Posts Tagged ‘human beings’

Clothed in Glory

It’s interesting to me that all of the creatures God made had coverings… except man. Animals had fur, birds had feathers and fish had scales or shells. But man did not have any outer covering, as he didn’t need it before the fall. Why? Because God clothed man in His Glory.

“You made him (man) a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him (or clothed him) with glory and honor.” (Ps 8:5)

God’s Original Intent:

The atmosphere of the Garden of Eden was permeated with the same splendor as heaven. There was no sin in the beginning and man walked with God everyday in a peace filled relationship in the “cool of the day”. This means they walked together in a spiritual dimension where they shared a oneness that was maintained by God’s Glory (a covering) and God’s Honor (atmosphere).

The Garden of Eden was Heaven on Earth:

The original Hebrew word for “crowned” means “to encircle”, “to surround’. In other words, Adam and his wife were surrounded by God’s Glory and Honor. They had been clothed with the Glory of God and didn’t need natural clothing and they were living in an atmosphere of perfect relationship and did not need natural knowledge. God was giving man a wonderful environment to rule, where God would truly be their provision and protection if this stewardship could be maintained.

Losing the Glory:

However, once they had been deceived by the serpent and sinned, they were no longer able to focus on spiritual reality as the Glory that once clothed them, seemed to lift. They found themselves naked. Notice that they immediately respond to their new condition by becoming afraid. They made coverings for themselves and hid from God. This is an interesting response since Adam and his wife felt no shame of being naked before they sinned (Gen 2:25).

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Gen 3:7)

Why would they even consider making coverings for themselves? Weren’t they the only human beings in the Garden of Eden? Weren’t they surrounded by only animals, birds and fish?

Hearing God’s Voice:

The reason is given when Adam is answering God’s call “He answered, I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Gen 3:10). Adam and Eve were afraid, because they were naked before God. I understand being ashamed, but why would they be afraid? They were afraid, because they were naked and had lost their original God given Glory. Now they found themselves controlled by a deception, a satanic lie that they needed natural covering and natural knowledge to sustain their lives. This came as a fulfillment to what God said to them earlier, “…you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen 2:17). The moment they were no longer in God’s Glory, they died spiritually and inner peace was replaced with fear.

Spiritual Death:

We are able to see a powerful expression of God’s Fathering love in the moments following the broken relationship. God, seemingly unaware of man’s location, calls out to man and asks him of his connection to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God says, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Gen 3:11)

Spiritual Life:

Then God makes the first sacrifice, in order to clothe them properly.  ”The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). God would spill the blood of a lamb; one of His created beings, to provide a garment suitable to cover human shame. This would serve as humanity’s first revelation that spiritual life is in the Blood.

The Apostle Paul said it this way, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” (Rom 3:23)

Our spiritual death has its connection to sin by the loss of our covering (God’s Glory) and our relationship (God’s Honor) based on His Presence (Holy Spirit atmosphere). Yet the Apostle Paul goes on to tell us of the reality of God’s grace… God’s favorable actions toward us who trust in Christ Jesus. He  tells us that God has restored access to His Glory and Honor in the free gift of salvation. Access to all that was lost could be restored through the Blood of Jesus. 

“We have been freely justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24).

The Gospel of Restored Glory:

This good news cannot be overstated, because it is not accomplished by anything man can do (Rom 3:20)(2 Cor 5:21). God proved His love by sending Jesus to die for us, in our place and for the spiritual relationship to be restored that once was established in the Garden of Eden. The Bible says that when anyone turns to God in faith, a veil is lifted from their hearts and they are enabled to behold the Glory of God in the very face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 3:16-4:6). As believers who continue to look into that Glory a transformation takes place, whereby we are being changed into the same image (God’s original intent) from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor 3:18).

Jesus Said – Be Clothed In Glory: Power from On High!

“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city (Jerusalem) until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49)

The Beholding Principle

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

One of the most important spiritual principles of the Bible is the principle that what we continuously behold, will be what we become. If we behold and study God’s fiery love for us, our hearts will become fiery with love for God. When we behold the emotions of God, we receive truths about how God feels about human beings; about you and me individually, about our destinies, our personalities, our likes and dislikes… we find our place in His heart. We can certainly connect with mysteries that are beyond finding out and behold the majesty of God. But when we see Him as He is, we begin to change.

The Key to Transformation:

The Apostle Paul wrote of this spiritual principle as a key to transformation… as we behold the glory of the Lord we are transformed, “from glory to glory”. This very basic principle is foundational to the Biblical theology of heart transformation. It is what made David a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14). Simply stated, whatever we behold or understand about God’s heart toward us, is what we become in our hearts toward God. If we behold a mean stingy God, we will become mean and stingy. But if we behold His glory, as the Apostle Paul wrote, the Holy Spirit will transforms us.

Pursue the Heart of God!

By pressing into God’s emotions through study and a personal pursuit of our relationship with Him, we find our place in His heart. We become men and women captured by His heart. If we behold what David beheld about God, we would live as he lived, and we would carry our hearts before God as he did. The things David, Moses or even Adam beheld in God’s heart are still there, available and awe-inspiring; as they have been throughout history. God invites us to behold the very thing these powerful men experienced. We can behold the reality of God’s emotions every time we look into the face of Jesus, our Savior and Friend… He is the glory of the invisible God (2 Cor. 4:6)(Heb. 1:1-3).

When we begin to understand God’s emotions for us, corresponding emotions are quickened in our hearts. The same emotions we gaze upon within His heart come alive in our own hearts, and we reflect them back to Him. For example, when we behold the passion in God’s heart for us, our own heart starts to feel passion toward Him. In the Bible John tells us that we have passion for Him, because we first understood His passion for us (1 Jn. 4:19). We enjoy God more by searching out and convincing ourselves of God’s enjoyment of us. One of the most amazing revelations of my life came when I began to feel God’s embrace of me… to realize that God was not just loving me, but He liked being with me, because He truly liked “me”!

The Unveiled Face:

Think about it for a moment… how do our hearts become alive? How do we get free from the addictions, strongholds and pain of the past? It was the Apostle Paul who taught believers to seek renewal by receiving knowledge of the image of God (Col. 3:10). It was in the face to face encounters that change took place in Moses, David and Isaiah. Spiritual transformation and the renewing of the mind will only happen through revelation knowledge, which is the knowledge of God’s heart bursting into our own hearts. This beholding principle is the miracle God spoke about when He said He would write a new law upon our hearts (Jer. 31:33)… “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.”

Abiding in Love

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (Jn. 15:9)

Abide in love… not just any love – My love! This is a call to live in it continually and stay focused on the fellowship of love, while gaining insight into its various expressions. This is the main exhortation of the Bible. It includes studying it, praying over it, and sharing it… going deep in it and being students of how God feels about His people. Jesus says, “with the same intensity that the Father loves Me, that is the way I love you.” Then He gives what I consider to be the number one exhortation in the Bible, “Abide in this!” He is saying, “Do not move on. Live here. Do not ever graduate from this focus.” So we must never move away from the fellowship of Kingdom love.

At different times we might go deeper into a season with the Holy Spirit where we will highlight a theme in the Bible. You might lock into some topic or encounter some aspect of God’s character, but we never want to move on from the love of God. It is not the sort of thing we do an internship on and talk about for a few weeks or go to a conference about. Jesus said, “abide in My love”! Do not ever move on from this subject. Dwell in love with God – always. Go deep… and stay locked in. Be focused on this reality and share it everywhere. It will even become the way in which you are recognized (Jn. 13:35).

The love burning in God’s heart has at least five distinct expressions that are deeply interrelated.

1. God’s love for God: Each person in the Trinity intensely loves the others with all their heart (Mt. 3:16-17).
2. God’s love for His people: He loves His people with the same intensity that He loves within the fellowship of the Trinity (Jn. 17:23).
3. Our love for God: God’s very own love is imparted to His people by the Spirit (Rom. 5:5).
4. Our love for ourselves: We love ourselves in God’s love and for God’s sake (Mt. 22:39).
5. Our love for others: We love others in the overflow of experiencing God’s love… it begins by “beholding” (1 Jn. 3:1) and grows by “experiencing it” in God (1 Jn. 4:18-19).

The Fellowship of the Burning Heart.

We are called to enter into Kingdom fellowship… an atmosphere of love that burns within the fellowship of heaven. The burning heart of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Holy Spirit as well as the Father. The burning heart is the Father, Son and Spirit… passionately beating for us. God beckons us… “Enter into this fellowship with us!” My friend, this is the essence of what salvation is all about. Salvation is so much more than escaping hell. Salvation is much more than having a ministry or something important to do. No… there is something bigger going on. We are called into the fellowship of the burning heart in this age and in the age to come.

Never Move On!

Love, by definition, demands an expression… to be shared and multiplied. God wanted others to experience the joy of perfect love. God created human beings to participate in this glorious fellowship because He is love (1 Jn. 4:8). God does not lack anything. He has no need, in the way we think of insufficiency… yet His love places a demand upon His heart. He did not create humans, because He was lonely or discontent or had an emotional need. We were created in His image to live in love… to abide within the fellowship of His affection. Perhaps the most freeing revelation, within this mandate to abide in love; is that we will not love God more by “trying harder” but by “seeing more” of His love for us.

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (Jn. 15:11-13)

The Working of Focus

“…let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1-2)

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, this was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” (Jn. 1:14-16)

One of the most important spiritual principles of the Bible is the principle of focus. It simply speaks to the fact that what we continuously behold in worship, will be what we become. If we behold and study God’s fiery love for us, our hearts will become fiery with love for God. When we behold the emotions of God, we receive truths about how God feels about human beings; about you and me individually, about our destinies, our personalities, our likes and dislikes… we find our place in His heart. We can certainly connect with mysteries that are beyond finding out and behold the majesty of God. But when we focus upon Jesus and see Him as He is, we receive of His fullness with greater clarity… and we begin to change.

The Key to Transformation:

The Apostle Paul wrote of this spiritual principle as a key to transformation… as we behold the glory of the Lord we are transformed, “from glory to glory”. This very basic principle is a  foundation to the Biblical theology of heart transformation. It is what made David a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14). Simply stated, whatever we behold or understand about God’s heart toward us, is what we become in our hearts toward God. If we behold a mean stingy God, we will become mean and stingy. But if we behold His glory, as the Apostle Paul wrote, the Holy Spirit will transforms us.

Pursue the Heart of God!

By pressing into God’s emotions through study and a personal pursuit of a relationship with Him, we find our place in His heart. We become men and women captured by His heart. If we behold what David beheld about God, we would live as he lived, and we would carry our hearts before God as he did. The things David, Moses or even Adam beheld in God’s heart are still there, available and awe-inspiring; as they have been throughout history. God invites us to behold the very thing these powerful men experienced. We can behold the reality of God’s emotions every time we look into the face of Jesus, our Savior and Friend… He is the glory of the invisible God (2 Cor. 4:6)(Heb. 1:1-3).

Focus that Experiences God’s Emotions:

When we begin to understand God’s emotions for us, corresponding emotions are quickened in our hearts. This is often referred to in the Bible as “His Countenance” (Ps. 89:14-15) or “His Face” (Num. 6:24-26). The same emotions we gaze upon in His Face are within His heart and they come alive in our own hearts. We reflect them back to Him. For example, when we behold the passion in God’s heart for us, our own heart starts to feel passion toward Him. In the Bible John tells us that we have passion for Him, because we first understood His passion for us (1 Jn. 4:19). We enjoy God more by searching out and convincing ourselves of God’s enjoyment of us.

One of the most amazing revelations of my life came when I began to experience and really feel God’s embrace of me… to realize that God was not just loving me, but He liked being with me, because He truly liked “me”!

The Unveiled Face:

Think about it for a moment… how do our hearts become alive? How do we get free from the addictions, strongholds and pain of the past? It was the Apostle Paul who taught believers to seek renewal by receiving knowledge of the image of God (Col. 3:10). It was in the face to face encounters that change took place in Moses, David and Isaiah. Spiritual transformation and the renewing of the mind will only happen through revelation knowledge, which is the knowledge of God’s heart bursting into our own hearts. This beholding principle is the miracle God spoke about when He said He would write a new law upon our hearts (Jer. 31:33)… “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.”

Learning Obedience

“If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  (Heb. 12:7 & 11)

Jesus as our Example:

  • (Heb 2:10) “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
  • (Heb 5:8-9) “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,”
  • (Heb 4:15) “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

It is an astonishing thing for most Christians to think of Jesus “being perfected” and “learning obedience”. It seems contrary to our popular idea of Jesus arriving fully formed and spotless like a stainless steel robot that saves the world. That was not the case; however, He came as a human being and human beings learn obedience. So, Jesus learned to obey just like we learn to obey. This seems like a contradiction when Scripture declares Him to be “without sin”. He was the perfect ”Son”, without rebellion and without sin. Throughout His 33 years He “learned obedience” and suffered temptation, rejection, pain in His body and even death on a cruel cross.

The Process of Growth:

At first He learned obedience to His parents Joseph and Mary, whom he lived with until age 30. He was a carpenter’s son and had half brothers and sisters that came and ate together at the same family table. And of course He learned obedience to God. The Jesus we see at age 30 is more mature than the child of 12 we see briefly in Luke’s Gospel (Lk 2:41-52). He had grown up, ”increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man”. Notice the growth - intellectually, physically and spiritually. This speaks to His ability to endure temptation and stay on course with His Heavenly Father. Jesus “the man” had learned a level of obedience that Jesus “the child” could never have attained. By the time He reached the cross and had endured the intensity of Gethsemane; He was perfected in obedience and was the sinless Lamb of God, that could be slain for the sins of the world.

One with The Father:

Let me say that suffering at no time implies that Jesus had any moral imperfections. Jesus speaks this incredible testimony if you will, at the moment of His betrayal that “Satan had nothing in Him” (Jn 14:30). Learning through suffering life’s trials had strengthened His character, so that He was more and more obedient. He was more able to follow God through difficult and confusing circumstances. Jesus had the greatest liberty of anyone, yet He used that liberty in only one way – to maintain His ”one-ness” with His Father.

The Orphan Heart:

There are three primary realms of disobedience in the believer: the love of the world, the love of sin, and the love of self. These three loves are by nature inside of us, because of our orphan heart. When sin entered the world man was seperated from the Glory of God and lost his one-ness with the Heavenly Father. Our minds and hearts have become ruled by the god of this age through blindness, unbelief and meeting our own needs (2 Cor 4:4-6). Our greatest struggle is – who will “father” us (Jn. 8:42-47). God deals with these areas of our life as a father deals with children, by means of love, acceptance and chastening. God breaks us free of the orphan heart by training us to respond to nurture, instruction and discipline.

Battle Over the Heart:

These loves that wage war inside us, press us continually to disobey the Lord. The Apostle John calls us to forsake our love of the world in light of our love of the Father:

  • (1 Jn 2:15).  ”Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

What we notice is that many find obedience to Christ so difficult and the world so attractive, because of the orphan heart. That is why God chastens us as His Child, in order that we may not be condemned with the world.

  • (Jn. 16:33) “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
  • (1 Cor. 11:32) “But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”

Notice how the Lord calls us to Himself, “in Me you might have peace”. In the world we will have tribulation, but in Jesus we are invited into peace. It is human nature to turn away from that which is difficult and to seek ease and superfiscial happiness. By sending discipline and treating us as sons and daughters, God aims to turn our hearts away from the world and teach us how to find rest in His Son. We learn obedience through the things we suffer.

Dealing with Trouble:

We run into trouble in the flesh. There is incompatibility, because we are citizens of Heaven. There is anxiety, because we are ambassadors of another Kingdom, not of this world. There is that boss who is perverse or that co-worker who drives us crazy. Our Garden of Eden is plagued with weeds, mosquitoes, and serpents. Trouble is Designed for Dominion – Not Destruction!

Training for Reigning:

The purpose of trouble is to teach us how to rule. God’s discipline teaches us about obedience to the Father and life in His Glory. Our submission to God’s commands releases the anointing that breaks yokes and drives the love of the world right out of us. This present world is not our home, we must find no rest in it and get rid of any love for it. God’s Word reminds us that in Christ, there is a resource through the guidence of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:8-13). We are made able to overcome the world by faith everyday… just as Jesus overcame the world. 

Three Truths:

  1. God is Perfecting Us: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…” (2 Cor. 4:17)
  2. God Promises Grace: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
  3. God Loves and Accepts Us: “For whom the Lord loves – He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” (Heb. 12:6)
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