1. What on Earth Is God Doing?
This birthing of God's heart inside of us is an experience so high, so holy, so above all angelic realms, so beyond anything experienced by any man recorded in the Bible, save Jesus. Through great tenderness, through unfathomable tears, God Himself is ripping open the very core of His Being and Person, taking out His own HEART, and birthing that very Heart inside you and inside me.
1. What on Earth is God Doing?
1. What on Earth Is God Doing?
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying… “Here am I, I and the children whom God has given Me.” Hebrews 2:10-13
All in-partness of Christianity comes out of an ignorance of God’s purpose for man in the earth. The convoluted pathways of Christian teaching diverge into every direction because people do not really know what on earth God is doing.
Most Christians imagine that God is simply rescuing some of miserable man from the consequences of his sin, and out of the goodness of His heart, God is allowing a few of us to enjoy a place called heaven after we die. Others see that Jesus is an example to us and that God is making us, in some outward sort of way, more like Jesus. To these people, all the purpose of God with us is to help us to do better at obeying what God speaks to us.
To the first, God is Light, distant, bright, to some a bit cold, to others a bit hot. To the second, God is Spirit, an enabling power that comes upon us, but still, something we’re not, something He has to help us follow, somehow.
But unless we understand that God is first Love and that means that God is revealed primarily in that which we call Heart, then we cannot know either this God who fills us full or His purpose for man in the earth.
It is not apparent that Light must have darkness, nor that Spirit must have flesh. But it is apparent that Love must have a lover. If you’re given the final exam with one word on it, it is not hard to answer that exam with precision and understanding.
Love must have a lover. And all things are explained.
But since God is also Spirit, we know He must have a body. And since God is also Light, we know He must reign triumphant over all – and that takes winning, and winning takes a contest and opposition and the distinct possibility of losing.
The most telling statement in all the Bible is in Genesis 2:18:
And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
Everything else God had created, until that moment, was good – all of God’s works. Now God says, “It’s not good.” How is that? Why did God purposefully create a circumstance in His perfect creation that was not good? God is revealing to us, right from the start, that it is not good that God should be “alone.” Love must have a lover.
Then in verse 19, God gives Adam a job, the job of naming every creature. Adam saw all that God had made, that every male had a female of its same kind, that out of the nature of God, like begets like. But Adam was alone, as God was alone. Adam did not have a female of his same kind; God did not have a female of His same kind.
Adam’s purpose and God’s purpose were one. Adam was created to show us God Himself. By giving Adam a woman who could receive his seed and bear his life, God gave Himself a woman who could receive His Seed and bear His Life.
The Seed of God is Christ – in us. The life that comes forth from the union between God and man is called in typology by the Holy Spirit – the manchild who is “caught up” to God and to His throne.
But like can come into union only with like. The only way God could come into union with man, the only way God could plant His Seed inside of man, the only way man could bear and bring forth the very life of God into creation, was if man himself was created in the likeness and image of God.
We do know exactly what on earth God is doing because He tells us plainly. God is conforming many sons into the image of His dear Son.
Light triumphs over darkness by shining. Spirit overcomes flesh by filling it full, immersing it in itself. But Heart? Heart is a different matter. Heart must be forged in a furnace of affliction, a vale of tears, a pathway of thorns, and a laid down life. Heart cannot be created; heart can only be formed. God is Love means that God is Heart. To be like God is to be filled with heart – His Heart.
Image, though, is more than likeness. Image is the visible expression of an invisible God.
God, in Himself, cannot be known. He cannot be known by men or by animals; He cannot be known by angels or even by cherubim. God is invisible Spirit that cannot be seen or known, touched or handled by any part of His creation anytime anywhere. This reality is not to God’s liking.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person . . . Hebrews 1:1-3
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” John 14:8-10
Jesus was 100% human as God intended. Jesus was the purpose of God for man in the earth and through all creation. But we know from what we have already read that Jesus, in the intentions of God, cannot be alone.
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 1 Cor. 12:12
The Christ of God is a many-membered body.
The people of the Old Testament did not know God. They had no idea who He was or what He was really like. They perceived Him only from a distance. They understood a very outward form of God.
The first people on this planet to know God were two teenagers, Andrew and John. They knew God as He really was because they touched Him. They touched the physical body of a man walking among them and so touched God Himself. God was their friend and constant companion. John said it this way:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life – the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us. 1 John 1:1-2
It is not our desire to “be like Jesus.” Rather, it is God’s intention and determination to reveal Himself to His creation, from the lowest earth to the highest heaven, through us. The intensity of desire comes out of God.
God is an invisible Spirit. He cannot be seen or known or touched. God is Love; His heart pours itself out in overwhelming compassion for everything that exists. God must be seen; God must be known; God must be touched – forever through a company of sons who walk together in perfect harmony, filled with all the fullness of God, releasing God to His creation in a river of life that heals and brings life and joy to all, triumphing over every voice that would speak against the tenderness and kindness of God. Jesus the head and we the body, conformed in all ways to the image of Jesus Christ.
That brings us then to everything that takes place on this planet. Everything.
God can reveal Himself as He really is only through Heart. And heart cannot be created. Heart can be formed only in a furnace of affliction, through a vale of tears. It’s the only possible way God can have what He wants, the only way God can reveal His Heart in the tender and caring way He would show Himself to be.
And so we come to God’s clear statement of purpose in the New Testament.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
A better way to say this is “God, together with us, works all things for good.”
God deals to each one of us a life upon this earth. And He appoints every part, every facet, every nuance of that life.
Just as when He created the world, God appointed a task for Adam – that of giving the animals their names and their natures, so God has appointed a task for each one of us. That task is to work together with God to make every part of the path of our lives upon this earth “good.” That means drawing out of every circumstance that element of heart – God’s Heart revealed in us – that God purposed and appointed for us to reveal.
God did not give you my heart to reveal. God did not give me your heart to reveal. Your heart belongs to me because you belong to me. My heart belongs to you because I belong to you. And together we reveal the untold many facets of the core and center of the very Person and Being of Almighty God to all whom He would touch with tenderness, with healing, and with life.
By Adam’s fall, God imposed a furnace of affliction and a vale of tears. Through that furnace of affliction and vale of tears, God purposed to form together with us His Heart in you and in me. God did not intend for Adam to sin, but God did intend to place us out from Himself into the wreckage of Adam’s defeat.
More than that, the son God will have, the son God has purposed and determined to reveal Himself through, to give as an inheritance all that He is and all that He has, that many-membered son, Jesus the head and we the body, that son comes into all that God is in us only through open and deadly OPPOSITION.
That’s just the way it is. It is the way God has made it to be.
If we are not opposed at every step of the way, we cannot become the Heart of God revealed to His creation. We see this truth written into everything God created in the natural world as a testimony of Himself and His ways.
But before saying anything more, we must have this foundation in our understanding. Affliction does not form me into the image of Christ. Opposition and casting off opposition does not form me into the image of God’s dear Son. Neither does God Himself form me into the image of Christ.
No. Rather, it is God working together with me and me working together with God in a fused union of Spirit, heart, and purpose, Christ in me revealing Himself as me in all the nuances of my life. This “working together” is what accomplishes the purpose of God in my life. I cannot do it without God; God will not do it without me. God, working together with me, makes all things GOOD.
Let’s look, then, at this most necessary of ingredients for God to obtain His determination and purpose in the earth.
When I was a young man, I knew two individuals who contrasted in stark terms the difference between depth of heart and shallowness of heart. I worked briefly with a young man around 20 years of age. This young man was the most mentally “ill” person I have known. He was capable in mind and in body, but he was completely flipped out. He had to have the immediate presence of another person next to him at all times because there was no internal control within him. He had grown up normal. Then, soon after he began his first job after high school, he flipped. His mother had spent her fortune taking him everywhere, trying to get some help. Finally, she brought him to us.
But here is what the elders of the community in which I lived discovered and told her. “Ma’am, you are your son’s problem.” And it was true. All of his life, his mother had given him everything he ever wanted. Never once had he ever been opposed or his will crossed. Then, his boss told him to do something he didn’t want to do, and he could no longer function as a normal human being. She could not receive that counsel and so took him on from us unhelped.
The absence of opposition in this young man’s life so twisted and distorted his person that he could no longer be human. He was little more than uncontrollable and senseless urges.
Around the same time, I visited my relatives in Michigan. I had an older cousin (she has since passed on) who was short, large, and of very simple mind. When we arrived at my uncle’s home, she was the one who rushed out of the house, arms open wide to receive us, joy written across her face. In the living room she sat next to my mother. Soon, this simple-minded woman in her fifties had her head on my mother’s breast, weeping, “I miss my mommy.” (Her own mother had just recently passed away.)
It was an outward display of the depths of HEART writ large.
The first was the absence of opposition and thus the absence of any revelation of God in man. The second was the presence of a vale of tears and the revelation of God Himself through the great heart of a simple mind. It was the Lord Jesus Himself who put his head on my mother’s breast and sought comfort from her.
I have purposed to teach my children, to impart to them, the ability to hear and receive the word, “No,” in peace and acceptance. When I see that quality in them, I know I can give them all that I have. Amazingly, there is only one way by which they can gain this highest of all internal qualities, momentary pain enveloped within the certainty of the love of their dad for them.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5
Here Paul lays it out so very clearly. Redemption is behind us. But now that we stand in full confidence and joy in all the grace of God, we look forward to the glory of God – revealed in us. And here is how that happens – we glory in tribulations. Because, you see, the whole purpose of God is HEART. The love of God poured out in (and through) our hearts.
And always, always, always, we define that by fullness and never by in-part in any way or at any level.
The first feast, our first experience with God, is redemption. The second feast, our second experience with God, is an in-part immersion in the Holy Spirit. The third feast, our third experience with God in the life of the church, that great fulfillment upon which we have set our hope, is the Spirit without measure, it is the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, it is being filled with all the fullness of God without limit and without end, it is to know the Father.
It is the HEART of God revealed in all fullness to all creation through us.
This birthing of God’s heart inside of us is an experience so high, so holy, so above all angelic realms, so beyond anything experienced by any man recorded in the Bible, save Jesus. Through great tenderness, through unfathomable tears, God Himself is ripping open the very core of His Being and Person, taking out His own HEART, and birthing that very Heart inside you and inside me.
Such a thing is beyond our comprehension, beyond our ability to grasp. Yet we are seized in the grip of His determination to fulfill in us this high and holy purpose that has guided all the works of His hands from the beginning. The expectation of God, the expectation of His goodness, revealed to us and in us and through us. To see God in all things is to expect goodness, goodness, goodness with all expectation and confidence of joyous hope.
Any teaching that does not point directly to this great purpose of God that I have laid out here from His word, any use of Scripture, any wisdom of life that goes in some other direction, that flops along the ground in some lesser purpose, can do only one thing to God’s people. It can only sidetrack them into “truth” that is not truth. Experience that does not take them into the fulfillment of all that is God in them.
Everything God speaks from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 finds its purpose and fulfillment inside of this great determination of God, the revelation of His heart through man.
God cannot fulfill His purpose without man. Man can do nothing without God. The determination of God comes at all times and in all ways through a fused union of God and man, man working together with God, and God working together with man in a oneness of Spirit, of Mind, and of Heart to fulfill God’s purposes in creation and to cause all things to become holy and pure and good.
All that God does, He works through a Seed. First, He plants the Lord Jesus Christ into the earth. Then, through that single Seed cast into the ground, He brings forth a firstfruits, a remnant, a holy seed at the end of this age of human folly. But the purpose of God for that firstfruits company, that second witness of Christ, is then to show to all creation the goodness and love of God, and through them to bring, first, all who trusted in Christ into all the fullness of Christ, and then to bring all creation into subjection to Jesus, as God ordained from the beginning. That God might be all in all.
We would not know God except for Jesus. Creation will not know God except through us. You see, it’s all very simple, really. Profound and beyond our ability to comprehend, yes, but simple in its exposition.
And so, through this book, I explore our union with Christ and with one another. I show, as well as I am able, the critical role that opposition serves in God obtaining His purpose. I want to lead us to a clearer understanding from the Word, if I am able to do so, of that great and holy experience that is just ahead – the unveiling of Jesus Christ. That moment when the Father Himself fills His fully prepared temple with all of Himself and the glory of God flows forth upon this earth as the waters cover the sea through you and through me, the fully redeemed, fully prepared body of Almighty God.