SHARERS OF HIS LIFE
By Dan Luehrs
Now if we are children (sons of God), then we are heirs—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 life.
Romans 8:17 (NIV)
I have heard many single people say, “I would like to find someone to share my life with.” In essence, what they are saying is, “I do not want to go through life by myself. I want to experience this life with someone.” Ah, there you have it; life is an adventure to be journeyed through. I have had the privilege of traveling to many places in the earth by myself, but when I had seen something really special, I have said to myself, I wish that my wife could be here to share this experience with me. Or I have thought, When my wife can come with me someday, we will go here or there because I do not want to experience this by myself. God’s life is also an experience for us, and in the end, His life is all there is. Think of what it means for us to share His life.
I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory (life) to be revealed.
1 Peter 5:1 (niv)
God wants us to experience His life. The Lord awoke me one night and said, “I have made man to share my life with.” There was a strong emphasis on the word share.
He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory (life) of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:14 (niv)
The glory of the Lord is His life, for the whole earth is filled with the glory, or life, of the Lord, and God wants our personal earth (body) to be filled with His life. One of the first astronauts to see the earth from the moon commented on how the whole earth was filled with life, and everywhere else he could see in the whole universe was filled with death. Yet in contrast to that, a Russian cosmonaut stated on his return to earth that he had been in outer space, and he did not see God. Both men pretty much saw the same thing with two different outlooks. Why? One was able to see the life of God in the earth, while the other was totally blind to God because of his perception of what God is. God is life, and there is no death in Him. Everything living in God’s creation gets its life from God, including the devil and his hordes.
For some unknown reason, God wants to share His life with us. But why? Is He lonely? Or is it because He is a Creator, and He must be continually creating? Or is it that He just wants someone to love Him for who He is, and in doing so, God gives him His greatest prize? His life and glory.
When we think about God sharing His life with us, we cannot totally comprehend what this would entail. When I think of life, I think of an electric power plant that gives life to a city and to all its inhabitance. And this is just why God wants to give us His life, to share it with the people of the world.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.
If we are to be co-heirs with Jesus as the sons of God, then we will also be given His life as the Father has life within Himself to restore creation back to its pristine nature that it was created to be in the beginning. With the fall of Adam, all of creation suffered, but with man’s restoration, all of God’s creation will be restored through man.
The Road to Life
Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled (stopped) there. Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.
Genesis 11:31–32 (niv)
According to the above verses, Abraham’s father was to leave their homeland of the Chaldeans and travel to the land of Canaan to receive it as their inheritance. But Abraham and his father got comfortable in Haran and stayed there rather than moving on to Canaan. His father did not complete the journey to the land of Canaan but ended up dying on the road to the promised land. The name Haran means “roadway.” Haran was to be a resting place for them along the way to the promised land; it was not to be place to live and die. They basically fell asleep in Haran by becoming rich and comfortable with the world and their surroundings. In fact, Abraham did not get the call of God to leave for the land of Canaan until after his father died. Abraham was only fulfilling the original call of God that was placed upon his father to leave the land of the Chaldeans and go to Canaan but had gotten sidetracked by staying in Haran too long. Acts 7:2 says, “The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia (Chaldean), before he lived in Haran” (niv). The way that this verse is written in the New Testament, the translators have translated Genesis 11:31 to mean that Abraham got the call of God to leave their homeland and travel to Canaan rather than his father leading the way there. But it was not until his father died that Abraham was called of God to leave from Haran, not from the Ur of the Chaldeans. So I believe that the Greek text of Acts 7:2 should read: “The God of glory appeared to the father of Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran.” According to Genesis, Abraham’s father was the leader of their expedition to the land of Canaan, not Abraham.
We are also called of God to go out of our Haran into the promised land of the fullness of God that many of our forefathers in the faith failed to bring us to. They also died in Haran (the roadway), which is the traditions of man, religion, and the fear of man and failure. This has stopped many Christians from fulfilling their call of God upon their lives. Abraham and his father must have greatly feared the giants that were living in the land of Canaan. I can almost hear the people of Haran say to them, “Don’t go down to the land of Canaan because there are giants there, and no one ever survives very long there.” So they settled for the land of good and plenty of Haran rather than the best land of Canaan. Abraham and his father must have lived in Haran a long time because Genesis 12:5 says that they had “accumulated” a lot of possessions in Haran. In fact, Abraham’s father was 205 years old before he died. This tells me that God had given him plenty of time to fulfill his mission in life, but he did not because he would not go to Canaan where he was called to live. I believe that Abraham’s father, Terah, was God’s first choice to become the “Father of our faith,” but because of the fear of the unknown, he did not go on to fulfill his mission in life as many Christians do.
But when Terah died, God finally called Abraham out of Haran to the land of Canaan: “Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). They were in Haran so long that God even called Haran, “Your country.” The father of our faith obeyed God at the age of seventy-five to fulfill what his father did not do. This tells me that God does not give up on us when we are getting older to fulfill our mission in life. We may think that we are too old to start something big for God, but even Caleb said to God at the ripe old age of eighty-five, “Give me this mountain.” Yet what Abraham didn’t know at the time was that through his obedience to God, God was going the send Jesus the Messiah through his bloodline to save all people.
This should make us shudder; our obedience now could make a difference in the lives of many people throughout eternity. This makes me think of all the settlers that came to America to start a new life for themselves by the leading of the Lord. Did they realize that when they left their lives behind in their old countries that they were going to a new land to build a new country that would free millions of people from oppression and injustice throughout the world? Did the hard-working farmers know at the time when they were clearing the land by uprooting trees and picking rocks that this land would one day feed millions of people around the world? I think not. None of us lives to ourselves, and none of us dies to ourselves; our successes and failures will reverberate down throughout eternity. The question is, will we allow God to do His work through us, or will He have to find someone else to finish what He has called us to do?
I believe that God is wanting to do this same thing through many of His people today, but because many Christians will not trust God enough to move on to what He has called them to, they too will simply die on the roadside of life without ever placing a foot in the promised land. The key for us to go on into the fullness of God’s life is that we do not quit along the roadside to prosper in the things of the world. For we too could die in Haran instead of traveling on the road to the promised land. And this is just what many people have done. All Christians are on a journey to the Celestial City to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus, but many of His people have gotten their eyes off of Him and back on to the world’s way of doing things, thus being sidelined in the ditch on the road to life. It is with great difficulty that we are to stay on the road to His fullness of life, and few are those who obtain it. But those who do will free all of creation from sin and decay into the freedom of the sons of God: “That nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God’s children” (Romans 8:21, AMP). Hallelujah.
It’s All a Matter of Choice
Where we are at today in our spiritual growth is because of our choices we have made in the past. And these choices that we make today will determine where we will sit with Jesus on His throne tomorrow. Either we are killing the flesh in us through our obedience, or we are killing the life of Jesus in us by our disobedience. Either our spirit man is growing stronger in us through our tribulations, or the man of sin is growing stronger in us by our neglecting to obey the Son of God. It’s one or the other; we cannot have it both ways. Our flesh is being crucified when we obey Jesus, or He is being crucified in us by not serving Him, for he is being crucified afresh in me (Hebrews 6:6, kjv).
When Jesus came into our hearts, it was through the seed of God’s Word. It was just a seed. But as we watered and fed that seed in us, it began to grow unto full Sonship, or into the likeness of Jesus. But by our own choosing and neglecting of Him, we can kill the life of Jesus in us so that He is crucified and thirsty in us, even as He died upon His own cross saying, “I thirst.” And this is what happens to many Christians by putting Him to an open shame before the Father because they are denying Him spiritual food. The kingdom of the beast (the world system) in us must be brought down so that our desires and thoughts must be only for Jesus and what is best for His kingdom in us. Our flesh must be starved; this happens by God giving us more of a hunger for Jesus than for worldly things. Jesus is a seed in us that must be fed and given drink. Jesus said in Matthew 25:35, “I was thirsty and you gave me drink and I was hungry and you gave me food.” Jesus is starving in most Christians today because all they give Him to eat is junk food: worldly entertainment along with worldly and religious head knowledge. Daily we must feed the life of Jesus in us with the milk and meat of His Word, along with a fresh drink from the river of God.
One day, I felt pain in my spirit for sinning against God, and I said to the Lord, “What is this pain?”
He said, “You’re killing Jesus.”
I began to weep before the Lord for the pain that I was causing Him. I then had a revelation of what these verses mean about us crucifying Jesus afresh or anew; “Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die (the life of Jesus in us); for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of my God” (Revelation 3:2, nasb). We must not lose our focus on what God has called us to; if we do not quit in the process of following Him, we will win the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus. We must awaken out of our slumber and sleep and stop hitting the snooze button; it’s time to wake up and run the race and fight the good fight of faith. God has given us a wonderful promise in 2 Thessalonians 1:10–11 if we will live worthy of this high calling of Sonship:
On the day He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony (message) to you. With this in mind (our high calling in Him), we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.
But how are we to be counted worthy of such glory and honor? Paul tell us in 2 Thessalonians 1:4–5 (niv):
Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
There we have it; it’s through our perseverance, faith, persecutions, and trials that we are enduring. No wonder why we are to glory in our tribulation; our suffering as Christians is not in vain after all. It is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comprehension.
The glory that we are to receive at the coming of the Lord is His flame of fire. This is the very life and power of God that will be imparted to us to change mankind and all of creation by bringing them into the knowledge and experience of Jesus Christ. We are His messengers of flames of fire that the Lord will reveal Himself through to all mankind and bringing them to judgment: “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels (messengers) in flaming fire” (2 Thessalonians 1:7, nasb). Notice that verse 11 is speaking about our knowing of being counted worthy of this calling (to be the ministers of flames of fire). John the Baptist knew who he was in the Scriptures—a forerunner to Jesus. Jesus knew who He was—the long-awaited Messiah. And we also must find ourselves in the Scripture; we are called to be the ministers of flames of fire/life. That is if we are counted worthy of such honor.
God’s calling for us is not to bring destruction to mankind with His fire and life, but to be vessels of reconciliation and redemption (Isaiah 63:4, nasb). This is for us to bring all things back to Him in right standing. Notice that God in His own way will repay all those who are troubling us with their own tribulation: “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you” (2 Thessalonians 1:6, kjv). These people that are persecuting the church are not getting away with anything, for they too will suffer. I believe what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus is a sign of what will eventually happen to every person on the face of the earth. Paul deserved God’s wrath and judgment for killing and persecuting the church, but God, in His riches of mercy, knocked him off his high horse and blinded him with the light of His truth, that Jesus Christ is Lord. Do you see God’s mercy being displayed through Paul to all people?
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:16 (niv)
Then God told Ananias in Acts 9:16, “For I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” Paul then had to go through great suffering to get to where he was in his experience with Jesus. And so will everyone else experience great suffering to enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22, AMP). “Through many hardships and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22, AMP).
The vengeance that people will receive at the coming of the Lord is the great tribulation that all Christians are experiencing when they come to know the Lord and grow in Him: “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:9, kjv). In other words, those who do not follow the Lord now will not be able to come into the glory of God until they have paid the price of following Him through their tribulation. Many Christians that are now sitting on the fence of the world will have to go through great tribulation that God prescribes for them, so that they too will die to the man of sin in them for the destruction of the flesh (1 Corinthians 5:5, kjv).
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.
Hebrews 12:10 (niv)
Oh, yes, my friend, God has His life awaiting you on Mount Zion to be transformed into His likeness and life. Don’t quit now, you’re almost there.