15. Goal of the Believer
God created man with enormous capacity, but no ability. God made our humanity weak. Everything else God created, He created it sufficient in itself, able to do what it is called to do by drawing on what is inside of it. God did not make man that way. God made man weak, with all the capacity to contain God, but none of the ability to fulfill our purpose. Our purpose is to be the expression of God, to make God visible, so that God might reach out and touch others through us.
15. The Goal of the Believer
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29
God, from the very beginning, determined that you and I would be just like Jesus. When God is finished with His work in our lives, we will be shoulder to shoulder with the Lord Jesus Christ, brethren with Him. He the firstborn, we just like Him. Being like Him is beyond what we can understand right now. We see Him through a glass darkly, as in a mirror. We see His life in the gospels, we see how He walked and carried Himself in this earth, and we know that is partly what it is to be like Jesus.
But Jesus is far more now than what He was during His ministry; He is the resurrected Christ, exalted in the heavens. That is how we know Him today, and how God has called us to be just like Him.
When God began with us, He had fully in His mind the finished work. When God sees us now, He does not see us as we imagine ourselves to be, but He sees us in our finished state. Everything that happens to us is taking us there.
God creates by declaring what a thing is to be in its finished form. Things don’t begin as they are in their final state. They begin in weakness. The word God speaks comes into the void, it births itself inside of faith. Working through faith, the Word God speaks, Christ, works in our lives to accomplish the purpose for which God sent Him.
Our part is to believe what God says. And in believing what God says, we cast down the voice that contradicts what God says.
In the beginning God determined that we would be just like Jesus. We take this truth through the Bible and make it our ruling understanding of the gospel. “Jesus saves us” means that He transforms us into His image. He did not save us to “go to” heaven. Heaven is a place of waiting, a temporary place. The goal of the believer is to be conformed to the image of God’s dear Son.
Then, everything God says in the Bible we understand through Romans 8:29, through the understanding that we are being conformed to the image of Jesus.
That we might be filled with all the fullness of God.
God created man with enormous capacity, but no ability. God made our humanity weak. Everything else God created, He created it sufficient in itself, able to do what it is called to do by drawing on what is inside of it. God did not make man that way. God made man weak, with all the capacity to contain God, but none of the ability to fulfill our purpose.
Our purpose is to be the expression of God, to make God visible, so that God might reach out and touch others through us.
Part of this process of becoming like Jesus is learning to stretch with God. If God reaches out to touch this dark place here, can we reach with Him in us that He might touch it though us? When God crushes Satan, can He do it under our feet? You see, God cannot fulfill His purpose without us. God’s purpose is to reveal Himself to creation through us, He cannot do that without us. God’s purpose is to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ.
Our role is to believe what God says, that God fills us with His power. Our fight is not against our human weakness. We do not try to “fix” ourselves. Paul said, I boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Consider Moses. Moses thought of himself as a frightened little man. Weak. God said, “Go down to Egypt, I am with you.” Moses said, “Ah, ah, ah, send someone else, you’ve got the w-w-wrong guy.” And Moses carried on with that until God became angry with him.
When Moses went to Egypt he didn’t do anything, except one little thing. He didn’t even talk; Aaron did the talking. Moses was a pretty limited fellow. What did Moses do that was so great?
Moses had a little stick that he could put up in the air and wave back and forth. He could do that little thing, and that is all he ever did.
Can we do that? Can we put our little stick in the air and wave it back and forth? Yes, we can. Moses did the stick thing; God did the rest. Moses raised his stick; God did the stuff. All that happened in Egypt, God did, but He did it when Moses raised his stick.
Can we raise our stick? You see, it’s not up to our being a great one, to our being strong. No! You and I are weak, that is our glory. We raise the stick; we can do that. We believe what God says, and God does the rest.
When Jesus said, He that believes in Me, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water, does that mean that we have to be this great healer, capable of miracles? Absolutely not! Jesus said “Believe in Me.” I can do that. I believe in Him; He does the rest. He just wants me to believe that He will move through me.
The river is not up to me. The river will flow. All I do is believe what He says. God will give me the simple thing that I am able to do. And that little thing I am able to do will be different from the little thing you are able to do.
The little thing I am able to do – I can write. Big deal! My writing words down on paper cannot change anyone. God does. God changes people from the inside out. If He happens to use some of my writing to do that, that is a most incredible and joyous thing to me.
There is something simple you can do, familiar to you. God doesn’t make us into some great image of something we hold in our mind. “I have to become great before God can use me.”
No. Take the little weak thing God made you able to do, lift it up to Him, and let God move as a mighty river of life through you.
Moses raised his stick; God did the stuff.
We are created to contain all the fullness of God, enormous capacity – in our weakness. It is our weakness that is our glory.
So many Christians have the idea that human weakness is a problem, a disaster. No. God made me weak, and that is my glory. All God asks me to do is the simple little thing that I can do in my weakness and God does the rest. When I believe, He flows out of me like a mighty river.
I am not some great minister of the gospel. I am weak and timid, often very much afraid. But I want to be with Jesus when He comes in His glory so very much. I always have. And I believe what God says in the New Testament. My writing is my little bit. It is the simple, little thing I can do.
And the most amazing thing is happening in some who read these words. The Lord Jesus Christ comes to them in power and reveals Himself personally to them as their very life. This is wondrous beyond all measure.
We also understand that God He intends to defeat His enemies through us. The point of the war is concerning the word God speaks. Most of Christianity has persuaded us to believe that the word God speaks is fulfilled only in heaven, not right here and not right now.
But this is the point of victory: the accuser of the brethren is cast down. That accusation, that voice of accusation that works against me in every way, in every moment of my life, that voice is my enemy, and I cast it down.
I am being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ through two things. I am conformed to the image of Jesus Christ as I, with my little cup of cold water, give. I offer a thirsty person a cup of cold water and the river of God flows through me, lives are transformed, and healing comes just because I did my little thing, believing in Jesus.
As I do my little thing, giving a cup of cold water, writing a few words, believing in Jesus, that river of life flows through me, and I am being transformed.
At the same time, I stand in the knowing that He that is in me is Jesus and that he who accuses me is outside of me. I am not in a civil war; I am in the salvation of Jesus, and the war is to cast that voice of accusation down.
As I cast down the accuser, the ages are being transformed. We do not understand the power that moves through us. When I say that Jesus is with me, Jesus is in me, I will not listen to that voice that tries to find fault with me – kingdoms are being shaken, millions of evil beings are teetering on the edge of collapse. As I refuse to entertain the thoughts of accusation against me, Satan is faced with the reality that his time is almost over.
As I give a cup of cold water to one who is thirsty, the river of life flows out of me bringing life and healing to everyone my path crosses. And as I stand in the love of Jesus and refuse the voice of the accuser, kingdoms of darkness are crashing into the dust.
Simple things on our side; great and mighty things in the heavenly realms.
Being filled with all the fullness of God is about the Father.
The most incredible verse in the Bible is John 14: 23: If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
The Father wants to make you and me His home. Filled with all the fullness of God. The Father’s expression, the symbol in the Bible that pictures the work of the Father in our lives is the temple. That same metaphor I have extended to the superhero suit. We as humans are created to contain all the fullness of God. We are talking about the Father, manifesting Himself to His creation through us.
Next, the river of life flowing out of us is the work of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus said, He that believes in me out of his heart will flow rivers of living water, He spoke of the Holy Spirit moving through our lives.
That river of life is the Holy Spirit doing what He was sent to do, that river of life flowing out to bring healing and life and to meet people’s needs. God is a good God, and He longs to give good things to His people. He wants to meet the needs of every being He created by making them fully what they were created to be.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the river of life; He is the life giver. Jesus said, The words I speak are Spirit and they are life.
Finally, the overcomer is the Son of God. The metaphor God gives us to teach about the work of the Son of God in our lives is the metaphor of story. The hero faces one who has become the enemy through jealousy. The hero goes on a journey; he gathers companions. The journey contains both great difficulty and times of rest. The quest of the hero is to deliver the people and to restore the kingdom. But in order to accomplish that quest, there is the task, which is to face and defeat his enemy.
We know that Jesus defeated His enemies on the cross. But we also know that the full battle is not over. The victory Jesus won on the cross, God wants to work that victory in our lives.
We become like Jesus through the process of defeating our enemies.
Why did God put Satan into this world? For one purpose, that we might defeat him. We don’t understand this fully, but it is what Jesus does and it is how we become just like Him.
As I defeat my enemy; this voice of accusation, as I defeat the one who challenges what God says, I defeat him by believing what God says.
I am Your servant, let it be to me according to Your word.
I defeat him by separating myself from the kingdoms and causes of Satan in this world. I do not join in the issues of this world system. I separate myself from them to the kingdom of God.
And I defeat him by casting down the accusation that comes to me and says, “Daniel, you are bad; Daniel, you must die.” I refuse that voice; I cast it down. I stand in the One who is in me. Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. As I defeat my accuser, I am transformed into the image of Jesus.
I am transformed into His image by giving a cup of cold water to him who is thirsty. I am fulfilling the purpose for which God saved me. Salvation is finding its completed work in me.
I am convinced of this truth; I will be just like Jesus for real. It is not only within my reach, but it is what God is doing in me. It’s not only within our reach to become just like Jesus, it must be so, there is no other possibility. Unless we refuse it. But even then, He loves us more than we know.
All we do is believe Him. When He speaks, we believe Him and His word is fulfilled in our lives.
This is the goal of the believer. This is our salvation.
This is Home as it really is. This Is Journey’s End.