The Essential Focalization of Divine Power on Earth
fromVictory in the Lord
Martin Cecil November 14, 1971
Our sense of identity has changed and is changing, so that we find ourselves together in God to the extent that we move out of a sense of identity in the world. When our identity is merely in the earth we find ourselves struggling to survive. Our identity is in the earth because our values are there, and as our Master graphically put it, “moth and rust corrupt, and thieves break through and steal,” so we have to be constantly ready to defend ourselves. But when identity is in heaven there is no need for self-defense. Our values have changed and nothing can take away the heavenly values from us. To the extent that we do have experience of these heavenly values, we find that earthly values follow right along, perhaps not in the way that those who are identified with the earth would desire, but the heavenly values are reflected by the earthly values according to the true design. So our identity in the heavenly values brings us together in an experience of oneness, regardless of physical position. We do not lose that sense of closeness as long as we remain centered in the heavenly values. Of course if we should become involved in the earthly values then we do lose it and once more we find ourselves in a precarious condition.
There are some words here contained in the final verse of the 16th chapter of the Gospel according to John. Our Master had been reemphasizing many things to the disciples who were present with Him and He said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Incidentally, here are some very definite promises. “In me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation.” Which identity shall we accept for ourselves? The worldly identity, which is about the only one that most people have any awareness of at all? Or, being awakened to something else, shall we accept identity in the Lord? If we do allow ourselves to be drawn out of the sense of identity in the world so that we may come into a consciousness of identity in God we become a part of the body of the Son of God. Having been a part of the body of the son of perdition in the world, we become a part of the body of the Son of God. Many have had some ideas in this regard, recognizing the need for the body of the Son of God on earth. The church, for instance, was supposed to be this. The idea was based in fundamental truth of course, but did not reveal anything very practical or effective in application. It was just an idea, something one might believe to be so but at the same time obviously seeing that it wasn't so. It is through this body that the power of God may be released in doing the works of God.
There are many illustrations, in the Bible particularly, of how small a manifest focalization of divine expression may be and yet accomplish great things. The fact of the matter is that it doesn't require very much; in fact there is, one might say, a necessity for something rather small, because as soon as an association of human beings begins to take in large numbers the real values tend to be lost. They only stay vivid and in application through small numbers of people.
You may recall the story of Gideon in the Book of Judges. With three hundred men only, he put to flight the vast company of Midianites and Amalekites; and yet he wouldn't have had the three hundred men if it weren't for the fact that there was something out of which they might come; in other words the Israelites were there, and out of that pattern Gideon with his three hundred men were available to the Lord for His use. They were used effectively in this particular situation, whereas if the whole body of the children of Israel had gone to battle with the hosts of Midian no doubt the outcome could have been very different.
Then again there was an occasion when a young lad by the name of David welcomed a contest with the giant who was representing the Philistines, namely Goliath. But David would never have had that opportunity if it had not been for the fact that the Israelites were present there and there was something of a challenge being offered to the Philistines by reason of this. However to deal with the situation in the power of God only required this lad. He ran to meet Goliath, slinging his stone, which smote the giant in his forehead so that he fell to the ground. This was the one vulnerable point in the giant, incidentally; it would have been useless to sling stones anywhere else, but the stone found its mark at this vulnerable point, the point which would represent the nature of the identity of the giant. His was a worldly identity. He was a mighty man of great stature and strength, and he had seemed invincible to the Israelites. They couldn't find anyone who could match him until David came along, and of course they were pretty skeptical about David. But it worked—one man. One boy! Mind you, he was pretty proficient with his slingshot. He had had much practice. He knew what he was doing and he did it.
The stone found its mark at the point in the giant which represented his identity, a self-centered identity of course. This is the nature of identity in the world, isn't it? It is at the point of self-centeredness that the vulnerability is. Mind you, it seems on the surface as though man's self-centeredness has been the thing that has made him so mighty to achieve so much in the world—because it has all been achieved, after all, for the benefit of man, entirely on a self-centered basis. So it looks as though man's strength is in his self-centeredness. And according to the evidence that we may observe around us it appears to be that way. But, while it may appear so, his self-centeredness is the point of vulnerability too. It is the only point that needs to be hit; then the whole thing collapses, because all that man has built has been built on this basis. If the Lord's missile, so to speak, goes home at that point then that's it!
So we may see that for the achievement of divine purpose it doesn't require vast numbers of people. It requires the right people at the right time, in the right place. If David had still been looking after his flocks in the wilderness nothing would have happened insofar as meeting the challenge of Goliath was concerned, but he was willing to come out of that particular pattern. It seemed quite an incidental reason that brought him out: he was bringing some supplies to his brothers in the camp. Nevertheless, whatever he may have thought the reasons were, he came. It does sometimes take reasons that are acceptable to our reasoning minds to get us to move in some particular direction, when the true reason for moving in that direction is not really the idea that has consciously engendered the movement. When we get to where we were going we find that there was another reason, another reason that we hadn't been able to see, so the Lord used other methods to get us where we belonged. If we hang on too strongly to the seeming reasons as to why we came somewhere or did something, we may overlook the real reasons. Fortunately David didn't. He was challenged. Immediately he perceived what the reason was for his presence. Here were all these Israelites sitting around shivering in their boots, and he said, “What's this?” He had a very keen awareness of the reality of the Lord, and here were the Lord's people cringing before the Philistines. So he took up the challenge, seeing that no one else had; and it seemed like a very little, petty, rather futile thing, but it didn't prove to be that way.
The judgments of men with respect to such things are meaningless. We need to remember that in relationship to our own experience if we do play a part in what the Lord needs to His hand. The giant scoffed at David of course: “This beardless youth! What do you mean sending a boy to meet me, a mighty, powerful man? I will feed his flesh to the birds!” And so the worldly-wise scoff and look upon the works of the Lord as being insignificant, meaningless, foolish. Well that's all right too, because the giant is not going to be quite as alert as he might be if someone his own size were coming along; so overconfidence is perhaps one of the weaknesses. We don't object if people are overconfident in relationship to what we may represent, saying, “It's very nice, but it doesn't amount to very much.” Who cares what anyone thinks about it? The question is as to what the truth is. We need to be very keenly aware of the truth in this regard. Finally, coming along down a little further in the historical record, we reach the point when our Master was on earth. He said here in the words that I read, “I have overcome the world.” It didn't seem so at the time.
Now these previous occurrences which I have quoted—and there were others—were illustrations of a truth, but they did not in and of themselves carry through to any great ultimate accomplishment. They were just indications of how that ultimate accomplishment might be experienced, but nobody really accepted the challenge adequately until our Master came. He did. He accepted the challenge. Now He could not have initiated what He did if there had not been something present in the world which gave Him a base to move from. Just as we have seen that the Israelites were present with respect to Gideon, and also with respect to David, so was it with our Master. There was something there. There always needs to be that something—the one, perhaps, described in the Book of Revelation as “a woman clothed with the sun,” out of whom may come the essential focalization of divine power on earth. It is on the basis of this focalization of power that the job, whatever it is, gets done. But to have a focalization of that on earth there must be something to focalize out of the world, as well, of course, as something to focalize from the heavenly standpoint.
While our Master sought those who would stand with Him in what He came to do He didn't find them, and so He had to accept the challenge alone. This was something absolute. He wasn't fooling around on the periphery of things. He went right to the core. He met the challenge in the very focus of it and carried all the way through in victory. “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”—that is, He had no identity merely in the world. His identity was in God and this was all that was necessary for the victory. It is all that is necessary at any time for the victory, but He Himself proved it out with respect to His own experience in His own body. Because He did that nobody else needs to do it. Human beings have more or less ignored what He did, and said, “If anything is to be achieved, He has got to come again and do it, do something else better than He did then.” They are saying in effect that He didn't get the job done, so He needs to come again and do it. And this is claimed as being belief in Jesus Christ. It is in fact the very reverse. He came and proved the thing out, and invited anyone anywhere, at any time, to share what had been proven out, not to do it again. Human beings have had rather conceited views all too often and thought they were going to emulate Jesus—they were going to let themselves be martyred and this was going to achieve something very effective—instead of recognizing that the achievement was already there and all that was necessary was to participate in that achievement.
He carried all the way through with His body. All right, let us participate in His body then! That's all that's needed. However we can't participate in His body without accepting His spirit, without experiencing the true nature of identity. As long as we insist upon being self-centeredly identified in the world we have had it. We are a part of the body of the son of perdition which is lost; that's it. But the body of the Son of God isn't lost. The body of the Son of God revealed the victory. It wasn't a matter of God having a victory; God hasn't been anything else but victorious all His life! What was needed was the manifestation of this truth on earth, and it came through the body of Jesus. So the body of the Son of God proved the victory. It doesn't need proving again. It's been done, but who is going to share in the experience of that proof? Toward the end of His ministry our Master spoke of reproving the world of various things; in other words He was going to prove it out in His own individual body, but the fact that He had proven it out would need to be revealed by others who participated in giving form to this victorious collective body on earth. It is not a matter of giving form to a defeated body, a dead body, a crucified body, but to a victorious body which walks in the Garden on earth. We have the opportunity of giving it form. Anyone has had that opportunity at any time in any generation, but finally it begins to come to point again. Someone begins to take a little notice once more, so the manifestation of what is needful to reveal what has already been established can appear.
It does not need to be something very large. Very often, I think, the thought tends to be that somehow or other a point will come and all the peoples of the world will enthusiastically accept the beauty of divine being. Does it look like it? Has it ever looked like it at any time in all of recorded history? If something is to be achieved it is achieved by God through something relatively small. Only as we begin to comprehend this do we stop trying to impose upon God the human concept of achievement. The only way that it was thought, for instance, that David could have challenged Goliath was for him to be arrayed in the same sort of armor that Goliath had. So they got him all dressed up in this stuff and he couldn't move; it was so heavy he couldn't move. So he wisely said, “To hell with it!” and went out as himself, not trying to emulate Goliath. Let's not try to emulate the world, because the world is quite strong enough in its own sort of strength to deal with anything of that nature. But the power of God, that's something different. The giant doesn't know anything about that. He doesn't think it amounts to a row of beans, but the smooth stone was quite sufficient.
So it is in allowing the required body to take form on earth, with a conscious awareness of ability, that the proof of victory may be revealed. Here we begin to see these things, so that we are not trying to do in human strength what cannot be done in human strength; we are not trying to impose upon God humanly devised methods for doing what needs to be done. This is actually what has occurred in times past from the standpoint of what has been called Christianity, for instance: human methods used to try to do what can only be done in the power of God and using divine methods consequently. Self-centered human beings do not know what those divine methods are. Goliath certainly had no idea what David was going to do or what effect it was going to have, or he wouldn't have been so cocksure, would he? Well the world is pretty cocksure, but the Lord is quite capable of handling the situation. The only way He can do it is when there is the facility available to His hand. In the case of David it was David's hand actually, wasn't it?
That facility needs to have been trained. It wasn't as though David had never slung a stone before in his life. He was expert in the field. But in the process of becoming expert in that field he didn't know why he was becoming expert in that field. He thought it was to protect his father's flock. And it was useful in that area, but only later did it become apparent what the real reason was. Very often there are those who feel that if they are functioning under the control of the spirit of God then they will easily do whatever needs to be done even though they are totally ignorant and incompetent. That's right, isn't it? How ridiculous! We need to do as the opportunity affords, that we may learn something, that we may become competent. We may not know why we need to be competent in some particular field. It may seem a very insignificant thing, but how can we tell? We are not, to start with at least, aware of how the job is going to be handled, what is going to be required when. So we need to take advantage of everything in order that we may be proficient; not necessarily in slinging stones, although I suppose there are some who could do this, but in taking advantage of the opportunities that arise, whatever they may be, even though we don't see immediately as to how they may be of value, because our judgments still tend to be based in self-centeredness, in the idea that the conscious mind must know everything.
How often have you had the experience of perhaps being reminded to take something or other along with you when you go on a journey? And you look at it and you try to figure out why you should take that along. You may be able to convince yourself that it is foolish to take that along, so you leave it behind. Then somewhere along the way you say, “Oh, I wish I had brought that thing,” whatever it was. The conscious mind doesn't know everything ahead of time, but there is a knowing which we may experience. Some people talk about that as guidance, as though someone else somewhere were pulling the strings so to speak. Well I suppose in a sense it could be called guidance, but it is one's own guidance. It is the expression through oneself. And what one is in divine identity, in heavenly identity, is very much more capable than what one is in worldly identity. It encompasses far more in the range of understanding, and there are many things that come within the scope of that understanding that are completely excluded when we depend upon the self-centered consciousness. The self-centered consciousness thinks it's so clever at times, but what an appalling chaos it produces. Whereas as we begin to become associated with the spirit of God, the holy spirit—a total thing—we become balanced in our expression and there are many things that we do that we would not have done before, because we would have had no awareness that there was anything to be done.
Now it is through this coordinated body, small body, that God may act, because there begin to be a sufficient number of people in this form to provide a whole view of things; not that any single person will see that whole view, but all put together see it. Consequently, each one acting according to his own aspect of vision will find his action coordinated with the action of all others who are doing likewise with their own aspects of vision. It all comes together into a coordinated whole, and what is done through that coordinated whole is adequate to deal with the giant. We have the opportunity even now of seeing something of the effects of what is working through the form that has already emerged. We may observe human beings everywhere struggling with their problems, immersed in the world, not understanding what is going on at all, not seeing the reasons why things are happening the way they are, but taking hold of the happenings and trying to adjust the happenings to make them satisfactory, to solve the problems, as they call them. But this is an effort dealing with the very periphery of things. There is something happening back of those happenings; and whatever is happening back of those happenings, there is something happening back of that, and back of that, and back of that. We come back finally to the point of divine action appearing through whatever form there is for its manifestation. Those who stand in this form begin to have the vision to see what is occurring beyond and see it merely as a result of the power of God in action. So there is no sense to struggling with the apparent problems on the periphery, because they are not the problems at all. They are merely the evidences of the fact that something is happening and people are being pushed this way and that way by their reactions to whatever it is that is happening in the background.
Sharing the divine vision in this regard, we can begin to see that what is occurring is needful as long as human beings are self-centered. Of course if there should be a willingness to come out of that state of self-centeredness, then the state of affairs would change immediately, but for the most part there are very few who are so willing. Those who are so willing, and who actually do it, provide the facility by which the power of God works, and the power of God working produces reactions of various sorts in the self-centered state. Those reactions in the self-centered state are looked upon by those who are in the self-centered state as being problems. And being conditioned to the need always to solve problems, they start to try to solve the problems—which is totally impossible, because this is merely the result of reaction to the power of God. It is like the tide. The tide is coming in. Well let's build a breakwater of sand to stop it coming in! But it's going to keep coming in, and in its coming in it is going to eliminate the breakwater of sand, and the elimination of the breakwater of sand is going to appear as a great number of problems. We rush around trying to solve all the problems. We're overlooking the reason why the breakwater of sand is dissolving: the tide is coming in. The power of God is working.
Now we need to be true to the truth which we know and to let the power of God work, remaining undisturbed, uninfluenced, uninvolved with the effects of that working, because they are bound to be there. We couldn't stop them from being there; we wouldn't want to stop them if we could. Our concern is to let the power of God work, and if it brings a great increase of tribulation in the world—as our Master said, there is tribulation in the world; there will be tribulation in the world—if it brings a vast increase in this regard, fine. Let's get it over and done with! Let's not drag this nonsense out any longer! Let us let it be finished!
So here we may begin to have a more balanced view of what is occurring, in the recognition that it doesn't take very much in the outer form of things, at the point of focus, to get the job done. Again, of course, in this day and age we recognize that there could not be a point of focus in this regard if it were not for the fact that there is a foundation from which it sprang in the external sense. There are many people in the world who, according to their highest vision, are honorable; and that's fine; we rejoice in that. We couldn't begin to let the job be done if it weren't so. But let us not imagine, because there are honorable people in the world, that merely that will get the job done. It won't! There have always been honorable people in the world. It requires something more than that and we begin to realize what that more is and participate in it.
So let us continue to move together in a consciousness of this one form, the body of the Son of God, in the awareness of the spirit which is shared in that body. No matter where we are we are together, and no matter where we are the power of God is working through every aspect in a whole sense to get the real job done. This is the way, the truth and the life to be shared by all who are willing; for the body of the Son of God has already experienced the victory, and as we associate ourselves with it, come into it, find ourselves as a part of it, we have the victory; not because we did it but because it has already been done. So let us share that victory because we relinquish the self-centeredness that maintains our identity merely in the world and accept the identity in and with the Son of God! In Him there is peace. If human beings want peace, there's the answer. It is the only way. In Him there is peace. In Him there is the victory. In Him the job is already done.