THE HEART CRY OF A SPIRITUAL FATHER
BY: KENNETH GREATOREX
We as believers we may chose to be religious, or Christ like. To remain immature, or growing up into the fullness of Christ. The possession of Bible knowledge doesn’t prove maturity, nor do good religious works. Many of us can put on a great show, but our Father sees our hearts. He is looking for how much of Christ has been formed in us, and NOT the outer habits which religion dictates.
When the Apostle Paul penned his letter to the Galatians, he had the concern of a father who was seeing his children go astray. “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a DIFFERENT GOSPEL.” [1:6] This “gospel” was a perversion, or mixing in the Law with the gospel of Christ. Today we have various forms of this mixture. The word “religion” comes from the Latin, religare. [re – back, and ligare – to bind. (Funk and Wagnalls Std. College Dictionary)] It means to bring back into bondage. Chapter 4:9-10 tells us that it was the outer forms of religion. Having come out of a denomination that was birthed in the ”holiness” movement I knew the outer forms of holiness. Now, I know that Christ is our holiness. The present reality is GRACE, not The Law or legalism.
The “father heart cry” of Paul for the Galatians was, “My little children of whom I labor in birth AGAIN UNTIL CHRIST IS FORMED IN YOU.” (4:19) This is more than salvation, or religion. The word “again” is instructive. First Paul labored, or travailed in birth, for their salvation. Now it is labor for mature development. The formation of Christ in them is what is to be birthed, His nature and character.
It is frustrating as we watch so many being satisfied to play delightful religious “bless me” games. Much of our modern gospel is humanism. The appeal is to the carnal mind. It says, “Come to Jesus and GET, GET, GET.” MAN is the CENTER! God is someone to be used! While God does desire to give, He is more interested in changing us into the image of Christ.
Let troubling times, or financial lack come, and some churches would close. They are NOT built upon the Rock Christ Jesus, but the world, its methods, music and sensual appeal. The members may suffer financially because they have been sheared like sheep. The message of the working of the cross to deal with the carnal/Adamic is not taught as it is contrary to the methods used to build man’s church empire.
To many, spiritual growth means getting blessed or them having power to do great things. Who is the center of attention? CHRIST OR MAN? To have hands laid on us so that we are “slain in the spirit” is NOT a cure all. If one was really SLAIN, dramatic change would take place. We would be physically D-E-A-D. While the potential is for all to reach full maturity, many won’t. Reasons for failure vary, but it is not the lack of God’s provision. We read in Colossians 2:9-10c, “For In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead (deity is the correct word) bodily; and you are complete IN Him.”
Natural DNA contains the genetic programming for each of us to reach physical maturity. Nourishment and health care are required to attain it. In the spiritual God has programmed us by Christ’s indwelling life (DNA) to reach 100% maturity, only proper nourishment and care will bring us to it.
The ministry gifts of Christ were given to bring maturity. Ephesians 4:12-14a reads: “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man (MATURE/FULL GROWN), to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children (literally – infants).” God’s purpose is, every believer serving in some form of ministry. Not all are called to function in the ministry gifts of Christ, as these ministries are a gift of Christ to His body, but ALL may and should function where and as God wants them to.
God desires to have a family of sons just like His dearly Beloved Firstborn Son. We should remember that the term “firstborn” implies that there are others who were born later. Sonship is more than merely being born into God’s family. Sonship is a positional place. Sons are those who have come into the full maturity that God has designed for them. Going to heaven is not their goal. Heaven in them is. The kingdom of God Is within for the KING reigns NOW In their lives. While “a child is born, a son is given.” We are born as children, but called and adopted into sonship. We are called to rule and reign in this life even NOW!
May our Lord grant that, “the Father of Glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of HIM.” And that, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling.” Ephesians 1:17-18
HEART CRY OF A SPIRITUAL FATHER, THE [Kenneth Greatorex] 1