2. The importance and Value of Seeing and Accepting things in God's Light (continued)
When all was accepted according to the mind of the Lord, then "the heavenly places" became the eternal expanses of his walking about, and earthly bondage gave place to heavenly freedom. So it must be with every instrument set apart in relation to the higher interests of the Lord's testimony. Then the reading of certain passages in his letters and the record of his imprisonment shows how this applied to others. Take the following:
"Be not ashamed therefore of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner" (2 Timothy 1:8).
"And he abode two whole years in his own hired dwelling, and received all that went in unto him ... teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus" (Acts 28:30).
"The Lord grant mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus: for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain, but, when he was in Rome, he sought me diligently, and found me" (2 Timothy 1:16).
Clearly the effect of these passages is that there had to be a Divine apprehension and not merely a human appraisement of Paul's position. Human levels of mentality would have produced an atmosphere of doubt, suspicion, question, and would have let in elements of false imputation. Regarded on merely natural lines, association with the prisoner would have involved such associates in the suspicion and prejudice. Doubt of the Lord's servant was very wide-spread, and even many of the Lord's people were not sure of him. But the Lord was shutting up a very vital revelation to this channel, and for such as were really in spiritual need, and such as were to stand in a living relation to a fullness of testimony from identification with Christ in death and resurrection, on to throne-union with Him in power over "Principalities, Powers," and on to the ministry "in the ages to come," there had to be a putting aside of all human, personal, and diplomatic considerations and a standing right in there with the instrument where God had put it in honorable imprisonment. For the possession of that which is to come through the vessel, there has to be a coming where the vessel is, without consideration for reputation, influence, or popularity.
In this way the Lord sifts His people and finds out who really is wholly for Himself and His testimony, and who is actuated in any measure by other considerations and interests. The instrument in this position of popular rejection is thus the Lord's means of searching out the truly needy and pure spirited. They will search it out, and it will thus meet their need.
(continued with # 3 - "Shame, Reproach and Limitation ...")