Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Francis Frangipane, The Transcendent Life

The Transcendent Life

Typically when I remind Christians that their core destiny is Christlikeness, most nod, affirming the general truthfulness of my statement. However, I can tell that they really do not believe becoming Christlike is the reason they exist. If they did, they would have a plan. They would be in obvious pursuit of their transformation.

Yet, when people think of their destiny, they often first think of something they will do for God, a task that involves the visible demonstration of a unique gift or ministry function. But neither our gifts nor a specific calling represent the core reality of our destiny. It is not what we do for the Lord, but what we become to Him that matters. It is this inner surrender of the heart, this deliberate turning of our soul Godward, that defines our true progress.

Our responsibilities and gifts may be as varied as the seasons of our lives - and certainly we should spend time attending to them. But I am speaking of the deeper reality that must develop within us: becoming like Christ.

I am sixty-six years old. During my life I have served God in a variety of tasks. Yet whether I was church planting or selling computers, doing odd jobs or starting a training school, I never confused my calling with my destiny. Becoming like Jesus is why we exist.

Your Life Focus
The sad fact is, we have seen ministry leaders whose gifts and callings were so powerful, so captivating, that they seemed capable of bringing Heaven itself to earth. Then, to our shock, we discovered later that these very same individuals were secretly in the grip of the most disgraceful sins. How could such things occur? When our primary goal is the development of our gifts or calling rather than our character, we become increasingly vulnerable to satanic deception.

You see, a time will come when in increasing degrees we begin to master our gifts. We learn how to preach and prophesy effectively; we can minister in perfect pitch in song or praise. We even master the tears of sincerity in our altar calls and ministry. Outwardly our spirituality is convincing, yet inwardly our soul is bored with our staged, religious performance. The challenge of our calling is gone. No one discerns our inner decline, not even our closest friends. In that state of mind, a door swings open to the world of the flesh. Scripture says, "Desire fulfilled is a tree of life" (Prov.13:12).

The life that sustains us - that should ultimately fill us - is not drawn from seeking our calling but seeking the Caller Himself. This was Paul’s goal when he passionately wrote, "That I may know Him." This "being conformed to His death" was the "one thing" Paul said he truly focused on (Phil. 3:10, 13). Paul lived a transcendent life that unfolded "from glory to glory" (2 Cor. 3:18).

Beloved, God created man to be "in the image and likeness of God" (Gen. 1:27 AMP). The image of God is Christ, and it is our conformity to Christ that fulfills the purpose of our existence. We do not need crowds to see us perform nor applause to affirm our ministry. When we pursue the image of Christ, we possess the meaning of life.

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