Once again, I’m really enjoying the posts from other contributors here on 3rdRace.org. I’m using Mark’s post as a springboard here. So, here’s a quote from Mark’s post describing what true body life is;
* By “body life”, I’m referring to a group of believers who live together to know Jesus together, live by His life, and express Him to each other through daily life together and regularly gathering all together to share Christ, with all participating and no clergy/laity distinction.
The thing is, keeping Christ central, isn’t easy. It kind of goes against our ‘natural’ grain which as Mark said, leans toward sin, differences, problems and ultimately ‘us’. So to share true body life with other saints where the agreed main goal by revelation, is to keep Christ central, means a lot of friction and rubbing together of living stones as part of the experience. I can’t tell you what this looks like because it looks different and is experienced differently for every individual. What I can tell you though, is that it is a heavenly gift from God Himself. Yes, it’s a personal perfectly crafted cross for each individual, by the Master Carpenter.
However, it is one thing to go through trials within the ekklesia or body, and believe that last statement to be true by faith, but it’s another thing to ‘see’ the reality of that statement through the eyes of God. Only God can give us His sight, and His sight is given us through Christ, who is the Light of Life. Our eyes are open to see the reality of our trials and pain within body life as being true Life to us, when Christ gives us the Light to see it as it really is.
We can and we do, endure all trials, any trials, by faith. This we must. God is looking for His people to endure the cross, not give up and walk away or shrink back. He wants people who will press on not in spite of the cross, (that’s not really possible) but who will actually embrace the cross and by doing so, walk through it to Resurrection.
We can embrace the cross by faith and I guess that comes first. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and not seen, after all. We may be experiencing pain and difficulty in body life and by faith we will go on and not give up because we want what God wants. Because we have seen that God is looking for a people who will endure in their pursuit of seeing Christ being displayed in the heavenly realms through the church and we agree with His heart. By faith, we can even praise God through these times, though our hearts may not be fully grateful yet. We can continually turn to our Lord and draw upon His life in us to endure and press on even though we may ‘feel’ spiritually empty and dry as a bone.
And then, something amazing happens. I don’t know when it happens but I believe that it always happens because it is the principle of the cross, to lead us to Resurrection. Yep, what happens is Resurrection Life. The light is switched on and with the light comes life. Jesus is the Light of Life. Through Christ, we see the beauty of the cross we have been embracing.
It’s like when Jesus was carrying His cross. It wasn’t pretty, there was no beauty in that. It was ugly, painful, shameful and hideous. But it was the means by which His glorious Resurrection occurred. Therefore, the cross became beautiful to us and to Him.
When we see through the eyes of Christ that the cross we have been enduring is actually a hand crafted gift from the Father, it becomes beautiful to us and to Him. Only He can reveal it to us and the result is, we see more of Him. We see more of the Lord’s glory. We see more of Christ Himself and God the Father as being bigger and greater and more full of love and grace toward us than what we saw before the trial. And I believe, this transforms us. I believe, through this process, we are decreased and He is increased. We take our eyes off ourselves more because we are more blinded by Him and His majesty. We come to acceptance, gratitude and praise in the trial. We see more of Christ in our brothers and sisters, because we see the invisible realities of Christ in them, using this trial to sharpen us and mould us as He wants and needs us to be. Subsequently, they become even more dear and precious to us and we love them more.
So brothers and sisters, if you are enduring trial and difficulty within body life, I encourage you to press on, endure in the measure of faith that God has given you, and believe that His life is in the trial and that He is big and strong enough to keep you and hold you and bring you through. Christ is the Head of His church after all. He knows what He’s doing and He knows what’s going on for you and for all His church. Your faith and endurance is being tested in these times to be proven faithful and His Light of Life is carrying you and will bring you into Resurrection. Embrace the cross, do not despise it. Give up your fight for self and let Christ reign and rule in your heart. Don’t worry what others think of how you’re handling it, just be faithful before Your Father, your audience of One. He is faithful.
And if you’re not experiencing body life as Mark described it and you are wanting to, I pray that you will walk through these experiences of the rubbing together of living stones, embracing the cross together, and believing for God’s faithfulness to reveal more of His Son to you as a result. But this will only ever happen, where Christ is being kept in central place in the body of believers you are doing life with.
Christ’s life is an enduring life. He endured the cross, so that in Him, we also can endure the cross. We can’t endure it by our own life, our own life is already dead, crucified and buried with Christ through baptism. But Christ is now alive in us; His resurrection Life lives in us and we are vessels of His life. He will endure in you, He is faithful in you, He is capable in you, His capacity is endless.
Hang in there saint, walk by faith in and by the light you have already received and wait patiently and you will see the deliverance of the Lord through His Son in you. The hope of glory.