Sunday, November 6, 2011
PROPHETS OR FARMERS?
PROPHETS OR FARMERS
“On that day every prophet
will be ashamed of his prophetic vision.
He will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair
in order to deceive. He will say,
‘I am not a prophet.
I am a farmer; the land has been
my livelihood since my youth.’
If someone asks him,
‘What are these wounds on your body?’
he will answer, ‘The wounds I was given
at the house of my friends.’”
I am not a prophet. I am a farmer. The Word of God is the seed, and I have been given the task of sowing it. I am not responsible for the increase of it, only the sowing. I am not responsible for the reaping of it, only the sowing. The wounds on my body are the wounds of my Friend, Christ. This is a simple revelation, but one we must listen to.
Too many of us are zealous to do the Lord’s work. The Lord requires us to put off the natural man, and to “put on Christ”, who will do His work in us, and who will advance His work through us without our particular help. The importance of this putting off of self, and putting on of Christ cannot be overemphasized. So many of us strive and strive, we take up a “work for God” and do it in the natural man, we undertake tasks for God, we run off and do things for God. Yet the important work, the making of each of us into a man or woman of God, we neglect and ignore.
We have been raised in a wrong way of thinking. Even in the churches we have stressed the doing of things. We have stressed the building of things, the taking hold of things, the effort of things. We talk of “living the Christian life” and “doing the Lord’s work” and we haven’t died at all, we have just taken up a work in our own strength and our own hands.
In the calling of Abraham, God did the impossible. He took this old man, and his old wife, and he made them parents of an entire nation. He did something, not out of the efforts of the old man, but out of His own power. This resulted in glory for God alone, and not for Abraham. Abraham’s only glory was that he “believed God and it was reckoned unto him as righteousness.” (see Romans 4:18-25)
This man is a picture of Christ in us. It is God who calls, God who wills, God who works in us for His good pleasure. It is none of our effort that benefits the Kingdom. Our faith is our glory, because it brings glory to God alone. Until we see this, we are still viewing Christ as someone outside ourselves, who we serve because we want to earn His favor, to be significant. We are striving because of the emptiness inside us, which many of us know to be the truth from experience. Even those of us who’ve claimed Christ as Lord for many years KNOW this emptiness, this striving after wind.
The wounds of Christ are His marks in us. What does this mean? It means we must die, and be marked with the death of Christ in us before we can experience His life in us.
Too many of us claim to speak for Christ. Yet we live without scars and wounds, and we have never gone up to the “Place of the Skull”, Golgotha, carrying our cross, dying to self, and having God turn His face away during our time of dying. When Jesus was on the cross, He cried out in his natural man, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” Yet the Father had to turn away in his grief, and not save His only Son, but let Him die for us. At that moment, Jesus became man in the way that allows Him to know every suffering we will ever go through. So the Father must turn away and let us die many times in this life on earth, because He knows, even in His grief over our pain, that we must go through the dying in order to have Life.
The small things are the significant things. The things that go unnoticed by the world, and sadly, often by the people of God. These are our Golgothas. The places of dying. These are necessary for Resurrection to take place in us.
Then, with Paul, we will understand, and say:
“Since you died with Christ…
Since then you’ve been raised with Christ…”
In this new place, this place of resurrection beyond the grave:
“Here there is no Greek or Jew,
circumcised or uncircumcised,
barbarian, Scythian, slave or free,
but Christ is all, and in all.”
Brethren, we must stop our striving to be someone in Christ. We must stop working to be someone of significance. We must stop working to do the Lord’s work. It is Christ in us that does His work. We must rest in Him, and let Him work. His work in us will be enough.
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