Jesus Made Manifest by Bryan Craig
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1-3 ESV
I was having coffee with a pastor this morning who is considering joining my Journey group. He asked me a question, “So, what is the biggest thing that happens to people when they go through The Journey?” Strangely, an answer came into my spirit quickly. God gave me the example of COVID. Yes, COVID. Now, I’m not a doctor or scientist so this is just my layman’s observation and from personal experience with the disease, but I feel like the COVID virus entered a person and went through their whole bloodstream, into every organ, looking for a weakness or vulnerability. This is why it looked different for every person with all sorts of symptoms in different parts of the body. And as we know, some died from it.
I told this pastor that I feel, in a similar way, the Spirit works its way through a Journey participant’s soul during our 9 months together and exposes weaknesses, sin, wounds, strongholds, etc. The Spirit attacks these areas in a way that makes it clear to the participant. Many of these weaknesses have been blindspots in the person’s life. They did not even know they were there. For some, the pain that is created during this exposure is too much, and they drop out of the group. For those who allow the Spirit to do his work, they end up finding healing, cleansing, strength, and if they are fortunate enough, Death.
By death, I mean death to the “old man”. Scripture talks much about how our sinful, former self must die to find new life. I remember a Journey guy, years ago, who was just learning how to Journal, and he felt the Lord giving him a message to write down, “I’m going to kill you.” As you can imagine, it was quite disturbing to him until he understood this was a gracious act of the Spirit.
This all ties into a word the Lord has spoken to me multiple times recently. The word is “Manifest”. This word can be found many times in the New Testament. The word means:
“Clear or obvious to the eye or mind.”
“Display or show (a quality or feeling) by one's acts or appearance; demonstrate.”
“The public display of emotion or feeling, or something theoretical made real.”
The verse above out of 1 John 1 is a great example. John says that out of their fellowship with Jesus Christ, a new life was made “manifest”. Something that was obscure before was now made clear. Jesus took theory and even theology, and He demonstrated what life was supposed to look like. He showed the disciples the life that God intended for us.
And even now, the Spirit continues to manifest Himself to all believers…
“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”1 Corinthians 12:7 ESV
Yes, our Lord’s desire is that we would start to look like Him. He wants to manifest His character, His traits, His life, His Spirit through us. He wants to purify us. But most of the time, something in our life must be refined or pruned away to allow more of Him to shine through. One of my favorite devotional writers says he heard someone say, “Every time I feel the Holy Spirit move in my heart, I want to throw something away.” And this is a supernatural dynamic I’ve seen in every Journey group I’ve led. The Spirit challenges people to get rid of something that is getting in the way of more of Him.
This same pastor also talked about how church can measure its effectiveness? I think the answer is related to his other question about what happens in The Journey.
Are the church members, the Journey participants starting to look more like Jesus?
So, I don’t know where you are on your life journey, but I ask you, “Is Jesus being made manifest in your life?” If not, consider joining a Journey group. This process will help you find what you are looking for…IF you are willing to experience the Spirit’s gracious killing of the old self.
But on the other side of this, you will find the abundant life Jesus promised. I heard this life described this way:
This is the reality of life in God’s kingdom, the place where we receive unexpected blessings, pray with expectancy, discover new priorities, choose radical obedience, laugh with playful joy and give our whole lives to following our King.
If this is what you want, come join us.