by Wade E Taylor
“For it is under His direction that the whole body is perfectly adjusted and united by every joint that furnishes its supplies; and by the proper functioning of each particular part, there is brought about the growing of the body for its building up in love.” Ephesians 4:16 Williams
As we grow spiritually, the Lord may use us in some special way or ministry. When this happens, we tend to place an emphasis upon this particular aspect of our experience, and neglect other areas of our spiritual growth. This may cause us loss, as it is necessary that “each particular part” of our spiritual experience furnishes its supply, so we will be balanced in our spiritual growth.
On the surface, these different areas of our spiritual experience may appear to be contrary to each other. Each of us is called to some aspect of ministry, or witness. We are also called to a life of devotion and prayer in which we come apart to be alone with the Lord, and to wait upon Him. Along with these two aspects of our spiritual development, our Adamic nature is to go through a process of crucifixion and die, that we might experience resurrection life.
These are very different areas of experience. Thus, there is a three-fold working of the Holy Spirit within us.
The “functioning of each particular part” in these varied areas of our spiritual life experience is demonstrated to us by Jesus, through the activities of a family in Bethany that He often visited – the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. There was a reason as to why this was so.
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His word.” Luke 10:38-39
“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.” John 11:1
Martha was always busy, as she was taken up with “things.” She saw the needs of others and faithfully served them. While Martha was doing this, Mary was just sitting. She only saw Jesus and was singularly interested in what He was saying.
At the same time Lazarus, who was very sick, was dying. Here is represented a divine balance in our Christian experience, portrayed by two sisters and a brother. Notice that these are related to each other, and are not to be separated. Therefore, we should be able to relate, in some measure, to all three.
Our ability to serve is given to us by the Lord. Thus, ministry is portrayed as being feminine (Martha). Our devotion to the Lord is expressed through our being a bride to Christ, and is also portrayed as feminine (Mary). Our Adamic nature is portrayed as masculine (Lazarus).
“…If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
The (adamic) nature within us is to be crucified. Therefore, Lazarus is dying.
Each member of this family functioned together and supplied their particular part. Martha served, while Mary waited. When Martha criticized Mary, Jesus did not tell her to sit down and wait like Mary. Rather, He said, “Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (See Luke 10:40- 42). Martha was to continue serving, because it is necessary. He is saying that our service should not push into, or take over, our devotional life.
When Jesus was asked by Mary and Martha to come and pray for Lazarus, He stayed away for two days, waiting for Lazarus to die. Thus, His relationship to, and dealings with each of these was quite different. If we are not hearing rightly from the Lord, we may become sympathetic and pray for the adamic nature to be healed. Jesus waited, that resurrection life could come and Lazarus be released from all that bound him in his adamic grave.
“And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them, Loose him, and let him go.” John 11:43-44
The fact that Jesus stayed away for two days has a present day message for us. The Church Age lasted for two thousand years (two prophetic days). We are at the end of this time, and those who have died to their self-life are about to be loosed from all that hinders, which will result in the greatest visitation this world has ever witnessed.
The “household” in Bethany, which Jesus loved to visit, is resident within each one of us. The occupants, two sisters and a brother, are to fulfill their particular part and function within each aspect of our spiritual life experience.
Therefore, we must allow each of these, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, to live out their particular part within us to the fullest, in order to bring us to the highest of our potential.
May we, as being a balanced spiritual adult, attract Jesus, as He seeks for a household to visit.
Then, when He comes into our home, the “Martha” within us will enable us to serve those in need. As the “Mary” within us waits at His feet, Jesus will make Himself personally known to us. And, “Lazarus,” our self-life, will begin to die, so we can be resurrected into a higher level of identity and relationship with the Lord.