Sunday, March 27, 2011

Keeping in Step

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)

That which is called Christianity is essentially a spiritual thing, and not an earthly order or system, and every fragment of it has to be entered into in a spiritual way, by way of Life and Revelation. There is all the difference between imitation and Life. Oh, what a difference there is between seeing a thing in an objective way and coming into it in Life! It is just there that the wonder, the glory, the vitality, the energy, the power of things is found. You have perhaps talked for years about things in the Word of God, as in the Word of God, and you believed them and gave them out as truth, and after doing that for years suddenly you saw what they meant, and the whole thing came in another way. All your talking, and preaching, and believing before was quite true, quite right, correct as to doctrine, but what effect had it on you? Now that it has broken like this it is transfiguring, and has brought real joy and delight, life and ecstasy. That is what we mean by entering into things by Life and by Revelation. In other words, it is coming into things by the Spirit and seeing...

If we become spiritual in this sense, if the Holy Spirit is the commanding reality in our life, and we are walking by the Spirit, we are bound inevitably to come into all God's thought. The Lord wants a people to come into His full thought. That is only possible as they cease to be governed by some outward order of things, and learn what it is to move with God in the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Giving Sight to the Blind

There is no doubt about Saul of Tarsus and his blindness; but his was the blindness of his very religious zeal, his zeal for God, his zeal for tradition, his zeal for historic religion, his zeal for the established and accepted thing in the religious world. It was a blind zeal about which afterward he had to say, "I verily thought that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth" (Acts 26:9). "I thought I ought." What a tremendous turn round it was when he discovered that the things which he thought, and passionately thought he ought to do, in order to please God and to satisfy his own conscience, were utterly and diametrically opposed to God and the way of right and truth. What blindness! Surely he stands as an abiding warning to us all that zeal for anything is not necessarily a proof that the thing is right, and that we are on the right road. Our very zeal as a thing in itself may be a blinding thing, our devotion to tradition may be our blindness.

I think eyes have a very large place in Paul’s life. When his eyes spiritually were opened, his eyes naturally were blinded, and you can use that as a metaphor. The using of natural eyes religiously too strongly may be just the indication of how blind we are, and it may be that, when those natural eyes religiously are blinded, we will see something, and not until they are do we see something. For a lot of people, the thing that is in the way of their real seeing is that they see too much and see in the wrong way. They are seeing with natural senses, natural faculties of reason and intellect and learning, and all that is in the way.

Paul stands to tell us that sometimes, in order really to see, it is necessary to be blinded. Evidently that left its mark upon him, just as the finger of the Lord left its mark upon Jacob, for the rest of his days. He went into Galatia and later wrote the Letter to the Galatians; and you remember he said, "I bear you witness, that, if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me" (4:15); meaning that they noted his affliction, they were aware of that mark which had lasted from the Damascus road, and so felt for him, that if they could have done so, they would have plucked out their very eyes for him. But it is wonderful that the commission which came when he was naturally blinded on the Damascus road was all about eyes. He was blind, and they led him by the hand into Damascus; but the Lord had said in that hour, "to whom I send thee to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God".