From Jollity to Joy
January 1st, 1999. As I settle down to write something of the change that knowing the Total Truth has made to my life, I have a sudden vivid memory of another New Year’s Day. It was in the mid-‘ 80’s, a lifetime ago literally, before I was born again. I recall walking along the seafront and registering a profound sense of anticlimax. The Christmas holiday and New Year festivities were over, and life seemed so bleak. The feelings of seasonal merriment and cheer had subsided; the sentimentality had abated; and with Satan at my spirit centre, no wonder I can still recollect the joylessness of that cold, grey, January day. However, the years have passed and not only am I born again, but I live knowing that "not I, but Christ lives in me."
These past weeks in particular have been a time when more of the reality of vessel ood has come Ave in me. I am especially aware of an awakening to the reality of God’s love.
At the 1998 British Autumn Conference we discussed Christmas as "a day like any other." I sensed immediately the liberating potential of this matter-of-fact, common sense view. Since my husband decided to leave our home in 1995, Christmas had become a time for gritting my teeth and living by faith in the face of bitter-sweet sentimental feelings. "A day like any other"–what freedom! Another day when Jesus Christ lives through this vessel. This year those of us here in Ireland decided to spend December 25th together as a day of fellowship, a complete break from that which we all have done traditionally. We turned our backs on the hollow jollity of "jingle bells" and opted not to "deck the halls with boughs of holly." The day proved a seamless prelude to the events which followed.
Two days later, on December 27th, many of our friends from Britain arrived for three days of fellowship, the second Christmas holiday that we’ve piled into each other’s homes. This time it was clear from the outset that Jesus Christ had a full agenda, and the first item was a farewell to the sentimental concept of love. Just the right now to dispel any lingering delusions of cosy, seasonal cheer. Meryl Langley so enthralled us with her account of a tape she had listened to recently (a recording of Page Prewitt teaching at Blowing Rock in 1995) that we all gathered around to hear it for ourselves. Page vividly exposes the destruction wreaked by the sentimental, irresponsible type of "whipped cream love"-not in fact love at all–and juxtaposes it with God’s love. Yes, we recognised the delusion of "sugar sweetened, whipped cream love" which results in monsters; and its opposite: God’s love which is real, costly and produces life (1 John 4:8-12).
Love is a Person; it is self-His Self-outpoured for others: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers" (1 John 3:16). It is never self-for-self (1 Cor. 13:5). My life’s experience until recently has been an example of the danger, the waste and the pain of buying into Satan’s lie that the love" of another human being could fulfill me. Thank you God that I now know there is no "independent me" to complete and that the only true love is Christ through me, His vessel, outpoured for others. God’s love is the antithesis of Satan’s lie that love is nice and sweet, cosy and comfortable. Discipline is inherent in His love: "The Lord disciplines those he loves" (Hebrews 12:6).
Obedience to God, love and vessel-hood are inextricable; we see this in Jesus Christ’s promise to His disciples before His death and resurrection: "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever–the Spirit of the truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you, and will be in you" (John 14:15-17). John reiterates this powerfully and repeatedly: "But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in him," (1 John 2:5) and again, "Noone has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us" (1 John 4:12).
New Year’s Day, 1999. A day like any other. What joy!
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 15 No 1
- The Purpose of the Negative
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- New York Fall Conference
- The Story of the Ten
- Faith Action
- Tape Talk
- Life of a D.C.D.
- To Think About
- Questions & Answers
- Bible Study: Nehemiah
- From Jollity to Joy
- The Mailbox
- One Honest Moment That Changed My Life
- Area Fellowship News
- The Key to Everything
- Zerubbabel Focus: Zerubbabel Tape Ministry
- The truth is…
- Words to Live By…