Here is an analogy to consider: When birds moult, they do not pluck out their old feathers to make room for the new, declaring they have given them up for God. No! The new life within pushes out the old and they are discarded naturally. We call this process moulting. So it is in a Believer’s life. Anyone who declares they have given up something for God is on dangerous ground, taking the credit for their own strength and initiative. They are setting themselves up for a fall, (pride goes before a fall, Proverbs 16:18), and are likely to judge others in need of change. When we are born again, as we surrender to the new life of Christ within, the new life pushes out the old ways and they are discarded. A spiritual moult! This process was revealed to the apostle, Paul, by the Holy Spirit: Colossians 1:26-27 “Even the mystery which has been hidden through the ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints…….Christ in you, the hope of glory”.
Once we are born again, the new life of Christ will grow within us as we submit to His leadings and clothe us with a new covering, Christ’s robe of righteousness. The old ways and desires fall away the closer we walk with Jesus. As we choose to surrender in our daily circumstances, “nevertheless not my will, but Thine be done”, we make Jesus Lord of our circumstances and Lord of our heart, and we are changed inwardly, which produces an outward change in demonstration to those around us. Spiritual moulting! In this position when we see others’ faults, we do not judge them but can graciously conclude, “They haven’t moulted yet!”
As Believers we are all on a journey with our fellow travellers, all at different stages en route, pressing on towards the goal in our high calling to be conformed to the unity of the faith in the stature of the fullness of God, in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 4). Unity is vital for any outpouring of the Spirit. On the day of Pentecost the disciples were gathered together in one place, of one accord. There is strength and humility in unity, an acceptance of the diversity in the Body of Christ. Romans 2: 28-29 Our adoption into the family of God gives us a new citizenship in heaven, in Christ. “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly…..not circumcision to the flesh…but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God”.
Heart circumcision is essential for spiritual growth. Dying to self, preferring others before ourselves are the daily choices God requires us to humbly walk in, in order for the Life of His Son to be demonstrated through us. “He must increase, but I must decrease”, John 3:30. These choices enable the new life of Christ created in me to push out the old ways and they are discarded. Do I want to waste this gift of new life offered to me by hankering after things belonging to the “old life” and it’s temporal trappings that perish with time? As I surrender to Jesus under the direction of the Holy Spirit, incrementally He brings me to the place where I can gladly sing: “the things that I once loved mean nothing to me”, because we have discovered the true treasures in Christ Jesus. Our moult continues.
As we journey on with our fellow travellers we cannot help but notice the diversity in the Body. There is such a mixture of believing, sound doctrine, men’s doctrines, many at different levels of maturity. If someone has more light than another, and they take the position of “discarding” their fellow traveller, then I would question where they are in God in that. Unity is not being in complete agreement with what everyone believes, we are all at different stages of walking in right believing and moulting wrong ones, but we must make the common denominator of our faith, Jesus and His teaching. Disunity separates, Satan rubs his hands in glee.
Paul addresses the issue in 1 Corinthians 4: 6-7 “……..that not one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who makes you to differ from another? What have you that you did not receive? Now if you received it, why glory as if you had not received it?”
Paul expounds in the whole chapter of Romans 14 the shortcut to keeping the unity of the faith. Read it all again and refresh your memory! Verse 4 challenges us “Who are you to judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands, or falls. Yes, he shall be held up for God is able to make him stand”.
Verse 13 “Let us not judge one another anymore, but judge this, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way”.
Verse 22 “Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God…..”
A synopsis of a shortcut to the unity of the faith then is not to judge others who believe something that differs from my believing and revelation, having faith to myself before God and to walk humbly with God allowing the Holy Spirit to circumcise my heart when necessary. If I focus on my outward expression in word and deed and do not allow the Holy Spirit to work inwardly, I am just a sounding brass and tinkling cymbal” of religion. (1 Corinthians 13). We may try and convince the world to our faith and beliefs but if it is not working in our home life in demonstration, we have nothing to offer.
God is waiting to pour out His Spirit on the church and the world but “The time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God”, 1 Peter 4:17. We are not waiting for God, God is waiting for us to allow Him to bring His order to our lives. So let us open up our hearts to the Lord Jesus and to one another, embracing the diversity of giftings and walk together in unity, stronger together, forward together.
Onward Christian soldiers, soldiers of the Cross,
Lift high His royal banner, it will not suffer loss!
Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash