There is too much fear in the Body of Christ. What? How can anyone who is a part of Christ live in fear! But we are anxious that the world around us is a hostile world, is a world that will tear us apart. This cannot be true. What we touch as believers becomes clean. Our very children are sanctified because they are ours! The ground that we walk upon has been given to us. I read this morning in Proverbs: “Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.” Too frequently as Christians we are convinced that negative words are going to have some kind of ill effect. But notice that the curse must be ‘undeserved’. If a rebuke is spoken in love, it does not count as a curse, and I should recognise that a prophetic voice has spoken it:
“Perhaps brother you ought to let someone else speak.”
“Sister, the Lord is not concerned with your looks. He is preparing you for His Bride and He has seen your beauty.”
“You need to put away your ambition, and follow Jesus.”
These aren’t curses. Sometimes prophetic words sound more like curses, but the Lord can turn anything around and work it for good. Often men and women need to ‘shout’ to break through the strongholds of the mind. Paul yells at Peter when he sees him setting up the division between Jews and Greeks in Antioch, when the Lord had torn down that barrier, and made all one in Christ, whether slave or rich man, male or female, Jew or Gentile. And it may not have been the best way: but it saved the church. Peter heard the prophetic word, recognised the voice of the Lord, and saw that he had messed up yet again.
I also read Psalm 90 this morning: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” If you are wise, you don’t look to the money of the rich in order to get money yourself. You look to the rich man. We don’t look at the gift, but we look at the Giver. More might be on its way. We are not called to worship trees, or mountains. We come up the mountain to worship God. We see through the tree to the unchanging Word of God who made the tree.
I also feel like Jeremiah who said: “if I say, I will not mention his word or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”
Could it be, like the disciples in John 21, that Jesus is standing on the shore, but that we do not recognise Him? Shouldn’t we know Him, after all this time? And yet, so often, I do not see Christ in my brother or my sister. I see the flaws, I see the failings, I see the expectations. And yet, Christ is in them. Christ is in me, the hope of glory. If He isn’t then I am of all people the most miserable. And if He is, it is the only thing about me worth knowing. That Christ is in me!
One of the things I have realised this weekend, spending some time with the believers down in Bournemouth, check out this blog that one of the brothers is writing to explain how they meet, is that the Jewish people are the heritage, the legacy, the blessing that God has given to the rest of the world. Through the offspring of Abraham all the peoples on the earth will be blessed. Out of the 40 or so writers of the Bible, only ONE of them (Luke) was a Gentile. ALL the vast riches of scripture come from the pens of Jewish writers, inspired by the Spirit of God.
I read this morning: “did God rject his people? By no means!” from the hand of Paul in Romans 11. One of the things that Christians fear today is to be in the minority. We ought not to fear that. The Bible speaks about a remnant so often. Surely the remnant will receive special blessings! We walk by faith, not by sight. If we need thousands of other Christians saying the same things so that we believe them, we are walking by sight, not by faith. We are called to the places where there are few, where miracles are not two a penny, in order that we might be His Church in those places. Wherever you are now, and whatever you are doing, in the church of God you are fulfilling His calling. There is no calling waiting for you that he has not already given. He has called you to be part of His Bride. This is enough for me. I do not need anything more than this.
In 1 Timothy Paul says that the church is ‘God’s household, the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.’ We are the Bride of Christ, those who have heard His call, and we will never be the same again. The darts of the devil bounce off us, curses aimed at us flutter aimlessly and are ineffective, because we are called by His name and we have been covered with the corner of his cloak.