by Catherine Brown

"God is looking for face-to-face encounters with His children, so that we might become so absorbed by His gaze of love that we will be undone."

As I think of the year that lies ahead, my heart has been captured afresh by Christ's love. We can do nothing apart from His love. His call to remain (John 15) is a clarion message to the Church in this hour. Our best plans amount to nothing, if they do not flow from hearts that are undone by His love. May we be increasingly captivated by Christ and experience His divine romance in order that we might bring our Heavenly Father much glory and experience His joy.

Isaiah's Commission and Background

Isaiah 6:1-9:

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!'

And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with
smoke . So I said: 'Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.'

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.'

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?'
Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.' And He said, 'Go, and tell this people....'"

Isaiah was one of the four major prophets of the Old Testament, with the others being Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. He prophesied for almost 40 years through the reign of three kings: Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Isaiah lived in Jerusalem in the 8th century BC. He received His commission in the year when King Uzziah died in 740 BC.

Isaiah's vision of God colored His entire life mission. He had seen God with His own eyes and lived; experiencing first hand the forgiveness of His personal sin. From a face-to-face encounter with the living God, he was sent out to carry the heart of God to the people of Israel.

The prophetic words and visions of Isaiah speak between judgment of Israel for sin and rebellion, and yet never failing to underscore God's patient loving plans for Israel's restoration. Isaiah presented the Israelites with a picture of a holy and caring God who would restore them to Himself. God is infinitely loving and tender to Israel, His vineyard.

God forgave His people for their sins time and time again. He never left their side throughout their suffering, setting them free because of His great love for them. Isaiah paints a picture of our God as one who speaks and has power to act and who faithfully carries His people's burdens, even when they are faithless towards Him.

Being Undone Daily

Isaiah said he was, "undone." What could it mean to be undone to us in the 21st century?

Here are examples of being naturally undone in our daily lives (with some humor):

ACCIDENTALLY UNDONE: If our shoe laces were accidentally untied, it could lead to a trip and/or a nasty fall. Being accidentally undone isn't an attractive option.

MALICIOUSLY UNDONE: What about when someone else does something to us that causes us be undone? If another individual loosened our shoe laces without our knowledge, this could be described at best as foolish behavior, or at worst even malicious behavior (depending on the motivation behind the act), and might cause injury or harm. Forcing someone to become undone isn't what Isaiah had in mind either!

MISTAKENLY UNDONE: Have you ever had a button pop off, or a zipper mistakenly come undone at an inopportune moment? Such occasions can, and usually do, cause acute embarrassment and make us feel uncovered and vulnerable. Not pleasant! I don't think this is what Isaiah meant when he referred to being undone either. What then could "undone" look like?

PURPOSEFULLY AND THOUGHTFULLY UNDONE: To best explore this, we can refer again to our shoe lace analogy. When we have consciously untied our shoe laces of our own will, possibly after a long and tiring day, it is such a glorious feeling to allow tired feet to rest! Wiggling swollen toes in the fresh air is so relaxing! This purposeful, thoughtful choice to be undone is a lovely experience. There is no fear, anxiety, or harm in it. We freely choose to enter in and the results are delightful.

The Rosebud

Have you ever considered the unfurling of a rosebud, as each petal gives itself in absolute surrender to the process of being uncovered?

Our Creator God, knows exactly how and when to unfurl each petal, ushering every bloom through the process of being completely closed, to opening up under His tender hand to become a thing of exquisite beauty that releases and reveals glorious fragrance and becomes a joy to all who gaze upon it.

Forcing the bud to open prematurely might destroy it, but God's timing is perfect. We might compare and consider our hearts in such a way too. God is looking for face-to-face encounters with His children, so that we might become so absorbed by His gaze of love that we will be undone just like the rosebud. As we encounter God's heart in such a way, we receive revelation and an impartation of His love that equips us for mission, and our lives overflow in His goodness and grace. Such life changing encounters cause transformation in us that becomes a catalyst for divine transformation in the nations.

The Human Heart: Being Undone for the Love of Christ

"In the shaking of God's dealing with our hearts, the Bridegroom King is revealed."

Isaiah was pointing us to the truth that only God's Spirit can enable us to surrender and be "undone." It is purposeful, thoughtful, and all for God's glory to reveal the fragrance and beauty of Christ to each one of us, and in and through each one of us. His love is trustworthy and unfailing.

Just like the petals of a rosebud, the protective layers of our heart (i.e. our defenses, our weaknesses, our fears, and our pride) all melt away in the ardent love gaze of our merciful Bridegroom King. Under His purposeful hand, His perfect plans unfold in the heart that is undone in His holy presence with lasting and fruitful effect!

As the atmosphere of Heaven touches earth, it consumes all and changes all that it embraces.

In the shaking of God's dealing with our hearts, the Bridegroom King is revealed. We realize afresh our need for a Savior. In face-to-face encounters, we repent, and the ashes of our ways are redeemed under God, to become things of amazing grace and beauty in His pierced hands.

The call to mission is one born of intimacy with Jesus. A heart undone, ravished by the unending love gaze of Christ, is the only thing Jesus asks of us. Our response to His eternal, breathtaking love is to say "yes" with our whole being, and follow the Master with all that we are.

We Are Revived for Mission!

When our hearts enter the blessedness of divine romance with Christ, we are released to a lifetime of effective mission. To be carried in His heart is to carry His heart of mercy to pursue people and cities until they are delivered from judgment of sin and rebellion, and delivered into a loving, living, faith relationship with God. Our mission must flow from being undone by His love; for without it our mission becomes merely works.

His love is our preparation, causing holy devastation to our flesh to produce purity and divine desperation in us, to continually seek Him with all our hearts and make His unquenchable, agape Love known throughout the world. We are revived for mission!

Isaiah 61:1-3:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair...."

I hope this short message from Isaiah's life will be fresh bread to each of your hearts today.

Bless you!