Article # ten : How-to (Part two)
The victor of war is usually the one with the best strategy.
This is a war, has been since Adam botched it, and every earthling is in it. The church is the only force equipped to do battle against the enemy of the dark, and the condition of our planet suggests we must learn proficiency.
This war includes numerous skirmishes over the administration of each christian’s life. If more of these confrontations were won the major war for the souls of nations would be advanced. There should be little contest. Christ should govern the heart of every believer for it was He who saved and set free. But, simply, He does not.
In some cases another man or group of men sit on the throne of Joe and Jill Average, but most often it is self. This self is not the born-again spirit of man, but the unconquered, unsanctified soul (which many understand to be the mind, emotion and will).
If self remains lord, one cannot sufficiently abide in Christ; such a one abides, mostly, in self. Remember His words, “Without Me you can do nothing.” Though self can’t, self tries, and no amount of failure will convince him to abdicate. Though self is okay, even beautiful, he/she must be servant, not captain.
So self must be dethroned. Who will depose self? Will Christ? Christ will not dethrone your self. Will you dethrone self? You can’t. (“Without Me you can do nothing.”) Well, who?
Christ and you. Do you see how it all comes down to relationship? Not Christ (who will never trespass your free will), not you (who are just not able), but Christ and you, Christ’s power flowing into your life as, and to the degree, you relationally attach yourself to Him.
A big mistake is to try to forcibly remove self. To do so, one’s attention will be on self, not Christ. Rather we focus on Christ, and as that focus becomes steadfast He will rule our lives. Simple?
Lucifer’s very first mistake was turning his attention from God to himself. As you know, immediately after Adam sinned he became me conscious and wanted to cover up. We born-agains must turn our focus from me to Him. We must.
Purpose in your heart to have self dethroned and Christ exalted. This could take years. Years!?
Years. It may take some time for our easily deceived hearts to even understand what the lordship of Christ looks like (even though it is utter simplicity). Perhaps it took a long time just to realize Christ is not where He should be in your life. Yes, for Christ to be lord in fact and not lord symbolically could take years. So let’s get at it.
How do we become that person who focuses on Christ? Strategize.
Let’s start by examining your prayer life (your alone time with Jesus). If it’s hurried, sporadic and sparse changes must be made. Said another way, this is war and you need a military victory in your prayer life.
When the allied forces invaded France on June 6, 1944, their intent was to establish a beachhead. D-day was most critical. Fail to gain a foothold, a piece of real estate where they could bring in manpower and artillery, and they would have no hope of driving the enemy east from where he came.
You might be wise to establish a beachhead in your day, a fixed time, be it an hour or part of an hour, that is your time with Jesus. No distractions, no phone calls. You and Jesus. The two of you. Alone. Abiding in each other. (Not to suggest staying focused on Christ will be easy.) It would be difficult to overstate the need for this spiritual beachhead in your 24-hour day.
Once firmly established you can go about the business of conquering the rest of the day. One hour turns into two, two into three, three into four. Eventually your entire day will be consumed communicating with, focusing upon, believing in, serving, abiding in Jesus. Fruit will increase as abiding time increases and improves.
A. W. T o z e r : The man who would know God must give time to Him. He must count no time wasted which is spent in the cultivation of His acquaintance. (The Divine Conquest)
If after considering this advice you make the decision to establish an alone time with Jesus at, say, 6-7:00 am, you have just made a mistake! What!?
You have done what we all do more often than not….. you have made a decision rather than being led by the Holy Spirit. You see, Christ wants to govern your life by communicating to you through the Holy Spirit. When we bow to the lordship of the Holy Spirit we are actually bowing to the lordship of Christ Himself. As a matter of fact, the only way we can serve Christ is by our obedience to the Holy Spirit. If you make a decision to set aside a certain time that decision is one (another one) Christ never made.
Beware of a symbolic Holy Spirit and a symbolic Christ! A symbolic lord is not lord. Most make the Holy Spirit lord symbolically, and then go about making their own decisions. This is self-rule cloaked in religiosity.
So let’s start over. It has been suggested you establish a set time, an alone time, every day with Jesus. Your response should be, “Holy Spirit, is this what Jesus would have me do? If so, let me know what time this should be. I submit to Your leadership.” And then you wait, perhaps minutes, perhaps days.
He may direct through an impression, a word from a friend, a Scripture verse. If you feel He wants you to meet with the Lord between 6-7:00 am, you might say, “Holy Spirit, this is what I discern You are saying, and I respond accordingly. If I am wrong, let me know.”
And it is very important to add, “I do so only by Your power. I trust You to empower me to do what You instruct me to do.” (This is an example only. Do not parrot these words or any other.) We must learn to walk in the strength of the Lord. “The just shall live by faith.” (Faith is to be a way of life for he who has been made just.)
So that’s an example of strategizing. Here are a few more (some you may already be applying to your life):
Speak Christ. Though others don’t, discipline yourself to speak His name. Every time you do a spiritual force is released blessing speaker and hearer. Speaking His name will bring Him to mind, reminding you He is here.
Learn generosity. Learn giving by giving. Giving is painful because self wants to hoard and self has little faith, always fearful of lack. Giving expands your faith and causes you to die to self. As someone said about faith, “Use it or lose it.” (We are to give under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.)
Watch those crossroads! You may have said some wonderful words of dedication to Jesus in your alone time and soon you are faced with a situation whereby you can prove you meant what you said. Choosing Christ at our crossroads draws us to Him. Going the other way separates to a degree.
Stop thinking good me, bad me. The world does that, always fretting about being good enough. Your good enough is in Christ. As you abide in the awareness your righteousness is in Him, you will falter less and less. Since “The just shall live by faith,” “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” Or, examine yourself to see if you are abiding in “the true vine.”
Read good books. Many over the years have traveled where you want to go and are gifted to point the way. Submit to the Holy Spirit. Let Him chose your reading material.
This list of strategies could go on and on. If you bow to the leadership of the Holy Spirit He will impart wisdom and you will continually gain Christ. And that’s what it’s all about, gaining Christ.
C h a l l e n g e : Christian, there is more of Christ to be gained! Choose (relationally more of) Christ!
P r a y e r : Father, your blessing on these words, in Jesus name. (And hopefully the reader says, “Amen!”)