~ GOD'S FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH ~
PART ONE: GROWTH IN GRACE
Have you ever wondered how God marks important points in His Word? He does so with figures of speech. In Isaiah and in the book of Psalms, God makes reference to an eagle using two different figures of speech. God shows us that if you keep Him first, you can constantly have youthful vigor and mental aliveness and alertness; you are not burdened down with the negatives of other people of the same age. Let us go to God's Word and watch these truths develop.
Isaiah 40: 29 -- He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Isaiah 40: 30 -- Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
Who is going to give us power if we do feel faint or weary? Who is going to increase our strength if we feel that we have no might? GOD ALMIGHTY. Isn't that a comfort to know this truth, that as we grow older, God will give us power and he will continue to increase our strength? He only asks that we give Him His proper place in our lives -- FIRST. It is the best and only genuine life anyway!
In the next verse, there is truly a magnificent descriptive and explanatory figure of speech called in Greek ‘Catabasis’ or ‘Gradual Descent’. This figure of speech in this particular verse is used to emphasize 'humility'. I found this illustration to be very enlightening and it was also quite exciting as to how this example seemed to align closely with my own spiritual walk with God over the last 32 years. You can also ask yourself the same question as we study the verse and the figure.
Isaiah 40: 31 -- But they that wait upon [believe and expect] the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
The figure ‘Catabasis’ or ‘Gradual Descent’ in this verse illustrates the effect of growth in grace. Now watch this -- it is a quite accurate explanation of a believer's experiences as he walks with God and continues to spiritually mature. To make this as simple and clear as possible, let's do a very simple diagram of most of this verse.
a. "they shall
mount with wings as eagles" . . . . . . [FLY]
b. "they shall run, and not be weary" . . . . . . . . . . [RUN]
c. "they shall walk, and not faint." . . . . . . . . . . . . [WALK]
a. "they shall mount with wings as eagles"
At first, the believer FLIES. When I first got involved in God's Word, I was one of the hottest believers in my area. I witnessed almost every single day and helped to sign up people for Bible classes and continued to undershepherd many people in God's matchless Word. I was flying so high that even my leader once told me to slow down, but I would not listen. You see, even if we mean to do good, we can bring harm to ourselves by simply going too fast. When we first get involved in God's Word, God refers to us as babes in Christ. We are to be fed with the milk of the Word until we grow spiritually strong and become rooted and grounded in God's Word. We need to learn humility and this comes in time. Because I would not slow down, I later ran into some difficult times and I learned to be humble especially to my leadership. However, I got a lot accomplished for God and the movement of His Word. The point that I'm trying to make is that there is a time when your feet need to touch the ground. Remember, God will always tell you first, but if you are not listening, He will tell someone else and they will tell you. So we need to stay sharp. Overall, God renewed my strength and I moved into the second category of the growth of grace. First, let's take a look at the apostle Paul who was also 'flying' like an eagle when he first got involved in God's Word.
II Corinthians 11: 5 -- For I suppose I was not a whit [at all] behind the very chiefest apostles.
The phrase "a whit" is a figure of speech called an IDIOM which is the peculiar usage of words or phrases. In the verse, it could be translated "at all".
Paul may have had a hard time trying to stay humble so he had to constantly remind himself of his origin. This may sound unusual, but it is a fact that a great leader experiences the temptation of pride -- thinking that he himself is great. Not that I am some great leader or even a good one but I would like to bring my own humble example to light.
I learned something from a great man of God who taught me God's Word. He did and said the following when he found himself in this position. Oftentimes, when I was called upon to teach God's Word in a fellowship, after the meeting was over, some believers would approach me and tell me that I taught a great teaching. I appreciated the compliments and I understood where the believer was coming from, however, I would always turn and smile and say, "Thank you brother -- give the glory to God."
First Paul says, I am not at all behind the very chiefest apostles. Then later on Paul writes something completely different in the Book of Ephesians.
b. "they shall run, and not be weary,"
Ephesians 3: 8 -- Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable [untrackable] riches of Christ; [emphasis added]
As Paul's experiences increased, he began to RUN instead of fly. He was becoming rooted in grounded in God's Word. He refers to himself as the least of all saints in an attempt to stay humble as compared to being one of the chiefest of all apostles. This is quite a contrast, isn't it? Paul was human just as we are. He was subject to many temptations, but he stood for God and His Word. He was probably offered many great positions in worldly affairs, but he stood for God. It could be stated here that Paul was 'running' at this point in his walk with God but he was not weary. Again, this scripture states that the Lord renewed his strength.
If I may, I would like to state that I too have experienced this stage in my spiritual walk with God. I seemed to be in a hurry almost all the time for many, many years, but yet I never seemed to get weary. Why? Because God renewed my strength just like he will renew yours when you take a stand for God and the movement of His Word. Remember Isaiah 40: 30.
Isaiah 40: 30 -- Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But as we shall see later in Psalm 103, our strength and youth is renewed like the eagle's -- another tremendous figure of speech which will explain to us God's fountain of youth more clearly.
c. "they shall walk and not faint".
Now let's examine the final stage of a believer’s growth in grace and this is the stage where he begins to "WALK", and not faint. Now after many years of being steadfast and not budging from God's Word, the believer who at one time was flying high, then running, finally begins to walk with God and His Word. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that even though a believer may sometimes have to remind himself of his roots, we are to confess what the Word says about ourselves and not what we think. Be sure not to take this teaching out of context. At times I may say to myself that I was one of the worst sinners in my past and that's where it is to stay -- IN THE PAST, where it is to be forgotten. We are not to go around putting ourselves down, but we need to do what has to be done so that we stay humble and not high-minded. Can you just imagine the pressures that Paul experienced being such a great and mighty leader? Because many believers did not completely understand God's Word, they probably attempted to place the apostle Paul on a pedestal. There is even one reference to where certain people thought that Paul was a god himself. If Paul even considered these thoughts for an instant, he was in serious trouble. So he constantly reminded himself in these situations that he was quite the sinner at one time. Pride is how the devil himself fell. At some point in almost every believer's walk, this enemy will tempt a believer with pride. We must stay very sharp and watch out for this destructive trick.
Now let's go to I Timothy 1: 15 where Paul refers to himself as the chief of sinners.
I Timothy 1: 15 -- This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Towards the end of his growth in grace, Paul is now beginning to WALK with God as compared to running or flying. His heart was now cemented in God's Word. He was rooted and grounded and he was not going to budge. He once again realizes where he came from and who he was at one time in his life. Now he had begun to slow down and became more peaceful and much wiser and God was able to give him greater revelation. He did receive the greatest revelation ever given to a man and that was the mystery of God in Christ in you stated in Colossians 1: 27.
Colossians 1: 27 -- To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
I have clearly experienced this stage in my walk with God and in my growth of grace in the latter years of my stand on God's Word. I learned to stop running and to slow down realizing that anxiety is simply a trick of the enemy. It is never right to be in a hurry and it was one of my greatest downfalls. At first I was flying with God's Word, then I was running, and now I walk. Many times, I have to remind myself that God gets all the glory. I tell myself in my mind that without God, I am nothing. This helps me to stay humble and shuts the door on pride. In the second part of this teaching, we are going to study a beautiful orientalism taught by Bishop K. C. Pillai. This great man of God also taught us that it is a healthy thing to speak to our own minds and to tell our minds to behave. If we are thinking the wrong way, we should tell our minds to stop thinking that way and to think what the Word of God says that we are to think on, such as Philippians 4: 8.
Philippians 4: 8 -- Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think [or speak] on these things.
God's Word and only God's Word will help us to control our thinking. God's Word, in Philippians 4: 8, tells us to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.
PART TWO: GOD'S FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
In part two of this teaching, we are going to study an Orientalism that is often either misunderstood or not understood all. It is a tremendous illustration of the results that are always obtained when rightly dividing God's matchless, perfect Word. Once again, the verse we are going to examine in detail contains another figure of speech. Always keep in mind, that this is where God marks His Word as to what is most important.
Psalm 103: 5 -- Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
In this verse, we have another figure of speech that should arrest our attention. It is the figure called ‘SIMILE’ or ‘RESEMBLANCE’ and it can be defined as "a comparison by resemblance." The key word that clearly illustrates the use of a Simile in the above verse is 'like'. Whenever you see the word 'like' or 'as', it usually indicates the use of a Simile.
Many believers do not fully understand the meaning of the latter part of this verse which is a beautiful illustration of God's fountain of youth. First, we need to understand a few things about Eastern culture -- in this case, about a certain type of eagle found in the Orient.
God's Word is not talking about a mythological fountain of youth that reverses the aging process. There is no such thing because of the basic laws of life that God set up. If you are 60, you simply cannot believe to be 20 years old again in the physical sense because that is a natural law. This agrees with the established law of time. But God has also set a spiritual law which supersedes natural laws. In the context of this tremendous Psalm, there is a dynamic spiritual truth which states "... thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." If we continue to study, believe, expect, and act on God's Word and stay in fellowship with Him, no matter how old you are, you can constantly have youthful vigor and maintain mental aliveness and alertness. As was said before, you need never to be burdened down with the negatives of other people of the same age. A young person feels vivacious; they feel as though they can conquer the world, as though they can trounce on any problem. That is how we can always feel when we keep God first and foremost in our lives -- no matter what age we are. That is such a tremendous truth from God's Word. Now let's do some Biblical research on the latter part of this verse and you will see that we have dug deep below the surface of God's Word and we have found a diamond of truth.
Psalm 103: 5b ".... so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's."
I may have said this many, many times but the Word of God needs to be studied and of course it needs to the rightly divided. In this situation, we must clearly do some research into Eastern culture and life in the Orient. Bishop K. C. Pillai from India taught us the greatness of this renewing of youth like the eagle's mentioned here in God's Word. If you ask most people what it means to have their youth renewed like an eagle, they will probably guess at what this verse means and we know that this is private interpretation. We are never to guess at the meaning of God's Word. The meaning of this verse is really very simple once we understand the following.
In the Orient, there is a certain type of eagle and it is this eagle that this passage is referring to. This eagle periodically sores to tremendous heights, and then suddenly, it folds its wings underneath and heads straight down. The eagle then bombs into the sea with as much speed as it can generate. When the eagle surfaces, it no longer has any feathers on its back. It must float back to shore and crawl in among the bushes until it grows back brand-new feathers. Isn't that tremendous? Now we can finally understand the meaning of that great verse in all of its magnificence. God's Word is an Eastern book and we must know something about Eastern culture if we are ever going to understand the Bible.
God renews our youth just like the eagle's. He enables us to get rid of all of our ballast -- those old dirty feathers -- all those fears, worries, and anxieties and negatives thoughts -- all of those things that have burdened us down and have kept us from being our best for God.
Psalm 103: 2 -- Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Having our youth renewed like the eagle's is one of God's benefits that he asks us not to forget. Think of all those things that God has enabled you to drop off in your mind -- those things, that at one time, disturbed you and in many cases may have overcome you. In place of those disturbing thoughts and secret sins of our own lives, we are to speak, believe and act upon the rightly divided Word of God.
Philippians 3: 13, 14 -- Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
When you forget the things that are behind, by your own free will -- by your believing, you make it possible for God to open up the floodgates of heaven "so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." God is truly a respecter of CONDITIONS and not of persons. We need to carry out God's Word and Will by our own free will decision.
Simply refuse to be circumstance-oriented, but strive to be WORD CONDITIONED.
Philippians 4: 13 -- I can do all things through Christ which [who] strengtheneth me.
Literal translation according to usage:
Philippians 4: 13 -- I am ready for everything and equal to anything through him who infuses inner strength into me.
This is truly the only genuine fountain of youth and it is available to any believer who, with the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation, believes and acts on the rightly divided Word and Will of God.