Prophetic Anointed Way of God is Christian Maturity Temple Builders is a guide to Christian Maturity
by John Robert Lucas
 
 

Christian Maturity: The Prophetic Anointed Way of God

The Holy Spirit has been revealing truths concerning “being finished” to many Christians today, but after seeing God’s end plan we still have to get to the finishing line. This is where we can stumble, faint, and become distracted or deceived. There is a wilderness ahead for every one of us and you can count on at least one area of your life being disciplined and dealt with by God even right now.

2 Cor 12:2

I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

What the devil fashions for the destruction of the church, in Paul, God turned 180 degrees for His good pleasure. Paul persecuted the church and then there came the day when he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus and on that day he was transformed. Paul saw Jesus again on the day described in 2 Corinthians 12:2 - when he was raptured to paradise and heard unspeakable words and was again transformed, but this time he was transformed into a maturity that few have ever seen since.

2 Cor 12:7-8

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

For those of us who are desirous of heavenly experiences like Paul experienced, this is a sobering lesson. After experiences such as Paul had, there will come the strong temptation of self-exaltation. Even in the re-telling of the event we see Paul using the third person language to keep a distance from bringing attention to himself. Because of the love of our Father we can expect a dealing of God, a thorn that shall pierce your flesh. But make note, it was not the vision that matured Paul – it was the lesson afterwards.

2 Cor 12:9-10

And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (NAS)

Why was this revelation of the Lord important for Paul's maturity? He learned what we all must learn. When we see a revelation of Who Jesus is we may be caught up as Paul was, but more importantly the Holy Spirit will unveil Jesus to us in some measure…sometimes great - of Who Jesus is. We will receive revelation of what He looks like in reality. After seeing Jesus we may receive a thorn in the flesh from a messenger of Satan that is sent to buffet us. We must suffer affliction; we must be “pierced by the thorn” to become mature. This is the part of the gospel that tends to get ignored by “Outer Court Christians” also known as the “carnal Christian” in 1 Corinthians chapters 1-3. Specifically every “carnal Christian” that does not desire the “more excellent way” of God.

      Why are we to be afflicted like Paul, with these thorns in the flesh?

      So to ONLY trust in “His” grace and ability and not our own.

      So that our every boast will “ONLY” be in the Lord.

      So as to be content in “our” weakness and remain strong in the Lord and the power of “His” might.

      So that all of our efforts must cease and “His” effort is the only one we will exhibit.

First we must have an encounter with God like Paul did. After we encounter God we can expect the fire of God that keeps us from exalting ourselves. If we refuse His fire then we will probably speak out those unspeakable words that are heard in the heavenlies. We will become spiritually proud and arrogant. We will start trusting in our ability to prophesy, to witness, and to teach. We will use our knowledge of the scriptures instead of submitting to the Wisdom that is utterly dependent on the Holy Spirit to speak.

In reality, what we are experiencing is an exchange. In this exchange we become the receivers of what Jesus gives in this exchange, and what we FORFEIT in this exchange will go to the CROSS. We receive revelation of Jesus that results in an exchange of our knowledge for His knowledge. We receive the life of Jesus that results in an exchange of our nature for His. Afterwards comes the test – will this Love Nature that we have received - remain standing? Jesus Who is the Word has fallen on your ground, and there is nothing wrong with the Seed. Our covenant with God places a demand for an exchange, a demand for us to forfeit. Now it is your choice. Jesus gave FIRST in this covenant, we then receive it – NOW WE MUST GIVE UP OUR SELF-ASSURANCE. This exchange must now stand the test – will this Love fail? It cannot fail in regards to His part of the covenant, but our choices will cause Love to fail on our part of the covenant. Where we are today is a result of the series of decisions that we have made concerning what He has given us. God is always dealing with our self-assurance; are we willing to forfeit it, or do we cling to it even though the thorn pierces us?

An abundance of revelations is a great unveiling of Jesus. Why would this result in a temptation in self-exaltation instead of transformation? You would think that Paul would have been changed and instantly become “like Christ” because of the EXPERIENCE. But it is natural for the pride of man to rise up and think himself SPECIAL instead of FORTUNATE. The result is boasting in that which draws attention to YOU instead of Him Who was revealed. No doubt we have witnessed this in today’s ministry but if we do not take heed we shall likewise fall. God allows the thorn from Satan to cause that which you have received from Him to remain in you - eternally. If there were no thorn, there would be pride and if there is pride then God is gone from that which you have received. All that will remain is your nature instead of His Nature. If you accept His grace then you will be accepting His Nature that accompanies His grace.

ALWAYS REMEMBER:

      Thorns in the flesh do not get you mature, but obtaining grace for them will produce maturity.

Sorting Out Affliction

Sorting out affliction is the hardest thing for us to discern in our own Christian walk. We are always wondering as to why we have been afflicted. To understand affliction we must understand the purpose of affliction. We must also understand that the reason affliction comes to us is varied. For example we are told of two different types of affliction in 1 Peter. One affliction comes because of “doing well” and the other comes because of “doing sin”. Peter tells us to rejoice because of the first type of affliction and endure the second type of affliction with patience. Jesus speaks of another type of affliction.

John 9:2-3

And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

It is revealed here that there is affliction that we receive so that the works of God can be performed. We also see that it is unrelated to sin or generation curses as was commonly taught. The reason for all bodily afflictions cannot be given this reason, but in this particular case it was.

Matt 9:33

And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.

We see here and also in a few other places in scriptures that bodily affliction was a demonic manifestation and Jesus always cast it out in these instances. It is not a wise thing to try to figure out all the different reasons another is afflicted in body or in circumstances, however it is very much the wisdom of God to discern why you are afflicted in body or circumstances. The gift of “discerning of spirits” and “gifts of healing” equips us to minister to others – we do not have to have it figured out for these, we just need to obey God when He tells us to move. YOUR AFFLICTION is where God is teaching us this day and revealing to you the purpose of it. Affliction in the context that we shall teach in this book relates to anything that afflicts you in body, your mind, emotions, and your will – YOUR SOUL. These afflictions come in the form of adverse circumstances in the physical world.

In sorting out the affliction in our life it is wiser to refer to each affliction appropriately. The “thorn in the flesh” type of affliction does not apply to all afflictions. The “Job kind of affliction” is quite different from the “thorn” type. There is the “Martyr” type of affliction that is the purest form of affliction where we have been faithful in our part of God’s covenant. We discussed earlier about the “bag with holes” type of affliction that comes because we have built our house instead of God’s house. Then there is affliction that says we must be patient until it ends because in “due season we shall reap if we faint not”. Only an intimate relationship with Jesus and having open ears can help us to discern which type we are facing. Sometimes we are facing an overlapping truth from all these types of afflictions. By God’s grace we shall discuss in length a wisdom that may help you to discern through God’s Word; therefore we must draw near to Jesus as we read.

In discussing affliction one may be tempted to use a certain “affliction teaching” to apply to your personal circumstance. If the Holy Spirit is speaking in this way – it will produce life in you. If your affliction is due to another reason, the consequence of using a certain “affliction teaching” can bring bondage. There was one woman whose children had been sexually molested by their father. In reading our chapter called “The Job-Kind-Of-Affliction”, she felt we were teaching that this “Job affliction” was applicable to her situation. In situations where we see innocent victims like this, it cannot be said that this is the appropriate type of “affliction teaching”. In this book we do not address the “innocent victim type of affliction” except to reveal Jesus – the Healer of the Brokenhearted. The focus of this book pertains to the high calling of the Christian believer and therefore we focus on the purpose of affliction that brings us to this “finishing of our course”; this is the area we are gifted in. There are other gifts in the body that minister to victims in a way that God uses in an awesome way; we should pray that God sends these gifts to us if we are in a place where we possess deep hurts that remain undealt with.

Seed of Affliction

Every seed has an image on the inside of it. If that seed is cared for then it will break out of its shell and start pressing on towards being a fruitful, mature stalk. As the seed we can say, “we have not attained it”; but we are to press on towards heaven, just like the seed. On the inside of you is the very image of Jesus. When you die to yourself and break through the shell of your earthly desires and replace them with yearnings for heaven, you will find yourself forgetting what lies behind; you will be reaching forward for the season of bearing fruit. Jesus taught that we must die to live. The overall purpose of afflictions is that you are to die to yourself and live unto God. Or as Romans chapter 6 teaches – Reckon or ACCOUNT yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God. Count it as FACT – NOW! We are dead to our own purposes. We are to offer ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice and our bodily parts as instruments of righteousness. Though this is a spiritual reality and is COMPLETE, yet we fail to walk in it and this is the struggle that Paul teaches in Romans 6-8. God will deal with you – one area of your life at a time, to reveal to you His Son and to reveal to you that “natural man” that still manifests himself in your life.

      This revelation comes through scripture, prayer and affliction.

1 Pet 1:23

for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, {that is,} through the living and abiding word of God.

This seed will have to break forth from its shell and this is done in most natural seeds through temperature, pressure, and humidity. Affliction in the life of the believer is designed to “break the shell”, to “remove the bushel”, to “break up the ground”, to “press as grapes”, to “chisel the stone”, to “purge the silver and gold”. The scriptures give us a multitude of pictures to help us to understand these daily dealings of God. Scripture deals with the topic of affliction more than any other topic - through doctrine and example.

John 12:24-26

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. "He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. (NAS)

It is a life of affliction that gives us the opportunity to die. Peter told us that we were to rejoice in the affliction of Christian suffering. This is avoidable affliction for the “natural man”. It occurs because we choose Jesus Christ; it comes on us because we followed Him with no compromise. If you are being afflicted because you did that which was right in the eyes of God then your response should always be rejoicing. However, no matter what caused the affliction to come to you, when submitted to God, it causes a death to the natural man and a bearing fruit of that which is of the Spirit.

1 Pet 2:21-24

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting {Himself} to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. (NAS)

The sufferings of Christ are a pattern for you to live by. This is a blueprint that diagrams all that is required to complete this building project. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s a contemporary Christian singer named Keith Green sung frequently about the life that should constitute the normal Christian. He sung and preached that it is nothing short of a “no compromise life style” and laying down of every self-effort. Today this message is seldom preached in popular Contemporary Christian music. It is a foundational message that leads to maturity and yet I perceive that the start of “the great falling away” may have already occurred in this music segment. However where darkness increases - light increases as well. There is praise and worship music being released that is direct from the throne of God. Even in our musical gifts we see God’s plan for us that we must die that He may live. It started when you were born again and it continues from there.

      What does the shell of the seed represent?

Greek word - 5590 psuche- Thayer's definition
The soul
a) the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul, etc.)

Translated - HEART, LIFE, SOUL, MIND in King James Version

It is your will - your mind - your emotions.

Matt 10:39

He that findeth his life (psuche) shall lose (literal Greek–DESTROY) it: and he that destroys his life (psuche) for my sake shall find it.

Affliction will show yourself to yourself through His word and through relationship for the purpose of losing your psuche, losing your soul. Technically speaking, does that mean that your soul is removed out of the way? No, that would make you SOULLESS. What it does mean is that your will and God's will are in agreement and yet holding unique opinions. It means your mind will think His thoughts yet unique to your personality. It means that your emotions display the passion of Jesus Christ yet unique to your heartfelt manner. It is in actuality a transformation, a metamorphosis. But for this to happen - it must become broken. It must be destroyed to the point where it no longer resembles - you apart from Christ.

The uniqueness of this principle is important. If God replaced your soul with His then you would become a clone. God wants you to be like Him but not a clone of Himself. All of us are totally unique and yet our soul can be totally transformed. Your uniqueness will remain throughout eternity. If our every thought were in agreement with Jesus’ every thought, our minds would still maintain uniqueness. God does not want robots to serve Him and He is not interested in saved computers. Surely God could program His will into us and the output would be only what He inputted. Instead God designed us as vessels of love towards Him and towards others. He designed us with uniqueness in all of those relationships. Our relationship with Him will always be unique and the relationships with the body will remain throughout eternity as well.

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