This perhaps is the most daunting statement of truth that we could extract from the Bible (the Word of Truth). How inadequate I feel when I hear these words permeate my spirit. The difficult but exciting task is discovering the Lords ways and then allowing the Holy Spirit to direct us in those ways everyday. When we hear my thoughts are above your thoughts and my ways are above your ways, we might ask ourselves how we can ever know His ways. Well, we will never understand all of His ways, but what revelation He gives each of us we must act on that revelation. The Apostle Paul after he had been walking with the Lord Jesus Christ for maybe 30 years or more said in Philippians the following:
Philippians 3:10-11 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power out flowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. (Quick Amplified Bible)
Wow, this excites me every time I read this in the Amplified Bible and this is why I document this passage using this translation. Paul goes on a couple of verses later to say that he has yet to obtain or apprehend this level yet, therefore he keeps pressing on desiring to know Christ more intimately everyday. The last sentence in this passage (as written in the Amplified translation) tells that Paul wanted to so know Christ and the power that is (as a fact) inherent in His resurrection from the dead, that it would lift him right now as he lives and breathes on earth out of the spiritual and moral decay that afflicts all men without Christ on earth.
Not that he could be some sort of super saint, but that he could be and have (spiritually) all he knew Christ provided for every person in His resurrection. Paul wanted to understand (as much as humanly possible) the outpouring of power that was available to him and every believer in Christ then and now, which flows like a spring from His resurrection.
When we closely examine all of the sermons documented for us in the Book of Acts, we never hear any of the Apostles speaking without a strong emphasis on Christ's resurrection. In order for our eyes to observe, His ways, we must first pour our hearts into fervent prayer soliciting the Holy Spirit to make real to each of us the dynamic spiritual and moral power hidden in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. This is the secret to truly knowing and then being able to observe His ways.
The Lord Jesus Christ came to save sinners. He was able to commune with sinners without accruing any of their contamination. For example, those of us immune to the measles can freely touch a person with the disease without ever any concern for our condition. Christ desires to accomplish this also through His earthen vessels those of us who make up His mystical body here on earth. This will not meet His satisfaction in any strength that we have, therefore, we need intimate connection to Him through the Holy Spirit that our minds are one with His mind and He enables us to engage sinners without the contamination of sin engaging any of us.
We know Christ way is kindness, humility, meekness, gentleness, etc. well this is not inherent in any of us, so what must we do, we must yield our inner man completely to the control of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to produce through us this ability with people we cannot love or even like for that matter. This must be a free act of our will, because Christ will not force us to conform or submit. When the Bible says to us that we have received the mind of Christ, this is very true and this is what we need to know His ways. Sin has warped our minds for so long that our minds have become crippled and dysfunctional. The mind of Christ provides a divine cleansing that engages us to see the world in a completely new light.
The ways of Christ are the ways of Holiness. He tells us to let (this again is an act of our own will) our light so shine before all men that they may see (behold without any controversy) our morally excellent works and Glorify our Father in Heaven. The lost must see something very different in us that any effort of man does not explain, but only through their understanding that we have been with the Lord of Glory.
His ways are ways of righteousness. We cannot compromise with this world and expect the lost to take us seriously as Christians. What we listen to and watch for entertainment must be dramatically different from what amuses them. When we commune with this lost world, they must hear the Words of Christ continually flowing from us as a well that will never dry up. The Word of God must govern everything we do. The only way to become acquainted with His ways is to know His eternal Word. In His Word are all His ways revealed.
Proverbs 25:26 Like a muddied fountain and a polluted spring is a righteous man who yields, falls down, and compromises his integrity before the wicked. (Quick Amplified Bible)
The enemy (the devil) is constantly trying to get those of us who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ (His true children) to compromise with this world, not only to dilute and weaken our spiritual walk, but to more importantly keep those who are still perishing from the gospel of Christ so that they cannot be healed. By an act of our wills, we must determine not to allow this deception any fertile ground whereby it can produce any crop in our hearts and lives.
The enemy will even use those closest to us to get us to fall in this area and to compromise our integrity and walk with the Lord. His ways will not flow from giving heed to positive thinking or any other such nonsense. However, through diligent and eager searching in His Word daily, we come face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ and we allow nothing that disagrees with His Word to deceive us.
2 Corinthians 2:11 To keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions. (Quick Amplified Bible)
This is why Paul told us to put on the whole armor of God everyday. Then, we would be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. We must be sure that as we throughout our lifetime of sojourning here on earth and learning the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ through His word, that our adversary will fight with all of his arsenal to keep us from discovering Christ ways and then acting on them. Surely, it is the Lord working in us to will and to do, but He never coerces us, but requires us to surrender our wills that He may work out His plan freely and without restriction.
The way of the Lord Jesus Christ is love. His love is not a compromising with sin type of love, but a purifying love that burns away impurity and never allows it to linger and fester.
Proverbs 25:4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth [the material for] a vessel for the silversmith [to work up]. (Quick Amplified Bible)
This dross mentioned in this verse is symbolic of sin in the life. Only when we remove the dross or sin, then the new product openly formed in each of us shines forth. When they mine for raw silver or gold they do not take them directly to Michael’s Jewelry, but on the contrary, it has to be refined in the refiner’s fire before the finest stores all over the world will display it. Such is it for the child of God he/she must be refined by the trying and testing of our faith being more precious than any silver or gold, but when refined a vessel ready for the Masters use.
Malachi 3:2-3 But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the priests, the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord offerings in righteousness. (Quick Amplified Bible)
This is not for the sons of Levi only, but He is presently doing this very thing in the hearts and lives of all of His true children. To learn His ways, He puts each of us in the fire not reclining on the beach or in a lazy boy. It cost to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and it cost much for many of His faithful servants. Is persecution fun for any true believer? Of course not, but it is an absolute guaranteed fact for every true follower. The Apostle Paul told us that all (not some) who live godly in Christ Jesus shall (not might) suffer persecution.
The English definition for suffer is: 1) Experience (emotional) pain. 2) Put up with something or somebody unpleasant. 3) Be set at a disadvantage. 4) Feel physical pain. Now this is what it cost to know His ways and to walk in His ways. It is easy to come up to the edge of this, but never go over into the territory.
This is what those who came out of Egypt did for 40 years and they died in the wilderness and went to hell never knowing what true faith in Christ was like. Having witnessed and seen much, but yet not willing to surrender by faith to His will. Today many come right up to the line of salvation; they join a church, are baptized in water, participate in certain church activity, but never at any point turn in their hearts and truly trust Christ. How tragic to know about Him and His ways, but never enter into His ways.
His ways are suffering ways. The Lord Jesus Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. We must grieve everyday when we see hundreds and thousands of innocent babies slaughtered as though they were worth no more than livestock. We must grieve when we see the continual moral decay all around and the complete acceptance of this decay as if it will not breed God's judgment.
The Lord Jesus Christ wept over the stubbornness and hardness of heart of the Jewish people that kept them from entering into His love and protection. To know His ways is to know sacrifice and giving not primarily of things but of self. The giving of things absolves us from the giving of ourselves. Christ never came bearing earthly riches for His followers, for He did not even own a place to sleep in each night. He gave Himself to teach, comfort, listen, and ultimately heal the broken spiritual condition of all men who would trust Him.
We must be willing to take the criticism. We must be willing vessels ready for the whole world to ostracize us. It is our mandate to tell everyman not what they want to here, but that they are sinners and must turn from their sins and trust Christ or they will spend eternity tormented in hell. This will not be a popular approach to many men and women of this world for their pride will cause them on many occasions to rise up and do us harm and we who mean them no harm. The Apostle Paul was well acquainted with this treatment from men of harden hearts.
Acts 14:19 But some Jews arrived there from Antioch and Iconium; and having persuaded the people and won them over, they stoned Paul and [afterward] dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead. (Quick Amplified Bible)
Finally, as we earlier stated, Christ ways are so deep and eternal that we will never in this life or even in eternity discover all the riches found in Him. The beautiful and comforting thing is that we will spend eternity in a love school delving into the vast ocean of His ways and never flunk a course or never get an A.
Here is a devotional from Oswald Chambers about Abiding in Christ, “The Spirit of Jesus is put into me by the Atonement, then I have to construct with patience the way of thinking that is exactly in accordance with my Lord. God will not make me think like Jesus, I have to do it myself; I have to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. "Abide in Me" - in intellectual matters, in money matters, in every one of the matters that make human life what it is. It is not a bandbox life.
Am I preventing God from doing things in my circumstances because I say it will hinder my communion with Him? That is an impertinence. It does not matter what my circumstances are, I can be as sure of abiding in Jesus in them as in a prayer meeting. I have not to change and arrange my circumstances myself. With Our Lord the inner abiding was unsullied; He was at home with God wherever His body was placed. He never chose His own circumstances, but was meek towards His Father's dispensations for Him.
Think of the amazing leisure of Our Lord's life! We keep God at excitement point, there is none of the serenity of the life hid with Christ in God about us. Think of the things that take you out of abiding in Christ - Yes, Lord, just a minute, I have got this to do; Yes, I will abide when once this is finished; when this week is over, it will be all right, I will abide then. Get a move on; begin to abide now. In the initial stages it is a continual effort until it becomes so much the law of life that you abide in Him unconsciously. Determine to abide in Jesus wherever you are placed.”
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author, Silent Assassins of the Soul (not yet published; coming soon)