“Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done. In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them.” (2 Chronicles 29:1-3)
…Judging from his heritage and environment, Hezekiah didn’t stand a chance of discovering God, much less having a relationship with Him. The record declares, however, that when Hezekiah became king, “he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” At some point in Hezekiah’s life, apparently, he was exposed to the teaching of righteousness. He grasped the reality of God’s existence and submitted his will to be identified with God.
A decision like Hezekiah’s would normally have tremendous repercussions. The Bible doesn’t tell us what the initial reactions of the people of Israel to their young king’s “conversion” were, but apparently Hezekiah was quite ready to meet opposition. The simple, basic issue of being identified with Christ must be firmly settled in the life of anyone who seeks a relationship with God. It is not only a matter of being “born again.” It isn’t just “being converted.” It is the marvelous possibility of–and also a challenge to–be totally identified with the living, indwelling Lord, Jesus Christ.
For too long we have been told, “Just accept Jesus into your heart and all will be well!” Or we are urged to “Come forward at the invitation and be saved,” without being informed that to invite Jesus Christ into our lives involves total union with and in Him…
Your mind, your intellect–what you think–is involved in your decision: you must completely give your mind over to the Lord Jesus in order for Him to use it when and how and where He chooses. Also, you must completely give your emotions to Him. Allow His love to be demonstrated through you to others, His peace displayed through you to others, His joy exhibited through you to others. Not just when everything goes well, but even while you may be undergoing tremendous stress, while you are under pressure in the midst of friends or enemies.
Conversion also implies [summons you to] a complete submission of your will to Jesus Christ in order that what He wills to do in you will find expression through you. Jesus Christ does not live in you in order to help you think; He comes in to do the thinking. He doesn’t come to live in you to give you strength, He is your strength. He doesn’t come to live in you to give you peace, He is your peace. You actually share the very life of the living Lord Jesus, just as a branch shares the life of the vine.
There is absolutely nothing to lose in being totally identified with Jesus Christ–with the exception, of course, of an ugly attitude, hatred, unrest, sorrow, frustration, and depression. What a tremendous loss that would be! Nothing to lose; everything to gain! We hear a great deal about …what we need in the way of revival in our churches. However, there is not very much to such a revolution or revival unless there is within us the Holy Spirit’s revelation that we should attain total identification with the Lord Jesus.
Only the Holy Spirit can make that identification [a subjective reality]. We can read all the books available on the subject, hear sermons and lessons by the dozens, and learn all the evangelical jargon. But unless the Holy Spirit illumines our understanding in a personal way, our attempts at identification will be in vain. All we can prove by our evangelical exercise is that we have the capacity of learning and memorizing, even though we may be living a life which repudiates all that Jesus Christ came to achieve in us.
Yet identification is just the beginning–not an end in itself. It is an act or attitude that will precipitate further action.
We further read of Hezekiah that he “in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them” (2 Chronicles 29:3). The house of the Lord–the place where the Lord resides–with doors opened! Open doors signify immediate accessibility, conversation, fellowship. How thrilling to think of being able to communicate with the Creator of our world! He not only comes to reside in us, but He gives us the privilege of communicating with Him. This communication is commonly called prayer, a privilege which is abused, misused, and most often goes unused.
Have you ever taken time to analyze the manner, method, and message of your prayer life? So much of our praying is like a large evangelical supermarket list rattled off to our heavenly Grocer–simply a process of telling God what we want….
God has provided communication with Him through prayer for the maintenance of our relationship and for the extension of His love through us. God did all that was needed for our salvation. He is doing all that is needed for our growth, and He will do all in the future for our provision here and hereafter. What a thrilling prospect: to be a person in whom God lives and through whom He daily demonstrates His plans and purposes!
Hezekiah threw open the doors of the temple to total involvement with God. Are you prepared to do that? Will you right now tell the Lord Jesus, “Thank You for coming into my life as Savior; all that I am and have or ever will be, I now place at Your disposal for total involvement?”
Robert G. Hobson, Life Unlimited. 30-33. (Foreword by W. Ian Thomas). The author served as pastor of Elmbrook Church, Brookfield, WI. [edited insertions bracketed]
[Technically, the believer’s spiritual and legal identification with Christ is accomplished by God at conversion (the new birth) Cf. 1 Cor. 1:30. This article is an excellent challenge to fully reckon this true, to appropriate this identification in our character and conduct. Cf. Rom. 6:10,11.- JBW]