In-sight Prayer Ministry and the Spiritual Situation Today People Alive AGM 26.5.15
Presenting Problem, Underlying Issue
Ignorance: great need for healing but no inner sense that this is the case
Resistance: awareness but avoidance.
These behaviours are all based on illusion and deception, for the one who knows us already is God, who knows us better than ourselves. Cf. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Cor 13:12; cf. Gal 4:9) “(for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind),” (1 Ki 8:39)
To know that we are known by God is plainly something we know poorly. The roots of these obstacles to “healing” can be traced back to a fear response in Eden. Adam and Eve, i.e. fallen humanity, anticipated the punishment of God and so withdrew from his presence (Gen 3:8ff). This was a fear of being “found out” by God, as if God didn’t know everything about us already cf. “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Num 32:23). Only a radical intervention from God’s side of the relationship can deliver us from such foolish attitudes and strategies (cf. Rom 1:22). Such an intervention has in fact taken place for us in Christ; “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18)
Turning to Jesus
Contrary to contemporary therapeutic trends we do not know God, or God’s knowledge of us, through knowing ourselves e.g. by introspection or analysis. Cf. Email reply to one of recent teachings; “why God wastes his time on me”. My response is always to direct a person away from themselves as the central experiencing subject to Christ; JY reply, “May God’s Spirit help us remember that being “in Christ” our time is his time and none of his time could ever be wasted!” I am called to be present to myself/self-understanding only in Christ. Cf. “as he is so also are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17); “our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s.” The Message.
All true saving knowledge of God must come through Jesus, whose identity is in the knowledge of God as his Father (John 17:3 cf. 1 Tim 2:5). To know ourselves as God knows us we must enter into Jesus’ knowledge of the Father. “no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matt 11:27); “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15 cf. 7:29).
This is not some mystical or absorptive experience that comes through soaking in God’s presence; but involves the way of submissive suffering with Christ. This suffering is indispensable because it brings about a union with Jesus in the action of the cross whereby our blind egocentricity is put to death. The crisis of the cross is that Jesus must endure knowing himself/being self-aware to the exclusion of knowing the Father; this is a knowledge he refuses to accept as valid to his identity. The cry, ““My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”” (Mark 15:34) is a protest against self-knowledge apart from the revelation of the Father. By carrying/carrying away the sinful burden of our knowing ourselves apart from the revelation of who God is as our loving Father Jesus purifies the human knowledge of God, and self, on our behalf.
Recognising the Father
Growth in Christ, or sanctification, involves a progressive dying to self-understanding apart from Christ. I am not to think of myself through myself as wise, stupid, strong, weak, resourceful, impoverished etc. “you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1:30-31)
The goal is not healing as such, but to “gain Christ and be found in him… that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings” (Phil 3:8, 10). “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20 cf. Col 1:24 etc.). This dying with Christ is essential to the revelation of God as Father. Paul brings these themes together;
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear [of being punished by a hard Master], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him [the sign that we know that God is our Father is the willingness to suffer with his Son]” (Romans 8:15-17 ESV). Such suffering may be emotional, psychological, mental, social or physical. It is however conducted always in the presence of God as a Holy Father who is duly feared; “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile” (1 Pet 1:17 cf. 2 Cor 6:16-7:1). This sort of fear relates not to suffering pain at the hands of God, but to the dread of suffering pain through the will of God experienced as somehow outside of his presence. Which is the exact crisis we are facing in the mainstream spirituality of the Church today and why men and women are ignorant and resistance to his way of restoration! How does this relate to God’s work in us as ministers of Christ?
The Prayer Minister
God is sovereignly testing and searching our hearts daily for we are always in his presence; “How long will you not look away from me, nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit ?” (Job 7:19). ““I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”” (Jer 17:10 cf. 20:12; Rev 2:22-23). This searching and testing always involves suffering of some sort, including our response to the blindness and resistance of those we are called to help to grow in Christ. What people take to be healing and life-giving may very well not be the form of the life of Christ; one shaped by death-and-resurrection.
The Holy Spirit
As the Father restored and raised Jesus through the Spirit it is the Spirit alone who can conform us to the likeness of Christ (Rom 1:4; 8:11; 1 Tim 3:16; 1 Pet 3:18). Jesus promised that the Spirit of truth, “will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:14-15). Since the Spirit is always “in” us we are always in the presence of God the Father, who is forever working to make us like his Son. It is to the witness of the Spirit about Jesus that we must submit in all things.