One thing we discover in these formative, growing and even dormant days in the vineyard is that the Husbandman wants all of who we are: spirit and soul and body. He is invested in completing all He has started.
Now (moreover) may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I Thessalonians 5:23 NASB
To Him, ‘sanctify you (make holy, purify, consecrate) entirely’ (wholly, absolutely perfect, complete to the end) means just that.
The Husbandman is not a one-season-does-the-job Vintner. He ever tends, nurtures, shapes, forms, unifies, adjusts, and jointly puts together those who love Him.
It is not difficult for one to determine if they love Him. Scripture, indeed Jesus himself, says it clearly:
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” – (John 14:15)
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father,” – (verse 21)
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him,” – (verse 23)
“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. – (verse 24)
He immediately reminds us we are not left alone to figure this out and make it happen on our own.
“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” – (verses 25-27)
The Husbandman (Father), the Bridegroom King (Son) and the present Holy Spirit are in this together. Those who love Him are known by Him. (I Cor. 8:3) To be known by Him means He’s actively at work. When we are taught by and respond to the Holy Spirit, the Word opens up to our understanding.
As I’ve said before, I’ll say again: Vineyard Days are days of establishing, maturing, and preparation. We cannot achieve on our own what the Husbandman takes upon Himself to accomplish within us. His thoroughness knows no bounds. By the time He is done our body, our soul, and our spirit will have been touched and handled by Him in deeply cleansing, regenerating, consecrating ways. If and as we yield.
He doesn’t force. We get to choose. We can do whatever we want. Note this though: Those who love Him learn to yield.
As she continues to respond to Him (keeping His commands and His words by ordering her living of life according to them), all that He allows and does – or doesn’t do – results in her spiritual progress, maturity, and growth in love. It is I Thessalonians 5:23 occurring in her (and our) spirit, soul and body.
Dearly beloveds, how He loves us, His present-day Shulamite. While we are yet in these bodies of flesh and blood, He longs to do an effective work within our soul and spirit also. All of who we are. There are those who have gone before that make up part of His Bride. But we are still here. It’s our turn to learn to yield.
Where are we in our individual and collective confessions of love? In order to rightly discern, perhaps it will help to note that each of the Shulamite’s confessions was accompanied by a corresponding yielding.
First – “My beloved is mine, and I am his;”
Yielding to His call.
Second – “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,
He who pastures his flock among the lilies.”
Yielding to His will.
Third – “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.”
Yielding to His desire.
We know that we do not live life except day by day, year by year, season by season. Growth and change, dormancy and fruitfulness, dying to self only to find our life happen over time.
Likewise, it doesn’t appear that the Shulamite instantly arrived at the next level of her profession. If you sit down and soak in the Song, one thing becomes apparent (and as for her, also for us):
When and as she yielded, that one act compelled His next action. What we don’t know is the span of time between yielding to His call, then His will, and finally to His desire. We know she got there. Which should greatly encourage our hearts that we can too, in ever-deepening cycles of the three.
But, we hold a key. The key of the three yieldings.
I think it not too far a stretch to equate yielding to His call to yielding our body for His life and purposes. He cannot do much without a vessel in and through whom to work; even greater things because He went to His Father. (Romans 6:13ff & John 14:12) Such a great mystery.
Then there is our soul. The habitation of our mind, will, and emotions. Oh, look. Our will. With His desire that we should yield our will to His will. How we can kick against the goads in this regard. Which is why we don’t know how long it took the Shulamite to utter in truth and action the yielding of her will to His.
We do though have our own life experience by which to somewhat gauge her progression. Personally, I think this is the biggest area and longest stretch of our life over which incremental change comes about. Consider the Husbandman’s planting of us in Mercy Land and we begin to get an idea of His unwavering commitment to our cultivation. In every place I will becomes Thy will, victory is won and He reigns in that very place.
Finally, there is our human spirit. Where willingness has been cultivated by yielding our will to His in each opportunity (test) He puts before us, He grants us a willing spirit to sustain us. (Psalm 51:12) This is the core of who we are; our heart, the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23) Communing with His Holy Spirit.
Soak a while and join me next time.
~ Gracefully Free
Photo – Free by Pixabay, Public Domain