God's Game Plan # 4
HUMILITY IN LEARNING TRUTH
God has established for believers a way to grow Spiritually, the autonomous local church, MP3 player, DVDs; and now the computer; this is a provision of logistical grace. Like all effective organizations this one also has a purpose, a policy, and an authority. Its purpose is the communication and inculcation of God's Thoughts. And insists on good manners and restricts activities that would distract serious students from concentrating on the Word of God. (2Ti 2:14-17) The pastor holds the highest authority. (Heb 13:7-18) He oversees a system, and the pastor’s authoritative teaching and his system of delegated authority constitute enforced humility for the royal family. Within this system of enforced humility, genuine humility is the believer’s positive volition toward Truth. Humility, both enforced and genuine, provides teachability. If you are emotional, if you are continually proving yourself to others, if you relate everything in life to yourself, you are arrogant and unreceptive to all categories of Truth. As does any unbeliever, the believer requires genuine humility to adjust to life in general, but he also needs genuine humility to faithfully learn and apply Truth and must learn to stay in fellowship. The believer’s humility is positive volition toward the Truth of the Bible as well as Divine establishment.
An arrogant believer may listen to Bible teaching every day, but he is un-teachable. He may go through all the proper motions; he may be considered a pillar of the church; but he remains preoccupied with himself. He is too subjective to accept the Doctrines that expose the frailties and flaws of his sin nature. A hypocritical eclectic, he chooses to believe only what he wishes to hear and refuses to submit to the whole realm of Truth. As a result he never grows Spiritually despite his continual exposure. The humble believer attends Bible teaching to learn God’s system, not to agree or disagree. When a person does not know what God’s plan is, his agreement or disagreement mean nothing. The humble believer grows because he is receptive to the Truth rather than protective of his inflated opinion of himself. The sin nature is a direct link to demon influence and must be overcome. (Jas 3:14-15) The enemy inside being rejected, is the key to learning, so do not submit to self, (Rom 6:11-12) submit to God! A person who becomes a believer in adulthood has an advantage in the Christian life if he was authority-oriented as an unbeliever; he has a foundation. As he learns the Thinking of the Spiritual life, he recognizes this system to be the accelerator of his freedom rather than a confining maze of Commandments, and prohibitions, as seen by a believer who resists authority. (This is a play book! Not a rule book!) But while there is life there is hope; (Eccles 9:4) God supplies him with the logistical grace to grow up Spiritually. His environment or background is no excuse for failure to advance in the plan of God. He can develop respect for authority and Truth, but he must enter gate three the hard way. Under strict academic discipline and enforced humility he must persevere under the authority and teaching of his pastor. He must avoid mental attitude sins when he is tempted to malign the pastor, resent his message, or criticize others. He must remain constantly alert and rebound quickly when he sins. For any believer the transition from ignorance of Truth at Salvation to cognizance at Spiritual maturity is as difficult as the transition from authority in the home to freedom in adulthood. Few believers succeed. Most lack the tenacity day after day, year after year, to make the many right decisions to learn and Think with Truth, to keep residing and functioning in Fellowship with God. (Matt 7:13-14)
THE HUMILITY OF CHRIST
SUBMISSION TO ESTABLISHMENT AUTHORITY
The Divine Laws of establishment embrace all mankind. Since our Lord Jesus Christ was true humanity, He too was subject to these Laws. Born into the organizational humility of a family, He grew up under the enforced humility of His parents. In genuine humility He was always obedient to His parents until He reached physical, mental and Spiritual maturity. (Luk 2:40; Luk 2:51-52) Christ as an adult was subject to the same system of humility that for us replaces the authority of the home. Our Lord’s human soul was His organizational humility, and His positive volition in resisting every temptation to sin was His enforced humility. (Heb 4:15) He was always obedient to the Truth. By His own self-discipline He perpetually resided in fellowship and developed maximum capacity for life. His enforced humility merged into genuine humility. Since our Lord lived during the Age of Israel, Jesus fulfilled the Principle of learning under authority. (Luk 2:46) So diligent was He in His studies that at age twelve He surpassed the theologians in His understanding of Old Testament Scriptures. (Luk 2:46-47)
SUBMISSION TO A UNIQUE DESTINY
The prototype Spiritual life was designed to sustain the humanity of Christ in accomplishing His unique mission, His destiny on earth. God’s plan for the First Advent called for Christ to enter Satan’s domain as a man, to remain impeccable and thus acceptable to Divine righteousness, and to voluntarily go to the Cross as our substitute in payment for the sins of mankind. (2Co 5:21) Christ lived under this system of humility to which believers must adhere. The plan of God was organizational humility for Christ. The will of God — the sovereignty of the Father, the author of the Divine plan—was enforced humility. And Christ’s obedience to the Father’s plan by going to the Cross was genuine humility. Shortly before He was betrayed, Jesus expressed in prayer His genuine humility under Divine authority.
Saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, [God’s sovereignty over the humanity of Christ] remove this cup [The Cross] from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” [Christ’s genuine humility] (Luk 22:42)
Although the prospect of bearing our sins was abhorrent to Christ, He humbly submitted to Divine judgment in our place.
Keep on Thinking this within yourself, which was also resident in Christ Jesus, who though He existed eternally in the essence of God, [Christ IS God] did not Think equality with God a profit to be seized and held, [Unlike Satan, Jesus was not arrogant] but He deprived Himself [Of the proper function of Deity, voluntarily limiting Himself in order to execute God’s plan] when He had received the form of a slave, when He was born in the likeness of mankind. [Perfect man, like Adam before the Fall] In fact, although He was discovered in the outward appearance as a man, [Without a sin nature] He humbled Himself [Genuine humility] by becoming obedient to the point of death, that is, the death of the Cross. (Php 2:5-8)
Christ’s attitude sets the example: (Matt 10:38-39) equality was unimportant to Him. Although coequal with the Father and God the Holy Spirit, “He did not Think equality with God a profit to be seized and held.” Our Lord the Creator submitted to the utter humility of becoming a creature, a man who was ignored, rejected, misrepresented, ridiculed, and ultimately crucified. Despite abuse and injustice from people and the ignominy of exposing Himself to presumptuous, arrogant attacks from Satan, whom He had created, Christ never succumbed to approbation lust or selfish ambition. He was motivated by His Personal love for God; genuine humility gave Jesus capacity to appreciate God’s faithful support. (John 11:41) Far from being discouraged or bitter, our Lord’s Attitude was one of constant thanksgiving, which is the essence of true worship. Yet without humility gratitude cannot exist.
NO SELF-GLORIFICATION, NO SELF-DEPRECATION
Jesus Christ had nothing to prove. He came to pay for man’s sins, not to trumpet His own cause. Our Lord did not exalt Himself; (John 8:50) the Father exalted Him. (Psa 110:1) The mission of glorifying Christ on earth was assigned to the Holy Spirit. (John 16:14) The Holy Spirit empowered the apostles to spread the Gospel of Christ and to record Church Age Doctrine in the New Testament; (2Pe 1:20-21) the Spirit also empowers us to glorify Christ. God the Father loved the humanity of Christ with conditional, Personal love, which hinged on our Lord’s obedience to the Father’s plan. (John 10:17-18) Christ succeeded in every respect. (John 15:10) He relied on the Father’s power system and was sustained by the Holy Spirit throughout His life, never once utilizing His own Divine power to act independently of the Father’s plan. (Matt 4:3-11) Christ’s submission to the plan of God resulted in judgment; our submission results in blessing. This complete reversal of the purpose of the Spiritual life reveals the efficacy of Christ’s finished work and the scope of God’s Impersonal love for mankind. Knowledge of Divine Thinking fuels in us the same mental dynamics that Christ possessed. But our genuine humility orients us to blessing, not cursing, from the justice of God. Humility generates gratitude, which results in true worship and love of God. In blind arrogance some Christians falsely claim to be humble in that they follow Christ in His sufferings, failing to recognize that Christ’s sufferings were unique. There is no Spiritual significance or merit in our pain; only the work of Christ on the Cross was efficacious for our Salvation. We add nothing to His finished work. This is not what the Bible means by humility. Christianity is not a system that glorifies believers for their legalism, sacrifice, and self-denial; Christianity is a life of multifaceted prosperity that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. (Col 1:27; Gal 4:19) Humility is orientation to Principle, to Truth, to the Reality of God’s grace.
Gate Four, Spiritual Momentum
THE MOST IMPORTANT GATE
The fourth gate of the Spiritual life is a double gate — perception and Thinking with Truth — that opens upon the richest treasure in the universe. Truth is the Thinking of God. The Bible is designated as the Word of God, (Heb 4:12) the Mind of Christ, (1Co 2:16) and the Voice of the Holy Spirit. (Heb 3:7) Truth is our door to the Reality of God and His marvelous plan. His Word is more reliable than anything we see, hear, touch, smell, taste, or feel; more real than empirical knowledge. (2Pe 1:15-21)
Truth preexisted the human race, (Prov 8:7-9; Prov 8:23) so that through the generosity of logistical grace, God makes available to us the wisdom of the ages. During the Church Age God reveals His essence and plan only through His Written Word, the completed, inerrant Canon of Scripture. (Heb 1:1-2) Our attitude toward Truth is our attitude toward God. If we pursue Truth, we love God; (John 14:24) if we listen to Bible teaching only at our convenience or when we are in trouble, then we ignore and insult God, (Heb 10:28-29) despite our pious pretenses. The one form of worship that gives meaning to all other expressions of worship is our perception and Thinking with the Word of Truth. Without a thorough growing knowledge, any alleged worship of God becomes ritual without Reality. (Matt 15:8)
When David wrote (Psa 138:2) the earthly temple did not yet exist. He was reflecting on the Spirit & Truth (Temple) in his soul, which revealed God in the true Holy of Holies located in heaven. In the next generation David’s son, Solomon, would construct the Temple in Jerusalem to exacting Divine specifications. (Exo 25:9; (1Ch 28:19) As a place of worship, the Temple itself was designed to communicate Truth by its very structure and furnishings. God’s grace enabled David to learn Truth, which gave him capacity to appreciate and delight in God's Thinking and Nature that was being constructed in his soul — the copy of the Divine nature of God. (The Edification complex) (1Co 3:9-10; (2Pe 1:4) God’s Person is Who and What He IS, and in order to live with God now and in eternity, we must share His Divine nature, (1Pe 1:15-16) the perfect coalescence of all His attributes. Now David makes one of the most dramatic statements in all of Scripture.
I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name For You have magnified Your Word [Divine Thinking] according to all Your name. (Reputation) (Psa 138:2)
God Himself elevates His Thinking above all else, above even His Own Name. In no other way can we approach Him, understand Him, (Prov 23:7) or fulfill His plan for our lives. Truth is more important than the food we eat or the air we breathe. Divine blessings in both time and eternity are distributed according to the believer’s understanding of Truth. (Heb 11:2) Nations rise or fall because of Truth (Zec 8:3-8) Jesus Christ controls history in reverence for the Truth in the souls of believers. (Eccles 9:15) As we grow in knowledge of Truth, we become personally familiar with the Lord Jesus Christ. Perception and Thinking with Truth establish the central gate of the Spiritual life. God’s Word generates Spiritual momentum in the Christian’s life.
COMMANDS TO LEARN AND THINK WITH TRUTH
The Scriptures repeatedly Commands the intake and use of Truth, as expressed by John in relation to several young people in his congregation in Ephesus. Several of her children had developed genuine humility and were positive toward Truth. They had moved from Laodicea to Ephesus in order to learn Truth from John face to face, while their mother continued to hear his written sermons, or Epistles, which were read to the congregation in her home.
I was very pleased because I discovered that some of your children continued their momentum by means of Truth, even as we have received Commandment from the Father. (2Jn 1:4)
John explains that this Divine Command for “continued, momentum by means of Truth” is obeyed only in fellowship with God.
Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new Commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we [Impersonal] love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His Commandments. [Thoughts] This is the Commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. [Residence and function in fellowship — the bottom circle — the Spiritual life] (2Jn 1:5-6)
The Divine Command to learn and Think with Truth is implied in Paul’s dissertation on the pastor’s professional objectives.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the Truth, the Thinking of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Eph 4:11-13)
Spiritual maturity comes through knowledge and Thinking with the Mind of Christ, which results in emulating the integrity and capacity for life that He acquired in the original Spiritual life. “Full knowledge” or epignosis in the Greek, [Pronounced: eppy-no-sis] is Truth that the Christian understands and believes, If he does not understand and believe it is removed. (Matt 13:19; Luk 8:12) Paul continues with the pastor’s job description. The pastor must study and teach Truth in the power of the Holy Spirit. (1Co 4:20)
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves [Our sin nature's thoughts] and carried about by every wind of [False] doctrine, [Satan's thinking] by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; (John 2:24-25) but speaking the Truth in love, [In fellowship] we are to grow up [Reach maturity] in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ. (Eph 4:14-15)
Writing to the Thessalonians, Paul reiterates the Divine Command, but this time the Command is related to the congregation. Those who listen to the pastor must be in fellowship in order to benefit from the Spiritual Truth they hear.
But we request you, brethren, [Members of the royal family] that you appreciate those [Pastors] who diligently labor among you and have charge over you in the Lord [Enforced humility] and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in the sphere of love because of their work. (1Th 5:12-13)
A pastor should be respected for his sound knowledge and conscientiousness in teaching. His “diligent labor” consists of long hours every day in disciplined, concentrated study; He is an authority on Truth. Members of the congregation demonstrate their appreciation for the pastor by submitting to his authority and concentrating. Believers appreciate their pastor by allowing his work to produce its intended result in their lives. (1Th 2:13) The pastor considers himself a voice, a spokesman who communicates God’s Word. (Matt 3:3) He does not promote himself. He is impressed with God’s Thoughts, not his own! He is most gratified by those who receive the teaching as from the Lord, (Heb 4:12) and use that teaching in their own lives as they advance to Spiritual maturity.
TRUTH AND LOVE AS A WAY OF LIFE
All Virtue, love, and genuine humility, for the believer, are found only inside the Spiritual life. Now the unbeliever can comprehend the Thoughts of Divine establishment, but the believer alone has access to the Doctrines of the Word of God. In gate four he advances beyond any strength, integrity, humility, wisdom, or happiness that the unbeliever can achieve! Virtue love cannot exist without Truth. Truth makes Virtue love possible, because genuine love is rational, never absurd, always dependent on Thought, never strictly emotional. As the pattern, Divine love is rational because it is always linked with God’s absolutely consistent Integrity. Consistency of Thought is rationality, and by reason of His immutability, omniscience, and veracity, God is perfectly rational, totally logical. God IS Truth, and God IS Virtue love; these two attributes are inseparable. (John 4:23-24; (1Jn 4:8)
Nor can Truth and Virtue love be separated in the believer. The Christian’s capacity for Impersonal and Personal love is increased by his consistent function in gate four. Understanding of Truth creates capacity for Virtue love. At gate four the believer fulfills the ultimate purpose of the Spiritual life: God’s objective for us is that we understand and Think with His Word! God reveals Himself in the Scriptures, and a believer’s daily intake is the indicator of his Virtue love for God. Learning requires academic discipline, but God’s Word surpasses any subject that he might be taught in a school or college classroom. Truth is supernatural information. (1Co 2:12-16) God’s revelation extends beyond the range of human intellect or concentration and beyond man’s empirical powers to observe his environment. More than mastering and reciting an academic subject, learning and applying Truth constitute a way of life, the Christian way of life in fellowship with God.
But He [Christ] answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, [Human needs] but on every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” [Spiritual needs] (Matt 4:4)
The Christian life depends on learning God’s Word and this is not an isolated activity; it is part of the complete, interlocking system. The first three gates of the Divine game plan operate in concert to motivate faithfulness to Truth, which in turn strengthens all the gates.
THE INTERLOCK OF THE FIRST THREE GATES POWER AND OBJECTIVITY
Spiritual momentum from gate four of the Spiritual life depends on the first three gates. Gates one, two, and three furnish the power, objectivity, teach-ability and motivation needed to transfer Truth from the written pages of Scripture into the believer’s soul and then out again as application to life. We possess no capacity to assimilate, recall, or apply Truth apart from the unseen power of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:12-15; John 14:26)
We are able to understand Spiritual Truth only when filled with the Spirit. As Truth accumulates in our souls, the Holy Spirit uses that Truth to increase our capacity to understand more Truth. The more you learn, the more you can learn. Truth builds on Truth. (Eccles 7:27)
You must be objective to avoid misinterpreting or misapplying Truth. This objectivity derives primarily from gate two. In gate two reliance on Divine Promises, and the exercise of Impersonal love secure freedom from mental attitude sins, eliminating the subjectivity of arrogance, jealousy, self-pity, bitterness, or a guilt complex. By exercising basic Impersonal love, and rebounding when necessary, you maintain your orientation to the essentials of life, even when people or circumstances challenge you to lose your perspective (Get out fellowship) and turn your eyes on self. The two primary techniques are implementing basic Impersonal love. And using the faith-rest drill by claiming Promises, establishes the relaxed mental attitude needed to rationally Think with Truth, and switch from Personal love or dislike, to Impersonal love and maintain objectivity. Gate three of the system also contributes to objectivity. Humility is obedience to authority, and authority-orientation is orientation to Reality. Reality is objective, not emotional. The genuinely humble believer understands his significance in the overall scheme of God’s plan and human history; he recognizes that he is dependent on Truth for his integrity and that the source of his happiness is being in fellowship with God. The humble believer possesses a Personal sense of destiny as he witnesses the glorification of Jesus Christ in his life. Objectivity in gate three makes him receptive and teachable; he is motivated to learn the Truth rather than prove how much he knows or how superior he is. The more Truth he learns in gate four, the stronger becomes his objectivity in gates two and three, which, barring the intrusion of arrogance motivates him to learn and apply still more Truth.
OBEDIENCE AND MOTIVATIONAL VIRTUE
Motivation is a major issue in the Christian life. When we study Virtue, we will discover that motivational Virtues exist inside the Spiritual life. A motivational Virtue is the invisible counterpart for each visible, functional Virtue. For example, the Virtue of confidence toward God motivates the functional Virtue of courage toward man and circumstances. All functional Virtues stem from motivational Virtues, and all motivational Virtues originate from your freewill decisions to obey God’s Commands. God’s power system is perfect in that it not only leads to Spiritual maturity but also motivates its own momentum. (Php 2:13) Motivation for the perception and application is created by obedience to the Commands related to gates one, two, and three. But even in God’s complete, self-energized system, human volition remains the key! You can choose to remain in fellowship or reject God’s plan and live in one of Satan’s counterfeit systems.
No one can reach into another person’s soul and switch on motivation like a light in the dark. Nor can God force you to have the correct motivation toward His plan. He will never coerce, (Force) your free will. Although God’s game plan is designed for your maximum benefit and His eternal glory, you are free to ignore His Word. If you assume that your own plans and thoughts are better than God’s Thoughts and Design, you oppose yourself and Him, create your own misery, and incur Divine discipline. (Jer 18:12) But fear of punishment is not the proper motive for adhering to Divine policy. If you are objective, you obey initially out of respect for God, and then eventually from Personal love for God. As you come to know and appreciate Him through His Word. This motivation — this positive volition — must emanate from your own soul, not from any external source.
ESTABLISHING PRIORITIES, ORGANIZING A ROUTINE
Among believers and or unbelievers; the most admirable and successful people are self-motivated. In the conscience of the soul, where the norms and standards and scale of values reside, these individuals have established true priorities, and they make decisions consistent with those priorities. The self-motivated believer has identified his primary objective in life: Spiritual maturity, which glorifies Christ! This objective becomes the standard for interpreting any situation that may arise. Every decision and every course of action supports this chosen objective; Truth takes first priority. This lucid self-motivation places him in a position of strength. He understands what is most valuable, and he will not be deceived or cajoled into opposing himself. Good decisions can be made only from a position of strength — in fellowship. Only bad decisions can be made from a position of weakness — carnality. (Out of fellowship) (Rom 8:6-8) A self-motivated believer operating from a position of strength builds his life on the Principle of The Spirit First! The Truth First! He establishes a routine: for each day he decides what he wishes to accomplish that day. He sets aside time. (Eccles 11:6) Routine must be built on priorities, ranked according to importance. Routine organizes a person’s life each day so that he accomplishes his objectives, fulfills his own Principles. A routine is not a negative concept for dull, humorless people. Only through a routine can anyone harness his own time and energy and achieve anything in life either Spiritually or temporally. Organization is good routine. Routine should be broken only by unusual events, like disasters or celebrations, not by illegitimate distractions. (Eccles 8:8; Jer 48:10; (2Ti 2:4) (This is a war!) Routine and organization are professionalism in every area of life. A disorganized person is a loser. Someone may positively influence you to learn God’s Word, but that external push will not carry you. There is no substitute for self-motivation. You must give God's Will and Word first priority, (Matt 6:33) make your own decisions, establish and maintain your own integrity. We all face distractions, opposition, and influences that would prevent us from consistently learning and applying Truth. We must be motivated from within if we hope to fulfill God’s game plan over the course of our lives. Self-motivation is a synonym for one’s own positive volition. Even the best influence, the wisest advice, the most positive encouragement cannot keep you in fellowship and sustain your Spiritual momentum.
We must have an ordinary, organized, routine life; with self-command self-limitation and self-restraint; with no nonsense, no silliness and no absurdity!
IMMATURE AND MATURE MOTIVES
Self-motivation, like teachability, is an offshoot of humility. A humble person is receptive to Truth and motivated to learn. Self-motivation can be developed by believer or unbeliever under the Laws of Divine establishment. When a young person becomes an adult, he assumes responsibility for his own motivation, his own thoughts, decisions, and actions. From genuine humility he begins to make his own decisions rather than depend on his parents, although humility does not exclude seeking good advice when necessary. Unlike the youth who eventually leaves behind parental authority, a believer never outgrows his need for Bible teaching, as in the home, the believer’s motivation does change as he grows up Spiritually. A new believer is not motivated by love for God. He may have a new lease on life, knowing that his sins are forgiven; he may be grateful for the Cross; he may inordinately fear Divine retribution; he may be caught up in emotional zeal; he may be seeking Divine favor or striving to please the person who presented the Gospel to him. Some of his motives may be legitimate, others not, but even the best Salvation motivation will not carry him far. The realization that he is forgiven, and going to heaven, is a feeble flame. The Divine Commands connected with gate four of God s power system demand that he take up the challenge of the Christian life, to grow in the full knowledge of God. (2Pe 1:2; (2Pe 3:18) Initially you must execute God’s game plan from enforced humility. God Commands perception of Truth; you simply obey! As you learn Truth, you realize that God has a purpose for your life. You discover that you possess God’s righteousness, that He supports you with logistical grace, that rebound is instantly available, that God has adopted you as Spiritual royalty forever. You learn that you already possess tremendous blessings for which to be grateful, with greater blessings yet to come, and you begin to appreciate the source. You begin to love the Lord Jesus Christ. Within your soul your motivation changes from enforced humility (Commanded to obey) to genuine humility, (You want to obey) Personal love for God, to Occupation with Christ. (And His Thinking) Truth becomes supremely important to you. Although you are never impervious to distractions, you are not as vulnerable as when a new believer. You have learned to maintain your own priorities. You have learned to say no to people and decline “opportunities” when necessary. You have learned to center your life on the treasure of highest value, the Word of God!
Most believers never take their initial motivation into the daily self-motivation that can carry them through many years to Spiritual maturity. They lack the humility to accept a pastor’s authority, or they lack the will and discipline to master Doctrines that are difficult or seemingly irrelevant. They never make a habit of learning Truth. Instead of seeking the Truth, they search for a pastor who will flatter and fawn over them. They do not desire Truth or a mature relationship with God; they want the approbation of a scintillating personality who will visit them, counsel them, entertain their questions, and stimulate their emotions — everything but teach orthodox Bible Truth. Believers who gravitate to such a pastor appease their own arrogance and accommodate themselves in weakness. A believer consolidates a position of strength only through his Personal drive in submitting to gate four.
THE TWO MOST DIFFICULT TRANSITIONS IN LIFE
The two most difficult transitions in life overlap at gate four of the Spiritual life. At physical birth we begin life under parental authority and protection; we must become worthy of adult freedom. We make this transition through teachability under the Virtue of genuine humility. At Spiritual birth we begin Spiritual life ignorant of God and His plan and must become cognizant of His purpose for our lives. Again, we make this transition through enforced and genuine humility. Consistent intake and application over an extended period of time accomplishes this second difficult transition, the necessary momentum being sustained by self-motivation. The believer’s self-motivation manifests itself as academic discipline under his pastor’s Bible teaching.
Therefore, humble yourselves [“Humble”: achieve genuine humility; “yourselves”: from self-motivation] under the mighty hand of God that He may promote you [With super-grace blessings] at the proper time. [After you reach Spiritual maturity] (1Pe 5:6)
All true love requires concentration. In Impersonal love the subject concentrates on his own Divine Thinking in his soul; he declines to besmirch his integrity by succumbing to hatred, envy, bitterness, competitiveness, self-righteousness, lust or disillusionment toward the object.
According to my earnest expectation, [Concentration] and hope, [Confident expectation] that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, [And Openness] Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ (Matt 16:24) and to die is gain. [A Promotion] (Php 1:20-21)
In human personal love the subject concentrates on the object, on that person’s attractiveness, character, thoughts, and feelings. Concentration is essential to genuine sensitivity toward others. Without concentration there can be no capacity for life, no success in any endeavor, and most detrimental, without concentration no one can learn or use Truth in the Spiritual life. In addition to Divine power, objectivity, and teachability that accompanies self-motivation; and the ability to concentrate is another prerequisite for the function of gate four. This requirement is also fulfilled by the first three gates of the Spiritual life.
At gate one God the Holy Spirit enhances the believer’s concentration. This is the teaching ministry of the Parakletos, the Energizer or Helper, who enables man’s finite mind to comprehend the infinite wisdom of God. (1Co 2:10)
At gate two, Divine Promises and basic Impersonal love set aside distractions that would disturb concentration. Concentration is the opposite of distraction; it is focusing your attention on a single object to the exclusion of all others. If you cannot sustain mental focus, you are unstable. You lack the attention span required to pursue any Thought to its conclusion. You vacillate from one subject to another. The relaxed mental attitude of gate two enables you to operate from your own mental integrity rather than swerve indiscriminately from topic to topic.
In gate three, teachability makes you a good listener. As you learn under enforced humility, you simultaneously develop your ability to concentrate. When you first start listening to Bible teaching, you may be able to concentrate for only five minutes before you become bored and restless. Just keep trying to be obedient under enforced humility, (Heb 10:25) your span of attention will gradually increase until you can easily follow the entire message, even when the topic is technical or unappealing to your usual interests. As a by-product of gate four, this increased ability to sustain your concentration will carry over into everything you do. Life becomes richer.
PERCEPTION AND APPLICATION RELATED TO TWO ROYAL OFFICES
PRIESTS AND AMBASSADORS
At the moment of Salvation, when we first enter the Spiritual life as believers, we receive two commissions from God related to the perception and application of Truth. I call these commissions “warrants,” since God has given them to us in the content of His Word.
A warrant is a written document that conveys certain powers and authorizes the performance of certain duties and responsibilities. A warrant officer in the army, for example, has received a document from the President entrusting him with the authority to carry out his assigned duties. Even a warrant for arrest illustrates the Principle, since such a legal warrant is a document issued by a judge authorizing a police officer to carry out the duty of taking someone into custody.
As members of the royal family of God, we have received two warrants from God, which authorize us to carry out certain Spiritual responsibilities. We have been appointed royal priests and royal ambassadors. These two appointments define our function in the Spiritual life and explain the invisible and visible aspects of the Christian life.
And He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father--to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Rev 1:6)
But you [Members of the royal family] are A CHOSEN RACE, , [Chosen for privilege, regardless of human ancestry] A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, [The Spiritual pivot of God’s client nation] A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, [Purchased at the Cross and dependent on God’s power system, we are not our own] that you may proclaim [Through the production of Virtue] the Virtues of Him [Jesus Christ in the prototype] who has called you [Selected you for the privileges of royalty because you believed in Christ ] out of darkness [Satanic influence] into His marvelous light. [The Spiritual life] (1Pe 2:9)
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2Co 5:20)
A Divine warrant is never to be treated frivolously. These warrants from God appoint us to the two highest offices anyone can hold in this life.
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
During the previous dispensation, a specialized priesthood existed in Israel. The priests were members of the tribe of Levi; they carried out the detailed responsibilities connected with animal sacrifices and holy days, which taught Truth by means of ritual training aids. The Levitical priests proclaimed the written Word and represented the people before God. Now that the Old Covenant has been fulfilled, a new universal priesthood exists. Jesus Christ is our High Priest. (Heb 6:17-20) Since every member of the royal family is in union with Him, we all share His priesthood. Unlike the Levitical priesthood, the office of the royal priesthood is not hereditary, but perpetual; not based on physical birth, but regeneration. You are a priest; I am a priest. Whether young, old, male, female, (Gal 3:28) mature, immature, in God's system, or in Satan’s system, all believers are permanent members of our Lord’s royal priesthood. (Heb 7:1-3) That does not mean, however, that we are equal. A few priests are pastors; whereas the priests in the congregation grow only under the pastor’s authoritative teaching. Spiritual growth is always a function of the priesthood; the privacy of the priesthood is designed for maximum perception of Truth. Likewise, Spiritual blessings from God are always given to us under our priesthood. Whether in the pulpit or in the pew the priesthood is our invisible, Personal relationship with God. As believer-priests we represent ourselves before God. We do not need to confess our sins to a member of the clergy; we confess them immediately, silently, privately, directly to God (1Jn 1:9) Nor do we need anyone to pray on our behalf. We are Commanded to come boldly before the throne of grace. (Heb 4:16) And we do not require a special category of priests to perform rituals for us. The rituals of the Levitical priesthood were fulfilled by Christ and have been superseded as teaching aids by the completion of the canon of Scripture. The Church Age is the age of reading, not ritual. (Most were illiterate) The only ritual mandated for the royal family is the Eucharist or Communion table, in which every believer is Commanded to participate. (1Co 11:23-26) The Divine warrant that appoints us priests to God authorizes us to represent ourselves before Him. Our responsibility as priests is to grow Spiritually. Our priesthood is the invisible side of the Christian life.
THE ROYAL AMBASSADORSHIP
Christ was a priest during the First Advent, but He was also an ambassador. In hypostatic union — undiminished deity and true humanity united in one Person forever — Christ represented God to man in the devil’s world. (Heb 1:2) In union with Christ, every member of the royal family shares His ambassadorship.
Christ has been absent from the earth since His ascension, and we now represent Him, the King of Kings glorified at the right hand of the Father. (Heb 1:13; Rev 19:16) Our ambassadorial instructions are in written form, the completed canon of Scripture, which is the Mind of Christ. (1Co 2:16) By Word and by Spiritual life, we represent His Thoughts, and not our own! We are citizens of heaven, not of Satan’s kingdom, and as God’s emissaries we are supported and protected by Him in the enemy kingdom of the devil.
Every believer is in full-time Christian service. We may mix with foreign nobility, but we are ambassadors nonetheless. Whatever we do, wherever we are, we are Christ’s representatives. (Col 3:17) In contrast to our priesthood, our ambassadorship is our overt, visible relationship with people and circumstances. As royal ambassadors we proclaim Christ by His Nature being completed in us.
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies (Nature and Thought) of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1Pe 2:9)
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, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2Pe 1:4)
We are responsible to present the Gospel to unbelievers, (2Co 5:20; Eph 6:20) but our ambassadorship goes farther than that. Witnessing, giving testimonies, serving, working in evangelistic meetings, in foreign missions, or in Christian service organizations — all this, if properly motivated, can be part of the Spiritual ambassador’s function. The believer’s royal ambassadorship encompasses all the visible Virtues produced by the application of Truth. Hence, our ambassadorship, like our priesthood, is related to gate four of the Spiritual life. Gate four is the key to the Christian life. All the gates that precede gate four are support gates, and all those that follow are result gates. All Spiritual advance and momentum come from the perception of Truth, and is the primary responsibility of the royal priest; the application of Truth is the primary responsibility of the royal ambassador.
|Royal Priest Represent himself before God Directed toward God InvisibleRelationship with God Produce motivational VirtuesWorshipConfidencePersonal love Perception of Truth Powered by the Spiritual life Blessings from GodSpiritual advance||Royal Ambassador Represent Christ before man Directed toward manVisibleRelationships with man Produce functional VirtuesVirtue-MoralityCourage towards man andcircumstancesImpersonal love Application of TruthPowered by the Spiritual life Blessings to manSpiritual service|
As priests we represent ourselves before God; as ambassadors we represent God's Thoughts and Divine Nature before man. Our priesthood is directed toward God; our ambassadorship, toward man. Furthermore, our warrants explain the invisible and visible parts of the Christian life. Our priesthood is our invisible private relationship with God in which we produce the motivational Virtues; our ambassadorship is our visible public relationship with people and circumstances.
The ambassadorship depends on the priesthood; the visible depends on the invisible. And the power in both the perception and application of Truth, toward both God and man, is the power of the Spiritual life. No matter what we may do or how Spiritual we may appear to others, we have no Christian impact without the united execution of our priesthood and our ambassadorship in all of the pertinent gates of God’s game plan. As priest and ambassador, each member of the royal family of God lives his own life before the Lord and makes his own decisions based on the Truth resident in his soul. (Rom 14:8-13)
Never do we earn or deserve any credit in the Spiritual life. God’s game plan for the royal family is animated by grace, not human achievement. In gate four, as in every gate, God does all the work and we reap the benefits. We reap what God has sown, we receive what Christ deserved, and Christ received what we deserved! Amazing Grace! Man possesses four basic means of perception: (Believers five) rationalism, mysticism, empiricism, and faith. In rationalism man engages his intellect, deducing a logical system to explain human reality. In mysticism information is transferred to the soul from demons through the old sin nature. In empiricism man hones his powers of observation for discovering answers in the world and the universe around him. Man has explored and exploited many combinations of rationalism, mysticism and empiricism throughout history, but in every philosophical or scientific system, man’s abilities and efforts receive the credit. If God’s plan relied at any point on our merits, that would become the weak link that would destroy the chain. Imperfect man can have no meritorious role in God’s perfect plan. Man’s fourth system of perception is non-meritorious. In faith the credit does not belong to the subject but to the object, not to the one who believes but to what is believed. And for Salvation and the Word of God we need God the Holy Spirit to make Spiritual Thoughts understandable to us; this is called Spiritual faith and the ONLY way of Salvation and or to reach Spiritual maturity. (Unless we are brain damaged, or die before reaching the age to be capable to make a free will decision for faith in Christ) (2Sa 12:23) When sinful man believes in Christ, the subject has no merit. The object, Jesus Christ, has all the merit. Only Christ satisfies the absolute standards of God’s integrity. In this manner fallen man enters the plan of God without compromising God’s character or corrupting His plan. After Salvation the believer is Commanded to reside and function in fellowship, but God does not suddenly reverse His policy. We are saved by grace; we must live by grace. Grace continues to exclude all human merit. Faith remains the only means of perceiving and applying Truth
I believe in Christ
|Subject Accomplishes no work for Salvation No merit Receives the blessings||Object Accomplished all the work for Salvation All the merit Receives all the credit|
|FOR BELIEVERS||THE WORD|
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God has supplied us with everything for learning His Word: the canon of Scripture, a pastor-teacher, books, the MP3 player, the DVD player and now the computer, the filling of God the Holy Spirit, rebound, (1Jn 1:9) the human soul, the human spirit, physical life, Spiritual life and protection in the devil’s world. (Isa 41:10-13) These grace provisions are part of the grace apparatus for perception, which is “Operation Z” To summarize, the believer filled with God the Holy Spirit, (1Co 4:20) and concentrates on the pastor’s message, resulting in gnosis, “Knowledge,” in the mentality of the soul. The mentality has two parts: the human spirit or right lobe, God's Knowledge. And the kardia, “heart,” or left lobe, human knowledge. (Jer 17:9) And is the home of gnosis; the right lobe is the repository of epignosis, “Full Knowledge.” (Eph 3:19) Gnosis in the left lobe is receptive comprehension: “academic knowledge” which is not usable for application in the Spiritual life. A believer may be able to quote many verses or talk at length about many Biblical subjects, but if his knowledge is only gnosis, it is not edifying. Academic arrogance can exist in theology as easily as in any other field of learning. (1Co 1:19-21; (1Co 2:14; (1Co 3:19-20; (1Co 8:1) If Truth is not believed, or not understood and or not Thought with, it is removed! (Matt 13:19-23; Luk 8:11-15) The application of gnosis Doctrine is misapplication, and the Word misapplied generates legalism, inflexibility, insensitivity, and intolerance, pride and arrogance. (Heb 3:12; Heb 4:2) The believer clearly perceives a point of Doctrine and now faces the issue of faith: does he, or does he not believe what he has learned? (Prov 3:5-6; Matt 7:7-11) If he believes: that Truth is transferred to the right lobe and becomes Spiritual Thoughts and Spiritual Words! (1Co 2:13) By means of faith, it becomes genuine understanding of Divine Truth. (1Co 4:20) Only God's Thinking can be applied as Spiritual Wisdom and Spiritual common sense. (2Co 10:5) Epignosis is also the building material for the edification complex, (Temple) of the soul. (1Co 3:10-14) The process of transferring the Truth from the heart to the spirit is faith-perception. Truth always has the merit; we who believe do not!
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [Salvation] Now if any man builds on the foundation [Growth to Spiritual maturity] with gold, silver, precious stones, [God's Thoughts] wood, hay, straw, [Satanic and human thoughts] each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, (Mark 9:49) and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. (1Co 3:10-14)
REBOUND, RECEPTION, RETENTION, RECALL, RESIST SIN, REPEAT! The six R's
According to his ability to concentrate, a believer may hear or receive half of the message communicated by his pastor. By faith-perception, he may retain only twenty percent of the half he heard, the objective is inculcation with the Truth, but usable Truth accumulates gradually in increments. The believer develops a frame of reference for receiving and retaining further Doctrine. Truth builds upon Truth. He must persist in learning “For He says, Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there.” (Isa 28:10) This explains why the believer must be faithful in listening to Bible teaching as a daily routine, (Psa 1:2-3) and emphasizes the value of repetition by the pastor. Truth cannot be absorbed on a spurt of inspiration. Spiritual maturity belongs to the pluggers, to those who perpetuate momentum in fellowship undeterred over the years. Your Personal intake and Thinking with the Word of God constitute its own reward, as you benefit from living in the Truth. But learning and using God’s Word also represent an extended lifelong display of your positive volition. Non-meritorious positive volition resolves the angelic conflict: the angels watch mankind and observe man’s positive volition, which glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. (Luk 15:10; (1Co 4:9; Eph 3:10-11; (1Ti 3:16; (1Ti 5:21; (1Pe 1:12) As in perception, so also in application, human merit is excluded from God’s perfect plan. Both retaining and recalling the Bible Thoughts that you receive are accomplished by faith. In faith-application the believer draws upon his inner resources of Truth to maintain his own integrity, cope with his own problems, and take control of his own life. He becomes Spiritually self-sustaining. He is mentally well-organized so that he can face life with courage. By faith he employs both of the two basic techniques for applying Truth: Impersonal love and the faith-rest drill.
EMPHASIZING IMPERSONAL LOVE
The first technique in faith-application is the utilization of Impersonal love in place of Personal love. Christ applied this Principle most dramatically on the Cross. Separation is always directed toward, never away from, so that when tested, the advancing believer decides in favor of Truth rather than reacting against changes in the people around him. As the subject of his own Impersonal love, he maintains his Personal scale of values, with Truth as his highest priority. If you are moving toward Spiritual maturity at gate eight and your friends are antagonistic or completely indifferent to the Word, you will eventually leave them behind. You will not choose against them, by becoming a strident, self-righteous legalist; you will decide in favor of the Spiritual life. The Truth will separate you. (Matt 10:34-38) People change; circumstances change. Only the Truth remains the same. (Heb 13:7-8) An immature person might wishfully desire that pleasant moments or un-defendable relationships last forever. But when you and former friends grow apart, Impersonal love instead of Personal love becomes your attitude toward them. Although you may see them frequently and congenially, you are separated mentally. As a matter of your own integrity, you continue to treat them graciously, with thoughtfulness and courtesy, just as you would be considerate of anyone else in your area of life. The most demanding tests involving people are not tests that require a gradual shift from Personal to Impersonal love but those that demand an immediate application of Impersonal love. When a friend or loved one offends you in some way, you are not justified in lowering yourself to a level of hatred, self-pity, retaliation, resentment or hostility; this would only get you out of fellowship. Instead, you fall back on your own frame of reference. You remember and Think the Truth, (Tit 3:2-3) and reject the emotion, (Php 3:18-19) and do not Think about the real or imagined imperfections of the object. No one is perfect! Everyone has weaknesses. From time to time we all require toleration. Impersonal love covers a multitude of flaws. (1Pe 4:8) and permits Personal love to flourish between imperfect, changing people.
THE FAITH-REST DRILL
CONQUERING FEAR WITH PROMISES
The second technique for applying Doctrine is the faith-rest drill, a versatile technique for overcoming any difficulty, problem, or disaster in life! By faith the believer Thinks with Truth logically while resting in God’s Promises. In the three steps of the faith-rest drill, the believer first establishes the relaxed mental attitude. He then concentrates on pertinent Doctrines in a logical rationale, restoring Divine-Viewpoint Thinking. Finally, he reaches conclusions and takes control of the situation. Since concentration on Truth requires a relaxed mental attitude, the believer’s mental attitude becomes a prime target of satanic opposition, (2Ti 2:25-26) directed against God’s Word. Mental attitude sins and lucid, Spiritual Thinking cannot coexist. Everyone is susceptible to different combinations of events, circumstances or people that ignite arrogance, jealousy, lust, worry, bitterness, depression or anger, obliterating Divine Viewpoint. But perhaps the most potent enemy is fear. Fear is the mental attitude sin that shuts down Spiritual Thought and makes Doctrinal application impossible. No matter how much Truth resides in your right lobe, none of it can benefit you if your mind is immobilized in a state of panic, worry, lust, or greed. (Heb 13:5-6). The difference between staying in fellowship and getting out of fellowship is Thinking under pressure! And you might have noticed as you read these books, you are tested on them; I am not following you around, God Is! And He set up these tests in eternity past, and He is not testing us more than necessary! (1Co 10:13) This is normal, (1Pe 1:7) the old man must die, (Rom 6:6-7) and the new man must become strong, (Eph 4:13) and this is the procedure. God controls everything!
See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand! (Deut 32:39)
THE FAITH-REST DRILL
|Stage One Stage Two Stage Three|| Claim a Biblical Promise Apply a Doctrinal Rationale Reach Doctrinal Conclusions|
Take Control of the Situation
There is no fear in love; [In fellowship] but perfect [Spiritually Mature] love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, [Divine discipline] and the one who fears is not [A Spiritually mature believer] perfected in love. (1Jn 4:18)
Everyone is susceptible to fear, even the mature believer. When fear catches you off-guard, you must quickly recover your mental poise, your ability to Think and apply Truth in your soul. Rebound is the first requirement, for fear is a sin. But rebound alone will not conquer the source of fear. You need a technique that will enable you to Think with Truth. The relaxed mental attitude of gate two is recovered by Thinking with Promises found throughout the Bible.
Do not fear for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isa 41:10)
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good [To get us to Spiritual maturity] to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, [Thought about in eternity past] He also predestined [Made a plan for us] to become conformed to the image [Same Thinking and Virtue] of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; [Spiritually mature believers] and these whom He predestined, [Made a plan for] He also called; [Chose us for a privileged part in that plan] and these whom He called, He also justified; [Imputed His righteousness to us] and these whom He justified, He also glorified. [Seated us in Christ now] What then shall we say to these things? If [Since] God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Rom 8:26-32)
This is a sample of the faith-rest drill there are many like it, just start with this one; it works every time! Except when you do not Think with it, or believe it! First Claim a Promise; (Rom 8:28) Second Apply a Doctrinal Rationale (Rom 8:29-30) Thirdly Reach Doctrinal Conclusions (Rom 8:31-32)
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