Random Blog Clay Feet: March 14, 2009
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Without an Intercessor - 3

I just woke up from a very strange, and at the last a very emotionally intense dream. Upon awakening I pondered the significance of this dream and began to realize that very possibly God was drawing my attention to keeping focused on His perspective about a very dicey situation in which I have been sharing counsel and prayer with a friend of mine.

The dream involved this friend, but the situation and the other people involved were altered enough from the real-life version that it did not look very familiar to me. The offended parties in my dream were different than in real life so it caught me by surprise. I think it was intended that way.

Without divulging details that should probably remain private at this point in time about the real situation, I now see that the dream was not so much a parallel to the real-life situation as it was a reminder to allow God full access to the situation even though to all human appearances it seems totally impossible to bring about reconciliation at this point. For at the end of my very strange dream, I suddenly watched God reach into the heart of a very hardened person and draw out of them a confession of His ability to turn their heart back toward their wife that they had rejected for so long.

In my dream I was standing in the next room listening to this amazing confession and see resolution to a problem that I had been trying to work out in a much less satisfactory way that was full of compromise and potential future problems. It suddenly struck me that God's ways of resolving problems was so far superior to anything I can ever come up with that I needed to trust Him implicitly instead of trying to arrange things myself on His behalf. As the amazement overwhelmed me in my dream I began to feel an intense emotion welling up inside of me. As my wife slowly walked into the room where I was standing I just wanted to cry though I found it very difficult to do so for some reason.

But the emotion was so intense in my dream that, as is usually the case in a dream of intense emotions, I woke up and then began to try to figure out what in the world it must mean. The circumstances were so bizarre in my dream that it would make no sense at all in real life which made it very difficult to figure out at first. But then I began to sense as I prayed about it that it was not the details in the dream that were the answer but the understanding that God's solutions would be far better to trust than anything I might come up with for the nearly impossible circumstances that my friend finds himself in at this very moment. If I am to be a true intercessor, an effective friend of the Bridegroom, then I must trust His heart to bring about His desires and to listen very carefully to His Spirit as to how to cooperate with His plans instead of trying coming up with any of my own.

It is very true that God is seeking people to act in the role of friends of the Bridegroom. As I have understood the true purpose of that position over the past few years it has become very clear that this is a very exciting position to fill. Now I am beginning to see how this role is very closely blended with the idea of intercession and the true purpose and function and motives of an intercessor.

In the past two posts I have been examining some background and peripheral issues surrounding intercession as well as touching on the subject of an Investigative Judgment that many believe is happening right now. I have usually thought of this from the perspective of fear which is almost always how it has been couched by those promoting it. But the more I am shedding my context of fear in coming to know the truth about God, the more things like this begin to take on a whole different perspective and understanding. When fear is taken out of the picture then it becomes so much easier to begin to see things differently under the light of real truth. Many things can be brought to view and exciting insights begin to explode everywhere when reality is perceived in the light of a God of pure, unconditional love.

Because I have been spending a lot of time the past few weeks filling my mind with real truth about God by taking every opportunity I have to listen to speakers who have a clear perspective of the gospel much better than mine, I have been feeling a transformation taking place more quickly at my own heart level. I am sometimes amazed at how backward my own heart still is in its opinions about God compared to all the wonderful information my intellect has been exposed to over the past few years. But I also notice that the more I saturate the atmosphere of my soul with the real truth about God the easier it is for the lies about God to begin to float to the surface and be exposed for what they really are. This process is crucial for me if I am to become an effective channel of grace to attract others to want to know God more intimately.

What I am beginning to realize is that I am in training to become an intercessor for God just as Jesus is. A number of years ago it started to become evident to me that the ministry of intercession on the part of Jesus was radically different than what it had been represented to me most of my life. I had always assumed that Jesus was trying to change God's mind about me so that I could go to heaven. But now I am seeing that that kind of thinking is riddled full of all sorts of false assumptions about God, about Jesus and even about myself and my relationship with Him.

As I pointed out last time, since Jesus and the Father are very clearly on the same page in their feelings about me, there is no need for Jesus to try to change anything about God in order to save me. That would be totally superfluous. It is never God's mind that needs changing in any way as I had always thought, it is my mind and heart and opinions about God that need radical updating if I am ever to be reconciled and be able to enjoy His company for eternity. It is the myriads of lies in my own thinking about how God feels towards me that must be exposed as false and let go of if I am ever to be prepared to encounter the immense power and intensity of God's pure, passionate love and to be able to thrive in that fiery presence.

So it becomes crystal clear in this context that any interceding that may be going on between God the Father and us has to be focused entirely on altering our opinions about God, never on changing God's opinions about us in spite of all the religious talk to the contrary. God is not angry at sinners and in need of calming down, sinners are angry and hateful toward God because of their misconceptions about Him that Satan has implanted and reinforces in all the human race. It is us that needs to have our hearts cleansed from the many lies and misconceptions about God before we will be able to receive and embrace His grace and live safely in His presence.

Many parts of this puzzle have been coming together for me for many years now. My new and radically updated understanding of hell and the fire of God was a massive shift for me in freeing me to be able to love God from the heart for the first time in my life. But there are still many more lies about God that keep surfacing all the time and that need exposure and replacement with real truth. My induced fears about the judgment and my confusion about the purpose of Jesus' intercession have also been sources of confusion over the years keeping me from being more fully reconciled with God.

Some of the clearest texts concerning the intercessory role of Jesus are found in Isaiah. This is highly symbolic language and is very easily misunderstood if one does not have a corrected picture of God and His passion. But when it is viewed from a proper perspective it contains very amazing insights about the true role of an intercessor.

Yes, truth is lacking; and he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. Now the Lord saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. And He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no one to intercede; then His own arm brought salvation to Him, and His righteousness upheld Him. (Isaiah 59:15-16)

I have trodden the wine press alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their juice spattered on my garments, and stained all my robes. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year for my redeeming work had come. I looked, but there was no helper; I stared, but there was no one to sustain me; so my own arm brought me victory, and my wrath sustained me. (Isaiah 63:3-5 NRSV)

What I see clearly in these verses is that God was appalled that there was no one to be found anywhere that would be able to effectively stand up and defend His reputation. So He sent His son to reveal to the whole universe the real truth about God by living and dying as a human. The whole purpose of Jesus coming to live life as a human and to suffer the wrath of humans and demons alike while they tortured and killed Him and covered him with blood was to expose the real truth about the passion of God's love that we so often mistake for anger. But I have learned that when the Bible refers to the wrath of God it is almost always referring to the concept of passion itself which does not necessarily equate with the kind of wrath or hateful anger that we always suppose it does. It is far too easy to project our perspective of wrath onto God instead of seeking to grasp the real truth about God's passionate love for us.

These verses make it very clear that Jesus came to take things into His own hands as far as changing minds and hearts about the real truth about God. Since no one else could stand up for Him and no one was even willing to stand with Him during this process, He had to do it all alone. This became very evident during the events that transpired during the last hours of His life before He was killed on the cross. Not even His closest disciples took the time or effort to pray alongside Him for even one hour while He was in His greatest distress. He had to take on the job all alone.

But far from coming to suffer the punishments from an angry God up in heaven, Jesus came to reveal the passionate love that fills the heart of our Father in heaven by contrasting it with the effects that sin has wrought in our own psyche. When real love appeared on earth in the form of a man it was immediately met with resistance, fear and animosity on every hand. It finally came to the grand climax of a fatal collision between the lies about God contained in the hearts of all humanity and the truth about God as revealed in the life and willing death of the Son of God. Jesus has always been in the role of seeking to change our minds and hearts and opinions about how God feels towards us and His true character. This is the core of what Jesus continually referred to when He repeatedly asked people to believe all throughout His life on earth.

Over the past month or so I have been privileged to be used by God to “intercede” on His behalf to someone who had all their life been under the delusions of the enemy about Him and has been very openly hostile toward God and anything to do with Him. Because of a great emotional crisis in his life he has decided to take a new look at what might be true about God as I have shared with him what I have been learning about God myself. As I have shared the real truth about God and prayed with this person, I have been thrilled to see him open up and entertain new ideas and feelings toward God that few would have imagined even possible before.

As I have been used by the Spirit to influence this man's opinions about God and have watched God work in his life and heart, I am reminded frequently that it is not my responsibility to fix his problems but is completely God's responsibility. My role is to keep sharing with him the real truth about God in ways that are relevant to his situation and to encourage him to rethink the antagonism that he has held due to his misconceptions about God from his past.

Last night I received a phone call from him relating to me a terribly devastating turn of events in his situation which could potentially threaten to undo all the progress that he has made in his thinking. At least that was the temptation that I was faced with as I heard what was happening. But I was reminded again that this is not my problem and that I have no business taking on his burden for myself or trying to fix his situation with my ideas. I have simply been sharing with him whatever the Spirit has prompted me to do and I can relax and rest in the knowledge that God is still the same and nothing has changed at all in reality. I am learning more about what it really means to be an intercessor for God.

Intercession is for the purpose of reconciliation, whether it is in a marriage, between friends or with God Himself. This is accomplished by seeking to expose the lies and false assumptions about one party held by another and replacing those lies with truth, especially when it comes to God. To do this effectively the interceder must maintain a correct understanding of the character and feelings of the one on who's behalf they are interceding. If they allow themselves to become entangled in the triangle improperly, if they allow their own viewpoints or emotions to distract them from focusing full attention on keeping a proper perspective and communication with the one whom they are representing, their effectiveness can quickly be diminished.

This means that I must have a great deal of trust in the one in who's behalf I am interceding. I have to have total and implicit faith that God is going to be consistently and intensely interested in the reconciliation and that He is always going to prove faithful to being the way that I am representing Him to be to the other person with whom I am interceding. In fact, I myself have to be very in tune with the feelings and desires of the One I am trying to represent so that I become an accurate reflection of His heart to attract others to change their minds about my Friend.

But again, I remind myself that I must let go of all self interest if I am to be a successful intercessor. If there is anything else expected from this process for me besides joy in seeing the other two parties reconciled and united in hearts with each other, then there is a seed of betrayal present that will sooner or later spring up and cause great complications. The heart of the intercessor must be fiercely loyal to the one on who's behalf we are interceding if we are to be a true “friend of the bridegroom”.

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NRSV)

Father, I choose to be reconciled to you because of the intercession of Jesus to change my mind and heart about what you are really like. I cannot change my own heart but I trust you to do that within me as the real truth about you soaks in deeper and deeper. I also praise you and thank you for using me to be a co-intercessor with Jesus in seeking to change other people's false opinions and feelings about you. I ask that you fill me with your Spirit so that I can experience the joy of watching others be reconciled with you and with each other. This is the joy that John the Baptist shared as he watched others become more attracted to Jesus than to himself. Fill me with the spirit of a true and loyal friend of the Bridegroom like John was. Teach me and mentor me in this ministry of reconciliation for your name's sake.