"But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus" (Galatians 1:15-17).
It is not enough that we see who Christ is. That is the foundation, and we begin there, but God wants to go on to reveal Christ in us. This is a far greater matter, for it means that the word of God must actually become flesh in us, as it was in Christ. God is looking for men and women willing to have Christ formed in them by faith. We are to be living epistles, known and read by all men. When others see us, they should see Christ. Most of us know this should be true, but the question is, how will it take place? Waiting on God is an essential part of this.
If we consider the scripture from John 14 quoted above, we find an essential truth to help us. Judas asked Jesus how He would reveal Himself to the disciples and not to the world. Jesus answered that He would reveal Himself by coming to abide within, making His home in the believer's heart. What a revelation! We are not trying to comprehend a historic Christ, but experiencing a risen Christ in intimate fellowship. This is a union that has no equal known to mankind. And what is the condition? "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word." Christ being revealed in us, then, has two essential conditions: love and obedience.
When Paul first sensed the call of God upon his life, notice what he did (or did not do). "I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood." Let us not pass over this lightly. So many times, the first thing we do is to confer with others. But can we communicate with God? Is He able to speak to us individually? Of course communion with God is much more demanding than going to talk with another believer. To hear God we must spend time with God. We must quiet our hearts in His presence. We can hide things from man, but not from God. Yet the Holy Spirit is gentle, and does not force Himself upon us. To experience the depths and riches of God's love, we must open ourselves to God without reservation. The Holy Spirit searches every motive, plumbs the depth of the heart, and leaves no stone unturned. His work is to prepare the bride of Christ. At the end, the bride will be pure, without spot or wrinkle, ready to be married to Christ for all eternity.
To know the reality of union with God, to be one with Him and with each other, even as He is one, we must take time to commune with God in the secret place. All hindrances must be left outside, for this is where we have intercourse with God. It is an intimate place, and many things can hinder. If the motivation of our relationship is love, and if we are willing to obey when God sheds light, then hindrances will be dealt with, and the Holy Spirit will lead us into the reality of all that Christ is. As the character of Christ is formed in us through obedience, we will be brought step by step to greater maturity, and God will reveal more of Christ to us.
If the revelation of Christ does not expand as we desire it to, one reason may be that our vessel (our body and mind) has not been prepared. God can only reveal what we are prepared to receive. For our capacity to increase, we must grow. The Holy Spirit leads us to the next step, but if we do not take that step, how will we take the step beyond? Will God overlook anything in our lives? His love will not allow Him to do so, no matter how small a matter may seem to us. In the quiet place the Holy Spirit disciplines us. He puts His finger on what must be dealt with if we are to share in His holiness. Are we open to His dealing? Are we hungry enough to lay aside good but unnecessary things in order to have time for God?
Another important truth relating to our growth is that the Holy Spirit is the One who must lead the way. We cannot engineer our own growth in God through our reasoning. Only the Holy Spirit (God) knows the depth of our hearts and what needs to be affected in our lives. Our place is to respond to Him. When we realize this, we see again the importance of waiting on God. If we move on our own, we will likely be wrong in our evaluation of what action we need to take. The human mind is prone to overlook the real issues, make excuses, and concentrate on things that have little or no meaning to God.
Paul wrote to the Colossians with strong encouragement to "hold fast to the Head," and he addresses this subject: "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-- "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using-- according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh" (Colossians 2:16-23).
To read a book is easy. We can pick and choose what we want. To read the Bible apart from really waiting on God is nearly as easy, because we can explain away what we do not like. To face another spiritual person for whom we have respect is more demanding, because we must interact and be ready to answer for ourselves. But to face God honestly and submit to His discipline is the most demanding of all. It is easy to run from this and hide behind excuses. But if we do, we are the ones who lose. We must not run from this encounter with God. Let us consider again the exhortation found in Hebrews:
"For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
'My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.'
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:3-11).