Recently a comet looking like a cross was sighted streaming with its tail across the heavens. Let us consider four principles of a robust, true living faith - each principle represented by the points of the cross: post with northern and southern point and the horizontal beam with western and eastern points.
PRINCIPLE 1 (Northern point): True faith is a PERSONAL faith in Jesus, our Lord.
Here the focus is not on the Scriptures, but rather toward Jesus Himself. A personal faith in Jesus is emphasised in all things including doctrine. Needs, blessing, etc. is very much in the shadows. Emphasis is not placed on the "full gospel" but rather on Jesus Himself.
PRINCIPLE 2 (Southern point): Living faith ENTERS THE PRESENCE BEHIND THE VEIL.
Never separate the word of God from the Holy Spirit. In other words, faith is intertwined with the Presence of God. There are times, especially in the early stages of the journey, when His Presence is withdrawn. However, after the Great Death, the resurrection comes with a deep continual abiding Presence of God. Nothing is done 'in faith' based solely on the Word of God and in ones own strength. All things done are done in God and by God.
These two principles alone often result in a SHAKY faith. Often the believer veers toward magnetic north and away from true north. MIXTURE such as hype often enters if we ignore the following two principles as well. They represent the points of the horizontal beam of the cross which brings stability and robustness to the believer's faith.
PRINCIPLE 3 (Western point): True faith is largely a BLIND faith, dependant on the PROVIDENCE OF GOD.
There are prophetic sign posts along the way and He reveals and warns through His continual abiding Presence. However, there is still a blindness as we walk in His Providence receiving all things from His hand; and not from the hand of man or from the hand of Satan.
PRINCIPLE 4 (Eastern point): True faith always has the MARK OF THE CROSS.
Hebrews 11 is stamped with the cross.
Today, most Christians know not the cross at all. They see transformation into the image of Christ as simply conforming their lives to the Word of God. In other words, they ignore the deeper work and transformation. They are on the surface spiritual people, but no deep work has been done in their lives. They are not truly spiritual. They only appear to men to be spiritual.
Remember, I mentioned before that Malachi speaks of the soap and the refining fire as the two methods of purifying His children. Taking up His cross allows the deep work of God to begin taking place. It is a life long transformation beginning when one first begins to yield to the Lord.
The cross is more on the surface - very important, take great delight in - for quite some time in the believer's journey. The desire for the cross can be rather strong. Later it becomes deeper and more hidden. It becomes the almost unconscious principle of your soul. All your hidden thoughts and innermost actions are under the cross's work. Transformation takes place from internal to external.
Taking up His cross implies that he sees God in ALL of his circumstances. In other works, he sees that the cross comes from the hand of the Lord; and not from the hand of man nor circumstances. Each moment - no matter what it holds - is from His hand. The sacrament of the present moment. The realm of eternity. The God who IS.
A Christian who has progressed this far no longer speaks much of visions, prophecies and revelations. This is more the realm of the Prophetic Movement today, always seeking the word of the Lord. The Christian who has known the cross fully and understands what it means that the cross has become Christ* does not speak much of visions, prophecies and revelations.
He has a pure and simple childlike faith. He sees Jesus and Him alone. He also sees everything differently ... as through the eyes of God! He appears ordinary to a casual observer; but under closer inspection he is very different from other mortals. He is just like the shoe-leather exterior of the tent; but has treasures within.
*The cross will work the work of God in you. But now the work of God will bring the cross to you, and the cross will bring the Lord Himself to you [Guyon].
a. Needs \ Petitions
Leaves all these at the cross. No self at all. Only asks for "His desires" and His desires become your desires as one becomes one with Him. His will alone is done. Most of our walk is taking up His cross. NOT using your faith to change your world. NOT using your faith to fulfil His plans. NOT confessing promises daily. His promises will be fulfilled by God in His time. Leave them at the cross. Walk in His Providence. Remember needs and petitions belong to the Outer Court.
b. Prayer: The believer is not free to pray for WHOM he pleases, for WHAT he pleases or even WHEN he pleases. Understand the cross in prayer. No self life in prayer.
All four principles need to be deeply embedded in our faith giving us a true living robust faith.
How do we define self? Guyon defines self as follows: It is the individual's views, his feelings, the things which he remembers and thinks about, his own personal self-interests and self-reflections. We need to move from being absorbed in our self-life to becoming more and more centred in Jesus Himself.
One of the first truths that a believer needs to learn is to be quiet before God and to remain before Him and this coming before Him must be without any request or personal will in any matter. In other words, learning to deal with self is a first principle for a believer to master.
Principle 3 and principle 4 deal with the WILL. This brings us to be PURE. We become pure through a yielded will to His Providence and develop simple, child-like faith.
Most of what is taught today deals with the renewing of the MIND - changing your thinking through the Word of God - (also part of the SOUL). The emphasis seems to be more on the MIND. The emphasis needs to shift more to the WILL. The transformation of the WILL. This transformation into the image of Christ occurs as we become rooted in principle 3 and principle 4.
“All of self and none of Thee!”
Some of self and some of Thee!”
“Less of self, and more of Thee!”
“None of self, and all of Thee!” (Excerpt from Hymn: O the Bitter Shame and Sorrow)
When the Holy Spirit is given freedom to work He begins immediately to attack the self-life, the unbent I. Each point of self-life must be dealt with as it is revealed. This is the endless process by which the Christlife is produced. L. E. Maxwell states it clearly: “The victorious believer will become aware of many forms of self which must yet be dealt with. We shall discover: In our service for Christ; self-confidence and self-esteem; in the slightest suffering, self-saving and self-pity; in the least misunderstanding, self-defense and self-vindication; in our station in life, self-seeking and self-centeredness; in the smallest trials, self-inspection and self-accusation; in the daily routine, self-pleasing and self-choosing; in our relationships, self-assertiveness and self-respect; in our education, self-boosting and self-expression; in our desires, self-indulgence and self-satisfaction; in our successes, self-admiration and self-congratulations; in our failures, self-excusing.and self-justification; in our spiritual attainments, self-righteousness and self-complacency; in our public ministry, self-reflection and self-glory; in life as a whole, self-live and selfishness.”