THE GLORY WE CONTINUE TO MISS
II Cor.9: 15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.I Pet.1: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
We all have precious or exciting memories. When your football team won the championship; when your children were born; that new car smell; the day you graduated; and some other days or events are still etched in your mind. But even though you can remember with great fondness these things you can never get the same exact feeling in all its depth. What you felt at the time cannot be fully replicated. You can feel a piece of it but not the entire experience you did at the first.
But that is just one of many things which set our spiritual lives apart from anything upon this earth. Yes, I can remember when I first became born again and when Jesus came to take up redemptive residence with my being. It was exhilarating to say the least. But I have found an amazing truth over almost forty years. I still can experience the same feeling I had on that first part of my journey. In fact, I have grown in my knowledge of Him and I now know more of who He is and what He has done than I did back in 1975. And with that sacred knowledge my communion and worship has only intensified. It is true.
There are certain moments when I cannot help but cry because of who He is and what He has done in the face of who I am and what I have done. I pray you understand that sentence. The more I see of Him combined with the more I see of myself the more I am lifted upon wings of miraculous glory and the more I become a broken vessel of worship and service for Christ. And the residual emotion I can feel is sometimes so intense and so unspeakable that I cannot even share in words what my inward being is experiencing.
Can you identify with what I am saying and can you say “Amen!”? But some professing believers have no idea what I am saying. To them a perfunctory trip to a building on Sunday mornings is the extent of their worship experience. That is profoundly sad since if they truly are believers they have missed the glory of His presence and how it can and does affect you. If Christianity is nothing more than a few moral rules coupled with a church service then it is little more than a religious practice void of the spiritual power which is inherent in the Person of Christ.
This “so great salvation” is so much more than just a set of doctrines and statements of faith. If all we have are written truths as the evidence of our faith then our faith is an innocuous belief system which is expressed through pen and paper but without the living, breathing revelation of those beliefs. And since unbelievers do not read much less search the Scriptures just how will they come in contact with Jesus? Certainly the Holy Spirit draws sinners, but that same Spirit wishes to completely control our lives and render us as earthly conduits of the eternal glory of the Son of God.
And there is only one path to that kind of glory. Death. You and I must die to ourselves which is no easy task since we have grown very fond of ourselves and the voice of our fleshly lusts. Let us not kid ourselves. Even Paul had to die daily. I have found that kind of death to self is a moment by moment challenge which manifests different levels of success. I have discovered a curious thing in this regard. Over almost forty years I have left a church service, and even preached in one, only to within the hour exhibit a selfish and carnal attitude. But rarely have I left the glory of the prayer closet where I was broken by His presence and then I so quickly was stripped of His power. I am saying that the very key to spiritual power and broken Christlikeness is found in prayer and in His presence.
What could compare with His presence? The church has satisfied itself with all sorts of activities, marriage and finance seminars, and moral crusades while how passionately do we seek His very face/presence? Let us be very honest here. The church at large has been satisfied to have church without His presence. And music and gimmicks have replaced His presence. But without prayer, humility, and self denial God’s presence will remain aloof. People will stand in line for hours upon hours to see some group or to be first in line at a store’s big sale and yet they will spend almost no time sacrificially seeking His glorious face.
Think about that for a moment. Here is the Creator who suffered and died to ransom us and to be the only sacrifice for our sins and our theology suggests we have eternal life through Jesus and yet we treat Him with such indifference? Can there be any greater shame?
If I should gain the lowest and meanest place in heaven I shall consider myself to have been give infinitely more than I ever deserved. (CH Spurgeon)
If we put what we say we believe in neon lights for the whole world to see, and then we juxtapose our lips and lives upon that incandescent sign, would not the world think us the very epitome of hypocrisy? I am not saying we are unbelievers, but if we are really honest the accepted version of the Christian faith has become a tacit acknowledgement of Jesus but an energetic construction of a life which excites the flesh, satisfies carnal desires, and generally meshes nicely with a fallen western lifestyle. Oh how we could know so much more of our Blessed Savior if we wholly rejected this world and sought His wonderful face with all of our hearts! In many ways we treat Christ Jesus as some kind of martyr and not the Lord of all Lords.
And so here we are…content with scraps and only musing about the unspeakable glory which is available to all who diligently seek Him while denying themselves. Oh the power of this world and all its deceptive allurements. Here stands the church looking over the wall and seeing from afar the glory of the Risen Christ and the eternal feast He has prepared, and yet we are being distracted by cotton candy. Only a true God-sent revival will wake us from our self serving sleep and guide us into the King's glorious chamber.