Looking for Christ in the Wrong Direction

Looking for Christ in the Wrong Direction
by Jim Hylton

Most of the focus on Christ is either the Christ of the past or the Christ of the future. Many, with a nostalgia that enhances Israel's tourist industry, go back to take the steps where He once walked. I too have enjoyed the tour and have led others on the tour. But we have the same need as those who went to the tomb early in the morning. They looked in the wrong place. Thinking he was where they last saw him, they went to the tomb. They looked in the wrong tense. He was the Christ of the past. Going back to the past for one more look will not let us see Him. We need to hear the angel for ourselves, " He is not here, He is risen" (Luke 24:6).

Or we look wistfully to the throne where He sits in reigning residency. We live with the anticipation that He is going to get up off the throne and began making His way back to earth. Many are checking His travel schedule constantly. Attempts are made to read the signs of His coming. Israel is usually the focus of His return. Many believe He will base His booking to return on what is happening with Israel and their neighbors.

The Last Days Are Here Again was a tongue-in-cheek title for a book written as people made all kinds of predictions based on Y2K. The "last days" have lasted much longer than anyone ever projected and are not likely to end anytime soon. It is time to get over the "last days" and to get up to speed with "these days." These days are days for His life from within to have expression. There is the hope of glory.

Neither the backward look nor the forward look will locate Him. The hope of glory is not the historic timeframe of Him walking on earth in a body like ours. It is the fact He is here now in us. He is the Christ in you giving you the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Seeing Him has been called revival for decades. Revivalists have shared the stories of His appearing and claim that He wants to do it again. I have been one of them. Awakening is another term we have used to describe this newly-found clarity of vision.

Neither of those terms is wrong. There is a reviving of that which has lost vigor and vitality. Awakenings have occurred and with them new vision. Any sighting of Christ has untold benefits. Calling it revival or awakening does not alter His visitation with accompanying manifestations. But the problem is that the terms are inadequate to describe the big picture of what God wants to do. Is the Kingdom by any other name still the Kingdom? Is a rose by any other name still a rose? I think so. Yet, if I want a rose, yet ask for a daffodil, how can my order be filled?

Has "the Kingdom coming" been called revival or awakening? Why would I even bother to raise the issue? I raise it because I think we have labored with concepts and the anticipation of something that is not as great as God has in mind. Not only that, but I also believe we do not have a biblical foundation to support what we have called revival. Revival, as we know it or think of it, is designed to rescue the church at worst and salvage the sagging statistics of the church at best. I do not need to build a case for the needs of the church. From mega-churches to mini-churches, we face major issues. While mega-churches reach gigantic size, overall church attendance is on the decline. Communities and cities in the shadow of the largest churches may go untouched and unchanged.

Prayer editing is required because of our prayer handicap. We do not know what to pray for. From groanings that are unutterable or from oratorical declarations that could be printed in the anthology of beautiful prayers, the Holy Spirit must edit our praying. I think the Holy Spirit is saying to the Father, "They're asking for revival and awakening. What they really want is for the Kingdom to come." The Holy Spirit speaks up for us because we don't know how to ask or what to ask for. Even when we ask for the wrong thing, the Lord gives us what we need.

The cripple at the Beautiful Gate was asking for money in his cup. That was what he thought he needed. Peter and John didn't have what he wanted, but what he needed. He wanted alms. He needed legs. They said, "What we have we give to you" (Acts 3:6). What they had was the transferred authority of Jesus to supply legs. We ask for what we think we need, and the Lord graciously gives us what we really need.

I have come to the conclusion that receiving a Kingdom is far better than praying down revival. The glory of God is the light to see God's Kingdom. God’s glory and God’s Kingdom are interactive because both are manifestations of His presence. His presence in glory brings the light with which we see His Kingdom.

Without God coming personally to illuminate the operative Kingdom, we would miss it altogether. God has never stopped saying, "Let there be light." Without Him furnishing the light, we haven’t the clarity to see what exists. God is not creating the Kingdom. It is already created. It is a remarkable panorama to watch the Kingdom of God from eternity past enter into time as we know it, unfold in various types and shadows, and then appear again in Christ's activities. As the curtains of Revelation open and eternity future appears, we see an eternal Kingdom clearly operative. The interactive engagements of heaven and earth are interactions of both time and eternity.

His Kingdom is within us. His glory is within us. His Kingdom is resident because Christ is resident. His glory is resident because Christ is resident. Christ in you is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Kingdom reality is an inside job. Consciousness of Christ's life and Kingdom enactment starts inside us. Whatever we call reality that occurs, the reality begins with the presence of Christ letting His light shine within us. That light makes us the light of the world as well.

Adapted from "The Supernatural Skyline" by Jim Hylton, copyright 2010, used by permission of Destiny Image Publishers, 167 Walnut Bottom Road, Shippensburg, PA 17257 www.destinyimage.com .

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