– Dan DeVitis
Learning to rest in Christ must precede our spiritual walk.
While sharing at a Sunday service recently, a book by Watchman Nee came to mind: Sit, Walk, Stand. You may be familiar with it. This book was gleaned from the Book of Ephesians. What in particular came to mind was the absolute necessity for the believer to learn to sitbefore attempting to spiritually walk or stand.Learning to sit in Christ Jesus is by faith. It is being in a position of rest in His completed work. It must be clearly understood that resting does not mean inactivity or that no change is taking place. And, it is not just growing fat in knowledge. Quite the opposite is true. “Something” is being accomplished. Something was being accomplished in Mary, the sister of Martha, “who sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.” (Lk. 10:39) Something was being accomplished in John while he rested, “leaning back on Jesus’ breast,” at the last supper. (Jn. 13:25)
This “something” is a quickening of the spirit.1 It is sensing a life of different measure and quality. Consider the two disciples who, unknowing at the time, talked with the resurrected Jesus at Emmaus. Eventually Christ, “sat at table with them, and when He broke bread with them…their eyes were open and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us?’” (Lk. 24:30-32) A fire was ignited within, a light was coming on. Neither Mary nor John nor the disciples were doing anything physically, but in their hearts was a stirring and a burning that greatly impacted and forever changed their lives. Mary, John, and the two disciples sat with Jesus.
Vital elements are learned and conceived here in this position of rest, for example:
Note the completed past tense of each. All of these are most critical works completed by Christ. It is here, in the personal revelation of these mysteries, that the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Christ are progressively experienced in the believer. It is the “word of truth” becoming flesh. Also important to note is it is not just with a mental assent or acknowledgement of these truths, but it is coming into their experiential reality that affects the soul and entire life. For to realize our co-crucifixion, co-death and co-burial is to defeat the compelling power of sin and the domination of man’s self-centeredness.
You see, the believer may well attempt to:
Properly learning to sit spiritually in Christ must precede the other spiritual positions of walking and standing lest frustration, weariness, and failure or routine beset us. This is because the strength of man, the manifest power of his soul, will try to compensate for spiritual lack, and this only leads to works of the flesh, the outward man, otherwise known as “dead works.” Many are the “good works” of natural man and seemingly honorable and rewardable. Man’s earthly father, Adam, in an act of disobedience to God, did eat of that Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. So now, this self-determination of “good and evil,” of right and wrong, is also being made by his descendants independently of the Spirit.
Our Lord’s provision is for the spontaneous emergence of His life, and of His life and death accomplishments of being co-crucified, co-buried, co-risen, and co-seated with the believer. Instead, believers often draw from the powers within with self-determination, self-abasement, self-righteousness, and strictly conform to laws, restrictions and codes of behavior. In addition, verses memorized from scripture are often quoted as though those words are a magic formula, thinking they can control life’s situations. There are many encouraging words and phrases in the Bible to be received by faith, but they are not intended to be used as some kind of spiritual incantation, like magicians who use the word abracadabra when performing magic tricks. (By the way, abracadabra is a Hebrew word which translates, “I create what I speak.”)
Soul power is no substitute for His power. It only leads to dead works. In the end, dead works will not follow into eternity but will perish. See 1 Cor. 3:11-15
The problem being that those engaged in such works of the flesh, dead works, may not realize it, for to them it seems “normal.” It is like all things of the natural man, he deems certain acts as good and worthy of commendation and other works as bad and worthy of disdain. This is revealed in society. But this is the mind of fallen mankind, not of God. For it was, and remains, the will of God for man to eat of the Tree of Life. The fruit of this tree springs forth from within, from a new and regenerated heart, and not from a natural understanding and assessment of things. For, “out of his inner most being shall flow rivers of living water.” (Jn. 7:38) This is the spontaneous spiritual life Jesus spoke of when He said, “I come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (Jn. 10:10) And, this life, and its manner of walk, begins with learning to sit with Christ in heavenly places.
All believers in Christ have learned to appreciate the blood of Christ for the remission of sins. How precious is that blood that cleanses a darkened soul and presents it as holy unto God. But fewer believers are aware of a further working of this Lamb’s blood. As it is written, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14) O’ to know and realize the power of His cleansing blood. Shall this not be our humble prayer:
“Lord Jesus, Lamb of God, I am privileged to draw near to You, and to find my comforting rest in You. Thank you for the cleansing power of Your blood over my sins and waywardness and the impartation of Your divine life. I pray that the sprinkling of Your blood cleanse the conscience of my mind, that I might clearly distinguish what is right and wrong, good and evil, as in Your sight alone. I ask You to cause your Holy Spirit to lead me, and enlighten me, that I may follow after that which is right and acceptable to You, and that I may be equally offended by that which grieves You. Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness, make your path straight before me.” 2
1In the natural pregnancy, a quickening is the first time one feels the baby kick. There is a sensing of life within.
2As a personal note, such prayers flood my thoughts especially at times of communion where, in close worship and intimacy with Christ, we partake of Him as the Bread of Life and drink of the cup of His cleansing blood. For it is here, as we sit at His table, we share in His body, the bread of resurrected life, and drink of the cup of His blood for cleansing of the heart and mind of sin and purging of the conscience from dead works.