Our Image of God Has to Die, Before We Can See the True God
Some times our relationship with God is similar to the relationship we had with our natural father, that may have lacked closeness, because our dad was absent physically or emotionally. Our present religious efforts, our high Biblical standards, and sacrificial commitment to God, may be more about us trying to get noticed by a distant Father-God. We haven’t truly accepted His unmerited love for us on a deep level yet.
Ironically the Lord has to deliver us from what seems like our very commitment to Him, in order to bring us to Himself. This is similar to what happened when Jesus let His disciples see Him die right before their eyes. The Jesus they knew and loved, the Jesus they were serving, as awesome as He was, wasn’t the full representation of all He was. The resurrected Jesus is so much more. It amazes me how many times the Lord tried to tell His disciples what was about to happen, but they just couldn’t seem to grasp it. It appears we all need to providentially experience this divine “let down” before we can rise up into the fullness of Who God really is in our lives.
God wisely has to allow our “Jesus”, our Christian formulas, our systematic theology, our dreams and our faith in other people, to die in our eyes. This needs to happen for us to fully embrace the true, resurrected Christ in His fullness. As the Lord worked to circumcise our outward flesh-nature and worldliness in the Outer Court, He begins to carefully cut away the limiting beliefs in our souls (the self-life) in the Inner Court.
A.J. Swoboda, referring to Joseph of Arimathea, the believing Jewish leader, who asked Pilate for the dead body of Jesus, because he wanted to give Him a decent burial, stated, “Part of being a Christian is carrying the body of your God to it place of rest. It is heavy. It is harsh. It is beyond awkward”… “Everyone who is seeking Jesus will inevitably end up carrying Jesus to the tomb”. Have you lived long enough to experience the death of a Christian ministry, a Christian marriage, a Biblical dream, and prophecies of what Jesus was going to do in your life? Welcome to the life of His first disciples.
This painful cutting is actually like a pruning that will produce more life. Truly, except a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone (John 12:24). Just as the seed may feel like it is losing everything in the dark soil, it is about to become everything it was destined to be. We will all experience this kind of death as we approach the veil that separates us from knowing God more intimately and experientially.
It’s not until we are drawn by the Lord, to go even deeper in our relationship with God that we discover the impurity of our self-sufficient motives. Here we discover the seed-bed of all sin (pride) . Here we discover what really needs to die in our nature internally, not just the external surface sins. This process is usually initiated through great trials and tribulations and is often accompanied by great disappointments or prolonged suffering.
This is God’s graduate school of heaven that we call Roadkill Seminary. If it were not for the suffering and trials, we would probably be content to stay in the place of Salvation or Service (typical Christianity in America) where we just learn more knowledge without obtaining significant personal transformation. It is God’s gift to us to draw us into this difficult, unfamiliar wilderness (see Deuteronomy 8:2).
Excerpt from “The Inner Journey”
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