Joseph Herrin (04-01-09)
Schenectady, New York Meeting Scheduled: Saturday, April 4 I will be heading to Schenectady to speak to the saints who will be gathered in the home of Mary Jane Hammerle. Any saints in the area who would like to attend are welcome. Following are the meeting details:
26 North Street
Schenectady, NY 12305
First session: 11:00 A.M. until 2 P.M.
Break and Meal: 2 P.M. until 3 P.M.
Second Session: 3 P.M. until the Lord is done.
Contact Mary Jane Hammerle at (518) 280-8838
If you are planning on attending, please RSVP so that Mary Jane will know how many people to expect.
From Schenectady, I will be heading to the area of Fort Wayne, Indiana. If I hear that any saints there are interested in hosting a meeting I will make the information available.
The Mature Mind of Christ
I recently had a conversation with a very dear sister in Christ, and I considered that it held much value for the body of Christ at large, so I am sharing the su of it here. As I have spoken to various saints over the years, I have often found that a mature spiritual mind has not been adopted. Oftentimes I have heard a believer defend some activity or addiction in their life with a statement such as the following:
“I have given up so many things in my life already, that there is very little left. I haven’t been convicted about this particular thing, but I would give it up also if I had a clear word and conviction from God the Father.”
Statements such as this are spoken in defense of a myriad of habits. Some that I have encountered specifically are chewing tobacco, smoking, playing the lottery and impulse shopping. Those making such statements are often very much desirous of being found pleasing to the Lord, and they have truly given up many things that others have not even considered surrendering. Yet God’s goal for all His sons and daughters is found summed up in the following words of Yahshua:
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Yahweh is working to bring the body of Christ to a perfect conformity to the image of His firstborn Son.
Until we all attain to... a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.
What is a mature spiritual man? What is the measure of Christ’s stature? What is the fulness of Christ? It is complete conformity to Christ. Yahshua has revealed to us what we are called to be. Yahweh will not rest until He has sons and daughters who have attained to this high call.
Yahweh does not want a portion of our lives. He requires ALL. This is why Yahshua said that no one could be His disciple who did not hate his own life (soul) and who does not give up all he possesses (Luke 14:26 and 33).
It is very obvious that the standard of discipleship is not being met by the majority of Christians today. It is the rarest of saints who have surrendered ALL. Yet Yahweh will have a body of believers brought unto full stature in readiness for the return of His Son. In this hour many will be brought face to face with the fact that the cost of following Christ has not changed in the past 2,000 years. A remnant will take advantage of the great grace afforded to them by God to follow after the pattern of Christ.
I am not unsympathetic to those who are struggling with the cost of Christian discipleship. I was baptized at the age of ten, and I spent decades walking with God after the manner of the churches of the day. I truly loved God and I spent hundreds of hours annually from the time of my youth studying the Scriptures and seeking to apprehend the knowledge of God. Yet, my mindset was much like that of the Greeks who sought after knowledge while failing to embrace the cross in their life.
I Corinthians 1:22-23
For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness...
I had many besetting sins in my life from my youth. Some that I have previously written about were an attraction to pornography, a lust for too much food and the wrong kinds of food, and covetousness that led to indebtedness. I loved the Lord even while struggling with these things, but I was not perfected in love. I was grieved in my heart every time I gave into the impulse to view pornography, though in the areas of eating and spending it was easier to avoid conviction as these were not actions so readily condemned by the majority of Christians.
God brought me to victory over viewing immoral sexual images while I was in my mid thirties and about ten years ago His chastisement led me to victory in the area of financial stewardship. It has been much more recently that God has brought me to walk victoriously in the area of eating. All of these were strongholds in my life, but eating was such a stronghold that it required a heart attack in order for God to provide me with the incentive to rein in this powerful fleshly appetite.
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.
About a year and a half ago when I experienced a heart attack the Father had been bringing me much conviction in the area of eating. He had given me much encouragement to rule over this fleshly desire. Yet I found crucifying the flesh to be a difficult task.
Now those who belong to Christ Yahshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Yahweh spoke to me after the heart attack and told me that He was absolutely committed to my coming to a mature image of Christ. He would not be satisfied until I was ruling over every area of the flesh. We are often satisfied with a measured obedience, and choosing our own sacrifices, but God requires complete conformity to the image of His Son.
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The cross is the instrument to bring fleshly creatures to a conformity to the image of Christ. There is no other method. The flesh must be crucified with its passions and desires.
As I was conversing with this sister the other day, I shared with her that we are called to put off the mind of spiritual children and to put on the mature mind of Christ. A child will go its own way and do whatever it desires until a parent tells it to stop. This is the mind of those who say they would give up a particular activity if God commanded them to do so, but it is not the mind of Christ.
Yahshua never had the mindset that He would do what His soul desired until the Father told Him to stop. Christ lived to do the will of the Father. Yahshua was ever looking to the Father to discern what He was doing that He might do precisely what He saw His Father doing.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”
This is a very different mindset from that which says, “I have given up so many things in my life that I will continue to do this one thing until I am convicted about it.” Christ’s mind was, “Father, show me what you are doing. I will not act or speak unless I see you doing it.”
Yahshua therefore said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative...”
Yahshua declared that His crucifixion would be the proof that He did nothing of His own initiative; that He was always doing the will of the Father. This is also the evidence of the same level of obedience in our lives. When we are embracing the cross, then people are presented evidence that we are not acting of our own initiative; that we are living to do the will and pleasure of our Father in heaven.
The life of Christ is one of complete rest where we do nothing that arises from the soul of man. Christ is a spiritual man, and those who are conformed to Christ will also be spiritual. We are either fleshly and soulish, or we are spiritual.
Saints who argue for continuing some habit that pleases the flesh or soul are in effect saying that they will remain part spiritual and part soulish until such a time as God convicts them, or gives them an ultimatum. I do not point the finger in self-righteous judgment at those who harbor such thoughts, for I walked in the same place. God has given me ultimatums on more than one occasion, and the fear of God was very helpful in bringing this wayward son to obedience.
I would spare others from the harsh discipline I have experienced. I often tell people that I did not need to experience a heart attack before ruling over my appetite for food. I could have manifested greater zeal and obedience at a much earlier point and I could have avoided some of the stripes I received. The words of the Psalmist are very applicable to all of God’s children.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you.
We can respond to the still small voice of God. We can be as attentive as Christ, always looking to the Father to discern what He is doing that we might do only that. Yet many times we are like the horse and the mule. When we are stubborn and willful, God must treat us severely to get us to go where He has determined. If He must jerk our head around as with a bit and bridle, then He will do so, for He loves us too much to allow us to continue to stray.
People of God, the more sensitive and submissive you are to the voice of the Father, the easier your way will be. There is a cross appointed for all of God’s children, but the path need not be as hard as we make it. The Israelites did not need to spend forty years in the wilderness, but they craved flesh and murmured at all the things they had left behind in Egypt. They were therefore unprepared to go in and possess the land of Canaan when the hour arrived.
Multitudes of Christians today will fall short of entering into God’s rest due to similar unbelief and carnal appetites. Joshua entered into the land of Canaan when most others from his generation fell short. That he had a different spirit is revealed in the fact that he dwelt outside the tent of Moses.
When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
Joshua symbolizes those who are placing themselves in position to hear every word of the Father that they might do His will at all times. Joshua is at the same time a type of Yahshua (they had the same Hebrew name). Yahshua abided constantly in the presence of God that He might discern His will and always perform His pleasure.
Let us put on a mature mind. Rather than waiting until God draws a line in the sand and says we must discontinue a particular behavior or habit, let us enter into a place of stillness and rest where we do not do anything from the soul. Let us wait upon God to discern His mind that we might do only those things we see Him doing. This is the mature mind of Christ.
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