"But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
"Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope."
Matthew 12:15:-21 ( Isaiah 42:1-4)
The Heart of the Matter
Minister Tracey L. Green
Relationship versus Religion
The Kingdom of God is forcibly advancing and clashing against the predictable, mind-numbing constraints of religion. On any given day, time, or occasion, we can faithfully “do church”. We can actually have religious services where the unpredictable Spirit of God is neither present nor welcomed. Going through the motions, rituals, and mechanics of service, we desperately hope that God will show up. However, if He does not, we still try to successfully pull off our best efforts in presenting the illusion of His appearing.
Yet, we are in a new season where He is examining the true motive of our hearts for His visitation. Jesus revealed this to the Woman at the Well, But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
In their conversation, she perceived that He was a Jewish prophet and proceeded to inform Him of her own historical cultural background and the religious standards that were connected with His. However, Jesus brought her breakthrough within her reach. He issued a new challenge to her, which would bring God unto her situation. In order to touch God, one had to come to Him in the spirit realm. This spiritual realm surpasses the rudiments of the legalism and even transcended the entanglements of the human heart. Israel would soon no longer be bound by the harsh and sometimes severe recourses of the Law, but their hearts would also become involved and engaged in honoring Him. He is still looking for our hearts and spirits to be engaged as we pursue Him. Religion will never equate to relationship. We cannot simply “do” relationship. We cannot fake the intricacies of communion and intimacy with Him. Relationship involves exchange and interaction. The Lord desires for His Church to arise out of the laborious efforts of religion to become willing to be passionately taken with Him Whom is altogether lovely!
Come Out With Your Hands Up!
These are critical days of personal assessment. The Word declares in I Corinthians 11:31, For if we would judge ourselves, we will not be judged. We must begin to examine ourselves - assessing why we do what we do. In His Sovereignty, God is bringing His Body into Kingdom alignment and is positioning each one into their place. The heart is the seat of our emotions, thoughts, and motives. As we submit ourselves to the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit, we must also be courageous enough to lay ourselves upon the altar. Everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of the Son of God must be dealt with.
Those areas of the heart – those secret places must be exposed. When a light is shown in an empty room, the light fills the room and everything is exposed. However, if you put one thing in that room, then a shadow is cast. This is also true with us. When the glory of the Lord shines forth in a vessel that has been made ready for Him, then there is nothing there but light. However, when there is something in that place, then a shadow is seen.
What is the shadow? The shadow represents those secret, hidden, and unsurrendered areas of our lives. These are the matters that God is asking for us to willfully offer to Him. He is the sovereign God of the Universe. He already knows what idols have been made, the graven images that have been formed, and the anti-Christ altars that have been erected within our hearts. Yet, He is not a thief. He will not take or bully us into doing or giving Him anything. He stands before us, with His hand extending; waiting for us to willfully relinquish it all for Him. He stands waiting to see if we will truly obey His voice and promptings. He waits to see if you have truly made Him Lord and will obey. It is time for us to come out with our hands up – extended in worship and surrender!
As we quickly advance in these days of fulfillment and the culmination of the age, let us set ourselves to submit to the prodding and pruning of the Spirit so that we can stand before Him blameless. Then John 14:30b can become a reality in our lives: for the prince (evil genius, ruler) of the world is coming. And he has no claim on Me. [He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me.]
BridgeBuilders Ministries International of Grand Rapids, MI