Jesus said something rather startling, something that may have messed with the minds of the hearers . . . oh, I guess that happened all the time . . . well, I’m thinking specifically of a time in the 4th chapter of Mark where we read, “Be careful what you are hearing.” Now that alone should help some of us. Some will listen to just about any “wind of doctrine,” and get really messed up with our faith. Take that one directive personally. “Be careful what you are hearing!”
“The measure of thought and study you give to the truth you hear will be the measure of virtue and knowledge that comes back to you — and more besides will be given to you who hear. “ See? Some want to spend time watching TV or playing computer games, instead of dedicating time in prayer and studying the Word of God. This certainly applies to many modern males (and unfortunately, children). Oh sure, there is probably a balance that can be found. Some may feel I spend too much in study and writing, maybe so . . . but every believer needs time for studying and praying, as well as time relaxing; working; playing. But some us overdo the relaxing/playing and neglect the study and praying.
Now if you are wondering why I bring this up, Jesus went on to say, “For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away by force” (Mark 4:24–25). This is most important today. Many are being forced to either stand strong in their faith, or if their faith is weak (or non-existent). Either way, we will suffer the consequences. Those who stand strong will be able to experience the rewards of Eternal Joy.
Now, Jesus certainly knew these words would sound strange to the non-believers who heard them, so he preceded his message by saying, “If any man has ears to hear, let him be listen and understand” (Mark 4:23). Jesus saying, “If your heart is open to God’s Spirit, you will understand what I have to say to you.” Now that is cool!
What, exactly, is Jesus saying in this passage? He is talking about the Glory of our Father living big in our lives — that is, Christ’s manifest presence. In other words, the Lord measures out his Glorious presence in various amounts, whether to churches or to individuals. Some don’t receive any of his glory. Yet others receive an ever-increasing measure, simply radiating from their lives. This outpouring, this anointing is fully dependent on our determination and the aggressiveness we place in our pursuit of Him. According to Jesus, “From the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the Kingdom of Heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force as a precious prize — a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion.” (Matthew 11:12 Amplified Version).
Now when it comes to churches, don’t judge His presence with the size of the church. I have found that, sometimes, the larger the church, the less He is manifested. Just as in the lives of individual believers, just because a person is wealthy and good-looking (and a church is big and fancy), does not mean the Lord is working better in their life (or church).
You see, your Father has promised to pour out His Spirit on His people in these last days. Indeed, all of Scripture points to a triumphant, glory-filled Church at the close of time. Jesus himself said the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church. We won’t be limping into heaven — beaten down, depressed, whimpering, defeated, and discouraged. No! Our Lord is going to bring greater power to His Church. This power will not be manifested merely in signs and wonders. Those will be present, but only because it will be revealed in his people — in the glorious transformation of hearts touched by His Spirit.
Ooh wee! That is exciting to consider . . . but how can we obtain that greater, ever-increasing measure of Christ’s glory? The Lord told us quite clearly: “With the measure of thought and study you give to the truth you hear” (Mark 4:24). Jesus is saying, “It depends on how much of yourself you allow me to have, I will give back to you in like portion. I will deal with you in the same manner you deal with me. Whatever measure you give out to me, I will give out to you.”
If you choose to give to Him sloth and laziness — taking for granted his great work — you will experience a spirit of slumber. Proverbs 19:15 declares, “Slothfulness casts one into a deep sleep, and the idle person shall suffer hunger.” If you are lazy and sleep your time away, you will starve. If you are going to stay in bed whenever you can or simply spend your time watching Survivor or Dancing With The Stars, your soul is going to go hungry, and will never be satisfied. Your Father’s love, mercy and grace toward you is boundless. The issue here isn’t obtaining his love, mercy or grace — but having the blessing of his Glory — His Manifest Presence — in our lives.
Jesus stated very plainly that He measures out different amounts of His Glory to us, according to how we measure out our hearts to him. Our part is simply to move ever closer to him — in our worship, devotion, obedience and diligence.
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