yourself more drawn toward prayer than promotion, more toward humility
than hype, you are being prepared by the Lord for the glory of God. What
He is working in you is typical of what God is establishing in
thousands of other believers.
the Father ultimately reveals Christ as Lord over the earth, He will
first reveal Him as Lord over the church. And while we should rejoice,
we must also take heed. For until we are standing face to face in glory
with Jesus Himself, we are going to be in transition. To each of us,
Christ’s call remains, “Come, follow Me!” (Luke 18:22). If we will walk
with Him in obedience, He will take us into the fullness of His
can be frightening. The uncertainty of those passages between spiritual
plateaus can hold us hostage to yesterday’s blessings. Let us recall
with godly fear that the bronze serpent, which brought healing to Israel
in the wilderness, by Hezekiah’s day had become an idol that had to be
Our hearts must
bow to God alone, for even spiritual gifts, when isolated from Christ
the Giver, can become idolatrous. Therefore to successfully navigate
this season of change, the Lord will require of us a fresh surrender to
His Lordship. He will demand that our preconceived ideas and
expectations be submitted to Him. For if we are continually telling the
Holy Spirit where we expect to go, we neutralize our capacity to hear
where He wants to take us.
Christ in Us
To better understand the changes God is initiating in the church, we are
going to study the life of Mary, Jesus’ mother. More than any other
woman, God had blessed Mary. She alone was granted the wondrous
privilege of giving birth to the Son of God.
While the Lord’s
promise and purpose with Mary were unparalleled, in two significant ways
His promise to us is similar. First, even as Mary received Christ into
her physical body, we have received Jesus into our spirits. And second,
as she birthed Christ, our quest is to see Jesus unfettered from the
womb of our religion about Him. Our destiny is not just to carry Christ
inside but to reveal the fullness of His glory in this world.
Even now, abiding
within our spirits, deeper and more profound than our church doctrines,
is the actual Spirit of Christ. The consequence of this union of
Christ’s Spirit with our spirits expands the original seven Creation
days into the eighth day. We are new creatures in a new creation (Gal.
6:15). In this new beginning to God’s eternal plan, Jesus Christ is the
firstborn of a new race of men (1 Cor. 15:45).
As Jesus was both
God and man, so the church is actually the dwelling of Christ in the
temple of man. There is not a different Jesus in us than He who dwells
in Heaven. He is Christ wrapped in glory in Heaven; He is Christ wrapped
in our human flesh on earth.
Our salvation is
nothing less than the Perfect One dwelling in the imperfect ones, the
Almighty abiding in the feeble, the All-Sufficient God dwelling among
insufficient people. This is the mystery and glory of our salvation:
Christ in His completeness has extended Himself into our lives!
Crucial to the success of His mission is our receiving these truths with faith, determining that they shall be our reality, not just our theology.
It is here, in this carrying of the actual presence of Christ within
us, that we share with Mary the awe of God’s purpose for us.
Jesus in Subjection
While Joseph was a good man, it was Mary who nurtured Jesus and
continued to raise Him after Joseph died. In fact, we shall see that
Mary became the matriarch of the family. Uniquely, under her spiritual
influence, Jesus matured. It was natural that over time Mary would
consider herself the Keeper of the Vision, Guardian of Him Who is to Come, for in truth she was.
“And He continued
in subjection to them” (Luke 2:51). This is an astonishing
thought–Jesus, Lord of Heaven, in subjection to a lowly carpenter and
his wife. Yet if we think about it, is it not equally astonishing that
the rule of Christ in His church is, at least in part, subject to our
initiatives? He submits Himself to our schedules and to our service
times. He works within the confinements of our weaknesses and
temperaments. Yet, we should honestly ask ourselves, is it a voice fromh eaven or the traditions of earth that determines how long we shall
worship Him on Sunday morning?
If the Lord so
decided, in an instant He could reveal His majesty and draw trembling
surrender from all mankind. However, He restrains Himself, choosing not
to intimidate but to inspire our obedience. He has chosen to hide His
glory not from us but in us. And then, in order to perfect our character, He subjects Himself to our initiatives of hunger and faith.
However, the fact that Jesus will accommodate
and submit Himself to the conditions we offer Him does not mean that He
has approved of our limitations upon Him. The standard of the church is
not the church; it is Christ. This is our present dilemma: Just as
Jesus subjected Himself to Mary and Joseph and they became, for a time,
the vision keepers, so we have assumed that Christ will continue to exist in subjection to us.
He will not. For as Jesus arises in His Lordship, to save us He must first deliver us from our efforts to control Him.
A Time to Let Go
It is significant that Mary still exercised matriarchal supervision over
Jesus even after He was a mature man. At the wedding feast in Cana we
find Jesus, His disciples, and Mary, the vision keeper. “They have no
wine,” Mary told her son. Jesus answered, “Woman, what does that have to
do with us? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:3-4). In spite of what
Jesus just said, Mary tells the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do
it” (v. 5). While I am amazed at the fact that the Father worked through
Mary’s orchestration of this miracle, the fact is, Jesus did not come
forth to do the will of His mother but His Father. It was time for
Jesus, Mary’s son, to begin His ministry as Jesus, God’s Son.
A significant and
necessary reversal of authority was needed in Mary’s relationship with
Christ–a change that she had not anticipated. In her mind, her sense
of influence was simply a continuation of her God-given responsibility
as vision keeper.
The problem of
control worsened after the miracle at Cana: “After this He went down to
Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and
they stayed there a few days” (John 2:12). The verse reads, “He and His
mother” went to Capernaum. Do you see? Mary, the keeper of the vision,
has taken what she thinks is a legitimate position, an earned place of
influence, with Christ.
In defense of
Mary, she clearly has been with Jesus the longest; she has paid the
highest price. More than anyone, she has heard the Word and believed it;
her faith has borne Christ Himself! She has magnificently served the
purposes of God. Perhaps she had every right to think that Christ could
work the miracles as long as she remained a guiding influence. Her
continued mothering was not evil but natural.
However, God had
determined it was time for Jesus to be unfettered from all human
influences of control. Jesus would now only do the things He saw His
I believe, is where God is jealously directing us: We are being emptied
of our agendas, false expectations, and nonbiblical traditions so that
Christ alone will be Lord over the church. God is requiring a fresh
surrender of the vision keepers.
About the author:·Francis
Frangipane is the founder of River of Life Ministries in Cedar Rapids,
Iowa, and has traveled throughout the world ministering to thousands of
pastors and intercessors from many backgrounds. In June 2009, he retired
from his position as senior pastor of River of Life Ministries and is
devoting himself to prayer and the ministry of God’s Word. To read more teachings by Francis or to learn more
about his ministry, go to www.frangipane.org.