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"Born in Zion: What is the Cost of Living in Zion?"

May 17, 2009

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A New Job

by Ramey Whalen

Building a home, a resting place for God, is a costly venture. You may find that what you did (your spiritual job) in Jerusalem will no longer provide what you need to exist on this new level of relationship and obedience in Zion. Don't be surprised if you find yourself being "uncalled" and repositioned in the body of Christ. Higher places in Him will mean a promotion but not necessarily more visibility or approval with man. To have the honor of walking in hiddenness, rejection, persecution, suffering, being misunderstood, and falsely accused will cost a lot. It will cost you your pride, fear of man, unforgiveness, your past, present, and future. It will cost you your unsanctified dreams and ambitions, as well as your desire for position and control.

Passion and Discipline

Another cost that will need to be budgeted in, is a new level of passion and discipline for the things of God. Both must be imparted and developed. We cannot attain or maintain either without God's grace and mercy, but He does not give or help sustain them without our consent and willingness to pay the price. It has been said that discipline is a poor excuse for lack of passion. Though that is true, it is also true that passion is a poor excuse for lack of discipline. God wants to inhabit and control every part of us: spirit, soul, and body.

Loving the Truth

We must choose to allow Him to shine His light of truth in our hearts, exposing the pain and the shame that hides there. The Lord will bring out only the sins that still truly need to be dealt with. He never brings up blood-covered issues - only living sins. We sometimes pray for God to reveal our hearts but when He does, we deny our sins or try to cover them back up again. We are to be naked and unashamed before Him, trusting that as His truth exposes our sins; His love will simultaneously cover all.

Choosing to Trust

It is imperative to keep a "hands off" policy. This is God's project-God's house. He asks in Isaiah 66:1, "Where then is the place you could build for Me? And where is the place that I may rest?" There is nothing we can do to make Him or ourselves look better. We must be willing to be hidden or revealed. If we try to justify to others the things that the Lord is doing in us, or try to make it look more noble than it is, we are simply not trusting that the Lord has our best in mind and that He alone can position us where we belong.

It is also important to stop doing for the sake of doing and start letting Him simply be who He is through us. When that happens, it removes the pressures to perform and releases the power to believe. It is Christ in us who alone is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). To worry about anything is an insult to Him. It is saying that we do not trust Him to accomplish His will or word.

"Those who trust in the LORD are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever." (Psalms 125:1 NAS)

Drawing Away

Drawing away is a daily investment for Him to find rest in us. Leonard Ravenhill stated that we are not omnipresent. We must choose our company for every moment. God wants us to know the extreme pleasure of His presence when we choose Him over everything and everyone. Jesus departed to a lonely place to pray early in the morning while it was still dark. He would go to a mountain after days of ministry to meet with His Father. Jesus knew that quiet place held the key to life and ministry on earth: the Father's presence.

Being Quiet-"Practicing the Presence of God"

When we draw away, we must learn to turn off all the thoughts and voices demanding our attention so that we can focus on Jesus. We have to put aside the future and past to step into right now, right here, with God. Madame Guyon was a dynamic writer on practicing His presence. She understood the power of quieting everything within and communing with God. This is probably the most vital aspect of our being born in Zion. It is while our souls are silent, and our minds and hearts are focused on God, that He does His most effective work in us.

This may not necessarily sound like very much of a sacrifice. For some though, to stop thinking, planning, dreaming, or analyzing for five minutes is more difficult than going five days without eating. Having a relationship with the Lord is more than just communicating-it is communing. There is as much power in true silence as there is in true prayer. Isaiah 30:15 says, "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength."

Being Built Together - "Practicing the Presence of People"

One of the hardest aspects of becoming God's sanctuary is undoubtedly the necessity of being built together with other believers. God is always good, just, faithful, and loving. Even when we can't understand what He is doing, there is something reassuring in knowing that He is God and has our best in mind. People, on the other hand, are not so easy to like, love or trust. They will successfully fail on a regular basis.

"So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:19-22)

To be His holy temple we must be "built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." He prayed that we all would be one just as He and the Father are one (John 17:21). We must learn to depend on each other. Jesus sent His ministers out two by two. It is vital that we not only forgive and love, but also begin to trust our brothers and sisters again. Love, "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Laying Aside Personal Agendas and Learning to Prefer Others

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! ...It is as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." (Psalms 133:1,3 KJV)

Being fitly joined to the body of Christ brings blessing, accountability, authority (a man not under authority will not be found carrying any), vision for God's greater purposes, and life more abundantly. We are told that anyone not rightly judging His body is not worthy to even take communion (1 Corinthians 11:29). It is time we lay aside our personal agendas and learn to prefer others. It is time we incorporate our singular visions and reconnect them to the church as a whole. There is a chipping away that usually takes place for two stones to be rightly fitted together. There is friction, there are extra burdens, and there is multiplied strength. What good is a single stone in the middle of a field?

1 Corinthians 2:15 says: "For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." Therefore "we" must be willing to sacrifice ourselves individually to the greater purposes of God, that the church may have the mind of Christ and truly become His dwelling place on the earth.

Choosing Not to Deny the Blessings And Rewards.

These are such small prices to pay considering the benefits of having our names registered in His book for Zion. There are many costs as well as rewards that are not mentioned here. Choosing to not deny the blessings can sometimes be as difficult as it is to pay the price for them.