Wade E Taylor
"For we are His workmanship, having been created in
Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared
that we should walk in them" Eph 2:10 Darby.
Whenever the Lord stirs us to bring about changes within
us, we should respond by "focusing" our being towards
that which He seeks to accomplish.
Often, we lack a healthy "fear of the Lord" and
to some measure, tend to take the Lord for granted. We may
faithfully attend Church, participate in all that is required
of us, and feel spiritually satisfied; but the Lord is looking
for something more than this. He is searching out a people
who will be sensitive to His presence that they might be available
to Him for whatever purpose He may have.
The ministry of John the Baptist prepared the way for the
first coming of the Lord. "Behold, I send my messenger
before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the
way of the Lord, make his paths straight" Mark 1:2-3.
A voice such as this is urgently needed in our day as we approach
the time of His return. As a "voice" was prepared
in that day, so also in our day, a "voice" is being
Consider the story about a chicken and a pig comparing their
sacrifice. The chicken told about the egg it provides for
someone's breakfast. But the pig said, "You do not understand.
Bacon is included and it comes quite differently. My contribution
costs me far more than yours."
There is a vast gradation in the range of our commitments
to the Lord. In grading homework papers at the Bible School,
I often place the paper with the highest quality work on the
top, and the poorest one on the bottom. Each paper is then
placed between these two. How good the best paper is determines
the highest grade, and how bad the worse one is determines
the lowest grade. All others are graded between these two.
Similarly, when we stand before the Lord, our spiritual life
will be seen in this way. We are called to attain to the quality
of the life of Jesus and we will be measured against His life.
"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of
the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man,
unto the measure of the stature of the fullness
of Christ" Eph 4:13.
We will not be "graded" "quantitatively"
by all we have done, but rather "qualitatively"
by what we have become. The Lord said, "Well done (not
much done) thou good and faithful servant." It is the
"measure" of the fullness of Christ to which we
have come that will determine our placement in His Kingdom.
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me
my Throne even as I overcame and am set with my Father
in His Throne" Rev 3:20.
In the beginning, the Lord made an "arrangement"
that was intended to bring Adam into his higher purpose. In
guised form, this arrangement has been set before each one
of us, and we continually are being forced to make decisions
concerning it. This "point of testing" has its roots
in the "tree of life" and in the "tree of the
knowledge of good and evil" (Gen 2:9,16-17).
The way we respond, or react to each of these will greatly
affect the development of our spiritual life.
With a higher purpose in view, the Lord made the "tree
of life" very ordinary, and the "tree of the Knowledge
of good and evil" very attractive.
The tree of life, who is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ,
appears to us as being a "root" out of a dry ground,
having no form nor comeliness and when we see Him, there is
no outward beauty that we should desire Him (Isaiah 53:2).
Spiritual things are desirable only to those who have been
born-again and are spiritually minded.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:6) is however,
quite different. It "appears" to be good for food,
pleasant to the eye, and one to be desired. It appeals to
every aspect of our flesh life. Thus, on the surface, a temporal
self-centered life appears to be very attractive. But this
is deceptive, it will pass away in a moment. It offers no
true inner satisfaction or reward.
Thus, we are not judged only for what we do, which is outward
and visible, as is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil;
but rather we are judged for what we have become through what
we do. This compares to the tree of life where the true beauty
Paul said in Phil 3:11, "If by any means I might attain
unto the resurrection of the dead." He sought an "out-resurrection"
from among the living dead, to be lifted above the influence
of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which leads
to death, into the life of the tree of Life, the very life
of our Lord Jesus Christ as a present reality.
Paul understood that there is a veiled spiritual life, which
is hidden from the natural man, into which he could press
and experience. He passionately desired this above any single
thing in his natural life. He was gifted and therefore could
have acquired much in temporal things. But he willingly let
these go, counting them as but refuse that he might attain
to that which he saw in the "Tree of Life," the
Lord Jesus Christ.
"Not as though I had already attained, either were
perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that
for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren,
I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing
I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching
forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the
mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and
if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even
this unto you" Phil 3:12-15.
There is a prayer in the Psalms in which this same desire
to experience the fullness of the Lord is expressed.
"Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down
heaven, and behold, and visit this vine. And the vineyard
which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that
thou madest strong for thyself" Psalm 80:14-15.
The Lord is omnipresent, that is, He fills heaven and earth.
Beyond His omnipresence is His manifest presence. When we
ask Him to "Return," we are seeking His manifest
presence, and His personal working in our lives.
"Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face
and we shall be saved" Psalm 80:19.
"Turn us again." The Lord will respond when we
are willing to turn away from those things which are "pleasant
to the eye, good for food, and to be desired" and express
a desire to look afresh upon the Lord Jesus Christ in the
fullness of His presence, even though He may presently appear
to us as being only "a root out of a dry ground."
"Cause thy face to shine." This prayer comes solely
from deep within our innermost being. We were created to experience
and enjoy His manifest presence. When we give expression to
this desire, the Lord will respond and make known His presence
Several years ago, I made an emergency trip to Florida and
was there for only one day. When I returned, I mentioned to
someone that I had just come back from Florida. They responded,
"Where is your tan?" Because I had been in the land
of the sun, they expected to see an evidence.
There is a far better sun, spelled "Son". When
I have been in the presence of "The SON" and He
shines upon me, then there should be an evidence that can
We see in Ephesians 6:12 that "we wrestle not against
flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places."
This darkness is over us and seriously impedes the light
of the SON from shining upon us, unless we knowingly contend
for an open heaven, and push back this darkness.
Thus, there is something better than just a good service.
There is the possibility of having an open heaven through
which the manifest presence of our Lord comes to personally
move in our midst. If this is taking place, then there will
be the evidence of our receiving "a spiritual tan."
"Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God
off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall
not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth?
saith the Lord" Jer 23:23-24.
If He fills heaven and earth, then He presently fills the
area we occupy now. No matter where we are, the Lord is there.
But we were created for more than this. We need the manifestation
of His presence, His approbation and favor resting upon our
lives, the SONshine, the warmth of His glory shining upon
us and changing us, and its reflection being seen by others.
The fact of His presence is not enough, the Lord desires us
to have the fullness of His presence.
The children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt, were
led into a wilderness. This was a Divine arrangement whereby
He might experientially make the value of His presence known
to them. Thus, in the pressures of the wilderness, the Lord
gave the revelation of the "cloud by day" to protect
from the heat of the desert, and the "pillar of fire"
by night to give light and heat from its cold nights.
The Lord greatly desired Israel to look upon and depend upon
Him alone. Therefore He provided a visible witness of His
presence with them, a pillar of fire by night, and a cloud
by day. This divine provision was manifest, and they were
to stay or move only as it stayed or moved.
"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be
how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all
passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses
in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same
spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink:
for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them:
and that Rock was Christ" I Cor 10:1-4
Did you notice that the "spiritual Rock" followed
them. The Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ, was supposed to lead
as they followed. Instead, something had gone wrong and now
the Lord is following them. They had gotten ahead of His presence.
Thus, His call to turn again.
"Now these things were our examples, to the intent
not lust after evil things, as they also lusted" I Cor
These things are our examples. As they were to abide in His
presence, so we are to abide in the presence of the Lord.
At times we say, "Lord, this is what we are doing, please
come and bless it." We do this rather than to "turn
again" and say, "Lord, we submit to your program,
we desire to come into the place of your abiding presence,
where we might follow you."
Today, as never before, we have taken for granted the fact
of His presence without realizing that we are not receiving
a spiritual tan. If we desire this "tan," then we
must sit where the sun is brightly shining. We cannot sit
in a room and say, "The Lord knows my heart, and I want
a tan so I will just believe." We must contend for His
presence, for an open heaven.
The first step is to recognize the problem. Left to myself,
I will make my own way and take the Lord for granted. Most
churches have a tendency to substitute liturgy when the presence
of the Lord is missing, rather than to seek the reason for
not experiencing the presence of the Lord.
"My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according
to thy word" Psalm 119:25.
We are the temple of the Lord. In Matt 21:12, "Jesus
went into the temple of God." He was already there in
the sense of "omnipresence." But, in His manifest
presence, He entered.
"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me,
keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come
unto him, and make our abode with him" John 14:23.
His omnipresence is absolute. His manifest presence, conditional.
The "If" sets before us a condition that we must
meet in order to receive the promise.
"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out
them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the
tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that
sold doves" John 14:12.
When the Lord comes within, He will do within His present
day temple (us) just as He did in the temple of that day.
He will deal with the things that are a hindrance to His abiding
"If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good
the land" Isa 1:19.
We should have within each of our lives, and in each of our
places of fellowship such a presence of the Lord that those
who come will say, "I feel the presence of the Lord,
there is something different here." If this is not being
said, something is lacking.
It is time for us to TURN AGAIN and to seek His face to shine
upon us as never before.