As we have considered in our study, our goal is not just knowledge or power, but life. In our pursuit of life we will seek knowledge and the power to authenticate our message, but these are just means to the ultimate goal. The life we seek is the person of Jesus — He is the Life.
The life of God is found first in His nature, and then His works. We do not serve Him because of what He does, but because of who He is. Likewise, our calling is not just to do, but to be. Our calling is to manifest the life that is in Christ Jesus, which He wants to give to a world that is dead in its sins.
There are basically three stages in the process of attaining this life in fullness:
1) The first stage is revelation. This is the revelation of what Jesus accomplished on the cross for us. It includes the glory of our deliverance from our old nature, and the glory of our calling and inheritance in Him.
2) The second stage is working. This is the actual working out of this salvation by the renewing of our mind — our very nature in a way that brings practical deliverance from our old nature and establishes His new nature within us.
3) The third and final stage is revealing. This is the revealing through us of the glory of the salvation of God, the nature of the new creation, and the inheritance that we have been given as members of His own household — sons and daughters of God.
We can see these three basic stages of maturity repeated over and over in Scripture. They are seen in Israel’s departure from Egypt, the wilderness, and the Promised Land. We see them in the three parts of the Tabernacle of Moses, the temples built by Solomon, and the temple built by the remnant that returned from Babylon. All of these were prophetic outlines pointing us to know Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The first stage is basically self-centered because we are learning all we can gain through Christ. Self-centeredness is not wrong for the immature, and immaturity is not wrong when we are young. Infants are almost totally self-centered because they are in such a helpless state. Like children, we must also learn who we are and what we can do before we can begin to relate to others with maturity. One of the true marks of maturity is that we become less self-centered and more Christ-centered and devoted to helping others.
Though the transitions between these stages in our natural lives are usually gradual, they represent specific periods of time in our spiritual lives. The first stage, revelation, is fresh and exciting, but usually quite brief. The second stage, working, is hard, but also very exciting and fulfilling, and where we learn, grow, and see the glory of the Lord in a way that starts to change us into His image. We must get through the wilderness to get to the Promised Land. This is where the greatest trials and temptations come upon us to test the life that we have been given, and to prepare us for the authority we will be given in stage three, revealing.
Stage two can seem like a place where we know mostly defeat and failure, but that is the wrong perspective. We seldom pass one of God’s tests with a perfect score. Often we have to be graded “on a curve” with added grace from God in order for us to pass at all. This can be a hard and often depressing stage of our development, which is generally due to our perspectives. We are growing, and even though we may go in circles at times in order to retake the tests that we failed, it was in the wilderness that God’s tabernacle was built, and it is in this stage of our growth that the Lord builds His habitation in our lives. It is also through our failures that we learn for certain that He is our salvation and victory. Here our faith in ourselves is reduced and our faith in Him grows. This is the level of truth.
The third stage is when all of the dealings of God are applied and we start to possess our inheritance — which is to live by the power of the resurrection life of Christ. This is where glory is not just revealed to us, but through us. This is the place where we start to fulfill our calling and destiny in Him.
The overwhelming majority of Israelites could only enter the Outer Court of the Tabernacle, a few could enter the Holy Place, but only one could enter the Holy of Holies. Likewise, it seems that very few Christians make it past the first stage of maturity. Many shrink back from the dealings of God that would bring them to a place of Christlikeness. These are the Christians whose faith is an appendage to their lives. They may faithfully go to services, but their understanding seldom goes beyond the knowledge of salvation. Much of their lives is in fact still in Egypt, bound to this present world.
A few go on into the wilderness and begin the exciting life of truly walking with God day-by-day. The first generation of Israelites died wandering in circles in the wilderness because of their lack of faith. Likewise, today it seems that most Christians still do not get any farther than this stage. Many spend their lives going in circles, enduring the same wilderness trials over and over because of a basic lack of faith in God. Even so, those who get this far usually accomplish much for the Lord and His purposes. They build His dwelling place, and help raise up a generation that will cross over and possess the promises of God.
Just as only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, only One can still enter the highest realm. Therefore, for us to enter we must abide in Him. This means that Galatians 2:20 must be a reality in our lives so we too can say in truth, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” This is our ultimate goal, and this is where we go beyond just beholding the works of God to beholding His glory.
Again, our goal is life. We must know the way and the truth, but life is our goal. If we do not have His life we do not really know the way or the truth either. We do not just want to know about salvation, but have His salvation working in our lives. We do not seek truth for the sake of having knowledge, but to have the truth that sets us free from our old nature so that we can walk in the newness of life. The goal of truth is also life. Our goal is not just to know about our inheritance and the glory of the age to come — we are called to live in it.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|