immediately started sinking (submitting to Satan). As we hear the Holy Spirit’s voice, God’s grace is sufficient to keep us looking unto Christ and walking with Him Matthew 14:28-31. The grace in Christ’s voice that Peter initially hearkened to helped him look quickly again and he cried out to Christ. Glory to God! And he instantly started to have dominion over the water’s waves. Amen!
The light that proceeds from Christ’s voice gives dominion to anyone looking unto Him. Consequently, His light moves the weak and broken from one dimension of glory to many realms of glory in Him.
Dominion by looking and hearing Christ
No matter how perplexed and struck down a believer in Christ gets, the privilege to hear and listen to Christ has power to change the situation Psalm 29:3-9. It delivers from every manner of evil and attacks: materialism, spiritual and physical laziness, gluttony, pornography, paedophilia, homosexuality, hatred, slander, fornication, adultery, spirit of pre-eminence, persecution, witchcraft, fear of death etc. How can it not be so, when grace upon grace has been given to the new creation helping her look to Christ Jesus who had victory over all iniquity!
Dear reader, this world we live in is sinking and decaying. However, there is Christ’s voice of instruction that can save us though there is also Satan’s voice fast wanting to align us with the decay.
Which of the voices are we listening to, Christ or Satan? The latter will lead to fear, sinking and death. Hence, we must encourage ourselves to look and listen only to Christ by the Holy Spirit’s voice because it leads to right-conduct (righteousness), repentance, peace, boldness, joy and life eternal.
He that truly believes (looks and Hearkens) to Christ Jesus’s voice will never perish.
Jesus said to the people, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘a shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens Luke 12:54. While it looked like He was commending their power to forecast rightly, He hit them hard unreservedly—without respect for political correctness in verse 55 “You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”
For Jesus, the important thing that generation should have discerned was the “present time”, season or situation they were in. We in this present generation also need to learn a lesson in this matter of discerning the “present time” and not be deceived into inventing liturgies to suit man’s ever evolving and unstable culture. What exactly did Jesus mean by the phrase “present time” in verse 54 of Luke 12?
The parable of the “fig tree planted in a man’s vineyard” as told by Jesus in Luke 13:6 can help us understand His usage of the phrase “present time”. In this parable, it is said, that the “man came or visited” (which is an indication of present time) later described clearly in the passage as a “three years” visiting time verse 7 and, a “one year” that will culminate to a pleasant or wrathful visitation verse 8 Luke 13:7-8.
The purpose of the vineyard owner’s visitations for three years (present time) was clearly defined. It was to reap fruit from the fig tree verse 7. Hence, what was and still is paramount is the fig tree knowing or discerning its state and cooperating with the Gardener (Holy Spirit). Rightly forecasting “climate change” is of least importance.
In the Gardener’s reply to Christ, a “one year” period was solicited and scheduled verse 8. This one year “present time” is a time of mercy and grace for the fig tree to engage in repenting and cooperating with the Gardener to please the “owner of the vineyard” by bearing fruit. The privilege of admission into the vineyard must be justified.
Now, the question is this: What will our 21st century generation do with this “present time”? What will you and I do with it? What are the youths being taught to do with this “present time”.
The Gardener’s responsibility is to dig and manure the vineyard and not to force the fig tree in the vineyard to yield fruit. Therefore, He reaffirms to the “vineyard owner” to keep up His responsibility relentlessly verse 8. Nevertheless, the Gardener concludes His speech by saying, “… if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down” verse 9. The lack of presumptuousness on the side of the Gardener is striking! Gentle and unassuming is characteristic of the Gardener. The fig tree of the vineyard can’t be passive as modern “Christian revelatory teachers are selling”.
Paul, like the rest of the apostles, recognized the all important work of the Gardener and the response needed. It inspired His admonition to the saints thus, ‘Do not grieve the Spirit but rather cooperate with Him’ Ephesians 4:30. The redemption of saints is nearer than ever before and it is tied to the work of the Gardener. Therefore, any predicting of the future, and analysis of present world events that does not culminate to this one thing—that is, cooperating with the Holy Spirit “in this one year season” is merely being religious, a waste of time and energy or life.
Hence, in Ephesians 5: 15-16, saints are both exhorted and admonished thus; “… be careful to live your life wisely, not foolishly. Take advantage of every opportunity because these are evil times”.
On the one hand, it is evil times because the “vineyard owner” is ready to cut down the fig tree if it does not bear fruit and on the other hand, Satan is at his best with deception to discourage the fig tree from cooperating with the vineyard Dresser or Gardener. As a fig tree, check out what comes out from you when you fail to submit to God (cooperate with the Gardener) and restrain or resist the evil one. The Church restrains evil and the evil one victoriously only through the Gardener’s work in and through her Zechariah 4:6. This re-emphasizes the indispensable place of the Gardener in the vineyard.
Therefore, the heavens, world events, earth and the sky that man is so good in predicting are joined together in pleading with those without Christ in this age and to the saints: Yield to the Gardener—that is, choose life and if you have already done so, then, live the abundant life in this age at this “present time” John 10:10. But to disobey Him persistently is choosing death and the wrath of God. What is God’s advice to us in all of this?
His advice is this: Now, (signifying chance for a fresh start) “… choose life—so that you and your descendants will live—by loving the Lord your God, by obeying his voice, and by clinging to him. That’s how you will survive and live long on the fertile land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors: to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Verse 19-20 of Deuteronomy Chapter 30 (CEB).
This fertile land has a character of flowing with milk and honey! And it has a mystery too—which is this: Its maker and builder is the Architect of the universe, Christ Jesus Himself. The one to who all spirits in heaven, on earth and beneath the earth are subject to. And to whom all glories belong, the Head of the Church of the Living God, Father of all creation. He is speaking about this “present time”. Let all who have ears listen—listen to what the Spirit is saying. Within the period of the “one year” of Christ’s visitation, it can happen that we leave this world into His pleasant or wrathful presence. Therefore, man ought not to boast of tomorrow. Today is the best to bear fruit unto God.
This “present time” is a “one year” (not literal one year) of friendship with the Gardener who leads us into all the mind of Christ and participation in Christ’s suffering—in the face of multi-dimensional battles. It is a great call to perseverance and humbleness. It is a time of friendship with the One who leads us to fruitfulness and resounding victory.
Our fellowship with one another or together is as a consequence of our first or primary fellowship with God through Christ by the Holy Spirit. This sequence is ordained by God because He seeks to accomplish in our fellowship one with another that which is impossible without Christ. In other words, there is a fellowship with one another that is achievable without Christ Jesus.
So, a fine relationship or fellowship can exist between friends, marriages, parents and children, unions, communities, religions and countries without it being the kind God seeks or the type that Jesus Christ prayed to His Father about on behalf of His body on the earth in John 17. It is insightful that He prayed to this effect before He returned to His former glory which He laid down in order to found His Kingdom in the earth.
It remains a fact that through leadership skills, rules and regulations, justices, fear of the consequences of breaching governmental laws, zeal to attain ambitions etc the world may have fellowship or live in harmony (the tower of Babel comes to mind Genesis 11).
The saints are exhorted in the bible to pray ‘for kings and those in authority—so that we may live harmonious lives’ 1 Timothy 2:2. God’s intention through the prayers is to save those who have not received His Son, Christ Jesus—the only way to eternal life. The “harmonious living” which some people who reject and mock the return of Christ may enjoy differs from the “peaceful lives” marked by a pure and blameless call on the body of Christ 2 Peter 3: 3, 14.
The importance of the above is this; we who claim to be born again by and into the Spirit of Christ need to soberly examine what we are fervently building as fellowship on the earth today. We need to see through the eyes of the scriptures by the Holy Spirit if indeed we’re part of and participating as precious stones in the ongoing temple Christ is building through His ceaseless intercession in heaven Matthew 16:18, Romans 8:34.
What about the churches— that is, the gatherings, assemblies or fellowships of those professing Christ? Though this may alarm many people, the truth is that the churches are not the body of Christ. Please calm down! Read on and judge what is written by scriptures like the Bereans Acts 17:11.
The ekklesia popularly referenced as the Church or saints not churches is the body of Christ Ephesians 1:1, 22-23. In I Corinthians 11:16 Paul said, “…nor do the churches of God”. Here, the word is not just churches but the “churches of God”.
To understand Paul’s usage of the term “churches of God”, we have to read 1 Corinthians 11: 17-19 in which he indicates that he was writing to the church. It is on this ground that what Paul wrote then is seen as written also to all believers in all of the church ages which includes us today.
Without neglecting to be contextual, we also notice that in mentioning their specific bad manners with regards to the Lord’s Table and the factiousness, Paul was addressing it as a thing that will keep authenticating “the church” as different from those just professing Christ within the Churches.
In 1 Corinthians 11:22, Paul uses the term “the Church of God” as referring to Christ’s body. And scriptures clearly state that the body of Christ is one though made up of many individual parts not corporate parts 1 Corinthians 12:12, Hebrews 6:11.
The emphasis being; in the churches scattered all over the world, individuals within each of the churches that have received and are abiding in the Spirit of Christ, form His one body as lively stones being built up as one spiritual temple 1 Peter 2:5. So, Christ’s body does not have types e.g., evangelical, charismatic, reformed, multicultural, institutional or house churches etc.
Truly, no one has ever been or will ever be a part of the body of Christ because they belong to any of the churches no matter how well the churches presume to fair in Christ.
Paul the apostle therefore says, “But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval will be recognized!” 1 Corinthians 11:18-20. That is, “you” (who are part of His body) approved of God as genuine may be manifest—a manifestation which even creation longs to know—that is, His body, the sons of God or the “church” (not churches) of the living God Romans 8:19, 1 Timothy 3:15.
God has but one church or body of which there are no grades! Her individual parts are functioning differently for one purpose and one crown not many crowns. Each individual receives a crown equal in every way as it fulfils that which God had assigned Matthew 20.
While the individual parts that constitute the “one church” Ephesians 4:4 are still clothed with mortal bodies, our comprehension of crown and rewards is affected Ephesians 1:18. The perception of a lesser crown is mere thinking. Because all the crowns constitute one crown, no one will regret not doing enough that could have enabled them receive a better or more glorious crown. Christ is the reward awaiting the saints in all her sufferings! Hopefully, that means more than enough for us!
Let’s beware of the mentality of the elder brother of the repented prodigal son. Matthew 25:30 sheds spiritual light on Matthew 25: 24-29, indicating that the talent is not skills but the redemption (Christ) God has given to us.
Think about it, God will not throw anyone into outer darkness because he or she did not use their skills. Unequivocally, the passage is actually speaking about the foolishness of burying, trampling under feet or crucifying Christ the second time Hebrews 6:6, 10:29.
The incentive to continue to abide in Christ, in His commandments by faith working through grace in our inner most being is not to get a better crown but to be redeemed to the utmost. This is the reason to submit to God, one another and resist the devil. It is not to win applause in heaven and receive a more superior crown than the others who are also redeemed.
The prize, reward or crown is Christ Jesus whom we have and will have!! For His sake and through Him, we are to continue laying down our lives that His glorious life might crown His temple for all eternity 2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4, Revelation 2:10, 3:11 “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown”.
Notice! We already have the crown. Treasure Him that no man seduce or lead you away from Him 2 Corinthians 11:3.
Rather, through Christ by the Holy Spirit’s power we are to individually grow in our fellowship with God and one another or together in the one faith, love and hope. At the consummation of all things, God himself shall be our exceeding reward Genesis 15:1NIV.
This article is geared towards encouraging you and me to submit to be led by God. It’s what our faith in Christ Jesus entails inevitably.
The perverseness of Samuels’s sons revealed the distaste Israel had over God leading their lives 1 Samuel 8:1-9. Once the opportunity presented itself, Israel used it as a ploy to demand for a king as opposed to judges. Despite the Prophet’s warning, they insisted on having a king and appeared better off than when God was their King who led them. This became the start of Human kings reigning over Israel (the people of God). They now felt like other nations whose lives were not governed by God!
But in actuality both spiritual and temporal, Israel was far better off being led by the King, the God of their forefathers. They eventually learnt in hard ways that they were better off being led by God even though it necessitated them hearing His voice that they dreaded so much because of its correcting and purifying effect.
As Christians today, learning to be led by God as our King is fraught with many “risks”, so to speak. There is the perplexities, pains, wilderness etc and as such, the temptation is to ask for kings we can see and touch (persons we can blame when things go pear shaped or praised when the outcome is fine). As a result, we always have people to accuse and punish or give the glory which is duly due to God. This accounts for why what we can see and touch is always easier for mere humans to handle but it shouldn’t be so for the spiritual people of God. For, it is given to us to understand the things of God and walk in it with Him. Once we start being led by Him, to settle for anything less becomes suicide.
So, why are an overwhelming number of us Christians more comfortable with being led by kings today as opposed to Romans 8:14? This anomaly has created an ever increasing ambition for the position of kingship (nicknamed various religious titles) serving as a source of sophisticated, subtle and deadly power tussles in the churches.
“Mere men’s” affairs! Who is the greatest?! This problem was seen among Jesus’ disciples when they had not known Him after the manner of the spirit but only according to the flesh Matthew 18:1, 1 Corinthians 3:3-4. After Christ’ resurrection and Him indwelling them by the Holy Spirit, that carnal mindedness was renewed. And, so it is today with all who truly come to know Christ Jesus in spirit and truth.
Like Israel of old that appeared to have direction and respect resulting from having kings, we too assume the same will be true of us. In all sincerity, though deceptive, those being led today by “good and smart leaders (kings)” seem to make better and steady progress so long as they continue to be led. When one leader is out, they must move to another leader who serves as their guide and protector. Obviously, the benefits are huge—riding on the back of or, progressing based on the good will of the kings.
Unfortunately, this kind of progress is not exactly the same as making progress in learning to walk in and with the King of kings and Lord of lords, our savior, Christ Jesus.
To make progress in God through the Holy Spirit calls for faith, grace, and patience—this comes only by the increasing knowledge of Jesus Christ in our daily walk with Him 2 Peter 1:2, 3:18. If I may quote George H. Warnock and T. Austin-Sparks, ‘increase in the knowledge of Christ is utterly practical’.
Paul the apostle calls it “your moderation or reasonableness”. The exhortation is for us to read through the scriptures, praying as we confront our daily situations through the Holy Spirit’s instructions Isaiah 30:21, John 10:27. By taking one step at His instruction, the knowledge of Christ is gained. By continually keeping in step in this manner there is movement in the knowledge and glory of Christ attended by stability in His peace that passes all understanding 1Peter 2:21KJV, Galatians 5:25, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Philippians 4:5-7.
God has designed that through many trials and tribulations; the straight and narrow way should be walked and finished well by keeping this mind of Christ under all circumstances Philippians 4:8.
No shortcuts or hop, skip and jump! It is precept upon precept—meaning, step by step even if it is quick paced. The glory from this kind of progress can only be ascribed to the Spirit at work in and with the believer in Christ. This is why it is hugely accompanied with a repentant lifestyle (fruit of the spirit)
Note it is not “fruits but fruit” because it is being produced by the one spirit that indwells all true believers and all the fruit is one or, summed up as one (love). It is not surprising then that there are many progresses that are not progress in love but in fig leaves Matthew 21:19. This deception of fig leaves and its doom is what God is saving us from by leading us—even taking us through Jordan’s thickets and the valley of Baca Psalm 84.
Truly, by faith, with the hope that does not make ashamed, we must appear before the presence of God with love (Christ) 1 Cor 13:13. Nothing less will do. Therefore, even in the face of enormous wickedness rampaging both in the world and churches, we must submit to be led by God in Christ’s footsteps through the Holy Spirit’s power to the end Psalm 23:2, James 4:7.
If there be truth and light in this meditation, may the Holy Spirit help cause it to burn in our hearts and give us even richer truth and light to bless others.
The book of Revelation in the Bible speaks of the past, present and future in one breath making it difficult to comprehend. Selah! While all the books of the bible are inspired by God, pains were taken to notify whoever reads Revelation that it was written inspirationally—that John, who was already a Christian (had the spirit of Christ), was caught up in the Spirit to be able to receive the words of this book Revelation 1:10. This is interesting!
How anyone not caught up in the spirit can understand the book of Revelation is unimaginable. The writer was a Christian as we are today. He was lifted up in the Spirit to write to as many as would be lifted up in the spirit (those who were Christians and those who will become Christians).
Before Christ’s resurrection and the out pouring of the Holy Spirit (Whom John was lifted up in on the Lord’s day), Jesus’ disciples did not know where they were coming from, where they were or where they were going as can be clearly seen in the canonical gospels. Though they were with Christ Jesus physically and heard the sound of His voice, they hardly ever understood what He was telling them. Jesus declared that Peter’s accurate confession of Him as the Son of God was because Peter was lifted up in the Spirit at that moment Matthew 16:17.
The book of Revelation as well as the rest of the 65 books of the Bible is truly an interesting gift from God. It carries three dimensional blessings. A blessing for just reading it, blessing for listening to its prophesy and finally, another blessing for obeying what is written in it—that is, what Christ says Revelation 1:3 KJV. In reading Him, a measure of power and faith is imparted, in listening to Him another measure and in obeying Him, yet a fuller measure is imputed to the bride to finish the course.
He that obeys Him gets more grace to obey Him the more while the disobedient lose even that measure given James 1:22. He who buries the grace of God loses out completely while those who honor Him by using the grace given get imparted with more grace.
Obedience to what is written or what He says leads to an increasing knowledge of what He wants both doctrinally and in practice John 7:17. To this intent and purpose, He invites us to buy the wine and milk (oil) without money that above all other purposes our lives may be sweetened or our light may continually burn!
So the book of Revelation is saying, darkness and night has been increasing and will yet increase. Therefore it is encouraging this one purpose above all other purposes that we “let our light shine, let it burn”, drink the oil– it is without cost—it is paid for. Let nothing else occupy or consume our minds other than the oil. The key being, you, let the grace of God in you burn and give out the light. Don’t neglect to use the oil or use it unwisely which leads to burn-out which can be avoided Matthew 25:9. The five wise virgins knew they did not have inexhaustible oil. So in truthfulness and compassion, they kindly advised those that needed oil to go buy though it became too late for them Matt 25:10, Ecclesiastes 3:1.
The grace of God as oil is raining on the earth, whoever will stand under its rain by faith and be soaked will be saved. Now is the time—which is the message of the book of Revelation. The sin the world needs to repent of is their rejection of Christ Jesus, the grace and oil of God.
And for those engrafted into the commonwealth of Israel (born again), we need to repent of all iniquities by retaining the fire of our first love for Christ not just doing good deeds. Can we have the Spirit of Christ, good deeds and yet, shrink back from loving His Spirit? Yes!
According to the book of Revelation, despite the commendations from God about the good deeds of the Ephesians church Revelation 2: 2-3, 2: 6, they had backslidden from their first love for the Holy Spirit Revelation 2:4. This should not be confusing because all of their mentioned good deeds can be found with “some good people” who do not have the Spirit of Christ and the fire of love for the Spirit in their heart and soul. In other words, there are hardly any good deeds Christians can engage in—in this life that some natural good people don’t do. This is why the difference between the body of Christ on the earth and those outside His body is the possession of His Spirit and an unrelenting love for His Spirit. So, one can have the Spirit of Christ but begin to relent or withhold loving the Spirit. And God does not take it kindly Revelation 2:4-5.
Therefore, we are called upon to measure our oil and not presume. Presuming caused the foolish virgins irreparable loss Matthew 25:10. This calls for a humility that eradicates laziness—buy when the oil is low and patiently wait on God all the time. There is a sudden mercy and graces as it were that lifts us up in the Spirit as we practice obedience and waiting on the Lord on the Lord’s Day (everyday) —though we are in the spirit. Amen!
God is eager to help all of those who have the Spirit of His Son in every way spiritual and temporal. This is why, the past, present and future has always belonged to the sons of God.
If you are yet to receive the Spirit of Christ, know assuredly that you are the reason He was born, died and resurrected—receive Him today into your heart. Gain life in Him, in Him alone!
And “If”, we have the Spirit of Christ Jesus, let us walk with Him as He walks with us daily. For most assuredly, the past, present and future was and is designed for our salvation to the utmost.
All knowledge both temporal and spiritual has something inherent in it to catalyst pride. Despite this truth, God still gives both temporal and spiritual knowledge to man. Through His gift of temporal knowledge, man has discovered and invented a lot of temporal things that help us live well while we are on the earth. Man owes thanks to God; may He be praised in all the earth!
God has distributed temporal knowledge to all men such that, no one man has better knowledge of all the temporal things more than anyone else. A professor of aeronautic engineering or law may have less knowledge and be lectured about fishing, farming or hunting by persons skilled in such fields. All humans have areas they are illiterate. This is meant to curtail pride in man. But does it? No, not in this fallen world we live in where the fittest set the norms, ethos and structure such to benefit them.
As a result, man considers that some things are superior and more valuable than others. This factor accentuates pride in man and makes God’s intent of equality enshrined in complementation a strange and difficult concept for man to comprehend. The difficulty is not limited to temporal knowledge but is the same also with His gift of spiritual knowledge. This assertion is authenticated as we read in the scriptures, “… even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud” 2 Corinthians 12:7NLT.
For Christians, we learn from Christ’s dealings in Paul’s life that, we need to be humble and God’s ways are mysteriously active to so help us. It is important to point out that the situation was not unique to Paul. It is an ordination for all who will inherit eternal life through Christ and in Christ. Therefore, we like Paul and other saints of God, must face contradictions, perplexities, crushing etc and meet it all with patient endurance or perseverance. That is what His grace is supplied for. And, that is the only way we will glory with Him—through His grace in overcoming by faith and patience like other saints who have gone to be with Him. Faith and patience are the only evidence that God is and is becoming Lord over our spirit, soul and body. The result is ultimately a humble walk with God and men. The person(s) in whom God has worked and is walking through their spirit, soul and body has/have become a highway of God’s city.
Those who increase in God’s knowledge must be prepared to increase in His dealings unless we want to end up like Demas, Judas, the Pharisees, the widows that strayed after Satan 1 Timothy 5:15 etc.
While there is joy to enjoy as we increase in the knowledge of God, there are pains to bear, one’s weaknesses to discover and overcome, ambush to overcome, betrayals, insults, accusations and crafty and diabolical lies told against us that must be ignored—all for Christ’s sake—and for the glory that is in Him.
Therefore, our admonition is, ‘if we want to glory, boast or be proud, let it be only in the cross of Christ. Showing we have tasted bitter waters and He made it sweet in our bellies (souls). And we have His mark in our bodies’. Galatians 6:14. That is maturity!
Maturity is not assumption. It is not by popular opinion held about us that we are a loving, humble and good people and therefore, are accepted, loved, supported, given opportunities and positions. It is rather, having the signs of His mark in our bodies.
Signs of His Mark: Soul and Hand
We don’t speak when He doesn’t want us to speak though it may portray us as idiotic, senseless, unwise and lacking understanding, dumb, fearful and weak.
We speak when He wants us to though it makes us appear stupid, trouble makers, unwise and assumed arrogant.
We endure rather than act when He wants us to endure though everyone or almost everyone thinks it is time to act and vice versa
We lose when He says, “lose” though it may show us as utterly irresponsible and lazy
We fight with no restraint or care for our lives when He says, “fight” the course though it may confirm us as indeed stubborn, divisive, individualist, proud, unwise, suicidal and ungodly.
We stand up straight again after even the devil knocks us down and refuse to be consumed or discouraged by what people and devils think
We grow in leaps and bounds in spirit and truth giving us a steady lifestyle of glorifying Christ both in abounding and debasing situations though many people dream otherwise for us.
We leave “this and that opportunity” when God says so though, it may make one seem dull, not able to detect and seize opportunities.
All knowledge (spiritual and temporal) has the potential to puff up but, maturity humbles. Though increased knowledge is not maturity, maturity is not without increase in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ that gives increase in grace.
The five wise virgins—that is, the sons of God brought to glory by Christ, knew the difference between having knowledge and maturity. So, their actions appeared “wicked, unloving, and not humble” so to speak when they refused to share their oil with the five foolish virgins Matthew 25:7-9. Knowing when to apply knowledge is maturity. They did not allow the knowledge of, “It is written give to everyone who asks of you” to be used to confuse them from obeying the voice of the Spirit. Saleh!
Maturity reminded them that they did not have enough to spare. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” Romans 8:14.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.