“Every human life is equally valued and represented in Christ. He gives context and reference to our being as in a mirror; not as an example for us, but of us.” Every since I read this quote by Francois du Toit I have had to reevaluate the way I look at things in my relationship with God. I have really been blessed in that I have had the privilege this past year of doing nothing other than studying the Word and listening to others. Thankfully this path started out in a message of grace and God’s unconditional love, which I have come to realize that is the only way love can truly exist or it is a counterfeit. In retrospect month after month the revelation that God really loves me and there are no strings attached has continued to grow and now after 14 months of experiencing this growth I finally think that my heart has been prepared to not only hear but to start believing the truth. It seems like it has either taken this long to finally hear something that caused a paradigm shift in what I thought or that my heart was finally softened to be able to agree with what my mind and ears were hearing; quite possibly both worlds colliding for just such a time for this.
I can honestly say that in these past 14 months I have spent well over 3,500 hours just reading, praying, and listening to teaching that has helped condition the soil of my heart. In all that time I have learned that God is love, in fact it is the very essence of his existence, and all throughout the bible this love manifests in pointing to his Son Jesus. In these past months the religious theologies and doctrines I grew up with have been challenged, debunked and purged out of my belief system. I would not say 100% of them as there were things that I believed to be true which still remain true and very foundational basic concepts. Occasionally in this process something that I was not aware of still pops up, but in these cases there is not much of a struggle because it was usually hard for me to believe much of the things I had originally learned seeing that it did not bear the fruit of Christ. Yesterday was one of these days, when I read that quote. I had known from reading and hearing that we are complete in Jesus yet even with everything I have come to believe in just being a son, just existing in the way God desires for us to walk for the maximum fulfillment of life, I had not realized I was still trying to become like Jesus. But when I read, “…not as an example for us, but of us.” I had to change my focus and beliefs about myself and just like Adam quit trying to become who I am already.
The first scripture that I thought of when I had this shift was Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” I will not debate this but the simple fact that God predestined us means that it was his will or desire for us and not something where we have no choice in the matter. After Jesus went to the cross everyone from that point going forward became a new creation and here is a simple why. Adam made a choice to try to become like God and in doing so sin entered into the world through his unbelief. I think we are missing something here because even though man could not keep the law for righteous requirements, as Adam instantly proved, we know that is was not impossible to do because Jesus did. My point is that it was not impossible because of the law itself but because of man. With that said now as a new creation the law cannot come into play at all because Jesus removed the law, so if in ignorance we try to fulfill it in some capacity, it has no bearing on our righteousness. We also have a born again spirit. Some debate on when this occurs and personally I think this was a one time event that occurred already at the cross. Personally my opinion, and that is all it is, is that just like being born through the womb in that we had no choice in being born again spiritually we had no choice. Some think that being born again is equated with believing on Jesus for eternal life and no where in scripture does it state that. Jesus said that unless one is born of a woman and Spirit they cannot enter in the kingdom of Heaven and Jesus in fulfilling prophecy made this possible. The reality is though whether it was at the cross or if it occurs when one believes does not matter as long as it did and because until one believes nothing is going to change in their lives anyhow.
O.k. so I know I said a few things on this one scripture but I still did not say why this scripture stood out first. The reason it did is like I said I was inadvertently trying to become like Jesus or as the scripture here says conform to his image, and though this is a way of interpreting this scripture it is correct to say that God designed us to be like his Son, remember we were created in his image and likeness. So we are not becoming like Jesus, we are like Jesus and Jesus made it possible for us to live like him. In this being predestined to conform or as I said designed to be like Jesus, we know Jesus coming was a part of the overall process for us as sons to be able to be who God designed us to be. We know that Jesus played a part in this overall process of mankind’s design because he was the lamb slain from the foundation of this world, meaning that he was to be sacrificed before man was even created. In that Adam failed, because he could fail, Jesus came and by removing sin, fulfilling the law for righteousness and destroying the works of the devil making it impossible for mankind to fail, because our quality of life and our relationship with God have nothing to do with what we can or cannot do but solely on the fact if we believe on Jesus. Our works have no bearing on our identity and the only thing they can do is reflect what we believe to be true in comparison to the truth.
Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” This made me wonder if this great revealing was based on our unbelief in the fulness of our identities. What if I choose to believe and am fully persuaded in my heart that Jesus and I are one in union and walking in that understanding choose to believe that Christ in me is the hope of all glory, the physical manifestation of the goodness of God. Col 1:25 Under these circumstances could this glory that is to be revealed actually reveal itself now and not in some distant time? I guess the point that is so important for me to understand and to make to you is Christ is an example of who we already are and that by simply believing we can allow who we are to surface. We have Jesus as our example, not to become like him by changing what we do, but he is our example of who we already are and has we believe in the truth and walk in it we by default will conform to his image, which is God’s desire for all of us.
Paul said in Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” I have heard many teach on this saying that we can attain three different levels of God’s approval and I never agreed with that, even if they say they are preaching the grace of God. I really believe Paul is trying emphasize the point here in by changing what we believe about ourselves, specifically our identities, so that in simply being who we are created to be we will prove not only to ourselves but to others the entire will of God for our lives. Looking at Jesus we all know he faced persecution and scripture tells us that as believers we will, but this is not supposed to influence our identities and I always see Jesus just being Jesus. He isn’t trying to be a healer as he is healing. He is not trying to be loving as he is love. These are attributes that just because he is in the room they are going to flow out of him and these same attributes along with others are the very essence that make us who we are because we have become one with Jesus. The same Spirit that dwells in Christ dwells in us. 1 Corinthians 6:17 “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
I read some details on the life of John G. Lakes, which probably many of you know who he is, and the one thing I noticed was the transformation in his life over the years in going from one who did not necessarily believe in healing to one who understood that there is no excuse for not being whole. I think this renewing of his mind came about in seeing time after time the finished works of Jesus take effect and manifest in the lives of others regardless of what they believed or where they were at in the circumstances of their lives. There is the reality that Jesus took sin out the equation so the effects of sin have no place manifesting in the life of a believer, but also just as importantly Jesus bore the effects of sin upon himself so that whatever has manifested in the life of anyone, whether they believe or not, has been redeemed in his body broken for us so they are whole. We are God’s only limit because of what we choose to believe. Jesus plainly said that these signs will follow those who believe and just after that the statement was made the scripture continues on by saying that they went forward preaching the Word with signs following. Mark 16:17,20
I wanted to bring this up because as believers we tend to think that because we intellectually accept something as true then we believe it. This is part of the equation but what we believe in our heart is really what matters. If I say that I believe that by Jesus stripes we are healed and I am not walking in total health then I have to humbly accept the fact that my heart is still be persuaded of that fact. Jesus said if we have faith the size of a mustard seed and we say to that mountain move then is will move. Mat 17:20 Point being the evidence of faith is not in commanding the mountain to move but that it went. I also therefore think just as Mr. Lake grew in the revelation that wholeness and life is a part of our identity in Christ we too need to grow in our identities.
It is quite possible that most of us deal with what we call the chicken or the egg debate. We can dwell for eternity on the debate of which came first, though I did find it amusing that a while back I saw something that “scientifically” that had proven the chicken itself did. Anyhow it is quite possible in how we relate to faith that we stumble across a barrier. I am not giving justification to this issue just pointing it out. In many cases we find faith never becomes active in the life of a believer until they see faith in action. And there may be something to this in that this may just be how some people function in their learning. Jesus did several acts of faith before sending out his disciples. There are also a handful of scriptures that basically saying that upon seeing they believed. This does not mean that everyone who sees something will believe it, but that is their choice to make. And in the relationship aspect of things between us and God the sooner one believes the truth the better off they will be because if they have to wait till they see a miracle to believe then they are just existing in life and not living it in the quality that our Father has created for them. Basically no matter how good one who does not believe thinks they have it, it cannot compare to the quality of life we can have from God.
God has designed all things in this world with us in mind so that to whatever measure is possible in its fulness we could continually walk in and experience the goodness of God. I have heard many say that I am just living in a dream looking for some imaginary utopia or Garden of Eden but I know that there is a reason behind all of humanity seeking such things. God designed us to live in an environment like this and as part of our design to exist in a state of just being which is basically a normal life from God’s perspective for us, otherwise why would we all desire something similar. We only seek after something that is lost, and if something was never a part of our life to begin with, that is also not there now, we would never desire to seek it.
In writing this and thinking about the what this means to me I noticed something that stood out. Every time we do the works that Jesus said we would do in His name and not through our effort, it affirms our identity as sons of God. Fruit is produced out of simply being a son and believing on Jesus which continuously grows the bond we have between us and our Father. So everything that manifests as a byproduct in our lives of just being a son of God reinforces our relationship with God and everything we try to do out of our own effort starts tearing down this relationship. When we lay hands on the sick and heal it is a way of receiving affirmation that we are sons. I am not stating that this is the point of healing nor even a desire from God in any way but just stating it as a fact.
Hopefully this has inspired you to think about your life from a different perspective. I know it has caused me to start looking forward in life from a different point of view and caused a new desire for me to clean off the mirror I have of Christ so I can see more and more each day who I am already in his reflection of me.