Things That Are Above” Late Mr. N. Daniel
I Samuel 9:1,2,4; 10:9; Col. 3:1-5
“If ye be risen with
Christ, seek those things that are above.”
is a very great exhortation. Man was created in the likeness of God. God had
created him to partake of His Divine nature. The tree of life was available to
Adam and also the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Instead of partaking
of the Divine nature and of Divine life, Adam gave himself to a sinful nature.
Therefore, God had to give man this exhortation. Isaiah 1:3 “The Ox knoweth his
owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel
doth not know, my people doth not consider.” Jesus turns the vision of man
upwards which was bent downwards with the things of this earth. Man who always tended to look fearfully towards the grave,
is now drawn to look at the Cross. The cross foretells the coming resurrection.
If the nature of the crucified Savior comes into us, there is no death for us.
Love, faith, holiness and humility cannot die. Those who
possess these qualities, even if they die, they will live again. St. Francis used to call his body the ass. Those who live
in the flesh will have a disobedient and stubborn will like that of an ass.
Those who live in the Spirit have obedience and faith. Those whose gaze is
confined to the world will have the nature of an ass. Saul’s father Kish lost his asses. He
sent his son to search for them. Today parents are inclined to send their sons
a searching for asses. God had prepared a kingdom for them. But they are
engaged in vain pursuits. Many of our countrymen are trying to go to western
lands. What do they seek in those countries? Have they turned their eyes
towards the cross? Do they seek the way of the cross? Or, are their eyes set on
big jobs, or set on gathering wealth with all their might? When Christians are
seeking such worthless things, the kingdom
of God is impoverished
and communism is on the increase. The Christian Church in the beginning brought
order into the world. It sought to bring equality and justice into society. But
Satan is misusing these ideals.
Saul went to the man of God for help in finding his
asses. But what did he find in the prophet? Saul found an atmosphere of the
Spirit of God around the prophet. A mind set on the asses was changed. When the
Spirit of God enters into us, we begin to see things that are above. The hope
of possessing these things above, settles in our heart as deep faith. For those
who seek the kingdom
of God and His
righteousness, finding lost asses is no big problem. Saul received a new heart
while he was with Samuel the prophet (I Samuel 10:9). Satan can give visions,
tongues, and work miracles but it cannot give a new heart. Normally, visions,
tongues and miracles are given by God. But Satan can counterfeit these to
deceive men. When we ask for the Holy Spirit, do we ask for Holiness in the
depths of our being and a part in the divine nature or do we ask for tongues
and visions and miracles to seek honour from men? Those who do not repent for
their sins and restitute things that are unlawfully taken from others, if they
ask for the Holy Spirit, they will receive a deceiving and a disturbing spirit.
The magicians of Egypt
could work some of the miracles that Moses performed. But not
all. Those who receive the Holy Spirit will have holy thoughts and holy
desires and a holy life. Saul received a gift while he was with Samuel which
nobody on earth could give him. The promise of the New Testament is a new
heart, in which dwells the new spirit. Saul received this. He prophesied. But
to preserve a new heart is the most important things. As soon as you are born
again, do not think you are perfect. We have to learn from the example of
seniors and we must learn self-control and discipline of those who have walked
this path before us. We must receive the hammer strokes of the Word of God.
This Word will burn away the dross in our hearts. The Word will burn away evil
thoughts. Some wrong thoughts can lurk unnoticed but are firmly established in
our subconscious mind. When we study the Word of God, that double edged sword
will operate on our minds, removing wrong thoughts and eradicating them.
Saul did not exert himself to preserve this
God-given gift of a new heart. God made him a leader of the people of Israel. Once
Saul came to the throne, the original mind of seeking asses revived. There are
some converted people who seek asses again. The spirit of disobedience which
once reigned in them reasserts itself. Saul went contrary to the command of God
regarding the Amalekites. He never repented fully for that. He asked Samuel to
honour him before the people. (I Samuel 15:30) This desire for honour is a vain
pursuit. Whether you be a king or a saint,
disobedience is a sin. Therefore you must confess it before God and people. To
lightly pass over sin and crave for honour shows a perverted spirit. No man can
hide sin and retain honour. The Spirit of God left Saul and an evil spirit came
into him. (I Samuel 16:14) With all diligence, we should preserve the new heart
and the new spirit that God has given us. No other earthly possession is as
precious as this. The Spirit of God makes us to seek those things that are
above with Christ. It is not wrong to possess an ass. Asses can do good things
also. Balaam’s ass rebuked him for his wrong doing. There was an ass that
carried Jesus into Jerusalem.
There were asses that carried Abraham and his son to Mount Moriah.
But we must put an ass in its place. Your education and your employment have to
take their proper place in your life/ not the place of prime-importance. You
can make use of them, like an ass to be ridden upon. The Spirit of God in you
should teach you priorities. Because of his pride, Saul could not repent but
came under the power of an evil spirit and was totally ruined. God gave Saul
strength and beauty. He gave him a great kingdom. He gave him a noble and a
righteous son. He gave him a captain of great prowess who was also a man of
God. He gave him the help of Samuel the great prophet. Having received so many
benefits, he lost them all.
Think of all the good things God has done for you. I
know converted people whom God used. They were therefore greatly honored by
people. They were distracted by this honor and lost their humility of heart.
They lost that obedient spirit. They are now going after asses. Judas Iscariot
went after an ass which kicked him and killed him. If those who preach the
gospel, turn to seeking wealth for themselves, and accept the gifts and honour
lavished on them by ignorant Hindu converts, their spiritual life is ruined.
Saul set out to kill David but he really killed himself and his sons. He sought
the help of a woman with a familiar spirit. When the woman tried to call up
Samuel’s spirit, an evil spirit disguised itself like Samuel and told him
tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.
Nehemiah and Ezra sought those things that are
above. St. Augustine
and St. Francis also sought only those things that are above. If we become poor
for Christ, what a blessing it is. Setting out for evangelistic tours with aim
of gathering money is like seeking asses. True children of God spend much time
in prayer and will not go out except it be in the will
of God. They will not look to men for help. They seek God’s guidance and God’s
help. They never seek for honour. They will never be downcast because somebody
else is receiving honour. When the women sang “Saul had killed his thousands
and David his ten thousands”, Saul was deeply distressed and was overcome by
envy. It was this envy that finally destroyed him.
It is a very blessed thing to become poor for
Christ. To be looked down upon by others for Christ’ sake is great gain. To
deny yourself costly clothing for the sake of the
gospel is a blessed thing. The gospel brings certain limitations upon you. Do
not run from those limitations. Run away from sin, and pride and disobedience.
These are the things that need to be shunned and loathed. If we loose all that
we have, in order to win one soul, it would be a great gain. Some of our
countrymen are going abroad to gather money for the spread of the gospel in our
land. This is equal to going after asses. St.
Francis fasted 40 days in order to be a partaker of the divine nature. He was
once a wealthy man but made himself poor for Christ. He lived without
possessing wealth. On his death bed, his mind was not engaged with money at
all. What is your wealth, dear people! Are you seeking asses? If so, even the
good children God has given you, will be ruined. To be
willing to lose all things to gain Christ and to keep seeking things that are
above should be our way of life.