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Sunday, April 12, 2009


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

God's further graces begin in servanthood. There is no short-cut, no detour. God writes the system; we obey or disobey.

Servanthood is the realization that God is Lord. When He is in fact Lord, then the believer acknowledges Him to be in utter control of the entire life.

Lord is Lord. God is God. Master is Master. Yet these are the divine titles which we tend to overlook in favor of the more comfortable titles such as Savior, Redeemer, Friend. Nevertheless, the more demanding titles are just as much a crucial part of deity's nature as the ones we deem "more comfortable".

Submitting to this divine sovereignty is to understand one's lowly yet serene estate before the King. Practically lived out this becomes the proof of our Christian witness. It is the stuffings of our religious integrity. All else is merely supportive material.

When one has decided for certain that God is Chief Executive Officer, then he bows before His awesome authority willingly--constantly. All directives--every one: minor and major--therefore originate in the eternal Mind. As His kingdom's slave, one then breathes to yield to His scepter without argument at all times.

On the other hand, the wily carnal mind demands to live out God's rule. This is the old Eden game posited by the snake, yet still very much in vogue in every generation of churchmen and women. Such is a fumbling, foolish project; nevertheless, it is persisted in by scores every day.

Such a stance seeks to recognize God, yet refuses to permit God to rule. This is the wretched double-minded state warned of in Scripture.

Continuing in such spiritual schizophrenia is a well-kept private misery of the soul. It is testifying to knowing God, on the one hand, yet consciously refusing to allow Him to be Monarch.

Christians in such on-going agony are a contradiction to their own creed. God is God, they profess boldly; yet in the work-a-day He is not. Because of this fact, their consciences reprimand them for such audacious rebellion.

The only remedy for this inner turmoil is for one to genuinely surrender the mortal's claim to self-rule so that God indeed may reign fully. When this is purposefully realized, the Holy Spirit then cleanses the soul of its carnal disease. It is a miraculous cure of the human spirit.

In place of the carnal malady enters the promised peace of servantship. Such relief is sighed for daily by the Spirit for His children of grace. Yet only the few take advantage of the kind Spirit's intercession to the throne (Romans 8).

Maintaining this lowliness is the sanctified believer's moment-by-moment willful choice. However, sadly at any time the believer may foolishly attempt again to "play God"; if this occurs, the old misery returns to haunt the soul's dark closet.

On the other hand, if the Christian truly maintains his earnest surrender before God, actual holiness becomes an on-going lifestyle. That which may have begun in conflict--the wrestling of the human will against the divine will--yields to a sweet resignation.

Experiencing this grace is the original plan of Creator God for His own. Yet often one journeys through pain of soul conflict to reach the Father's first intention for His own.

When completely surrendered, knowing the Spirit possess all, the believer inwardly senses the imparting of marvelous grace. Outwardly, others witness it lived out in the disciple's real-life.

Over time, this grace grows into saintliness. To be saintly is to so build a life of servanthood under God so that that lifestyle becomes as natural as breathing. It becomes sensitive, instinctive, normal, the "foretaste of glory divine."

Purposefully permitting the divine control constantly opens the windows of the soul to heaven's holy breezes. These bring with them God's further, more delicate, graces: self-giving, sacrifice, quietness in holiness, the culture of Christ, kindness shown, honoring the holy, communicating with angels, loving heaven with all one's being, yearning for the invisible powers to be set loose even more so in the practics of everyday.

Such welcomed winds refine and brighten, enliven and refresh. They inspire and spread spiritual health.

In that, these waftings have their own unique, precious wonder.