Greetings in Christ Jesus to you! May God’s peace fill your hearts and
The following message is a portion of the Christian handbook, “Beauty for Ashes,” for June 2001. The entire publication will be on our Website in June. This is a continuing instruction in the walk of sanctification by Grace through Faith. There are many issues of “Beauty for Ashes” available on our website.
BEAUTY FOR ASHES – “HIS GREAT LOVE.”
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
( Ephesians 3:17-19).
How are you going, believer in sound Biblical revival?
How are you growing IN Christ Jesus, from a source of God alone for your righteousness and sanctification?
Be honest before the Lord, your peace, joy and fruitfulness for the Lord depend upon reality and truth in your innermost being! Do you “know the love of Christ”?
If you have to answer that your initial joy, peace and victory over sin has slipped away into unhappiness often, being defeated by sin often and a dismal feeling in your heart, “It was wonderful to walk in victory over sin and be so close to God, for awhile, but I knew it wouldn’t last” – then you need to come in repentance again to the Lord God and see the reason for your fall from the Grace and Faith walk. Almost certainly you will find:
Don’t be afraid of seeing yourself as you really are, God knows that you were born with a fallen nature, that is why He sent Jesus to give you new life in Him. Don’t cover up before God, it is vital that you let Him reveal ALL the sins of your life, only then can you be free – and be able to move on to grow in Christ. It is a continuous repentance, cleansing, being filled and being utterly abandoned. Repentance must be on an absolute level, herein lies the problem of failure in this life of Grace and Faith. What do I mean by utterly abandoned repentance, let’s discuss it in a deeper way.
If you can see how importance repentance is, then you will see how the lack of total repentance will rob you of the fullness of the Life of Christ and His victory. It only stands to reason. Here, in an every day kind of illustration, is a scenario. You get up in the morning wanting to be victorious over sin and to be walking in revival. You are willing to obey the Lord in every way, except in your besetting sin, the one which is the dominant one – it has ruled your life for a lifetime possibly. You are so used to this sin that you tend to relax into it, it is like your character. Indeed, maybe unknown to you, other people see you as the person who reveals this particular sin very often, they see it as your character, the person you are. They say you are, “a bossy person”, or “a know-all”, or a “bad-tempered person” or a “depressed” individual. Maybe you are manifest as a “critical, harsh person”. We all have “besetting” sins which are deeply rooted in us, we often don’t want these touched by God! The fullness of revival often depends upon us being willing to repent of those besetting sins, the ones which overcome us repeatedly.
Have you ever been on a diet and then you get sick of it, and “let it all hang out” again, and revert to your same old bad eating habits again? Walking with the Lord can be like that. We walk with Him in victory, and then we revert, we forget about Him for awhile – and what we often refuse to repent of is that besetting sin! Why, because we “let it all hang out” and what comes “naturally” and easily to the old nature takes over. Oh, we will deal with all sorts of areas of our lives, anything to get back to being in closeness and joy with the Lord again, but the real area which needs to be repented of is considered unimportant, trivial and, as we fall away more, can even be embraced, and we refuse to even consider it sin at all! We then justify ourselves in our sin – and the whole wonderful revival walk is replaced by darkness and failure. What do we do then? We can blame the doctrine of Grace and Faith, righteousness by faith alone, or we can fake it, saying we are “OK” when we are really miserable. Where are you now, reader? If you have fallen away from sanctification by faith, don’t despair you can get back on the Way of Life straight away.
I know my besetting sin, the one which will trip me up. I know that I must repent of it all the time, not just some of the time. I need God so much, for without His utter control and fullness I just flounder in failure without any joy or power for service. Without Him I can do some things rather well, other things not so well? NO! Without Him in control I can manage basically, but lack a fervor and Holy Spirit zeal? NO! Without Him I can DO NOTHING! Nothing will be of any avail without Him in complete control, because my life is not operating from and in the Lord Who is my only life. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” ( John 15:5). Do you “know the love of Christ”? Do you know what it is to have His fullness of Life in you?
My besetting sin is depression, which leads into hopelessness and self-pity.
If I refuse to confess it as sin it will swallow me up! It will make me
sick inside and take me far away from trust and obedience. It will take
me away from knowing, experientially, the love of Christ! My co-worker’s
besetting sin is wrath. If she refuses to confess her anger and quick temper
to the Lord it will destroy everything in its path! No, besetting sins
are not mere trifles. Your besetting sin may be quite different to ours,
ask the Lord in prayer to show you the key one which you revert into when
you fall away into the natural, carnal life. It seems to me that this dominating
sin ( or maybe sins) is the one which we will not acknowledge when we are
drifting away from total victory in Christ. It, if not confessed, leads
us into the wilderness again, if we don’t walk in God’s light about it:
“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” ( 1 John 1:6-8).
Utter abandonment to the Lord means utter repentance of ALL sin, every day, all the time, or you will not walk in victory and His joy. You will NOT have happiness in your life, for happiness is trusting and obeying God in His enabling, and there is no other happiness available for any person on earth except that! Is this true? Yes, people who tell you they are happy outside of total abandonment, trust and obedience to the Lord, are lying to you and possibly to themselves as well. We heard the story of two well-known leaders in Christendom recently, they were supposed to be filled with the Life of Christ etc, but they had drifted away from the simplicity in Christ Jesus into a sort of Christianized Judaism. The husband had been failing dreadfully behind the scenes, his wife was in despair, she finally committed suicide because of her misery and agony – the affair has been hushed up. None of that would have happened if they had been utterly abandoned to the Lord Jesus and had let His Life flow through them. He would have saved them to the uttermost from sin and failure, hopelessness and despair. They would both be walking in peace and victory today. But, the wonderful message of sanctification by Grace alone had possibly never been taught to them. So, don’t imagine for one moment that the Life hid in Christ is a mere “mystical” fancy and you can do without the Lord as your entire Life, you can’t! JESUS CHRIST alone can bring us through the trials of this life on a fallen world, we will fail miserable if He is not ALL to us.
Let us examine this walking with Jesus Christ closely. If you are born
again He never leaves you, He is with you all the time. He is a Person
Who you are to relate to, He is not a formula which you have to follow.
He wants to give you everything, freely, but you have to “give up”
to Him. His great love for you yearns to make you a fruitful, happy disciple
filled with peace. Stop struggling and trying to exist and cope, it will
get you nowhere. Relate to Him, come close and let Him be the Lover of
your soul. He knows when you are willing to obey Him in EVERYTHING, don’t
think He does not understand the depths of your heart, He does. You can’t
fake things with the Lord like you can with people. When you are surrendered
to the uttermost, willing to have done with all sin, I said ALL sin, He
will save you from the power of sin in your own experience with Him. By
the way, “experience” is not a dirty word!
Counterfeit experience is not to be embraced, http://www.despatch.cth.com.au/Images/Despatch/EXPERIEN.HTM
but God is real and we need to know Him intimately in real life. You must depend on Him for everything, desiring nothing short of perfect obedience! Not partial obedience, perfect obedience. Now some will tell us that such a thing is to long after sinless perfection, nonsense! We can never be sinlessly perfect, but we can yield to God to let His will be done in us in every sense, and at our own level at the moment, He will give us the reality of victory over sin. This is the only aim God will honor, He will not work for sanctification and victory with those who are happy with their own deliberate refusal to obey Him, and who excuse themselves by saying, “anyway, we can never be sinlessly perfect” and go ahead and let it “all hang out.”
This lovely sentence appears in Hannah Whitall Smith’s book, “A Christian’s
Secret of a Happy Life”:
“Perfect obedience would be perfect happiness, if we had perfect confidence in the power we are obeying.” (p.136).
This shows clearly the happiness you and I are seeking and will surely have, if we want it enough. It is a happiness which will more than delight the soul and satisfy all our yearnings, it will delight the very heart of God, our Creator. When we are rooted and grounded in God’s love, obedient in Him alone, we give Him good pleasure! Can you imagine that? The closeness and constant obedience to God that Adam and Eve lost in the Garden, isn’t that what Jesus came to give us back? We want GOD and HIS WILL deep in our spirits, and nothing else will ever satisfy us – not money, fame, success, materialism, education or anything else will satisfy and bring us happiness. We are wanting now, if we will only recognize the fact, to move into “perfect obedience” which will be “perfect happiness” and we have to have “perfect confidence” in the only One Who can enable us to enter into this blessed walk with God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the power which will bring the transformation of our lives, trust Him.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13).
When Peter walked on the water he did so because he kept his eyes on
Jesus, he trusted Him. When Peter sank under the water he had taken his
eyes of Jesus, he looked at the water and in his own ability saw the impossibility
of his situation! It is the same with us; we cannot overcome sin and live
the life of Christ ourselves. Look at Jesus, don’t take your eyes off Him,
and nothing will be impossible for Him. He will give you the victory and
the joy in God you desire. He will give you rivers of living water from
your innermost being.
“ For with God nothing shall be impossible.” ( Luke 1:37).
Jesus wants to provide for you in all and every one of your ways and doings. He is the Bridegroom who wants to provide for His loved Bride. Will you still try to provide for yourself? Will you show your lack of love and trust in Him by constantly “going it alone”? I mean in everything bring your needs to the Lord, be surrendered in all your ways. I once knew a young woman who did not have a close relationship with her rich husband. He had a fat bank account, but was rather tight with money. This young woman, although married to a rich man, went out and did house cleaning to raise money for a typewriter. It did not occur to her that her husband’s funds were her funds, she did not even ask him for the money needed, she thought of his money as being his own, not hers. He would have given her the money, with a moan no doubt, but she really brought a bit of dishonor upon her husband by doing a menial job to get her own funds for her typewriter project. We dishonor the Lord by “going it alone” when we should go to Him in everything. We often “have not because we ask not” or we waste our time struggling along when the Lord is so willing to meet our every need.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” ( Philippians 4:19).
HE LOVES YOU!
We often do not grasp how much the Lord Jesus loves us. We think of our failure and pull away a bit from Him, imaging He sees us as unclean creatures. But when we need Him the most His compassion is the more intense towards us. Like the earthly father whose dearly loved child has slipped into taking drugs and has run away. Never before has that father’s compassion been so immense, he thinks of nothing but his loved one and getting the child back - and safe again at home. The depths of God’s message to us in the Bible is not some theological discourse; it is not some return to our Hebrew roots; it is not God revealing some profound doctrinal matter to our minds. The depths of God’s message to us lies in the revelation of His love for us. He has shown us how much in the Bible, and we need to understand deeply, and live in that love. That is renewal, giving up self-struggle and basking in God’s protection, provision and love.
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
…But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)”
( Ephesians 2:1-5).
“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you
And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”
( 11 Thessalonians 3:3 & 5).
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, …” (Jude 1:21).
What does it mean to “keep yourselves in the love of God”?
Have we got a say in this?
Can we pull ourselves away from the love of God?
We can never be lost and be separated from God’s love in Christ Jesus, as Romans 8:39 assures us:
“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,What we can do is to forget His love for us and refuse to keep trusting in Him. We have free will, we can struggle on without Him if we willfully want to! This is what causes us to fail, become distressed, give up, fear the worst is just ahead, lose our peace, become carnal and brittle of spirit.
shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
It all starts anew every morning, great is thy faithfulness, and your compassion, O God, is new every morning.
“Can a woman forget her sucking child,You awake in the morning, a new day has begun.
that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?
yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” (Isaiah 49:15).
“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: He is gracious,
and full of compassion, and righteous.” ( Psalm 112:4).
FAITH/REST DAY. http://www.despatch.cth.com.au/Mini/mini_despatch_feb16_1999.htm
Now, let’s see how you are going into your new day with Him. He is surrounding His loved one with His Spirit, you belong to Him. He is the One who will go into the day to prepare the way for you. He is the Shepherd, you are the little lamb. No, it is not childish to see yourself like that, Christ Jesus is leading you into a completely dependent life, not an independent one. In the world it is different, to the strong in themselves belong the spoils. Dog eat dog, go out and take everything for yourself, the world is up for grabs!
In Christ Jesus it is the weak and little in themselves who find strength in the One they depend upon.
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions,
in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” ( 11 Corinthians 12:10).
Ask the Lord to work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure, for that whole day, and rest and have faith in Him. This is your faith/rest manner of living for the day ahead. You can choose to have a worry/struggle day, or a faith/rest day.
Which one will you choose?
Be sensible and choose faith/rest. The whole of your joy and fruitfulness in God actually depends upon you choosing faith/rest, and staying there.
“ For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” ( Philippians 2:13).
Now you ask the Precious Lord Who is your constant, close Companion to order your day for you, trusting in His will and whatever He brings about. Tell Him you will accept His will, no matter what it might be. Be at peace with Him, and don’t move into the day already filled with discouragement, discontent and arguments with others in your household. Repent of all grumpy, dissatisfied morning “blues”, get real before the Lord:
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke,
in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; “
( Philippians 2:14,15).
WHOSE WILL, YOUR OWN OR GOD’S?
Because of God’s wondrous love His will is always, always, the best for us. It is no good murmuring inside yourself that you find this hard to accept, to admit that you have problems with your own lot thus far. It is no good questioning God in your heart asking, ”why have you allowed this trial to happen to me?” If you have been living a life of obedience to the Lord, in His enabling, and things have not turned out the way you imagined they would, then you must not complain but abandon yourself to Him and His will. After all you have indicated to the Lord that you wanted His will, have you not? Yet, if you have His will come to pass in your experience are you going to rebel and be cross? We humans cannot see the whole picture from a spiritual stand point, as God can. There is so much that He cannot explain to us, we are not fit at this stage to understand and grasp the significance of what we go through – not all the time, God shows us clearly the meaning of things sometimes, not always. Will you glorify Him and trust, anyway? It is a spit in the eye to Satan when you do, and a sheer delight for the Lord God when you do. Remember the record of Job’s life?
As you move into the day, trusting God to lead you into the works that He has before ordained that you should walk in them, be submissive to this real day God has brought. Don’t live in a dream world, expecting realms of glory for yourself to shine in! It doesn’t matter if the Lord Jesus uses you for a “big ministry” or not, what matters is that God has His way and that you finish the course that the Lord has thrillingly given you to walk in.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10).
KEEP CLOSE TO JESUS.
Don’t let other things crowd the Lord out during the day.
Have your devotional time with God when you first wake up.
Then keep close to Him, in your mind coming back to Him even when doing work, and at recreation times. Even if you are busy turn to Him often, making your life a lovely one of companionship with the dear Lord – He and you together, never you going along alone. It is not a mind full of rules God is calling you to, it is a real walk in His presence. You want Him and seek Him, and He will sweetly commune with you. His presence calms your soul, and will give to you quiet rest even in the middle of a busy day. We are refreshed by His presence, it is Him we want, not mental understanding of a holiness walk. Offer to Him all you do, all you suffer, all you aspire to, and let Him be your delight. It is amazing but true that Jesus satisfies us in our spirits completely, and we do not really need anything but Him. This gentle closeness with God is what you are longing for, if you would only realize it! Satan will tell you it would be too “pious” and “religious” – don’t believe him. The Lord is what made paradise for Adam and Eve, not the beauty of the plants and animals. Jesus wants us to have God’s presence in our lives all the time, and to have no worries and no life that He is not brought into. That is a paradise on earth, right in the midst of a fallen world.
Often lift your heart to the Lord during the day, be more occupied with Him than with anything else. He will “purify, enlighten and direct” your mind and thoughts. Hey, you say, how can I find space or time for this? It is as simple as enjoying the sunshine and the beauty of nature around you. Enjoy your loving Saviour, don’t ignore His closeness to you. When you sit down with a cup of tea, don’t pick up a magazine, come close to Jesus and tell Him you love Him, be with Him quietly and let Him love you. You have a mess all over the kitchen floor, a child dropped a bottle of milk. As you clean it up discuss it with your loved Companion, let Him give you patience and a good temper. You are answering a phone call, say to Jesus, “You give me the words to say” and let Him. Share everything with God, as often as you can. Don’t walk through life without Him, share your hurts, your emotional ups-and-downs, your fears, the delights and fun of your life belong to Him too! You belong to Him, so let Jesus meet the desires of your heart. He is the Desire of your heart. The joy of being with Him is the strength of your life. Don’t walk in weakness and loneliness:
“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”(Psalms 37:4).
“I have the Lord always before me.” (Psalm 16:8).
“Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth
that I desire beside thee!
God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25).
Oh, you say, but “I am sick” or “I am over-worked” or “we have no money to pay our bills” or “my husband (or wife) and I are separated.” Even though many experiences come our way, and we may be tempted to worry, the Lord is still the whole answer. We have our trials and tribulations, but all things work together for good to them that love the Lord, those who are called of God for His will to be done through them. We need so much to live always in His presence, ready to obey straight away as God reveals His will for us. Happy is the person whose mind is stayed on God and trusts Him. An old saint once said these words:
“Happy is he whose mind contains only what is necessary, and who thinks of nothing except when it is time to think it! So that it is God who excites the impression, by calling us to perform his will as soon as it is exhibited, rather than the mind laboriously foreseeing and seeking it. In short, let us be accustomed to recollect ourselves during the day and in the midst of our occupations, by a simple view of God. Let us silence by that means all the movements of our hearts, when they appear in the least agitated.”
Well! That last quote was pretty heavy, we could perhaps think about it together. I can only share with you what I glean from it. Today a hint of “agitation” is arising in my emotional life. I am sitting here before my computer screen with the Lord giving to me the answer for this unrest. What is filling my mind that is unnecessary and disturbing? Yes, I can see what it is. The scene before us all is one of extreme apostasy. Everywhere I am looking I can see the syncretism of the religions happening. There are people, in almost every church, even those which were once sound and strong, who now are in a state of compromise and delusion. We try to mix with people in churches, to love them, but the differences and the apostasy, the co-operation with religious and political error, makes any fellowship impossible! I grieve for them today, so much. Now a new problem has arisen, those who are opposing the great apostasy of these last days are cutting off any sound person who disagrees with them about anything! There is no balance at all! So, I am thinking about this, grieving, and losing my peace. What do I do now?
“Happy is he whose mind contains only what is necessary, who thinks
of nothing except when it is time to think it!”
I can now get myself in a grieving, burdened state of mind if I continue to let my mind be occupied with thoughts of the great apostasy. This is not the time to do this, it is a beautiful day, and God knows about Christendom and its problems. I must rest in Him. I, myself, cannot take on the whole of Christendom – I will be shattered by such a burden! Now is the time to be with my Master Who has all power - and be still inside myself, in Him.
I am not agitated now, I am at peace with Him, my Master is handling this. I will let Him fill my mind and spirit with His “impressions.” I want to be ready to obey His will moment by moment, open and alive to Him so I can sense when I being tempted to disobey even the gentlest impressions of His sweet will. If I am always in His Presence like this, then I won’t have to “foresee” or “seek” His will at any time. He is my Shepherd, I am just the little lamb. I am following Him obediently at His heels. No need to imagine and fuss about “what is God’s will for my life?” letting the mind dwell on how and what might be the way He has chosen for me in the future; no need to “seek” His will in a anxious way. I am walking with Him right now, in this moment, He is in charge, He opens the way and does everything for Him. HE has already ordained the good works for me to walk in. HE has arranged the green pastures and still waters for today, and He goes ahead and opens every gate and chases away the barking dogs in every paddock so I can just follow Him in safety. I don’t even have to know His will, He knows His will for me. I just have to give ALL to Him in this moment, to be completely abandoned to Him.
“Let us be accustomed to recollect ourselves during the day
and in the midst of our occupations, by a simple view of God.”
We need to establish, so that it becomes a holy habit, a looking to the Lord God in a child-like way. Even when we are busy and at work. Just realize He is there to carry you and all your burdens and affairs. Give up any anxieties, fuss and struggle, and let God do it all for you. That is what HE wants; do you?
This is the answer to happiness and fruitfulness in Christ Jesus – trust and obey:
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband,
that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety,
so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” ( 11 Corinthians 11:2,3).
“Let us silence by that means all the movements of our hearts, when they appear in the least agitated.”
Yes, those are good words! Just a resting in Jesus, a looking to Him, has set my heart at rest again. I am ready to do His will in His enabling. I want what He wills for the day, I don’t have to open the way for myself, He will bring HIS will to pass each moment. Tomorrow can be left to be lived tomorrow, just one day at a time, sweet Jesus:
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34).
‘Bye for now, beloved of God!
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