When Jesus Says, Do We Believe Him?

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Dear Fellow-Believer,

When Jesus says “He is our life, joy, peace, love, compassion, grace, truth, strength……(fill in the blank), do we believe Him?

For example, Jesus is the Prince of Peace, right? So if we have Jesus Christ living and dwelling inside of us, do we not have the Prince of Peace living inside of us and therefore have peace dwelling in us?  Or do we hear/read the words that Jesus is the Prince of Peace and then because of our circumstances feel that we have no peace and begin to pray for peace in our lives and for the Lord to change our circumstances so we can cope?

Let’s face it. Sometimes our environment is anything BUT peaceful, that is for certain. When that is the case, do we become overwhelmed with the chaos around us and forget altogether that we already have the Prince of Peace living inside of us in that very moment? If Jesus is the Prince of Peace (and He is) and He lives in us (which He does) what should that look like for us? Does it mean that we are in a bubble of peace 24/7 in the midst of chaos, war, violence, annoyance, arguments, abuse, tragedy, our own or someone else’s mental breakdown? (Would we even have a mental breakdown?)

Jesus said to His disciples “…Peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives…” John 14:27.

I know that for me, someone who has experienced mental breakdowns in the past, long bouts of depression and anxiety, I have not always felt at peace and at times I have had little if any peace in my mind. Also, when the environment around me is chaotic, sometimes if not all of the time having been orchestrated by the subtle movements of the enemy, I have felt as though I am going to go crazy and cannot cope. I have become desperate for ‘peace’, as though it is something external for me to grasp after.

But if Peace is a person, the Person of Jesus Christ the risen Son of God, and He dwells in me, then peace is not an external thing for me to grasp after.  I am not called to live by feelings but by faith in God, who indwells me through Christ Jesus! There is no longer any room for being led by feelings for the child of God who is led by the Spirit. For those who are led by the Spirit shall be called the sons of God (Romans 8:14).

Let’s go through the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 reads;

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit”.

Who is the Spirit? The Spirit of God of-course. Who is God? God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit – the three are One.  That being said, what does that mean for us to keep in step with the Spirit? Jesus said in John 15:4;

“Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me”.

Just prior to this, in John 14:23 Jesus said;

“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him”.

So clearly, if we love Jesus, He, His Father and The Spirit all dwell inside of us for they are not separate from one another, they are One.  Therefore, all the fruit of the Spirit dwells inside of us also, to be an expression of Him through us. Therefore, Jesus as love, Jesus as joy, Jesus as peace, Jesus as patience, Jesus as kindness, Jesus as gentleness, Jesus as goodness, Jesus as faithfulness and Jesus as self-control, dwells inside of us. Did you get that? How incredible is this Jesus?

But here’s the thing…..Jesus said; “Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me”. So I would say, that remaining in Him is the ‘keeping in step with the Spirit’ mentioned in verse 25 of Galatians chapter 5.

So in light of the above scriptures, if I’m not remaining in Christ, therefore not keeping in step with the Spirit, I am going to be overcome by circumstances and my environment and find myself grasping for peace, joy, patience etc., as in the past. However, if I am remaining in Christ and therefore keeping in step with the Spirit, in spite of my environment and circumstances I will remain in love, joy, peace, patience etc.

Therefore, God’s word, and Jesus is the Word, is true when Jesus says to us that He is our peace etc. These are not things to grasp, but they are characteristics of Christ, the Christ who indwells us. So to draw upon Him in those times of turmoil and havoc, is where we will find peace, joy and so on. But we can only draw upon Him if we are remaining and abiding in Him.

The fact that Christ calls us to remain, makes it very apparent that we are prone to leave. Personal experience confirms that for me. It is my human Adamic nature to leave and return to my own resources which fail me and therefore I am overcome at times by the circumstances of life. However, if I am to believe all that the Lord Jesus tells me, I am assured that my Adamic nature has been crucified and that I live by another life now, that is the life of the Lord Jesus Himself (Galatians 2:20).

So therefore, I am in reality (the true reality of the Spirit) not overcome at all! If I believe I am overcome, I have believed a lie! Christ is the overcomer and in Him, I am more than a conqueror, because of Christ who lives in me (Romans 8:14).  For in me, dwells the Lord’s life, that life that is peace itself and all those other aspects of Him that we have mentioned.

The enemy might throw all kinds of distractions and seemingly natural events my way to convince me that I have no peace and that I have no joy in these circumstances, etc. But the very opposite of that is true. Whilst noise, distraction, arguments, mayhem and even hurt goes on around me, my spirit is at peace. Not because of me and my ability to practise breathing exercises and quote scriptures and mantras, but because of He who indwells me and who He is.

It seems at times however, that circumstances are too big, too loud, too overwhelming and it is an impossible task to draw upon the Lord’s peace in those moments. But is it? If that were so, would that not mean that His grace is actually not sufficient for us? If circumstances were too big, bigger than Christ, wouldn’t that mean that our faith is pointless and in vain? So we come to that question at the beginning of this post….when Jesus says He is our (fill in the blank), do we really believe Him?

If we don’t believe His words are true about Himself, then we will be overcome because then we are not by faith remaining in Him and not keeping in step with the Spirit. We are in fact being hoodwinked into living again by that Adamic nature that has already been crucified. Basically, we’re being deceived. But if we do believe Him, by faith, we abide in who He is. We are safe there, He is our hiding place, our fortress, our mighty strong tower into whom we run and we find we are abiding in Him who is the Prince of Peace.

So, all that I have written so far has been on an individual level. What if we take all this and put it on a corporate level? Let’s change all the references to an individual’s experience and make it about the corporate body of Christ, which of-course it is anyway, but for so long we have lived and interpreted scripture according to an individualistic Christianity. Let’s look at the circumstances and events that surround and impose themselves upon the corporate body of Christ. This might be the local ecclesia or the wider body of Christ all over the world. Let’s look at He who indwells us – all of us – together! What an incredible Christ we have!

As the corporate body of Christ we are facing all kinds of trials, tribulations, persecution, harassment, distractions, suffering, hurt, pain, sacrifice, torment, pressures and so on. And the world we live in but don’t belong to, is going through perilous times of unrest, no peace, war, fighting, terror, fear, poverty, displacement. But let’s look at this mighty Lord who indwells us corporately and just meditate for a moment on what He brings to the world and the witness He is to the powers and principalities of the air, through His Church! – This Lord who is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, SELF-CONTROL – this Lord whose grace is sufficient for us. This Lord whose life we corporately live by. This Lord who is Head of this body we exist in.

May the church abide and remain in her Lord, as the branch remains in the vine, that He by His Spirit will be free to express Himself who is all these things and more, to the glory of the Father.

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8).

How Can The Corporate Church Help in the Current World Climate

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38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but few things are needed—or indeed only one.f Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42, NIV).

For many years this touching story has been relayed to us as an encouragement or word of instruction to be more taken up with an intimate relationship with Jesus like Mary was and not to be distracted and pre-occupied with many things like Martha was.  However,  I believe that in this story, the Lord is also speaking a vital message to the corporate church today.

We know that the church is the entire body of believers in Christ, don’t we? That is, the members of Christ’s own body, collectively the entire world of genuine believers.I don’t have to point out that the church is not the building on the street corner that Christians gather in for a church ‘service’.  So with that in mind, let’s be honest and take a good look at her, the church, us corporately, in our/her current state.

Let’s for a moment, broaden our thoughts and vision of the church way beyond our local church community or ekklesia, though that is not to be ignored in this matter because even in what we call ‘organic’ church life, we can still have a Martha spirit. We can be more concerned with how we meet, than Who we meet.

A Martha spirit is concerned with the How and Why. A Mary Spirit is concerned with the Who and Where.

So what is the corporate church, and perhaps even your local church community, busy with in this current time? I’ll list a few things that come to my mind and you can no doubt ad to the list.

  • Terrorism
  • World peace
  • Refugees
  • Gay marriage
  • Religious tolerance
  • Israel
  • Jerusalem
  • Politics
  • Abortion
  • Missions
  • End Time Prophecy
  • Miracles
  • The poor

To quote our Lord Jesus “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things…but only one thing is needed…(Luke 10:41)

I believe the Lord is saying this to His church right now in this current climate we are in. We are worried and upset about many things…

This is a Martha spirit.

Jesus continued…”Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42).

Church, the Spirit of the Lord is encouraging us to choose what is better just as Mary did. What was she doing that Jesus would say that of her? She was at His feet, captivated by Him, surrendered and taken up with Him, humbled before Him. This is the better part, this is the one thing that is needed.

Did we hear that just then? Jesus said “…but only one thing is needed…”.  This is our need at this hour, church. For the church to be humbled at the feet of her Lord, to be captivated and solely given up to Him, is the Mary spirit and this is what is needed!

Church, we need to be fixated and captivated by Jesus Christ alone. We are not to be taken up with all the many things, upsets and worries of this world. This is the Lord’s very own words to Martha and to Mary, as a corporate word to the whole body of Christ.

Many Christians today are worried and upset, getting busy with their own ideas of how to tackle the world problems and set things right, wanting to infiltrate the political play with a touch of Christian values, agonising over moral issues and dilemmas the world is frothing up to the surface. But Jesus says in effect, that none of our activity in any of this is needed!

What is needed however, is that corporately we are found at Jesus’ feet, gazing into His eyes, hanging on every word, so close to Him that we can feel His breath blowing on our cheek as He speaks. This is the good part, this is what is needed. And this is to be a corporate matter, not just an individual matter as we had once thought. The Lord has one body, not many, though His one body is made up of many parts.  He is calling to His corporate church to fix her eyes upon Him, and this is the good part, the part that is needed and that will not be taken away from her.

To the church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation chapter 2, Jesus says they had forgotten their first love. Martha had forgotten her first love. Mary had not. And what is the image we have of Mary in that moment? We see her relaxed, at peace, in rest and joy, exhilarated by and enraptured with her Lord.

May we the church, God’s representative of His Son on earth, have a Mary spirit in this very hour.

“No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer…” 2 Timothy 2:4