The normal Christian life
Sunday, December 3, 2006
"The days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
"In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: "The Lord Our Righteousness."
Jeremiah wrote during some of Israel and Judah's darkest days, in the midst of their exile to Babylon. Jeremiah himself is imprisoned, but the Lord reminds him of his presence, "he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it - the Lord is his name: 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know'"(Jer 33:2-3).
God's word through Jeremiah to his people was for them to settle down in exile, accept their situation, know his plans for them (29:11) and live the normal life. There was nothing they could do to improve their situation. They had everything they needed already. God would sustain them, fill their hearts and minds with his spirit, live his life within them, give them peace. In our time, after Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection, Watchman Nee writes of the same thing in The Normal Christian Life:
You can pray and wait for years and never experience the Spirit\'s power; but when you cease to plead with the Lord to pour out His Spirit upon you, and when instead you trustfully praise Him that the Spirit has been poured out because the Lord Jesus has been glorified, you will find that your problem is solved. Praise God! No single child of His need agonize, nor even wait, for the Spirit to be given. Jesus is not going to be made Lord, He is Lord. Therefore I am not going to receive the Spirit; I have received the Spirit. It is all a question of the faith which comes by revelation. When our eyes are opened to see that the Spirit has already been poured out because Jesus has already been glorified, then prayer turns to praise in our hearts. (from Chapter 8)
The day is coming, Jeremiah said. The day has come, Jesus proclaimed and Watchman Nee reminds me of that. Which makes this waiting during Advent a whole new thing. The darkness at the end of the day is broken open and brilliant with the light of Jesus. We anticipate this year's celebration of his birth knowing what we already possess - the eternal Spirit of God.
Lord, thank you for the passing of time, for more and more awareness of and relationship with You.