5. Christ Versus Superman II
God shaped the outer form of each one of us as He saw fit. We, on the other hand, carefully drape the garments of pretending over our earthly appearance primarily to gain from those who have the power to give us pleasure or the power to do us harm. In the world, this practice is called "keeping up with the Jones's." In the church, this practice is called "being like Christ." They are the same thing.
5. Christ Versus Superman II
I give thanks for the email sent to me by the brother, which email I shared in "Christ Versus Superman I." I forgive him completely for the pain. I do not like pain; in fact, I do all that I can to avoid it. But when it comes, sent to me by my Father, I give thanks as I watch that pain turn into the bright and shining jewel that it always is.
I receive all things from my Father. Nothing ever touches me except that which He has ordained for His glory and mine. The Father carries me.
I have so many thoughts, so many wondrous things the Lord has taught me through the last two weeks. But first, I want to underline what I have always taught.
Christ is altogether glorious; He is victory over all, exalted above all the heavens, reigning in power and glory. We speak Christ; we call those things that BE NOT as though they are. God always leads us in triumph, that is, to boast exultantly in the victory of Christ in us even when we see the opposite.
But God never leads us to pretend. Being led in triumph and pretending appear to the ignorant eye to be almost the same thing. But to one who walks in the full knowledge of Christ as us, they are as different as night and day.
Let me pull in some quotes from just one article of mine, "To Defeat the Lie." I have said this same thing with slightly different wording all through my many articles. I will add my meaning in parenthesis, though those words did not appear in the original.
Christ and I - Daniel Yordy - are one. I am in Him and He is in me. There is no distinction or separation. I share fully all the power of His glory; He shares fully all the weakness of my frame (Asperger’s and every other element, named or unnamed, of the frame entrusted to me).
All that He is I am. All that I am (Asperger’s and every other element, named or unnamed, of the frame entrusted to me) is He. The Lie is proven false in my flesh upon this earth. Christ is unveiled in me!
But here's the deal. Christ must be proven at the center and core of this world. God requires it . . . Satan challenged Christ in the beginning to a showdown, a duel, a contest. That contest is Christ - He who reveals Himself in human flesh (Every strength and weakness of the frame entrusted to me) - VERSUS anti-Christ - the argument, the contradiction, the speaking against, the claim, that Christ IS NOT in (my) human flesh.
You and I are the flesh of Christ. You and I are the fulcrum, the center point, the dividing line of that conflict, of that final showdown upon this earth.
When Christ showed us God in human flesh, he took upon Himself every form of weakness at every step along the way. How could God have been more specific? Yet we have deified, contrary to God, every element of Jesus' weakness and separated it far, far away from our own reality. Genesis 3 is very specific on why and how we do this.
Now, I am driving at a very definite revelation of truth, but I will get there by bouncing around. Next, I want to share portions of a letter I sent to a brother who had responded to the first part of this pamphlet by also sharing the weakness and difficulty in which he finds himself.
You and I are a problem in Christianity, we are members of that out-of-sight, out-of-mind group that no one wants to acknowledge, the unhealed. We who have sought the Lord for healing with the best of them for years, in all things they instruct us to do. Yet we remain unhealed. Here is the problem. Though we remain unhealed, we dare two things. We dare to believe that the Lord Jesus is IN our unhealedness and we dare to imagine that we can minister Christ out from that unhealedness.
In short, we are an offense.
When I write that the Lord Jesus is IN my unhealedness, I get two massively opposing responses. I get the responses from the self-appointed "fixers" that populate the body of Christ, and then I get the response from others like me. The first response is filled with scorn in one way or another (something that is certainly not Christ); the second response is HOPE pouring out from hearts who once thought there was no hope for them.
Gladly do I bear the scorn of the first that I might share the joy of the second.
There are many people, many of them ministers of Christ, who have never known unhealedness. God anoints them and they minister Christ without difficulty. Their lack of sickness, their continual success, is a gift from God unrelated to their own ability "to get it right." Many of these are not scorners at all. Many of them see you and I as no problem at all, but treat us as their spiritual equals in all ways. Others may not understand why we are unhealed and it puzzles them, but they leave it with the Lord as it is not in them to judge or to scorn.
But there are, in the body of Christ, a very large group of scorners, many of whom are in the ministry. It is amazing to me that they judge our unhealedness as "UN- CHRIST-LIKE," but their own scorn they do not.
I “sinned” a few days ago. Briefly. Then I felt really bad, unclean, and certainly separated from God. I went back to my past pleading for forgiveness, over and over. That didn't last long because the Lord put this thought into my mind, "I forgave you long ago. Will you forgive yourself?"
That was a new idea. So I looked squarely at the feeling of uncleanness and said, "I forgive myself for being so stupid and for doing iniquity." Instantly the entire thing was gone, both sin and uncleanness, from my mind and heart, and I knew it no more. Wow!
Here all these years, when I plead for God's forgiveness, pleading the blood, battling demons, seeking for a return to His presence, I had the whole thing completely backwards. We absolutely hate making mistakes. And the feeling of uncleanness and separation from God was something I had imposed upon myself as "penance?" for the stupidity of having been so inept and idiotic as to have made a mistake? Wow.
What a relief it is to know, all through ourselves, that God made us weak. That it's okay to be weak. That God shows Himself through our weakness, not through our ability to "get it right."
I will say this, not as a "sermon," but as my own life, over the last year, the giving of thanks has grown in me. To look squarely at everything, good, bad, and indifferent, and give thanks for it in quietness of heart. I do not need to add that giving thanks always looks forward in hope to His full victory in us regardless of the present difficulty.
We can give thanks for the anger, for swearing at God (yes, I have done that recently as well), give thanks even for dark thoughts. Look squarely at those things and SEE Christ in them and them in Christ, dead upon the cross. This is what the posers really do not like us to do. "Christ is the unblemished One, do not dirty Him!"
And how could we dirty Him when He Himself bears our sorrows and carries our grief?
I share the mental characteristic that most people likely share, that is, the need to hash over and over in our minds argument and self-defense when we find ourselves in impossible contradictions with other people, contradictions we cannot understand. Obviously, we think, THAT must be "the carnal mind." This is something I have never understood. Over and over, God has demonstrated in overwhelming ways that the conclusions I came to in this mental process, that all others called my "carnal mind" and "Daniel, your problem is that you think too much," God has shown to be His conclusions, conclusions He was sharing with me.
Here is just one example. The spring of 1985 was one of the most difficult times of my life. Through most of those months I endured this thing never letting go of my mind (and worse). I came to some humanly bitter conclusions. I was certain that my conclusions were utterly of "the flesh." Then we had a convention in April. At the convention, anointed preacher after preacher got up, men and women from all over the world, and the gist of word after word was every single conclusion I had arrived at in my turmoil.
I was stunned. I walked back home by myself unable to reconcile the seeming contradiction. As I crossed the bridge on the way back to the men's dorm in which I lived, I laid before God the one conclusion I had come to, the biggest one, that had NOT been addressed. I cried out, "God, what about this?"
The next morning, the man who was responsible for the community in which I lived, who was in large part responsible for that very dilemma I had thrown back at God, got up to preach. Here is what he said: "Last night God spoke to me in a dream." God had said to him, "People are dying in your community and you don't even know it." He went on to expand on that word.
I could not have been more floored, for that was the exact question I had hurled at God in my agony, stated far better than I could ever have formulated. How could my agony be so in tune with God? Sad to say, nothing ever came from that word in that community, not then and not since.
But that is just one example from a lifetime of such examples. I certainly do not understand it. How could my agony be God?
The Father spoke something beyond profound to me Sunday in the praise service at Lakewood. I wept uncontrollably, something I never ever do in a public place. It is difficult to put what He spoke into words; they are so easily misunderstood by people who do not know the true nature and being of God.
More and more we will be passing through the shaking of everything. Regardless of whatever hell we pass through inside us or outside us, we KNOW that it is the Father carrying us through all of it, and that we do not ever pretend there is no difficulty.
Just as the Father carried Jesus' cross for Him, so especially during the last three hours Jesus spent on the cross, when everything came apart for Him, everything went wrong. He knew, finally, that He had failed, totally and completely. "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Yet, there was never a time in all Jesus' life and ministry when the Father was carrying Him more than right then in His sin (cursed is every man who hangs upon a tree), in His unhealedness, and in His failure. "Into Your hands" He cast Himself.
There in the service, the Father showed me first what Jesus felt like in the last three hours on the cross. Jesus knew He had failed, utterly and completely.
Then the Father showed me the secret of Jesus' life. He said, "Never once did Jesus ever reach for His own 'power'."
Then He said, "And you, son, are just like Jesus."
In a flash I saw my life, always standing back not pushing myself forward, choosing humiliation and loss rather than asserting myself. Always submitting to my superiors, never arguing with them, never defending myself. Accepting ruin rather than any form of triumph over others. Always justifying God for all things He allowed in my life. Even my bitterness and my lack, my confusion and my distress, I have always placed into Him and trusted Him.
You can understand how the Father's words caused me to weep openly in public, something I have never done. You can also understand why I say that people just don't understand God.
We could even look at Frodo, just before he was to throw the ring into the fire. He couldn't do it. He said, "I will not do this thing. The ring is mine." It seemed as if he had succumbed and was finally "reaching for power." Yea, right. It was not five minutes before Gollum bit his finger off and the ring was gone forever. Even Frodo's 'failure' was foreseen and meant nothing and was forgotten.
I suspect, though, that when Frodo had crossed over the sea, his missing finger, reminding him forever of his moment of failure, was never healed. But remaining unhealed, it became a symbol of glory and treasure unsurpassed in all the Blessed Realm.
And so it is with Jesus. The Lamb who was slain, the scars of His failure, His ruin, His defeat, remain forever unhealed, the brightest jewels of the entire universe.
Be blessed. In all your difficulty, the Father is carrying you.
I want to talk about the nature of man, as we find ourselves to be in this world.
God has carefully crafted for each one of us an outer frame or appearance. We live our entire life in and through that outer frame. We could call that outer frame "the flesh," but only if we use the true definition of flesh as that which is entirely neutral, neither good nor evil, neither down-pulling nor up-lifting.
Good and evil, Jesus said, is a matter of the heart, not the outer frame. Our hearts are filled with God.
Just as no set of fingerprints of all Adam's descendants are the same, so no outer frame crafted by God and given carefully and purposefully to each one is the same. God made you the way you find yourself to be in all respects, your spirit's qualities equally with your body's qualities. The fall of Adam has nothing to do whatsoever with God making you and me the way He chose. God did not intend Adam's fall, but He did intend, fully, to create you and me under the ruin of Adam's fall. Every part of my form, as I find myself to be, is the intention and determination of God from the beginning.
Let me first give David's version of this reality from Psalm 139, and then Paul's.
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? Romans 9:19-21
Adam and Eve possessed the best of all the outward forms given to any of the human race. They were brilliant, staggeringly handsome/beautiful, capable, strong, winsome, witty, generous, outgoing. In short, they were, in the form given to them by God, everything any of their descendants ever wished to be.
Adam and Eve looked at that wondrous outer form God had crafted for them and they were ASHAMED of it. They were convinced God had made them wrong.
Both Adam and Eve rejected the form God had crafted for them. It was not good enough. Instead, they set about making their own outward form, an outward form that was acceptable to them, crafted by their own hands. They wove together fig leaves, draping them over their bodies to alter their outward form. "God is an idiot; we are clever. We have made ourselves to appear as we ought to have appeared from the beginning. Looking good, baby!"
Pretending! Oh, how we pretend to appear as something very different in the eyes of those we want to impress, very different from the outer form we know we are when we stop lying to ourselves.
God shaped the outer form of each one of us as He saw fit. We, on the other hand, carefully drape the garments of pretending over our earthly appearance primarily to gain from those who have the power to give us pleasure or the power to do us harm.
In the world, this practice is called "keeping up with the Jones's." In the church, this practice is called "being like Christ." They are the same thing.
God crafted for the Lord Jesus a particular outward form unique to Him and thus different from all other outward forms given to all other humans. You and I trying to "look like" the form or personality given to Jesus is not one wit less pretending than for you and I to try to "look like" the form or personality given to our pastor or the leading ministries in our group.
When I was in college, the personality test based on the four Greek humors was making the rounds. By those definitions, I was clearly melancholic. Yet I was told by the leading anointed elder then in my life, a dear sister whom I respected and looked up to with all my heart, that Jesus was definitely NOT melancholic and therefore, if I wanted to be "like Him," I must not be "melancholic." I half believed her.
God made my outer form very capable in certain areas. But He left off the ability to pretend when He formed me, an ability that most people are given. (Or shall I say that He gave me the ability to see through pretending and not be taken by it.) And so, though my abilities carried me forward for some years, my inability to pretend that I was not melancholic (etc.) led the ministry who covered me to conclude that I was in rebellion against God, that I just was not "submissive." I wanted so much to pretend, to put on an outward form that was acceptable to them. I looked up to those men and women and wanted so much to walk together with them with their approval.
I failed. I just could not make myself look like "Christ," though I sought that ability with tears over many years.
And I certainly knew what Christ did look like. He looked like the best of the personalities, the outer forms, of John and Charity and Gary and Don, all rolled into one and anointed by the Father.
I was simply incapable of making myself look like that image of Christ. Finally, after many, many attempts, through great personal loss and pain, through getting up out of the mud of failure and humiliation time and again, through many tears and crying out to God, I pulled away in utter ruin, shattered and frozen inside.
I had failed.
You can understand, then, when God said, "You passed the test, son," how ridiculous He sounded. I don't know why, though, I've tended to believe Him rather than all the frowns of mature Christian leaders.
You and I do not choose the outer form given to us by God. We choose only what we do with it. In the end, there are only two choices. Either we cover it over, trying to make it "look like Jesus," trying to "act" Christ-like. Or we do what Jesus did, accept our form as God made it, as the flesh of God, and walk naked and unashamed. We choose to see the Lord Jesus in our very flesh.
Let me raise here the practice the brother pushed in the email, the practice of not saying, "Asperger's" or "cancer." The idea is, if we say those words, we are actually making that thing higher and more powerful than a Jesus who is far, far away from the dirt and the grime of worm-life in this world.
How absurd. Of truth, this idea is based on the claims of "magic" and is nothing more than superstition. But as superstition, it has terrible consequences in the hearts, especially of children, who, finding themselves faced with something terrifying like cancer inside their little bodies, are told by the people who stand as "God" in their lives never to say, "cancer," because then the big bad boogey man will get you. Hide, deny; what is inside your body is unmentionable.
These children are caught between the hammer and the anvil. On the one hand, because they are children, they see immediately through the stupid pretending of adults. They are not fooled. On the other hand, they believe with all their hearts that the "God" being presented to them by the pastors and elders is the true definition of God. At some point, their child's heart is shattered, and they spend the rest of their lives fleeing from this hideous God who sanctions such abuse.
I speak of dear ones whom I know well and who are precious to me.
That practice is evil; it's also completely contrary to the gospel.
If I found myself with cancer, I would give thanks FOR the cancer. I am not prone to cancer, but I do have chronic fatigue syndrome, caused, maybe in part, by adrenal glands that simply do not operate - why I don't know. I have searched for every avenue of solution for twenty years without success. I give thanks for chronic fatigue syndrome; I give thanks, especially when I feel so weak that I despair of life itself, let alone being able to provide for my family.
I give thanks. I give thanks for my outer frame, both in its abilities and in its disabilities. I know that my flesh is the flesh of God and that the resurrected, ascended Christ, filled with all glory and power in the universe, lives in my flesh and is NOT ashamed to call it His dwelling place.
I know the miraculous power of God to heal the physical body. I have witnessed with my eyes and felt beneath my hand the body moving back into wholeness. I have seen wonders.
I also know the enormous, desperate desire in the hearts of dear ones to appear "healed" so that the apostle might think they are filled with faith. It is so humiliating when the mighty anointed healer pronounces healing and you are not healed and after awhile they turn away from you as "non-productive" and you feel as if there's something terribly wrong with you. And so you try, very hard, to appear healed so that this one who must be so like Christ will be pleased with your faith.
I know healing and I know pretending. I will always believe God with fullness of hope and the confident joy of expectation for the first, and I will never ever yield to the temptation to practice the second.
How, then, do we set our face on healing and avoid pretending? That's so easy - we give thanks.
We give thanks FOR that which is shameful in the eyes of those who value pretense, those who are so skilled at weaving fig leaves so that the real human person is never, ever seen.
You see, I know full well that the brother who wrote this email is weak, that he stumbles and falls and does really stupid things, just like I do. I know that he has many disabilities - and abilities. If I could just see him, I would certainly see Christ. But I don't see him in most of his emails, just an outer religious form. And though he uses Bible words to carefully craft the outward persona he prefers over the one God made for him, I can never see Christ in fig leaves. I do not try.
Yet I know full well that Christ lives IN him. I wish he would discover the glorious truth of the gospel as well.
I want to look more closely at the outer form God crafted individually and specifically for each one of us. First, I want to talk about human disability. Then, I will talk about human ability. Both qualities are very much part of the frame God Himself designed for each of us.
There is a huge difference between such things as blindness, autism, missing a leg or arm, down syndrome, deafness, and so on, versus cancer, diabetes, etc. The last group are diseases that can be treated by man, the others are physical conditions. No one would ever tell a blind person that they need to "get healed," or someone that doesn't have an arm that they need to "manifest armness" or something. But when the disability is not outwardly visible, "spiritual" Christians can be very cruel.
This is a fascinating study in Christian thinking. The "Christian" mind generally treats the blind with respect; the deaf are ignored, the crippled are blinked at, the down syndrome are condescended to (God loves them because they are so helpless - you know), but those who have had their nerves scarred by medical malpractice or were born with scarred nerves, these people are treated with incredible cruelty and meanness. I am speaking here of the autistic, the bi-polar syndrome, Asperger’s, and so on.
What holiness preacher would shout at a blind person that their blindness cannot be "Christ" and that they need to get delivered from blindness before they can know Him or minister Him to others? No such thing, is there?
There is no difference between someone who is blind and someone who is autistic. I know a number of individuals who were born pre-mature in the 1950's, were put into a pure oxygen environment, and thus were made blind by the ignorance of doctors. I have never heard any, even the greatest of pretenders in Christian ministry ever say to such a person that they must be "delivered" from blindness to be "like Christ," or that they should hide their blindness and never mention it to anyone, or should never dare to talk about what the Lord teaches them through their blindness, for that would drag Christ out of the heavens and cause blindness to be "higher" than He!
An autistic person is someone whose nerves have been scarred by medical malpractice - the mercury, a deadly poison, pumped into their bodies as infants through vaccinations. Asperger's, on the other hand, though similar, can be inherited genetically, in the exact same way that some people are born blind.
As I said, the cruelty practiced against such people over long years by "mature" and "successful" Christians is just beyond belief. I can bear pain. I would rather take all the pain this brother can dish out than see him or those like him get anywhere near an autistic child. I will say no more.
I knew nothing about Asperger’s until just a year-and-a-half ago. I have never learned anything about myself more wonderful than learning about Asperger’s. What relief! I cannot begin to express to you the peace, the answers, answers, answers to so many unanswered questions, so much confusion and pain all down through the years. The difficulty is still there, but the confusion is gone. Now, when I look at my "oddities," I know what they are, I do not have to worry about why things just don't work for me. It gives me such peace.
Dr. Asperger was just a medical practitioner who, caring for the people God had given him to care for, determined that inside of his autistic patients was another group of children who were similar, yet distinct and different from general autism. These children were more capable than the general autistic child, more able to adapt and survive and make their way, stumbling and bruised, through the world. Though they had unique disabilities, they had unique abilities as well. Asperger's children were highly capable of focusing on one thing to the exclusion of all others, of seeing patterns others miss, of producing great works of creativity. Our world is more profoundly shaped today than we understand by the creativity of individuals in the past who happened to be Asperger's.
There are many others, I have learned, who also discover they are Asperger’s only after years of stumbling through life as an adult. Their reactions to the discovery are always identical to mine. Such joy; such relief! To finally understand that there is not some terrible nameless thing wrong with me. To learn that there are many others who have had the same difficulties as I and have been treated in the same way I was treated.
Those who do not know the Christ who walks in weakness imagine that they can drive a wedge between the Lord Jesus Christ and the weakness of the outer form entrusted to me by my Father. They have no idea how strong I am; they do not understand how greatly I treasure the personal communion with the Lord Jesus in my difficulty that I have come to know only in the last few years.
God always leads us in triumph - that is, we always expect His goodness and full victory in our flesh upon this earth, AND we always give thanks for our weakness, knowing that, through it, God is revealing Himself in a way the universe could never otherwise know Him. Both, 100 %, all the time. And thus, we are just like Jesus.
We will never know Him in His power until we know Him IN our weakness.