(Eph. 4:2-6, John 17)
My meditations return to the theme of unity. God’s intention is to have a mature people to represent Christ in the earth. So much of what Paul, Peter, and the others wrote was to move us toward this goal. A problem through history has been our human pride that wants to have a position among this corporate man. Do you hear the twelve debating who will sit closest to Him? Or the mother of one of them asking Jesus to give her son the best seat? He calls us to sit with Him, but if we sit with Him we will not always be at the table but washing the feet of those who are seated. But not all the time, meaning sometimes we are right “next” to Him. More than this, as I shared with a friend, we can maintain a disposition that each of us is always sitting at His feet listening to Him. That is simple, true humility.
Yes, I, and we, cannot wrap our minds around true humility which is the source of the oneness He is working in us. If we read the passage referenced above, we are called to patiently bear with one another in love. Humility is the foundation of oneness. We are to serve one another in love. The rest of the church does not exist to support your ministry. You live to support everyone else’s. It does not mean you are not obedient to your own calling. Paul knew his calling. He went away into Arabia for years to be prepared. He writes he is a prisoner of the Lord. He is bound to fulfill what the Lord has given him to do. And it was not a glamorous adventure. Adventure it surely was, with opposition at every turn. But also, alongside the opposition, God prepared those who received him and loved him wherever he was sent.
I hear it said the church and the bride are not the same; they are not one. But our brother Paul does not make that distinction. The Spirit does not make that distinction. Jesus includes every believer in His prayer (John 17) that we be one. I cannot say that which I hear regarding the church and the bride. It does not yet appear what we shall be, individually and together. If we each fulfill our calling, we will seek to propel others to a higher place of true authority than we ourselves. Ultimately, the Father alone determines our final seat, for the Son confesses it is not within His authority. It will be given to the one who took the lowest seat. I am laughing at our complete inability to choose this for ourselves. Be still and know that HE IS GOD, ALONE.
Yes, He always has a remnant, a bride, the one who loves Him truly above all else. Consider this from the example of Gideon. His name represents a cutting down of idols. Those, in this time, who are closest to Him, in secret like Gideon, are met with heavenly encounter and brought to authority. They move perhaps secretly, but quietly to cut down idols. They are praying for the destruction of every proud thought that stands against the true knowledge of God. Gideon, who would have remained hidden is brought out as a leader. God so orders the process to reduce his army to a remnant prepared for battle, to fight God’s way. The warriors are lights within vessels that are broken with a shout and the enemy (Midianites) are sent into confusion and self-destruct. Yes, the army, the remnant, participates in their defeat. Follow the story and see that then all Israel joins the fight and totally routs the enemy. The remnant was prepared to lead the way so that all might know and have a part in the victory. We have a parallel with the remnant within the church. Press into your specific calling in Him and others will follow. The Shunamite (See Song of Songs, Solomon’s) says draw me and we will run after you.