Friday, December 3, 2010

Development Is Primarily Relational by Graham Cooke

God wants us to know Him in the same way that He knows us. In every circumstance there is an inbuilt summons to an upgrade in our experience of Him. He is always making overtures to us that demonstrate His love, joy and favor over our lives. He loves His people. He seeks our enjoyment of being through our encounter and experience of Him in the rough and tumble of life.

In every circumstance I have one question in my heart. “What is it Lord that you want to be for me now that you couldn’t be at any other time?” Every situation is also an invitation. God makes overtures to us through every circumstance. Revelation of Him and His nature surrounds us in life. It is impossible to escape truth and a true knowledge of God. The Holy Spirit is simply too good at what He does. He is the spirit of disclosure (John 16:13). He adores Jesus and is endlessly fascinated with His work in our lives.

He is the spirit of wisdom and revelation that illuminates every situation. Loving the Holy Spirit is as vital as loving the Father and the Son. They cannot be separated but must be both collectively and individually encountered and experienced. The Holy Spirit is a genius at life.  He knows everything about everything and He can do anything! Amazing person. Extremely enthusiastic and totally encouraging to be around.

Revelation is insight; that flash of perception that opens us up to see more than our circumstances. Perception leads us to trust in the Lord as the first requirement of life (Proverbs 3:5). Our heart always comes first. God never speaks to the head without first opening up our heart. The inner man has insight into the inner workings of God. Perception then leads to understanding. Our mind is renewed and begins tracking with our heart. Trust becomes faith and we become more specific in our dialogue with the Lord. At some point faith produces encounter where we are exposed to God’s Presence. He loves to be in the moment with us. Encounter makes us fully persuaded about Who God is for us and certain about what He will do in the situation.

Encounter guarantees all our next series of ongoing experiences that should open up to us because of the situation. Every problem has provisions because every situation is an invitation to know God relationally. These experiences of love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, favor etc. etc., increases our hope. That is; becoming fully persuaded leads to expectation which is the expansion of territory both within and without.

True knowledge must involve encounter and experience or it is mostly cerebral. I read a particular book, “Tortured for Christ”, which was the story of Richard Wurmbrandt who was imprisoned by the Soviets in a camp in Siberia. The book gave me an idea, a picture, a sense of the man. Then I was fortunate to meet him and spend a few hours talking. That encounter gave me a depth of experience that catapulted my understanding of him to a whole different level. When I re-read his book, I saw things and felt things that were simply not available to me before. Scripture works in the same way. 

An academic study of the bible reveals some things of value. However, an encounter with the author open up the book to something more than a cerebral understanding. In every encounter with Jesus we hear the same spirit of revelation opening us up to hunger for fresh experiences of the beauty and the wonder of God. We do not get our revelation of God from our experience of Him. We get our experience of God from His revelation of Himself. 

Every situation involves a relational invitation to experience Him and know who He is for us now. Every circumstance has a primary and secondary goal. The primary goal is to upgrade our relationship with the Lord. The secondary goal is the dealing with the purpose of the situation itself. When we concentrate on the real invitation and set our heart to know Him then we grow up in all things in Christ (Ephesians 4:15). We become a sweet fragrance of Him everywhere we go (2 Corinthians 2:15). We grow in relationship first. This ongoing process of encounter leads to regular experiences of the Christ which empowers us to be made in His image (Romans 8:29).

When we put relationship with God before resolution of the circumstances then we have used the situation properly rather than being used by it. If we reverse that process, then we often gain nothing. Our circumstances seldom get resolved and our capacity to really know Jesus has not increased. Worst still, we may have to repeat the circumstance at a later date.

The process by which revelation becomes true in our experience is always situational. There is always more at stake than our present circumstances. Upgrading our relationship with God now opens us up to a new level of life in the Spirit for tomorrow. Wisdom is the capacity to see what God sees; think in the same way; and act in alignment with His purpose. All those experiences are primarily relational. God is not in the business of making us strong so that we can challenge our circumstances. Rather He seeks to be our strength relationally so that He overcomes in us and through us.

True knowledge is the sum of the process being made real in us. Insight produces perception and trust. That leads to understanding, renewal of thinking and faith. From there we can move into an encounter with Presence which makes us relationally, fully persuaded of Who God is for us and what He wants to do in the circumstances. That leads us into a new level of ongoing experience that partners us with expectation (hope!). The end result of the process is increased expectation and true knowledge of Christ within so that we are matured by every circumstance of life.

What is it that God wants to be for you now that He could not be at any other time? The answer to your current situation is first of all relational. Stay in this place until you get a breakthrough in your perception of who God is for you. Life always begins there!

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