By Francis Frangipane
walk with God is to walk a path of increasing surrender and trust.
Indeed, the time is at hand when the Lord Jesus shall confront our
tendencies to control Him. Not only will we know doctrinally that Christ
is Lord, but we will also serve Him as Lord.
you find yourself more drawn toward prayer than promotion, more toward
humility than hype, you are being prepared by the Lord for the glory of
God. What He is working in you is typical of what God is establishing in
thousands of other believers.
However, before the
Father ultimately reveals Christ as Lord over the earth, He will first
reveal Him as Lord over the church. And while we should rejoice, we must
also take heed. For until we are standing face to face in glory with
Jesus Himself, we are going to be in transition. To each of us, Christ's
call remains, "Come, follow Me!" (Luke 18:22). If we will walk with Him
in obedience, He will take us into the fullness of His presence.
transitions can be frightening. The uncertainty of those passages
between spiritual plateaus can hold us hostage to yesterday's blessings.
Let us recall with godly fear that the bronze serpent, which brought
healing to Israel in the wilderness, by Hezekiah's day had become an
idol that had to be torn down.
Our hearts must bow to
God alone, for even spiritual gifts, when isolated from Christ the
Giver, can become idolatrous. Therefore to successfully navigate this
season of change, the Lord will require of us a fresh surrender to His
Lordship. He will demand that our preconceived ideas and expectations be
submitted to Him. For if we are continually telling the Holy Spirit
where we expect to go, we neutralize our capacity to hear where He wants
to take us.
Christ in Us
understand the changes God is initiating in the church, we are going to
study the life of Mary, Jesus' mother. More than any other woman, God
had blessed Mary. She alone was granted the wondrous privilege of giving
birth to the Son of God.
While the Lord's promise and
purpose with Mary were unparalleled, in two significant ways His promise
to us is similar. First, even as Mary received Christ into her physical
body, we have received Jesus into our spirits. And second, as she
birthed Christ, our quest is to see Jesus unfettered from the womb of
our religion about Him. Our destiny is not just to carry Christ inside
but to reveal the fullness of His glory in this world.
now, abiding within our spirits, deeper and more profound than our
church doctrines, is the actual Spirit of Christ. The consequence of
this union of Christ's Spirit with our spirits expands the original
seven Creation days into the eighth day. We are new creatures in a new
creation (Gal. 6:15). In this new beginning to God's eternal plan, Jesus
Christ is the firstborn of a new race of men (1 Cor. 15:45).
Jesus was both God and man, so the church is actually the dwelling of
Christ in the temple of man. There is not a different Jesus in us than
He who dwells in Heaven. He is Christ wrapped in glory in Heaven; He is
Christ wrapped in our human flesh on earth.
salvation is nothing less than the Perfect One dwelling in the imperfect
ones, the Almighty abiding in the feeble, the All-Sufficient God
dwelling among insufficient people. This is the mystery and glory of our
salvation: Christ in His completeness has extended Himself into our
Crucial to the success of His mission is our
receiving these truths with faith, determining that they shall be our
reality, not just our theology. It is here, in this carrying of the
actual presence of Christ within us, that we share with Mary the awe of
God's purpose for us.
Jesus in Subjection
Joseph was a good man, it was Mary who nurtured Jesus and continued to
raise Him after Joseph died. In fact, we shall see that Mary became the
matriarch of the family. Uniquely, under her spiritual influence, Jesus
matured. It was natural that over time Mary would consider herself the
Keeper of the Vision, Guardian of Him Who is to Come, for in truth she
"And He continued in subjection to them" (Luke
2:51). This is an astonishing thought---Jesus, Lord of Heaven, in
subjection to a lowly carpenter and his wife. Yet if we think about it,
is it not equally astonishing that the rule of Christ in His church is,
at least in part, subject to our initiatives? He submits Himself to our
schedules and to our service times. He works within the confinements of
our weaknesses and temperaments. Yet, we should honestly ask ourselves,
is it a voice from Heaven or the traditions of earth that determines how
long we shall worship Him on Sunday morning?
Lord so decided, in an instant He could reveal His majesty and draw
trembling surrender from all mankind. However, He restrains Himself,
choosing not to intimidate but to inspire our obedience. He has chosen
to hide His glory not from us but in us. And then, in order to perfect
our character, He subjects Himself to our initiatives of hunger and
However, the fact that Jesus will accommodate
and submit Himself to the conditions we offer Him does not mean that He
has approved of our limitations upon Him. The standard of the church is
not the church; it is Christ. This is our present dilemma: Just as
Jesus subjected Himself to Mary and Joseph and they became, for a time,
the vision keepers, so we have assumed that Christ will continue to exist in subjection to us.
He will not. For as Jesus arises in His Lordship, to save us He must first deliver us from our efforts to control Him.
A Time to Let Go
is significant that Mary still exercised matriarchal supervision over
Jesus even after He was a mature man. At the wedding feast in Cana we
find Jesus, His disciples, and Mary, the vision keeper. "They have no
wine," Mary told her son. Jesus answered, "Woman, what does that have to
do with us? My hour has not yet come" (John 2:3-4). In spite of what
Jesus just said, Mary tells the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do
it" (v. 5). While I am amazed at the fact that the Father worked through
Mary's orchestration of this miracle, the fact is, Jesus did not come
forth to do the will of His mother but His Father. It was time for
Jesus, Mary's son, to begin His ministry as Jesus, God's Son.
significant and necessary reversal of authority was needed in Mary's
relationship with Christ---a change that she had not anticipated. In her
mind, her sense of influence was simply a continuation of her God-given
responsibility as vision keeper.
The problem of
control worsened after the miracle at Cana: "After this He went down to
Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and
they stayed there a few days" (John 2:12). The verse reads, "He and His
mother" went to Capernaum. Do you see? Mary, the keeper of the vision,
has taken what she thinks is a legitimate position, an earned place of
influence, with Christ.
In defense of Mary, she clearly
has been with Jesus the longest; she has paid the highest price. More
than anyone, she has heard the Word and believed it; her faith has borne
Christ Himself! She has magnificently served the purposes of God.
Perhaps she had every right to think that Christ could work the miracles
as long as she remained a guiding influence. Her continued mothering was not evil but natural.
God had determined it was time for Jesus to be unfettered from all
human influences of control. Jesus would now only do the things He saw
His Father do.
This, I believe, is where God is
jealously directing us: We are being emptied of our agendas, false
expectations, and nonbiblical traditions so that Christ alone will be
Lord over the church. God is requiring a fresh surrender of the vision
Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Days of His Presence available at www.arrowbookstore.com.