But hold on a minute!
If this writer is so positive and affirmative of the reality of what Ephesians 1:3 says we have, would he not pardon the man on the street who occasionally visits places of worship and sees so many Christians in lack, or in a sorry state of health, or an even sorrier state of mind – and then would be moved to cast aspersions on the integrity, or even the veracity of the whole Bible; especially Ephesians 1:3? The answer is, “Yes!” This writer has every empathy with such a view of the outsider. But Christianity is based, built and bonded by revelation, not by the empirical evidence of the shortcomings of Christian people. The book is the primary witness, if you will; the Christians are the secondary witnesses.
I know that there will many folks who are not Christians who would fiercely debate that last sentence. I know there are many Christians who would debate that same point. How many Evangelical pastors have I met who stand against the miraculous on the grounds that they have never seen a miracle. To them, it seems logical to assert that if they haven’t seen a miracle, therefore there cannot be miracles happening today. But that is denying the revelation of scripture. When pastors say such a thing to me I answer that it is like saying, “I hear what God has said, and I believe the Bible. But because I have never seen a miracle I cannot believe God is performing the miraculous anywhere else on earth.
THE TEACHING OF THE WORD IS WAY BEFORE THE TEACHING OF EXPERIENCE
We must absorb what scripture says first before we look at the template of the Christian life presented to us by Christians we know of. The Bible is the plumb line of what is true. The scriptures are the spirit level of God’s truth. We see in the Bible the normal Christian life and the normal Christian Church life. But we must take note that the truely normal Christian life is not the life lived by normal Christians. Even the most honourable Christians may be a few degrees off perfectly vertical. Christians must know that they are being watched by the world and judged as being the plumb line of truth, but they are not.
The Bible teaches that the Christian model is a life lived in health, prosperity, and peace, with lots of friends and dear relationships in the church which is the body of Christ. The biblical model of a Christian in scripture is one of joy and peace, where their godliness is such that the world is constantly challenging or questioning those things they hold to. The life lived is such that it attracts some to entertain thoughts of conversion, or to argue and persecute them. The model of family is one of peace and wholeness. So what do we do when we see that so many Christians live lives that seem so far short of what we would all say is “the biblical norm?”
To look the roaring lion of the truth squarely in the eye, what do I do when my own life does not measure up to what we believe it should?
Let’s be even plainer; why is there lack in the lives of some Christians? Why after two thousand years, is Christianity still in the minority? Why don’t we see more of these blessings as perceived in Ephesians 1:3? Why are churches filled with those who are blind, deaf, dumb, maimed, and demonised? Why are there Christians who believe the Bible and still have huge life restricting issues that dominate them?
We will certainly be giving the answers to those questions that the letter to the Ephesians itself gives us. But just a few tit- bits and one liners of bible truth to placate our many questions at this moment.
IGNORANCE OF THE INVISIBLE IS A THIEF, A MURDERER AND A DESTROYER
Knowing Christ, walking with Him, and entering into the ways and manifestations of the Holy Spirit is out and out warfare. Many people are saved late in life with huge emotional problems, many unresolved youth conflicts, unhealed experiences of abuse of all kinds, and demonic bondages that restrict and bind. To walk in purity with Jesus Christ demands hard and violent renewing of mind, attitude, practices and ways of relating. No one resolves them all at conversion. I have heard of many issues that were healed literally the moment a person became a Christian. I have heard of people who couldn’t sleep properly for years, and slept perfectly well from the first night after they trusted Christ. I have met some who were bound with different kinds of bondages and habits that simply disappeared from the moment they exercised saving faith in Christ. But there was still a huge amount of progress that was needed in many other areas of their lives. I have no idea why it works like that but it does. There were two friends of mine that were converted the same weekend that I was in the Pentecostal Church in Manchester. They were both foul mouthed and heavy smokers. From that first moment of conversion one of them ceased smoking quite without effort, but struggled with the bad language for quite some time. The other cleaned up his language instantaneously and I never heard him use profanity again, yet he was in total anguish concerning his fight to stop smoking as his friend had done. Everyone receives Christ the same, yet experiences the power of God differently. I have no idea why it occurs like this,
God gives us millions of pounds worth of blessing. The fact of the matter is, however, that Christians generally struggle on the practicalities of withdrawing those blessings across the counter from the Bank of Heaven. How to withdraw something from heaven that God has promised and blessed with somehow seems so complex to many Christians, and so easy to such a few. God’s promises are the plumb line. The experiences of Christians are no plumb line to measure against.
By all means emulate and pursue those who seem to withdraw from their heavenly account more than you do, yet never be afraid to allow the scriptures to confront you about getting into the principles of faith.
REVELATION HAS TO BE FOUGHT FOR
The Christian life is a fight. Christianity is a battle. Jesus said that He would build His church and the gates of hell would not be able to stand against it. The church is the people. The fact that the gates will not stand against the church means that it is the Christians who are the aggressors. We are the initiators of the battle. No fight, no ground gained. No aggression, we lose ground.
The world is like a conveyor belt processing people for hell. People who are converted to Christ are still living in the midst of the conveyor belt. The conveyor belt runs downward. The Christian is fighting and, to change the analogy, running upwards. It is not helpful to be running upwards at 50 miles per hour if the conveyor belt is running downwards at 60 miles per hour. To gain ground we need to be more aggressive in our godliness that the world is in the godlessness. Our aggression of love, peace and faith needs to be greater than the conveyor belt to hell.
This is simply one of a macro of reasons as to why many Christians seem to have less than God’s best.
If we don’t know we are promised more, how can anybody be expected to desire what they do not know is there waiting to become ours? If we graze constantly on those scriptures that give us peace and tranquillity to rest in, and cause us to become quiet and withdrawn within our Christian huddles, it is no wonder that a deeper understanding of the faith never arrives.
Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” This means that the word not only puts us at peace about the posture in which we are standing when still, but it enlightens us as to where we are going at the same time. There is revelation for where we stand as well as revelation for where we are moving forward. There is the rest of standing where we are, and there is the fight of taking territory in the kingdom of God. Too many Christians rest where they stand. There is nothing wrong with that in itself. Too few fight or go forward! That revelation is often a challenging one.
To repeat the principle but from a different perspective; there is the rest of faith and there is the fight of faith. Hebrews 4:9 tells us that, “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” And how we thank God for that rest! But we are also told to, “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). The sad fact of life is that many Christians are fighting on issues they should be resting on, and resting on issues they should be fighting on. Some are fighting on the issues like, “assurance of being saved,” when God wants Christians to rest on such revealed fact of scripture. Others are resting on issues of sickness and suffering without fighting against such circumstances.
And so we see yet another reason why we don’t see some Christians living in the fullness of what God has blessed them with.
There are many other contributing factors why Christians live beneath their heavenly privileges. Many other shall be addressed as we continue to seek for Revelations of the invisible.
- The Normal Christian Life – #1 Secret to Spiritual Power (fwgf.wordpress.com)
- The Church: One Family, One Body, One Temple (str.typepad.com)
- -The Importance of Giving Thanks (charismatica.com)