Learning to Live in the Kingdom
Dec 11, 2013
One One Thing
Nov 26, 2013
Living in the Faith Lane
Oct 24, 2013
For Years, spirit-filled Christians have gone to great lengths to convince Jesus to manifest Himself in their lives. They've cried and begged. They've prayed and fasted. They've sung Hymn No. 247 countless times. (Once when Grandma sang it Jesus manifested Himself and they're hoping He'll do it again.) They've jerked and kicked and run the aisles of the church. :: For a long time I was right in the middle of it all. So I can tell you firsthand what happened as a result. Nothing.
None of that stuff ever did any good because Jesus never told us to do it. He never said, "I'll manifest Myself to those who cry the loudest or fast the longest." What He said was this: "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (John 14:21).
Those verses make it plain that Jesus desires to reveal Himself to us. He's not withholding Himself in any way. He's made Himself totally available. So, if we're not enjoying His manifested presence and power in our lives there can only be one reason: We're not doing what He said. We're not keeping His commandments.
Why aren't we?
For one thing, a lot of Christians aren't completely clear about what commandments they need to keep. The only ones they know much about are the 10 listed in the Old Testament. But Jesus had much more than that in mind. When He told us to keep His commandments, He was talking about everything He tells us to do in the written WORD or by direction of the Holy Spirit—including what He said in John 13:34: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."
That particular command is especially vital. It's at the heart of all Jesus said and did because He is love. Therefore, to keep His commandments is to live in manifested love.
"Oh, Brother Copeland, that sounds hard! I couldn't possibly do it!"
Yes, you can. I can too, and here's why: God has called, equipped and empowered us to do it. He's put His own love on the inside of us (John 17:23). He's shed His love abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5).
God never planned for us to try to keep any of His commandments on our own. He intends to keep them for us, with us and through us by the power of His Spirit dwelling in us. And He is well able to do it! He is able to fulfill the command of love through us just like He did through Jesus.
Sent to Bring THE BLESSING
As Jesus' disciples, we have the same spiritual equipment He had when He was on earth. He didn't have any special, supernatural advantage. Like us, He was completely dependent on the power and Anointing of God. "I can do nothing of Myself," He said. "The Father who dwells in Me does the works. I only say what I hear My Father say. I only do what I see My Father do."
So let's think about this for a moment. Exactly what was it that Jesus saw and heard from the Father that made Him the perfect manifestation of love? What was the primary direction He received from God about His mission on earth?
Simply this: He was sent to bless us.
Acts 3:25-26 confirms it. There Peter, preaching about Jesus to the Jews in Jerusalem on Pentecost, said this: "Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities" (emphasis mine).
According to those verses, THE BLESSING has always been paramount in God's mind. (As He told me one day, that's why it's on Page 1 of the Bible.) From the very beginning, His purpose for Abraham's seed (meaning Jesus) was to bless all the families of earth.
Jesus knew that! He'd seen it in the Scriptures. He'd heard His Father say to mankind in the book of Genesis, Be blessed! "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion" (Genesis 1:28). THE BLESSING was Jesus' assignment. He'd been sent by God to restore what had been lost in the Garden of Eden through Adam's sin. He'd been sent to bless us!
Do you think Jesus did anything apart from that assignment?
No! Every breath He took, every word He spoke, everything He did was done in the light of what God sent Him to do. That's the reason He went to the Cross. He did it to redeem us from the curse...that THE BLESSING of Abraham might come on the gentiles through Him (Galatians 3:13-14).
Alert: Blessing Robbery in Progress
Keeping in mind that Jesus' mission is to bless, let me ask you something. Why would He say what He did in John 14:21? Why would He command, order, direct or tell us to do anything?
I'll tell you why. Because He's called us to carry on His assignment!
That's right. Everything Jesus tells us to do is for the purpose of causing the empowerment of THE BLESSING to excel in us. His every command is given so that THE BLESSING will manifest through us because that's the way He manifests Himself.
Take, for example, the instructions in Matthew 18:15: "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother." Why did Jesus give us that command? Because this is a blessing-robbing situation in progress. The devil has lured someone into sin and the curse. Jesus' assignment, and ours, is to restore THE BLESSING to that brother. So He told us how to go about it.
"Yeah, but I don't feel like blessing that jerk," you might say. "I'm still mad at him."
This doesn't have anything to do with your feelings! If Satan can get you to follow your feelings, he'll take hold of your emotions and kill you with them. He'll make you act like the people Jesus talked about in Matthew 13:15 whose "ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted...."
As a believer, you don't belong in that spiritually blind and deaf group! You belong in the group Jesus described in the next verse. You're one of the people He was talking about when He said, "But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear."
What is it you're seeing and hearing?
God's WORD—The WORD of the Kingdom (verse 19). It causes you to be blessed because when you hear it and open your heart to it, you are converted. You change! At least, I hope you do. I made up my mind 45 years ago that I would. As a result, The WORD of God has changed the way I think and speak. It changes the way I act. It changes the way I look at things.
Once I know what God says I should do, I do it, in Jesus' Name. It doesn't matter if I like it or not. This isn't about what I like. This is about manifesting Jesus!
Unusual Attitude Recovery Training
Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that God sets out to make us do things we don't like. He's not trying to beat us up and make life hard for us. He's out to help us.
That's what His WORD is all about. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, it's "given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for... correction." The word translated correct in that verse means "to set right again, to put straight."
As a pilot, I go to recurrent flight training a couple of times every year. One of the Federal Aviation Administration mandated exercises I go through is what they call Unusual Attitude Recovery Training. It teaches pilots to deal with unintentional upsets of the airplane.
Such upsets happen when a pilot gets distracted and the plane does something he didn't mean for it to do. Say, for example, the pilot starts looking down at the area he's flying over, trying to find a particular landmark. He takes his eyes off the instruments that indicate his speed. Because he's in the air, he doesn't sense that the plane is slowing down. To make things worse, he's inadvertently pulling back on the yoke while he's looking outside.He puts the plane in an upward bank, or nose-up attitude, where it can stall at a higher speed than if it were level.
Sure enough, that's exactly what happens. The aircrafts stalls, flips up and goes into a spin. The pilot is caught off guard because he didn't expect it to happen. By the time he realizes what's going on, the plane is too low. He doesn't have enough altitude to recover.
Recovery training teaches pilots how to handle that kind of situation and survive. It prepares them to respond to the upset in a way that straightens out the airplane and sets it right again.
God's WORD does the same thing. It straightens you out when some unexpected circumstance upsets you and everything goes haywire. It teaches you how to set things right when you're cruising along, thinking you've learned how to walk by faith and love, and someone says something ugly to you. Suddenly, you're fighting mad and feeling a vengeance you didn't know you were capable of. You're thinking, One more word from you, Jack, and I'll lay hands on you so hard you won't know what hit you!
At times like that, you're like the pilot we talked about. You can't trust your senses. You can't act on what you feel because your feelings are wrong! So what do you do? You disregard your emotions and act on the commands God gave you in His Training Manual. You call on the Name of The LORD Jesus Christ, get hold of your emotions and fly by The WORD.
"But Brother Copeland, what if the circumstances keep getting worse?"
It doesn't matter. Don't ever quit. Just slap a smile on your face and say, "I'm going to love just because Jesus commanded me to. My feelings will have to get in line."
Have you ever read what Job said when the devil slammed him into a tailspin? At the worst moment of his life, with boils on his skin, having lost his wealth and his family, listening to his wife tell him to curse God and die, he said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15).
Job didn't have nearly as much revelation as we do. He didn't know the devil had become so furious about THE BLESSING that was on his life. He had no idea he'd become Satan's target. Job didn't even realize he was in the middle of a spiritual war.
But, even so, when he said those words, he won. When he made the decision, "I'm going to serve God no matter what happens," he got the victory. THE BLESSING that had once made him the richest man in the world went back to work and made him twice as rich as he'd been before—in every way.
If Job could make that decision, how much more can we? We have the Name of Jesus, the power of the Holy Ghost, the blood of the Lamb, and the written WORD of God! We have a Lord and Savior who's been sent by God to bless us!
Everything He says and does, everything He directs and commands, every correction He gives us is meant to bring THE BLESSING into greater manifestation in us and through us. Jesus is so consumed with blessing us that in His last moments on earth as He ascended to heaven with His disciples watching: "He lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them,he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven" (Luke 24:50-51).
Think of it. Jesus was still preaching and pronouncing THE BLESSING as He departed earth and went through the gates of glory. He was still saying, "Be blessed! Be fruitful! Multiply! Replenish the earth with My goodness! Manifest Me by manifesting THE BLESSING to every creature in every nation on earth!"
We don't have to cry and beg Jesus to manifest Himself to us and through us. That's what He came to do. It's why we're here. So let's get busy fulfilling our purpose. Let's keep His commandments and commit ourselves to staying in love with one another no matter what. Let's walk in manifested love and bring THE BLESSING to a planet full of people who are in desperate need of it.
Then we will all see Jesus.