For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you.
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
There will be a progressive dying out to your own life, so that more and more you are living for the Lord.
When you first come into a walk with God, in your immaturity you draw a great deal from the Lord for your own ends.
Your self - will is still very much alive.
As you go further and further into the love of Christ, it begins to control you, and you experience an identification with Christ in His death.
You begin to die to many interests and desires.
It is not that you are losing interest in life, but you are becoming completely dedicated to the one aspect of life that Christ is bringing forth.
Your other interest may have been enjoyable and legitimate, but now you have one focus.
Before, the Lord was preeminent; now He is everything.
He is just not the top among many rivals and interests, but He is the only interest.
You are coming into one central motivation; to live wholly for the Lord.
Not another thing in the world matters to you except living for the Lord.
Consequently, Christ becomes the total absorption of your life.
To come to the place where the love of Christ controls you, there must be a death working in you.
This means that certain things will have to change.
Your fellowship with one another may be spiritual, but it is still too much on the human plane.
You genuinely like one another, and with a little encouragement you would form a mutual admiration society.
There is no question that you love the Lord and He is first, but you also hold a genuine affection for one another's personalities.
The Lord may put a worm in your gourd as He did to Jonah, and take away your source of shade ( Jonah 4:6-9 ) .
Suddenly you will find yourself sitting out there in the sun, hot and naked.
Then you could almost wish that you were dead.
Do you not understand what God is doing?
The love of Christ is beginning to control you.
Since He died for all, all died, and you do not smell good anymore.
There is never a good smell when death is around, and you are going through the work of the cross.
Consequently, you will find that your fellowship with one another on the basis which you have known will have to die.
You will look around and wonder what the matter is, but the truth of the matter is that you are just growing up.
God has brought you to a new level and a new way of relating to one another.
Verse 17 talks about the way in which you shall now relate to one another.
Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even thought we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
What does Paul mean by that?
When people are growing up in the Lord, they have difficulty relating to one another because they always try to relate to one another in the flesh.
You need not try and impress anyone.
Just move in the total, simple liberty you have in Christ, and let your motivation be to see Christ glorified in everything.
Some people are frequently critical because they see things after the flesh.
They hold evaluations that are not good.
Such individuals can become attached to a certain elder until they want to get all of their ministry from him.
There is partiality in what they accept.
When a certain ministry gives them a strong word, they get a little offended.
So they do not go to him again for a word; they go to someone whose arm they can twist until the word sounds like they want to hear it, even thought it may not have been spoken that way.
When we come to evaluate one another too much on a human plane, the Lord starts His work of the cross in us.
After awhile we come to the place of the spirit and not know one another after the flesh.
Paul said, "Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, we know Him so no longer."
When Christ was in the flesh, many people who wanted to become believers took offense at Him.
Christ never possessed sinful flesh, but He had certain fleshly characteristics.
The Lord did not please anyone because of His personality. ( No mega church built upon His personality like so many do with theirs today.)
Isaiah prophesied that He would be despised, rejected of men, and when we saw Him there would be no comeliness in Him that we should desire Him ( Isaiah 52:14; 53:2,3 ) .
The people in Jesus' day took offense at Him and went away in droves.
But the thing which they had to see, and this is what the Father willed, was that Christ had a word,
He spoke, and maybe they did not accept or understand it, but they would shake their heads and remark, "Never a man spake as this man" ( John 7:46 ).
It was a living word.
In the final analysis we must relate to the Word that God is now bringing, and to the beautiful plane of spirit where He is bringing each one of us.
Paul said, "We should no longer recognize anyone after the flesh.
We did this to Christ, but we do not even see Christ after the flesh any longer."
We have to relate to Him in the Spirit, because we do not see Him with the natural eye.
By the same token, we are not to see one another with the natural eye either, but we are to see the Christ that is coming forth, and the Christ nature is maturing within each one.
Just as we behold the Lord Himself, we should behold Him in the brothers and sisters.
The more you try to solve your little personality clashes and dissensions, the worse they will become.
You cannot solve them your way.
The Lord has intended for them to happen.
He is stirring up the nest ( Deuteronomy 32:11 ) .
Baby eagles have a ravenous appetite.
One day their mama is tired of taking care of them.
They have sprouted little feathers, and they are ready to fly away.
So she stirs up all the nice, soft down with which she has lined the nest and throws it out.
Those little eagles love that cozy nest, and when there is nothing but sharp stickers and briars left, they cry and cry.
When their mother is read to give them flying lessons, they are ready too.
So she flies up high with one of her little eagles clutching on, then lets him go.
Just before he hits the rocks she swoops down and rescues him.
Little by little his new wings are exercised, and soon he is able to fly.
But it only happened because Mama knew hot to stir up the nest until there was a certain discontent within the little eagles.
Many people would like to remain as children.
Adulthood involves taking responsibility.
When the Lord allows your responsibilities to become greater and greater, you will find that you can carry them only in the Spirit.
You cannot carry them in the flesh, or you will crack up under them.
You cannot be a ministry in the flesh, or you will break down.
The Lord must bring you to the place where you meet with only one view in mind: to know one another after the Spirit.
You will see far beyond the little personality differences that people are already outgrowing.
Just begin to love and help one another.
The more you try to relate to one another on the wrong plane, the more difficult it will be for you; and the more you just open your heart to relate to one another in what God wants to bring forth, the better off you will be.
If you do not listen to this apostolic word, you will settle down as just a group that comes together and worships, and that is as far as you will go.
You will never be the voice of God.
You will never be God's witness on the earth.
The Lord has a purpose for His Body, and because He has a purpose, if you do not move into the plane that He wants you to move in, He will let you come to the place where you simply fall apart.
You were raised up to do the will of God.
You were raised up to be the Body of Christ that would do His will.
If you do not do that, He will turn you over to so much disorder that you will fell the whole church shaking apart.
The Lord shakes all things so that we will have a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, as Hebrews 12:28 describes.
As you read this, you are seeing yourself, and you are seeing what God wants you to be.
You are going to be that witness for the Kingdom.
You are going to do His will with all your heart.
The worship and psalms that have been coming are beautiful, but there are some drastic changes to be made which you will not be able to complete in yourself.
The Lord has just stirred up the nest, and you are being pinched and stuck with briars.
It is time for you to start flying and soaring.
You must become the ministry that God has raised you up to be.
Does this make sense to you?
The answer is very clear and simple.
All you have to do is the will of God.
There are no instant answers to your problems; there is only a walk with God.
The Lord creates for you a number of problems, not that the problems have to be solved, but the problems are a coercing force to drive you into the center of His will.
Have you ever been poked with an electrified cattle prod?
The shock is enough to send you right into orbit.
When the Lord does that to you, it is for only one reason: you must get off the spiritual level you are on, and move onto the level where you are supposed to be.
When all sorts of problems begin to come in a church, look to the great Shepherd.
Maybe He is just prodding you, demanding a far higher level of spiritual living from you.
You are being prodded to seek His face earnestly and move into what He has for you with all your heart.
The Lord is removing the veil so that we will not be a congenial group who thinks they are doing just fine.
We shall become that vigorous segment of the Kingdom of God that will do His will in the earth.
This is why we are prodded into it.
We shall not settle down to be another church movement.
We are the vanguards of the Kingdom.
As soon as the community becomes tolerant of us, we are in danger of missing God.
If we really want to do the will of the Lord, we must continue to be revolutionaries.
We are not deliberately trying to antagonize people, but we are throwing figurative Molotov cocktails at Babylon.
We are rising up to do the will of God, and the minute that our lives begin to slip into a nice little pattern, and everything appears to be going fine, we are in a bad situation.
The Lord is stirring us up.
The pilgrim spirit of being constantly on the move and reaching for new levels will be with us for a long time.
This is an era of fantastic potentials for change.
After awhile that potential for change will be taken away.
But for the present time, God is doing a quick work in the earth, and He must cut these days short.
If He does not, no flesh will be saved alive ( Matthew 24:22 ) .
The timetable must be speeded up so that the will of God is really accomplished before the whole human race self-destructs or is destroyed by satanic inspiration.
The Lord will constantly prodding you to get with it, and if you do not move out and start doing what God wants you to do, He will start disrupting you.
He will disturb you, and you will be grieved, not knowing what the matter is but continually feeling that something is wrong.
It is the prod that God is putting on you.
You have this potential to change quickly if you will.
If you will seek the face of the Lord, you can move from glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit ( II Corinthians 3:18 ) .
You can expose yourself as a worshiper to the Lord and be so transformed that someone who rarely visits you will scarcely be able to comprehend how much change has taken place in you.
If this transformation does not take place, you are not going to be what God wants you to be.
Every day of our lives counts for the Kingdom.
No member of the Body is insignificant or of no importance.
We are not much, but we are all that God has, and He is going to make the most of us.
He can start with a few weak members, and when He is through, He will upset the strong.
He starts with a few foolish people, and when He is finished, He will confound the wise ( I Corinthians 1:27 ) .
God is making us to be instruments in His hand, and He will not let us settle down into something less than what he wants us to be.
We should be very grateful for the way that God is pressuring the churches right now.
Let Him keep right on shaking them.
If they will not change, let them be shaken to pieces.
There is nothing that justifies our existence in this walk with God if we are not going to do His will.
The number of churches in this walk with God does not matter.
God is not limited to save by many or to save by few ( I Samuel 14:6 ) .
He can perform His will with only one church if that is all that remains after the shaking.
One church doing the will of God could stand and prophesy, and change the whole course of the United States of America, and ultimately the whole world.
It is very much our responsibility to have faith for it.
If we are not going to do His will, then God will start shaking us.
He will shake us until we do His will, or He will shake us apart.
It is either His will or nothing at all.
I do not want this walk with God to go the route of another denomination.
Let God shake it instead.
It would be better for this walk to die than fail to do the word that God has spoken.
We are going to do the will of the Lord.
We shall be the ministries that God has raised us up to be, or we shall not be anything at all.
This word should explain what we are going through, and the reasons for it.
How simple it is to start seeking the Lord with all of our hearts.
We must never become so sophisticated in our walk with God that we lose that first zeal.
We are not building churches; we are deeply involved in building the Kingdom of God.
It does not matter what this or that church is doing.
All of us must blend together for one purpose; we are believing in our generation to see the Kingdom of God come forth.
This walk in the Spirit could suddenly break loose and become a tidal wave at any moment.
Would we be ready for it?
Would there be enough dedicated ministries?
Do we know the Word?
Do we know the gospel of the Kingdom?
Are we ready to go?
We must refuse any passivity and dig in with all our hearts.
There has to be a diligence and a dedication in our hearts to press in until we are the people that God can use to minister Himself to the whole world.
The nations will feel the impact of hundreds of young prophets prophesying the word of the Lord.
They are being prepared n the School of the Prophets.
God is circumcising their hearts and getting them ready.
Nice little churches are changing into spiritual army camps, ready to fight, ready t do the will of the Lord.
If we learn to relate to this now, we will be ready to move when the time comes.
It could be a disaster with worldwide consequences that would suddenly shock us into speaking the word of the Lord to the whole earth.
Do you feel in your heart that you want above everything else to do the will of the Lord?
Search your heart and pray, "God, take out every response, every bit of focus upon my problems, and let me see why they ave come.
I shall set my heart to seek You and rise up to a new level."
Those little eagles never had to worry about the nest sticking them after they learned to fly.
Then they could find a better perch for themselves.
An eagle that knows how to fly does not have to worry about crossing a river.
He does not even have to worry about the rain; he can fly above it.
He soars above all the problems that plagued him below, because he has decided to live in another realm.
That is what you must do.
If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above ( Colossians 3:1) .
Do not try to solve your problems by yourself.
When one another's flaws seem to be magnified and emphasized, there is only one answer: Ignore them.
Rise to a new level.
Walk with God.
There is no other way.
- You can completely cut off everything that has existed by rising above it.