Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works… And this we will do if God permits.
(Heb 6:1-3 RSVA) [emphasis added]
How often we have seen ourselves clinging to something as though we have arrived in our Christian walk? As I look around Christendom this seems to be the norm more than the exception. We find ourselves in a nice comfortable meeting, church building or denomination where there are no threats and where there is no one to challenge us or stretch us or even push us out of the nest and we settle in and vegetate. Funny how God does not allow these things to continue in our lives if we are fully committed unto His Son and abide IN Him.
Many of us think we have got God, His kingdom and what it means to do “church” all in a neat theological bag. But even Paul was not so foolish. He wrote,
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if indeed I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 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, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Phi 3:12-14 KJ2000)
Let us go on… I follow after, if I might apprehend… the very reason that Christ apprehended me for! To not go on is to be caught-up and entangled in dead works at best! You see, God is Spirit and they who would worship Him must do so in Spirit and in Truth (verity). When we cease to follow on after the Lord in our lives is when we start living a lie.
“Forgetting those things which are behind…” Wow! How many of us have done that? How many are doing what we are doing because of past events in our lives, past comforts or past woundings? We have become cogs in a wheel that goes endlessly around in circles. My daughter, Dinah, when she was in a church youth group was asked by the leader with the other kids, what they thought of Sunday services. The good church kids all had a nice, warm, churchy things to say about church services, but not Dinah. They finally got around to asking her and she said, “I think going the Sunday service is like going to the circus… if you seen one you have seen them all.” I call this trap, “the tyranny of the comfortable.” We humans are quite adaptable and love our comfort.
No, if we are intent on following Jesus we will find ourselves “outside the camp, bearing His reproach” and eventually find that here on this earth we have no continuing city…. BUT do we throw in the towel and settle down and become wilderness dwellers for the sake of being “in the wilderness”? No, that can be a trap as well. Even that can become too comfortable. If we are called to follow Jesus we will follow Him wherever He goes (Rev. 14:4).
I would like to share this bit of revelation from T. A. Sparks on this theme…
To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. (Revelation 2:17)
God always keeps the revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations. You and I can never get revelation other than in connection with some necessity. We cannot get it simply as a matter of information. That is information, that is not revelation. We cannot get it by studying. When the Lord gave the manna in the wilderness (a type of Christ as the Bread from heaven), He stipulated very strongly that not one fragment more than the day’s need was to be gathered, and that if they went beyond the measure of immediate need, disease and death would break out and overtake them. The principle, the law, of the manna, is that God keeps revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations of necessity, and we are not going to have revelation as mere teaching, doctrine, interpretation, theory, or anything as a thing, which means that God is going to put you and me into situations where only the revelation of Christ can help us and save us….
Now then, that is why the Lord would keep us in situations which are acute, real. The Lord is against our getting out on theoretical lines with truth, out on technical lines. Oh, let us shun technique as a thing in itself and recognize this, that, although the New Testament has in it a technique, we cannot merely extract the technique and apply it. We have to come into New Testament situations to get a revelation of Christ to meet that situation. So that the Holy Spirit’s way with us is to bring us into living, actual conditions and situations, and needs, in which only some fresh knowledge of the Lord Jesus can be our deliverance, our salvation, our life, and then to give us, not a revelation of truth, but a revelation of the Person, new knowledge of the Person, that we come to see Christ in some way that just meets our need. We are not drawing upon an “it,” but upon a “Him.” [emphasis added] (By T. Austin-Sparks from: The School of Christ – Chapter 3)