John Gavazzoni
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The Gavazzonis'

Gathering my Thoughts
By John Gavazzoni

My times of thought-gathering are increasing. Recently, while sitting down among them (my gathered thoughts), I've become very aware of the element of spiritual skepticism growing more and more pronounced. The Lord seems to have it pretty much under control (He's of course, always in control of all things, but sometimes that control involves Him deliberately leaving us to ourselves to go out of control), in that He's not allowing me to become reactively skeptical.

That is, while my skepticism antenna might be fully extended while reading something claiming to be of importance to the believing community, just because it picks up on, and sets off loud skepticism beeps, I haven't been so distracted by it, that I can't receive the good among the bad. So I keep reading a lot of stuff, and suffer with a lot of beeping, because otherwise, what's the alternative: becoming some kind of a spiritual hermit?

Of course, there are those times when the Lord shuts you up away from all other voices in order to especially get your attention, and even then, I keep my skepticism-antenna extended. My spirit knows the voice of my Shepherd, but the mind of the flesh likes to insert a thought or to.

Mostly, of late, skepticism especially arises in regard to what are the specific spiritual expectations of my brethren, even---or maybe more so---among those with whom I feel the most kinship, and who have received me within their ranks as someone who has a message of at least some worth.

The clearest note sounded in the New Testament re: spiritual expectation is found in Paul's Epistle to the Romans, the eighth chapter. There Paul explains that while God has subjected all creation to futility, He has done so in/with expectation. We need to be clear, first of all, that the passage is speaking of God's expectation. But He causes creation to participate in the same, so that in that participation, as Phillip's translation puts it, all creation is standing on tip-toes to behold the uncovering of the children of God, which will deliver all creation from its bondage to decay.

It's this shared expectation---at a most intuitive level---that gives to creation's groaning travail a very ragged edge. The expectation built into all creation at its deepest level, becomes intolerable because it yearns for freedom, while the senses of the flesh scream that there is no escape from the present imprisonment. My creaturehood cannot escape the intuition of glory, but my flesh screams, "forget it, you fool, and just settle for what pleasure you can squeeze out of this present world."

Enters, by election, a genuine revelation of the uncovering of the children of God among the children of God. At first, only the penultimate elect see it, but their election includes being sent through a process whereby the element of our expectation that is out of alignment with God's, must be removed.

For when the revelation of the uncovering of the children of God (mostly referred to as the manifestation of the sons of God), enters over and over again on history's stage, from stage left enters the ego of the flesh to claim a special prominence. It leads to an intrusion of false expectation within the genuine: "We who have seen the truth of the manifestation of the sons of God, are those who will exclusively be manifested. Any day now, WE will become all that creation yearns to see." Beep, beep, beep. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for THAT version of THE expectation.

Yep, there goes my beeper. Beep, beep, beep, and louder BEEP. BEEP, BEEP. Haven't we heard this before, only dressed up a little differently? Every Millennialist-orientation has had its version of the above. We were granted the understanding that "the rapture" is a false expectation, the expectation that all true believers in Christ, will be yanked out of this world---a special group selected, with the rest "left behind."

But we've substituted the manifestation of the sons of God for the rapture. "WE will be the manifested sons, and the rest, though to be finally saved through us, cannot be, will not be, part of that august company." It's been a sort of three steps forward, with two steps backward. The net one-step advance has been real, and I thank the Lord for it, but we do need a big adjustment to our thinking.

Another version is Evangelicalism's teaching that only believers in the dispensation of grace, are members of the body of Christ. Sorry to upset you, but the whole body of humanity is the body of Christ, of which, a present remnant is a kind of first fruits. Paul made it clear that "the Gentiles are members of the same body." AND the uncovering of the children of God, will be the uncovering of the whole of humanity which Paul described as the "genos" of God---God's kin, His offspring, those generated from out of His loins.

Let me tell you what is the pure spirit of election. It is the spirit of one who, upon being granted to understand the grandeur of God's love for him, leaps with joy to confess that what God is to and for him, He is EXACTLY for all humanity. The exclusivity-factor of election exists only to point to the inclusivity factor.

You might be thinking: "I've always felt that I've had this special relationship with the Lord, that He has picked me out to be an overcomer, a manifested son, one who He has put through particular disciplines for a particular reward. He has put me through so much to lead me to my destiny as a manifested son of God, and I've struggled to yield my all to Him, and now you're taking this specialness away from me, and making it a common thing."      

My dear brethren, what is really special, is to enjoy the sanctification of your humanity, within the sanctification of our common, universal humanity in Christ. The bum on skid row, sucking on a bottle of Muscatel wrapped in a paper bag, will be uncovered as one of God's children. Everyman's sonship, awakened by regeneration, will join with universal sonship, to deliver our corporate creaturehood from the bondage to decay. Examine your thinking, to see if you hold to having a relationship with the Lord that belongs to you and some elite "company" that will never belong to all the rest of your fellow human beings.

Life, all life, grows. Even in the tropics, where the growth rate of vegetation is amazing, plants undergo increase by a process of growth, not by instantaneous maturation. Consistently thus, it is with spiritual life. The growth of the mystical body of Christ occurs mostly under the radar screen of our observation, both in our observation of ourselves, and the world-wide scene of God's eonian activity. "The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation."

The body of Christ grows, and the kingdom of God advances under a sovereign determination of concealment. Even when something appears to our physical eyes as an indication of spiritual growth, it is not by any sort of observed behavior, or visible intervention of God, that we KNOW, that we are convinced, that we have witnessed life's growth, and the kingdom's advance, it is by the anointing which we have from the Father that speaks to us, "this is that."

We can be in the presence of this dynamic when NOTHING, or nearly nothing touches us with empirical evidence, or our senses can be overwhelmed with such evidence, nevertheless, in either case, spiritual growth occurs on a higher plane. We cannot see when in a brother's or sister's life, a pressure of the water of the river of life is building toward breaking through their flesh's dam, so that while the pressure is building, they still appear to be pathetically devoid of any spiritual dynamic at work in their lives.

In Adam, we see mankind fallen. In Enoch, we see, in type, mankind walking. "Enoch walked with God, and was not, for God took Him." Enoch just walked with God, one foot placed ahead of the other, repeated and repeated over and over again, until he took that one more step, and THEN suddenly he was taken into another dimension. I don't think Enoch felt that each and every step was a victorious one, but each step, however we may judge its spiritual value, was integral to his spiritual advance.

In a way similar to God recently gathering my thoughts together for me, God is gathering together on this side of the veil, and on the other side, AND with both interactively, a growth in life that will lead all mankind together stepping into the dimension of our true home, into the glory of the purity of Jesus' communion with the Father.

Part of what makes this all so unobservable, is that my brother's failure, his stumbling, works to help my advance, and my advance encourages his advance. Strange sort of spiritual dance here. No man is an island. No man lives solely unto himself. No ethnic group, nation, or tribe lives or dies without in either case, somehow contributing to the GREAT ADVANCE, whereby God shall be all in all.    

John GavazzoniJohn Gavazzoni
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