In the last post I talked about how “suffering” and “glory” are related. Remember the suffering of Christ is the opposition we encounter when we bring a good and loving God into the world. That is what they did to Jesus. The religious and the wisdom of man opposed Him at every turn. Here is an example:
Jn 10:31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God. (ESV)
Don’t you find it odd that doing something good is OK but doing something good and saying it is from God and represents God, as we do, brings out the stones? I have found a similar reaction when I say “all we need is more Jesus” or “God loves you so much that He wants you to healed” or “God didn’t give you a disease to teach you a lesson.” The reaction is sometimes very intense anger. That is the suffering of Jesus. We can’t go to the cross since that was for Him, but we can expect to see a reaction when we talk about how good God is.
Then on the tails of suffering is glory! Glory is the power-infused goodness of God. It is the good report of great worth. It is the atmosphere changing properties of God’s presence. It is a good opinion of a good God that takes on a power of its own. It is the power packed good stuff of a good God. And it is for us! We are being transformed into His glory by His glory. It says it over and over like this example.
2Co 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (ESV)
“So your point is…what?”
When it comes to “seeing His glory” in our lives it seems like there is a “delay” of some kind. I read testimonies about people who have seen God do amazing miraculous things in their lives. There are people out there, and have been throughout history, that have seen so many people healed, set free, restored and even raised from the dead. Todd White for example has been featured on many YouTube videos and even movies. He hasn’t raised the dead yet, but he would tell you he is surprised any more that people aren’t healed when he prays for them. That is pretty amazing especially when the most common question out there is “why aren’t all people healed if it is God’s will?” The second most popular question is “why don’t I see people healed when I pray for them?” I won’t make excuses or provide a formula. I absolutely won’t put the blame on the person praying or the recipient. I won’t put the blame on lack of faith or anything remotely related to our worthiness, performance or similar.
God heals and tells me to heal. He tells me I am like Jesus and supposed to be like Jesus. So there is some kind of relationship between the power of God and us that we probably can’t understand. I’m OK with that. I don’t need to know, I just need to believe. I don’t need to understand, I just need to have faith in a good God. I don’t need someone to tell me all the reasons for one thing or another, but instead trust what God has said.
OK, now that we are through all that, I want to take a look at these two verses:
Rom 8:17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (ESV)
1 Cor 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. (ESV)
In Todd White’s testimony, he talks about how he didn’t see anyone “healed” when he first started praying for them. He was a “brand new baby believer” and this went on for about three months. He didn’t give up. He had many people opposed to him. He had many people not happy with him. He got fired from jobs and his wife refused to go out in public with him. Still, he didn’t give up. He knew that God said it was what he was supposed to do (all of us). He knew that God said (in the Bible) that these signs will follow the believer, including healing and raising the dead. He knew in his heart that seeing people healed like Jesus, was the power of the gospel. He knew that even Jesus said that we would do miracles like He did and even more. So he didn’t give up.
I’ve often wondered about that and asked God for wisdom. It has taken a little while to “see” it clearly, but let me make an attempt to share the revelation. It has everything to do with the last post and the mystery of our union with the Holy Spirit. Here is a picture to ponder:
I know it is simple, but imagine we are “joined” to the Holy Spirit like this. We start out as a little tiny hose that can’t pass much water but is attached to an infinite reservoir. Then over time maybe we look more like this:
So, in some way we are the hose and the fireman. The power to heal comes from God. That is a given. It is love, it is glory, it is the power of His goodness. As our capacity increases to know more and more the goodness and love of God, our capacity to give it away increases. As we are squeezed and pressed by opposition we get to choose to have faith in a good and loving God or give in to religion and worldly wisdom. The size of our “hose” is our capacity for love. Check out this post about our capacity for love. When we encounter unbelief, rejection, abuse, insults, laughter, and outright hostility we have an opportunity to grow in character. It is like what Paul said here:
Rom 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (ESV)
We get to “exercise” our Spirit-man. We get stretched and strengthened in Him. Our capacity increases and our character to be “obedient to the faith” is strengthened. We have hope and confidence in a good God. We have His love poured out in us in the Holy Spirit. We get minute by minute pep talks that prepare us for what is coming. POWER. It is coming. Ask Todd White. After praying for 8-10 people a day (that is what he said) for three months and seeing nothing…glory showed up. He heard in his heart that a co-worker had a bad back. He recognized this as a word from God, stepped out in confident expectation of what isn’t seen (faith) and prayed for the guy. Instant healing! Since then it has just gotten better.
I want some Spirit-man exercise. I have the faith that God is doing exactly what He needs to do in me, for me to be ready for Him to use me. He said so. So I will continue to pray for people because I know they are supposed to be healed. I will continue to teach and preach expecting the glory of God to fall in the house. I will continue to encourage and declare the goodness of God knowing that people will have encounters with God. I will continue to “work out” my spiritual muscles. I don’t understand why or how or when but I am confident He is making me ready for more. I expect at some point it will look like this:
but instead of burning people, the fire of God will burn away all the trash the devil has left in people’s lives. I know that God put me here to defeat the works of the devil and He uses fire to do it. Since all that power is perfected in love it will probably look more like this:
More Spirit-man Exercises.