CLAIM GOD'S PROMISES, HIS STRENGTH!
by Tony Alamo
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not [cannot tell]. For I am in a strait betwixt two [hard-pressed between the two], having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith” (Phlp. 1:21-25).
The Apostle Paul is an example for our life in the Spirit in Christ, an excellent example of our God given right for faith and obedience (faith in Christ and us allowing Him to be obedient in us) and our privilege to receive the life of our Lord Jesus Christ into our mortal bodies. We are also able to take Jesus for our physical health, healing, and strength, as surely as we may for all of our spiritual needs.
Paul’s life was an excellent example for us of a spiritual triumph over unparalleled difficulties, pressures, and sufferings. He lived a blessed life; the beatings he received from the Jews, the dungeons of Rome, and all other kinds of hardships could not slow down his service for the Lord or put an end to his victorious ministry. There was a secret to his wonderful physical part of his spiritual life. The secret is divine healing with its highest principles. We are to search the scriptures which document our faith in Christ’s all-powerful ability to have created the world, the heaven, the sun, the moon, the stars, all the galaxies, the life of every living thing and every tiny nano-thing, including molecules and atoms, which are going to be used for the cure of cancer and other illnesses.
We must have faith in Christ’s ability, not in our own abilities at all. Paul said he was able to trust God for his body. It is because his life was not his own, but very dedicated to Jesus, that he was able to say, “For me to live is Christ” (Phlp. 1:21). This was because he was delivered from the fear of death so much that he could say, “For me to die is gain” (Phlp. 1:21). Paul didn’t want to live for the sake of himself, but for the sake of Jesus and for the sake of others. He was able to say with confidence, “I know that I shall abide and continue with you all” (Phlp. 1:25). Paul had completely relinquished his own will in the matters of life and or death. He claimed divine health, not because it was his will, but because it was the Lord’s will and the Lord’s glory. This he expressed to the elders of Ephesus: “Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
Paul counted his life dear, but not for himself. He would rather have been in Heaven with Jesus. So he counted his life precious for the Lord and His people. His life was a sacred trust. Therefore, he could give it up if it would be his will, or he could fear the Lord, remain faithful, and continue forward into the perils and privations that he knew awaited him. This is the standpoint of divine healing. This is the meaning of faith. This is the only place that we have to claim any of God’s promises. So long as we want blessings for ourselves, they are selfish blessings or wishes or prayers. We must give up our rights and claims and take everything only for Christ. Then are we able to claim God’s promises, because it is for God we are claiming them, and it is God’s interest more than ours to bless ourselves.
When we are in trouble, we need to pray: “Father, your property (me) is in trouble, is in danger! Lord, I pray, take care of your property!” If you’re totally for the Lord, you will be for yourself only because you are doing it for the Lord, because you are His property. When we are Christ’s, all things are ours (I Cor. 3:21-23).
May God humble us and bring us to the place where we let go of our life, itself, as our own personal desire, and then take it back as the will of God, God’s choice for His service and glory. It is the same as the example of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah. It is the same as Isaac lying down, then being given back as the Isaac of God, God’s Isaac, no longer Abraham’s Isaac or Isaac’s Isaac, and no longer ourselves for ourself. We gain by losing. We lose by holding. The life that is surrendered is the only safe life. Letting go is the same as possessing twice.
The secret Paul had for divine healing was the same he had for his spiritual life, and it was this: “Not I but Christ living in me” (Gal. 2:20). This secret of physical life was exactly the same as his spiritual life.
Paul had absolutely no sanctification of his own. Everything was totaled up in the indwelling Spirit, the life of Christ. Paul never boasted of any physical strength of his own, but he had the secret of resting in the physical life of the Lord. He knew how to live in the supernatural energy he received from the Lord, “renewed day by day” (II Cor. 4:16).
Paul proclaimed, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (II Cor. 4:10-11). Paul expresses the life also of Jesus in other words. Paul had two lives. He held his own life, which was puny and mortal and always ready to die. But he had another life, “the life also of Jesus.” When his own physical strength gave in, then the life of Jesus came to his rescue and took him through. In other words, he had living in him the very Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. The supernatural life of Christ sustained him with His vitality, His strength, and energy. When he was exhausted, there came to him directly from Christ through the Holy Spirit a quickening which revived and restored him. God was sufficient for all his needs. People who live their life for themselves rather than for the Lord will not understand this. We don’t understand this unless we know Paul’s secret, and live it as well. It is like a message in a secret code. You must know the code to make any sense of it, and the key to the code is the personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ living in our own human bodies.
The whole story of Paul is the reviving life of Jesus. One time Paul had preached the gospel in the wonderful power of God to a heathen crowd at Lystra. The jealous Jews from Iconium and Antioch came and turned the people against him. They incited a cruel riot, and persuaded the mob to attack Paul. The rioter had Paul stoned, then dragged him through the streets of the city, leaving him for dead (we can be sure that these enemies of Paul, when they had this chance to kill him, didn’t stop half-way) (Acts 14:19). As far as they could see, Paul was dead. But it was at that moment that the life of Jesus “quickened” life itself.
And so we read with simple, sublime truth, “Howbeit as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabus to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch” (Act 14:20-21). Here we see the power of Christ demonstrated in the hour of utter despair. As his brethren stood around him in concerned prayer, the Holy Spirit aroused his sinking life. Jesus touched him with his own life and lo! That life of Christ quickened his mortal flesh to life. Paul sprang to his feet, and went on to the work of the Lord.
The Lord is for the body, and the body is for the Lord (I Cor. 6:15). Why should we not understand and claim Paul’s secret as well? This divine health doesn’t mean immortality—life that can never die—but it does mean participation in the life of our risen Lord in a measure that makes us equal to every duty, every labor, and every pressure until our life’s work ceases and our Lord either calls us to Himself or comes to meet us. Have you learned the secret?
The life of Paul had no faith in his own constitutional strength. Quite to the contrary, he knew his weakness was personal insufficiency. There is every reason to believe that Paul finally was feeble, rather than being robust. His constant exposures, hardships, and sufferings had reduced him many times to the verge of death. He spoke of the infirmity of his flesh. “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake” (II Cor. 4:11). “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus” (II Cor. 4:10). But his own weakness did not hinder his taking the strength of the Lord Jesus and being enabled thereby for all that the Lord required of him.
Paul’s health and strength were a divine paradox. “When I am weak, then am I strong,” he could truly say. In himself he was physically weak, but in reliance upon the physical strength of an indwelling Lord, he was stronger than himself. He was much better equipped for the Lord’s work than even perfect health could have made him. So here is the deep secret of divine healing and the explanation of Paul’s singular experience recorded in the power of God, and not of us (II Cor. 4:7).
Paul’s physical strength was sustained by continual dependence on the Lord Jesus. He rested in Christ for his physical as well as his spiritual life. In speaking of his day to day renewal, he said, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen” (II Cor. 4:18). The renewing was “day by day” and only while he looked to the unseen sources of his strength. He did not receive one tremendous miracle which carried him through life. He learned what Jesus had so clearly transpired in parallel to His very own life. “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me [eats my life, lives my life], even he shall live by ME” (John 6:57).
Feeding on Him (upon Christ, the Word, the Bread of Life), he lived by Him. He could truly say in His language, “In Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Paul’s eye trouble was the thorn in his flesh which God never healed. “My grace is sufficient,” God the Lord said (II Cor. 12:9). Therefore Paul could say, “I take pleasure in infirmities…for Christ’s sake” ”that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (II Cor. 12:9-10).
Paul’s health was divine strength given in human weakness. “Though our outward man perish [the natural and physical body may seem to decay], yet the inward man [the divine life by Christ’s strength] is renewed day by day” (II Cor. 4:16).
Paul’s experience of divine health was compatible with the greatest pressures, the severest hardships, the most perilous exposures, and the most uncongenial and unfavorable surroundings. Some of his life was spent in damp, unhealthy dungeons. He was exposed to all types of weather, a lack of food, vitamins, and sleep. A night and a day he was adrift at sea. He was shipwrecked. He was beaten, he was pelted with stones. Most humans could not endure such treatment, but through them all he prevailed. He was always ready for whatever service the Lord had for him. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (II Cor. 4:8-9). The most severe pressures only magnified the glory and strength of his Lord. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (II Cor. 4:7).
Have we learned to live moment by moment, to live upon Christ’s life? As outward pressure increases and personal strength gets weaker, have we taken a stronger hold upon the Lord’s everlasting strength? As we wait upon the Lord, we renew our strength until we shall “mount up with wings as eagles…run, and not be weary…walk, and not faint” (Isa. 40:31). This was the physical life of Paul. This is the privilege of every believer and obedient child of God.
Receive Christ now by saying this prayer to the Lord:
My Lord and my God, have mercy upon my soul, a sinner. 1 I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. 2 I believe that He died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. 3 I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit 4 and that He sits on the right hand of God at this moment, hearing my confession of sin and this prayer. 5 I open up the door of my heart and I invite You into my heart, Lord Jesus. 6 Wash all of my filthy sins away in the precious blood that You shed in my place on the cross at Calvary. 7 You will not turn me away, Lord Jesus, You will forgive my sins and save my soul. I know because Your Word, the Bible says so. 8 Your Word says that You will turn no one away, and that includes me. 9 Therefore, I know that You have heard me, and I know that You have answered me, and I know that I am saved. 10 And I thank You, Lord Jesus, for saving my soul, and I will show my thankfulness by doing as You command and sin no more. 11
You've just completed the first step in a series of five steps which are necessary to receive salvation. Your second step is to deny yourself and take up the cross daily for the purpose of mortifying yourself, that is, for putting to death your own will, your soulful self, and the world with all of its lusts. All these must be baptized into the death of Christ.
Step three is your resurrection from the satanic life of Adam unto the sinless life of Christ. Step four is your ascension into a position of authority to reign for God on earth, and the fifth step is to reign for God on earth to the end for the purpose of bringing about the kingdom of Heaven on earth. You must learn the Word of God, then submit yourself and do what the Word says, so that the Church and the world may see evidence of your submission to God's Word, His order, and His authority in and by you.
Praise the Lord. May God reward you abundantly.
Pastor Tony Alamo
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1. Psa. 51:5, Rom. 3:10-12, 23 return
2. Matt. 26:63-64, 27:54, Luke 1:30-33, John 9:35-37, Rom. 1:3-4 return
3. Acts 4:12, 20:28, Rom. 3:25, I John 1:7, Rev. 5:9 return
4. Psa. 16:9-10, Matt. 28:5-7, Mark 16:9, 12, 14, John 2:19, 21, 10:17-18, 11:25, Acts 2:24, 3:15, Rom. 8:11, I Cor. 15:3-7 return
5. Luke 22:69, Acts 2:25-36, Heb. 10:12-13 return
6. I Cor. 3:16, Rev. 3:20 return
7. Eph. 2:13-22, Heb. 9:22, 13:12, 20-21, I John 1:7, Rev. 1:5, 7:14 return
8. Matt. 26:28, Acts 2:21, 4:12, Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14 return
9. Matt. 21:22, John 6:35, 37-40, Rom. 10:13 return
10. Heb. 11:6 return
11. John 5:14, 8:11, Rom. 6:4, I Cor. 15:10, Rev. 7:14, 22:14 return