I want to share some things I’ve been pondering lately about how our relationship with the Father is critical to living the overcoming life we were meant to live.
We had Jonathan and Amy Claussen, founders of Family Restoration Project, speak at our church last Sunday. It was an amazing time.
One of the things that Jonathan said that I’ve known for a long time is that Jesus’ mission was to restore us to the Father. I would add, this is also the mission of this blog. 🙂
Taking our sins away was only a critically important means to a greater end.
But then he said something I thought was so profound about this truth…
First, he said, “Jesus is the Door and the Way, that is true…but the Door and Way to to what?” Then he followed with, “The Church today has been dancing at the door, but Jesus is standing there saying, ‘Come in!’ We need to go through the Door because that’s where the Father’s kingdom is.”
It’s easy to stop and admire Jesus at the door, and that would be a glorious life of worship, in and of itself. I don’t want to minimize that. But the question remains…are we going through the Door where this life is waiting for us?
And that question leads us to my ponderings in John 16…
The overcoming life is through the Door
I won’t quote the whole passage here, but I would like you to read John 16:12-33 before you go further. This will help provide context.
A few things to glean from this passage before I get to my point.
– First, understand that Jesus’ ministry on the earth was limited to clearing the way for us to have total access to the Father. This access would be through the Holy Spirit that He would send when He left. This is the theme throughout this discourse (John 13:31-17:26). “In that day, you will know…”
– So, in verse 12, Jesus told them what He said was only the beginning of what we were to know. Even though everything is ours (Luke 13:32) and we are complete in Him (Col.2:10), the Holy Spirit was going to progressively reveal more of who we already are as we are able to receive the revelation (1 Cor.2:9-10).
– In verse 17, Jesus told them they would not see Him, but then see Him again. This is not an eschatological verse, nor is His Second Coming in any part of this discourse. He’s referring to our dwelling place in the Spirit in Christ now (John 14:2-3, 16-23).
– In verses 19-22, Jesus is telling them about the severe trials they will go through and feelings of sadness and even abandonment because of His departure and betrayal. He likens His coming death, burial and resurrection as a birthing process. Indeed it is, for through His sufferings (not ours) He will bring “many sons to glory”, exactly like Him–a completely new race of beings on the earth! (Heb.2:10; 2 Cor.5:17)
Now, we’re getting closer to what what I want you to see today…
– First, in verses 23-27, Jesus is basically saying He’s handing the baton over to them, and to us today. They didn’t understand it because they were still religious orphans, knowing how to be with Jesus but not how to live in Him. But when they did receive the Spirit of adoption as sons (Rom.8:15), like Christ, they would understand and live their life in the Father like He did.
Do you understand what Jesus is saying? As soon as we receive the Spirit of adoption as sons, we are no longer clinging to Jesus to solve our problems for us. And we’re no longer feeling like He’s out there somewhere separated from us. We will now live in Him–we pray, walk and find our joy in the Father’s embrace. Our relationship is now with the Father in Christ.
Beloved, do not go past this point until you get it. Pray and seek until you see. For it is on this revelation that everything changes for us. Everything hinges here.
For this is what Jesus tells us about “that day” (bold-type added)…
“And in that day you will ask Me nothing.
Most assuredly, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.
24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name.
Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full…
26 In that day you will ask in My name,
and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you;
27 for the Father Himself loves you,
because you have loved Me,
and have believed that I came forth from God.” (John 16:23, 24, 26-27 NKJV)
This is not some formula prayer–a Christianeze abracadabra to get God to give us what we want–starting our prayers with, “Father…” and then closing with “in Jesus’ name.”
No, this is relational.
It’s a space where we live from.
When I lived like a religious orphan for over 25 years as a Spirit-filled Christian, I prayed to Jesus and gave the “Father” a token acknowledgment. But since I’ve walked through the Door, I now live and move and have my being in His heart. And this is what Jesus did for us. And I will forever glorify Him for this one thing over anything else.
Jesus was never alone, neither are you
The next thing I want you to see is what Jesus says in verse 32. He’s connecting with their sorrow and sadness (vs.20) because He, too, will be abandoned and betrayed–even by them. Yet, He makes a distinction that’s critical for us to understand (bold-type added)…
“Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come,
that you will be scattered, each to his own,
and will leave Me alone.
And yet I am not alone,
because the Father is with Me.” (John 16:32)
Did you get that, beloved child of God? Jesus was abandoned by them–by every human being on the face of the earth–yet He was never alone.
And I submit to you, this is the gift that Jesus sent to us–the promise of the Father–that we would never be alone again, no matter what we may face and no matter who else might abandon us (Luke 24:49;John 14:18, 23: Heb.13:5). I wrote about this here.
Where and how we overcome
Now, we get to why Jesus is telling them this. And this is the critical key to overcoming every circumstance in your life with fullness of joy and peace. Let’s look at it (bold-text added)…
“These things I have spoken to you,
that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation;
but be of good cheer,
I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)
Now, Jesus didn’t say…with Me, or…if you beg Me, or even…if you trust Me…
No, He said…IN Me.
There’s a huge difference. One is looking from the outside-in; what Jesus is saying is looking from the inside-out.
For you were quite literally placed inside of Christ, and He is in the Father.
You have everything He has, complete in Him, God-inhabited flesh, in constant Divine fellowship with the love of the Father and the grace of Jesus by communing in the Spirit (Luke 12:32; John 16:14-15; Col.2:9-10; 2 Cor.13:14; 1 John 1:3-5).
Jesus is telling them, and us, that when we stop dancing at the Door, as awesome and beautiful as the Door (Jesus) is, we will enter into a place that not only has everything we’ve always hoped for–joy, peace, identity, fulfillment and purpose–we will overcome everything the world will ever throw at us.
Indeed, this troubled world we live in has no antidote for this place of rest.
Beloved, lets’ stop dancing at the Door and enter in. We’ve been invited into our Father’s House! Let me echo Jesus’ words again…
“I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you;
for the Father Himself loves you.”
This is why Jesus came, why He paid a terrible price for us. And you will never ever be alone or defeated in this place.
Amen God has been saying the same thing to me… just in a different way.
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“Dancing at the door”… Creates such a great picture.
We’re so spiritually orphan minded and shame based in our relationship with Father, that we find ourselves ‘setting up camp’ under the cross more often than not. Why? Because we’re preoccupied with our ‘fallen-ness’… rather than our righteousness. So the cross… our “door”… becomes our world. The greater expanse of the Kingdom beyond is largely unexplored and quite unapproachable because we’re not worthy… and besides, we have very little CPU headroom after our frequent and intensive sin management sessions.
But even though a door is vital and necessary to enter a room, none of us bow down to worship a door when we walk in. When did you last hear someone say?, “O awesome Door, Thank you for being my entry point to the Room. But I am so unworthy of the Room beyond here, that I will just build three tabernacles around you and put you on top of my most holy buildings, just to honor you, Door. I will just stay here under the Door for the rest of my life, then when I die maybe I will be able to explore the rest of the Room. Thank you Door, for being so amazing.”
The cross (door) is the powerful symbol of when, where and how our sin got reckoned with. No question!!! But of incomparably more value than the cross, is the One who was on the cross. And He’s not on the cross anymore! He’s at the Father’s right hand and welcomes us to join Him there… all expenses paid, no strings attached, leave our door camping gear behind. Our reality is now defined by His victory and His righteousness… which have become ours.
He delightfully invites, “Come on through… and past the door. Enter into the large place which I have prepared for you! Make My joy full. Come on in.”
Amen, Mark. And it’s kind of dishonoring to Jesus when He made a way for us to go in to the Father and we want to camp at the Door, not to mention, we never really enter into the brilliant overcoming life He paid for.
I love your analogy here…”we have very little CPU headroom after our frequent and intensive sin management sessions.” This is SO true! Imagine what our relationship with God would be like if we’re weren’t obsessed with our sin issues and feelings of insecurity and shame. We might actually hear HIS voice instead of the condemning one we’ve been listening to and find real fulness of joy in His presence. Imagine that! 🙂
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