EDIFIED to become DEIFIED

Anagrams have always fascinated me. In reading 1 Corinthians 14, I just noticed that letters of the word EDIFIED can be rearranged to make the word DEIFIED. Interestingly, I believe there may be a spiritual principle here.

God, I believe, has hidden secret treasures in every language. Deuteronomy 29:29 (NIV) says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” Our Father, if he really is a good father (and I believe he is), hides treasures like Easter eggs for us to find—and like a good father, he doesn’t make them too hard for us to find at the level we are at. (Corrie ten Boom observed that the gospel had to be complex enough to always be fascinating no matter how wise or intelligent a person was, yet simple enough to be grasped by the least wise or intelligent.)

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” (Proverbs 25:2 NIV) We become “kings,” i.e., grow in greatness and glory and learn to rule with the authority delegated to us by the King of kings, by learning to dig in and find those hidden treasures intended for us, hidden from the foundation of the world. And perhaps, in a very simple way, such anagrams are clues pointing to some of those treasure troves.

As we are EDIFIED, growing in grace and glory, as Jesus did (Luke 2:40, 52), we “become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4 KJV and NKVJ—I love that word “partakers”—so descriptive of what we are called into!) and “are being transformed into the same image [as Jesus] from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord”—in essence, as we are EDIFIED, we are indeed becoming DEIFIED. Maybe a bit of a stretch for us, but maybe, just maybe, we ARE being called to be “Christ-ians,” little ikons, miniature coins stamped with the image of the living God, as Jesus claimed to be, revealing the true Father to the world, bearing his likeness as servants (NKJV)/ students (NIV)/ disciples (NAS) being made into ambassadors/ representatives of their master (NKJV)/ teacher (NIV/NAS) (Matthew 10:25).

We are warned that if we are not careful, the world will conform us into its image (Romans 12:2). If we really believe that to be a possibility, it will affect how we position ourselves. How might it impact us if we became aware that indeed, we have already been so steeped in our culture that we reflect its image far more than the image of the invisible God? Otherwise, how can it be that the world sees little or no difference in the lives of Christians?

And unfortunately, it is not something accomplished consciously. Someone has compared out conscious minds to penguins sitting on top of an iceberg, moving with the iceberg but thinking they are controlling the direction of the iceberg. Instead, we have to BECOME cities set on a hill, lights shining in darkness, living epistles—whatever image you choose—but it has to become something so ingrained in us, so innate, something we are so steeped in that it removes the impact of the “world” by osmosis. The life of God has to become “sauna-ized” into us, pressure-cooked into our core.

How does that happen? By relationship with the One who can make it happen. In Middle Eastern cultures, disciples learned by being with their teachers 24/7, immersing themselves in the very life and being the teacher imparted. It is a concept of totality foreign to our culture, a mentoring that is as much emotional as intellectual, as much personal as professional, as much internal as external. For years, I cried out to God, asking him to let me find someone to mentor me (particularly in business), and he seemed to keep telling me that he would not let that happen, that he wanted to be my mentor. And somehow, as I am learning in a new way to put the Kingdom first, it is happening in ways that cause me to be amazed. I don’t understand it—but then, maybe I’m not meant to. (Dissection in biology class necessitated the death of what was dissected!)

And so I can’t tell you, really, how to get there. Ultimately, I have to keep coming back to those scriptures that, for me, are the essence of what the heavenly Father is doing in these last days: causing everyone to know him, from the least to the greatest, to such an extent that no one has to tell someone else how to make it happen (Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:11; John 6:45). Those scriptures have become the standard I bear, the flag I wave to all.

Paul said to the Philippians, “Join with others in following my example,” and “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice.” I can point to Scripture reading and memory and to prayer as some of the keys, and I’m sure there are others related to obeying and working out the details: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,…” taking into account the flip-side: “…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

A few months ago, it seemed the Lord called me to be a “Bible teacher,” but not in the normal sense of simply imparting knowledge in a classroom setting. (Mind you, I’m an electrical contractor, aged 59, and have never worked in a paid religious position.) What he showed me is that I am called to become so saturated with the Bible that it simply “oozes” out of me, that I can’t help but show what is meaningful from Scripture by being who I am and who I am really meant to be.

Six years ago, I memorized the entire book of Philippians in the NIV (104 verses, 2,240 words). My motivation came from reading a line by Donald Whitney in a book on spiritual disciplines that, if we really treasured Scripture more than wealth (Your word is “more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold,” Psalm 119:72; see also Psalm 19:10). He challenged the reader, “How many verses could you memorize in one week if someone offered to give you $1000 for each?” So I began the process, and within a few months, had Philippians down by heart. I had heard of someone dressing as Paul in a prisoner and presenting that book, so I decided to try it. My wife made me a costume, and I found some plastic chains. I did it a few times and it kind of went “into the closet” for the next 5½ years.

Recently I resurrected it. I am presently trying to get it recorded for YouTube, and I am taking every opportunity I can make to present it. Here’s why: What I find is that, with our culture being so acclimatized to the visual, we have no concept of some of the depths contained in what we read, particular Scripture. So I want to present that picture for people to see Paul’s—and God’s—heart.

I’ve started working on learning James from THE MESSAGE. According to some, James was so steeped in prayer that he earned the nickname “Ol’ Camel-Knees.” What I picture for presenting it as a monologue is coming out in a costume that shows these grotesquely disfigured knees, kneeling down, and “praying” the book of James aloud as dictation for a “disciple” to write down.

I’m not anywhere close to being like James—I have  difficult time doing more that throwing out thoughts that I call prayers, and my knees have never been able to sustain staying on them very long. But I can remember in the early days of my excitement for the things of the Lord, asking an old saintly gentleman to let me come into his prayer time, and I remember being incredibly disappointed that he refused. What if we could somehow mentor others into our private ways of knowing the Lord?

Yet how much more glorious that the Lord promises us that he’s going to do exactly that sort of mentoring! Jesus said, “I DO ONLY WHAT I SEE MY FATHER DOING.” And he calls us to follow him! If he really is as faithful as he claims to be, how can he NOT take us there??

I can say, to some extent, with Paul, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1; see also 2 Thessalonians 3:7; Philippians 3:17; 4:9). You can’t be with me 24/7 (and I’m not sure neither of us could handle that anyway! <g>). But what I can say, without hesitation, is that if your heart is really turned toward having him come in and so transform you that you become in reality his disciple, it will happen. Not instantaneously maybe, though I don’t even rule that possibility out. But over time, it WILL happen. God will be faithful to make it happen: “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he WILL stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4, emphasis added)

So, let’s “get it on!” There are exciting times ahead. As THE MESSAGE says, “For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life,” (James 1:12) that truly abundant life Jesus promised. Even so, Lord Jesus, let it happen in us! Amen and amen! Woohoo!

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2 Responses to “EDIFIED to become DEIFIED”

  1. Johnny Brewer Says:

    Wow! Talk about serving up a T-bone… enough here to chew on for a couple of days! Good on ya’ brother.

  2. EDIFIED to become DEIFIED Says:

    […] article: EDIFIED to become DEIFIED Tags: bible, change, children, culture, facebook-photo, gospel, jesus, working-out, world Posted […]

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