The Labor of Love

September 3, 2013

The Labor of Love

Galatians 4:19
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

A woman and prospective mother endures all of the discomforts and demands of pregnancy for the joy and the hope that she carries within her. Then comes the day of the birthing, which without modern medicine is on the extreme of pain, discomfort and tremendous laboring. Yet she will endure all of that, not only once, but often, again and again for the joy of the life that it brings forth. Out of all that pain, discomfort and labor a miracle is brought forth. The miracle of a newborn life, formed in the image of its maker and its parents. This was Paul’s analogy in describing what it was to Him to birth Christ in others. It wasn’t just about telling them about Jesus and having them come to the altar and pray the sinner’s prayer. That may have been where it began, but certainly not where it ended. That was only the conception. The process of Christ’s life being formed in these former Gentiles and Jews was a long process of intense prayer and intercession, teaching and counseling, living before them the example of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, forming the likeness of Christ in them. Far too often, after Paul had poured out His heart and soul in love and instruction to these new converts to Christ, he would experience the heartbreak of them turning aside to another doctrine, or becoming caught up again in legalism or allowing sin to come again and pervert the purity of their faith. No one knows like a parent, the heartbreak you feel when your child turns away from the path of righteousness and understanding that you have laid before him or her. Slowly, patiently, repetitiously you taught your children from infancy, through childhood, puberty and into adulthood. You sought to instill your belief system and core values into them. All that you valued and hold dear, you tried to impart to them. You continually prayed for them and when they were younger you prayed with them to help them establish a relationship with their God and yours.
Oh, the sting and the heartbreak you felt if at some point they rejected your values, the truths you held dear, and made choices in another direction. You may not only have prayed for them, but pleaded with them and reasoned with them to help them to see and repent from the error of their ways.
This principle is true when discipling and pouring out your life so that Christ might be formed in others. Often it is those ones that so loved you and would have done anything for you that now take on a different spirit. Now they despise and reject you because of the truth you are trying to speak into them. In Galatians 4:16 Paul says, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Often truth is no longer our friend, or the messenger who bears it, when it goes in the face of what we want to believe and the direction we want to go. As rebellious and as otherwise directed as some may become, the love of God compels the travail of love that seeks to love them and bring them back into the truth and right fellowship of who they are in Christ. It does not cease its travail until again Christ is formed in them.
We can all thank God for parents, teachers, pastors, mentors, friends and those ones God has placed in our lives to help establish and form Christ in us. Many of us can look back at times we may have erred or lost our way and yet these ones the Lord set in our lives did not forsake us, or reject us. They prayed for us, they may have tried to counsel with and speak the truth into our lives, but they continued to love us even when we rejected and were perhaps hateful with them. They continued to demonstrate the tenacious love of God for us that ‘it is not God’s will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9).
Someone has labored over your life today so that Christ might be formed in you. Someone is caring and praying for you even in those times you may have slipped back or turned another direction. It is the Spirit of Christ in us that causes us to travail as Paul did. Sometimes the source of deeper inner groanings and utterances are birthed of the Spirit and not in the understanding of man. God’s desire for each one of us is not just for us to have a religious understanding of who God is. It is that the revelation of “Christ in you” is formed, birthed and established in you so that we would no longer live and function out of natural understanding and desire, but out of the mind, will, love and heart of the Christ that indwells us and of whose nature we now are. We all are the labor of His love.

Blessings,
kent

Consecrated Son

July 23, 2013

Consecrated Son

1Samuel 1:9-11
So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD And she [was] in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

Most of us know the account of Hannah and how she cried out in her bareness for a man-child. We know that Eli spoke a prophetic word to her, she conceived and gave birth to a child she called Samuel, who was a wonderful prophet and man of God. The only thing is that as Hannah had vowed, when the child was weaned she would come and present him to the Lord. The child was consecrated unto the Lord according to her promise. She had to fully relinquish the normal routines of a mother raising a child. The priesthood raised him and she only had visitation rights.
John 1:12 tells us,”But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:” When we come to Christ there is a spiritual dedication and consecration that takes place within us. Our soul, through its vow to Christ, dedicates the spiritual child within that is birthed to God. Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:5-7, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Most of us who are Christians are very aware of our new birth, or born again experience. We understand the concept of that new creature which we now are and still are becoming, is the product, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit. We should understand, like Hannah, that this spiritual seed, which is the product of the faith in our soul uniting with the promise of the Spirit of God, has produced a spiritual man-child within us. Our body is the tabernacle of this holy seed of God. What we often forget is that this child doesn’t belong to the soul. It belongs to the Spirit. We gave up our rights and dictates to it when we received Christ. As such we must remember and honor our vow that we are no longer our own. We belong wholly to the Lord. For many of us, even though we have been spiritually birthed, we have never been really separated unto the Lord. We are still being raised by our soul. The result is that our spirit man reflects the soulish woman rather than the godly man after the image of the Father. Who is raising your spirit man, your man-child that resides within? Is he becoming just an extension of your soul, of your mind, will and emotions? Or has he been truly consecrated and given to God? Is he being raised in the discipline of the Word of God and godly correction? Is he learning to truly bear the nature of the heavenly rather the earthly? Roman 12:1-2 exhorts us, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” God has answered the cry of our soul to birth a part of Himself in us. We are exhorted to keep our vow and commitment to now let that spiritual man within us grow up in obedience and consecration to the Father and the instruction of His Word. The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a mentor, a spiritual governor, advisor, helper, comforter and instructor to help us grow up into the priesthood of God. We are men and women of God. We are not ordinary and common people of the world. We have been consecrated and set apart unto God, for His glory and for His purpose. We must, as Samuel did, grow up into our calling and relationship with our Father. We are purposed and destined of God. We are not our own, we were purchased with a price. Has our soul relinquished the man-child we are and the destiny we have before us to be conformed into the likeness of the Son of God? If not, perhaps it is time we make good on our vow. What we give up in the natural, can in no way compare to what we gain in the Spirit. Let’s make sure we have been truly consecrated and released to God.
The soul or the mother is the vehicle to produce the son. She must then give place for the son to grow up in the likeness of his Father. The soul must decrease and the spirit man must increase. Have you consecrated your son?

Blessings,
kent

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