FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST
“That I may know him,
and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings,
Becoming conformed into his death”
Beloved: I slept, but my heart was awake.
Lover: Listen! My lover is knocking: “Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.“I have taken off my robe—must I put it on again? I have washed my feet—must I soil them again?
Beloved: My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening; my heart began to pound for him. I arose to open for my lover, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with flowing myrrh, on the handles of the lock. I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; he was gone.
My heart had gone out to him when he spoke. I looked for him but he did not answer. The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. They beat me, they bruised me; they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls!
O daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—if you find my lover, what will you tell him? Tell him I am faint with love —Song 5:2-8
We have in the Song of Songs various photographs, so to speak, of the One in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. The Spirit flashes the light on him, first from one point of view and then from another, so that the we can have a complete revelation of him and be brought into full conformity to his image.
We saw him first unveiled as King, taking possession of the throne in the heart and bringing her will into full surrender and obedience to him as Lord.
We saw him next as The Risen One, approaching the maiden from his resurrection glory, inviting her to come out of herself into her hiding place in the cleft of the Rock, her crucified Lord, so that she can know that she is joined to him who was raised from the dead.
Then we saw him as the Lover of the soul, rejoicing over the hidden one in her newness of life, and we heard from his lips the characteristics of that life, and of its manifestation to others.
Now we come to his revelation of himself as the Man of Sorrows, as he invites the bridal soul to prove her heavenly calling by choosing — by her own free will — to follow him in his path of rejection, and to be conformed to his likeness as the Lamb.
Even though the only begotten Son was appointed Heir of all things, and was the effulgence of the Father’s glory, and the “very image of his substance“(Heb. 1:3), yet, “being found in appearance as a man,” he learned obedience by the things he suffered, and was made “perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10). The disciple has to be perfected as the Master. We are “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17).
The hidden one is suggesting to us her spiritual experience at this point when she says, “I slept, but my hear is awake.” Her whole being is possessed by her Beloved and dominated by the Holy Spirit, so that she knows now that she is hidden in the cleft of the Rock — the wounded side of the Savior on Calvary’s cross. As a result, the selfish life is so displaced in her consciousness that like Paul, she can say, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live . . .” (Galatians 2:20). She is so indwelt and surrounded by the Lord himself, she is kept in an indescribable peace. Nothing breaks her rest; she is in perfect peace as she fixes her life on him. The fruit of the Spirit — “love, joy, peace, patience, an even temper, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, meekness, humility, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23) — is so manifested that she is visibly like a “well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:11). The living waters flow spontaneously, and she has heavenly abundance for all the weary hearts who seek her out — drawn to her by the Holy Spirit.
Her cooperation with the Risen Lord is like that of the branch receiving nourishment from the vine: she lives in him, and he produces the fruit. She often sees herself as nothing but on onlooker, watching the Lord doing things through her as she relies on him. There is no struggle or effort, on her part. She is, so to speak, asleep as to her own separate activities, yet there was never a time when she was more awake to him, listening for the faintest indication of his will through the Spirit; for the cry of her whole being “That I may know him the power of his resurrection . . . if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have now attained this ideal, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philemon 3:10-14).
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
As you know, I send these Morning Messages out free of charge, and there is one very simple reason. As the late Keith Green taught, no one should be left out of hearing God’s Word due to a lack of funds.
To echo something Keith said, “I only want to build God’s Kingdom and see it increase, not my own. If someone writes a great poem no one praises the pencil they used, they praise the one who created the poem. Well, I’m just a pencil in the hands of the Lord. Don’t praise me, praise Him!”
This is why I follow his lead in offering anything I write, produce, or even ministering in churches at whatever you can afford. I fully understand that there are many with limited resources and if you are among this group, please receive any aspect of my ministry without any obligation. I am honored to offer them to you.
But, as you can imagine, there is absolutely no way for me to determine your situations, so, twice a year, I now have to ask everyone for support. Please understand that if you are unable to help defray the costs, completely disregard any requests for support and know that it is a privilege to serve you.
If you are not among those listed above, and if you are able, please do support the costs. They are low, but they do exist and I depend entirely on the voluntary financial support of believers like you. As you probably know, I am not sustained by any other ministry or church. This is a work of love and passion, and something the Lord has given me to do.