Wednesday, November 14, 2012

This Glorious Quest


The word “quest” is often defined as a pursuit, or a search, or a seeking. It indicates much more than just a surface scanning for something, in fact it carries with it a seeking for something specific in mind. When someone sets out in a quest he is usually on a journey to find something or to achieve something in particular. And although the English translation does not use the exact word “quest”, these verses describe that very phenomenon.

Phil.3: 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Phil.3: 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

That is in a snapshot the Christian faith and life. Everything else is residual. Our quest must always be Christ, knowing and serving Him. Seeking Christ is not some part time quest. It must be our life’s singular pursuit or it is something other than Christian. You can be moral, you can memorize Scripture, you can witness to people, and you can be an ordained minister, but if knowing Christ is not your quest than you have invented a religious construct which is self sustaining and not sustained by Christ. And if that is truth, then is that what the western church lives upon? Is knowing Christ the unquenchable quest of the evangelical church?

It is not unimaginable to suggest that most evangelical believers do not even know what seeking and knowing Christ is all about, if indeed they even believe it is a spiritual possibility. Doctrines and creeds and church memberships and baptisms have replaced any self denying quest to know Christ and the fellowship of His sufferings and the power of His resurrection. As I have stated before, the sufferings and resurrection of Christ happened many centuries ago. So there must be a spiritual essence that can be sought and experienced in the here and now that is spiritually transmitted from the cross and the resurrection. And do we even believe that anymore? It seems so ethereal and intangible since everything in the church today must be utilitarian, practical, and aimed at earthly results.

There is no longer anything resembling a quest. When believers seek a better job, or a salary increase, or bills paid, or athletic prowess, and when they experience what they desired they praise God, but their quest was those things and God has become a rubber stamp to their own desires. In fact, when believers do not achieve what they desire they often complain and blame it on the government or circumstances or even the devil. Gone is the quest to seek Him and allow Him to use your life rather than shower your life with earthly accoutrements. The quest is now things, not Christ. And things are the monster of self all dressed up.

Let me go a step further. The quest for seeking and knowing Christ has been largely lost to the church. Not only is it not a practice in the church, the concept itself has been all but lost. The western church no longer even understands, much less believes, in a spiritual life that is filled with prayer, fasting, personal worship, and consuming God’s Word as if it really was food and nourishment. If we read God’s Word at all it's to find something that we can use or that temporarily inspires us. But do we read it with a thirst that cannot be quenched until we see and experience a deeper vision of Christ which breaks us and takes us from one glory to another? I know, it sounds so eastern and impractical. But in reality, the eastern mystics have borrowed from the spiritual disciplines of the Scriptures and made them bow down to false idols.

But we should not recoil at truth when cults and false religions stumble upon a measure of truth. That is another deception of the evil one. Forget about who does what and how it is presented or perceived. Press on with reckless abandon and set out on a life long quest to know Christ which is energized each and every day. When was the last time you could not be content with where you are spiritually? When was the last time you felt like you felt when you first came to know Christ? When was the last time you were filled with a holy discontent which brought you to tears and drove you to an elongated time in the prayer closet to do nothing but seek His sacred face? Or have you ever even been overtaken by such an experience? You see, we are walking in the chains of this world. And our ears are inclined to the tinkling of those chains. Can you believe such a thing?? We are in love with our earthly chains and we have called them divine blessings, and unknowingly we have fallen in love with the enemy of our souls. In effect it is a spiritual Stockholm syndrome.

But there still awaits a sacred quest before us. I have no divine insight from God, but I believe the time is soon coming when the entire world will suffer an economic crisis like no other heretofore. And there may be coming a time of great fear because of the economic collapse which affects all the inhabitants of the earth. And when and if that occurs it will become all too painful how many outward believers have no inward spiritual life and just how attached to money and things the church has been. In some ways the things of this world have become the church.

But the quest to know Christ and all that is His person is filled with unspeakable glory and unimaginable majesty. To be offered that which transcends the entire world and all that is in it is an unfathomable grace. But to refuse and ignore it just demonstrates the depth of the apostasy within the western evangelical church. That quest is a labor of love which has a high cost. And just what is the cost? Everything, nothing less. But be advised, the reward is everything as well!

And when we are ushered into His presence either by death or by translation, that quest will be finished. We will know even as we are known. However another quest will just begin. This will be the eternal quest to present our worship and praise before Him and be overwhelmed by the radiance of His glory. That is a quest which will be fulfilled each moment as well as present the prospect of an everlasting journey of love. But, you ask, how can a quest be completed and realized but still have an eternity to fulfill? Oh, my brothers and sisters, the place of His dwelling pulsates with the divine presence so that the miraculous and the incomprehensible are nothing but the norm. Words? Explanations? Please, just accept the unacceptable purely by faith and bow down to Him now as you prepare to be brought to your face by the sheer weight of His eternal glory. Yea, I know…words…so insufficient.

In the end, it is way too difficult a journey to seek Christ with our whole and unvarnished hearts. Millions accept Him as Savior, pack a moral lunch, and head for the evangelical park to enjoy a church picnic which is well attended but useless in God‘s kingdom.

Matt.11: 11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

What violence is this? What was the heart cry of John the Baptist? He must increase and I must decrease. The violence is not directed at others, but we must die. Then and only then can we be free from our greatest enemy of all…ourselves. To what degree self is put to death is the same degree that we can know Him in all His fullness. This quest will cost you your life, but at that funeral you will dance.


Steve said...

"To what degree self is put to death is the same degree that we can know Him in all His fullness."

To coin a phrase, the arithmetic of the Kingdom.

"This quest will cost you your life, but at that funeral you will dance."


Blessings to you, beloved brother.

In Jesus, Steve

Reine Gnade said...

What glorious quest is the pursuit of Christ.

Hebrews 12:14-17
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the : 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

Friends,the holy Bible exhorts us to pursue peace with all people.. If we are unwillingly to do this it means that we have a wrong understanding of Jesus Christ because he is the Prince of Peace. We can't serve God faithfully unless God has blessed us with a persevering desire to pursue peace with all people. Anyone who is pursuing racism isn't pursuing peace with all people!

Profanity in today's world is very widespread. Many profane men and women want like Esau to inherit the blessing of God and seek it diligently with tears but find no place of repentance. Who then does God allow to see him?
Jesus said: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
Friends, let it be our lifelong prayer to pursue purity and let us praise always the purity of heart and mind of our pure Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Reine Gnade said...

Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
Precious readers, every unregenerate person produces "dead works." In fact, every unregenerate person is "dead in his trespasses and sins" and can only produce "dead works." He is incapable of producing living works that could satisfy holy God. What the corrupt depraved nature will produce is described in Galatians 5:19-21. "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21).

These dead works come from out of the depraved hearts of unsaved or unregenerate people. Precious readers, the unsaved person can produce only dead works until the Holy Spirit creates a new spirit within them