It has been said that “a picture is worth a thousand words.”What if the picture is worth a life-changing experience? We know that the Lord Jesus said, “…and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (Jn. 8:32) Here we have the groundwork for true “freedom,” freedom from the tyranny of sin, self, the world and satan. But then we go on to the “power,” the energy, the realization of it. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (v.36) It is here, according to eternal truth, that we are brought face to face with Christ, and the power of God. Herein lies the secret of transformation, of change, of freedom…not only in the grasping of eternal truth, but by being grasped BY the Eternal One.
So, what is it about this picture of the Lily that is so important? What are the eternal truths that could change us? The Lord Jesus has told us, “Consider the lilies of the field, HOW THEY GROW; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Matt. 6:28) How do they grow? First of all, we note that they are planted, created by God. Their existence is not haphazard. They are planted with a purpose, and a means of existence. Secondly, if ever there was an illustration of something being a RECEIVER, it is the lily. Though fragile, it derives its whole existence by what it receives from the soil, the sun, and surrounding elements. It’s beauty is derived, not by what it can produce through labor and striving, but by what it can receive. It was created to show forth “glory,” beauty. But that beauty is only realized when it receives all, and exposes itself to the circumstances of God’s choice. With regard to the magnitude of that beauty and glory, look at what Jesus says concerning Solomon. The beauty and glory of the lily exceeds that of Solomon by almost an incomparable amount…because it receives ALL from heaven.
In Julia Ward Howe’s great hymn, she writes: “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea. With a glory in His bosom that TRANSFIGURES you and me. As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, while God is marching on.” There is a transforming beauty in Christ, but it is a beauty, a glory, received. It cannot be gotten by toil, or by “spinning.” It can only be “gotten,” appropriated by faith…and faith is realizing what we are, living to receive all that God has given to us IN CHRIST. “…Open thy mouth WIDE, and I will fill it.” (Ps. 81:10) We open our mouths wide with the expectation, and certainty of receiving.
One last thought…all the glory of Solomon is eclipsed by the glory of the lily. The intrinsic beauty of the lily, in all of the richness and depth of color, far exceeded the external, “manufactured” glory of Solomon. (I do not speak of the glory of God manifested in the temple during Solomon’s reign.) The glory of the lily represents the glory, “and beauty that has its origin and essence in Christ…to be revealed in His church, in us, …as it is in heaven.” Nothing compares with that.
So, today, let us consider the lily, and learn the lessons. And let us expose ourselves to the circumstances of God’s choice, there to receive all that He desires to give. That which is of Christ cannot be manufactured, only received. The greatest receivers are those who resemble Christ the most. Remember, “…everyone who asks, receives…”