THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD
In our last e-zine I used the following scripture as our foundation to emphasize. Let's use the same in my sharing for today.
EPHESIANS 3:16-19 & 20 -- "that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God."
"Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,"
I want you to notice what he asked. He didn't say, "I ask that you might have nice meetings." No, he asked that our inner man be strengthened, and that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith.
Meetings can be wonderful, but my spiritual life is not grounded in meetings no matter how wonderful they may be. It is grounded in Jesus who lives within me. If you have not read last month's edition of this e-zine, please go to the archives and read it.
Now, our meetings can be a help in strengthening us in our inner man, or they can be the greatest single hindrance of all. It depends on whether we are meeting-centered or Jesus-centered.
"But aren't we all Jesus-centered?" someone asks. When I hear some of the things that Christians say, I wonder if we really are Jesus-centered. I frequently hear statements that cause great concern. For instance, especially among the Charismatics and Pentecostals I hear, "Since I came into this place I felt the presence of the Lord."
And I would have to think to myself, or to ask them, "And where was the Lord before you came into this place?"
Actually, if we did not bring Him in with us, He is not there. He is not in the habit of hanging from the ceiling and descending upon people each time there is a meeting. He does not dwell in buildings like in the old covenant. He dwells in people in the new covenant.
If Jesus is at the meeting when you go there, it is because He is within you. You brought Him with you in order to release Him to touch others. So how can you say, "Oh, as soon as I get to the meeting I will feel the presence of the Lord?" That sounds nice, but it is heresy.It is absolutely trying to live under the old covenant. It produces great confusion to you in your walk with the Lord Jesus.
Don't confuse emotion with the presence of the Lord.
When people tell me, "I feel the presence of the Lord", I seriously question whether they have any real understanding of the new covenant. The same people who "feel" the presence of the Lord in meetings also say "I am going through a dry and barren place and I am so parched" even though they have rivers of living water flowing from within them. They have an Amazon or Nile river of living water flowing from inside of them and don't even know it because they are "concept" oriented rather than "life" oriented.
To release these rivers of water that we have within us, we simply need to start believing and acting as if what God says is true.
We need to learn, not how to get more from God, but how to release all that we have. "The love of God is spread abroad," says Paul. Where? "In our hearts." So all the love that we need is already there.
Don't say, "Lord, give me more love so I can love my brother." If you don't love your brother, it isn't because you don't have enough love. All the love you need is within you. You don't need more love. You need to learn how to release the flow of the love that is already within you.
God never commands us to do something we cannot do. He will never ask you to do something He has not already given you the ability to do. This is His promise under the new covenant. he said, "I will cause you to walk in My ways."
Do you recall the incident when Peter and John were going to the temple and they saw a lame man laid at the gate Beautiful? They didn't point to the man and tell him, "You need to come to our campaign meeting so that we can teach you the four steps to healing. If you learn them and believe them, you can be healed."
No, they said, "What we have, we give. Rise up an walk."ACTS 3:6.
Peter and John didn't ask the man to do something. They simply conferred upon him what they already had. It was just the rivers of life flowing spontaneously out of them. They knew what they had. The problem is, we don't know what we have.
What does it mean to live in the Spirit?
To live in the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit is to be continuously conscious of the presence of the Spirit of Jesus within you. That's all it is.
"What? That's too simple!!"
Many books have been written about walking in the Spirit. Some of them are very good. But most of those books deal with all the things we need to unlearn, not what we need to learn to walk in the Spirit. They are mostly directed at Christians who are in error trying to live under the old covenant and the new covenant at the same time.
Life in the Spirit should be the easiest thing you can imagine. The things of the kingdom of God are easy, simple. That is why Jesus said that in order to understand the life of the kingdom we have to forget how intelligent we are and become like children.
Today, especially, we are intelligent people because we have a great deal of education. I believe there are many things concerning the Gospel that we do not understand not because they are too difficult, but because they are too easy and don't appeal to us.
The things of the Lord have to be very simple if they are for the poor and uneducated. As I have already said, to walk in the Spirit is more simple than we can imagine.
You don't need to read many books and listen to dozens of CD's or tapes. Actually, the more you read, the more confused you will become until you really understand the simplicity of the Gospel.
That is why all we need is to have the eyes of our hearts opened to see that because the life of the Spirit of Jesus Christ is in us, we have all that is needful for walking in the Spirit. If once we can see that He in us is everything and that we are joined as one with Him so that we are continuously in His presence, life becomes very easy.
Paul prayed in EPHESIANS 1:18-19 -- "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatest of His power toward us who believe.."
That is why, before the New Covenant was even instituted, Jesus said to us in MATTHEW 11:28-30 -- "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My load is light."
Until then, may the Lord open the eyes of your heart and understanding, may He make His internal presence known to you in a very real way, and may He fill you with His peace.
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