Swallowed Up By Life

By Francis Frangipane

Two forces are increasing in the world: the power of life and the power of death. The Scriptures tell us that, before Christ returns, Satan will be cast down from the spirit realm to the earthly realm "having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time" (Rev 12:12). Jesus warns us in Matt 24:22 that,"...unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved." Prophecy after prophecy warns of these days. Satanic darkness is on the face of the earth, and where the devil is, death and destruction are soon to follow.

At the same time, the sons of the kingdom should expect to enter ever-increasing degrees of life. Through repentance and faith in God's word, we are seeing more of the Holy Spirit and more of Christ's actual Presence restored to the church. I believe before Jesus returns, the church will be as full of life as Christ Himself was when He walked in His earthly ministry. Is that heresy? No. To live apart from Christ in worldliness is heresy.

Indeed, the test for a true Christian in the first century church was not limited to proper doctrines, but in walking as Christ Himself walked. As it is written, "By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked" (1 John 2:5b-6). Again, Paul tells us that a time will come when "that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" (II Cor 5:4). As the last trumpet sounds, our perishable bodies will put on imperishable bodies and what was mortal will put on immortality (I Cor 15:53).

Think about it: immortality, death and decay swallowed up by life! If we are truly walking with Christ, we are never facing death, we are discarding death! What awaits us is ever-increasing, spirit-transforming LIFE. It is abundant in quantity, eternal in nature, and glorious in substance!

This is important for us to grasp, for what will occur "...in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" (I Cor 15:52), is actually the result of years of progressively laying down our self-lives, and progressively absorbing and living in Christ's life.

The Scripture tells us that now "your life is hidden with Christ in God" but "when Christ, WHO IS OUR LIFE, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory" (Col 3:3-4).

The key to the revealed life in glory is the daily, hidden life we now possess with Christ. Thus, our confession, a true statement: Christ is my life not just my religion. Wherever I may be, in my home or work, in my hopes and dreams, in all my relationships in every place that I abide in my existence, Christ is there with me as my life.

The Hidden Manna
Yet, there is a mystery concerning life. Although life is obviously within and around us, Jesus said, "few are those who find it" (Matt 7:14). Most people just exist. They go through their days afraid to live, and afraid to die. The life Christ came to give us doesn't automatically fall on us like the sunshine and rain He provides; God hides His life in His will. And if we are to find His life, we must do His will.

In Rev 2:17, Jesus promised, "To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna." The life God has for us is, first of all, hidden. Jesus called the kingdom of God, "a treasure hidden in the field"(Matt 13:44). Even though life is within and around us, we must search for it like fine gold and dig for it like silver.

Additionally, Solomon tells us that even though "God made men upright" they "...sought out many devices". (Ecc 7:29) There is something so perverse about the human nature that, even though we love light, we are bent toward darkness. Our carnal nature is mole-like, burrowing in earth, unable to live in the brightness of life. We do not want to be alone, but we do not know how to sustain Christ-centered relationships with people. We get swallowed up in the darkness of our problems, rather than the brightness of Christ's love.

It is so easy for a man to come home and look at this wife as one of the "things" in the home: there's the chair, the couch, the table, my wife, the lamp, etc. We all must cultivate a spiritual sensitivity to the Lord so we can become aware of the abundant life He came to give. Women complain that their husbands don't communicate. When they finally do have opportunity to talk, instead of making it an enjoyable time, the wife spends the night reminding him of where he failed to meet her needs.

Christ's life unfolds, in part, as we learn to appreciate the gifts He has given us. How easy it is to blame others for our unhappiness, but we are only unhappy when something other than Christ has become our life. The husband or wife who has Christ as their life, comes to their spousal relationship already satisfied. They do not come continually looking to made happy by another person's attention; they bring Christ's life to their spouse.

The Healing Touch Of God

In the Book of Daniel, the angel Gabriel approached the prophet to give him understanding concerning a vision. Daniel documented his reaction to this supernatural encounter. He said, "Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground" (Dan 8:18). It is unfortunate, but this is how most of us approach the things of God: as the Lord begins to talk to us, instead of looking up toward the Lord and responding with full, conscious awareness that God is talking with us, we slip into a deep sleep with our faces to the ground.

Daniel continued, "but he touched me and made me stand upright" (Dan 8:18). Every time God deals with your heart, each time He touches you, He is making you stand upright. When you cry during worship, the very Spirit of God Himself is waking you, pulling your face up off the earth. When your heart is burning within you at the reading or preaching of the word, it is nothing less than Christ Himself making you stand upright. You are being swallowed up in His life.

Dear ones, don't be afraid of letting the Lord touch you. Something wonderful of Christ's life is at hand. Don't let defeats or failings or circumstances keep your face pressed to the ground. More life is coming! More of His Presence is at hand! Stay vulnerable to Him. He will progressively pour more of heaven's substance into your soul. And as you seek Him, gradually you will see attitudes which were all too human in you, being transformed from glory to glory until, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, that which is mortal within you, shall be swallowed up by LIFE.