Kingdom Principle: The “Path of Life” is marked by maturity.
Acts 2:14a, 22-32 Psalm 16 1 Peter 1:3-9 John 20:19-31
In this life, there is a path which God has called us to journey. The path is narrow, but it is not restrictive, the path is full of difficulties but it is not difficult. (Matt 7:13-14) The path of life is well marked and the signs along the way lead us to life abundantly. To blaze a trail is to find a new way, blazing trails are also paths that are on fire. We are not called to blaze a new trail, rather to walk in the steps of Jesus and to follow the patterns established from long ago. (Jeremiah 6:16, Matt 16:24, 1 John 2:6) Further we are not called to be on blazing trails, (trails filled with fire) rather we are called to be refined by fire which comes from above and is the testing of our faith.
When the Lord is with us (we are looking up & letting go)–therefore we shall not be shaken. To be shaken is to be taken by doubt and confusion. The Lord is given unto us, that he might steady our lives. I am going to look at the journey or path of life through the lens of maturity and growth. While the path is set out before us – each of us move at a different pace. This pace is set by our own willingness to submit unto the will of the Father, God is patience and does not rush us to look up, let go, and live free. This becomes a choice of our free-will, he has already set the course for us – are you wanting to finish the race? (1 Cor. 9:24)
We can take a snap shot of those who are on the path and running the race at the Death & Resurrection of Jesus. In the photo finish of Judas we see him wrestling with Forgiveness, Peter is being challenged by Faith, Thomas is seeking Grace, and Mary is reflecting on Mercy. These “words” have deep meaning and implications as they represent the path of life which we are on. We enter the path of Life – through the power and name of Jesus. *Disclaimer – I a proposing an idea about growth and the Christian walk – while each of these concepts in necessary and available to a believer at the moment of their new birth, it is in the journey of discipleship and listening to the Spirit, such that maturity in these terms is found.
FORGIVENESS is the defining mark of those who have come to Jesus. It is the doorway of the Church. (Acts 2:38, 22:16, 26:18, Romans 6:23, 1 John 1:8-2:6) Forgiveness of Sin –is a must to be on the journey of life. However many enter the journey of life, receiving forgiveness, but never seem to grow in acceptance and awareness of the true power of forgiveness. As a person fully accepts the completeness of their forgiveness, they are compelled to extend forgiveness to those around them. This is at the core of being able 2LAF on the journey. To give and extend forgiveness is an act of faith in the power Jesus to conquer the grave.
The increasing of FAITH in one’s journey is based on encounters with God’s power in the supernatural. Faith is the power to see that which is unseen. (Hebrews 11:1) We are greatly blessed by God when we believe in faith, even though we do not see the supernatural. However to operate and advance in the supernatural we must begin to see the movement of God in faith. At the crossroads of the Death & Resurrection of Jesus, Peter is in the trials of maturing in his understanding of forgiveness (this extends out to the shores of Galilee) and moving into the realm of increased faith. We see this in the movement of Peter in the 50 days after the resurrection, he fully moves in faith at Pentecost.
Thomas may be known as “doubting”, but rather it may that he has a “teacher” gifting which always demands for clarity and personal knowledge for his conviction to be confirmed. (John 11:16, 14:5) I believe it is an act of faith to demand to see Jesus. Thomas is seeking and desiring to move in the realm of GRACE. Thomas desires that the mysteries of God would be made clear to him on a personal level. Grace is a teaching and gift given beyond what we deserve, but grace is available unto us all. Thomas was asking for more that he deserved, it is a pursuit of Grace. Again, Grace is a free gift given and you cannot enter the church or forgiveness without it, but Grace is not easy in fact grace is costly and challenging to the status quo. Faith precedes Grace, not in importance, rather in how we come to understand the depth and power of it… We are saved by grace through faith; and it is easier to come to grips with my own faith, than to comprehend the depths of God’s Grace. In order to move fluidly in the Kingdom of God, full acceptance of this grace is which makes humility and hospitality possible. This Grace opens our eyes and causes us to hunger for more of this teaching that we may further the Kingdom of God which is ever before us. In our growth of Grace, the supernatural movement of faith is no longer distant elusive, it is expected and daily. When we enter the body of Christ through the forgiveness of Sin, as infants we seek to grow our faith. This growth leads us to an understanding of the Kingdom which is a true demonstration of grace. Thomas declares that Jesus is his Lord and God – in response to being touching by Grace.
Finally we look at Mary Magdalene at the resurrection – she is told to let go…. This is an act of MERCY. When we receive mercy from God, God is withholding something from us – Jesus is withhold himself (physically) from Mary so that she will gain so much more – To accept this gift of mercy is to move into oneness with Jesus. In the realm of Mercy our prayers change from asking God what he can give to us, into thanking God for what he as kept from us. This is often expressed in intercession for others. Mercy is found in the true depth of intimacy. This covenant relationship is deeper and more intimate than all the phases of the journey before. In the realm of Faith we declare “Thy will be done”, and at the same time we long to know what that will is…. In the realm of GRACE, we know that “Thy will is being done” but we often see it as being done unto us, or unfolding before us. In the realm of MERCY, Thy will and my will do become one” and mystery is merged with majesty. We stop saying things like, God’s ways are not our ways… because in our embrace of mercy the covenant relationship of God is revealed to us – and we ascertain the mind of Christ such that we are one with him.
This journey is not one of achieving salvation; it is the working out and completion of our salvation. The movement from each phase unto another is filled with testing and trials – which is the pressing in and affliction of this world. Keep your eyes on the Lord and He will set your path straight. (Prov. 3:5-6) It is our call to walk the path, not to compare ourselves to others along the way. Meaning – it is not as if Thomas was ahead of Peter, or that Mary is better than other disciples, rather each person is in the process of refinement for the praise, glory and honor of Jesus Christ. That looks differently at different crossroads of understanding. Mary encounter forgiveness in a very raw manner and it moved her to see and move in the supernatural almost instantly for as her sin was great and her salvation was greater. (Greater in the sense of awareness)
This post addresses the journey of faith as we come away from the resurrection. It is my hope that you see the resurrection has having taken place in you personally. The new birth sets you on a new journey, we have outline the journey as one in which we encounter the truth of Jesus more deeply and more personally as we walk upon the path of life.
In is in the overlap of the circles that the path of life is filled with growth and discovering through the pain and predicaments of life. Some will choose not to grow in maturity others will reject the pain and retreat to that which is comfortable. I see life in a series of patterns, and each of the “loops” created by the overlapping circles is what I will call a resurrection experience. Either you rise and advance and promote or you rise and fall and it will become a repeated revolution or loop that you get stuck in…. When we have the enlightenment of the resurrection we progress ahead on the path of life, when we don’t we repeat the circle of our previous pattern. These are patterns need not be avoided rather embraced with thanksgiving. This pattern leads us to see that the movement of our live need not cause us to fear or be shaken no matter what the circumstance.
Which of these words invites you into further discussion with God?
Where in your life can you see patterns of victory?
Where in your life can you see repeating patterns of struggle?