All Posts in Category: (05) The Means of Life

Second Touch – Partners in Growth


For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.
Philippians 2:12-13


We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything
to work toward something good and beautiful
when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. 

From the distant past, His eternal love reached into the future.
You see, He knew those who would be His one day,
and He chose them beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son
so that Jesus would be the firstborn of a new family of believers, all brothers and sisters.
As for those He chose beforehand, He called them to a different destiny
so that they would experience what it means to be made right with God
and share in His glory.
Romans 8:28-30

 In the process of growing to be Jesus-like, (those who would be His one day, Father chose them beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son) we are not on our own. We have a partner whose singular purpose is to help in our development. “God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.” This is precisely what Jesus promised before his crucifixion. (John 14:15-18I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper…. The Helper is the Spirit of truth. (Mentor of Life)  He lives with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you all alone like orphans.” (John 14:15-18) Note,In our progression we are never alone.Remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) The basic task of The Helper is to facilitate our becoming like Jesus. He employs three fundamental methods: coaching, counseling and correcting.
 
The Spirit has unlimited scope In His operation. “We can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”  (Romans 8:28)If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us ALL THINGS? (Romans 8:32) Yes, that includes everything we classify as “BAD.” We might even think/say: “What good can out of this!” Well, absolutely nothing is beyond the Spirit’s power to transform it for our good! Now then, we must remember what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit. Only God’s Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.” (John 3:8)
 
 What’s “the good” as stated above? There is but one primary purpose in the Spirit’s operation. “He chose them beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son! Put a set of glasses on. The glasses will determine the way by which you see everything. If the glasses blur your vision, you will see everything indistinctly. That’s the way it is. Without the glasses of the Spirit you will have no clarity about the events of your life. In partnership with your decision “to live according to His plan” the Spirit will correct your vision so that it’s 20/20.

Second Touch – The Goal of Sanctification

God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

Those he foreknew, he also marked out in advance
to be shaped according to the model of the image of his son,
so that he might be the firstborn of a large family.
And those he marked out in advance, he also called;
he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Romans 8:29-30

We continue with the extended quote from “Wholeness – A Biblical and Christian Perspective.”

“Salvation is the first step toward regaining complete wholeness – in mind, body and spirit. Although we become a “new creation” in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17), aspects of our self that have been tainted by sin require healing and restoration. It’s by the work of the Holy Spirit within us that we have an opportunity to progress in our souls toward even greater wholeness. Our marred emotions, will and thinking can be transformed by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. As we surrender more and more to the Spirit of God, he can work accordingly in our lives. Sanctification is a process.  We become transformed or renewed, day by day, into the likeness of Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 and 4:6)

 We are encouraged to take an active role in “stripping off all that hinders us” (Hebrews 12:1) so that we can better bear the full image of Christ. We are to “work out our wholeness ” (Philippians 2:12) that began when we were initially saved. We do this by surrendering more deeply to God.This is also a process of restoration, or healing, especially of our hearts. Various issues of the heart prevent us from being able to be like Jesus. Damaged emotions, belief in lies – especially of Satan’s lies – and unhealed relationships all contribute to our inability to live a life like Christ – a life that fully glories God the Father. The more we allow Christ into the places of our hearts and minds, the greater opportunity we have to be restored or healed. Healing and restoration are a part of the sanctification process. The more healing we experience – especially on the inside – the more our lives will bear the fruit of the Spirit.

As we live life on this earth, we have the opportunity to be more and more transformed into the image of Christ with ever-increasing glory (greater wholeness). 2 Corinthians 3:18    Paul prayed for the church: “May God himself, the God who makes everything whole, make you whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)  “I also pray that “God, who has begun a good work within you, will continue his work (restoration, healing and transformation) until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

Second Touch – Glorification Commenced

God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

Those he foreknew, he also marked out in advance
to be shaped according to the model of the image of his son,
so that he might be the firstborn of a large family.
And those he marked out in advance, he also called;
he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Romans 8:29-30

 

Justification is the singular act of Father whereby “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun. (1 Corinthians 5:17)

Sanctification is the process of the Holy Spirit, whereby baby Christians become mature.We are meant … to grow up in every way into Christ.” (Ephesians 4:14-16)

 We’ve entertained two $5 theological words: justification and sanctification. I add one more: glorification (glorified). Glorification is the perfect state of maturity for which God has been involved in your life all along.“In heaven, you will be in a state of perfect wholeness – in spirit, mind and body…” (Faith and Health)  I found an extending quote that does a much better job of delineating this truth than I could ever hope to do!

The Bible tells us that ‘he Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being’ (Genesis 2:7)  God created a physical body from the earth and then breathed spirit into it. The spirit gave life to the body and man became a living soul. From that point forward, humans have a spiritual nature with a soul within a physical body. God made us as complete or ‘whole’ beings.

When Adam and Eve sinned, the perfect design of man was destroyed. Originally created in the image of God, this image became marred, and has been marred ever since as this image has been passed down to us all. The spirit of a person who has not been saved is dead. (Romans 5:15-17) What was once a perfectly knitted and intact spirit, soul body became imperfect. Each of us were born into this world as flawed and imperfect beings.

When a person accepts Jesus into their heart, he’s rescued from sin and eternal separation from God. We call this salvation. The Greek word is sozo, meaning “wholeness.” God puts his Spirit into our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:22) and our spirits then become fully alive. Throughout our life on earth, our spirits bear the image of God – we are completely well in spirit. Acts 26:18, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 6:11, 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Second Touch – Stimulators of Growth

 

Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 3:18
 

 

What stimulates growth? The primary ingredient is a growing intimacy with Jesus.  I am the vine; you are the branches. If you REMAIN in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

 

 

Like the growth of human relationships, a growing intimacy with Jesus requires: faith, trust, communication, honesty time, risk, to name but a few. 

Step 11 of Alcoholics Anonymous captures the essence of the above. “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God.”

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all You have done; I reflect on the work of Your hands. ” (Psalm 145:5) The word “meditate” is a rather humorous, Hebrew word. Literally it means: a cow chewing its cud.This implies solid food. “Solid food’ is only for the adults ....” (Hebrews 5:12) Hence, meditation is the practice of eating a portion of God’s Word. “Let the word of Jesus dwell in you, enriching your life ….” (Colossians 3:16) “Father told me, ‘Son’, Eat this book.’  Make a full meal of it!” So I ate it. (Ezekiel 3:1-3) The portion size is dependent on ones growth level. After ingestion (taken it into ones heart) one begins to chew on the food. Like a cow one might chew on the Word all day, regurgitating (sorry, a little crude!) it for deeper meaning.

 

 

“In prayer the human spirit can send invisible waves to eternity.” (Guglielmo Marconi) Prayer is connection via conversation. It involves both speaking and listening. No subject is “off limits”! (“The Maintenance of Life -Intimacy with Jesus )  Remember this: in both mediation and prayer one is enamored with a person, Jesus, the Living Word. “In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God. John 1:4) “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. (John 1:14) “The reality is, my prayers don’t change God. But, I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me out of that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself.” (Lysa TerKeurst)

 

Like a coin pray and meditation are one activity of intimacy. That upon which we meditate becomes the subject of our prayer as it relates to our current lives. 

 

 


A Second Touch – Growth to Maturity

Jesus spit on the eyes of the blind man and put His hands on him.
He asked, “Do you see anything?”
The blind man looked up and said, “I see men but they look like trees walking.
Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes again and told him to look up.
Then he was healed and saw everything well.”

Mark 8:22-26

 

 

About the text above Dr Pritchard wrote: “The text merely relates the story. It doesn’t explain the deeper meaning.”  Confession: I don’t know the deeper meaning. What I’ve asserted is that the two-stage miracle is a perfect symbol of justification and sanctification. Whereas justification is the first stage of the miracle, sanctification is the second. Whereas justification is a one time happening, sanctification is a life long process. More about this later.

A baby is born but once; however, growth is a life long adventure. Just as each baby is totally unique (DNA) so is his growth progression, depending on heredity and environment. Similarly, when one gets connected to Jesus, she is “born again”This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.(1 Corinthians 5:17) This happens but once.  At that point the person is a baby, spiritually speaking, no matter what her chronicle age. Brothers and sisters, when I was there, I could not talk to you the way I talk to people who are led by the Spirit. I had to talk to you like babies in Christ.”  So, to remind the newly born person I suggest that he put on some Depends and look in the mirror. Yes, it’s hilarious; but, it makes the point!

 

 

Parents desire but one thing for their child, that she becomes mature physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, relationally and spiritually. Sanctification is the process whereby baby Christians become mature. “We are not meant to remain as children. But we are meant … to grow up in every way into Christ.” (Ephesians 4:14-16) “To be mature is to be basic Christ! No more, no less.” (Colossians 1:29) In other words, sanctification is the process by which the baby Christian becomes a Jesus-version of their fully matured person. The Creator does not discard His original template of your person.


Interestingly,  an infant begins with milk. So, Peter says: Desire God’s pure word as newborn babies desire milk.” (1 Peter 2:2) Sadly, there are those who are content with milk years beyond infancy.

 

You have become people who need a milk diet and cannot tolerate solid food! Anyone who continues to live on “milk” is obviously immature—he simply has not grown up.” (Hebrews 5:12)