PART 10: CHAPTER 3
GOD AS THE LIFE OF THE BODY
We noted earlier how our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. What arrests our attention is the special emphasis the Apostle Paul gives to the body. The common concept is that the life of Christ is for our spirit, not for our body. Few realize that the salvation of God reaches to the second after He gives life to the first. Had God desired that His Spirit live solely in our spirit so that only it might be benefited, the Apostle would simply need to have said that "Your spirit is the temple of God" and not mention the body at all. By now, however, we should understand that the meaning of our body as the temple of the Holy Spirit is more than its being the recipient of a special privilege. It likewise means being a channel for effective power. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit strengthens our inner man, enlightens the eyes of our heart and, makes our body healthy.
We have also noted how the Holy Spirit makes alive this mortal frame of ours. To wait until we die, before He raises us up is not necessary, for even now He gives life to our mortal body. In the future He will raise from the dead this corruptible body, but today He quickens the mortal body. The power of His life permeates every cell of our being so that we may experience His power and life in the body.
No more need we look upon our outer shell as a miserable prison, for we can see in it the life of God being expressed. We now can experience in a deeper way that word which declares that "it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me." Christ has presently become the source of life to us. He lives in us today as He once lived in the flesh. We can thus apprehend more fully the implication of His pronouncement: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10.10). This more abundant life suffices additionally for every requirement of our body. Paul exhorts Timothy to "take hold of the eternal life" (I Tim. 6. 12); surely Timothy is not here in need of eternal life that he may be saved. Is not this life that which Paul subsequently describes in the same chapter as "the life which is life indeed" (v.19)? Is be not urging Timothy to experience eternal life today in overcoming every phenomenon of death?
We would hasten to inform our readers that we have not lost sight of the fact that our body is indeed a mortal one; even so, we who are the Lord's can verily possess the power of that life which swallows up death. In our body are two forces in action: death and life: on the one side is consumption which brings us nigh to death; on the other side is replenishment through food and rest and these support life. Now extravagant consumption weakens the body because the force of death is too powerful; but by the same token excessive supply reveals signs of congestion because the force of life is too strong. The best policy is to maintain these two forces of life and death in balance. Beyond this, we should understand that the weariness which believers often experience in their body is in many respects distinct from that of ordinary people. Their consumption is more than physical. Because they walk with the Lord, bear the burdens of others, sympathize with the brethren, work for God, intercede before Him, battle the powers of darkness, and pommel their body to subdue it, food and rest alone are insufficient to replenish the loss of strength in their physical frame. This explains in a measure why many believers, who before the call to service were healthy, find themselves physically feeble not long afterwards. Our bodily strength cannot cope with the demands of spiritual life, work, and war. Combat with sin, sinners, and the evil spirits saps our vitality. Solely natural resources are inadequate to supply our bodily needs. We must depend on the life of Christ, for this alone can sustain us. Should we rely on material food and nourishment and drugs we will be committing a serious blunder. Only the life of the Lord Jesus more than sufficiently meets all the physical requirements for our spiritual life, work, and war. He alone furnishes us the necessary vitality to grapple with sin and Satan. Once the believer has truly appreciated what spiritual warfare is and how to wrestle in the spirit with the enemy, he will begin to realize the preciousness of the Lord Jesus as life to his body.
Every Christian ought to see the reality of his union with the Lord. He is the vine and we the branches. As branches are united with the trunk, so are we united with the Lord. Through union with the trunk the branches receive the How of life. Does not our union with the Lord produce the same results? If we restrict this union to the spirit, faith will rise up to protest. Since the Lord calls us to, demonstrate the reality of our union with Him, He wishes us to believe and to receive the flow of His life to our spirit, soul, and body. Should our fellowship be cut off, the spirit most assuredly will lose its peace, but so will the body be denied its health. Constant abiding signifies that His life continually is filling our spirit and flowing to our body. Apart from a participation in the life of the Lord Jesus there can be neither healing nor health. The call of God today is for His children to experience a deeper union with the Lord Jesus.
Let us therefore recognize that, though phenomena do occur to us in the body, they are in truth spiritual matters. To receive divine healing and to have our strength increased are spiritual and not purely physical experiences, although they do take place in the body. Such experiences are nothing less than the life of the Lord Jesus being manifested in our mortal frame. As in the past the life of the Lord caused this dead spirit of ours to be resurrected, so now it makes alive this mortal body. God wants us to learn how to let the resurrected, glorious and all-victorious life of Christ be expressed in every portion of our being. He calls us to renew our vigor daily and hourly by Him. This is precisely our true life. Even though our body is still animated by our natural soul life, we no longer live by it because we have trusted in the life of the Son of God Who infuses energy into our members far more abundantly than all which the soul life could impart. We lay great stress on this "life." In all our spiritual experiences this mysterious yet wonderful "life" enters into us abundantly. God desires to leads us into possessing that life of Christ as our strength.
The Word of God is the life of our body: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4.4). This substantiates the thought that God's Word is able to support our body. Naturally speaking man must live by bread, but when the Word of God emits its power man can live by it too. Herein do we behold both the natural and the supernatural way of living. God does not say that henceforth we need not eat; He simply informs us that His Word can supply us with life which food cannot. When food fails to produce or to sustain the desirable effect in our body, His Word can give us what we need. Some live by bread alone, some by it and the Word of God. Bread sometimes fails, but God's Word never changes.
God bides His life in His Word. Inasmuch as He is life, so also is His Word. Should we view God's Word as a teaching, creed or moral standard, it shall not prove very effective in us. No, God's Word must be digested and united with us in the same manner as is food. Hungry believers take it in as their food. If they receive it with faith the Word becomes their life. God claims His Word is able to sustain our life. When natural nourishment fails we can believe God according to His Word. Then shall we perceive Him not only as life to our spirit but as life to our body as well. Christians nowadays experience great loss in not noticing how bountifully God has provided for our earthly tent. We confine God's promises to the inner spirit and overlook their application to the outer flesh. But do we realize our physical requirement is no less needful than that of the spiritual?
THE EXPERIENCES OF THE SAINTS OF OLD
God never wants His children to be weak; His ordained will is for them to be robust and healthy. His Word affirms that "as your days, so shall your strength be" (Deut. 33.25). This naturally points to the body. As long as we live on earth the Lord promises to give us strength for it. God never presumes to grant us an extra day of life without in addition providing extra stamina for that day. Because of the failure of His children to claim this precious promise by faith, they find their vitality unequal to their days on earth. In order to provide as much energy for His children as the days He gives require, God promises to make Himself their strength. As God lives and as we live, so shall be our strength. Believing God's promise, we can say each morning upon arising and seeing the dawn that as God lives so shall we have enablement for the day, enablement physical as well as spiritual.
It was a common occurrence for the saints of old to know God as the strength of their body or to experience God's life permeating their body. We can observe this first in Abraham: "He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or when be considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb" (Rom. 4.19). By faith he begot Isaac. The power of God was displayed in a body as good as dead. The crux of the matter here is not so much the condition of our body as the power of God in that body.
The Scriptures describe the life of Moses by saying that be "was a hundred and twenty years old when he died; his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated" (Deut. 34.7). This is speaking beyond question about the power of God's life in Moses' body.
The Bible also mentions the physical condition of Caleb. After the Israelites had entered Canaan Caleb testified:
Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children for ever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.' And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness; and now, lo, I am this day eight-five years old. I am still as strong to this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war, and for going and coming. (Josh. 14. 9-11)
To this one who followed the Lord wholeheartedly God became his strength as He had promised, so that even after forty-five years he did not diminish in vigor.
In reading the book of judges we learn about the physical prowess of Samson. Though Samson performed many immoral acts and though the Holy Spirit may not impart such towering strength to every believer, yet one point is sure: if we depend on the Holy Spirit we shall find His power supplying all our daily needs.
From what David sang as recorded in his psalms, we can ascertain that the power of God was in David's body. Note the following passages:
"I love thee, 0 Lord, my strength.... the God who girded me with strength and made my way safe. He made my feet like hinds' feet, and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze' (18.1,32-34) "Jehovah is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (27.1 ASV) "May the Lord give strength to his people!" (29.11) Summon thy might, 0 God; show thy strength, 0 God, thou who hast wrought for us.... the God of Israel, he gives power and strength to his people" (68.28.35) "Who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's" (103.5)
Other psalms record also how God became strength to His Own people, for example: "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever'; "Blessed are the men whose strength is in thee"; and "With long life I will satisfy him, and show him my salvation" (73. 26, 84.5, 91.16).
Elihu related to Job the chastening of God and its after effects.
Man is also chastened with pain upon his bed, and with continual strife in his bones; so that his life loathes bread, and his appetite dainty food. His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen; and his bones which were not seen stick out. His soul draws near the Pit, and his life to those who bring death. If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him; and he is gracious to him, and says, 'Deliver him from going down into the Pit, I have found it ransom; let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor.' (job 33.19-25)
This signifies how the life of God can be manifest in one who is near the gate of death. The prophet Isaiah too bears testimony concerning this matter:
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. (12.2) He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (40.29-31)
All this stamina is shown in the body, for the power of God is generated in those who wait on Him.
When Daniel beheld the vision of God he whispered: "No strength was left in me; my radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength' (10.8). But God sent His angel to increase Daniel's strength. So in recording this incident Daniel explained how "again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, '0 man, greatly beloved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.' And when he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, 'Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me'" (10. 18-19). Once more we see how God supplies power to man's body.
The Lord's children today ought to know that He does care for their body. God is not only strength to our spirit, He is equally so to our body. Even in the Old Testament time when grace was not manifested as much as it is today, the saints experienced God as strength to their outer flesh.
Can today's blessing be less than theirs? We should experience at least the same divine invigorating power as they did. If we are uninformed as to the riches of God, we perhaps may restrict them to what concerns our spirit. But those who have faith will not limit His life and power to the spirit by neglecting their application to the body.
We wish to underscore the fact that God's life is adequate not only to heal sickness but also to preserve us strong and healthy. God as our might enables us to overcome both illness and weakness. He does not heal so that we may live afterwards by our natural energy; He is to be energy to our body that we may live by Him and find power for all His service. When the Israelites left Egypt God promised them by saying, "If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord, your healer" (Ex. 15.26). Later we find this promise wholly fulfilled as noted in Psalm 105: "there was not one feeble person among his tribes" (v.37 ASV). Let us hence understand that divine healing includes both God's curing our sicknesses and His withholding diseases from us that we may remain hardy. If we are totally yielded to God, resisting His will in nothing but believingly receiving His life as strength to our body, we shall yet prove the fact that Jehovah heals.
THE EXPERIENCE OF PAUL
If we accept the Biblical teaching that our bodies are the members of Christ, we cannot but also acknowledge the teaching that the life of Christ flows through them. The life of Christ flows from the Head to the body, supplying energy and vitality to it. Since our bodies are members of that body, life naturally flows to them. This however needs to be appropriated by faith. The measure of faith by which we receive this life will determine the measure in which we actually experience it. From the Scriptures we have learned that the life of the Lord Jesus can be appropriated for the believer's body, but this requires faith. Doubtless Christians, when first exposed to such teachings, are struck with surprise. Yet we cannot dilute what the Word distinctly teaches. An examination of Paul's experience can assure us of the preciousness and reality of the teaching.
Paul, in referring to his physical condition, remarked about a thorn in his flesh. Three times he entreated the Lord concerning this, that it should be removed. But the Lord answered him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." And in response the Apostle said, I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me ... for when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12.9-10). We need not inquire what that thorn was because the Bible does not divulge it. One point however is certain: the consequence of this thorn on the Apostle was that it weakened his body. The "weakness" here referred to is physical in nature. The same word is used in Matthew 8.17. The Corinthians were well acquainted with Paul's bodily frailty (2 Cor. 10.10). Paul himself acknowledged that when he was with them the first time be was physically weak (I Cor. 2.3). His debility cannot be due to any lack of spiritual power, for both Corinthian letters reveal a powerful spiritual vigor in the Apostle.
From just these few passages, we can gain insight into Paul's physical condition. He was very weak in body, but did he remain long therein? No, for he informs us that the power of Christ rested upon him and made him strong. We notice a "law of contrast" here. Neither the thorn nor the weakness which came from the thorn had left Paul; yet the power of Christ inundated his frail body and gave him strength to meet every need. The power of Christ was in contrast to the weakness of Paul. This power did not waft the thorn away nor did it eliminate weakness, but it abided in Paul to handle whatever situation with which his weakened frame could not cope. It may be likened to a wick which though kindled with fire is not consumed because it is saturated with oil. The wick is as flimsy as ever, but the oil supplies everything the fire requires of it.
Thus do we apprehend the principle that God's life is to be our bodily enablement. His life does not transform the nature of our weak and mortal body: it merely fills it with all its necessary supplies. As to his natural condition, Paul was unquestionably the weakest physically; as to the power of Christ which he possessed, he was the strongest of all. We know how he labored day could a weak man like Paul undertake such work unless it were that his mortal frame was made alive by the Holy Spirit? It is an established fact that God imparted strength to Paul's body.
How did God do it? Paul was speaking about his body when he related in 2 Corinthians 4 how he and those with him were "always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (v.10-11 ASV). What particularly arrests our interest is that verse 11 in relation to verse 10, though seemingly redundant, is not repetitious. Verse 10 is concerned with the life of Jesus' being manifested in our bodies whereas verse 11 is concerned with the life of Jesus being exhibited in our mortal flesh. Many are able to express the life of Christ in their bodies but fail to advance further to do so in their mortal flesh. The distinction is far-reaching. When Christians fall ill many are truly obedient and patient and voice no complaint or anxiety. They sense the presence of the Lord and exhibit His virtues in their countenance, speech, and act. Through the Holy Spirit they genuinely manifest the life of Christ in their bodies. Nevertheless, they do not appreciate the healing power of the Lord Jesus nor have they heard that His life is also for their lowly bodies.
They fail to exercise faith for the healing of their bodies as they previously did for the cleansing of their sins and the quickening of their dead spirits. They are therefore powerless to manifest the life of Jesus in their mortal flesh. They receive grace to endure pain but do not receive healing. Verse 10 they have experienced, yet verse 11 goes untried.
How does God heal us and strengthen us? By the life of Jesus. This is most significant. When our mortal flesh is revitalized the nature of our body is not changed to immortality-it remains the same. The life which supplies the vitality to this body, however, is changed. Whereas in days past we lived by the power of our natural life, now we live by the energy of that supernatural life of Christ. Because His resurrection power is sustaining our body, we are empowered to perform our appointed tasks.'
The Apostle did not suggest that once having lived by the Lord be would never again be weak. Not at all, for whenever the power of Christ did not cure him he would be as weak as ever. We can forfeit the manifestation of the life of the Lord Jesus in our bodies through neglect, independence, or sin. Sometimes we may be weakened through the attack of the powers of darkness against whom we have boldly advanced. Or we may suffer affliction for the sake of Christ's body if we are deeply involved with it. But only in the life of deeply spiritual persons do both of these occur. In any case, we are certain that, weak though we may yet be, God's will is never for us to be invalids unable to work for Him. The Apostle Paul was often weak, but never did God's work suffer because of his weakness. We acknowledge the absolute sovereignty of God, but Christians cannot use that as their excuse.
"Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus" is the basis for "the life of Jesus (to) be manifested in our body." In other words, our own life must be denied totally before that of the Lord Jesus will be manifested in our bodies. This unfolds to us the intricate relationship between a spiritual selfless walk and a sound healthy body. The power of God is used exclusively for Him. When God exhibits His life in our bodies He does so for the sake of His Own work. He never dispenses to us His life and strength that we may consume it selfishly. He does not give His energy to our bodies that we may waste it; nor does He do so to accomplish our purpose. How then will He ever bestow this power upon us if we do not live entirely for Him? Right there do we locate the reason. for many unanswered prayers. Believers too often covet health and vitality solely in order to enjoy themselves. They seek God's strength for their bodies that they may dwell more comfortably, joyfully, conveniently. They want to be able to move freely without any impediment. That is why up to this very moment they are still weak. God will not furnish us His life for us to wield independently. For would we not live even more for ourselves, and would not the will of God incur even greater loss? God is waiting today for His children to come to their end that He may grant them what they are seeking.
What is meant by "the dying of Jesus"? It is that life of the Lord which always delivers its self up to death. The entire walk of our Lord was characterized by self-denial. Right through to His death the Lord Jesus never did anything by Himself but always executed His Father's work. Now the Apostle informs us that by his letting the dying of Jesus so work in his body the life of Jesus was manifested also in his mortal flesh. Can we receive this teaching? Presently God is waiting for those who are willing to accept the dying of Jesus so that He may live in their bodies. Who is inclined to follow God's will perfectly? Who will not initiate anything by himself? Who dares to attack the powers of darkness incessantly for God? Who refuses to use his body for his own success? The life of the Lord Jesus shall be manifested in the bodies of such believers as these. If we take care of the death side God will look after the life side: we offer our weakness to Him and He gives His strength to US.
NATURAL POWER AND THE POWER OF JESUS
If we have presented ourselves utterly to God we can believe that He has prepared a body for us. We often imagine how nice it would be bad we had control over how we were made. What we most want is that our bodies shall not contain many inherent defects but possess a greater resistance instead in order that we may live long without pain or illness. But God has not consulted us. He knows best what we should have. We should not judge our ancestors for their faults and sins. Neither should we doubt God's love and wisdom. Everything which concerns us is ordained before the foundation of the world. God fulfills His excellent will even in this body of pain and death. His purpose is not for us to desert this body as though it were a burdensome weight. Rather, He urges us to lay hold of a new body through the Holy Spirit Who indwells us. In preparing whatever body He gives us God is fully aware of it's limitations and dangers; nonetheless He wants us through painful experiences to desire a new body so that we may no longer live by our naturally possessed power but by the power of God. Thus we shall exchange our weakness for His strength. Even though this body of ours has not been transformed, the life by which it lives is already a new one.
The Lord delights in flooding every nerve, capillary, and cell of our body with His might. He does not transform our enfeebled nature into a vigorous one, nor does he dispense a great deal of strength to be stored in us. He wants to be the life to our mortal flesh so that we may live momentarily by Him. Perhaps some may think that to have the Lord Jesus as life to our body means God miraculously grants us a large measure of bodily power that we may never again suffer or be sick. But this was evidently not the experience of the Apostle, for does he not definitely declare that "we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh"? Paul's flesh was frequently weakened, but the strength of the Lord Jesus continuously flowed into him. He lived momentarily by the life of the Lord. To accept Him as life for our body requires constant trust. In ourselves we cannot meet any situation at any time; but by trusting continually in the Lord we receive moment by moment all the, necessary strength.
This is what is meant by the words spoken by God through Jeremiah: "I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go" (45.5). We are not to deem ourselves safe and secure because of our own inherent strength; we must instead commit ourselves to the life of the Lord for every breath. In this alone is safety, for He alone ever lives. We do not possess any reserve power which enables us to move as we wish; each time we need strength we must draw from the Lord. A moment's drawing is good for at moments living; there is no possibility of holding a little in reserve. This is a life completely united with, and exclusively dependent upon, the Lord. "I live because of the Father, so be who eats me will live because of me" (John 6, 57). Precisely there is the secret of this life. Were we able to live independently of the life-giving
Lord, we would renounce this heart of utter reliance and live according to our own will! And would we not then be like those of the world, wasting our strength? God wants us to have a constant trust as well as a constant need. just as the manna long ago had to be gathered daily, so our bodies must momentarily live by God.
By walking in this fashion we will not limit our work by any inherent power nor will we always be anxious because of the body. If it is God's will, we must dare to walk this way, however much man's wisdom may consider it risky. For God is our strength; and we are but waiting to be sent. In ourselves we have no power to undertake any task, yet our eyes are upon the Lord. We are absolutely helpless, nonetheless through Him we shall go forth and conquer. Alas, how many of us are too powerful in ourselves! We know not how to distrust our strength that we thereby may know how to trust in Him. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. The more helpless we are (this pertains to attitude), the better is His power demonstrated. Our strength can never cooperate with the Lord. If we try to reinforce His strength with ours we shall reap nothing but defeat and shame.
Since the Lord demands such a trust in Him, this practice should not be limited to the naturally weak situation in us but should include the naturally strong in us too. Perhaps some Christians who currently can boast robust and healthy bodies assume they need not seek this experience until they become weak. This is a misjudgment, for both the naturally weak and the naturally strong require the life of God. Nothing we receive in the old creation is satisfactory to Him. Were believers deeply taught by the Lord they would lay down their own power to accept God's, even should their bodies be strong and seemingly have no need for His life. This is not a choosing of weakness with their will but is rather a disbelieving in their own strength just as they distrust their own talents. Such consecration will preserve them from self-exaltation founded on natural energy a common ill among many servants of the Lord. They will not dare move beyond what He orders. They will act as the naturally weak do; without the strengthening of the Lord they dare not move one step. They will refrain from overworking and avoid careless living, just as though they were weak naturally.
In such a way of life it is imperative that "self" be imprisoned by the Holy Spirit; otherwise we certainly shall be defeated. Some genuinely admire the self-denying life but are unable to cease completely from their own energies. Hence they disregard God's purpose and move along according to their desire. They may reap the temporary admiration of men but their bodies shall finally collapse. God's life refuses to be enslaved to man's will. That work which He has not ordered He shall never give His strength to supply. If we should become active outside the realm of God's will we shall discover the life of God is apparently leaking away and that our fragile body must undertake the task. In order to live by Him we must not be presumptuous; we should begin to move only upon being assured that it is truly God's will. Solely through obedience will we experience the reality of His life for us. Else would He ever give us His strength to rebel against Him?
THE BLESSING OF THIS LIFE
Were we to receive the life of the Lord Jesus to be the life of our body, we would today experience our bodies being strengthened by the Lord as well as our spirits being prospered by Him.
As far as our knowledge is concerned we already realize that our body is for the Lord; yet because of our self -will He is unable to fill us completely. But now we commit our all to Him that He may deal with us in whatever way He wishes. We present our bodies a living sacrifice; therefore we control neither our life nor our future. Now we truly understand what is meant by the body for the Lord. What worried us before cannot now shake us. The enemy may tempt us by reminding us that this way is too risky or that we are being too unmindful of ourselves; even so, we are not frightened as we used to be. One thing do we know: we belong to the Lord absolutely: nothing can therefore befall us without His knowledge and permission. Whatever attack may come is but an indication of His special purpose and His unfailing protection. Our bodies are no longer ours. Every nerve, cell, and organ has been banded over to Him. No more are we our own masters, hence we no longer are responsible. If the weather abruptly changes, this is His business. A sleepless night does not make us anxious. No matter in what unexpected way Satan assaults, we remember the battle is the Lord's and not ours. Then and there the life of God flows out through our bodies. At such an hour others might lose peace, grow despondent, become worried, and desperately seek some remedial measure; but we quietly exercise faith and live by God, for we know we henceforth live not by eating, drinking, sleeping, and so forth, but by the life of God. These things cannot hurt us.
Understanding now that the Lord is for his body, the Christian is able to appropriate all the riches of God for his needs. For every urgent requirement there is always His supply; his heart is accordingly at rest. He does not request more than what God has supplied, but neither is he satisfied with anything less than what He has promised. He refuses to use his own strength in any matter to help God ahead of His time. While worldly people are anxiously running for help because of the suffering and pain of the flesh, he can wait calmly for God's time and God's riches due to his union with Him. He holds not his life in his own hand but looks for the Father's care. What peace this is! During this period the believer glorifies God in every respect. He takes whatever may happen as an opportunity to manifest His glory. He does not use his own ways and thus interfere with the glory which is due God. But when the Lord stretches out His arm to deliver, then is he ready to praise. The aim of the child is no longer the blessing from the Father. God Himself is far more precious than all His gifts. If healing would not express God then he does not want to be healed. Should we merely covet the Father's protection and supply, should we cry out only for deliverance from temptation, we already have fallen. God as our life is not a business proposition. Those who genuinely know Him do not beg for healing but always seek the Father. If health might lead him astray and take away from God's glory, he would rather not be healed. Believers continually should remember that whenever our motive is to covet God's gifts rather than God Himself, we already are beginning to falter. Should a Christian live perfectly for the Lord he will not be anxious to seek help, blessing, or supply. He will instead commit himself unconditionally to God.
|Chapter 2||Table of Contents||Chapter 4|