An unchanged life by Francis Frangipane
The Seeking God
Question: What will happen if, in your spiritual walk, you turn lukewarm instead of steadfastly seeking the Lord? The answer is, nothing will happen. Meteors won’t fall from the sky and hit you. Nothing that is not common to man will happen to you. You will simply remain the same as you have been: unchanging. An unchanged life is judgment enough.
If we don’t steadfastly walk with God, we simply cannot be transformed. Yes, one’s spirit can still be saved even if we have built our lives with “wood, hay and stubble” (1 Cor. 3). But we will have accomplished little toward our eternal destiny. The glory awaiting us will be barely noticeable, a flicker, compared to those who embraced their transformation on earth and now, in eternity, “shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matt. 13:45).
The Almighty doesn’t demand we change. True, He will convict us of sin and push us away from a slope into hell, but He isn’t going to dominate our will or make it impossible to disobey Him. Convictions and warnings from the Spirit will help save us from hell, but they won’t equip us for Heaven.
My point is this: our pursuit of the Lord cannot be motivated simply by fear or relief from a present conflict. The treasure of God’s Presence is the extreme value in all the universe. He must be sought for the incomparable worth of knowing Him for Himself. For this goal we seek Him.
Yet, He also seeks something from us. Does He simply enjoy watching, year after year, billions of humans feeding incessantly upon temporal realities? Or is the Most High seeking something more profound in His creation of man?
Here’s what Jesus taught about the nature of God. He said that the God of creation is a seeking God: He seeks that which was lost; He seeks true worshipers, and He is “like a merchant seeking fine pearls” (Matt. 13:45). We need to understand this about the Lord: He is not seeking the typical, but the valuable. It is in His nature to seek people who, having accepted Christ, now pursue conformity to Him as the central passion of their hearts..
He tests the sincerity of their commitment: will they offer their precious lives to God as followers of Christ? Though they rise and often fail, they do not withdraw. They have purposed to offer to the Father hearts made pure in the fire of His love.
Is this not what the Father should expect, especially since the actual Spirit of His Son dwells within us? Though many are called and few are chosen, yet from those who respond does He not anticipate a reward for His sufferings? That reward is this: that He would see replicated within us the same faith, love, and redemptive nature that Christ Jesus Himself manifest. This is what the Father seeks.
Trained Not Just Saved
“By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:5-6).
It is one thing to believe in Christ, another thing to believe like Him. Jesus said that His goal with us is not only to save our souls, but then to “fully train” us until we are actually “like [our] teacher” (Luke 6:40). This is the holy quest of God; it is the first and eternal purpose of creation: to make man in the image of God (Gen. 1:26).
One may argue: well, I tried to follow Christ but I was hurt (or, I didn’t agree with my church’s doctrines; or, I faced a battle greater than I could handle).
Yes, but without such challenges how will the nature of Christ develop within us? God put us in impossible situations specifically to accommodate our transformation – where we would learn to draw upon the grace and power of His Son. The journey toward Christlikeness will, inevitably, compel us beyond the boundaries of our human nature, and so it should be.
The Father found one pearl of great price in His Son. Yet His heart searches still to see His Son revealed in a many-membered body. He continues today seeking for true worshipers whose hearts stay soft even when conditions are hard. He seeks the precious value of a redeemed people who, when faced with injustice, find greater manifestations of Christ’s love by which they respond. Their hearts are steadfast regardless of delays or trials.
There may be just one individual in a neighborhood or just two in a city that are truly seeking hard after Christ, but these worshipers have attracted the attention of God. They are the salt of the earth. They pursue sonship. They are the focal point of the seeking God.
In my forty plus years of ministry I have seen many who began the race well, only to stumble over the issues of life and go spiritually dormant. Yet among those who stumbled, there are true sons and daughters, and Jesus promises that a “bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish” (Isa. 42:3). God is calling them back. In spite of their failures, He intends to use them: they will showcase Christ’s grace. For those who have been forgiven much, love much. They will reveal the wonders of Christ’s glory.