How We Get the Light of Life (continued with (a and b)
Look at the grain of wheat. When it has fallen into the ground, loot at what happens to it. Do you think it is pleasant? What is happening? It is losing its own identity. You cannot recognize it. Take it out and have a look at it. Is this that lovely little grain of wheat I put into the ground? What an ugly thing it has become! It has lost all its own identity, lost its own cohesiveness; it is all falling to pieces. How ugly! Yes, that is what death does. This death of Christ as it is wrought in us breaks up our own natural life. It scatters it, pulls it to pieces, takes all its beauty away. We begin to discover that, after all, there is nothing in us but corruption. That is the truth. Falling apart, we are losing all that beauty that was there from the natural point of view, perhaps, as men saw it. It is no pleasant thing to fall into the ground and die. That is what happens.
"But if it die ... " "if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also life with Him" (Romans 6:8). We shall share His life, take another life, and then a new form is given, a new life; not ours, but His. It is a crisis. I do urge upon you to have real dealings with the Lord about this matter. But if you do, expect what I have said. Expect that you are going to fall to pieces. Expect that the beauty you thought was thee will be altogether marred. Expect to discover that you are far more corrupt than ever you thought you were. Expect that the Lord will bring you to a place where you cry, "Woe is me for I am undone!" But then the blessing that will come will just be this - O Lord, the best thing that can happen for me is that I shall die! And the Lord will say, "That is exactly what i have been working at. I cannot glorify that corruption. "This corruption must put on incorruption" (1 Corinthians 15:53), and that incorruption is the germ of that Divine Divine life in the seed which yields its own life up, that is transmitted from Him. God is not going to glorify this humanity. He is going to make us like Christ's glorious body. That is far too deep, and too much ahead, but our point is that there has to be this crisis if we are coming to the glory, God's end.
(b) The Process
Then there is going to be a process. The Lord Jesus said, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me": and in so saying He was not wrong in principle. That the Cross is something taken up or entered into once for all is true, as to the crisis in which we say, Lord I accept once for all what the Cross means! But we are going to find that after the crisis, the all-inclusive crisis, day by day the Cross has to be adhered to, and the Cross is working out in those afflictions and sufferings which the Lord is allowing to come upon His people. He has put you in a difficult situation in His sovereignty; a difficult situation with some relation. Beloved, that is the outworking of the Cross in your experience, in order to make a way for the Lord Jesus to have a larger place. It is going to make a way for His patience, the endurance of Christ, for the love of Christ. It is going to make a way for Him; and you have not to go to your knees every morning and say, "help, Lord, get me out of this home, get me out of this business, get me out of this difficulty! you are to say, Lord, if this is the Cross in its expression for me today, I take it up today. Facing the situation like that, you will find there is strength, there is victory, the cooperation of the Lord, and there is fruit and not barrenness. It is in that sense that the Lord was right in principle in making the Cross a daily experience. "Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple" - one of My taught ones, one learning Me! So that the taking up of this difficulty, whatever it be, day by day, is the very way in which I am learning Christ, and it is the process of light, the light of life, coming to know, coming to see, coming into fullness. You and I can never see and know apart from the Cross. The Cross has to clear the ground of this natural life. The Lord knows what we would do if He lifted away the cross from us every day. I wonder what we would do.
It may not be just the later New Testament phraseology, or way of putting it, to speak of our daily cross, bearing my cross daily. The principle may more truly be that it is the Cross which is given to Him and becomes mine daily. That may be true, but it just works out this way. If the Lord lifted that which is the expression of the Cross for us day by day and took it off our shoulders, it would not be for our good. It would at once clear the way for the uprising of the natural life. You can see when people begin to get a bit of relief from trial. How they throw their weight about! They get on stilts, they are looking down on you; you are wrong, they are right. Pride, self-sufficiency, all comes up. Well then, what about Paul! I look up to Paul as a giant, spiritually. Beside that man we are puppets spiritually. Yet, Paul, spiritual giant that he was, humbly confessed that the Lord sent him a messenger of satan to buffet him, a stake through his flesh, lest he should be exalted above measure. Yes, spiritual giants can exalt themselves if the Lord does not see to it and take precautions. And in order to keep the way of that great revelation opened and clear, that it might grow and grow, the Lord said, "Paul, I must keep you down very low, very much under limitation; it is the only way: immediately when you begin to get up, Paul, you are going to limit the light, spoil the revelation."
Well, there is the principle. The light of life. It is His life: and so again the apostle says, "Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body." (2 Cor. 4:10).
His life is what we need, and with the life comes light. It is light by life. There is no other Divine light, only that which comes out of His life within us, and it is His death wrought in us that clears the way for His life.
I must close there. See again God's end; light, glory, the fullness coming in. It is in Christ. The measure of the light, the measure of the glory, is going to be the measure of Christ, and the measure of Christ is going to depend entirely upon what space the Lord can find for Himself in us. And for space to be made for Him, we must come to the place where the utterness of the setting aside of the self-life has been accomplished: and that takes a whole lifetime. But blessed be God, there is the glorious climax, when He shall come to be glorious in His saints and to be marveled at in all them that believe. Marveled at! Having the glory of God! Oh, may something of the light of that glory fall upon our hearts now to encourage and comfort us in the way, to strengthen our hearts to go on in the knowledge of His Son, for His Name's sake.
(continued with # 28 - "An Open Heaven")
Note from the Shepherd's Disciple: We can read the Bible all day, every day, and half the night; we can pray all day, every day, and half the night; we can listen to a pastor preach every Sunday, but "being transformed into the likeness of Christ will never be real to us until we are led to experience this "crisis" within our own heart, soul, and mind. And this is what Christ is leading us to - to experience "living in Him", to understand and know what it is to be transformed into Him. And oh, the pleasures of being in Him make the "crisis" so heavenly wonderful! We don't realize this until after the fact, but stay with Jesus. He does bring us through and then ... we can't stop praising Him!