|"Things not in His likeness"
It would serve each of us well to celebrate Christ's steadfast faithfulness as He sets us further and further apart
(from the world) in order that we may be continually sanctified for His purpose ... to always remember the
devotion of the Holy Spirit who perfects us in Christ's image (and likeness). "But we ought always to thank God
for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the
sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you
might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ"(2 Thes. 2:13,14) [Italics added]. We must remain cognizant that
many, if not most, of the Lord's interventions in our life are to separate us from ourselves and to bring about His
likeness in our spirit being. Further, no one can be in the presence of the Lord and not be changed! Within the
awesome wonderfulness of the Lord's presence let us not forget there is purification and purging of our
unrighteousness, which at times may be a somewhat painful process. As we pray to be in the Lord's presence,
forget not that He will suffer us (permit or cause) to have those elements removed from our self that are 'not in
His likeness', even though we try to hold on to them 'for dear life'. It is His life we must live and not the one we
have spent so much time, energy and effort arranging for ourselves. Man is reluctant to give up those things that
he holds dear to the self and he will characteristically resist being changed. "But we all, with open face beholding
as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of
the Lord"(2 Cor. 3.18) [Italics added].
Hide yourself in the word of the Lord and let it replace your fears with faith, uncertainty with hope and searching
with fellowship. The closer our will is subjected to the will of Christ the greater our readiness becomes to
receive understanding from His word. As blood courses through our veins let the Lord's word surge through
our mind, spirit and soul ... renewing our mind, replacing our thinking with His word and taking every thought
captive to His obedience. "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the
knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ"(2 Cor. 10:5).
Evil, as well as righteousness, can unit people (see Mk. 3:6). Let us keep the eyes of our heart on Christ and not
be diverted by needless contemporary issues, corporate or individual exploits in self-righteousness nor cares of
the world. The enemy is practiced in creating divisions within the church and conflict within our life to draw us
into needless 'theological' debates and away from His truth. In the coming days it will become more and more
difficult for many to keep humanistic 'religious' themes and secularism's (e.g., crises, acts of violence) from clouding
the presentation of the gospel. To bend or stretch the gospel to accommodate temporal concerns does not
validate their importance nor free them from man's efforts to sanctify their purpose. We are in a time antecedent
to unity in the body-of-Christ and this last-days unity will be according to His purpose, in His time and not of this
world (see Jn.17:19-23). Be ever so watchful and observant for the enemy will surely attempt to counterfeit the
unity brought about by the Lord within His bride-in-waiting, the Church. Judgment shall begin at the House of
God (1 Per. 4:16) "... and if it first begins with us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
The "hidden things" will begin to be revealed (e.g., church based pedophilia, counterfeit televangelism promotions,
self-serving leadership spawned ministries, etc.) and we need to not be found with those (hidden) things in our lives that
are not in His likeness. Each day awake with His vigilance in the eyes of your heart. "Ye we are dead, and our
life is hid with Christ in God".(Col. 3:3)
Jon D. Hannum, Ph.D.
Amen ministries of Austin