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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1240

We are All Ministers
Conclusion

July 10, 2016

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1240 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: You are a minister. The question is, what’s coming out of you? Is it you? Is it your anger, your impatience, your…all those ugly things that reside in every one of us? Is that what comes out of you? Is that what you’re ministering to somebody? Are you ministering your fear to somebody? Are you ministering your jealousy, your…all these things that just are destructive? They’re part of this world. They’re part of the sin nature. God is longing to set us free.

One thing I see in Paul…it’s really evident in all of his writings, that when he came to this knowledge of Christ, when God became real in his heart, when his life was transformed, it transformed his motivation. Everything that he was living for did a 180. All of a sudden it was all about Jesus. I want to live for Him. I want people to know Him. And so, you know the prayer of his heart was, God, take me, change me, use me.

Sometimes that can create confusion in our minds. I thought about something last week and maybe it’s a good thing I forgot about it, because it had to do with asking God about something. How many of you remember the Scripture that we use so often in chapter 12 of this book? Paul had a messenger of Satan, a thorn in the flesh that troubled him. He sought the Lord. He asked. He went to the Lord and said, oh Lord, deliver me from this!

And I know that in his mind, his reason for doing it was, God, I want to serve you and this is getting in my way. I could serve you so much better if I didn’t have to deal with this devil that just harasses me. So now let’s step back and look at it from the Lord’s point of view. Paul has just asked Me to help him to be more useful, give him more power, give him more whatever…just work in him so that I can work through him. Okay. So I answered his prayer!

( laughter ).

You’re getting it, aren’t you? Because, I see that the problem right here now is his pride. He’s still an earthen vessel and I’ve shown him some amazing things. It’s pretty tough to see the kind of revelations that he has seen and not to get proud. I really appreciate his desire to serve Me, so I’m gonna answer his prayer to make him more useful by sending him a devil, or allowing a devil to harass him, so that it will help to keep his pride in check and he will always feel his need of me. He will never forget that he can’t do anything without me. He won’t fall into the illusion of, hey, I’m doing this. I’m doing pretty good. So, I’m answering his prayer, and now he comes with another prayer and says get rid of this. Do you ever wonder if some of our prayers aren’t colliding?

( laughter ).

( laughing ).

See, even Paul didn’t understand this at this point. So which is it, Paul? Do you want to be more useful or do you want Me to get rid of that devil? But the Lord finally answered his question and showed him the reason why he had to experience what he was experiencing. It was so that I can answer you, so that I will be more… you will be more effective. I’m gonna get you out of the way so that I can come through you.

And so that’s kind of where he’s going here in chapter 4. It says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair: persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Now this is the part we would love to avoid, but if we’re gonna…if these earthen vessels are going to become vessels of God’s life and nature, something’s got to change. You cannot simply assimilate information and express it, and God’s life go along with it. It’s got to come from His Spirit operating through these physical vessels that we possess.

But, I’ve got a problem. The problem is the one I see in the mirror. It’s my old nature that wants to get in the way and the only way God can deal with that is to cause that to do something to bring that into check, to cause it to die! Which is what he’s gonna go with it here. So that has to die, operationally. It doesn’t die in the sense that it goes away and it’s not there. But it dies in the sense that I no longer am in bondage to that thing. The only way He can do that is with what he’s describing here.

One of them is, I was perplexed, but not in despair. How many times have we found ourselves in places where something is happening and we just don’t understand it? We ask God and we just simply have to wait. He doesn’t answer right then. Have you ever had that happen? Sure. But what is God looking for when He does that? Trust! Is He looking for us to say, I am willing to surrender my need to be in control by understanding everything that’s going on — to see if I will approve, by the way?

That’s part of our nature. Explain it to me, God, so I can see if I can approve what You’re doing here. No. There’s a sense where I’ve just got to take my hands off. Something has got to lose its hold on me. My need to be in control is surrendered in this experience. I’m going…you know, there’s a lot of ways to experience God. A lot of us would like to experience Him by coming down to an altar, having somebody lay their hands and you’re suddenly in rapture, waves of glory rolling through your soul and you’re just…oh, it’s just glorious, better than any drug high that the world could offer.

And you know, that’s not impossible. God can do something along that line. But I’ll tell you, the way that you and I need most to experience God is in the times when our flesh is dying because of some difficulty and we are reaching out to Him in that. We are expressing a surrender, a trust. We are believing Him for the grace that He has promised in that! I’ll tell you, there’s an experience of God that is of more value than all of these other things put together!

( congregational amens ).

You talk about a basis for hope, a basis for somebody looking on to say, they’ve got something, because, I see a strength that they don’t possess. It’s bringing them through something that’s difficult. They’re standing! They’re not giving up! Whatever they’ve got is holding them! There’s an anchor in their soul that’s holding, that’s bringing them through this thing! I see it and their words have weight.

I’ll tell you, there are people who could sit here. Let’s pick on Joni Eareckson. Do you think if she sat here and started telling us about what she’s been through and what God has meant to her, do you think that would have some power to it?

( congregational response ).

Oh, yeah. I’ve met her, I’ve heard her. And I’ll tell you what, God is going to work with every single vessel that is a part of the body of Christ in such a way as to break the tyranny that our nature holds over us, so that what people see and experience in our words, our actions, is Him and not us.

So, Paul actually came to the place where he said, “Praise God, I get it! Lord, thank You for doing whatever it takes. You are answering my prayer. I understand, Lord. I want to serve You. I want to be effective, but I get the problem. The vessel is in the way! But You’re doing exactly what You need. But yet, in that, even though I’m perplexed and don’t have the answers, I’m not in despair, because I know You’re in charge. You allow me to experience pressure, but it doesn’t crush me! Oh, what an awesome worker You are, Lord. I’m Your workmanship. I’m, ‘…created in Christ Jesus unto good works.’” (KJV).

But you see what it takes! God is going to have to do…you know, we pray, do whatever it takes. This is what it takes. We suppose that if God would just give us a little power and a little information, we’re good to go. Oh no! It didn’t work for Paul. It didn’t work for His Son! His Son had to face saying, no, to His own nature. He had to die to this human nature that was in the body that He lived in. He had to go and be tempted by the devil! He had to make choices! He had to say, no, and die to that. So, he goes through this, all these things that he’s experiencing, the persecution, the trouble.

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (NIV). There’s an absolute…you can’t separate those two. Did not Jesus say to take up your cross? It’s the same imagery of carrying something around. There is something going on that I am…every single day I am carrying something around in the spirit where I’m willing to say, no, and I’m accepting things that God brings across my path.

But I’m looking to Him for the grace in it so that as I yield to Him, as I believe for the grace, there’s something that’s happening. Other people are seeing something, and what they’re seeing is not me, so they can say, wow, isn’t he great, or she great? This is wow, isn’t Jesus real—isn’t Jesus real? We can speak a word to somebody else who’s going through the same thing and lift their spirits! God can flow right through, and lift them up and help them!

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.” See, he’s talking about something other than just having your sins washed away and going to heaven one day. This is operational. This is practical Body life.

Because if our relationship one with another is based upon what we are as human beings, then we won’t be any different than anybody else in the world, just a bunch of people who have come together on a certain basis and we like each other, we play politics and we have all these human characteristics. But God wants to produce something in this world that’s real, an outpost of heaven, if you will, where He is the Head and He is the Life, and it’s that that people begin to share.

( congregational amens ).

It takes death, but it brings forth life. Oh, God, help me. God, help us. “It is written.” Oh, “So then, death is at work in us…” verse 12. I almost missed that one. “So then, death is at work in us.” That sounds like it’s an ongoing thing, doesn’t it to you? “…Death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

Now I can just hear the carnal mind saying, okay, God, so your plan is, I’ve got to be miserable so everybody around me can be happy. Is that it, seriously? That’s not what it is at all. But I’ll tell you, in order for me to fulfill the purpose of God and be able to share Christ’s life with you, regardless of whether it’s this way or it’s just in our contacts one with another…if I’m gonna do that, something has got to keep this other in check. Something has got to deal with the vessel. Something has got to break it. I cannot simply continue to give vent to what it wants and experience this. And so, God is going to continue to work.

But I also see this in it. It’s a journey. Part of the reason we get so easily discouraged is because we will latch on to this and say, oh God, why am I not over there? God, where is the experience that will suddenly catapult me into this reality? It doesn’t happen that way. It happens as we just, by faith, walk with Him, put one foot in front of another.

I’ve had this thought several times recently. We work so hard at being Christians. God, help us. We work so hard to maintain our image, instead of just being. But I really sense that God is wanting us to just consciously look to Him and say, Lord, live in me.

But what happens when you say that? Doesn’t our carnal mind kick in sometimes and we’ve got this vision of what it means to be spiritual? And so we turn on the act. We’re conscious of trying to be what we think that means and all that, instead of just saying, Lord, I just give it to You. I’m gonna relax in You. I’m gonna trust You. I’m just gonna be me.

Now you understand what I’m saying? I’m not saying give in to your flesh. But I’m not gonna strive. I’m not gonna struggle, but I’m gonna ask You to live in me, to live through me so that people can sense You in me. As much as I’m able to at this point in my journey, I’m not gonna try to be…I’m not gonna worry about yesterday. I’m not gonna just stress about tomorrow. I’m gonna trust You. That sounds like rest, doesn’t it to you?

( congregational response ).

I may not even be conscious of it. You know, I think, many times, the Lord uses us more when we’re not conscious of it, than when we’re so focused on it, trying to be. It’s exhausting, folks! God wants us to learn how to rest in Him. This is something…there’s a power that’s beyond our power to manufacture. We can’t imitate it. We can’t make it happen. But we can just get out of the way and believe Him.

Now you know, one Scripture we quoted last week about asking was…there’s this confidence that we have in Him in 1st John 5, I believe it is, that if we ask anything according to His will, what does it say? He hears us. Well, then what does it say? If we know that he hears us, then what do we know? We know we have what we asked.

Is Christ living in us according to His will? Can’t we just ask that and believe it and go on and just…live our lives in a relaxed, trustful way? Yes, I get that it’s a process. I get that we’re gonna stumble. We’re gonna experience a lot of things along the way where we’re gonna have to come to Him and say, Lord, help me to overcome this. Help me to grow. I see this need in me, but I’m trusting in You.

But still, in spite of that, it’s not an either-or. I believe there are degrees of growth and degrees of His Life coming out. Do you think Paul, before that thorn, had zero life come out of him? I mean, was it like flipping a switch? No. But it enabled him to have more. If you have Christ in you, there’s life in you, but God wants it to flow more. He wants there to be more of an expression of it so that people can drink from Him when they’re around you.

Sometimes, it’s nothing more than a simple act, a word, a phone call, just whatever our interaction is one with another. You’re a minister, and so am I. But I believe we can be ministers of something that is eternal, something that is life-altering, life-changing. And it’s as we grow, we’re gonna be growing together, and the vision of Ephesians 4 is going to be fulfilled. That’s where we, every one, we get something from Him, we share it one to another, and the body grows up to the fullness of, “…the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (KJV).

It’s an amazing vision, but it means that I’m gonna have to…my whole thinking has got to change. It’s got to come into alignment with what God’s plan is. I’m not here just to live my life for me. I belong to Him. I belong to you. I’m a servant. But in that service, I get to experience the very life of heaven itself. I get to share that with somebody else, and somebody else gets to drink from that and it changes them. It lifts their spirits and together everybody grows.

There’s a life that God can use to reach out here to somebody else that’s hurting, that’s looking on. If all we’ve got is a religious program and a bunch of doctrines, what have we got to share? Nothing. But, if we’ve got Christ alive in our midst, we have everything that we possibly could need.

So, Paul realizes this is not a walk of seeing and feeling, it’s a walk of faith. So he says, “It is written.” (NIV). Now he’s quoting something from the Psalms. “I believed; therefore I have spoken. With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.” Now, there’s one thing that you could read right over there. What kind of faith?

( congregational response ).

Spirit of faith! Where does faith come from?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, it’s divine, isn’t it? So, I’ve got to open my heart and just let Him help me to believe this. This is not a feeling that I can conjure up. This is just taking God at His Word, and trusting Him with all these issues. But it’s the ability to say, I see God in this. I see where He’s going, and I’m just gonna trust Him through the process, even when He has to bring me a difficult way. I know I’m gonna experience Him in a way I couldn’t experience in any other way. And something is gonna break in this vessel that’s gonna allow that light to shine out in a greater way. So, praise God. That’s what I want.

We also…we, “…therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.” So now, he’s looking beyond the present process to where this is going. I’ll tell you what, once you get that, you don’t get so buried in this that you forget that. See, there’s a balance. We’ll always remember where we’re going.

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” I’m trying to remember…yeah, okay. I was just trying to remember something that I looked up and I think it comes later. But anyway, now he says something else.

“Therefore we do not lose heart.” It’s the same thing he said in the beginning. He started out with mercy, and on that ground I don’t lose heart! But now I don’t lose heart because I see where I’m going and I know that God is the One that’s taking me there. I don’t have to earn it. He’s given us this. Praise God!

That ought to cause us to lift up our hearts, folks! Are you buried in your problems? Are you buried in the present need? Lift up your heart! You stand by faith in grace and mercy! Lift up your eyes and see where you’re going, and take heart, because the God who started this is gonna get you there. He’s gonna get everyone there who has surrendered and put their trust in Him.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

If I’m not mistaken, it’s this phrase right here, ‘that far outweighs’…I’m trying to remember the phrase in the Greek, but it is amazing. It’s almost like the hyperbole of the hyperbole. I mean it uses the word twice. Paul just ran out of words to say how great it is and how you compare this. I mean, how do you compare something that happens that’s gone in a moment from a standpoint of eternity? The worst thing that you can experience is a moment, and you see what comes from out of that moment and where that goes. It far outweighs. Hyperbole of the hyperbole.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” You know, I had something amusing, I guess, that happened and I was just thinking to myself, thinking of my own needs and thinking how discouraging it is to look at my needs. And it was almost like the Lord said, yeah, I’d be discouraged too, if I had to look at you.

( laughter ).

Or, I’d be discouraged too, if I looked at your needs. But He’s not looking at that and He doesn’t want me too, either. He wants me to fix my eyes on Him…fix my eyes on Him for the present source, fix my eyes on Him for the future promise. And I’ll tell you, His all-surpassing power, that hyperbole power is enough to take care of all the needs.

Maybe I have to walk through something right now where I still feel that, but I can still move in that direction. I know He’s faithful. I don’t have to try to be what I’m not yet. I can just be what I am today and say, Lord, live in me today. I’m not asking for some great thing, just live in me.

There’s a simplicity to this that I believe God wants us to get. Oh God, we institutionalize this. We measure it in all kinds of humanistic ways and God just wants to live in us. I believe He can, if we’ll ask Him and trust Him. I believe he’s gonna do some amazing things as we grow. So, just go forward in your journey. Don’t be discouraged by anything that happens in it or its prospects, and say, Lord, my hope is in You. You are able to finish what You started. Praise God!

— Brother Phil Enlow: You are a minister. The question is, what’s coming out of you? Is it you? Is it your anger, your impatience, your…all those ugly things that reside in every one of us? Is that what comes out of you? Is that what you’re ministering to somebody? Are you ministering your fear to somebody? Are you ministering your jealousy, your…all these things that just are destructive? They’re part of this world. They’re part of the sin nature. God is longing to set us free.

One thing I see in Paul…it’s really evident in all of his writings, that when he came to this knowledge of Christ, when God became real in his heart, when his life was transformed, it transformed his motivation. Everything that he was living for did a 180. All of a sudden it was all about Jesus. I want to live for Him. I want people to know Him. And so, you know the prayer of his heart was, God, take me, change me, use me.

Sometimes that can create confusion in our minds. I thought about something last week and maybe it’s a good thing I forgot about it, because it had to do with asking God about something. How many of you remember the Scripture that we use so often in chapter 12 of this book? Paul had a messenger of Satan, a thorn in the flesh that troubled him. He sought the Lord. He asked. He went to the Lord and said, oh Lord, deliver me from this!

And I know that in his mind, his reason for doing it was, God, I want to serve you and this is getting in my way. I could serve you so much better if I didn’t have to deal with this devil that just harasses me. So now let’s step back and look at it from the Lord’s point of view. Paul has just asked Me to help him to be more useful, give him more power, give him more whatever…just work in him so that I can work through him. Okay. So I answered his prayer!

( laughter ).

You’re getting it, aren’t you? Because, I see that the problem right here now is his pride. He’s still an earthen vessel and I’ve shown him some amazing things. It’s pretty tough to see the kind of revelations that he has seen and not to get proud. I really appreciate his desire to serve Me, so I’m gonna answer his prayer to make him more useful by sending him a devil, or allowing a devil to harass him, so that it will help to keep his pride in check and he will always feel his need of me. He will never forget that he can’t do anything without me. He won’t fall into the illusion of, hey, I’m doing this. I’m doing pretty good. So, I’m answering his prayer, and now he comes with another prayer and says get rid of this. Do you ever wonder if some of our prayers aren’t colliding?

( laughter ).

( laughing ).

See, even Paul didn’t understand this at this point. So which is it, Paul? Do you want to be more useful or do you want Me to get rid of that devil? But the Lord finally answered his question and showed him the reason why he had to experience what he was experiencing. It was so that I can answer you, so that I will be more… you will be more effective. I’m gonna get you out of the way so that I can come through you.

And so that’s kind of where he’s going here in chapter 4. It says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair: persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Now this is the part we would love to avoid, but if we’re gonna…if these earthen vessels are going to become vessels of God’s life and nature, something’s got to change. You cannot simply assimilate information and express it, and God’s life go along with it. It’s got to come from His Spirit operating through these physical vessels that we possess.

But, I’ve got a problem. The problem is the one I see in the mirror. It’s my old nature that wants to get in the way and the only way God can deal with that is to cause that to do something to bring that into check, to cause it to die! Which is what he’s gonna go with it here. So that has to die, operationally. It doesn’t die in the sense that it goes away and it’s not there. But it dies in the sense that I no longer am in bondage to that thing. The only way He can do that is with what he’s describing here.

One of them is, I was perplexed, but not in despair. How many times have we found ourselves in places where something is happening and we just don’t understand it? We ask God and we just simply have to wait. He doesn’t answer right then. Have you ever had that happen? Sure. But what is God looking for when He does that? Trust! Is He looking for us to say, I am willing to surrender my need to be in control by understanding everything that’s going on — to see if I will approve, by the way?

That’s part of our nature. Explain it to me, God, so I can see if I can approve what You’re doing here. No. There’s a sense where I’ve just got to take my hands off. Something has got to lose its hold on me. My need to be in control is surrendered in this experience. I’m going…you know, there’s a lot of ways to experience God. A lot of us would like to experience Him by coming down to an altar, having somebody lay their hands and you’re suddenly in rapture, waves of glory rolling through your soul and you’re just…oh, it’s just glorious, better than any drug high that the world could offer.

And you know, that’s not impossible. God can do something along that line. But I’ll tell you, the way that you and I need most to experience God is in the times when our flesh is dying because of some difficulty and we are reaching out to Him in that. We are expressing a surrender, a trust. We are believing Him for the grace that He has promised in that! I’ll tell you, there’s an experience of God that is of more value than all of these other things put together!

( congregational amens ).

You talk about a basis for hope, a basis for somebody looking on to say, they’ve got something, because, I see a strength that they don’t possess. It’s bringing them through something that’s difficult. They’re standing! They’re not giving up! Whatever they’ve got is holding them! There’s an anchor in their soul that’s holding, that’s bringing them through this thing! I see it and their words have weight.

I’ll tell you, there are people who could sit here. Let’s pick on Joni Eareckson. Do you think if she sat here and started telling us about what she’s been through and what God has meant to her, do you think that would have some power to it?

( congregational response ).

Oh, yeah. I’ve met her, I’ve heard her. And I’ll tell you what, God is going to work with every single vessel that is a part of the body of Christ in such a way as to break the tyranny that our nature holds over us, so that what people see and experience in our words, our actions, is Him and not us.

So, Paul actually came to the place where he said, “Praise God, I get it! Lord, thank You for doing whatever it takes. You are answering my prayer. I understand, Lord. I want to serve You. I want to be effective, but I get the problem. The vessel is in the way! But You’re doing exactly what You need. But yet, in that, even though I’m perplexed and don’t have the answers, I’m not in despair, because I know You’re in charge. You allow me to experience pressure, but it doesn’t crush me! Oh, what an awesome worker You are, Lord. I’m Your workmanship. I’m, ‘…created in Christ Jesus unto good works.’” (KJV).

But you see what it takes! God is going to have to do…you know, we pray, do whatever it takes. This is what it takes. We suppose that if God would just give us a little power and a little information, we’re good to go. Oh no! It didn’t work for Paul. It didn’t work for His Son! His Son had to face saying, no, to His own nature. He had to die to this human nature that was in the body that He lived in. He had to go and be tempted by the devil! He had to make choices! He had to say, no, and die to that. So, he goes through this, all these things that he’s experiencing, the persecution, the trouble.

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (NIV). There’s an absolute…you can’t separate those two. Did not Jesus say to take up your cross? It’s the same imagery of carrying something around. There is something going on that I am…every single day I am carrying something around in the spirit where I’m willing to say, no, and I’m accepting things that God brings across my path.

But I’m looking to Him for the grace in it so that as I yield to Him, as I believe for the grace, there’s something that’s happening. Other people are seeing something, and what they’re seeing is not me, so they can say, wow, isn’t he great, or she great? This is wow, isn’t Jesus real—isn’t Jesus real? We can speak a word to somebody else who’s going through the same thing and lift their spirits! God can flow right through, and lift them up and help them!

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.” See, he’s talking about something other than just having your sins washed away and going to heaven one day. This is operational. This is practical Body life.

Because if our relationship one with another is based upon what we are as human beings, then we won’t be any different than anybody else in the world, just a bunch of people who have come together on a certain basis and we like each other, we play politics and we have all these human characteristics. But God wants to produce something in this world that’s real, an outpost of heaven, if you will, where He is the Head and He is the Life, and it’s that that people begin to share.

( congregational amens ).

It takes death, but it brings forth life. Oh, God, help me. God, help us. “It is written.” Oh, “So then, death is at work in us…” verse 12. I almost missed that one. “So then, death is at work in us.” That sounds like it’s an ongoing thing, doesn’t it to you? “…Death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

Now I can just hear the carnal mind saying, okay, God, so your plan is, I’ve got to be miserable so everybody around me can be happy. Is that it, seriously? That’s not what it is at all. But I’ll tell you, in order for me to fulfill the purpose of God and be able to share Christ’s life with you, regardless of whether it’s this way or it’s just in our contacts one with another…if I’m gonna do that, something has got to keep this other in check. Something has got to deal with the vessel. Something has got to break it. I cannot simply continue to give vent to what it wants and experience this. And so, God is going to continue to work.

But I also see this in it. It’s a journey. Part of the reason we get so easily discouraged is because we will latch on to this and say, oh God, why am I not over there? God, where is the experience that will suddenly catapult me into this reality? It doesn’t happen that way. It happens as we just, by faith, walk with Him, put one foot in front of another.

I’ve had this thought several times recently. We work so hard at being Christians. God, help us. We work so hard to maintain our image, instead of just being. But I really sense that God is wanting us to just consciously look to Him and say, Lord, live in me.

But what happens when you say that? Doesn’t our carnal mind kick in sometimes and we’ve got this vision of what it means to be spiritual? And so we turn on the act. We’re conscious of trying to be what we think that means and all that, instead of just saying, Lord, I just give it to You. I’m gonna relax in You. I’m gonna trust You. I’m just gonna be me.

Now you understand what I’m saying? I’m not saying give in to your flesh. But I’m not gonna strive. I’m not gonna struggle, but I’m gonna ask You to live in me, to live through me so that people can sense You in me. As much as I’m able to at this point in my journey, I’m not gonna try to be…I’m not gonna worry about yesterday. I’m not gonna just stress about tomorrow. I’m gonna trust You. That sounds like rest, doesn’t it to you?

( congregational response ).

I may not even be conscious of it. You know, I think, many times, the Lord uses us more when we’re not conscious of it, than when we’re so focused on it, trying to be. It’s exhausting, folks! God wants us to learn how to rest in Him. This is something…there’s a power that’s beyond our power to manufacture. We can’t imitate it. We can’t make it happen. But we can just get out of the way and believe Him.

Now you know, one Scripture we quoted last week about asking was…there’s this confidence that we have in Him in 1st John 5, I believe it is, that if we ask anything according to His will, what does it say? He hears us. Well, then what does it say? If we know that he hears us, then what do we know? We know we have what we asked.

Is Christ living in us according to His will? Can’t we just ask that and believe it and go on and just…live our lives in a relaxed, trustful way? Yes, I get that it’s a process. I get that we’re gonna stumble. We’re gonna experience a lot of things along the way where we’re gonna have to come to Him and say, Lord, help me to overcome this. Help me to grow. I see this need in me, but I’m trusting in You.

But still, in spite of that, it’s not an either-or. I believe there are degrees of growth and degrees of His Life coming out. Do you think Paul, before that thorn, had zero life come out of him? I mean, was it like flipping a switch? No. But it enabled him to have more. If you have Christ in you, there’s life in you, but God wants it to flow more. He wants there to be more of an expression of it so that people can drink from Him when they’re around you.

Sometimes, it’s nothing more than a simple act, a word, a phone call, just whatever our interaction is one with another. You’re a minister, and so am I. But I believe we can be ministers of something that is eternal, something that is life-altering, life-changing. And it’s as we grow, we’re gonna be growing together, and the vision of Ephesians 4 is going to be fulfilled. That’s where we, every one, we get something from Him, we share it one to another, and the body grows up to the fullness of, “…the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (KJV).

It’s an amazing vision, but it means that I’m gonna have to…my whole thinking has got to change. It’s got to come into alignment with what God’s plan is. I’m not here just to live my life for me. I belong to Him. I belong to you. I’m a servant. But in that service, I get to experience the very life of heaven itself. I get to share that with somebody else, and somebody else gets to drink from that and it changes them. It lifts their spirits and together everybody grows.

There’s a life that God can use to reach out here to somebody else that’s hurting, that’s looking on. If all we’ve got is a religious program and a bunch of doctrines, what have we got to share? Nothing. But, if we’ve got Christ alive in our midst, we have everything that we possibly could need.

So, Paul realizes this is not a walk of seeing and feeling, it’s a walk of faith. So he says, “It is written.” (NIV). Now he’s quoting something from the Psalms. “I believed; therefore I have spoken. With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.” Now, there’s one thing that you could read right over there. What kind of faith?

( congregational response ).

Spirit of faith! Where does faith come from?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, it’s divine, isn’t it? So, I’ve got to open my heart and just let Him help me to believe this. This is not a feeling that I can conjure up. This is just taking God at His Word, and trusting Him with all these issues. But it’s the ability to say, I see God in this. I see where He’s going, and I’m just gonna trust Him through the process, even when He has to bring me a difficult way. I know I’m gonna experience Him in a way I couldn’t experience in any other way. And something is gonna break in this vessel that’s gonna allow that light to shine out in a greater way. So, praise God. That’s what I want.

We also…we, “…therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.” So now, he’s looking beyond the present process to where this is going. I’ll tell you what, once you get that, you don’t get so buried in this that you forget that. See, there’s a balance. We’ll always remember where we’re going.

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” I’m trying to remember…yeah, okay. I was just trying to remember something that I looked up and I think it comes later. But anyway, now he says something else.

“Therefore we do not lose heart.” It’s the same thing he said in the beginning. He started out with mercy, and on that ground I don’t lose heart! But now I don’t lose heart because I see where I’m going and I know that God is the One that’s taking me there. I don’t have to earn it. He’s given us this. Praise God!

That ought to cause us to lift up our hearts, folks! Are you buried in your problems? Are you buried in the present need? Lift up your heart! You stand by faith in grace and mercy! Lift up your eyes and see where you’re going, and take heart, because the God who started this is gonna get you there. He’s gonna get everyone there who has surrendered and put their trust in Him.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

If I’m not mistaken, it’s this phrase right here, ‘that far outweighs’…I’m trying to remember the phrase in the Greek, but it is amazing. It’s almost like the hyperbole of the hyperbole. I mean it uses the word twice. Paul just ran out of words to say how great it is and how you compare this. I mean, how do you compare something that happens that’s gone in a moment from a standpoint of eternity? The worst thing that you can experience is a moment, and you see what comes from out of that moment and where that goes. It far outweighs. Hyperbole of the hyperbole.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” You know, I had something amusing, I guess, that happened and I was just thinking to myself, thinking of my own needs and thinking how discouraging it is to look at my needs. And it was almost like the Lord said, yeah, I’d be discouraged too, if I had to look at you.

( laughter ).

Or, I’d be discouraged too, if I looked at your needs. But He’s not looking at that and He doesn’t want me too, either. He wants me to fix my eyes on Him…fix my eyes on Him for the present source, fix my eyes on Him for the future promise. And I’ll tell you, His all-surpassing power, that hyperbole power is enough to take care of all the needs.

Maybe I have to walk through something right now where I still feel that, but I can still move in that direction. I know He’s faithful. I don’t have to try to be what I’m not yet. I can just be what I am today and say, Lord, live in me today. I’m not asking for some great thing, just live in me.

There’s a simplicity to this that I believe God wants us to get. Oh God, we institutionalize this. We measure it in all kinds of humanistic ways and God just wants to live in us. I believe He can, if we’ll ask Him and trust Him. I believe he’s gonna do some amazing things as we grow. So, just go forward in your journey. Don’t be discouraged by anything that happens in it or its prospects, and say, Lord, my hope is in You. You are able to finish what You started. Praise God!