Pondering what being a partaker of Christ really looks like:
For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (1 Peter 2:4)
For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end… (Hebrews 3:14)
Hebrews 3 is a chapter about the dangers of hardening one’s heart… a warning against rebellion causing you to end up in a desert…
So I see that if one suddenly ends up in a desert (a dry and thirsty land), you will become intensely thirsty. That level of thirst leads to delirium. Gnawing of the tongue. Intense agony. Death will quickly follow.
For most of us, though, ending up there is a slow journey. We don’t even realize it’s happening. It’s slow and subtle… we don’t even notice it. We just keep running like rats on a wheel, doing the same things over and over, but doing things is not necessarily doing the right things. When our rate of consumption slows, we end up in dehydrated.
When you get just a little to drink, here and there, a handed-off water bottle, an occasional oasis… unless you make a DELIBERATE effort to drink more than that, you will slowly end up in trouble. Really, you need to drink continually. If you do not — if you choose not — you go from feeling very thirsty at first, to not even feeling it any more. People who are chronically dehydrated just don’t feel thirsty! As a consequence, you drink less. And less. And less. It doesn’t register at all that you are slowly dying. You just slowly waste away.
But get this … even if you don’t live in a desert … even if you live in a first world country … even if you’re part of a nice American Church… dehydration is a danger if you do not make a consistent and concerted effort to get enough to drink.
What does it look like, if you don’t get enough to drink, and that goes on for a long period of time? Hardening. The skin will become leathery. The heart feels that it cannot do more but plod forward, one step in front of the other, until death finally comes.
“My soul thirsts for You … my flesh longs for You … in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water … so I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory…”
Somehow the dry and thirsty land became the norm, and not the exception, in the church. We have exalted the Psalm 63 “dry and thirsty land” over King David’s experience there.
And the REAL problem is, American Christianity looks a lot like that. You get up and go to church once a week. Maybe twice. If you’re in ministry, you may get up and go a lot. You may read the Word. You may even pray. But does that amount to an occasional sip? Or are you DRINKING?
King David didn’t STAY in that dry and thirsty place … or to use a Psalm 23 analogy, he didn’t stop in the valley of the shadow of death … He actively sought out the Lord, where He was … He lifted up his hands and blessed God and his soul was satisfied with marrow and fatness. He allowed the Shepherd to lead him into green pastures, beside still waters.
So what does it look like to live and to thrive? To not live in the desert, but to allow the Shepherd to lead you in green pastures, beside still waters, to restore your soul?
par·take pär?t?k/ verb
To join in (an activity). ( to participate in, take part in, engage in, join in, enter into, get involved in, share in, contribute to, play a part in, have a hand in, sit in on)
To be characterized by (a quality). (have the qualities/attributes of, suggest, evoke, be characterized by, hint at, manifest, evince)
To eat or drink (something). (consume, have, eat, drink, take, ingest, devour)
In order to thrive, we must partake.
If you don’t drink, you die. You can’t have your last cup of water when you’re 20 years old and then have a drink a couple of times a month and then expect to live to a ripe old age. You wouldn’t even survive on a cup of water once every day. You would slowly wither away … getting leathery…harder and harder… until there is nothing left.
We must drink deep of the Savior! We must partake of Christ! This is a deliberate, ongoing act. It’s intentional. It’s something so vitally important we would never skip a day. We must join in … be characterized by Him … manifest and evince Him … to consume and devour Him … every minute of every day.
We replicate what we look like and what we are, internally. You are called to resemble and replicate the Garden of Eden … you can’t do that if what you resemble is the desert.
John 4:14: “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Greek verbs are kind of complex – they have tense, person, voice, number, and mood. The mood of a verb is that word’s bearing upon reality. Will it really happen? Is it dependent upon something else? Is it figurative? You can usually figure this stuff out by examining the verb tenses.
Some statements in the Greek are very non-ambiguous. “IT IS FINISHED” is rendered in the indicative mood. That is the mood of facts. Something has ACTUALLY happened and is not dependent upon anyone or anything else to do something.
The verbs having to do with us in John 4:14 are not indicative. They’re subjunctive. Whoever DRINKS of the water will NEVER THIRST. The subjunctive mood is the mood of possibility and potentiality. The action described may or may not occur, depending upon circumstances. Depending on you.
The verb in that sentence for Jesus giving you the water … Whoever drinks of the water that I WILL GIVE HIM will never thirst. That verb is indicative. A statement of fact. He’s pouring the water … continually … He will never stop.
Will you be abundantly satisfied with the fullness of His house, and will you drink from the river of His pleasures? (Psalm 36:8)
He opens the rock, and water gushes out; It will run in the dry places like a river. (Psalm 105:41)
Will you drink … continually … and never stop?
And if you haven’t been drinking … if you’ve been in that dry place with sips now and then … ever plodding forward but without that vitality within you … maybe not even fully aware of how very dry you were … will you come … take a sip … and another, and another, and another, until you truly become a partaker again of Christ, where you eat and drink and join and manifest Him in every part of your being?