Luke 9:35 (NLT)As Christians, we like very much for every church to have a desire for the things of God, a heart or hunger for His Word, for His revelation, for His presence, for His Kingdom and much more.
35 Then a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him."
However, it is important that we do not and should not put (or create) that desire in the hearts of the people. For us to do so would be of our own works, it is not of God and when that happens, nothing good comes out of it.
That is for God to do (Heb 8:10-13) and only God can place the right desire into the heart of each of His people. After all, He created each of us and knows us much better than we think we do ourselves. We can and should however, encourage, support, nurture and fan that desire that God placed, in His people so that they may experience the salvation that comes through the Spirit who makes us holy and by our belief in the truth (2 Thess 2:13). This is to be done through the Spirit of Christ that is with grace and truth.
For unbelievers, they have only to hear the Gospel to be convicted by the Holy Spirit and they too will have the desire for the things of God. It is fresh in them. The question then is, as a church, how do we maintain it?
What about us, the believers, how do we maintain that desire for the "things of God"?
How we nurture this God given desire in His people, the church, is critical as it sets the church on a path that leads to life and life abundantly (John 10:10) or to a life of frustration and/or confusion.
The answer to the above questions may well be in what happen at a mountain where Jesus took Peter, James and John to pray. That time is known as 'The Transfiguration'.
Refer to Luke 9:28-56; Mark 9, Matt 17.
The crux of the story is that, at the mountain as Jesus was praying, Moses and Elijah appeared before Jesus. Peter wanted to build three shelters (tabernacles), one for each of them, a symbolic act that places Moses and Elijah on equal footing with Jesus.
This is what each of the individual represents;
• Moses represents the Law.
• Elijah represents the Prophets.
• Jesus represents Grace and Truth (John 1:17).
But God the Father spoke and said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” When these words were spoken, Jesus was the only one left standing there. No Moses, no Elijah.
The Church Make-up
If we observe the church today, we would find the spirit of Moses, Elijah and Jesus (for lack of a better word), in the people; believers who are more incline towards the law, the prophetic or grace and truth. The truth is likely that all three can be found in each of us, in varying degree.
Given the passages on The Transfiguration, the emphasis however, should be to transform the church towards grace and truth through Christ Jesus. That is, the church (believers) are to nurture and grow their desire to know Jesus, more and more.
However, we do have a tendency to lean towards the ways of the old covenant; the law (Moses) and the prophets of old (Elijah). It would seem that it is in our nature to do so. There is much for us to unlearn and to then re-learn from scripture under the light of the Holy Spirit.
John 14:17 (NLT)From Desire to a Love Relationship
17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.
The church needs to hear and see the Truth, gilded with Grace, in order to come to know the Truth. It is in knowing the Truth that builds Faith which then leads to actions towards a transformation or repentance that is founded on faith and faith in Christ Jesus.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6a). Anything else would at best be, on shaking grounds of our works and at worst, from fear. It is throught faith in Jesus that will nurture the God given desire that then leads to life and the deeper things of God.
Growing in the knowledge of Jesus, fan the desire in the things and ways of God, and that in time leads to a love relationship with Jesus for we can come to love a person. Teachings that reveal Jesus, nurtures that desire to love the person(s) of God. As Christ increases in us, Self decreases in us ...and not the other way around, ...then the glory of God is revealed in and through us. The people will run towards one who reflects the glory of Jesus (Mark 9:15), for the betterment of His Kingdom (John 14:12-14).
Teachings that reveal the rules, principles or power of good Christian living, does not nurture a love relationship with Christ. It has a strong tendency to lead us towards works and self sufficiency which is what the Law is about. Anyway, how does one form a relationship with rules, principles, power which are non-persons?
I am not saying that teaching Christian living principles are wrong. God knows we need them, but it has to come through in the light of Jesus and His finished work at the Cross. It has to be with a New Covenant perspective e.g. Exodus 20:1 -17 (The Ten Commandments) vs. Matt 22:37-39.
37Jesus replied, " `You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39A second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.
It is not just receiving truth that we are saved, but having a “love for the truth”. It begins with the desire that God place in each of us. Those who have a true love for the truth that is gilded with His grace will never quit. They can only grow and be enriched by it.
An interesting verse to look into is Act 28:23 where the Kingdom of God and Jesus are revealed by Paul (get this), from the 5 books of Moses and the books of the Prophets.
Teachings for the church to fan the desire for the things of God:
- Old Covenant vs. New Covenant – the Fulfilment of Christ.
- The Kingdom of God – the Heart of Christ.
- Who am I in Christ? – the Love of Christ.