With every new seeing of the Lord, there is the temptation to become proud of that new seeing. There seems to be a subtle arrogance that seeks to seep into the human heart when one experiences a deeper experience or understanding of Christ.
Let me be clear. There is nothing more opposite of the Spirit of Jesus Christ than the spirit of pride and arrogance. A famous saying goes like this: It’s possible to be “pure as angels and as proud as devils.” I disagree. If you’re proud, you’re not pure. For God resists the proud (1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6).
We find Christ in only one issue: poverty. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” were our Lord’s words (Matt. 5:3). A spirit of poverty says, “I need to know Him more. I don’t have the corner on Him. I am a child in this business. I’m still in school. I’m still learning. I haven’t arrived.”
Here’s a prayer worth praying. Whenever you see the Lord in a way that steals your breath, that’s the time to turn to Him and say, “Lord, let me not lose touch. Keep my feet on the ground and cause me to always remember that I am no better than any other Christian.”
For it is in times of great revelation that we need the humility of Christ the most. Recall Paul’s thorn in the flesh. God put the thorn into his life to keep his feet on the ground in the face of extraordinary spiritual revelation (2 Cor. 12:7).
I have often reflected on the church in Ephesus. Paul lived in Ephesus for three years raising up a church. By his own testimony, he proclaimed “the whole counsel of God” to the saints there (Acts 20:27 NKJV).
Paul unveiled to the Ephesian believers the vision of God’s eternal purpose for three years. He uncorked the mystery of God to them in great depths (Eph. 1—3; 6:19; Col. 1—2; 4:3).
Paul held meetings every day for five hours a day in a facility called the school of Tyrannus where he declared Christ and trained young workers.3 Timothy, Titus, and six other men were present as his apprentices. I’m sure those young apprentices ministered to the Ephesian church as well.
After Paul was imprisoned, Timothy moved to Ephesus and ministered to the church there for a number of years. Some years later, the beloved disciple John ended up in Ephesus. Apollos, who was “mighty in the Scriptures,” also spent time in Ephesus (Acts 18:24 NASB). So perhaps the church benefited from his ministry also.
Point: The church in Ephesus received the deepest and highest revelation of Christ through choice servants of God—Paul, John, Timothy, Titus, Apollos, etc. And yet, as the New Testament closes, we discover that the church in Ephesus was corrected by the Lord for leaving its first love (Rev. 2:1–4).
What happened? If experience has taught me anything, I would guess that they simply stopped pursuing Him. They got stuck. They clung to the Christ they had been given by the greatest servants of God, and they stopped there.
To put it another way, their Christ was too small!
I will close this chapter with a question: How well can you know the Lord? You can know Him in proportion to the poverty that’s within your heart. “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3). The opposite of that statement is what the Laodicean church said of herself: “I am rich … and have need of nothing!” (Rev. 3:17 NKJV).
A sure mark of spiritual poverty is a wide heart. If you have a narrow heart, you will recognize Christ only through some of His people. And you will be blinded to find Him through others. Jesus Christ is a lot larger than what most of us have thought, and He works through a lot more people than we would expect.
So to put it in a question: Is your Christ too small?
May we rescript our lives in a way that opens our hearts to the fullness of Jesus.
Please, Lord, revise us again.
From Revise Us Again by Frank Viola Author