Friday, November 28, 2003

Falling To The Ground . . .To Die
Dr. Mark Handby
Nov 28, 2003


We are living in a time when all our works and ministries are on trial for their survival.

We have prayed noble prayers, never really expecting God to hear them. But He has. Now He is at work in us, eliminating all the mixture from our lives. The Lord wants to bring us all to a place where only His will has the preeminence in our lives and ministries.

He is shaking the Church to its very core to bring it to base zero. He will bring down all the institutions of man until we are left with nothing but the Lord Himself. What if we stopped doing everything God never told us to do? What if we could see all the things that we have been busy doing for what they really are? For those of us caught up in a whirlwind of activity and religious duty, it would most certainly be devastating to our careers and our personal agendas. When God has us at base zero, all we want is Him.

Our striving to achieve and be noticed fades in the reality of His glory. This is exactly what the Lord is doing. He knows we must return to base zero if we are ever to reach the point where He can build His Church. He never needed our programs or our traditions, but we have blindly shouldered our way ahead of Him in our fleshly zeal to build something that would preserve our place in His Kingdom. We have often talked about “progressing the digression,” the process where God systematically brings us down from the heights of our pride and supposed “self-sufficiency” to a level where we can again respond to Him in total transparency and purity. When we reach the point where all our hope is in Him, we can say with real confidence, “I have nothing to lose.”

God will “progress” His digression of our self-sufficiency until we come to see the futility of our titles and degrees; until we see that all our giftings, callings and accomplishments cannot hold a candle to His glory; until we come to the end of our strivings, strength and earthbound knowledge to finally admit that we have nothing to lose. When we have nothing to lose, we can do whatever He calls us to do without fear of losing friends or reputation we have already lost everything.

Jesus said, “...Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn.
12:24).

A dead man falls straight to the ground like a piece of lead, there is no resistance or life left in him. He goes straight down. But a man who is not so sure what he wants falls to the ground like a leaf that has broken off from the tree. It is certainly dead, but it falls with uncertainty, because it seems to have a measure of green color in it. It bears the outward indications of life, but it is surely dead apart from the branch, whether it knows it or not. Always at the whim of every puff and billow of the wind, a leaf separated from its branch flutters and floats its way to the ground. Even after it lands on the ground, it is at the mercy of every breeze that comes by. You see, the leaf is not quite sure that it is dead, and it has no clear destination or destiny. It has not made up its mind to die to itself. It might be willing to fall on top of the ground, but it is all too ready to respond to a new opportunity. Whether or not it is the right opportunity is not the point. It was on a mission to die, but its commitment to that death is constantly interrupted by the remaining ambition and memory of its past glory that just won’t die.

Unlike the leaf, the seed is destined for death, burial, and resurrection in a new life of productivity. It carries within itself an inner longing for death and new life, for in that death resides the potential for nearly unlimited reproduction, fruit-bearing, and fulfillment of purpose!

Until you see Jesus, you will never see yourself for who you really are, and you will never see the point to dying. Even the lowly leaf, if it is willing to lay low for a season, can rise from its earthbound grave once the storm passes and the Lord sends a Holy Ghost gust to lift it up again. But the seed that has seen the Lord knows it must fall into the earth and die. It must abandon all vestiges of the flesh, all hope of the earthly kingdoms of pride and position. That seed has to go under the ground to sprout new life.

You can spot true brokenness in a man or woman by their telltale desire to be hidden from sight. When God sovereignly returns you to base zero, fleshly and prideful things apart from Him are consumed by fire, to be replaced by a transparent humility that makes you afraid to be seen in the flesh. You do not respond to earthly, man-generated religious things as easily as you once did. Invitations to preach do not turn you on anymore, you only want to hide in your transparent nakedness before God. Instead of stepping once again on the old path of earthly passion and production, you now cry, “Let the rocks fall on me, but cover my humanity and let me die rather than to again display my carnality, trying to pawn it off as the Spirit of the Lord!”


Visit Dr. Mark Hanby's website at: http://www.hanby.org

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