A New Vision for a New Year
By Paul Ravenhill

At the Beginning God said, "Let there be LIGHT!"
As this was true in the physical world so also it is true of the spiritual world.
God desires that there be clarity -- without confusion, and without shadows.
Only as we SEE, only as we KNOW, can we participate with God in His Life and His Kingdom.
          In the natural world and in the spiritual world God's provision is Light.
          In the natural world we see the light flooding all,
                    but in the spiritual world we must CHOOSE and we must SEEK.

From the beginning of time the enemy has attacked the work of God - he has come to rob, to kill, and to destroy. The cataclysmic battle of the ages between Light and Darkness has been fought on the battleground of every succeeding generation.
The forces of eternal powers have found a point of conflict in the souls of men.

How the enemy has thwarted man's efforts ever since the Garden of Eden!
How man's ingenuity has been channeled for evil!
          Metal was smelted -- and man made weapons.
          Stirrups were invented -- and the Roman empire fell as man was enabled to
          fight from horseback without falling off.
          Explosives were invented--and geared to war.
          Machinery was invented--and instead of making life better for the workers it
          brought about crowded city slums, oppressive working conditions, poverty
          and all the vices of crowding and injustice.
          Today the abuse of riches, and the oppression of man by man, continues.

Darkness has always sought to overcome the Light and has succeeded to such a large degree because the natural state of the world is darkness.
What I mean is that while Light requires an ongoing expenditure of energy to illuminate, darkness is merely the lack of this energy.

As the only Source of Light is God, without the Presence of God in His working the state of the world is eternal darkness.

The one who dwells in darkness is in effect blind -- not because he lacks the capacity to see but because he lacks illumination.
So men's inventions, intentions, and efforts quickened by a vague glimpse of the Reality of things have always inevitably sunken back into the sea of darkness, frustration and death.

I believe that as the New Year dawns it is high time for the church to turn to God and seek a New Vision in a New Light.

So very many times, even in the church, the flashes of God's Light given to individuals have been swallowed up by the darkness within them.
Graces and gifts have been used, as in the history of the barons of industry, to form a monopoly, brainwash followers, aggrandize and prosper the one so blessed.
Our leaders, many times have become as self-centered, conceited and intolerant as the leaders of 19th century industry were in their day.

Brethren, we need to get back to a vision of the Omnipotent One,
          The One in Whose Presence no flesh may glory!
          The One Who is the Only Authority and Light!
          The Only Creator and Sustainer of all things!
          The One without Whom ALL our righteousness is as filthy rags. All our efforts are the efforts of a blind man trying to find his way out of a swamp -- and then plan and build a city, and form a civilization!

The little word "come" has been ringing in my mind for the last few days.
Jesus said, "I am come that they might have Life."
Without His coming there is nothing but Death, but where He is come there is only Life.
The word "come" makes the difference between absolute nothingness, absolute impossibility, absolute despair, and a place of absolute Life and Light and Fullness -- the limitless, eternal, overflow of Abundance. He came to the absence of all things and brought the fullness of ALL things.

"If any man be in Christ... all things are become new."

However, together with God's coming to us, the Bible speaks of our coming to Him. "Come unto Me..."
We must leave a world behind us if we would find the world of His Kingdom.
Our hopes and fears, our ambitions and projects, must all be left behind.
What is more important, our perception of our own needs must be left behind.
We live in a day when so much of the nonsense of popular psychology has been absorbed into the church.
We see ourselves not as we are for what we are.
We see ourselves as what we project ourselves to be.
Something based on our estimation of our worth.
Something based in turn on the capacities we perceive in ourselves and on the works we are able to carry on.

We are as a man who is lost and who tries to find his identity by relating to things around him... what he can accomplish, who he knows, what he possesses...
Without God we must always fall into the situation where our insecurities drive us to measure and measure our lives by their relation to "things" both physical and abstract.
We incessantly try to do the impossible and find Reality without Him.
Man can find himself only by relating to God.

I don't know where to begin to speak of the way in which the enemy has, in both world and church, placed man at the center of things instead of the Creator.
Everything has been brought to forms of self-exaltation, and self-satisfaction.
The whole of life has been seen to orbit around our inner feelings.
Again -- it will not work!

We are called like Abraham from a city of men -- a human civilization with its conveniences, values and securities. As for him, so for us, there must be a leaving behind of this world built by man for man.
This present world should be not be the place where our souls are at home and our outer and inner needs are met. Rather, it should be a place in which we perceive the reek of death, and in whose values we see the devices of the enemy.
God is the only foundation, and to build on man without God is to try to build on a world of sinking sands.
It is time for us as a church to rise up and seek that city whose Builder and Maker is God.

T. Austin Sparks coined a word -- "utterness." This should be the hallmark of the followers of God -- a state, a condition, of being
"beyond" every small thing,
          Beyond every earthly thing
                    Beyond everything that ministers to the flesh in us.
Brethren, we are called "from" something and called "to" something.
          It is not that God comes to minister to us where we are and to prosper us as
          earthly men, but that God calls us "from" the earthly "to" the heavenly realm.
                    It is a finding ourselves
                              and the foundations of life
                                        and the purpose of His creation

in the spiritual realm!

It is a coming to the place where all the baby hurts and complexes of fallen humanity -- all the "old things"-- are passed away and all things are become new.

May God enable us in the New Year to make a New Examination of all that surrounds us both inside and outside the church.
May all things... all people... all messages... all actions... be brought to the Light of God and may we see there the Light of Life and the Pathway set before us.
May we be this year those who "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth."

Copyright © Paul Ravenhill 1997 - http://www.ravenhill.org/