Sunday, December 2, 2007

Falling Down and Getting Up

When you tell about the life and peace that you have because of the Lord, you gave the word of God. You are standing strong. Full of faith and assurance about God's power towards you. It is the word of heaven. You tell what heaven is producing by the goodness of God. And we love to hear it.

But, how offensive it is to God's enemies that you should declare the goodness of God outloud in the earth. How frustrating that you don't leave off the declaration, even when things happen that seem to steal away the evidence of what you have said.

However, if you cannot be persuaded from your course of speaking, then perhaps you can be persuaded that what happended was from the Lord, or at least allowed by the Lord. Anything to make him seem a little less good. Anything to take away just a little from the glory of his name. God's enemies hate his name.
But, James is quite clear in chapter 1:
12 Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Christ is in us, the hope of glory, and we have already understood that whoever we forgive, he forgives. Therefore, what we allow, he allows. If we enter the direction our lust of the flesh would have us go, then we have allowed the tempter to entice us. And we have that right. The Lord has given us the rights of heaven. We will bear the fruit of the truth that we embrace. Therefore, James continues to warn us about our flesh. Because the Lord of heaven does not change, he cannot be moved from his goodness towards us:

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

The Lord does not change in the outpouring of goodness and gifts upon us. If we sense a change, it has been that we changed direction. This is not the purpose for which he has spoken to us from heaven and drawn us up to be seated with him in heavenly places so that heaven may invade earth. We are to be fruit bearers of the word of his goodness made alive by the Holy Ghost. At no time is it his intention to have us live in anything but the kingdom of God.

18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. 19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Our goodness is a display of his goodness. And if we experience anything else, we need to receive - fully believe - the engrafted word at every moment of our day. Our life and peace depend upon that word of his goodness to be operational in us. We need to live from heaven, to be elevated there by the Holy Spirit, and to remain there according to what he has said. And if we are led astray from heaven's influence by the pressures of the flesh, then it is what we have allowed. He is holy. He did not change, not for a minute.
The one thing that he has allowed is that we should live in the flesh for this time, for the benefit of those who are here that don't yet know him and have not yet experienced heaven. And the day we stand against our own flesh and respond in love in spite of persecution or offense, that is the day the world sees his goodness in the fruit of his creatures which we are. That is the day they see Jesus.

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