It’s a Great Life IF You Weaken!

jesus_calms_stormHow often have we heard the saying, “It is a great life if you don’t weaken”? It sounds great at first, but is that the gospel of the cross of Christ?

I was comparing the following two passages written by James and by Paul…

James wrote:

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 KJ2000)

Paul wrote,

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us. (Romans 5:3-5 KJ2000)

Here we read that trials and tribulation work patience, and patience works experience, and experience works hope, and hope works the love of God in our hearts because of the Holy Spirit whom God has given everyone who puts their trust in Christ alone.

T. Austin-Sparks wrote:

Experience with God is much more than knowledge. We may be very greatly informed, and have a great deal of knowledge, but, lacking experience, our knowledge will remain purely technical information. Experience is more than knowledge. It is also far more than human cleverness. Clever people may be able to do a lot of things and seem to be successful. The absence of this quality of experience will find that their structures will sooner or later come crashing down, for there is no body there. Experience is something that we can never inherit, nor can it be transferred from one to another in any other way; it has to be bought. It is therefore the sole possession and property of the individual who has it. It is something very personal. If it had been possible for the Father to bring His own Son, the Lord Jesus, to the designed and determined end in any other way, He would have done it. The only way was experience: “…yet learned (he) obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb.5:8); He was made “perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2:10). Even Jesus Christ (and I speak in a certain sense) had to buy His experience. He had to come to the full end, or the end of fulness, to be made perfect, made complete, by the way of experience.
http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/001978.html

It seems that God puts a high premium on seeing us gain experience in overcoming our trials and temptations. He wants us to quit looking to ourselves and other things and start casting all our cares on Jesus, Who is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. We, like Jesus, must learn obedience through the things that we suffer. According to James, it is our faith that is being tried. Peter also spoke of our faith being tried.

“[We who believe]…are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In which you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold trials: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1 Peter 1:5-7 KJ2000)

First, we are kept by the power of God, not our power. Even our faith is not ours, but Christ’s (see Gal. 2:16). It seems we get an infusion of His faith to get us started, and it grows until we have our own faith based on experiences we have overcome through Him. From these verses, I picture my faith in Christ being put in a refiner’s crucible with the heat turned up. That heat is trials and tribulations that determine if I will call out to Christ to be my strength and sufficiency in all things, or if I will just “gut it out” by my own strength. Paul said it best for me when he wrote:

“And he [Jesus] said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.’” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 KJ2000)

Paul, like James, counted it all joy when he found himself weak in a trial. That meant he had to throw himself on Christ, and see Jesus come through for him every time. He saw that his own human strengths were his biggest enemy. He expounded on this in telling about how he despaired even of life itself:

“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9 RSVA)

Paul’s faith was tested to the point of death, yet he believed that even if he were killed, Christ would raise him up again. It seems that Jesus might have done this earlier in His life (see Acts 14:19). This man had a strong faith in Christ because he lived on the ragged edge of walking by faith. Like a muscle, faith has to be exercised or it atrophies and dies.

In the American church, we hedge all our bets and do all we can to keep from having to walk by faith. We have insurance policies for everything imaginable. We have our 401k and IRA to cover us in retirement. We join unions to give us power and job security. If we get some kind of pain or infirmity, we run for the medicine cabinet or doctor’s office (for more pills – there seems to be a pill for everything) without even giving Jesus a chance to heal us. We avoid trials at all cost. We even avoid being tempted by cloistering ourselves in our churches and homes away from the real world where we might be seen with the wrong kind of people. We are inoculated against walking by faith in Christ alone. Our faith is not being tried! Is it any wonder that the American church is so feeble and powerless against the rise of evil that is closing in around us as a nation? We are a nation of weak Christians being led by weak church leaders who fall for every kind of temptation that comes their way. If you think I’m exaggerating, just type in “church corruption” on a Google search!

All that is missing is for us to totally put our trust in Jesus alone and walk wherever the Spirit leads us that we might know HIM as our sufficiency and strength in adversity. During my years in churches, whenever I felt God calling me out of my comfort zone and to get out in the trenches among the people of the world and do something that would make a difference in their lives, I was told the same thing by the pastors I submitted to, “You are not ready yet!” Nobody I knew was ever “ready yet” in the minds of these church leaders, if God was calling them to go out into the fray of the world and take a chance outside the daycare center called “Sunday church.” As one man from Argentina put it, “The church as we know today is designed to preserve the perpetual babyhood of the believer.”

So, dear saints, it is a great life in Christ if we allow Him to make us weak through trials and testings so that nothing comes out from ourselves. We are not to walk by might or by power, but by His Spirit. All we have to do is abide in the Vine and He will abide in us, and then He will bring forth the fruit of His kingdom, not ours. Amen.

Advertisements

18 comments on “It’s a Great Life IF You Weaken!

  1. Scarlett says:

    So it is, the Lord has a bunch of perpetual children, and as we know, children must be entertained. And entertained they are, in the edifices of the modern apostate church, complete with rock star preachers and electric show bands and singers. Christ knew of no such worship.

    But if there are those of us who have not jumped off the potter’s wheel to avoid suffering, we will indeed partake of that cup. The flesh recoils from suffering. It is not pleasant. It’s not supposed to be.

    As a new Christian, learning the ropes myself so to speak, I remember a fine young preacher asking me once, “Don’t you wish sometimes the pressure would take a break and let up once in awhile?” His wife had run off with another man, and had taken their two young children with her. Meanwhile, his church was dominated by a bunch of women who weren’t allowing the Holy Spirit to move. He was soon kicked out by them for being “too zealous”, and was soon replaced by a known womanizer. His heart was breaking, but he stayed strong in faith through all of these ordeals. A group of us were also going through what we called “piggy back” trials. After a while, I decided I was just going to have to plow through them, pain and all, because I knew that sooner or later the Lord would bring me through if I just keep trusting him. It seemed to work out that way, with some bumps in the road, here and there. But looking back with hindsight, yes, I can see the experiences gained by these painful and unpleasant trials were priceless, and necessary to strengthen my faith. And at this stage of my walk, I am now weak in the flesh and health, which limits many things that used to be easy for me to accomplish, but there is nothing that will ever shake my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, his reality, his love, grace and working in my life, small and insignificant as I am. He does love me. I can and do pray for those in the church who are losing by default and choice. My heart aches for them, but as for me, I have to keep my eyes on Jesus and not allow myself to be discouraged no matter how crazy it gets out there in the world.

    A final observation…..If we ever waited until WE thought we were “ready” to be used by the Lord, He would probably have to disqualify us because of our pride.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Scarlett, Leonard Ravenhill once said before he died that many people came to him wanting “his mantle.” He told each of them that they could have his “mantle” when they walked out what God made him go through to get it. We, as infants in Christ, have this entitlement mentality that everything should just be given us, gratis! I started out my walk with this mindset, too. I thought that once I got the Holy Spirit that God was going to do the Tinkerbell thing with his magic wand and “schewing!” I was going to be an instant super-Christian. I found out shortly to my dismay that God does not spoil His kids, but takes them to the woodshed and applied to their posteriors the board of correction (See Hebrews 12).

      I was sharing my woes in the early 1980’s with a local mega church pastor about being in what turned out to beginning of my wilderness period and how I had lost my job and that the banker wolf was at my door wanting the keys back and how we were behind on all our bills and the cupboards were almost empty and what he said shocked me! “I don’t know what is wrong with you! I have never had a bad day in my life!” Well, I guess he saw the look on my face of incredulity and tried to redeem himself. He called three days later and told me I could come by the church office and pick up a check for $35. I didn’t bother. I knew that if a person couldn’t enter into my sufferings and show me fellowship on that level, they had nothing that I wanted. In Hebrews 12 we read that these who have not know the chastisement of the Lord are illegitimate and NOT HIS kids. Yes, the enemy has sown tares among the wheat and the enemy (the birds of the air) have built their nests in the uppermost branches of this strange tree that was supposed to be a lowly mustard plant which we call “the church.”

      Sorry to hear that your health is poor, my sister, but even in Paul’s lowest time of his life, imprisoned in Rome, came out what has blessed the world ever since, many of his epistles. So, dear sister, keep writing from your heart and listen to the Voice as to “what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  2. xoxogracey says:

    Yes! I have come to know it as the glory of a crucified life in Christ. My whole Christian experience in the last 1.5 years has been filled with suffering and adversities.. at some point I thought it was all I was experiencing. I found out later that it was so that faith is established in me, the faith which is in the Son of God. I told you once in an email that God is “making a son” of me when He called me unto the fellowship of His Son. I found that out through everything I went through (and still go through) under the hand of the Holy Spirit. It is so much different from majority of what calls itself Christianity today. At least I never learned it from out there but as it is written “they shall all be taught of God.” God is writing the Life of the Son in each of us.. that the truth is wrought in us by experiencing.. this is the “eating and drinking of Him” that I have come to learn because He is reaping in us the harvest of His first fruits which is in Christ. That is His glory, for all glory belongs to God. The Lord seeks and desires “truth in the inward parts.” That is why we go through what we go through when we are in Him (because we are no longer our own but His as testified by Paul). Purpose and vocation follow it also and that is His responsibility.

    I have wondered many times why I had to go through what I went through and then out of nowhere, He brings people to me who seeks Him and then the Lord is ministered. That is the law of the Spirit of Life and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Like Philip and the eunuch.. if you remember that account.

    It is a costly.. but it is in God’s account. When we are called unto the fellowship of His Son.. the cross is always in place in that.. it is not divorced from suffering but through suffering we too are perfected by faith.

    I may not understand and know much, but I believe God. This faith.. no one can take away from me. It has been tried and tested and I know it will be more for the rest of my life here on earth. It has gone through the fire in the past year immediately after He got me.. while being rejected and despised many times by my own because of Christ.. for His Name’s sake… even without me doing and saying anything to them. Christ in us truly is the hope of glory! He allowed me to experience disappointments, discouragements, failures, rejection, persecution, desolation, imprisonment (albeit spiritually).. and no one may really know of it except a few whom the Lord has given me to share it to whose faith in God is strengthened for that is part of Christ’s ministry also, to build up His body.. towards the unity of the faith.. towards maturity.

    Nothing that the Lord is doing in us is in vain. He always has an end in view and that end is always glory. It is Life… not death. That is the wonder of His grace.

    I keep hearing Him say “blessed are you…” which is that even in suffering, we rejoice and we give thanks! All the more that we do knowing that the Lord IS doing something very precious! I have come to know that as worship and it is such a sweet smelling sacrifice to the Lord because it is Christ in us.. His humility, His devotion. It is all His doing! “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

    Love you! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks Grace. Your growth in the Lord in the last 1 1/2 years is a wonderful thing to behold the more I get to know you. The way of the personal cross is why. “Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.” Good to hear from you again.

      Love you too, my little sister,

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So very amen I say, Michael, being very weak and extremely tired, feeling sick and suffering spiritually, as almost always. Nonetheless, smiling… 😉 because hope and faith indeed grow in our painful and dark times more than ever if we let Him do as He pleases with us and in us.

    I particularly love what you said here,

    “Paul, like James, counted it all joy when he found himself weak in a trial. That meant he had to throw himself on Christ, and see Jesus come through for him every time. He saw that his own human strengths were his biggest enemy.”

    Yes and amen, again, dear brother.

    I also found Mr. Sparks’s statements above so very true. He said,

    “Experience is something that we can never inherit, nor can it be transferred from one to another in any other way; it has to be bought. It is therefore the sole possession and property of the individual who has it. It is something very personal.”

    Experience is our own possession that cannot be taken away by anyone, either. And it is only through experience that we come to know God how He REALLY is. Mere head knowledge won’t do that. Our heart and our whole being must be involved into our sanctification process. If not, we remain, truly, weak spiritual babies who can’t stop feeding on milk although they could already eat T-bone steaks. 😉

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom in this wonderful article which sprang from a great comment you wrote before on Dan Dailey’s blog which I dare to link here, Michael. 🙂

    https://danieldailey.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/never-give-up/

    Love,
    Susanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Dear Susanne,
      I have closely followed your blogs and your writings about the sufferings that you have had to go through in this life. I know that you wrote this comment with deep pain as well as commitment to what God has deemed to be your cross that you might come out the other side with a deep sense of His presence and grace upon you. So much of this walk is totally by faith… maybe all of it. I know that with each blog posting and each comment, I start out writing wondering if I have heard His voice and if I did, was THIS the thing that He wanted me to say. It is always interesting how we start out writing with one thing in mind and soon something altogether different emerges. I have to believe that THIS is how God directs what we share and makes it from Him. There is a verse that says, “A man makes his plans, but God will establish his path.” It is so good to be able to get out of my headstrong mindset that wants to do and say what I want and just rest IN Him believing that what He starts HE will FINISH in each of us and to be able to just sit back and rest in that fact and watch the hand of the Lord move.

      I love you in the Son, dear sister, and I want you to know that HE is doing a great work in you whether you can see it or not.
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  4. ……Daycare center called “Sunday Church”….

    I laughed at this one. I know so many.

    A lot of what you wrote reminded me of a lady in my former church, who upon hearing part of my life’s story and how I followed the Lord’s leading in so many things, told me “I wish I had your faith”.

    In reply, i told her faith comes from a life of trusting and obeying God, one step-one day- at a time. It doesn’t build over night, nor does it come automatically. So there is no “wishing you had faith”….you make a choice to live and walk by faith. It is a struggle and we don’t always get it right but one step at a time is what is required.

    This same lady who wished she had “my” faith, upon hearing the more”radical” (if i may call it that) instructions that the Lord has led me to do, like coming out of church, going outside to feed homeless alone on christmas day,etc, decides that I have mental problems and God will not protect us when we put ourselves in dangerous situations- as she put it.

    I find it funny to realise that she likes the idea of faith when it sounds simple and it is convenient but when you get down to the nitty gritty of FAITH (examples in Scriptures: “go and sacrifice your only son. Get up,pack all your things and your family and go where i will show you), it becomes crazy. You become a lunatic. Suddenly it isn’t faith. When, in my opinion, that is when you can start declaring that you are walking by faith- when it seems totally out of this world insane, when all you hold on to is the Truth that God will do what He said-even when you have no proof.

    I am also reminded of a beloved sister telling me to stop being too crazy and use my own mind and plan my life, when i told her I was moving houses soon but I have no idea when or where I will move to, as the Lord will lead. She said God will bless your plans as you make it and step out in faith.

    It is amazing dear brother Michael what the world (i use the term for both secular and christian) calls faith. I have been called and seen as all sorts because I declare that I will do this or not do that (something which doesn’t make sense) simply because it is what God has led me to do.

    A minister in a church (afiliated with my former church), together with his wife, advised me to stop saying to people for sure that God told me. They said i should just say “I feel led to” just incase i don’t get it right, as this is what they do now, so as not to answer a lot of questions from people. LOL.

    Well i just said okay, in order to end the conversation, and didn’t argue as there was no need (and I am not one to argue what i consider unnecessary) but I think it is just semantics. I feel led to by whom? God, isn’t it? So we come right back to the abominable “God told me….”

    I remember over a year ago when I was still scared of admitting that I am doing something “crazy” because God told me and the Lord spoke to me one day. He said, “stop telling people what they want to hear. Stop telling them something else to cover what you are actually doing or not doing. You need to start saying exactly what I tell you to do even if you look stupid saying or doing it. You are going to have to risk your “reputation” if you must obey me. People must know that it is me you are obeying. Stop hiding it to conform to what people expect of you”. I tell you it was a bit of a rebuke and it worked!

    I must say it took me quite a few tries to get on board but from that day on, I stopped (started making efforts to stop) LYING to people to excuse the “crazy” thing the Lord will lead me to do. I said the truth when asked ,each time and I took the lashing it brought.

    Total dependence on God is seen as weakness and an easy way out but what else is faith???? Oh if they knew how difficult it is to keep your “I have it all figured out” mindset aside and just do as you are told. That is where discipline, self control is refined, if not born.

    Everything we need is in Him.

    I hope I have not deviated form the subject in my rant 🙂

    Peace be unto you dear brother.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Ngozi, I was sharing with Scarlett something that your reply made me think of as well. It seems that God has us all on the same page and I have a feeling that we might all end up crossing the finish line at the same time! Anyway, here is what came to mind to share with you as I read your reply,

      Leonard Ravenhill, a Christian author (some called him a prophet), once said before he died that many people came to him wanting “his mantle.” He told each of them that they could have his “mantle” when they walked out what God made him go through to get it. We, as infants in Christ, have this entitlement mentality that everything should just be given us, gratis! I started out my walk with this mindset, too. I thought that once I got the Holy Spirit that God was going to do the Tinkerbell thing with his magic wand and “schewing!” I was going to be an instant super-Christian. I found out shortly to my dismay that God does not spoil His kids, but takes them to the woodshed and applied to their posteriors the board of correction (See Hebrews 12).

      Yes, there are a lot of armchair quarterbacks out there that have never even been on the playing field yet that want to tell us how to walk out our Christian walk of faith as we follow the Spirit wind. I am glad that you have resolved to listen to the voice of the Shepherd an not the voice of the hirelings and the thieves and robbers that like to hang out around His flock. Keep on pressing on and He will make the ground to rise and meet your feet as you follow Him by faith.

      Peace unto you as well, my sister,

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bernie says:

        Reading what you said writing same as Scarlet, reminded what has often occurred at s
        conference with the anointing with several speakers. When the 2nd began his talk, he said
        the first speaker has already said a lot of what I wanted to say.A pattern has happened
        like on occasion, I think it must be a RHEMA word. For example. I was enroute to a meeting,
        on the radio.I heard a song.When I got to church, they were singing that song. Sometime
        I was watching a video with that same song. It may occur like this: Heard a word preached,
        Soon, I find it in my bible reading, later When, I was singing songs during my idle thought
        time, A song came to me that I had not sung it much time earlier that had that word in it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Bernie, Yes, I have seen this happen many times as well. If we are truly members of Christ and have His Spirit in us we should be finding this happening often. Another aspect of our unity is when different members of His body come together and each has a part of the overall message from the Lord as they share their part… like facets on a gemstone, each one adding to the overall beauty of the stone.

        What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
        (1 Corinthians 14:26 RSVA)

        Thanks, Bernie

        Like

  5. Bernie says:

    Thanks, I needed this. Pardon me if you have used this scripture. It states what Grace saidI I
    think, in the second paragraph 2nd Corinthians 1 vs 3-4. “Blessed be the God and Father of
    our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies & …and all comfort. Who comforts us in our
    tribulations, that we may able to comfort those in trouble, with the comfort with which we
    ourselves are comforted by God.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      You are welcome, Bernie.

      Like

    • Bernie says:

      Thanks, for your comment. I want you to know when Pat and I had our daily sing time this
      hymn came to me: “TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY: SPEAK OFT WITH THY LORD. ABIDE IN HIM ALWAYS AND FEED ON HIIS WORD. (MAKE FRIENDS WITH GOD’S PEOPLE.)….THE WORLD
      RUSHES ON.SPEND MUICH TIME IN SECRET WITH JESUS ALONE: BY LOOKING TO
      JESUS LIKE HIM THOU SHALL BE (THY FRIENDS IN THY CONDUCT HIS LIKENESS
      SHALL SEE). LET THE BE THY GUIDE: IN JOY OR IN SORROW STILL
      FOLLOW THY LORD AND LOOKING TO JESUS: STILL TRUST IN HIS WORD!…BE CALM
      IN THY SOUL EACH THOUGHT AND EACH MOTIVE BENEATH HIS CONTROL. THUS LED BY THE SPIRIT IN FOUNTAINS OF LOVE: THOU SOON SHALL NBE FITTED FOR SERVICE
      ABOVE. accept this ( ) as my highlights. SO, I AM GLAD TO BE YOUR FRIEND AS ONE OF
      GOD’ PEOPLE.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Dear Bernie,
        It is a blessing to me that you call me your friend, my brother. I get the feeling that you and I have not had a life that has been filled with close friends. BTW, Tell Pat “Hi” for me and that I miss her comments on here. I consider her a friend as well.
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Amen!! I have experienced so mush what you have shared Brother Michael, and I’m willing to keep experiencing it even when it has been painful, hurting, etc. God has been with me. As you shared during those journeys there has been moment I wanted to give up. But I cried out, and said “LORD HELP ME. I NEED YOU.” He has been there for me, and still is today.And He understands me, then others and that includes myself. I’m laughing over here. I don’t explain myself to others anymore. As long as I’m doing His Will, He will convict me, and discipline me when needed. I’m going to stop here. God Bless you. God knows what we need, and what we don’t need. He will not give it to us if He knows its not time. Shalom!! Agape!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Dear Betty,
      Thank you for your encouraging comment about your walk and growing with our Father who loves us. I can always tell when I am talking with a saint who has been through much breaking. They are so sweet and kind in nature. The are like the perfume that filled the whole house when that dear woman broke her alabaster box of ointment and pour it out upon Jesus.. it not only blessed Him, but it filled the whole house with its fragrance.

      Shalom and Agape to you also,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  7. jacqui says:

    First, we are kept by the power of God, not our power…… Michael what a great post and the truth that we can do nothing without God. Many recite these powerful words but they remain inactive by not putting them into practice. What an example we have in our precious Jesus who walked suffering, walked in faith listening to the Father.

    I prayed a prayer as a relatively new Christian and I really meant it but it was a dangerous prayer and God took me at His Word. I prayed ‘LORD let me be weak so you can show your strength through me’. I can remember the exact spot I prayed. I was living in a seemingly idyllic village but boy the trials that came from the church I was in started a process that is still continuing today. I was amongst wolves but did not know I was even a sheep or lamb of God! But God gave me faith and everyone was amazed at this faith. Even this I didn’t understand such a new babe in Christ. But God knew then I would do what He asked, not that it was in my power Michael but as you so rightly wrote it was the power of God that kept me and still keeps me. If I ever lose sight of this kick me in the butt!! no ….. seriously though …. I am weak, I took great pride in my earlier days as I was fit, healthy and strong but this too God gave me to shoulder the burdens I had at that time.

    God Bless you my brother. I love you!

    jacqui xx

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Oh Jacqui! I was so blessed by your comment. So few Christians understand what I call “the principle of decrease.” We are not apprehended by God to become “mighty warriors for Christ.” He told Pilate that his kingdom was not of this world and because of that He had no armies to fight in His behalf. He came as a helpless Lamb and told His followers that they must do the same. “I send you out as lambs among wolves” as you found out my precious sister. No, we are called to decrease so HE can increase and manifest Himself in and though us as HE wills. And in most cases that manifestation is NOT about US! It is about CHRIST IN us THE HOPE OF GLORY! He increases as we decrease. He becomes strong as we become weak. The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly and carnal and God takes no joy in the pride of man or the strength of his arms and thighs. Paul understood this perfectly, didn’t he?

      I used to pride myself in my intellect and spiritual gifts until I asked God to show me how HE saw me and when He did it was devastating. It was all about ME and my pride stunk to the high heavens for I was using His gifts to seek glory for myself. I was dead set on becoming, “God’s man of the hour! His great prophet!” Gag! It was then, dear Jacqui, that I also prayed a dangerous prayer, “God, if this is what I am doing to you, using your spiritual gifts to seek my own glory, JUST KILL IT! Don’t leave any of this pride in me alive.” Fourteen years later after being stripped of everything that I once call spiritual, my pride in the work of my hands and my ability to provide for my family, my “good” name and reputation and any hope of ever getting any of it back again… it was then that He started to move in my life once more, but it was very subtle and it came without any outward signs for He wanted to keep me weak and totally dependent on Him.

      In a sense, once you go through the wilderness of God its mark on you never allows you to get too far from its stripping power in your life again. His strong hand on our “leash” keeps us in tune with His will and not ours so we don’t run out ahead of Him again. Finally, all it takes is a whisper to get us to submit to His will and those more overt methods are not necessary any longer. But for this to happen He has to touch Jacob’s thigh and make him walk with a limp the rest of his life. Jacqui, you might not ever be totally healed. He might leave just enough weakness in you (thorn in your flesh) to keep you totally dependent on HIM alone. I know that any time I speak from my own fruition and do not wait on His voice it causes death and He lets me feel the pain in my heart that it causes others. Like David, “my heart smites me” when I have offended one of His little ones who trust in Him. It is all part of His fine tuning this old self-willed radical and keeping that old Adam in me weak so that Christ may be made perfect within me.

      So, my precious sister, it is a blessing to be getting to know you in your weakness. You make me feel at home.
      I love you, too!
      Michael

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s