One of the big, nasty ironies of this Freedom paradox is that many (most?) Christians really, sincerely try. They want to be in the right. They want to do good. They want to serve God. They love Him as best they know how. They work really hard at it.
But in all of this activity, programs, ministries, striving, meeting, planning, doing, working, and energy spending… we are easily misdirected. Our gaze is moved from the Lord of the work, to the work of the Lord. We invoke the name of Jesus, but do so in asking Him to bless our work, our effort, our goals, our plans, and our ministry.
Seldom is there a focus on the Lord Jesus Himself, for His sake and glory alone – His Work, His finished Effort, His Goal, His Plan and Purpose, and ministering to Him in united bliss. The Lord said, and continues to say, despite your intentions and trying, “you have lost your first love.”
Most of us do not understand pre-eminence, or how to Live from an abiding in that of Christ’s, into the world. As such, we suffer from chronic small and short sightedness. Our gaze and vision has been on ourselves – what we can get from the Lord, what we can obtain from His blessing, how we can be served and fed from His people. In looking this way for so long, our sight has become impaired. We see, think, believe and live small. Thus, God is small. Jesus is small. The Kingdom is small. Life is small. Truth is small – and not Free.
We need new vision, new sight. We need a continual, mind-blowing revelation of Christ, the Ultimate Truth.
Of Him, there shall be no end. He is ever expanding, ever increasing, ever revealing. If our eyes are fixed on Him, always looking, our vision will never lack for His pre-eminence. Thus, our seeing, thinking, knowing of Truth, believing, and Living will also be ever enlarging. We will never get to the end of God. We will never plumb the depths of Christ. We will never reach the bottom of The Kingdom. Life will be continually exploding forward and upward. Freedom’s march will go – on and on.
Of the increase of His Government and peace there shall be no end.”
If Christ is not pre-eminent, chaos and confusion will reign – not Freedom. If He is pre-eminent, His “Peace will have no end” – Freedom.
The beauty of this is its simplicity. Christ is all. The growing and expanding and enlarging are His. Ours is simply to behold Him, continually. He is our singular focus, and He orders all things from there. We see as He gives us Sight. We think as He gives us Thought. We come to know the Truth within, as He draws us. We believe as He grants us Belief. We Live as He supplies Life. The pre-eminence of Christ, His Purpose and His Kingdom become our present reality as we “look” from His perspective.
Almost every force and thing that diminishes our realization of Freedom are ultimately rooted in our eyes wandering off of the pre-eminence of Christ, and onto something or someone else, including Self.
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols” could be one of the deepest, most profound instructions ever given for Freedom’s sake. Here is another version:
Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods)–[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life].”
The Eternal Purpose is for Christ to fill all things, to have pre-eminence. Anything, anything else – including Self and all of the good things of the Christian life – are idols once they occupy a place in the heart that only Christ fits. When this unique place of dwelling for the Lord is filled with something counterfeit, these many things, Freedom is not realized, and bondage is the result. Freedom is unveiled and grown in when Christ, the Main Thing, the One Thing, is pre-eminent in the individual follower, then in a marriage, then a home and family, then into the local Body, then into the Body around the world, then finally into all creation. This is the Order.
Christ first – all else beneath Him. Christ All in All.
Anything that usurps this Eternal Order is unbelief, antichrist, and anti Freedom.
Keep yourselves…from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life.”
Anything. Everything. Keep yourselves from placing any and all ahead of the Lord. This is Freedom’s Path. In case you read that “keep anything from…” as another effort to do – don’t. The paradox is that in resting and abiding and Being in the finished work of the Vine, you will effortlessly be kept from the delusions of other gods. Defeat is so easily realized – simply allow anything in the place the Lord is to occupy first. Even and especially the good things, the “church” things, the things “for God,” the family things. Any. All.
If you have built your house on anything but the Rock, it will ultimately be torn down.
He is either Lord of All, in All – or He’s not. Rest, or work. Belief, or unbelief. Freedom’s realization hangs in the balance.