Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Fullness of Christ

Did any of you read yesterday's morning devotion from Charles Spurgeon? Oh, it was such a blessing to my soul! I hope it's an encouragement to you as well. It summarizes a lot of what I wrote about in my last post, so I guess this is somewhat of a Part 2. :)

"In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him." 
Colossians 2:9

"All the attributes of Christ, as God and man, are at our disposal. All the fullness of the Godhead, whatever that marvelous term may comprehend, is ours to make us complete. His omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability and infallibility, are all combined for our defense. 

Arise, believer, and behold the Lord Jesus yoking the whole of His divine Godhead to the chariot of salvation. The fathomless love of the Savior's heart is every drop of it ours; every sinew in the arm of might, every jewel in the crown of majesty, the immensity of divine knowledge, and the sternness of divine justice, all are ours, and shall be employed for us. His wisdom is our direction, His knowledge our surety, His love our comfort, His mercy our solace, and His immutability our trust. 

He makes no reserve, but opens the recesses of the Mount of God and bids us dig in its mines for the hidden treasures. 'All, all, all are yours,' saith He, 'be ye satisfied with favour and full of the goodness of the Lord.' Oh! how sweet thus to behold Jesus, and to call upon Him with the certain confidence that in seeking the interposition of His love or power, we are but asking for that which He has already faithfully promised."

Isn't that absolutely beautiful?! And yet, how many times do I live as if these truths were simply nice poetry? No, it is a promise! Do you see it?

Again, Colossians 2:9 says, "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete." Paul states this inconceivable truth as a simple reality, not even a promise to be wished for. Oh, how I struggle with unbelief in this area. I look at myself: my sin, feelings, emotions and get discouraged at the lack of His life being lived in me. 

But, how has the Lord called us to accept His Word? With the faith of a child. Mark 10:15 says, "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." 

Like a child. How does a child receive something? With simplicity, gratefulness, and eagerness. How do they believe that which has only been promised them? With expectant confidence and complete assurance that what has been promised will be accomplished. They don't measure the probability or weigh the promise against their past experience. They simply trust and receive the promise with joy, knowing that it will be done.

Furthermore, what's the relationship of a child to his/her parents? It is one of utter trust and dependence; without their parents, the child will have nothing. It is only the goodness of the parents that provide the needs of the child. And yet, the child is not plagued with worry or anxiety, continually wringing their hands in questioning the parent's provision. No, there is complete peace and rest, because the child knows the love of their parents. Their parents have always provided for them in the past; why doubt them to do otherwise now?

Oh friends, may we not do our Father such a disservice as doubting His Word. Has He ever proved Himself unfaithful? What ground do you have to doubt Him then? Like I stated in the last post, your God has promised and He will fulfill His Word. 

So, do you believe that the Lord has made the fullness of the Godhead available to you in Christ? If so, is it simply head knowledge or have you reckoned it for yourself, taking that promise and making it your own? Do you believe, as the little child, that the Lord has made you complete in Himself? Have you presented and yielded your life over to Him, so that He might reign as Lord and come fill you, the empty vessel? He is worthy of it, friend.

 May you trust Him as a little child, looking into your Father's face with joy at who He is and what He is doing in you. Remember...don't look inward at your sin, your inabilities, and past failures. We have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ; look unto Him, where there is all perfection and loveliness. Praise the Lord...we are being transformed into His precious likeness! Look unto Him and praise Him for the fullness that has been given us in Him! For when you walk in joyful trust and obedience, you will begin seeing His life being radiated through you more and more! How precious is His work of sanctification!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Home Again!

Sunrise at Ellerslie
Hello again, friends! How have you all been over the past three months?

It feels strange to be posting on my blog, after such a long time away. I'm excited to begin writing on a regular basis again, and look forward to what the Lord has planned for this little blog. He is so worthy!

Ah, my dear reader, how do I begin to explain my time at Ellerslie? I've been home for nearly a month now (which is incredibly hard to believe!) and still find it difficult to answer people who ask about it.

The hardest question of all is probably, "So, what did you learn?" What did I learn in nine weeks? How am I supposed to answer that in a couple sentences? I'm still trying to figure that out...  =)

But, for now, this would be my answer.

I am absolutely overwhelmed by everything the Lord convicted me of, uncovered, and taught me during my nine weeks at Ellerslie. Like Ephesians 3:20 talks about, my precious Savior did so much more than I had asked or imagined. Being surrounded by men and women seeking hard after Jesus Christ and immersed in the Truth of His Word day in and day out were both such incredible blessings! It was truly a piece of heaven on earth.

But, the thing that was the most precious of all was time spent alone with my Savior. Being able to bask in His presence without interruption. Learning to wait upon Him and walk with Him throughout the day. Understanding that my life is nothing, but His is everything. Beginning to grasp the reality of what it means to be "in Christ". Sitting at His feet and gazing on my Beloved's face! Oh, words cannot describe what a remarkable blessing those nine weeks were...what a remarkable blessing they were because of the One who was there. Words simply fall short.

Though there were many truths the Lord implanted into my heart, the main, over-arching theme of those nine weeks was His All-Sufficiency. It seems simple, doesn't it? But do you understand how inclusive the word all is? I didn't until the Lord began opening my eyes to this. Even though the Lord had given 2 Corinthians 12:9 as my theme verse for the year, He truly impressed those four powerful words upon my soul, as He started teaching me what it means to depend upon Him for everything.

"My grace is sufficient.."

Do you see Him, friends? Do you realize that at every moment of the day, in every temptation, every difficult moment, every trial, He is sufficient? It's easy to say, but it's another thing to live by.

We live in a culture with a cure for everything. Are you tired? Try caffeine. Weighed down with the cares of life? Go relax with a movie. Struggling to get out of bed in the morning? Take anti-depressants.

Is this the way we've been called to live, as followers of Jesus Christ? Are we to look to Jesus just during devotions in the morning, but then depend upon something else for everything you need during the rest of the day? If He is the Sufficient One, shouldn't He be the One we lean on for...everything?

Now, I'm not saying that caffeine, movies, or medicine is bad in itself. But, what is your first turn? Is it to the natural, earthly realm or the All-Sufficient One?

Friends, this is something that I am learning and struggling through daily. The Lord is constantly opening my eyes to different areas of my life where I haven't been depending on Him fully.

A question that was posed at Ellerslie was this: If Jesus Christ were removed, how much of your life would stay the same? Are you so dependent upon Him that your life would completely fall apart...or...would your life look exactly the same?

You see, the fully dependent life is the life of Christ. In John 5:19, Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner." And again, several verses later, "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me." (John 5:30)

Jesus did nothing of Himself; He was completely dependent upon His Father. And if that's the case, why do we (as sinful human beings) think that we can spiritually survive by spending 15 minutes with Him in the morning? Oh my friends, may He teach us to walk in a state of utter dependence upon Him! He is our only source of life; without Him, we perish. And remember, we know that when we trust in Him, He will not fail us. He has promised and cannot lie. Therefore, have complete confidence in your God, knowing that the One you depend upon is the Faithful, All-Powerful Creator and Sustainer of the Universe! What a precious Savior we have!

“Are you resting and trusting in the sufficiency of Christ? Is Christ everything to you? If so, thank Him for his fullness. If not, perhaps you’ve been trusting in failing, deceptive, inept human wisdom; meaningless religious rituals; or some kind of mystical experience formed in your own mind and unrelated to reality. Maybe you’ve been thinking that your own self-denial or self-imposed pain will somehow gain favor with God. If that’s the case, put it all aside and in simple childlike faith embrace the risen Christ as your Lord and Savior. He will give you complete salvation, complete forgiveness, and complete victory. All you need in the spiritual dimension for time and eternity is found in Him. Repent of your sin and submit your life to Him.”
- John MacArthur