Know Christ on Purpose!
I have shared before that one of the ways the Lord teaches me is by the use of acrostics. For over a year the Lord has been talking to me about “C-H-U-R-C-H.” This manifestation of His Body in the earth is to be visible by our “Celebrating the Hope of Unending Redemption and Complete Healing” (Jer 17:7,8; Ez 47:12; Rev 22:1-3). And the Church is to be an “O-P-E-N” house: “Only Presence Empowers Newness” (2 Pet 1:2-4).
It is important to realize that we cause to become visible to the earth what we ourselves see and think we know about Christ (Gal 1:5-7). It’s time for a reality check, family. As those who profess to be believers, those who “follow” Christ, it is imperative that we truly know Him. That requires intimate relationship. Do you know Jesus, and are you increasing in your knowledge of Him? Here’s the simplest litmus test: do you read the Bible on a regular basis? He IS the Word. You cannot know Him if you do not read the Bible. The Holy Spirit adores the Word of God; His guiding you into all Truth will always include scripture.
Now, let’s dig into this further, because on the surface this could just be a religious regulation if the heart motivation is amiss. We want to hit the target on this, because any other understanding will cause the Church to aim at wrong things and bring death instead of life. It starts with each individual stone being built up. It starts with you being transformed from the inside-out first.
What is your motive for reading the Bible? If you don’t read it, then your “motive” is actually a demotivator that keeps you stuck. The only motive should be a desire to know Him (Col 1:15-20; Col 2:6-9). Yes, the Bible contains wisdom and answers for life’s concerns. But if we are seeking an answer outside of knowing Him, we are seeking based on our own psychoneuro compulsions instead of righteousness (Mt 6:33). Believing that God is love, any perusal of His Word must require that as the filter. He alone can interpret Himself as love to our mind’s perception in every action He employs. Put on heart-shaped glasses every time you enter the Presence of His Word. Seek His Spirit (the very thoughts and intentions of His heart) in every transaction found there.
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Another primary tool for increased intimacy and spiritual growth is fasting. I felt led to begin a start-the-year fast early this year. The Holy Spirit always designs and schedules my fasts. I began a 21-day dietary fast on Christmas day, overlapped by a 7-day monastic fast of silence eleven days later. Again, fasting is never about being religious; it is about knowing Him and allowing Him space to grow inside of you by diminishing the appetites that drive you. Honestly, fasting without a hunger for Him just leaves you hungry. Fasting to grow in intimacy with Him satisfies and brings great reward. It is amazing how much you see and hear when you become silent.
In our humanity, we are a people who want God to accept less than He wants so we can have what we want. We want “I AM” to be Who we want Him to be. In His family, we do the same to one another. We are addicted to life on our terms because we define and seek “pleasure” separate from His purpose. As a result, gratitude is replaced with gratification; our thanksgiving is connected to being gratified. That is a result of not knowing Jesus as deeply as we must.
The other acrostic He gave me for the “O-P-E-N” house is that it is a place where “Others are Preferred and Empowered to Newness.” We must first become whole in His Presence so we can accurately present Him (His heart, His Spirit, His nature) in a way that empowers others by disabling the hindrances that enable brokenness. He wants to deconstruct those in you first. He wants to build you into a living stone (1 Pet 2:4,5).
May His Church be marked by a determination to know Christ on purpose!
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