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"Now We See But a Poor Reflection...."
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Cor. 13:12
Thurs., Jan. 25, 1990
Greetings, Friends, in the name of Jesus.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall….
I remember once when I was young, walking into one of those restaurants where the back wall was covered--not with wallpaper, but with mirrors. As you first entered the restaurant, you were amazed at the apparent size of the room appearing much deeper than it really was.
I remember being fooled the first time this happened to me. Because there were so many people in the restaurant and I was so far from the wall, I couldn't notice my own reflection in the crowded mirror at first. Being young, I wanted to explore the back of this room.
So I walked toward the back wall only to be "miffed" to discover I came up against a mirror! Everything I had seen was so real---all the people moving about. Yet I couldn't press into it! It was just glass reflecting what was behind me already. Much as I wanted to, I just couldn't get through it...
So I went back to my original seat where the family was. Still, I just couldn't help glancing up at that back wall from time to time, marveling at how real it all appeared, yet knowing I couldn't walk through it or grasp anything on the other side of it. My hand just came up against glass, like an invisible barrier...
The Mirror of This World
If you've ever experienced this same thing, then you can understand what I've come to realize about the Word of God within us. How often has it been that you received a heart vision from God about something He wanted you to do, or someone He wanted you to do it with, or something that was promised to take place---yet when you put your hand to it, to act on the vision, you couldn't "grab" it.
All the people of your vision were there before you, all the places, yet nobody responded, nothing happened. Instead, you watched it all fall apart before your eyes. Everything just came “unglued," leaving you holding the bag with a dead vision and shattered relationships.
This has been the story of my life. But since I have had the experience with the mirrored wall in the restaurant, I've come to understand what happens to us concerning the word of God planted within us. The truth here is that we are dealing with two realities. There are two "worlds," and one of these worlds is but a mirror of the other.
First, there is the world God has set in our hearts. (We talked about this world last time.) This is the real world. It is of the spirit within us. It is the outgrowing revelation from Christ-in-us. This world is Truth because it is the outgrowth of His Presence in us, and He is Truth.
But then there is the outer world. It is not the world planted in us, but rather the world we are planted in. It is the world we have grown up in according to our first nature. This is the reflective world. And it is a reflection of the true world planted within us by the word of God.
Like the mirrored wall in the restaurant, this present surrounding world looks real. It is crowded, throbbing with apparent life. Yet it is only a mirror. It's people and places are but reflections of the true world God has put in our hearts. As a reflection, this present world is not energized by God's Life, but by the counterfeit life of the satanic nature. God says that this earth passes away while the world within us growing out from His indwelling Word abides forever (Mk. 13:31). This earth indeed passes away as surely as a mirror is broken, destroying a reflection.
Fooled By the Reflection
So what happens then when we receive a vision? What happens that things go wrong when we act on God's inner Word in the outer world? Here is what happens: Our inner hearts which receive God's Word are still encased by remnants of our first nature, a nature which still interprets the outer world to be the "real" world.
Because of this, we are unable to see the reflective outer world for what it is. We are unable to discern the real world within us from its reflection surrounding us. We are automatically "fooled," just like I was fooled when I first entered the restaurant and saw the back wall. I couldn't tell a difference between the real people before me and the "reflected people" in the mirror.
So, to continue the analogy, we naturally do the same thing with God's Word that I did in the restaurant. We want to "explore" the back of this deep room. In other words, we want to see God's Word come to pass. So we begin to take action in that direction. We "walk toward the back wall." Our first nature inescapably lures us to act in faith upon the surrounding reflections of people, places, and the events of time---only to find out that it is a reflection.
We can't grab it according to what we see in our hearts. We can't touch it or put our hand through it according to what we've heard from the Lord. We are unable to embrace the manifestation of what we have believed for. Instead, we "bump up" against a barrier of reality just as I bumped up against the immovable wall.
Finally, in place of seeing our vision fulfilled, we see chaos ensue. We serve only to disturb the reflective order of things around us. We end up "shattering" our outer world as a mirror is shattered. Instead of responding to our word, the people who reflect our vision for them react against us. The satanic energy governing temporal reality remains seemingly untouched as the people say to us (in effect), "Go back to your table and sit down, you fool."
Dying to the Reflection
As I look back over all this, I have to say that life has served me a strange menu. The more I have acted in faith on my inner world, the less response I have seen in the material world for it. Instead of seeing the reflective world give way to my vision, I've merely seen my first nature consumed by the destruction, and my inner world grow and grow and grow in me to the point where I am totally consumed by its sense of reality.
Proportionately, I've become virtually insensitive to the awareness of the reflective world around me at all. To sum, my only reward so far for acting in faith on my inner world has been to become dead to the outer world...
And that is the key to everything. Acting in true faith does not serve to directly bring about change in the reflective world. Rather, it serves to work death in us, the death of our first nature. This death in turn paves the way for the eventual swallowing up of death by the victorious, Spirit-energized manifestation of the reality we have seen in our hearts from the beginning.
You see, before the stubborn reflection can be removed, our own nature encasing our vision and lured by the reflections must first be destroyed. God won't overrule this temporal world by the victory of our vision without first dealing with our first nature.
Why? It is because His vision is incorruptible, His manifestation of it is incorruptible, and we cannot inherit that manifestation with remaining corruptible nature! This is the mystery therefore to why God leaves us to be destroyed by the unbudging reflections of this world which mirror the people and places planted in our hearts by His Word.
Someday, the Spirit-empowered manifestations of the fulfilments of God's internal words to us shall come to pass. But until they do, we must be content to die.
Coming to Faith Beyond the Reflection
When I first answered the call of God's Word to my heart to believe Him for certain impossible things, I mistakenly believed that by wholeheartedly doing this, God would honor my faith by directly intervening on my behalf to bring the reflective world into line with my vision.
I believed that faith was a direct cause-and-effect thing: "I believe, therefore things have to happen." (This is the underlying premise of the entire "Faith movement" philosophy.) But I have come to learn true faith doesn't work that way. True faith is not a direct cause-effect thing. True faith does not gain us the direct power to change circumstances.
Instead, I learned that true faith effects changes indirectly through the death of our first nature. I learned that my wholehearted commitment enabled me to come to a quicker, surer, more comprehensive death by the hand of hostile reflections making me ready sooner to inherit the reality to come. True faith allows us through death to become sheep-like receivers of God's overpowering fulfilment to its utmost bound through a purged nature.
This is the greatest lesson I have learned in my journey of faith relative to the manifestation of what we believe God for and how it truly comes about. (Unfortunately, it is the "faith movement's" failure to deal with this inner death that has left it subject to its own spiritual legal bondages and personal witchcraft through the obligation to manipulate certain cause-effect "laws" that depend on the power of self-will to bring about manifestations.)
Strengthening of the Inner World
So the bottom line is, we must be willing to die until God is ready to move. We must be agreeable to respond to God's Word through the veil of our limited earth-nature, tangling with the unyielding reflections of this temporal life over that Word, seeing our natural life poured out as a living sacrifice til, like Jacob, we have no strength left.
It is this loss of natural life that leads to our putting on of the incorruptible nature which may in turn receive the coming incorruptible fulfilment from the hand of God. In the meantime, it is enough for us to discover that, amidst all the death and destruction, God's inner real world in our hearts is indestructible. No matter how much we die over our battles with the reflective world, the inner world can never be taken from us. It cannot die.
Instead, with each death suffered over it, that inner world only comes back to us stronger, deeper, more detailed, more certain of eventual fulfilment. We can never relinquish it too many times, never lay it on the altar once too much to prove whether it be of God. It always surfaces again---til our encasing first nature is totally consumed by the conflict, and that inner world is all that stands between us and physical death in prelude to our inheriting of our new nature with its manifestation.
Committing to Die to the Reflections
All this requires that at some point in our lives, we make an ultimate conscious commitment to choose to live by the reality of our inner world alone, no matter what may happen to us as a result. I made such a commitment about ten years ago. I got off the fence and said, "Enough is enough. From now on I'm living totally by my inner world."
Yet I'm convinced that most Christians are fence-sitting as I was. They live with a divided allegiance to two worlds. They live partly committed to their true inner world through their new nature, and partly committed to the passing, reflective, outer world through their first nature. They are afraid to commit to living solely by their inner world because they are afraid to suffer the loss of their first nature through tangling with stubborn reflections in response to their inner heart's vision and desire.
They are the ones who are afraid to act on their inner world unless they can be guaranteed a failsafe cause-effect faith that will directly effect results. They are also the ones who fall away quickly when such results are not forthcoming. They are unable to accept inner death. Consequently, the extent to which they have discovered their inner world of God's Word is pitifully small.
I encourage you at this late hour not to be such a Christian. Be willing to die at the hand of the circumstantial reflections which mirror but cannot fulfil God's Word to you---so you may quickly come to the place of receiving the fulfilment of all He has planted within you and so fulfil your obligation of return to Him as His creature.
Encouragement to “Rest in Peace”
The writer of Hebrews tells us to "labor to enter His rest." Part of resting is this coming to the end of our natural ability to act on and pray over God's inner world to us. We come to this rest through our total defeat at the hand of the unyielding reflective world. That world is not overthrown by our acting against it, but by our rest that results from our defeat by it.
I find that is what my move to New England is all about. It is a move signaling my rest after years of defeat over my tangling with unresponsive Maritime Canada. I could not truly enter this rest until I truly had no more to give for the "cause" of His Word in me.
Let us not be discouraged then by the apparent failures of our faith to take effect in this life. Let us begin by remembering that this life is only a mirror of the reality planted within us. Because of its passing temporal nature and energizing by the satanic nature, it does not speak to the real fulfilment God has pre-ordained for manifesting His Word in us. It is just a "dark glass."
So don't be discouraged when, upon acting on God's Word through your initial nature against this present earth, it doesn't budge. Rather, accept the death that comes to you and the widening of your internal world in preparation for its fulfilment.
Commit yourself fully therefore to living by the faith of your inner world---not because greater commitment will guarantee direct overthrow of the mirror (--it won't), but because it will ensure your quicker, more comprehensive death in advance of your receiving the nature that will make you equal to receiving the eventual true fulfilment from the hand of God.
written from Merrimack, New Hampshire
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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