Come, and Take your Stand (Part 1)
Come, and Take your Stand (Part 1)
Intimacy with God
Nita LaFond Johnson
New Orleans 2009 Revival Services
2 Chronicles 7:14-15If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer offered in this place.
We are going to focus on the first half of the above Scripture. We are talking about becoming a seeker of God. The Lord is looking for seekers that He can turn into disciples and teach how to go deep in God. It is essential that we learn how to walk closely with the Lord Jesus Christ and this starts with a heart of seeking.
Prayer is a necessary part of walking with God. Much of the Church has been saved, some have gone into the ministry or sought various ways to serve the Lord, yet they do not have a relationship with the Lord because they have not developed a life of prayer, or they spend very little time in prayer.
The first essential requirement to developing a true relationship with Christ is to be a person of prayer. This is not simply praying when you want something, when things are going wrong or when someone asks you to pray. Rather, it is learning how to fellowship with the Lord in prayer and to desire intimacy with Him. I know that “intimacy” is a tough word for some people, especially some men. The desire of the Lord is that we embrace the longing for intimacy that God has created within every human heart. There is a need for intimacy whether you are male or female and we can never learn how to have intimacy with our fellow man until we learn to have it with God. Having the intimacy with the Lord that He created us for gives us the capacity to have a pure intimacy with our mates, our children, friends, and family; it is something God desires. He longs to bring us into the place where He can reveal Himself intimately to us. I keep using the term revelation of Jesus Christ; that revelation will only come to the intimate ones.
The Lord spoke to me in a dream many years ago that He has four levels of friends. They range from the lowest level, those who do not walk very close with Him and perhaps rarely go to Church, to Christians who come to church every Sunday, grabbing their Bible off the dusty shelf in time to carry it to church to those who are considered His bride and have truly learned intimacy with God. These are the ones who spend a lot of time in prayer. He reveals the secrets of the ages to them because their hearts have been developed in the capacity to hear, understand and grow by these wonderful secrets. When He is going to do something in the world, these are the ones He talks to because they have become intimate with Him and the greater the intimacy, the greater the secrets are that He releases. Sometimes, the secrets He releases will never be used this side of heaven, but He does it because there are things that a man tells his wife that he does not tell anyone else; he will not tell his best friend, brother or dad but he will tell her, and that is the way of the Lord.
One day, the presence of God came upon me so powerfully that I was trembling with His desire to see His Church rapped in utter devotion to Him. Despite the fact that I have been in the ministry for over thirty years, I personally know less than a handful of people who hunger with a passion to know Christ the way Paul did. It breaks my heart because I know a lot of people and ministers and of all the ones I have met, I have met only a few that hunger and thirst for God the way Paul did.
There is a hunger and a passion born and nurtured by the Spirit of Holiness and in return nurtured by the spirit of man. It is a passion so deep and all-encompassing that it possesses the very depths of the soul of man, igniting like a torch the flame of the Lord. It is an obsession given by the Lord. It is ignited by the Spirit of the Lord in those who are willing to leave all for Him and turn away from all the distractions and passions of the world and enter into Jesus. This flame becomes so all-consuming that in due season, if one had the capacity to look into the soul, they would see the very reflection of Christ Himself. It is a living essence for two reasons: it has life within itself because it is a deep part of God who calls Himself the All Consuming Fire and because it is in itself a living flame. It has the capacity to take hold of the soul, to transform the soul, to embolden the soul, and to transition and create in the soul the capacity to hold this growing flame. The fire contains within itself the capacity to do what the soul needs to prepare it to be one with God. It is a living flame and it is God Himself. This fire burns with such intensity that the Song of Solomon said, “the very flame of the Lord.” It burns with such intensity, drawing believers out of the world and into God, then developing in the mind and heart an insatiable hunger to be transfigured and translated into the very person of Christ who has no sin, but rather is wisdom born of God.
God is looking throughout the world for the ones who pray because therein lies the seed-bed of the life of God. If you do not pray, you can never know Him; the best you can hope for is to know about Him and you do not even have to be a Christian to know about God. To know Him you have to be a person of prayer, which is the arena in which He sets His flame deep into the heart of His Bride. Why? What groom does not want the heart of his bride enflamed with passion only for him? What bride does not want to carry in her heart a passion only for her husband? Jesus is just like us; He is seeking the seekers, those who really want to know God and who want to set aside traditions in order to know Him passionately. The Church today is so full of traditions; it is truly frightening.
I can remember about twenty years ago when the Lord spoke to me, “Nita, you would make a great Wesley.” I said, “You mean John Wesley?” He said, “Yes.” I replied, “Lord I am not even an evangelist.” He said, “That is not where the similarity rests. You are full of traditions, as was Wesley; you can never go deep in me to the place to which you aspire with a heart full of traditions."
We do not even know how full of traditions we are until He begins to reveal it to us. When He said that to me I did not even know the Church is bound by so many traditions. As for me, I thought I was just being a good Christian and here Jesus is telling me I am full of traditions. I want to be full of the flame! I asked Him what it took to get rid of the traditions because I wasn’t aware of what they were. He said, “I am going to do it. It is not going to be easy; you just obey Me, walk with Me and let Me do the work.”
“Traditions” was the same enemy that caused the Jewish people to stumble in our Lord’s day. Many in the Church say that Israel got hung up on a religious spirit, but actually, the entrapment was a “spirit of tradition.” Jesus Himself revealed that to me. Jesus spoke to them again and again about their traditions, hoping to provoke them to seek freedom from their blindness. Practicing traditions will never get you into the throne room; you may be able to open the curtain and peek in, but you cannot go in there to dwell because traditions become like a wall set between you and God. God is looking for seekers who are willing to be separated from all things that have nothing to do with Him, those who want to be filled with the life of God. He wants people who often come into His presence to pray, and yet find themselves having nothing to say because they are so overwhelmed with the majesty of Christ; they are not there for traditional prayers, they are just there to know Jesus.
I can remember years ago a time when I wanted to order more study books. I was so excited. I had them all picked out and I was going to place the order that day when the Lord said to me, “I want you to throw that away.” “Why?” I asked, “This will teach me more about You.” He said, “I do not want you to know more about Me, I want you to know Me.” I used to spend hours and hours in these types of books. I would open them, studying and praying for hours and hours; I loved this time in my walk. Then He said to me, “And those books you already have of this nature, I want you to put them aside and I want to teach you Me.” Now, I am going to tell you a secret about myself (you have to promise not to tell anyone) but after I put them away, I sat there with my Bible and thought, “What do I do now?” I felt so lost; I did not know where to go and how to start an entire new life in the Word.
God wants to set the Word aflame in your heart and then reveal to you the living Word which simply cannot be done through books. I have learned over the years that when Jesus comes to me face to face and teaches me the Scripture verse by verse from His mouth that this is what it really means to truly be taught of Him. The times He has done that, I could stand before the theologians with confidence though they do not fully understand. They can get head knowledge from all of their studies and there is worth in that; however, they cannot get the secrets held only in the heart of God. I can tell you passages for which I have spent years reading every commentary or word study I could get my hands on, talking to anyone who would listen, asking them to tell me what it means, and I have not been able to find their true meaning anywhere, but when Jesus appears to me and says, “This is what it means,” I would sit there in awe wondering why I did not understand it before and why the scholars did not know and understand it. The reason for our lack of understanding is the blindness of “tradition”. We limit the meaning of the Scriptures to whatever is espoused by our contemporaries as well as those in the past, thus creating more traditions. What God wants to do is to make Himself alive to His Church. He wants to come to you and introduce you to the living Word, but you will never recognize it if you are not a person of prayer who fasts and prays and pleads with God.
I can remember one charismatic pastor who told me, “You know, you are far too serious about this stuff; you do not have to plead with God about everything.” I said, “You are right, you do not. However, when it comes to the things that are really hard to dig out of the Word, if you are not fasting, praying and pleading, they will stay deep in the Word.” It is like a minor digging for gold. You must go deep at great cost to get the best.
Another pastor, a very dear friend of mine, said to me, “You know, you are far too monastic, you are getting so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.” I answered him, “I want to tell you something my dear friend: the truth is, I do not know if there is anyone in the Church that is heavenly minded enough to be of much earthly good. I know only one person that was so heavenly minded and that was Christ Himself. I do not know anyone in the whole world who’s been more effective than Him.”
There is something to this heavenly-minded business. What we need to truly understand and embrace is that it is okay to be a person of prayer and a person who digs into the Word to bring forth the life of the Word. Jesus did it. When He saved Paul, he compelled him to do it as well. We must ask ourselves why do we think that in our generation we do not need the very same
There are a lot of preachers and teachers that can tell the Church all they want to hear, but if you want heaven’s food, you have to dig and live for these morsels. We know that a person is living for this heavenly bread when their nature and character begin to depict the nature and reality of a life separated unto the Word; they do not have to tell you, you just see it in the way they are, the way they talk about Jesus, in the sacrifices they make and the purity of life in which they walk. They see the importance of seeking the heavenly nature and, most importantly, God sees it. These are the ones willing to give it all up for the sake of walking with Him within His kingdom. Where else do you want to walk in this world? Do you really want to walk down the Broadway of this world; is that really where you want to be? If it is, why did you get saved? However, if walking with Him is truly the place that you want to be, then do it. Do not be double-minded. If what you really want is to walk with Jesus then go ahead and take the plunge. Let go of the world and its ways. It’s okay; the world does not appreciate such a journey and they never will, they have no reason to. If the world is not persecuting you for your walk then you are not walking the right way.
If you want to walk with Him, then just do it – separate yourself from the world, its ways and traditions; it’s okay. The Church will not like it because they will not understand; the Church has been taught by its teachers that this jealousy of the Divine Life is not the way to walk with God. We have awesome television ministries that come to us from the Hollywood area that will tell you how to walk with God. However, the way they tell you to walk with God is the way Hollywood Christians walk with God. If you want to find out how to really walk with God, then get alone in your prayer closet, open up your Bible and ask Him to show you. You will be amazed at how different it is from what the Church believes.
You have to give up the world step by step, little by little. He does not expect you to take the plunge in one moment. Once, He showed me a vision of a dear friend of mine. I saw this incredibly beautiful lake much like the inviting Canadian waters. She walked up to the water, dipped her toe in it and pulled it right out. Then she walked away for a moment, only to return. She continued with this process until, step by step, she eventually got into the water and began to swim. However, it took a long time, sticking her toe in the water and pulling it out over and over until she went deeper and deeper. I have learned since then that this is the picture of the Church; we put our toes in the pool of God, but it is kind of scary, so we pull them back out. Eventually, we get our whole foot in the pool of God, but it is still a little scary, so we pull it back out. Sound familiar? Those wishing to fully take this plunge are so few in number, but the people of God who have gone up to that pool and dove in are doing exactly what the Lord wants. It takes the desire to be separated from your world, the desire to be separated from the traditions and the ways of the world.
First and foremost, it takes desire; second to that is prayer; third is fasting; and fourth – setting your face like flint to make your soul’s journey until you behold the face of Christ and determining that you are going to follow Him the way the Gospels depict.
I can remember one time when He came to me and said, “I am the beginning and I am the end." As He said those words I saw all time pass before me. “I am the beginning, and I am the end.” In those few words I saw all of human history – that which is past, present and which is yet to come. He then said to me, “This is the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The revelation of Christ is all things past, present and future. You can strive to learn the revelation of Jesus Christ for a lifetime and never know it all. If He were to release those revelations into your heart, soul and understanding every single day for a life-time you could not learn them all. He is eternal. The revelation of Jesus Christ given to you by the power of the living Word, created in you, creating in you the capacity to contain the revelation, including that which you need for it to become something more than just knowledge is awaiting you. It is not enough to have the revelation of Jesus Christ; it only is enough when that revelation transforms you and becomes greater and greater because He builds precept upon precept within your soul. While He’s doing so within your soul, He is enabling you to hear, know and understand the ever-building and ever-increasing revelation that He is giving you of the Son of God. He has to prepare you for this process. He is sends His enabling power into your soul to help you receive and thereby builds it up to be mighty for the sake of revelation. It happens during prayer, and of course, it is coupled with the Word. The essential key in this process is obedience.
He will teach you how to become a doer of the Word. I am not referring to the traditional sense of this, but rather according to the life of the Spirit. Paul talked about the law of the Spirit; the Lord wants to make this real in you and to you. Not just head-knowledge about the law of the Spirit, but the true life of the Spirit – where your whole being is living off the life of the law of the Spirit, where this life is what motivates you, becoming the very essence of life off of which you live. He takes the old life, throws it away and puts in His own life. It becomes the life from which you live. There is nothing in the human vernacular that completely describes what it means to truly walk with Christ.
When I was still in California, one day as I was out walking in the park the Lord spoke to me, “The revelation of Jesus Christ!” When He spoke these words, they penetrated my soul, they hit me so hard I shook and my whole being began to tremble as I felt a transformation taking place. It was like a new life locked up inside of me bursting forth; like a woman carrying a baby, a new life was coming up inside of me until it possessed every part of my being.
He is looking for seekers; people who want more than head knowledge and want to be transformed into the very image of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not about education. Three colleges have offered me doctorate degrees and the Lord has not let me take them because He wants His Church to know that it is not about education; rather it is about Christ. This is the very life of God being put in you, transforming you, owning you, possessing you until there is nothing left inside of you but Christ. Anyone can have it. My granddaughter was six years old when she was taken to heaven and Jesus stood in front of her and brought her into Himself and said, “This is where I am calling you. This is My life in you!” She was six years old! You do not have to be brilliant; in fact, you are better off if you are not. You do not have to come from wealth or an affluent background, nor do you have to have anything of means in this world. However, you do have to have one thing and that is a heart that seeks hard after God. Your very soul will call you into the fire and you will be compelled to go. You cannot keep yourself from going; you must go because you need the transformation that comes in the fire. There is something noble that takes place in your heart when you become a true seeker, when He is inside of you. This is a noble thing taking place; the whining and complaining stops and when the trials come, you march right into them because you know that Christ is on the other side.
Do not settle for less; why settle for less than you can have in God? There are some of you reading this right now with whom God is dealing so deeply in your hearts, like you have never known it before; He is calling you. You can have it and you know it; He is breathing the life of these words into your heart. There will be those who are so transformed that your life will be forever changed. Christ in me, the hope of glory; it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me.
He is looking for the true seekers; it is a path of humility and a path of grace, but it is the most wonderful path in the world. I have been on that path for thirty years in which time I have been through a lot. Nevertheless I must admit to you that if at any time He would have come to me and said, “I will let you go if you want to go on another path,” I would have said, “No!”
In fact, He did just that about fifteen years ago. He showed me two paths that lay before me and He said, “This path leads to Me, but it is full of potholes and troubles." As He revealed this path, there He was, standing at the end, clothed in glory and He said, “This is where it ends.” He then turned and said, “Or you can go on this path…” It was a very nice path, the kind of path any Christian would love to walk, but in the end, it did not lead to the same place. The true seeker will always choose the first path because they do not care about the sufferings, the love of their Lord is so strong that the passionate fire of love picks them up and compels them into places that they would not go on their own. These are places where no man would go. Love calls, compels and it becomes the life that drives.
He said, “I can let the fires die if you would like; it has been a rough year.” I replied, “No! I want You!”
There is a path whose end is the glory of the Throne, but when you get there, you are going to be very small, pure and holy. You will be one who is so pure in His sight that His protection over you will be unbelievable. Woe be unto the person who comes against the one who stands before the Throne, having been perfected. It is a jealous love, I say it is a Divine jealousy and it wraps itself around you and it holds you so tight that you cannot step to the right or to the left anymore. This jealousy pulls you on into the glory of God. You become as jealous for Him as He is for you. You must learn to become as jealous of His holiness as He is for you, and for His glory as He is for you. You are being enabled by God Himself.
Tell Him you want it.
Nita LaFond Johnson