A Sword Will Pierce Your Heart

By Francis Frangipane

Surrender of the Vision Keeper, Part Two

The plans of God are full of surprises.

No matter how true a vision from God may be, it will never be fulfilled in the manner in which we have imagined. All our expectations are incomplete. In fact, our very ideas often become the most subtle obstacles standing between us and our appointed future in God. Thus, we must keep our minds open and submitted to God, for when God fulfills His Word, it is always "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Eph. 3:20, KJV).

In our last message we talked of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her role as Keeper of the Vision. Here, we will discuss how the Lord must shift our identity from control to complete surrender. Interestingly, during the first stage of Mary's transition, Mary finds Jesus resisting her. Before the Lord can bring any of us into a new phase of His will, He must dismantle the sense of attainment that often accompanies our old relationship with Him. It is a fact that many church movements, both in and out of denominations, began simply. Hungry souls longed for, and found, more of God. Over time as their numbers grew, success replaced hunger; people grew more satisfied with God's blessings than with His presence. There is a profound difference.

The apostle Paul illuminates this phenomenon, using Israel as an example. He writes, "But Israel…failed to reach the goal of righteousness. And why? Because their minds were fixed on what they achieved instead of on what they believed" (Rom. 9:31-32, PHILLIPS).

What happened to Israel is typical for many of us, especially those who are leaders. Without realizing it, we find ourselves relying upon what we have achieved. The Bible says that God resists the proud but He gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). It is always His mercy that guides our gaze away from our attainments and back to the knowledge of our need.

Today, people from many streams of Christian thought are beginning to acknowledge their own personal shortcomings. The fact is, we all need correction. And the beginning of that process is often found in Jesus resisting our pride and restoring to us a fresh hunger to know Him. Thus, in order to ultimately lift Mary higher, the Lord must lower her opinion of herself: He resists her on her present level.

And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, "He has lost His senses." ---Mark 3:20-21

These are strong words: "take custody…He has lost His senses." It is likely that the prevailing influence over Christ's relatives has come from Mary. Has her unrest caused their unrest? The issue is not that Jesus has lost His senses, but that they have lost control. For Jesus to take control, we must surrender control. Revival is as simple as that.

We should be aware that when the real Christ begins to unveil Himself to His church, He will first reduce us from being achievers to becoming followers again. The very power of Christ to heal, deliver, and work miracles is contained in the revelation of His Lordship. Deny Him His sovereignty in your church, and you deny your church His power. He cannot be manipulated, bribed, or begged. Remember, Jesus did no miracle until He began to manifest Himself as Lord. From that time on, the only relationships He actively sustained were those that recognized and submitted to His Lordship over them.

The very next scene in Mark's gospel begins, "Then His mother and His brothers arrived" (Mark 3:31). We can imagine that outwardly Mary still thinks she possesses a role of influence over her Son. Her influence is no secret. Thus, when Jesus is told, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You" (Mark 3:32), the implication is, "There is someone here with something more important than what you are now doing."

In any other scheme of things, it might be right to honor one's family with special privileges, but not above doing the will of God. For what may be the first time in her life, Mary feels some distance between herself and her Son. We should see that the more we set ourselves to control another person, the less intimate we can be with them; for intimacy is found in vulnerability and surrender, not in control. Of all those near to Jesus, Mary and family have slipped the farthest away; they are outside the sphere of intimate fellowship.

Indeed, when Jesus was told His mother had arrived, He found an opportunity to end this level of their relationship. He said,

"Who are My mother and My brothers?" And looking about on those who were sitting around Him, He said, "Behold, My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother." ---Mark 3:33-35

Though they were outside, they were close enough to hear His rebuke. Right there, the word spoken to Mary thirty years earlier by Simeon was fulfilled: A sword pierced her heart and her inner thoughts were revealed (Luke 2:35). Christ surgically and mercifully removed from Mary the stronghold of control.

Today, the Holy Spirit is surgically removing from us that which seeks to control the Son of God. It was for Mary's good that Jesus cut her off. It was for her gain that He destroyed that which unconsciously opposed Him. There are times in our walk with God when, for our good, the Lord cuts off old attitudes in us that have limited His freedom to change us. If we are truly His disciples, we will not merely survive His rebuke; we will bear more fruit under His pruning.

As the day of His return nears, expect to see many changes. Our destiny is to become the body of Christ with Jesus as the head. The church was created to receive its directives from a living relationship with Him. There is no other way for us to be led by Him other than through seeking Him in prayer and receiving His Word in contriteness of heart.

Christ as Lord Over All
At the same time, a caution is in order. This transition of our fresh surrender to Christ is not an excuse to rebel or justify lawlessness in the church. If we will all posture ourselves in prayer, ministering to Jesus as Lord, as did the leaders in Acts 13:1-3, we are going to see the most magnificent demonstrations of God's power and glory.

If we want our Christianity to truly have Christ, we must let Him rule. Certainly, there will be a thrusting of our lives into greater dependency. Yes, we will be forced to embrace the most drastic of changes. Without doubt, we will be reduced to what seems like the beginnings of our walk with God. Yet, we shall also regain the passions of our soul in earnest seeking of the Almighty! And oh! How such seeking pleases Him!

Biblically, this state of heart is called first love, and there is no deep reality of God in our lives without it. You see, His arms are not so short that He cannot reach to our churches and cities. The privilege the Lord is granting us is to enter the most profoundly wonderful, most unpredictably glorious experience we can have---to know the power of the Living God!

The end of our story about Mary is this: On the day of Pentecost, Mary and Jesus' brothers were all part of the one hundred and twenty in the upper room. Scripture mentions Mary by name (Acts 1:14). Mary truly proved herself to be a bondslave of the Lord. This remarkable woman fully served God on the highest level of yieldedness. She went from giving birth to Christ, to raising Him, to surrendering to Him; she endured unspeakable sorrow at His cross, to receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost! Blessed was she among all women. Yet, she also endured the pain of the sword of God's Word piercing her heart. She reached her goal not by striving or trying to control Jesus but by surrendering to Him.

Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Days of His Presence available at www.arrowbookstore.com.