Faith’s Ground of Being: The Blessing - David Mitts

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Gen 1:26-28)

Click here to listen to "Faith’s Ground of Being: The Blessing"
 
We have been sharing the foundation of faith is an inner conversation in our heart. We know that we can transform the foundation we live out of by a new listening, new sh’ma. Revisiting Deuteronomy 6:4-5, we see that listening is the key to loving.

"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deu 6:4-5)

This is a progressive process. Listening from the perspective that what God speaks brings a restoration into oneness, unity. In that place what flows is a surrender of our heart into the love that He is. The surrender is complete, heart, soul, and with all our strength.  This is a passionate embrace. 
What I want to explore is the identity issue. We are limited in our ability to love based on what we think about ourselves. Our self-worth affects our security. Our security, in who we are and what we bring to any relationship affects our listening and our loving.  

If we are insecure of our worth, then the tendency is to replace love with fear.  When we operate in our relationships from a place of fear, the only options are an attempt to control the relationship.  Fear should be dealt with by love but often resorts to control.

Fear-based control is the offshoot of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. In fear, we all tend to attack what we fear, even when the attack is on what we also love.  This is often the destructive force that undermines many relationships. The root of identity insecurity, trying to solve the issue of fear through judgments and control, causes iniquity or a twisted nature in our relationships.

The primary purpose of the gospel isn’t just being forgiven for our sins but restoring us back to who we are in God, His beloved children and also empowering us to be able to love one another. In order to be able to love we must be secure in who we are.

How do we know who we are? That’s the key question of life.  
Let’s revisit a conversation we just looked at to see how this might unfold for us:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." He *said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. (Mat 16:13-20)

This is a conversation about Yeshua’s identity. Identity reveals self-worth. Where can it come from? First it can come from what others say about who we are. This is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If we have to decide for ourselves what is right of wrong, then that determination will affect what others say about us.  People are often just reacting to our projections of reality and we see it through the filter of our own beliefs about who we think we are, or secretly fear who we are.

The title of this book, “Who told you that you were naked” is a reference to letting an outside voice determine our worth.  Adam and Eve feared that voice and shame flooded their being and the desperate need arose to control that fear by hiding and covering up. This need then impacted their love relationship with their Father.  

He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" (Gen 3:10-11)

Yeshua is striking at the root of this fear. His second question, who do you say that I am is a training question! He knows that the judgments we make about the world and the people in our life shape our relationships.  He is teaching love and asks the key question of love, how do you see the one who you say you love? Do you see through the voices of the world? Or do you turn to Him who is love to ask the question?

Peter turns to the Father who is love and from that place he sees clearly.
What I want to uncover, is that Peter can only see Yeshua clearly and love Him, if He listens to the Voice of the Father who will return him to the eyes of love. This is true repentance. As we mentioned last chapter Yeshua then declares blessing over Peter.

Blessing is the condition of sonship. Being blessed isn’t just having good things happen, but being a good thing, the son of God. In the place of the blessing of sonship, love flows, and our eyes can be opened to see God and others to be able to love them. Remember the prodigal son when he came to his senses, he remembered his blessed position as the son of his father. His father’s love transformed his perception of himself, his value and of others in life. When he arrived home, he experienced the blessing expressed by the father through the celebration.

"But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; (Luk 15:22-23)

The value proposition expressed by the father of the prodigal is for a dramatic display of blessing. The fattened calf was a special animal fed and groomed to served to the highest esteemed guest, like royalty.  Today the Japanese raise a special fattened beef, known as wagyu beef.  It is raised in a special genetic condition that results in a higher fat to meat ratio known as marbling.  This higher fat ratio is actually a very special healthier form of steak with a fat type that actually is the best for cholesterol and heart health.

When the father killed the fattened calf, he was making a value statement to the world but most importantly to his returning son.  He always loved the son and blessed him even in his disobedience and rebellion.

This is a difficult perspective in our performance-based culture of rewards and punishments.  The father blesses the son without reproach. Look with me at some words from Paul, the apostle, to his son in the Lord, Timothy:

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time--He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, (1Ti 6:12-15)

Paul is instructing Timothy in true spiritual warfare, the fight of faith, the inner conversation that runs our lives.  He is reminding Timothy of a breakthrough technology which he calls taking hold of eternal life. Eternal life is the Voice of Yeshua.  It is the tree of life.  We know it is about a breakthrough Timothy had because it yielded a good confession.  This was an outward expression of an inner impression from the Voice of God. Paul is reminding Timothy that this comes from the Presence of the Lord, the manifest Holy Spirit, given by Yeshua Himself.  In this place, Timothy is encouraged to keep the instructions, what Paul calls a commandment.  Notice though that is without stain or reproach. What does that mean?
I think it means that Paul is teaching Timothy that he is blessed whether he obeys the commandment or not.

A conditional blessing is not a blessing but a reward. Nothing wrong with rewards but they are not the true blessing.  Returning to Peter above and his declaration from heaven. This is a sign or symptom of the blessing, hearing and making the good confession.

God started man with blessing and there is no evidence of His removal of the blessing which is without reproach and thus not invalidated because of sin or for any other reason.
What are the implications of this? If we are eternally blessed then we can come into revelation of the answer to the question, who am I?  Yeshua heard this from heaven at the waters of baptism:

Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased." (Mar 1:10-11).

This is the blessing expressed.  We all live in the same declaration. Each of us regardless of performance are blessed and favored highly!  This is without reproach!

In this place, our self-image can be healed.  We can look beyond what men say of us and listen to the voice of truth.

In the place of blessing beyond reproach, we can choose to be fully transformed as we gaze into the perfect law of liberty.

But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. (Jas 1:25)

The law of liberty is a way of describing the oneness that comes from our union with the Voice of life.  We can only look intently into the law of liberty when we know who we are, blessed and highly favored.  In this place of ultimate security, we see life through the eyes of love.  The “Law” is transformed from a set of limitations to a coaching relationship that brings us into the fulfillment of life. This relationship is described by Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians. 2Cor 3:17

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2Co 3:17)

It is only when we have been fully transformed from the reign of sin and death into the words of Christ in our inner conversation, can we truly be free to become all that we are created to be. Paul describes this again to the Roman Believers:

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Rom 8:1-2)

Condemnation and reproach are synonyms.  This is a description of the blessing, experienced in the life of the Believer.  Including the word, law, with the words Spirit of life, tells us that we are speaking of law in a different arena than the law given at Sinai to Moses.  This is not law as codes of conduct in worship and towards our fellow humans but law as living instructions from the Spirit of life that causes us to operate intentionally as free children of God.

We were created in blessing! We never lost being blessed based on our behavior. Blessing draws us. It is the manifest goodness of our Father who is love. We began blessed and will eternally be blessed:

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Gen 1:26-28)

Activation: See yourself as blessed.  The Hebrew word picture is of kneeling and receiving an impartation of life, love and favor.  Authority and power is the consequence. Imagine yourself as free to be to dance and to live life in an abundant flow of power and love! This is truly yours if you surrender to it!







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