The Trek To The Plateau Of Blessing

May 28, 2013

When we belong to Christ Jesus, He takes it upon Himself to train us. But, in order to be trained by the Lord (and this so that we can better know Him and serve Him), we must be able to hear His instructions.

If that fact seems elementary, it should. But strangely, many Christians seem to think that they are going to grow into maturity (someday), that they are going to be able to serve God in power (someday), that they are going to be pleasing to the Lord (someday), and that they are going to be automatically walking in the will of the Lord (every day), even as they refuse to obey what they already know is required of God’s people!

Calvinism’s false doctrines about the sovereignty of God and about God’s gift to us concerning free choice have a lot to do with people’s false beliefs. However, anyone who can think, should be able to understand that goals are never reached unless strived for. It’s not the case in any area, whether it be in attaining good relationships, degrees, money, prestige, knowledge, wisdom, or anything else. Hopefully it’s obvious, at least to us as we age, that this is reality; and certainly Christians can recognize this fact both from what God’s Word tells us and from our own experiences. Then, when people insist that anyone can grow spiritually merely by basking under perpetual teaching even as they remain resting in their corner of worldliness, self-indulgence, and spiritual laziness, we can accept that they are blind and simply need to be separated from.

So, when we are genuine about belonging to Christ, we take it upon ourselves to listen to Him. This we do by choice. We submit our will to His will, our choices and decisions to His choices and decisions. In other words, we follow Christ. But of course this can be done only by listening, hearing His voice, and obeying what He says. Then because we obey, we will be trained, and we will grow.

One thing that often happens as we come into close fellowship with the Lord, is He will give us a promise, usually about a blessing He wants us to have. However, if we’re not careful, we’ll grab ahold of this promise of blessing, and in our zeal and excitement, plow forward to try to attain it. But this is not the way of the Lord. This is not the way He does things. Instead, the Shepherd takes us into places that seem contrary to what He has said.

“Look,” our Lord says to us. “See that plateau, ablaze with My glory? See that crown, that reward, that peace, that honor, that joy, that knowledge, that brilliance? It’s yours.”

“Wow, Lord, thank you,” the trainee says, and he is usually ready and eager to listen about how to reach that wonderful place.

But what happens? What happens is that the Shepherd often says, “Now wait until I give notice.” So the learner waits. And he waits and he waits and he waits. If he’s wise, he just keeps waiting. If he’s unwise, he lets impatience take over. He says, “Hmmm, I must have missed some instruction. Maybe the Lord is already way up ahead. I better set out walking.” But a person like this only finds himself lost or caught in swamps; and if he doesn’t repentantly call out to his Leader to be rescued, he will die, or he will arrive at some worldly, counterfeit plateau, and there he will remain until he dies. For this person, the Plateau of Blessing that could’ve been his, he has forfeited.

Another learner, the wise one, will wait, training himself in the Manual, until the Shepherd says, “Okay, let’s go.” But what happens then too? What happens is that often the Shepherd will turn to one side, and leading the learner down a narrow, hard path, will seem to take him away from the Plateau of Blessing. Down, down, down, the learner will be guided until dense fog is all the learner can see.

“Lord?” this learner will keep saying, and the Lord, sometimes answering in words, but often only with the touch of His staff, or the very soft plod of His feet, will continue to guide the listener, keeping him reminded that all is completely under control. And the learner, because he remembers what the Manual said, will continue advancing in calm and confident trust. (Isa. 50:10)

But what happens when this trail trek goes on for years? What happens when spots of sunlight are rare or when the learner gets weary or tempted to doubt? That depends on the choice of the learner and how diligently he listens and trusts. Does he give in to temptations, or is he disciplined about rereading the Manual at every rest stop, quoting it and rehearsing it even as he walks? Does he keep calling out for assurance of the Shepherd’s presence? Does he refuse to be frightened by the eerie sounds that come from those still living in the dark realm? Does he keep his thoughts focused on his Leader, or does he let his thoughts swerve off and wallow in sloughs of self-pity, depression, doubt, anger, and fear?

What the trainee does, where the learner advances, is about his own choice. The Shepherd has given a promise. He has not lied, for He never lies. However, the promise is attained only as the learner, in faith and trust, listens, obeys, advances, waits, follows, and continues in all these practices, using the Guide’s own power available to him. Then, and only then, will this wise trainee one day break out of the fog and see that the Plateau of Blessing is right there under his feet.

Now, let’s ask: Was the Plateau of Blessing reached by dejectedly sitting down on a rock and calling around for advice about how to find a path out of the fog?

with love,

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