The Seven Circles of Faith
Before you begin your Bible study, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Known, Unknown and Forgotten sins) (1Jn 1:9)
You will then be in fellowship with God, Filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to learn Truth from the Word of God.
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth," (John 4:24)
The Seven Circles of the Spiritual life
“How can I develop my Spiritual life?” This is a vital question that should concern every Christian. Since the Spiritual life is the most valuable commodity that the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ possesses, we must learn how it can be developed and strengthened so as to produce the peace, blessing, power and strength that God intended. All the ingredients needed to develop a strong faith that produces in us the monopolies and byproducts of the Christian life are found in, (Psa 27:1-14).
All faith begins at the moment we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for our Salvation. At that point we have just a little more faith than is found in a grain of mustard seed. The Bible says: “But these [Thoughts] have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31) “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36) “...Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved...” (Acts 16:31)
This Salvation, which begins at the moment we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, results in our receiving 40 plus things. These include the forgiveness and cleansing of all sin, the absolute righteousness of God, eternal life, Christ dwelling in us, the indwelling presence of God the Holy Spirit, entrance into the plan of God, the election of God, and many other wonderful things, which are a direct result of our position in Christ. At this point every believer starts with a perfect position, but with a very weak Spiritual life experientially.
As the Spiritual life develops it broadens into ever-widening circles, until we move into the place of Spiritual maturity and production in our Christian life. There are seven of these circles. We will examine each of them in our study of the development of the Spiritual life. After the first step of Salvation, the second step in the development of faith is found in, (Rom 10:17) “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” The basic and primary prerequisite for the development of the Spiritual life is the habitual, daily intake of God’s Word taught Isagogically Categorically and Exegetically. (I.C.E.) To communicate Divine Thoughts to the assembly by Isagogics, (Historical background) Categories (Salvation, sin, Spirituality, carnality, etc.) and Exegesis. (Etymological and syntactical word meanings from the original languages)
The third circle in the enlargement of the Spiritual life is the exercise of faith, or the ability to apply what you have learned. We call this the “faith-rest technique”: understanding certain Doctrines and applying them to experience; understanding and knowing certain Promises and Thinking with Them constantly. (Heb 4:1-3)
The fourth circle is the Spirit-controlled life. The fruit of God the Holy Spirit, (Gal 5:22-23) IS THE SPIRITUAL LIFE.
The next step for the Christian, the fifth circle is the area of testing or suffering. “So that the proof of your faith, [Spiritual life] being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1Pe 1:7) When we face adversities, trials, claim Promises to utilize them and to face our problems in the light of Divine Viewpoint. Suffering becomes a means of putting muscle on our Spiritual life and developing it to the maximum.
This leads to a sixth development, “Occupation with Christ,” which is found in, (Heb 12:2) “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, [The Spiritual life] who for the joy [Us] set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, [Thinking little of] and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Our Spiritual life is strengthened as we face suffering from the Divine Viewpoint, “For we walk by faith, [Spiritual Thinking] not by sight.” (2Co 5:7) When we are able to look at everything that happens to us in the light of God’s Viewpoint, we have reached the place of Occupation with Christ.
Finally we move into the place of true Spiritual maturity and production. When there is a day by day absorption of God’s Word and the application of it to experience, when a Spiritual life produces, when any problem, adversity, sorrow or trial in life can be faced with stability and perfect peace, when there is Occupation with the Person of Christ — it is then that the believer moves into Spiritual maturity and reaches the point of maximum production. (MGG: Maximum glorification of God) He has the Spiritual life which can move mountains! There is nothing in this world that can touch him. He is always ORIENTED. He is always HAPPY. He always has PEACE, whether he is in a place of trial and adversity or a place of great prosperity and blessing. These seven Principles in the progression of the Spiritual life are all contained in one Psalm.
Circle Number 1 — Salvation. In, (Psa 27:1) we read, “The LORD is my light and my Salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? The Spiritual life begins at this point: “The Lord is my Salvation.” Circle Number 1 is personal Salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “The LORD” is a reference to the second Person of the Trinity, the God-Man, who came to earth over 1900 years ago and suffered death upon the cross while bearing the sins of the entire world. When He hung there He was taking our place. He was removing every claim that God had against us. HE IS SALVATION. HE IS THE ONLY HOPE! (Acts 4:12) declares: “And there is Salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Not only is the Lord Salvation, His is also MY Salvation. “My” is a personal pronoun. This Salvation belongs to me personally. But this Salvation does not avail anything for me until the day that I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. All faith must originate at the Cross. There is no “faith-rest technique” until one personally believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.
A certain prominent minister in our country has a very interesting technique by which he has been able to help many people to a limited extent. It actually boils down to a system of auto-hypnosis, for his method is to persuade people that their trials and troubles really do not exist. He implies that if they will repeatedly tell themselves that their troubles do not exist, that somehow these troubles will evaporate into thin air. If the weather is bad when you arise in the morning, just stand in front of the mirror and with every stroke of the razor say to yourself, “It’s a beautiful day, it’s a beautiful day.” If you say it often enough, you will persuade yourself that it really is a beautiful day. When you walk out into a blowing gale and almost freeze to death, with icicles dropping off your nose, it will still be a beautiful day, because you have persuaded yourself of that fact. Now, this man uses certain Biblical Principles, but he uses them out of context, particularly the “faith-rest technique.” He presents it as something that the entire human race can use. But this is absolutely impossible, because the “faith-rest technique” depends upon believing certain Promises, which are for the believer only, and applying these Promises to experience. Before anyone can apply the Promises of the Bible to his life he must start where God declares all faith begins: at Calvary’s Cross. Faith which will produce the desired effect must begin at the Cross. You cannot have any system such as the one advocated by this preacher and by many of the cults until you have first accepted the death of Christ on the cross as payment for your sins — past, present, and future.
Man’s basic problem in time is not the discomfort that comes his way through trial, adversity or difficulty. Rather, it is the problem of his relationship with God. A barrier exists because it is impossible for a sinful man to have fellowship with a holy and righteous God. Even man’s good deeds cannot measure up to God’s perfect righteousness. No matter how you may consider man, he is incapable of having fellowship with God. Knowing this, God devised the perfect plan — a perfect plan from a perfect person. Jesus Christ came into this world, went to the cross, died for our sins and thereby completely removed the barrier between man and God. Now the only barrier that stands between the human race and an eternal relationship with God is the Person of Jesus Christ. Where you spend eternity is determined by our attitude toward the Son of God. Whether you will ever have any peace or blessing in this life is also determined by your attitude toward Christ. The issue of Salvation is very clear.
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18)
David wrote many hundreds of years ago that he had accepted Christ, the promised Messiah, as his Savior, for he said, “The Lord is my light and my Salvation.” In our syntactic outline, the first phrase that comes to our attention is Salvation — Circle Number 1. The Lord is my Salvation. Jesus Christ is Salvation. Salvation is a Person. If Jesus Christ alone is Salvation, whom else can I trust? The answer is, no one. The whole Principle of Psalm 27 is that an eternal relationship with God can only be obtained through faith in Christ. The Cross is the only barrier that stands between you and God. God cannot have fellowship with us because we are sinners by birth and by action. But Christ died on the cross and paid for our sins. God cannot have fellowship with us as a member of the human race, because we are under the penalty of sin, which is eternal death. (Eternal separation from God) When Christ died, He paid that penalty. Furthermore, God cannot have relationship with us because we are born into this world with three strikes against us — imputed sin, inherent sin, and personal sin. Jesus Christ resolved all three problems when He died upon the cross.
By human standards my life may be very impressive with many good deeds, but as far as God is concerned, they all add up to relative righteousness. (-R) All of the good works in the world cannot measure up to God’s standard of absolute righteousness. (+R) Jesus Christ who is equal with God (John 10:30) and yet a true member of the human race, was also absolute righteousness. He therefore satisfied the requirement of absolute righteousness. Thus everything that God had against me as a member of the human race, was also absolute righteousness. He therefore satisfied the requirement of absolute righteousness. Thus everything that God had against me as a member of the human race was resolved at the Cross. The Cross takes care of everything, so that Jesus Christ becomes MY Salvation when I believe in Him.
“The Lord is my light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear” (Psa 27:1) or “whom shall I trust?” There is only one Person in whom I can trust, because there is only one Savior, (Not two, not a dozen saviors, not a lot of religions, not a universal Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man. There is only ONE SAVIOR) the Lord Jesus Christ — and therefore, only one condition of Salvation: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved...” (Acts 16:31)
But that is just the beginning of the story. We move on to another Principle in this verse. “The Lord is the strength of my life.” This has to do with eternal security, for remember that all security in time is based upon security in eternity. Once I believe in Jesus Christ I possess eternal life, and this eternal life which is given to me at the moment of Salvation is something that can never be removed. There are many facets of this security: first of all, I am in union with Christ the moment I accept Him as Savior. I cannot get out of that relationship. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1) Further, Paul states, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39) To believe in Jesus Christ, to put one’s trust in Him, to depend upon Him for Salvation, means that I cannot lose my Salvation. This relationship cannot be broken. There is nothing I can do to change this situation. Once I have trusted in Jesus Christ, I possess a relationship with Him which lasts forever. Eternal security is exactly what its definition implies — secure for all eternity. Consequently, in this same circle we have not only Salvation, but also the assurance of it. I am assured of life forever in the presence of God. While it is impossible to describe it in human language, I am to understand that it is a fantastically wonderful blessing.
Now while we are still living in time, and having accepted Christ as Savior, we might take a look out into eternity. We see that eternity is a long, long time — billions and billions of years. Since we understand that we are going to live with Him forever and ever and nothing can ever change that, we might very easily draw a false conclusion. Experientially, we can jump in either one of two ways.
Let us take the incorrect conclusion first. I can say to myself, “All right, since the Bible says once saved, always saved, and since I cannot lose my Salvation, I think I’ll kick up my heels a little bit in the meantime. Why not just eat, drink and be merry, for no matter what I do now, I will go into the presence of the Lord when I die! This is a false experiential implication from a true Doctrinal Principle. A false conclusion is drawn from a correct Premise, one which overlooks the Doctrine of Divine discipline. “FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” (Heb 12:6) Believers who take this road have eternal life but they dedicate themselves to perpetual misery in time and removal of rewards at the Judgment Seat.
However, there are some correct implications from this Doctrine. Since the question of eternity has been solved, I know that if God does not see fit to remove me from this life, He must have a purpose for my staying here. There is something He wants me to do. I am to represent Him. My life will be full of meaning and purpose and definition. I realize that since I have eternal stability, the result in time is temporal stability. If God can provide eternal security or eternal stability for me through the cross, He can also provide temporal stability or temporal security for me in time. Suddenly I wake up and realize that not only is Jesus Christ my Salvation, He is also my security! My security is NOT the money I have accumulated. My security is NOT my social or economic position. My security is NOT a home or human friendship or human relationship. It is NOT in the job I hold, NOT in the future I have; security does not depend upon living by my brains, my brawn, or anything else I may have by way of success in this life. MY SECURITY IS ONE PERSON — THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!
The first circle, then is receiving the LORD Jesus Christ as my Savior and the assurance that nothing can take away this “so great Salvation.” I know that He is the One who keeps me. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.” (Jud 1:24) I also know. “To obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a Salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1Pe 1:4-5) I know that eternity is solved once and for all, and I know Who solved it: “The LORD is my Salvation!” The Lord provided en toto. I did not earn it, I did not work for it. I did not deserve it, nor did I add anything to it. I simply trusted Him; I simply believed it. As far as eternity is concerned, beyond the grace, beyond death, there is nothing for me but blessing. “And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Rev 21:4) I know that “to be absent from the body is to be ‘face to face’ with the Lord.” (2Co 5:8) I know that Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” (John 11:25) I know that I, as well as all other believers who reach Spiritual maturity, will be in a place that is so wonderful it is beyond human description. Therefore, immediately I say to myself, “Beyond death there is nothing to fear, there is nothing harsh or unpleasant to anticipate for ever and ever.”
As a result I can take another look at time, I am having troubles, trials and adversities. Until now I have been depending upon social and economic position for my security. I kept planning ahead so that I might eke out life for a few miserable years, rusting away before I check out, and I thought this was a great thing. I may call it social security, and I may call it a retirement plan. But what ever it is, I have realized at last where my security really lies, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. No longer do I think only in terms of security after the age of 60 or 65. I can anticipate security as of the moment I believe in Jesus Christ. The moment I reach this conclusion, my faith responds. I believe this to be true, and at that moment a new process is started. I have begun to take cognizance of Doctrine. I am taking in information, and now I begin to move into circle Number 2 of this Psalm, the circle found in, (Psa 27:4-11).
Circle Number 2 — Study. The more I know about the Bible, the stronger my Spiritual life becomes. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17) Now notice, (Psa 27:4). We have a fivefold pattern of Bible study and assimilation of God’s Word. “One thing I have asked...” First, as soon as I am born again, (If I am a normal Spiritual baby) I have a desire for Spiritual milk. Spiritual milk is contained in God’s Word. “One thing I have asked from the LORD...” Regeneration brings a desire for Truth — for Divine Thinking. “That I shall seek...” The second part of the pattern is study or seeking. It says, I will seek the Truth, the milk or food that God gives. First of all then there is motivation. I now have a desire to study the Word. Before I believed in Jesus Christ, the Bible was just another book — one in which I had little interest. Apparently a lot of controversy existed over this book, but I found other books much more interesting to read. Now, everything is changed — I believed in Jesus Christ. The Bible is a real and living book. The Bible is God’s Word and Thinking. It is a Book which has stood all the tests, all of the controversies, all of the opposition of the ages, and continues to exist, right up to this moment, as a best seller, even though at the same time it is the most attacked Book in the history of mankind. It is God’s Thoughts in written form, and in it I have Promises and Principles to apply to every circumstance of life. I am suddenly aware that not only is the Person of Jesus Christ my temporal and eternal security, but also that He has very graciously given me something in addition to Salvation. He has given me written Promises and Principles to use in time, and as I utilize and Think with these Principles I have the full realization of temporal security. “One thing I have asked...” Motivation: desire for the Word. “That I shall seek…” “Divine Truth must be sought at its source, and there is only one source of it — the Bible.
The third Principle involved, “...That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life...” Please notice that he is talking about life on this earth, not in the hereafter. He is talking about time, not eternity. He says that he wants to dwell in the house of the Lord. Now immediately a question arises. What is this house of the Lord that David speaks of? It cannot be the Temple, for the Temple was not yet in existence. He is referring to the Tabernacle. The house of the Lord, the Tabernacle, was their Spiritual life. These people could not literally dwell in the Tabernacle, but the Temple could be built in them, and they could keep on Thinking about the Person of Christ, the Promised Messiah, as He was revealed in the Tabernacle. The house of the Lord is analogous to the Spiritual life with its seven circles or gates. (1Co 3:9-16)
In David’s day the revelation of God was a little different. Instead of having it in writing, they had it in the form which they could see. Many of the Jews could not read or write, and thus, would be handicapped in the assimilation of Divine Truths. In order that they might understand everything involved in Spiritual phenomena, they had, for example, a brazen altar which spoke of Christ dying for their sins. In the first part of the tabernacle, (The holy place) there was the table of showbread, a type of Christ, the bread of life. There was a candlestick speaking of Christ, the light of the world, and a golden altar speaking of the intercessory work in the Lord Jesus. Separating the holy place from the Holy of Holies was a veil which spoke of the incarnation of the Person of Christ. Inside the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant which contained those things which spoke of sin, reminding them of reconciliation, atonement and propitiation. The ark was covered with gold, representing His Deity. The wood of the ark spoke of the humanity of Christ bearing the sins of the world. On the covering or lid was the mercy seat which spoke of Christ as a propitiation. Every article in the Tabernacle was an eloquent testimony of some phase of the Person and or work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This was their Bible, and when David said, “I want to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, he was talking about the living Temple in the soul. He was talking about assimilating God’s Word; he was talking about daily, habitual exposure to the Word of God through the ear-gate and for us as royal family the eye-gate, listening as it was taught by others in his day, such as the prophet Nathan.
The fourth pattern found in, (Psa 27:4) is meditation. “…That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life to behold” — not the beauty, but the Hebrew says literally, the graciousness of the Lord. “The word “behold” means to meditate in a searching manner. It means to put a lingering or charmed gaze upon something. We look into God’s Word and discover His grace — not only in Salvation, not only in His keeping power, but also in rebound, or restoration of fellowship, (1Jn 1:9) this is a perfect illustration of grace. There is grace in prayer: “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace...” (Heb 4:16) “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2Pe 3:18) “…I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!” (1Pe 5:12) “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God…” (Heb 12:15) Everywhere we turn in God’s Word we see His grace. We see our unworthiness, and yet, as unworthy as we are, Divine operating assets are provided, and we move into the area of temporal security. By the way, what is YOUR temporal security number?
The final phases in, (Psa 27:4) is inquiry. “To meditate in His Temple.” The word “meditate” means to make a reconnaissance. When the Bible was written the word “meditate” meant to examine a sick patient. The idea is to investigate the Word so that the Word investigates us! “Teach me Your way, O LORD.” (Psa 27:11) As a result of learning His Ways, [Thoughts] we are guided. “…And lead me in a level path.” or literally — in an even path, a path which is easy to follow and easy to discern. “And lead me in a level path Because of my foes.” “Foes,” of course, refer to the world, the flesh and the devil — all things which seek to frustrate us in fulfilling Divine will and Divine guidance.
That is Circle Number 2: knowledge of the Word. As we daily, habitually and continually absorb God’s Word; this faith which begins at the Cross, (As small as a grain of mustard seed) starts to grow. However, if you have accepted Christ sometime in the past but have not absorbed God’s Word through the intake of categorical teaching of the Word of God, you are a Spiritual moron. You could not be otherwise because you have had no Spiritual food. YOU CANNOT GROW SPIRITUALLY WITHOUT SPIRITUAL FOOD! Then, too, you are confused with regard to guidance. You want to know what is God’s will, but when you find yourself confronted with a difficult problem, you do not know which way to turn. You immediately try to find someone who can tell you what is God’s will for you, because you personally cannot determine God’s will for yourself. You need daily study and absorption of the Word. When this happens, your Spiritual life will begin to grow.
Circle Number 3 — The Faith-Rest Drill. Once you begin to learn the Word of Truth, once you begin to learn the Promises, then you begin to exercise your Spiritual life — you apply Divine Thinking to experience. (Psa 27:5) “For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle...” The tabernacle refers to the court. In this case, the analogy is to the Spiritual life of God. In time of trouble, where does God hide the believer? Where is the place of blessing? Where is the shelter? It is in the Promises of the Word of God filled with God the Holt Spirit. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Many of you have discovered (Rom 8:28) many times, in time of trouble, you have hidden yourself in the “tabernacle” of Romans 8:28, or in the “tabernacle” of, (Exo 14:13-14)
“...Do not fear! Stand by and see the Salvation (Deliverance) of the LORD... The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.”
Many of you have hidden yourselves in the wonderful “tabernacle” of, (1Sa 17:47) “The battle is the Lord’s,” or (1Pe 5:7) “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you,” or (Psa 55:22) “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” There are many, many wonderful Promises in God’s Word. When did you last claim one of them? Have you hidden yourself in the “tabernacle” — His Tabernacle — the Promises of the Word; the new Spiritual nature?
For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent Promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the Divine nature, [Tabernacle — Spiritual life] having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2Pe 1:4)
(Psa 27:5) goes on to say, “For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle In the secret place of His tent He will hide me,” refers to the Spiritual life. There are many Principles of Doctrine found in God’s Word which are applicable to you. How many times have you, in a time of trouble and trial, taken one simple little Doctrine, such as the Doctrine of Divine Essence, or the Character of God, and applied it to your particular problem? For example, you are having difficulty as a believer under stress conditions. Applying the Doctrine of Divine essence; your Spiritual Thinking should run something like this: “God is SOVEREIGN. This is a part of His essence. Since He is sovereign, He has a plan for me in time. He has security for me in time, as well as in eternity.” Furthermore, you Think, “God is ABSOLUTE RIGHTEOUSNESS; therefore, whatever He has provided for me in time must be as perfect as He is perfect. God is JUSTICE; therefore, His provision is fair. It is something that is easily obtainable. It is something that can be appropriated without having to develop some superior mentality. Now since God is also love, and that love He has for His only begotten Son, I know He will carry me through this situation.” You cannot help but exclaim, “Why, this is marvelous!”
“God is ETERNAL LIFE, and I share that life. Since He has provided the hard thing — eternal security — I know that He can easily provide security for me in time. God is OMNISCIENT. He knows my situation. In fact, He knew it billions of years ago — omniscience plus eternity. Since billions of years ago He knew every condition I would face in time, He made provision for it. God is OMNIPOTENT. He is able to deliver me through this situation. God is OMNIPRESENT. He is right here observing this problem. God is IMMUTABLE. He is faithful in helping me in all the difficulties, trials and troubles in life.” This is the application of one simple Doctrine to our Thinking; in ANY situation. We need to Think with Spiritual Thoughts — Doctrine — Principles as well as Promises — so that we can hide in His Tabernacle, in the secret of His Tent. (Spirit and Truth) “...He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me...” What then is the result in time? — Stability! “…He will lift me up on a Rock.” I have stability in time because I have discovered the secret to security in time is, first of all, the Cross, I have believed in Jesus Christ. The second secret to security is growing Spiritually by absorbing the Word. Then thirdly, the application of the Word to every Thought, in every situation and or the exercise of faith in daily experience.
Circle Number 4 — The Filling of God the Holy Spirit. This results in a further development of faith, introduced in the first phrase of the Psalm: “The LORD is my light...” The Lord is my animation. Without the Lord, I would have no inner beauty, no animation on the inside, no peace. You see, if there is to be any stability in time for any member of the human race, it must come from the inside. Suppose you have acquired a large sum of money — a mountain of it, yet no matter how large the bank roll, it will not give you stability, for it is on the outside. You have many friends — male and female — who stimulate you by their attentions. But this will not answer the problem either. You could have all the friends in the world; you could have all the wonderful social situations one could ever imagine; you could have everything in life, a beautiful home and a wonderful family, but that is not the answer. Whatever it is, whatever you want, this is not going to give you satisfaction, because satisfaction is on the inside. Peace is on the inside. Stability is on the inside, and that is where it must start.
“The LORD is my light,” and the light is on the inside, this light is His provision. First of all, Christ is the light, and Christ is in us, (Indwells us) “The hope of glory.” (Col 1:27) Secondly, God the Holy Spirit is in us, (Indwells us) and is also called our light in, (Eph 5:9). “Light” which is the filling of God the Holy Spirit. (Gal 5:22) This Principle is further stated in, (Eph 5:14). “For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead And Christ will shine on you.” (1Jn 1:9) Rebound, not Salvation in this context, “And Christ will shine on you.” (The filling of God the Holy Spirit) The filling of the Spirit which produces light also becomes a developer of the Spiritual life, and moves us out of Circle Number 5.
Circle Number 5 — Suffering. After we have habitually absorbed God’s Word, after we have continually fed upon it day by day, after we have learned to apply it through the “faith-rest technique,” after we have moved into an area where we are controlled by God the Holy Spirit a greater part of the time; then God permits suffering. Most of this Psalm, strangely enough, deals with the subject of suffering. Notice, for example, (Psa 27:2-3). “When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.” Why? Because of the Lord’s protection. “Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear;” Place yourself in an actual military situation where you are completely surrounded by the enemy. Would you be frightened? How would you react with shells bursting all around you, knowing you were trapped and cut off? Listen to this. “Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear;” Why? Because the Lord is SECURITY. “Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.” Confidence cannot be shaken by war itself!
Then again in, (Psa 27:6) “And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent [Spirit and Truth] sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.” Verses 2, 3 and 6 refer to suffering inflicted by people. There are many ways in which people can hurt other people. Yet, if the Lord IS our Salvation, if the Lord IS our security, the strength of our life, if we are absorbing his Word, if we are Thinking with it, if we are controlled by the Spirit who indwells us, then people (This may shock you) can no longer hurt us! You do not develop a thick elephant hide covered with calluses. You develop a fine, smooth “Virtue” cover that no human being can get through. You are a believer in time with perfect peace and blessing, even though you have enemies, people who despise you, with or without cause; people who seek your destruction, your downfall. These people can often make you very miserable, and they will, if you let them. Whether you let them or not depends on how you follow the Gates of Psalm 27.
But there are other sufferings in this passage. Those, for example, in verses 7 and 9 where we see suffering as a result of discipline. Here David cries out, “Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice, And be gracious to me and answer me.” Now he is under discipline, He is being spanked, “FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” (Heb 12:6) Again, he says in verse 9, “Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my Salvation!” David is being chastened very severely, and therefore he utters this cry of suffering. Of course, the answer to discipline is, (1Jn 1:9) — rebound and keep moving.
There is yet another type of suffering in, (Psa 27:10). “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” In this category of suffering, as in ALL others, the answer is found in the Spiritual life.
You will notice another type of pressure found in: (Psa 27:12) gossip, criticism and maligning. The tongue is a vicious thing. It destroys and hurts people. More people have been hurt by the edge of the tongue than will ever be hurt by the edge of the sword. “Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence.” This cruelty would not be considered physical punishment — it is done with their tongue. They speak evil. But even for this pressure we have a Pavilion of Promise: “You will be hidden from the scourge of the tongue And you will not be afraid of violence when it comes.” (Job 5:21)
The answer to ALL pressure in life is the temporal security of, (Psa 27:2-4).
(1Pe 1:7) is the pattern of Circle No. 5. “So that the proof of your faith, (Spiritual life) being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Circle Number 6 — Occupation With Christ. Verses 8 and 13: “When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.” This is Occupation with the Person of Christ. This is a further step forward. This comes as a result of great pressures mixed with claiming Promises and trusting Him in the midst of these pressures. We build tremendous faith and stability when we take our sufferings, trials and problems and apply Scripture to every adverse situation. If we turn the battle over to the Lord, we can stand still and watch His deliverance. Then we develop tremendous peace, blessing and joy in life, which results in Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ and His Thoughts. Our eyes are upon Him. (Heb 12:2) No longer do we carry illusions with regard to people or things, or even self. We no longer are guilty of lusting after materialistic things or people; so that we are off balance much of the time.
Circle Number 7 — Spiritual Maturity. (MGG: Maximum Glorification of God) As a result, we move into that pattern of temporal security which is found in Circle 7 — MGG in the Spiritual life. (Psa 27:14) “Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”
(Psa 27:13) Gives us the preview of it: “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.” The word for believe in verse 13 means to use God as a prop. It is our English word “amen.” “I would have despaired” means I would fall apart mentally unless I believed it. This Spiritual life which has been developed through the reading and studying of the Word, through the application of God’s Word in the “faith-rest technique,” through the filling of God the Holy Spirit, through its application in time of great adversity and trial — this Spiritual life now brings me to the place of peace, stability and blessing. I have found that there is in time a true happiness which nothing can remove and nothing can destroy. If happiness depends upon materialistic possessions, then I will find that my materialistic possessions can be removed leaving me unhappy. Therefore, I will constantly be unhappy even though I may appear happy, for I am constantly in fear of losing my materialistic possession. Having things causes me to worry about losing them. But if I do not have them, I am constantly wanting them. Either way, I am off balance and miserable, even though I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. But if I have followed these previous circles, then what a change! I may have all the money in the world, but I am happy — not because I have money, but because the Lord is my security, and if the money comes or goes, I am still happy. Conversely, I may not have anything, but I still have that same peace, that same happiness and that same blessing! This Principle is expressed in, (Php 4:11-12) where Paul says, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity...” For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” This word for “content” is true Christian happiness. Happiness does not depend upon possessions or the lack of them. Happiness does not depend upon social relationships, or lack of them. Happiness does not depend upon my economic status, or what people think of me, or what circumstances in life happen to exist. My happiness is the LORD. As I have absorbed His Word, and applied it to every situation, as I have appropriated His provision in the filling of God the Holy Spirit, I have discovered that there is absolutely nothing in this life that can bother me or remove the wonderful security and peace which is mine.
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.” (Psa 27:13) The goodness is the gracious provision of the Lord in the land of the living — not when you are dead! He says, “Now, wake up! Christians! When you die, it is going to be wonderful beyond description!” But remember, “for you to live is Christ,” as well as “to die is gain.” (A promotion; Php 1:21) So, he says, “Here is the secret: You are going to faint, believer; you are going to be unhappy — with or without things — whichever way it goes for you, unless you believe to see the goodness, the gracious provisions of the Lord in the land of the living. Therefore, “WAIT ON THE LORD...” (Psa 27:14)
The word for “wait” is a very interesting Hebrew word, “kiwah.” When you start out as a believer, you start out like a string or a thread; you begin as one strand. Anyone can pick you up and snap you just as you can snap or break a thread. But as you begin to study and learn something, another thread is added. Now you are just a little bit stronger and just a little bit bigger. You do the same thing again the next day. Then you have a problem, and you Think with a Promise which you have learned. The next day it is something different, and each day you take in the Word, study and apply. Then you come to a very difficult spot in your life which you face with “faith-rest.” You keep weaving in these strands, and suddenly, the life that started as a little strand is now a great, powerful cable which nothing can break. This is the development of the circles. (Spiritual life) The word “wait” is the greatest word in the Hebrew language for trusting. It means that you start out as a little strand, but as you weave yourself in with the Promises, Doctrines and all the things which are provided in the Word of God, you become like a mighty cable — strong and unbreakable. You have absolute temporal security, a security which comes from the continuous application of FAITH. “Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” (Psa 27:14)
It is impossible for the believer to Spiritually mature apart from the development of the Spiritual life. There is no short cut to Spiritual maturity. It requires each of the activities which have been enucleated in this message. The rather trite expression which is used as a panacea, “have faith,” is absolutely meaningless unless the procedures which have been outlined are followed and utilized. There is no magic formula for the development of a strong faith. It requires daily nourishment from the Word, the exercise of the “faith-rest technique,” the filling of God the Holy Spirit, the pressure of suffering and Occupation with Christ. All of these ingredients contribute to the development of faith, (The Spiritual life) from a grain of mustard seed to a power that can remove ANY problem life has. We are reminded in, (Heb 11:6) “But without faith [Spiritual Thinking Thought with] it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him for he who comes to God must BELIEVE that He IS and that He IS a rewarder of those who seek Him!”