Recently, a young brother very dear to me posted this picture on his facebook page. Because of our intimate relationship, I have knowledge of the circumstances he is facing that would motivate him to post it. Like all of us, he faces challenges that apply pressure and provide resistance to Christ being formed in him. I’m extremely proud of him for the growth and maturation I have seen in him over the past 3 years or so. His desire is to continue to grow and walk pleasing to Father.
I answered his facebook post with a comment and it got me to thinking about what I said. I think it is a valuable truth that is worthy of a post. Obviously, what I am about to write is an expansion of the general thought I posted on his page. 🙂 Hopefully, this post will serve as a blessing to you and a further explanation to the young brother of what I hastily typed out on his facebook page.
Putting on the New Man
The scripture that the young brother posted is found in Ephesians 4. Okay, I’ve been living in the book commonly called Ephesians for the past few months. I’ve been studying it, meditating on it, teaching on it and taking notes on it. I am seeing it like I never have seen it before.
“Putting on the new man”, as it is expressed in this passage of scripture, has normally been thought of as an individual issue. In our understanding, the process of putting on the new man is a matter of an individual’s personal life and responsibility. There is definitely truth in that understanding. But, could there be more. A deeper, fuller meaning perhaps? I think so.
The context of Ephesians 4 is the Corporate Expression of Christ. If you will, go back and read through Ephesians 4 with that thought in mind. Look for the corporate-ness being expressed concerning the One New Man. Look for words such as, “one” and “one another”. At the very center of the chapter, the revelation of Christ as firmly enthroned as the Head of His Church with every member in their place and fully functioning is portrayed.
When you begin to understand what Father is truly after, Christ, the One New Man, you will eventually come to the understanding that the Creator intentionally designed us to not only need Him, but……..to also desperately need one another. There is NO getting around it. Father will have His People in the earth that are One in Him, by the Spirit, under the Headship of Christ.
There are so many “individual” believers staggering around the same mountains of re-cycled sin(s) that they cannot get on top of in their lives. There are those Spiritual Lone Rangers, even involved in “churches”, that section themselves off from deep, meaningful, necessary relationship with other believers who are intended by God to enhance, encourage and edify their walk and bring it into fullness. “Just me and Jesus”, they proclaim! “Zeal without understanding!”, I respond. Satan chimes in, “Divide and conquer!”
My dear T. Austin-Sparks put it this way:
The trouble with so many people, or the cause of their delayed maturity, is that they are merely going their own sweet way; that is, they are butterflies, simply flitting from one thing to another with no corporate life, no related life. A butterfly is quite a pretty thing as it flits about, but there is all the difference between a butterfly and a bee. A bee too may go from one thing to another, but it does so to very good purpose. The bee’s life is a corporate life, the butterfly’s is not a corporate life; it is an individual life.
Delayed maturity, stunted spiritual growth, is very often due to this lack of a corporate sense of life which is bound up with the life of the Lord’s people in a definite and positive way. That is the way of enlargement. That is the law of the new man. We arrest our spiritual growth when we set aside the necessity for a life that is linked with the people of God in quite a definite way.
I wholeheartedly agree!
So, when I read a post from a young brother who continues to strive as an orphan, it is my responsibility to remind him, in both word and deed, that he is a son of Father and my brother. His battle isn’t so much the situations/circumstances that he faces that might cause him to partake of and exhibit the old, fallen nature rather than partaking of and exhibiting Father’s Nature. No, his battle is to open his life and heart in deeper ways and allow me, along with the others in Father’s Family, to bear his burden, equip him fully and face the opposition together……….corporately!
I am not saying that he has no individual “response ability” in the matter. Quite the contrary. I am saying that he, and all other believers, have the responsibility to involve and evoke the “response ability” of the Corporate rather than ride it out alone individually. There are just some things that can only be dealt with in an individual’s life through the power and authority of a corporate expression. The sooner the Body of Christ learns this truth, the quicker we can get on with building one another up in love into the full stature of Christ………as One!
We are blessed to have experienced what I am talking about over the years in the relationships that we have with brothers/sisters here locally and across the U. S. We continue to experience such things. There are significant things, both spiritual and practical, in my own life and walk that have been drastically transformed from understanding and practicing corporate “response ability”. There isn’t enough time for me to share the vast amount of testimonies where we have seen corporate “response ability” deal with and overcome financial issues, spiritual issues, any kind of other life issues, etc…. It is a beautiful thing to behold. It is rich. It is deep. It is real.
To love one another as Christ commanded in the context of the New Covenant means that we lay our lives down freely just as He did. There’s no way around it……….that is a corporate thing and that is where the Church begins to learn to walk in the authority of the Kingdom!
By the way, my intention in sharing this is in no way to correct or embarrass the young brother who made the post. Actually, it is my intention to honor him in writing this post. I am grateful for him expressing where he was at that particular moment in time. As I said earlier, I’m extremely proud of him for the growth and maturation I have seen in him over the past 3 years or so. I told him the other day that he is not the young man that I originally met and that I was very proud of him. I know his desire is to continue to grow and walk pleasing to Father and that he is called with a significant grace to equip others to do the same. So, I know he won’t mind my sharing his post on this blog.
Keep your peace!