Pastor Francis Frangipanehttp://www.inchristsimage.org/
Standing Behind Our Wall
The sense of distance we often feel between Christ and ourselves is an
illusion. As we enter the days prior to Christ's Second Coming, the Lord
shall begin to remove that falsehood. Indeed, He promises, "In that day
you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you" (John
The Scriptures tell us that Christ is the vine, we are the branches; He is
the head, we are His body; He is the Lord and we are His temple. From
start to finish, the Bible declares the Lord not only has a dwelling in
heaven, but that He also abides perpetually in redemptive union with His
people. The ever-present focus of His activity is to guide us into oneness
Thus, for all that the Holy Spirit has come to establish in our lives,
whether through gifts, virtue or power, His highest purpose is to lead us
into the Presence of Jesus. The Holy Spirit labors ceaselessly to
establish intimacy between ourselves and the Lord Jesus. Someone once
said that "intimacy" means "into-me-see." This holy transparency fills
the letters and words of the Bible with the heartthrob of God. Like sheep,
we actually hear the Shepherd's voice speaking to our spirits, bringing
comfort, correction and direction (see John 10:27).
Not only are we privileged to know Christ's teachings; He is so close to
us in spirit that we can discern the tone of His voice as He instructs us.
This is heart-to-heart intimacy. Listen to His wonderful promise:
"I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as
the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the
sheep" (John 10:14-15).
Jesus says, "I know My own, and My own know Me. . ." How intimate is this
relationship? The union between Christ and our hearts is of the same
quality as His union with the Father. He says it is, "even as the Father
knows Me and I know the Father."
Yet, the sense of distance between Jesus Christ and us persists. You may
have prayed, "Lord, You said You are with us forever but I feel alone. I
cannot perceive You." If Christ is within us, how can we find the living
flame of His Presence?
In the Song of Solomon, this quest to find the secret place of His
Presence is given wonderful expression. The bride says, "Listen! My
beloved! Behold, he is coming, climbing on the mountains, leaping on the
hills! My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag" (Song of Sol. 2:8-9).
This is our Lord, full of vitality! He is "climbing on the mountains,
leaping on the hills." To see Him on mountains, though, is still to behold
Him from afar. He is still distant. How do we live in a moment-by-moment
sense of His indwelling Presence? We still ask, "Where are You, Lord,
The bride continues,
"Behold, he is standing behind our wall, he is looking through the
windows, he is peering through the lattice" (Song of Sol. 2:9).
Yes, Christ dwells within us, but He is standing behind our "walls." The
walls between us and the Savior are primarily the work of unrenewed minds
and hardened hearts. We have barricaded ourselves behind fears and carnal
attitudes; we are held hostage by sin and worldly distractions.
Yet these barriers can be eliminated. To the degree they are removed, we
possess oneness with Christ and experience true spiritual advancement.
Removing The Walls
Even now, let us pursue the removal of these barriers. How? Imagine that,
even as you are reading, the Lord Himself has quietly entered a nearby
room. You look, and suddenly the room is vibrant and alive, shimmering
with waves of light. Instantly, your senses are flooded with His Holy
Presence as the living, probing light enters you and descends into your
heart. The darkness that shrouded your inner sin nature is gone and your
heart is exposed.
My question: Knowing that Jesus Christ is in the room, would you enter?
If you could not bring yourself to move toward the room, what would be
your reason? If it is because you feel you have failed the Lord too many
times, then shame has become a "wall" between you and Christ. If fear
keeps you distant, then fear is the barrier between God and you; if an
unrepentant heart is keeping you from intimacy with Christ, then heart
hardness is your cause of isolation.
Remember, the pure in heart see God (Matt. 5:8). If we repent of our wrong
attitudes and sins; if, instead of shame and fear, we clothe ourselves
with the garments of praise and salvation, the barriers between ourselves
and the Lord shall be removed.
But let me ask you a second question: How would you enter Christ's
It is my opinion that we would not pick up tambourines and dance into His
glory. No. When the greatest apostles and prophets beheld Him, His
Presence caused each to fall face down as a dead man before Him. For me,
to approach the room of His Presence, would come with great trembling. I
would inch my way closer.
With the Glance of Your Eyes
Most of us sincerely love the Lord and are thankful for all He has done.
However, most of us are more comfortable celebrating what Jesus has done
than accepting who He desires to be to us. We sing of His victories and
teach of His mercies, yet rarely do we quiet our hearts and surrender to
His Presence. We want Him near enough to protect us, but not so close that
we are conscious of His Presence.
As awesome and liberating as it is to know what Jesus has done for us,
until we actually surrender ourselves to Him, our religion will never be
more than a "history lesson." We will never possess more within us than
our commitment to be "good."
Religion is not enough. It satisfies neither us nor Christ. Jesus wants to
also know us.
You say, But He does know us! In His omniscience, He knows everything. But
in His love, He seeks to know us as beings living in unbroken union with
Him. He has the right to our souls, our secrets, and our dreams. He wants
the person we are when no one else is looking. Yet, He will not force
Himself. This is not the way of love.
This interpenetration of our lives in Him and His life in us is the only
destiny with which Christ is content. At the end of the age, everything
short of oneness with Christ will appear as sin.
God is Love
I know the fear of the Lord and that it is the beginning of true
knowledge. But I also know that God is love. The apostle who fell before
Jesus as a dead man on the Isle of Pathos now tells us, "There is no fear
in love" (1 John 4:18).
The Lord knows our fear of Him is a strong deterrent from sin and a
wonderful ally in walking uprightly. Yet, to draw near to Him we must know
more than the fear of God; we must know His love. God's love is perfect.
It "casts out fear, because fear involves punishment." John tells us that
"the one who fears is not perfected in love" (v. 18).
When it comes to entering the Presence of God, it is to be expected that
fear, guilt, or shame should seek to hold us hostage to sins. But as we
believe in the love God has for us "in the brightness of His mercy" the
shadows of our past cannot exist.
Earlier I asked, If Christ were in the room, would you enter? How would
you enter? We spoke of our sin, fear and shame being barriers. These are
due to our perception of ourselves. Yet, when the thought first awakened
within you, that you could enter His presence, something also awakened in
Him. He says,
"You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; you have made my
heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes" (Song of Sol. 4:9).
Your glance, even if it was no more than the briefest anticipation of
being with Him, made His heart beat faster. The King James Version reads,
"Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my
heart with one of thine eyes."
Jesus is not returning simply to destroy wickedness; He is coming for a
bride. At the end of the age our task is not simply to prepare for the
rapture or the tribulation but for Christ! You see, there is nothing more
important to Jesus Christ than His bride, the church. He died for her. He
lives to make intercession for her. His love proved itself capable and
worthy of winning our full redemption. Our most noble task is to surrender
to the love that reaches to us.
Longing For Jesus How shall we respond? I am thinking of Mary Magdalene's
love for Jesus. Yes, here in the love Jesus has for Mary, and in her
response, we see flashes of Christ's love for the church.
Mary is at Jesus' empty tomb. The apostles came, looked into the
sepulchre, and went away bewildered. But Mary lingered, weeping. It is
noteworthy that Jesus did not immediately come to the apostles; He came
first to a woman. It tells us Jesus responds to love more than position;
He comes first to those who want Him most. The apostles went away
wondering, but there was something in Mary's inconsolably broken heart
that Jesus Himself was drawn to.
In her sorrow she did not recognize Him. He said, "Woman, why are you
weeping? Whom are you seeking?" (John 20:15) Blinded by her tears, she
supposes Jesus is the gardener.
"Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I
will take Him away."
Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew,
"Rabboni," (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to
Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father." - John 20:15-17
The instant Mary sees the Lord she clings to Him. And here is the most
astounding event: Christ interrupted His ascent into heaven to answer this
woman's love! Jesus said, "Stop clinging to Me. . . I have not yet
In His next appearance, Jesus appears to the disciples. He tells them,
"touch me." This manifestation is after He has returned from His journey
into heaven; "but for Mary, He broke protocol to be with her! I am
staggered by this: En route to the Father, Jesus stopped to respond to her
heart! This is the nature of His love. His passion for His bride rules His
every thought and action! We are the "joy set before Him" (Heb 12:2). For
us, He despised the burden of humiliation and shame; for us, He endured
the anguish of the cross. In so doing, Jesus demonstrated that His love
for the church is the highest, most powerful law of His kingdom!
It is His passion for the church that compels Him to come for us in the
rapture. Yet, as He broke "protocol" for Mary, so He reveals His heart. If
we will be satisfied with nothing less than Christ, it is Christ we shall
possess. He will come to us. Of all the marvels in this universe, the
greatest is the love Christ has for His church. Though He is standing
behind our walls, yet the glance of our eyes, makes His heart beat faster!
Oh Lord Jesus, forgive me for using Your gifts for myself, while
withholding myself from Your love. Lord, I will love You with a perfect
love, for my love is the love with which You first loved me.
"Who is this that grows like the dawn, as beautiful as the full moon, as
pure as the sun, as awesome as an army with banners?" (Song of Solomon