(Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:5, John 7:16-17, Deuteronomy 29:29, 2 Chronicles 35:19-25, John 10:1-18)
From time to time, Jesus calls us out of the crowd unto Himself for us to know Him closely – personally (Luke 19:5). As people like David and Peter got closer to the Lord they understood that God reigns in all areas of human’s existence. As they sought Jesus beyond the crowd, they realized the difference between “visiting Jesus” and “living with Jesus”. Until then, did they know how peculiar and significant their existence was admist God’s plan for the whole world. The Lord has covenant with everyone as it pertains to the heavenly mandate upon his or her lives. The need for continuous personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is therefore a call that must be heeded.
1) Every Heirs of God’s Kingdom has (personalized) Heavenly Mandate
As we live and walk with the Lord He lays some demands on us. They are the heavenly mandate for our lives. Such are our portions of service as heirs to God’s kingdom. No heirs of His kingdom without such kingdom responsibility. If He lays more demands on you than other people you see around you, first, confirm if it is from Him. If it is from Him, bear it joyously asking for mercy and grace. It is according to your ability. If He places little on you, confirm if it is from His love, then, continue in it without abusing the liberty. It is according to your ability. On the day of reconciliation, He will demand for the returns. He has not given more because He loved you less nor did He give you less because He loved you more. He gave us in line with our abilities and we shall account for them accordingly.
(Matthew 25:15 KJV) And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey…
2) Every Heirs of God’s Kingdom Lives in God’s Kingdom Covenant
The covenant some think Jesus have with them is different from that which He actually has with them. It is worth knowing that we will be judged based on that which Jesus has for us and not that which we assume for Him. We must know which doctrine the Lord has called us into. The subtle difference between the covenant Jesus has with our lives and that which we think we know can only become clearer in our close relationship with Him.
(John 7:16-17 KJV, some words capitalised for emphasis) 16 Jesus answered them, and said, MY DOCTRINE is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the DOCTRINE, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
This is because He will judge us based on that doctrine He called us into. He never changes it unless He specifically tells you so. We usually start our journey with the Lord with a child-like faith. During our time of child-like faith He makes known to us his doctrine for our journey. However, as we grow in Christ we become tempted and enticed from all sides for us to reject our first love with Him. So, if we fall into things that removes us from our first love for Jesus, He removes some grace and coverings. For us to know His covenant for our lives we must live and walk closely with Him. We can only clarify this by consciously seeking the Lord’s face and not by the “if-it-feels-good” faith of many contemporary Christians. “If-it-feels-good” faith has taken the place of the Holy Spirit in nowadays christianity. Today’s Christians with feeble faith have taken every feeling and conviction for the discernment of the Holy Spirit. Even though discernment may be manifest this way, it is not all feeling or spontaneous thought that comes from the Holy Spirit. Some comes from the controlling power and factors in our environments. Many comes straight from the devil but get (unnoticeably) embedded in our interests and desire. Nevertheless, we bear the consequence if they are from the devil, external factors or our flesh. Really, we need a conscious and genuine personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. Crave for it, set time aside for personal retreat, just you seeking the Lord privately like Nicodemus.
The Lord says my sheep knows my voice. At some points in Peter’s life, leadings came from the devil and flesh but the Lord helped Him.
3) No Matter Our Closeness to the Lord His Ways are Still Unsearchable (Deuteronomy 29:29)
Even though the secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, His ways are still unsearchable for all flesh. Sometimes, we become overfamiliar with the Lord that we forget that He can work in mysterious ways. This sometimes makes us miss His visitations. It is our responsibility to go to Him and ask if it is still Him at work. We do not transgress from waiting upon Him for such confirmation. We trangress if we do not inquire to confirm from Him. We transgress if we unfortunately follow our assumptions (which sometimes is misrepresented as discernment) in contradiction to His purpose. He has not disappointed us but we have by taken Him for granted.
(2 Chronicles 35:19-25 KJV)
19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept.
20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.
21 But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.
22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. 23 And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded.
24 His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.
25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.
In the passage above, it was possible king Josiah could not imagine how the God of Israel would speak through Pharaoh Necho. This made him go into the battle against God’s word. The Bible says Jeremiah lamented because of Him. Really, is it not mysterious that God spoke through a Pharaoh?
Verse 21 But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.
In today’s practice of Christianity we would quickly quote that our God is not an author of confusion. Well, as strange as it seemed, yet it was not actually strange because God can speak through any means, He is the Almighty Creator (He is not limited to our knowledge or understanding). The responsibility comes on us to confirm if it is Him or not. King Josiah’s error could have been averted by going to the Lord personally, to inquire if Pharaoh is on God’s side or not. Possible response from God would have justified Josiah. Even prophet Jeremiah could have also done this but there is no record indicating that they confirmed from God. When Josiah, a covenant child spoken of by God about hundreds of years before he was actually born and a righteous/faithful king of Judah went to the battle against God unknowingly, he died. All Israel and prophet Jeremiah lamented. This was because when God came through an unusual way they were caught unawares. So, if we know Jesus personally, as good as it is, we must not abuse the personal relationship with Him by restricting Him to our knowledge. It usually pitches us against His supremacy and the consequence is always terrible.
So, we must continue to strive and seek for a personal relationship with Jesus but not to restrict Him to the confinement of our understanding. If He seems to come from an usual way, do not assume for Him, instead go before Him to inquire until you receive a confirmation. Ultimately, our pursuit of personal relationship with Jesus continuously leads to less of us and more of Him.
1) Father, give me sufficient grace to sustain my pursuit of personal relationship with You, in Jesus name.
2) Lord, remove the seeds and roots of pride from me, in Jesus name.
3) Lord Jesus, let me know Your voice because there are many different voices around, help me Lord.
4) Father, give me the grace to know the ultimacy of Your Holy Word, in Jesus name.
5) Lord, let Your mercy be upon me, in Jesus name.