Before I share what is on my heart, I want to point out two things that the blog is not about.
The aim of these writings is and will always be to try and encourage others on their Christian journey. Therefore, they are often short, but punchy. By sharing some of my own testimonies, I hope that people will see the choices that I have made for myself or situations that I am in and be a little more equipped to turn, stay the course, leap over, wrestle down the challenges for their own lives. When I share from scripture that has been put on my heart, my hope and prayer is always that people will take those scriptures to God in their personal time and seek out what they may mean for their own lives.
Sifted like Wheat
Well as my person life continues to resemble a wheat sifting process I kind of feel like:
24 “Wretched and miserable man (or woman) that I am! Who will [rescue me and] set me free from this body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]?” Romans 7:24 (Amp) gender emphasis added.
I guess if we were all to be honest, we could all say that we’ve had times like that at some stage or perhaps multiples stages in life; for some of us it may even be a weekly or even daily process right now.
The truth for me at the moment is that in response to some of my personal challenges I have not shown the works of the fruit of the Spirit to the degree that I would want (nowhere even near it to be truthful) and have this internal warring of my flesh and spirit going on within. The Apostle Paul described it like this:
14 “We know that the Law is spiritual, but I am a creature of the flesh [worldly, self-reliant—carnal and unspiritual], sold into slavery to sin [and serving under its control]. 15 For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled and bewildered by them]. I do not practice what I want to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate [and yielding to my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity]. 16 Now if I habitually do what I do not want to do, [that means] I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good (morally excellent). 17 So now [if that is the case, then] it is no longer I who do it [the disobedient thing which I despise], but the sin [nature] which lives in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity]. For the willingness [to do good] is present in me, but the doing of good is not. 19 For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want to do, I am no longer the one doing it [that is, it is not me that acts], but the sin [nature] which lives in me.21 So I find it to be the law [of my inner self], that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully delight in the law of God in my inner self [with my new nature], 23 but I see a different law and rule of action in the members of my body [in its appetites and desires], waging war against the law of my mind and subduing me and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is within my members.” Romans 7:14-23 (Amp).
So at this point in time I am really crying out to God in truth (believe me it’s raw), I take time to praise Him, because He is so worthy of my/our praises, but I am also forsaking all of the scripture, church talk and holy mode prayer that I’ve heard & learnt over the years and just get real close & personal (honest) with God about what I truly feel and where I am – As if He doesn’t know!
At these times God doesn’t say to me “how dare you little Don, who do you think you are to tell me that you are not going to try anymore unless I change you…” and so forth, no I get the real sense that he says “Finally! Finally, we can really talk. You’re beginning to remove the mask behind the mask and now I can begin to move further in you”. Take note though, I’m not saying that that it and it’s all ‘happy ever after’, ‘name it (the blessing) and claim it’ and all that jazz. No, it doesn’t end there. Staying in that ‘real place’ is a huge challenge for me and one that I need to do a lot more emptying of self to achieve. That’s what I call ‘the painful stuff’, which is often preceded by a lot of shaken life circumstances and not one that I would ever intentionally choose to enter into – The sifting.
When I get to those points of real places, I’m in no way (or trying to be) over familiar or irreverent towards God but I am trying to be real about my need/s from my Father. It’s wrong that I can talk to other individuals with more openness and reality at times then I do to God. I sometimes think that He doesn’t want to hear about my complaints because we’ve often been told to just ‘praise’ your way out. Well, praising isn’t always easy and I seem to remember God reinstating a deflated Elijah in a cleft of a rock without Elijah having worshipped (1 Kings 19), no as I read it, Elijah was running for His life and wanted to die (Vs. 4).
I am also reminded of the many great patriarchs of faith who commonly showed this desperation/real place for & with God, such as:
- Moses said to God that He and the Children of Israel would not go on in their journey to the promised land unless God went with them (Exodus 33), He did not want the angel that God was going to send before them, but God Himself;
- Abraham also took it upon himself to question God intention with regards to Gods plan for Sodom in Genesis 18:16-33;
- It is also biblical fact that own Lord Jesus who was tested at all points for us (Hebrews 4:15) even asked the Father if He would remove the cup (of divine wrath) that He would experience on the cross and being in agony (anguish and distress – within His body of humanity) prayed intensely to the point of sweating blood (Luke 22:42-44).
So, I think we are in good company and ok in being ‘real’ before our Father, there has been a precedence set by a higher authority than the likes of you and me.
That said, going back to Pauls discourse in Romans 7 above in contrast to my current predicaments, I am thankful to God for what Paul said next in vs 25:
25 “Thanks be to God [for my deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord! …” Romans 7.25 (Amp) Thanks, be indeed – Hallelujah! We have a Lord who loves us like no other human being (or pet for that matter) ever could. We have a Heavenly Father who gave His all in His Son; a Son whose love for the Father and us, gave His all to the point of dying our death, and a Holy Spirit who gives His all as He resides within all who give their lives to Christ, even as the unfinished works of grace that we are.
So whatever you are facing (we will always have troubles and persecutions and they come as Jesus said, because of the word (Mark 4:17) in the explanation of the parable of the sower and seeds); remember that our high priest has felt all that we can feel and is able to take your direct and frank pleas without taking offence at our frail humanity. He once said the following to the Apostle Peter, and I believe that he is saying the same to you and me today:
So please don’t despair, Jesus has and continues to pray for you and I. So, let us remember that Jesus made the way for us and gave us victory by carrying our debt of sin onto the cross, and in doing so He defeated & disarmed Satan and his followers (Colossians 2:15) and removed the requirements of law (Ephesians 2:14-15) which separated us from Father God.
And finally, in His own words Jesus told us:
33 “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]” (John 16:33 (Amp))
So whilst I may being sifted, I believe the purpose is for me to be refined as Gold and I will call out to our Father God and He will say there is my child (Zechariah 13:9).
I think the words from this song aptly capture it for me – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC7mNAsx7Vw
God bless you,
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (New Living Translation)‘But test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.’