Thursday October 15, 2020
Last time we read Jesus’ words which He spoke about our vision. Being able to see physically, and therefore seeing the world and its needs, which He summed up as food, drink, and clothes, did not equal light within, i.e. being able to see as He sees, being able to see His life. For His life was the light of the world and He didn’t care about worldly needs.
First, we must see Him through faith in the gospel. Second, we must discover that eternal life is more so a type of life than it is a duration of life. Third, we must look for that life with all our heart.
All our heart is the only path to seeing. I did not say that, the Lord did. Some perhaps preferred my older teaching that might be summarized as all one had to do was listen to the word of God and confess sins and all would be fine. Now I teach that listening is just the beginning. We must do, or act upon what we hear, striving to do so, and that we must do for a long time, our whole lives in complete commitment and obedience. Again, not my words but the Lord’s.
Why does the Lord tell us to keep asking, seeking, knocking?
"Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. 8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. 9 "Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 "Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
Is it that God isn’t paying very much attention and so has to be pestered before He’ll actually hear what you desire? Or is it that we are the ones who do not hear His clear answers, understand His detailed maps, or see His open doors? Most certainly it is the latter.
It is also true that over time we understand a whole lot clearer what it is we should be asking or looking for. We keep on asking, seeking, and looking and over time these are far more refined. We find after years of hearing and learning God’s word, and seeking to live in its truth that we’re not looking for any treasure, but a specific treasure. We’re not looking for any open door but specific ones. We have to keep asking, seeking, and knocking because our spiritual senses are progressively growing.
Now, one of those discoveries is the true reasons for unity.
Jesus prayed that based solely on faith in Him, the promised Messiah of the unified Trinity, we would be one in Them, sharing Their glory - revealing to the world Their perfect unity.
“I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me. 22 And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.”
Again, we must not let the diversity of gifts become a source of division rather than unity due to pride, as happened in Corinth.
When any person becomes enamored of his own capacity, he becomes useless to God. He forgets that gifts differ according to the grace given.
This is one way in which diversity, which should lead to great unity, will lead to fracture, pride. C.S. Lewis calls pride “the complete anti-God state of mind.” Pride is the central enemy of the Christian life.
How could we read these words from Christ’s prayer and be proud about anything other than Him? Either we have never read them or we have forgotten them.
Power is what pride really enjoys. Remember, pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. As we see in 1Co, this can happen in the church when desire for personal greatness above another takes a front-seat to desire for Christ. In Corinth division spawned regarding different socio-economic status, different wealth, different favorite teachers, and different spiritual gifts. Pride enjoys power most of all, the ability to move men around like toy soldiers, for it is competitive by its very nature.
The opposite of pride is humility. Humility comes to a man when he realizes that he is nothing, and in fact, on his own, a horrible and dangerous creature, but that all things good in him and in his possession are gifts from God.
Barnhouse in his commentary on Romans says: “In the nonspiritual realm, as in the spiritual, every gift and grace that any individual has, and any success that may come to any man, is given directly to him by God. Even to atheists, God gives the power to say, "I don't believe in God." They say it with the breath that God gave them. Having emptied their lungs by saying it once, they must inhale God's good air to say it again.”
As the foundation of all good things is the one Trinity, so all things that are wrong in human society come from hearts which believe that it is possible for man to originate something of value, or give something of value, apart from Jesus Christ.
In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that - and, therefore yourself as nothing in comparison - you do not know God at all.
As long as you are proud you cannot know God.
Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we ourselves are intrinsically good - and above all that we are better than someone else - we can be sure that we are being acted upon by the devil. God is in us to will and to work His good pleasure. We must forget about self all together. And I hope you know, and you will find out if you try, that you can’t make yourself forget about yourself because you are thinking about yourself to begin with. It’s sort of like Newton’s first law, a body will remain at constant speed, even zero (at rest) unless acted upon by an outside force. If you were the strongest person in the world you could never pull yourself up by your boot-straps. You have to be acted upon by an outside force. Only seeking God and His way, truth, and life will we forget about ourselves.
Pride is not a part of our animal nature. And this is one of the more important things to understand in the spiritual life, in our pursuit of seeing as Christ sees.
Our animal nature has vices: perversions of sex, alcohol, drugs, food, comfort, etc. Pride is of the spirit, of the spirit of hell. The devil will help you overcome a vice so long as he can instill pride in you.
It’s not that the devil will not work on your animal nature. He has defeated many through that vehicle. Pride doesn’t come through our animal nature at all. Because it is of the human spirit it is far more subtle and deadly. Pride can be used to beat down the animal vices.
Certainly, we must beat them down, but not with pride. If we think that certain vices must be destroyed because they are beneath us, that is beneath our dignity, that is pride, and the devil laughs. The devil is perfectly content to see you give up something while he sets up the dictatorship of pride.
So go on sinning like a human animal? Some, even teachers, have advocated for that nonsense.
First off, nothing is beneath your dignity because you don’t have any dignity.
Secondly, the Bible tells us that we must walk in righteousness, sanctified, because God has given us His righteousness and has sanctified us. The animal nature is beneath Him, not us. We lay aside the old man because God laid it aside. We resist and reject the old self because of God’s life and so we do so out of admiration, love, and gratitude to God. And so, we conquer out of faith and love for God, not self, and pride does not take an empty throne in our hearts, rather, Christ does, EPH 3:17.
Humility is the result of knowing God’s superiority to you and super-abundant blessing to you and so handing over to Him our lives, so that we conquer the flesh and the world without pride.
C.S. Lewis: “We must not think Pride is something God forbids because He is offended at it, or that Humility is something He demands as due to His own dignity - as if God Himself was proud. He is not in the least worried about His dignity. The point is, He wants you to know Him; wants to give you Himself. And He and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble - delightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life. He is trying to make you humble in order to make this moment possible: trying to take off a lot of silly, ugly, fancy-dress in which we have all got ourselves up and are strutting about like the little idiots we are. … Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will see what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking of humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”
Notice the previous sentence to Paul’s list of spiritual gifts in Rom 12:
For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.