Often I have heard Martha say about the Christian life, “It’s really simple; it’s all about receiving. Just receive.” But what does it mean to receive?
What does it mean to receive the prophet?
Recently I’ve been pondering that through my own life story over the years. It brings to mind many facets, but it first began over twenty-five years ago before I was born again. The Lord told me to receive the prophet, His messenger and the authority He had sent to me. Even after knowing Martha for over 10 years, listening to her teachings, being engaged in countless church activities and involved in prison ministry—I was still working hard to earn my salvation and feed my insatiable need for the approval and accolade of man. One day the Lord mercifully stopped me in my religious, willful and delusional tracks and struck me with the Truth: I wasn’t truly born again.
Martha was very bewildered about me and praying about it, and one afternoon the Lord answered her and told her that I wasn’t saved; a real shock to her after so much time. In obedience, she would confront me…
What does it mean to receive the prophet’s message?
Amazingly, the Lord had prepared me with a book by Gene Edwards called A Tale of Three Kings. It was through that book that He presented such a stark contrast between three kings: King Saul, a liar and pretender who feigned obedience while seeking only man’s approval; Absalom, David’s own son, independent and power hungry, a betrayer and usurper, stealing the people’s affections and the kingdom of His own father; and King David, a man after God’s own heart, honest and fully human, who bowed down and repented at the rebuke of Nathan, the prophet.
Through the stories of Saul and Absalom I began to see myself and the motive of my secret heart – pretense and lies and rebellion. It was through David’s story in 2 Samuel 12 that I heard God’s Voice speak to my own heart, telling me “to bow and submit to the word of the prophet” in my life.
I knew the choice He was bringing me was a very clear, literal ‘life or death’ choice, a call to submission and obedience to Him and to His anointed. He was exposing me and humbling me and bringing me to such a desperate realization of my need that I could really only choose to bow and obey…and receive the prophet and the message He sent through her. It was vividly clear and real that it was ‘life or death’ for me.
Hebrews 3:17 NKJV
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
I received the Lord Jesus as my Savior only when I was brought by the Spirit to need a Savior, to desperately need a Savior. Need was and is always my need.
Mark 2:17 NKJV
When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
What does it mean to receive the truth of my need?
He sent His messenger to expose my need, to cause me to realize that need, and to bring His light to shine on my utter darkness. The Holy Spirit then led me to repentance and to Jesus, my only real need. It took a shaking confrontation to expose my rebellion and begin to blow up my religious façade and fortressed wall to Him – and reduce me to my need. And it was through that very need He splayed open that He spoke to me, and I heard His voice tell me what to do. “Receive…”
John 1:12-13 NKJV
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.