SCHOOL OF ISRAEL
Mini-Study Guides, 1994-5
"More Than Conquerors"
27. The Greatest Pain
Scripture Meditation: Romans 8:9-17
Yes, we're back to belief again. I asked you a couple of months ago if anyone had ever doubted we would gather to Zion. Some put their hands up, some hesitated because they weren't sure if they had.
Last March I got to writing a couple of new Bible study guides and started thinking a lot about suffering and its central rôle in God's plan to mature us and unite us as a people. I re-discovered some really interesting truths.
The first truth I discovered is that God does not command us to be united. He says, in effect, that if we are in Christ that we are united...already! And if that's true then we'd better start behaving as though we are -- not just on the surface or even in some of the layers beneath, but in the very CORE of our heart. Unity is not some distant goal -- it is a fact if we are in the Saviour.
The second truth I learned is that the secret of conquering fear is quite simple, although applying it requires something many find difficult. It involved becoming single-minded, with one consuming passion that eats up all the lesser passions of life. The more we allow Christ's love to fill our souls, the more He fuses our inenr divisions into a burning unity. There can be no room for inner fear when there is no room for inner division. Division confuses, love fuses.
I firmly believe that the greatest pain in the personality is the pain one experiences when one does not feel loved. And because this is the greatest pain, the greatest fear is the fear of being unloved. Nothing can dispel that fear except a deep-down assurance that we are loved. And here the gospel comes in with just that assurance; not a written assurance of words in a book, but a vital assurance of the Word become flesh. That love was shown in the only way possible: in loving deeds to good and bad alike, and by the final act of giving Himself for us on the cross. Now we know that God loves us -- loves us not because we are deserving and worthy, but because He can do nothing else but love. Nothing in us gave rise to it, and nothing in us can extinguish it. He loves, full stop.
And if He is in us, so will we love in such a way. It doesn't matter what any of us may do to each other, good or bad, we will -- if we are in Christ -- carry on loving each other unconditionally. Now I am sure you have heard this said before -- I am sure you understand it, at least in your minds, but my question is: has it gripped your souls? Have you learned to stand upon this love so that no matter now disagreeable your brother may seem to you, that you still love him...unconditionally...and enough to want to live with him in a Zionic community? The power of true love comes from getting it out of our heads and into our souls.
Recently one of the brethren shared a dream he had about me in which I appeared angry and upset. In the dream he chose to ignore the anger and to love the good that he could see in me. The result was that I changed from being "angry" to being "normal" again. The fact that the bad side of me was probably in his imagination is not important -- we all think negative things about each other which manifest themselves in our dreams; and much of these thoughts are pure fantasy. But the brother was wise -- he focused on the good and what appeared to be bad suddenly became good for him. And that is how Christ wins us -- because He sees past the bad and straight into our good. And this is how, ultimately, we will win one another and draw people to Christ.
Knowing exactly what every weakness and fault in each other is, is unimportant. What's important is seizing the goodness in others and building upon that; then our fear of other's faults and weaknesses will disappear. Zion has to be built upon that principle. Living close together we will see ten times more weakness and faults than living apart but we also see good that we never knew existed before. That is what excites me about Zion -- discovering all the hidden good in you, my brothers and sisters, and learning to imitate it. Unmining that good is the adventure of Zion and what we should be living for.
Are you afraid of the weaknesses and faults of those who are expected to come into Zion? Don't be. But rejoice that you're going to find a mine of goodness that you never dreamed was there! Build your hopes on that! Zion will contain imperfection on this mortal world, there's no escaping that. The thing is to build on the good, and place your trust in that.
It is written of the Lord Jesus Christ that He is "FULL of grace and truth." This means that there are no spots in His character -- there is no co-existence of grace and ungrace, or of truth and untruth. In Him there is grace and only grace; truth and only truth. He never enunciated a principle that He did not practice, and never made a moral statement that He did not demonstrate in His life.
Over the years I have met some wonderful Christians, but the more I have got to know and relate to them, the clearer their imperfections have become. No doubt the same could be said by others about myself. So what is my point? My point is that Christians have spotty characters, and some are more "spotty" than others. We have grace and we have ungrace; we have truth and we have untruth, even if it is only unconsciously.
Some have reached a place in God where there is far more grace than ungrace, far more truth than untruth. They exhibit such perfect character qualities that they can be described as nearly perfect. But Jesus was absolutely perfect. He once asked a group of people: "Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin?" (John 8:46). No one could find a flaw in Him. He is not only the best that humanity has ever seen, but He is the best it will ever see.
With so wonderful a High Priest, what need we fear?! With so great and mighty and perfect a prophet and patriarch leading the cause of Zion, what need we fear? But for Him to lead Zion -- for Him to be the Patriarch and King of Kadesh, we must first repent of our negativity and actively seek and promote the good in each other, and then imitate it as a spiritual family. For that goodness is placed their by Christ as a fruit of our obedience to His commandments.
Jesus is Life. Let us love life and love one another to see beyond the spots and exalt the grace and truth of Christ in everyone. We must be aware of the spots to be sure but we can't keep pointing fingers at them without become more spotty ourselves.
With these thoughts I conclude what the Holy Spirit has led me to share with you today. Today is "Kadesh Day" -- the day of decision, the day of turning. If we have not received an answer by this hour, then let us now fall on our knees, while we are together and the day is not ended, and get it, God willing, is my prayer in Messiah's Name. Amen.
"In all these things
we are more than conquerors
through Him who loved us"
(Romans 8:37, NIV)
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Updated on 16 May 1998
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