“To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne” (Revelation 3:21).
This reveals the “requirement” for entering into a place of “responsibility,” in relation to the Lord’s manifest presence.
To be in this “throne relationship” with the Lord, requires of us a quality of “overcoming.” We must overcome our thoughts, our desires, and our natural abilities. This means that we have submitted the totality of our being to the Lord, and in our daily life experience, we are rising above the pulls of the earthly.
Thus, to be an overcomer requires that we make this major decision, followed by many lesser decisions, in submitting ourselves “unconditionally” to the Lord. Do we choose to give our priorities to the Lord, or do we give priority to our other interests? Our response, or our failure to respond, shows where our heart really is. It is here that we will fail, unless we recognize that the term “over-coming” involves both pressure and conflict.
In chapter one of Mark, the Lord did not speak to Peter and Andrew while they were resting, or when they were mending their nets. Rather, He said, "Come and follow Me" as they were casting their net into the sea. Seemingly, this was not the right time for the Lord to ask this. Peter could have said, "Lord, I have just dropped my net into the sea and it will take awhile for the fish to get into it. As soon as I am done fishing, I will be with you."
But this is not what happened. The Word tells us that Peter straightway left the demands of his profession. He left his nets in the sea, fish and all, and followed Jesus. The Lord seeks for those who will respond in unquestioning, instantaneous obedience. If Peter had asked the Lord to wait until he had finished his fishing, the Lord would have gone on. Here, Peter's priorities were tested. His obedience had to overcome his professional interest.
By trade, I am a pattern draftsman. Both my grandfather and father were businessmen, which trait was imparted into my life at an early age. I received intensive training in Germany and then came to the United States at the age of twenty-one in 1925. Soon, I opened my own drafting office in New York City and worked long and hard, patterning drawings for the Patent Office in Washington.
I was alone in the office one Saturday afternoon when “suddenly,” I heard a voice saying, "Go down to the street and testify of Me." I thought, this is the Lord, but I am very busy and I must get this work done, as it has been promised by a certain time.”
I had hardly started back to work when the power of God so moved on me that it literally shook the pencil out of my hand. After awhile this manifest power subsided, so I picked up my pencil and went back to work. I sometimes wonder why the Lord was so patient with me.
Again, the Lord said, "Go down to the street and testify of me." I knew what He wanted, but again I said that I was too busy. And again, the power came down and literally shook the pencil out of my hand.
Finally, I came to understand that the Lord wanted me to put my work in second place and obey Him. I went down to the subway at Forty Second Street, and entered a subway car and began talking to the people who were near me about my experience of salvation. Then, I went from car to car testifying about the Lord.
As I entered a car toward the end of the train, a policeman was standing there. After I started speaking, I saw him scowling at me. Because I had to go past him to get to the next car, I became scared. In my heart I said, "Lord, I have to walk past him, please make a way for me.” Then I walked into the next car without a problem, and testified. After this, I left the train and went back to work in my office.
Four weeks later, the Lord spoke to me about going to Bible School. I was able to obey, even though I was very fond of my work and was doing well. Because there was a conflict within concerning my obedience, the Lord prepared me so I would be able to pass the test that I would face concerning the giving up of my business and going to Bible School.
Also, we may face conflicts in the social area of our lives. I was once engaged in a week of being separated to the Lord in fasting and prayer. My wife and small daughter were talking and I heard my daughter say, "Mommy, doesn't daddy love us anymore?" My wife said, "He loves us. What makes you think that he doesn’t?" My daughter responded, "He is always in there, and he never takes me for a walk." I had a very hard time not giving up what I felt the Lord had instructed me to do, and take her for a walk. The pressure I felt was intense.
Another time, when I was very busy, the Lord prompted me to go into the attic because He desired to talk to me. I had a desk there so I could study or pray. I thought I would go up for a few minutes, and then I would be free to do what I needed to do.
I went up and said, "Lord, here I am, what do you want?” There was no response from the Lord. Again I said, "Lord, I am available." I waited, but the Lord said nothing. Then I said, "Lord, will You hurry?" Not a word. Then I said, "Please, Lord, it is getting late.”
Finally, I realized that I must wait until “I” become quiet, as the Lord had something special to say. Then the Lord spoke three words to me, “Desire spiritual gifts.” I knew that I was to write an article on this subject. I sat down at the table and began to write. The words came in a steady stream. I could hardly keep up until it was finished.
I had to overcome all that I felt urgently needed my attention. “To him who overcomes” - This means that other interests must be “set aside” at the beckoning of the Lord. Even legitimate things that bring us into a conflict with the Lord’s interests, which seemingly cannot be put off.
In order for us to be in this “overcoming” relationship with Him, the Lord requires the “right” and the “priority” to our time. When He deals with us, we must overcome all other interests and activities. We must say “no” to things in order to say “yes” to Him. This may be very costly, as it cuts across all the human drives within us.
Although the price of saying yes to the Lord is great, the price of saying no is greater still. Gradually, we will learn that it will cost us far less to say “yes” to the Lord than to say “no.” Only then will we become the overcomer whom the Lord will lift into His higher purpose.
Notice, that there is a progression, which leads into the place where the Lord would have us.
"I stand and knock" - Attention.
"If any man" - Opportunity.
"Hear” - Perception.
"My voice" - Recognition.
"And open the door" - Response.
“I will come into him” - Communion.
The “manifest presence” of the Lord is available to those who will respond in obedience to His desire to commune with them.
“Come, My beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give you My loves.” Song of Solomon 7:11-12
Now, we are ready to enter into a cooperative relationship with our Lord - “let us go (together).” Apart from His manifest presence in our lives, nothing else will ever satisfy or be fulfilling. We were created for this.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon