A battle rages on. The attempt of the enemy pervades the ether with the propaganda that we are failing and cannot continue on. He says, ‘you have forgotten to count the cost, and have failed to understand’. You don’t know who you are or the authority you have and you are absolutely useless in using the weapons of warfare.’ I am stronger than you.
Winning the battle means we must obey the order that comes forth from the commander and not surge ahead prematurely and even dangerously go out to battle unprepared and with the wrong weapons.
Some friends sent me this quotation:
‘Have we not consumed a great deal of time in the past asking for what we wanted? Why not now ask for what God wants?’ David Wilkerson.
We may agree that we are all in a spiritual battle but which battle plan are we following and what strategy do we seek? Dare we tell God His plans? Well, perhaps the truth is ‘that we do’, at least in part. It’s such a waste of time.
We must consider our asking agenda. When we ask about what God will do, are we not in danger of asking Him to do what we want and what we feel is right?
Sometimes what feels counter intuitive is exactly what God wants us to do. Just think about Jesus’ instructions to the seasoned fishermen - ‘Cast your nets on the other side’. The foundational principles of the scriptures are often a paradox; we live when we die. We see reflections, opposites in the mirror; we are rich when we have little, we are poor when we are rich. — Impossibilities, all are impossibilities.
The body has two arms. In maturity, the person will raise one to admit that they have got things wrong many times. The other one will be raised when victory comes. If we stop and say ‘no more’ because we have made mistakes, then we have failed. Fear will tell us that we will fail again. We will never do what God wants because we feel inadequate and incapacitated. This is the intervention of the flesh surrounded by the echo chamber of the tempter’s voice.
Faith, however, will say that it’s not what I am doing, but what God is doing in me. This is always the case and that’s what counts. Faith is the manifestation of the Spirit in the person who believes. 1 Corinthians 12:…
We may have been part of, or instigated something, that though its intentions were good, has become useless and unproductive in the end.
Does a farmer give up on one field just because it did not produce a harvest the first time?
The condition of the ground, the seed and the weather all play a part in the reproduction process. So check the soil and the seed. On their own, they will produce nothing - what allows re-production, is the cost of how much work one is prepared to put into producing the multiplication to harvest.
In the body, it is God who supplies the increase, not us. It is the work of the Spirit that graces us to do the preliminaries and lay the foundation. The body of Messiah needs healing and healing begins in the rejuvenation of its parts.
Along the journey of our faith, we will come across many paths. We are eager do what God wants and we don’t want to get it wrong. However, if we admit that we have got it wrong and confess that most of what we have done has been done through assumption and presumption, God will forgive us and restore the process. Knowing therefore that we get things wrong, opens up the countless possibilities of getting many things right. Fear will tell us not to go this way or that. The simple fact is that we argue the route and perceive outcomes that are simply not there. God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, and that means obeying Him. He will eliminate disobedience and the notion that we can do things our way by making the landscape parched and unproductive. We will therefore find that whatever we turn our hands to will simply not prosper or last. Whatever we do, whatever company we establish, we must make God as the chief shareholder.
Every moment, good or bad is designed by God for a purpose. In our efforts to rush ahead we can find that we only get to the stop sign sooner. God is the father of lights and He will make sure that they change when He wants.
Life Through the Spirit
Romans 8. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.
To be a son of God we have to live by the Spirit because we are delivered from bondage and corruption and now walk in the freedom and liberty befitting our adoption.
Freedom thus allows us to do what is right and not what we feel is right. God said to man ‘multiply and inhabit the earth’. This means that the earth and all creation will be filled with His glory. This glory comes from the praise of His children. He inhabits them and thus occupies a space that man can create, but not enter into, yet!
One day, in our glorious conformation, we will enter this space and stand with Him as His bride.
Speaking of the bride, we may consider that the bridal company got the marriage arrangements wrong and that the seamstresses made the wrong wedding gown, but that does not mean that the marriage will not go ahead and the bride will not have her bridal garment. No matter our mistakes, things will proceed and be fulfilled. If we get it right, then we can speed up His glorious return.
So many times throughout the scriptures, God saw His people getting things wrong, badly wrong. But He did not wipe them out. We are living in a covenant made by Him not by us. If we find the covenant conditions hard to live by then it’s our problem not His. So we make changes, and put things right. We don’t give up and count ourselves out.
Presumption is a dangerous thing, but we must not make the mistake of linking it to what is permissible. The permissible will flourish but the former will fail.
The road back to the garden is full of pitfalls and rough terrain. These designated areas are signposted in scripture. They are called tribulation, distress, persecution or peril, famine nakedness and the sword. Romans 8:35
If we are in Christ then we can do all things, and giving up is not an option. There is no such thing as wasted grace. The Spirit will return back to God, having accomplished all that it was sent out to do, and that’s the truth.
And so, when we see the cracked landscape, we pray for rain. We don’t walk away from it. For who knows what the land will yield in time.
God has given us a destiny in Christ. We are given every spiritual blessing for His glory. We may say that we have not done this or done that; we may say that we have erred in many areas; all that is only par for the course. We keep going because God has to receive the Glory and His will must be done. We must not look to the failures of others and consider our efforts equal. His banner must be protected.
The scriptures tell us that if a brother sins he must be rebuked, counselled and restored. If he desists from repentance and continues to ignore Godly wisdom, then he is to be cast out in the presence of witnesses. That is for the health and welfare of God’s house. A man should never walk away from God’s work. Resignation is not in the covenant contract. God exalts and promotes. If we are led by the Lord to hand over the baton then we do so. In the building of God’s house, it is the foreman who hires and fires. We must look to the part that we are in charge of and make sure it has integrity to join the rest of the building.
I am reminded of the Sagrada Familiar, the famous basilica in Barcelona, designed by Antoni Gaudi. He knew that it would never be completed in his lifetime and so he gave the opportunity for other architects and designers to have a hand in his vision. It is a wonderful building and is made up of many parts, all connected through its diversity. 1 Corinthians 12 speaks of the fact though we are as diverse as all the parts of the body, unity exists.
When it comes to building God’s church, we see also the many shapes of the living stones that make His temple glorious. In hearing and obeying, we find the place He has for each of us.
Ultimately, we are called to build His house — not find excuses not to. We must also understand that the failure of others is a testimony. It means we learn from their failures, just as we learn from Israel’s struggle. However, God does not want new believers inhabiting a dead or aberrant church.
Life can come from the tomb, but only when the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit is not quenched.
What exasperates most people is the inability of some to ignore the word and the voice of God, especially when it can be so plainly heard.
Imagine you as a viewer see a landscape that you must cross. Directly ahead you see a vast open plain. It leads to a mountain range. This range is your destination. On your right, vast thick forests grow and on your left rugged mountain peaks. It would seem that the path across the plain is the one to take.
But God has plans. That route is not the option He has for you. The night is bitter cold on the plain; there is no shade from the baking sun and there are areas of quick sand that lie hidden under the surface.
Will you take the risk? He says you must take one of the remaining two paths. Through these you will gain insight and a greater will to persevere and survive. You will gain strengths and skills you never knew you had. But the journey will be long. Are you still convinced that the first path is your option?
Friends, God is the master of time, and thus everything will be done when He says it is. He has all the time in the universe. In the meantime, those who obey Him, walk in His shalom and provision.
Ultimately, the problems we face lie with us and the decisions we have made. But all is not lost. Between every stormy wave and the golden sand, there are reefs that need to be navigated through. The hands of the Holy Spirit will steer the rudder and His breath with fill the sail. At the far end of the boat is our Jesus, calmingly He looks over to us to see how we are coping. All is well master!
Walking in the Spirit means walking with Him, literally. So let’s not forsake our companion We can make our journey to the end and we can receive the desire of our hearts. However, it will depend on how simple or complex we make it. However, our role is not to ask ‘Why, when, what, where and how’, but to comply. ‘Resistance is futile’, I would say.