Thursday, May 14, 2009

Be Born in Me

I enjoy reading Preston Eby’s online (and ongoing) commentary on the Book of Revelation, “From the Candlestick to the Throne.” The perspective he brings is one of seeing Christ revealing Himself IN us. I have been more used to an apocalyptic/historical/prophetical take on this book, so I find reading it from this perspective interesting and profitable. Not that one interpretation necessarily rules out the possibility of all others, but since the book of Revelation is so highly symbolic…and in light of the title being, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” rather than, “How it’s all going to End,” I think it’s worthwhile to examine it from this perspective.

I’m at the part where Eby is discussing the four horsemen. He has the white horse to represent Christ coming to conquer and illuminate our hearts. The second horse…the firey red one with the sword…he makes to be Christ (the Word) coming to us as a sword which Hebrews 4:12 describes as “…quick, and powerful,… piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

I don’t want to paraphrase too much of Eby’s excellent writing. I will only muddy up what he expresses so well and so clearly, however, this idea of the red horse really resonated with me. I feel that the red horseman has been operating in my life, and sometimes it’s comforting to remember that Jesus said, “I came not to bring peace but a sword.”…and that this in no way contradicts the angel’s song, “Peace on Earth…good will to men.”

If the purpose of the sword is to separate the carnal from the spiritual, bring it on! When the wheat is separated from the chaff…it doesn’t mean that the chaff has not served a purpose. It means that it’s purpose is accomplished. And our carnal nature has served it’s purpose too….but now we have to be separated from it.

Eby quotes a passage written by F.B. Meyer. I’ve read several of his excellent books, but unfortunately, don’t know which book this is from. This whole idea of Christ being born IN us…. Is one that has been sweetly working in me for several years. It started when I suddenly realized that Luke 1:45 “And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” applied not only to Mary—but to ME!... and to each of those in whom He is being born. (Incidentally, I believe this is the only occurrence of the phrase, “blessed is SHE” in the Bible….)

So here is what F.B. Meyer says:

“When Christ is born, there is always trial. What trouble the New-born brought into this world! There was trouble for Mary! She was living a happy, peaceful life in Nazareth, when the sword began to penetrate her soul, and she was called to endure an agony of misunderstanding from those who loved her best. There was trouble for Joseph, who was afflicted by startling fears, roused suddenly from sleep, and bidden to leave all and flee. There was trouble for Herod and the Jews. ‘He was troubled and all Jerusalem with him,’ at the story of the new-born King. There was trouble also in a multitude of Jewish homes, entered by brutal soldiery, who tore the babes from their mothers’ breasts and tossed them on their sword-points. Wherever Jesus comes, trial follows. He comes to send, not peace, but a sword; and one who knew well of what he affirmed said; ‘I am crucified with Christ—I die daily—I am delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake.’ These inward trials often spring from the unwillingness of our nature to yield to the will and way of God. A man’s foes are they of his own household. Sometimes, also, when we have begun to live the new life it seems as if the box of Pandora were opened, and all the winds had escaped, each eager to outdo all the rest. But out of the trouble will rise the fairest, strongest life! By and by some watcher on the battlements of heaven, beholding our approach, will cry, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and whence came they?' and this will be the reply: ‘These are they that came out of great tribulation’—for tribulation is education misspelt”
end quote

I enjoy a story my Dad liked to tell about an Inuit carver who was asked, how it was that he was so skilful and able to fashion any animal he imagined out of a piece of stone. The Inuit scratched his head and said, “Well it’s not so hard…say I want to carve a dog…I just take a look at the stone…and carve off everything that doesn’t look like a dog…”
So let the Christ, the Word, work in me….
separating and carving off all that doesn’t look like my Father.

Come Lord Jesus be born in me
That I may be reborn in Thee
I’ll make a place for you to dwell
Come into my heart Emmanuel

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