This morning the Lord showed me something I’d not seen before, but it’s beautiful. What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Simple answer – I’m not capable of doing this. And as a demonstration I put myself up against the disciples. Needless to say they had a lot more going for them than I do because they were given the opportunity to walk with HIM. They believed to the extent they left their lives behind and followed him for 3 years. And throughout that time with Jesus, they were taught (not by preachers or priests), but directly from Jesus himself. They witnessed unthinkable miracles over and over throughout this period and their flesh was quite obedient, I’d say. And these were the 12 that were left. The Bible says there were other disciples and at one point in Jesus’ teaching, many disciples left him. He even asked the 12 at that time, “Do you want to leave me too?” But they didn’t – these man of strong carnal faith in Jesus remained. So, can my belief in Jesus possibly measure up to theirs? Not having the experiences they had, not walking with him, talking with him, seeing his miracles and even sacrificing so much to leave their lives behind to follow him. Not a chance. And then after all this, they didn’t truly believe. That faith failed. Huh? Yeah… their belief in Him failed.
Not only did Peter deny knowing Jesus after they arrested Him, but none of the disciples could recognize him or believe when he was resurrected. He appeared differently to them – even walked with 2 of them down a road, on a journey as they told JESUS why they were so troubled (and thought Jesus was just a stranger walking with them)… they had seen Jesus in the flesh but they couldn’t see Him (identify Him) now that He was changed. One of them even went as far as to say, “Unless I can touch the wounds in His hands I will not be able to believe”… (paraphrasing). So what their flesh believed in SO GREATLY that they were convinced in their minds to leave their lives and follow Jesus… Their internal man couldn’t sustain. But then later we see these disciples as completely different characters – later they wouldn’t deny Jesus no matter what the cost and they lived only for the commission of the Gospel of Christ – even walking into beatings and persecutions and afflictions and very elaborate horrible deaths… Later, these men we convicted internally in Jesus.
The change was after Pentecost – and Jesus had told them this would happen, “that its for their benefit that he goes because then the comforter will be sent to them”.. The Holy Spirit, or Christ living IN THEM was an internal possession that did not exist before Jesus rose from the dead and went to the right hand of the Father. I think this is such an amazing demonstration because it shows that the flesh is simply incapable. EVEN IF Jesus is with us, right before our eyes, holding our hands and walking right beside us – eating bread with us and healing the sick.. we don’t have possession of the Spirit of FAITH. Christ is that possession (the author of our faith) – and HE is an internal presence, not external. The external, as demonstrated…. is weak… It has no power to believe, overcome or possess any measure of real faith.
In my own walk I think the experiences of outward man is the beginning of the process, but has no lasting power. I’ve seen miracles and I’ve seen and felt and heard (with these bodily senses) the presence of the Lord. But even those things can be taken away. By who? Me. My mind. The earth-shaking power of those moments that I’ve experienced were so amazing I could hardly grasp the reality of this temporary world. I felt on fire for God. Yet, over time… They seem like just another memory – important memories… but they only exist somewhere in the ever-changing moments of this delusion called time. They fade away and so much so that I’ve even caught myself wondering “Did that really happen?” I long to go back to those moments and seize them once again…. But when God stops speaking to me and stops appearing, my faith begins to diminish. I feel like He’s not with me anymore and worse.. I’ve drifted off into questioning… Was He ever really with me? I think that’s in line with the disciples and what they had to walk out. When Jesus left them, their focus went right back to this world, the carnal things. The scriptures say they were hiding together in fear of what the Jews would do to them, fearing their lives, likely feeling let down by Jesus that went away and left them in the aftermath of this big mess… and over those 3 days something was lost.. because they couldn’t even recognize Jesus when he appeared to them again.
The external body and mind can not hold onto, nor can it be possessed by the Kingdom of God. But through the hardest of trials, over time and through much suffering, trembling, hopelessness and doubt, a new evidence begins to surface, and it’s not something that can be seen or heard… it’s internal and it’s powerful. I feel like as I’m shown the failure of myself and my own mind and my own flesh, I see something that has nothing to do with me, sustaining and even growing my faith. The growing obstacles begin to look smaller, (even though with my natural eyes they’ve definitely gotten bigger).. The pain becomes external, and even though it remains… there’s an inner joy that makes ZERO sense to this carnal mind. I’ve seen glimpses of this and I even feel foolish explaining it to people. “While I was cleaning up throw-up and covered in feces, I was smiling and singing… and didn’t even realize I was doing it.”…. Because I wasn’t. The INNER SEED of HIM was rejoicing in the midst of something my flesh hated. And it seems like every awful thing I face, is followed by a new awful thing… but as these things come and go, it seems like my external eyes just become less powerful and something of very great power sets my sights on HIM…. not my life, HIS life. not my understanding, HIS understanding… not my filthy flesh that’s ridiculously just not smart in the eyes of God, but HIS flesh crucified, so that I too can be freed from this temporal body I occupy, possessed by HIM, the eternal Life, as the scripture reads, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,” – Phillippians 1:29.
The carnal mind will NEVER come into agreement with “suffering for Him.” It’s just not something it’s capable of choosing or desiring. And I know many of us today say to ourselves, “I’m willing to die for Christ.” I’ve seen so many prophecy groups discussing things like the mark of the beast and reassuring one another of our plan to walk into death to escape eternal death. And I don’t mean to go into that at all, I have no agreement with the world’s philosophies of what that mark is. But, I’m seeing that Peter said the same thing we are saying. “I will never deny you. I will die for you.” But he couldn’t, even after WALKING with the Lord. And Jesus told Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – Thomas was the one that demanded proof (to touch his scars in his hands). So am I fooling myself to think I could do any better than Peter did, or that my faith could be stronger than Thomas’? And in the discussions of modern Christian beliefs – Could I watch my family being slaughtered while I professed the name Jesus with joy in my heart. If I’m being honest and all I know to be is honest about the things of the Lord… the answer is a very big NO. I’m not better than Peter or Thomas and in fact I would score myself as a whopping 0 on a scorecard of what I’ve seen and experienced against the disciples that walked with the Lord. But HE IS BETTER – Christ.
It just breaks my heart that we’ve been taught a belief in Jesus means going to a church building, saying the “repeat after me prayer” and leaving that place each Sunday clapping our hands and smiling about the blessings that God intends to give us by fixing our marriages, protecting our children, healing our sicknesses, forgiving our sins and filling our bank accounts with money. And those feel good messages are gone by lunchtime – no heart change – not eternal life giving possession of HIM – a fleshly deliverance seated in the memories of our mind that come and go like the waves that crest and go back out to the sea.
To believe in Jesus is to be implanted with FAITH that is His, not ours… Given by Him… Tried by Him.. Tested and made perfect BY HIM… as evidence of the Kingdom, “HIM living inside of us”. It’s not our own belief.. because our beliefs are shakable… temporary… weak… ONLY HE is unshakeable.
Father, I ask you today for true faith to be implanted in your childen… and I know I can’t get it, touch it, see it, earn it, speak it into existence or borrow it from another’s testimony.. and even my own testimonies have no power in the external places of us. JESUS is the author and only IF He comes inside to make this body a vessel of HIM, does faith exist in me. I ask you to continue to show me that I’m not good – as Jesus said “there is not one good but God,” and give me the power within, who’s name is JESUS to overcome myself, as He demonstrated on the cross. Help me to see the things that I do wrong are evidence of my mortality and to war against, in the name of Jesus and by He who lives in me the temptations that so easily convict me of self-righteousness and self-desire. Please continue to show me that I’m not righteous, smart, deserving or important in even the most diminished form of that word. But that HE is and as I decrease, I ask you to INCREASE HIM IN ME. I love you Lord and I thank you for the good and the bad that I walk out – the evidence of you never leaving me in my filth and continuing your work in me to flourish the seed of Jesus into something that this flesh could never accomplish.
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
- Philippians 1: 27