If I walk faithfully here, it is desert where nothing contributes to me. I am set here as the Lord Jesus’ witness to draw all my supplies from elsewhere. The harbor, where the supplies come in, is the only cheering spot in this dry and barren land where no water is. I must seek and receive everything from outside this desert island.
The Old Testament believer sought and received favors in this scene. The mighty power of God fed him – the faithful one – with the finest of wheat, and with honey out of the rock satisfied him (Psa 81:16). But now there is nothing here for the faithful one – his supplies are from above and the power of the Lord Jesus to make him strong in weakness, so that a sense of weakness is actual gain (2 Cor 12:10)! Thus he is looking to bring Him from above into his circumstances, and to know His power in his weakness, so that his enjoyment is not from this earth, but outside it with Him in heaven.
The Old Testament believer had joy in God’s gifts to him – God’s power made things here to contribute to him. But the Christian’s joy is in heaven and springs from what the Father has given him there. He demands nothing from this world, but in the power of the Lord Jesus contributes to it, of the grace that nourishes and comforts him outside it.
Not only is my all in heaven, but I need the Lord Jesus’ power to enable me to rise above the sense of my own infirmity down here; for this world instead of contributing to me, makes me feel my weakness and need, and that I must rise out of it to find and enjoy my blessing. The very infirmity which this evil age makes me conscious of causes me to draw upon the power of the Lord Jesus, as the One outside it, passing into the heavens, so that I take pleasure in the very infirmity which is exposed here, “that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:9).
It is difficult to accept the fact that nothing here contributes to the life of the Lord Jesus in you. In Old Testament times the power of God made things down here contribute to His own and infirmities were removed. But now it is: “When I am weak, then am I strong”.
In Colossians 2:20, we have “died with Christ from the elements of the world.” We have ended our history in Adam and practically have (walk in—NC) a new place. His death puts us outside everything here. His death for us removed all between the Father and us; our death with Him removed all between us and the Father.
There is no question about there being a beautiful position for the believer, but people limit it to it being theirs when they die. Scripture shows that it is ours now! “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Eph 2:13). They say, “You get heaven when you die.” No such thing. You are there “now”. It is not your death that entitles you to it, but the Lord Jesus’ death. There is not a single shade that was between us and the Father, but the Lord Jesus has removed in His death. No person can be truly happy until he knows that he has a new place now and this is where the Lord Jesus is. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:2, 3).
– J B Stoney (1814-97)