2009-03-22 - “IDENTIFIED OR SIMPLY INTERESTED?
(From “My Utmost for His Highest” - Oswald Chambers)
Galatians 2:20 (2:15-21) “I have been crucified with Christ” . . .
The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature. I must take my emotional opinions and intellectual beliefs and be willing to turn them into a moral verdict against the nature of sin; that is, against any claim I have to my right to myself. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ . . . .” He did not say, “I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will really make an effort to follow Him”- but - “I have been identifiedwith Him in His death.”Once I reach this moral decision and act on it, all that Christ accomplished for me on the Cross is accomplished inme. My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.
“. . . it is no longer I who live . . . .” My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.
“. . . and the life which I now live in the flesh,” not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live; but the life I now live in my mortal flesh - the life which others can see, “I live by faith in the Son of God . . . .”This faith was not Paul's own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith in the Son God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits - a faith that comes only from the Son of God.
NOTE: What helps can one use to focuson success for Galatians 2:20? Can one achieve the victory of Oswald Chambers, George Muller, H. A. Baker, Rees Howells today? Yes - a resounding yes! Review and practice the 3 key verses on “vocal meditation” - in praying audibly over the Scriptures in the spirit of George Whitefield. He spent up to 5 hours daily on his knees reading aloud the Bible, and in turn praying aloud meditatively over what he was reading.
Remember Joshua 1:8 - God gave him this verse in the context of 1:1-9. For this book of Teaching, Torah, the law - to be in his mouth, it hadto be meditated upon audibly. Then it had to be walked in, and then the two promises could be claimed. With but 2 slips, Joshua was amazingly successful in fulfilling this mandate.
500 years later, David, Samuel and the Levites with Moses produced the Jewish hymn book of the Bible in Psalms, whose 5 sections correspond with Moses' 5 books of the Pentateuch. Psalm 1:2-3 exactly parallels Joshua 1:8. The Hebrew word “hahGAH”, to meditate in connection with one's mouth, is used in both references.
Then in 1 Timothy 4:15 (4:11-16), the word “be diligent” in the teachings of this context, is the Greek equivalent to “vocally meditate” to Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1:2-3. Paul exhorted Timothy not only to use the Hebraic method of meditation, but to give himself whollyto them in doing them! In so doing he would become an example to all the scores of elders leading churches in the home, as well as to all the people. Ephesus was the great and key church of that part of Asia, over which Timothy was the apostolic pastor.
And remember, part of the amazing results God achieved through Joshua, was to defeat the 7 nations of Canaan - (see Deuteronomy 7:2), each nation larger than Israel, and through Urim & Thummim, to so wisely divide the conquered land between the 12 tribes of Israel (2 ½ already looked after by Moses East of the Jordan) that there was no dissension or murmurings at the decisions!
Later on (1000 years later) Jesus wrote letters to the 7 churches of N.E. Asia, linking them with each of the 7 Canaanite nations, which were in turn linked with each of the 7 Capital sins perceived by the Middle Age Contemplative Movement headed up by St. John of the Cross.
For those interested in following up on these 3 groups of “7”, please turn to our Website, <www.2rbetter.org>,click on “Interlinear” on the Top-Bar, and then to Revelation 2 & 3.
David had a 7-fold Preparation for the Temple of Solomon. Though his son got the credit for the building, yet without this 7-fold preparation, it is doubtful if Solomon could have accomplished his part. Some of these acts were - David purchased the site for the temple; received from God by the Spirit the full blueprint for the Temple; with Samuel and the Levites provided the worship for the temple; and provided a remarkable amount of money ahead of time for the Temple.
Timothy received a 7-fold Teaching to the 7 major churches of Paul: Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians. The first, 4thand 7thof these - coincide with the 3 great feasts of the Jews. By mastering these, Timothy had a great basis of understanding and teaching for his responsibility as the Apostolic Pastor of Ephesus!
When we tie all the above together plus Galatians 2:20 (2:15-21), then we can join with them the example ofOswald Chambers, George Muller, Rees Howells and H. A. Baker. It is time for saints desiring to excel - to consider this. Last Saturday, Marie and I attended a Karate Martial Arts testing, in which one of our grandsons was seeking to gain the 3rdstep of his Brown Belt. The Sensei spoke to the Green and Brown Belt contestants very strongly on the need to be “focused”, if they truly wished to excel. “Then”, he said, “you can transfer this focusing achievement to all other areas of goals in life. Those who have succeeded in this 'focusing goal' in Martial Arts in the past, have all without exception been able to make this transfer, and have succeeded in other areas of life.”
It is difficult for us as Americans to master the art of “focusing”! There are so many other interests in our society to cause our gaze to wander: cell phones, TV, computer games etc., etc. but those who are able to focus, even in our society, can still achieve in all other areas, in line with their respective gifts.
Remember Jesus - He said that a man is not without honor, except in his own country and household. This was true of Him in His ministry. His family was embarrassed with Him. But following His crucifixion, resurrection and Ascension, His brother James became the Apostolic pastor of Jerusalem and wrote the epistle bearing his name - and Jude likewise - half-brother to Jesus - wrote the letter bearing his name.
Reread the insights of Oswald Chambers in his brief remarks at the beginning of this mailing. This is the “death-knell” to the self-life. Few make the decision to enter this small and elect group. Absolute death to self calling the shots - is the absolutely unavoidable decision to enter this group. Remember Jesus' disciples: first the 12; then the 7; then the 5; then the 3; and finally John, the Beloved disciple. He wanted this position. He paid the price; he received.
Some have asked - “What was the response to your request for counsel concerning your open letter to President Obama? Should I send it?” Some 37 responded. All 37 were positive: “Send it.” A few had suggestions in rewriting somewhat. Normally out of 850 recipients, I receive no more than 3 responses. One other time I had over 45 responses. Thanks to all of you who prayed, considered, and responded. - Jim Watt