Janet Weaver Smith © 3-19-16 gardenministries.org
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
It’s not how, or in what condition we come to Jesus, it’s that we come, just as we are. We simply keep coming, fully believing His promise to draw near to us when we draw near to Him. God’s Presence always changes us. He is the Transformer of our hearts. All He asks, is that we come—we come to Him.
The Spirit-filled bride of Revelation 22:17 has learned that all attempts to fix herself and be “good enough” for God before she comes to Him always fail and only keep her from the One who can change her. The bride has learned that no matter what she looks like or feels like, she is to “Come!” This lovesick Bride of Jesus Christ has so learned the secret of continually coming to Jesus, that now she cries out to any and all who would hear her profound revelation, “Come!” and those who are thirsty for the waters of life as she is, will learn from her that they too, can just come. He will respond. He will draw near. He will wash them and give them the free gift everlasting life. Any attempts on her part to “earn” this free gift of cleansing will come to naught. It is free. She must just come.
Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
The great revelation we can expect to have of God when we simply come to Him for His transformative work is this: God is Gracious and His kindness toward us is everlasting (James 5:11). For most of us, the full revelation of God’s gracious nature does not come in fullness all at once, though at times, it can feel very big. For most of us, this revelation of God’s compassionate, merciful kindness comes progressively.
Before we are even capable of realizing God’s kindness and mercy, we are led to the place where we realize how desperate we are for it and how broken we are without it. He is a gentle High Priest and deals ever so tenderly with the human heart. He does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10). We may think that we want all our outward behaviors and inward thoughts dealt with and perfected all at once, but God knows how much of the sword, fire, and hammer of His Word our heart is willing to process and endure. God’s mercy covers us in our brokenness while His grace empowers us to come to Him for change and transformation.
God draws us into an ever-deepening relationship that continually surfaces our “not-yet’s” until we reach an insufferable end to our every self-effort to change them and again, simply “Come!” He is right there, positioned to remove another layer of sin, self, and unbelief from our hearts and replace it with Himself through faith, hope, and love. He is doing two things at once, He is delivering us from the thing itself and all potential for pride that may have taken credit for fixing the problem in our own self-effort.
God sees all of our “not-yet'” imperfections and brokenness and simply asks us to “Come.”
Why do we even struggle with this simple concept? Perhaps we think that it is up to us to make ourselves clean, ready, and good enough for God before we can come to Him. This is not true. When scripture tells us to “clean the inside of our cup,” or “wash our robes and hands,” or “purify ourselves,” or “make ourselves ready,” or “put off the old man and put on the new man,” it does not mean that we have to figure out how to fix ourselves before we can come to Jesus. It’s the opposite.
It means that over and over and over again, we simply come, just as we are, in whatever condition we may be in, and we draw near to our gracious, loving, forgiving, compassionate, and merciful God and expect Him to be true to His Word that promises to transform us into His image and cleanse us as we just keep coming to Jesus. He provides all of the resources of the Way, the Truth, and the Life that frees us.
In our continual coming and depending on Him, we are “cleaning our cup,” we are “purifying and making ourselves ready,” we are “putting to death the earthly nature and thereby ridding ourselves of bad attitudes and behaviors.”
The coming to Him IS the work of yielding that we are asked to do.
The coming IS the yielding and turning to Him.
The coming IS the humbling of self and relying on Him to do the work.
The coming IS the receiving.
The coming IS the cleaning.
The coming IS the “fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
The simple act of coming, over and over again, IS the act of overcoming.
Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Instead of trying to fix ourselves first, every time we turn, set our focused attention on Jesus, and just come, the very faith that makes us pleasing to God and righteous in His eyes is growing and being perfected and is what makes room for Him to fill us with Himself so that we can actually throw off the sins and hindrances. One drives out the other. We cannot function in a vacuum. We must have the greater power of the Holy Spirit drive out the lesser powers of sin and self. Until that happens, we are in process about it.
In the meantime, no religious-looking outside-in fixes will work as a substitute. Since true transformation only comes from the inside-out process of the Holy Spirit’s outpouring and inworking, we do no one a favor pretending to be something we’re not. Jesus rebuked the Pharisee’s for trying to “polish the outside of the cup” through their self-righteous performance-oriented religious system that boasted in outwardly, good-looking forms of godliness but fostered hypocrisy and injustice. Their outside-in approach denied the real power of inner transformation that only comes from intimate dependence on the Living God, not on a system about Him (Matthew 23:25-28).
Since only God can truly change a willing human heart, the workaround of the outside-in approach seeks to change outward behavior through rule keeping without first dealing with the inward condition of the heart. Success and failure within this structure has nothing to do with inward transformation nor does it bear the lasting fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Paul purposed to press in to fully know Christ and become like Him (Philippians 3) and described “maturity” as simply being filled with the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Paul’s process toward this maturity involved being utterly stripped of everything that qualified him for human and religious approval in order to gain true righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. Toward the end of his life, when Paul was the most spiritually “mature,” he had a robust realization of God’s utter graciousness and mercy when he referred to himself as the worst of all sinners whom Christ came into the world to save (1 Timothy 1:14-16).
Excerpt from the article: GOD’S FACE: SIÓNÉ – SPIRITUAL ZION – Entering the 7th Day Rest
Entering the state of Spiritual Zion or Sion is to seek and find God’s face. To “find” God’s face means that we fully enter into His Living Presence. Thus, seeking and finding the face of God is equivalent to entering the Presence of God. In His utter graciousness, Our God, Who is Light and lives in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16, 1 John 1:5), has provided a way for us to be so close to Him that we are literally face to face with Him! But we have to want to be that close to Him. That is why He has asked His children to diligently seek His face. We must show desire for Him and invite Him to lead us into the processes that prepare us to fully enter into His Presence and become filled by Him in His glory.
We must “Come!”