Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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From Confinement to Enlargement

John the Baptist said “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

For Christ to increase, I must decrease. This is the whole point of the Christian life.  It is

“…Christ in you, the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27

We saw in God’s Victories Look Like Defeats that the human Self is a powerful force.  The Adamic nature is thOMIW120Astrong and naturally Self-ish and self- absorbed.  Followers of Christ contain His righteous nature in our mortal bodies by the Holy Spirit. Simultaneously we still have the Adamic nature, or the Flesh, within.

The cross dealt with our sins once and for all through Christ’s substitutionary atonement, and once we have repented of our sins and put our faith in Christ, we are justified before God.

However God deals differently with our sin than with our Self.

Positionally we are crucified with Christ.  The believer is now to “reckon (them)selves dead to sin and alive unto Christ”.  It is now no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me. This is a spiritual fact and something we need to receive by faith. But at the same time God is dealing with our flesh over the course of our lives by working His Son in us experientially. This is the process of sanctification.

It is not God’s desire after we are born-again that we would stay spiritual babes, stunted in growth. Rather it is His design to bring us to a place of enlargement.  Or, to put it another way, it is His will to enlarge His Son in us and to bring us to maturity. It is only through the impartation of the divine life of Christ that we are enlarged and there is no enduring enlargement apart from Him.

However, in preparation to receive the impartation of the divine life of Christ our flesh needs to be “straitened”. (I have previously written on this subject here).  Every time God wants to bring us to a new place of enlargement we first go through a straitening or confining process.  Primarily the means God uses to straitening our flesh is the cross – affliction, suffering and trial.  We probably all know the metaphor of the empty vessel.  The emptier the vessel, the more of Christ that can fill it.  But how is the vessel emptied of Self?

I love this old-fashioned word “straitening”. The KJV uses this word and I don’t think any other translation can beat it. It means to constrict, pinch, restrict, squeeze, confine, distress, compress. A “strait-jacket” in its purpose to confine and restrict gives a good picture of this word.

Jesus said: “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” Luke 12:50

We see that Jesus Christ Himself went through a straitening process in His sufferings and ultimately His death on the cross.   He was straitened. He was God wrapped in human flesh yet His eternal divinity was compressed into the limitation of humanity.

This limitation could be removed only by the baptism of dying on the cross. Then the unlimited divine eternal life within the Lord Jesus could be released.” The Experience of Christ, Witness Lee

source:brokenbelievers.com

source:brokenbelievers.com

So why did the Lord of Life have to be straitened?

He was straitened so that we could be brought to the place of enlargement.

It was through His death that His divine Life was able to be released and imparted to us limited human beings.   He interceded for us by becoming a human-being like us. He was confined, restricted, distressed and squeezed for us so that we could be brought to the place of enlargement by partaking of His divine life.

Verily, verily I say unto you, unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24

It is only through the impartation of the divine life of Christ that we are enlarged and there is no enduring enlargement apart from Him. This is God’s purpose and He is working in us every day to bring this to pass. Afflictions, trials and suffering have a divine purpose – to straiten our flesh.  Not to repress our flesh, but to deal with the stubborn, wilful Self that resists the Holy Spirit.

Christ was straitened so that the Divine Life could be released and imparted to us.  We are straitened in order to empty the vessel of the Self-life so that we are able to receive the impartation of the Divine Life.

If you are going through a period of straitening, restriction or confinement don’t despair.  Rather be encouraged: Know that God is preparing you, His vessel, at this time to receive a greater impartation of the life of His Son.  Simply allow the Potter to work with His clay, He knows His art.

God bless!

More on this subject in the Next post…. The Way to Bear Fruit


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What I Learnt from an Imposter

maguires.movies.blogspot.com

maguires.movies.blogspot.com

I met him on the street and shared the gospel with him. Weeping bitterly on the street, not caring who saw him, he seemed to genuinely repent of his sins. The next time I saw him he seemed completely different, happy, in control. To me that demonstrated the “fruit” of true salvation.

How wrong I was.

One may wonder if it is even possible that somebody could pretend to be a Christian. Yes, it’s definitely possible. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:13

“But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived”.

So here are some things that I learnt from 4 confusing, consuming months with an imposter:

  • That it is so important to be able to recognize other people after the Spirit, rather than according to the flesh. 2 Corinthians 5:16.

 

  • That we need to be able to test the spirits. (1 John 4:1) Even though someone may have amazing “revelations”, quote scripture, do all the right things, seem spiritual, this can all be a facade. We need to listen to the Spirit. Is there a check in our spirit regarding this person? Ask God for the gift of discernment.

 

  • Never to put any human being EVER before my own children (yes, sadly I had to learn this lesson)

 

  • To listen to my husband and my father, especially because they are Christians. Sadly, as Eve was deceived by Satan, it does seem to be easier for women, in general, to be deceived than men.

 

  • That my desperation to see “results” of my work in the gospel had opened the door to the enemy.  Christ should always be the centre – not our ministry, not results, not fruit.

 

  •  That I should not be too quick to trust, but at the same time, not become hard and cynical.  Trust needs to be earned.

 

  • That the devil seeks to consume us. Consume time, energy, spiritual life, emotional well-being. Any way he can destroy us through exhaustion/burn out he will attempt it.

 

  • That God is not the author of confusion nor disorder, but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33). If there is confusion, disorder, if things seem to becoming undone and out of control then the situation is not of Him.

(On this note, God gave me a dream around this time:

In the dream I invited a new friend to my home I believed to be

maniacworld.com

maniacworld.com

spiritual.  Suddenly and unexpectedly this friend started throwing furniture around my home. It was scary, confusing and out of control. This is exactly what the devil will do if you give him right of access in any way.) 

  • That an imposter can have a lying spirit and so will tell you things that they can’t possibly know without some sort of supernatural help. What this guy told me I thought was from God, when his source was actually Satan.

 

  • That because God knew my heart was sincere towards Him  and that because I really did seek God’s will for my life, God did not let the situation go any further or for any longer than He had pre-determined according to His sovereign will. In a period of 48 hours God exposed the lies and deception of the imposter completely and entirely.

 

  • That God is kind. I mean really so KIND. Even when we make mistakes and mess things up. He was so gentle with me during this time, especially during the period that He removed the veil of deception from my eyes. By this time my body was steeped in physical exhaustion, my emotions were all over the place and my faith was flagging. God knew, and He was oh-so gentle with me. He upheld me and I will never, ever forget His gentle kindness towards me – His imperfect, erring servant.

 

  • That God is still in control in the chaotic situations of our lives – IF we are truly yielded to Him.

 

  • That God used this situation to teach us so much. Discernment, wisdom, knowing others after the Spirit can unfortunately only be learned through hard-experience.

 

The hard and confusing thing about this situation was that we really did love this guy. We sincerely wanted to see him saved. We truly wanted to be used of God. We had a zeal for God, but not the wisdom to accompany it.

Even though this was one of the hardest times I have experienced, God used it and taught us greatly and abundantly. Now years later, I see the fruit and depth of that experience in us and blessing others. I pray that this post will speak to someone who may be going through a similar situation. I pray others will learn through my mistakes.  May God bless you with His kindness, wisdom and discernment.

“I will also tear off your veils and deliver My people out of your hand, and they shall no longer be as prey in your hand.  Then you shall know that I am the Lord.  Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad…” Ezekiel 13:21, 22

Belinda 🙂

 


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The Place of Enlargement

I believe it is God’s heart to bring His children to the place of enlargement.meadow

Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness” Job 36:16

It is not His desire that we should stay spiritual babes, rather it is His design to bring us forward, to help us grow and enlarge.

At the moment we are extending our little house. As a result, things are busy, messy and chaotic here. Currently we have no phone line, no proper plumbing in the kitchen and big holes in the wall where our back door and kitchen window used to be. It is winter here, I might add…. It is difficult, painful, inconvenient. However, with the greater vision in mind of the complete transformation at the end of all this, I find I can grin and bear the mess and disorder (so far at least).

The process of the enlargement of our home somewhat reflects the process of enlargement in the spiritual life…

Enlargement always comes through straitening.

I love this old-fashioned word. The KJV uses this word and I don’t think any other translation can beat it.

Jesus said: “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” Luke 12:50

It means to constrict, pinch, restrict, squeeze, distress, compress.

straight jacket(A “strait-jacket” in its purpose to confine and restrict gives a good picture of this word.)

We see that Jesus Christ Himself went through a straitening process in His sufferings and ultimately His death on the cross.   He was straitened. He was God wrapped in human flesh yet His eternal divinity was compressed into the limitation of humanity.

This limitation could be removed only by the baptism of dying on the cross. Then the unlimited divine eternal life within the Lord Jesus could be released.” The Experience of Christ, Witness Lee

So why did the Lord of Life have to be straitened?

He was straitened so that we could be brought to the place of enlargement.

It was through His death that His divine Life was able to be released and imparted to us limited, small human beings.   He interceded for us by becoming a human-being like us. He was confined, restricted, distressed and squeezed for us so that we could be brought to the place of enlargement by partaking of His divine life.

Verily, verily I say unto you, unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24

It is only through the impartation of the divine life of Christ that we are enlarged and there is no enduring enlargement apart from Him. But in order for this to happen we are taken through many afflictions, trials and suffering.

potterUnfortunately there is no other way – we also need to be straitened to be brought into the enlargement that God intends for us.

As with the renovations all around me : for the new to be brought in, first the old has to be removed. And sometimes that’s painful, noisy and messy.

It is His way of conforming us to the image of His Son.

So if you are feeling pinched, restricted, squeezed and in distress – know that God has a purpose in it. Know that He has not abandoned you, nor is He finished with you. No! Instead He is busy working on and in you to bring you to a place of enlargement.  Like clay in the hands of a potter, simply yield to Him, allow Him to do His work and you will be brought through it into a broad and spacious place.

He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, From those who hated me, For they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the Lord was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me” Psalm 18:16-19

 

God bless you!