Excerpt from Beauty for Ashes, [Full
booklet access here]
“The Art of Dodging Repentance.”
The Art of
“The most unrevived Christian could easily agree that the Christian life was just walking with Jesus and would claim he was doing so. We saw, however, that if a Christian is supposedly walking with Him and yet is playing with sin, out of fellowship with others, always regarding himself as right, never repenting and never sharing his heart with others, then the Jesus he thinks he is walking with is a false Jesus. The real Jesus is full not only of grace but of truth, too:
“His eyes are as a flame of fire, and His feet like unto fine brass...and
His voice as the sound of many waters.”
(`My Calvary Road’ by Roy Hession, p 128).
Do you long to live in a happy relationship
with Jesus Christ ALL the time?
Is it possible to be at peace through
all the often miserable experiences of life on earth?
Do you want revival power over sin?
Do you want to will and to do of God’s good pleasure?
Do you want to be used of the Lord in every way
He requires on this earth, until Jesus comes again, or you die?
Is it possible to be at peace in God when the world is going
to ruin and disaster at break-neck speed?
I can answer “yes” because I am experiencing this peace that passeth all understanding in my own heart. God makes it possible, and a reality of immense value. Beauty for Ashes is written out of this heart at peace - after many years which were not so blessed. For I did not know a full uninterrupted peace which passeth all understanding until late in life, even though I was born-again in 1956. Yes, I had peace that came and went, peace deep down. But not like this present great calm. I write then to share with my readers the open “secret” of such peace. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, PEACE ...
The astonishing period in which we live is bringing chaos for the people of this world! TRUTH is difficult to find, there are so many conflicting voices which declare that they have the Truth. Jesus Christ’s assertion that He is the Truth has never been so badly needed as today. PEACE is sorely wanted by people - yet few can find peace in the chaos and unrest of modern life in the 21st century. Even Christians, who have peace with God often lack the peace of God which passes understanding. We can always say we have this peace inside, but is it true? It surely is a great blessing from the Lord, one which can cause trials and griefs to become subservient to the calm of God’s beautiful tranquillity.
What is the cause of this peace inside?
How can the believer enter into the place where the peace we have with God is joined by the miraculous peace IN God?
Tracing the steps back it is obvious that repentance is the key that
opens the door into the garden of still waters and green pastures. Not
repentance for salvation from the penalty of sin this time.
But repentance for the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Jesus saves us from:
1. The Penalty of sin;
2. The Power of sin;
3 And one day will save us from even the Presence of sin.
Most believers would answer “yes” if they were asked this question “have you repented of sin?” Many would answer “yes” if they were asked “do you repent of sin in your daily life, every day?” Yet, the concept of what sin is would be mostly completely misunderstood by the majority. Most would see sin as outward sin, gross sin, obvious wrong doing. Such as stealing, drunkenness, swearing, immorality and cheating. Few would understand the sins against God which Christians commit without a thought of wrong doing. In fact, most have developed THE ART OF DODGING REPENTANCE to a fine art indeed! Is it any wonder that the peace of God does not fill their hearts. Is it any wonder that victory over sin is not sought - why would the modern Christians want victory over sin? They imagine they have that already - by their own efforts! And should the Holy Spirit convict them of sin in any of the multitude of ways which pulls them down continually, they will “dodge” repentance in the same old way that they have always dodged it! Can I explain this art of dodging repentance from my own experience? I surely can.
My own experience with myself and others
has shown me four ways of dodging repentance, at least:
1. By denying that any sin has been committed at all.
2. By seeing the ‘extenuating” circumstances which have ‘forced” us to react.
3. By seeing the sin as merely human nature, not sin, just a part of being a frail human.
4. By so hardening our hearts that our worst sins have become rooted in our every day interaction as habitual behaviour. The sins are then ignored altogether in an appalling way.
1. By denying that any sin has been committed at all.
If we are to have renewal and God’s deep peace we must turn resolutely away from ALL sin. Not just some sin which it is agreeable for us to acknowledge. Our lives must NEVER again be allowed to overflow with complaints, anxiety, fear, self-congratulations, bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, depression, temper, selfishness, envy and jealousy - and on and on! ALL of these sins show our lack of trust in God, our centre of SELF instead of being Christ-centred, our rebellion. When we truly yield to Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit will bring out into the light areas of sin which you have never seen before! Areas where there is no love for others and self-love dominates. Pull back at all on conviction from the Lord, and you will go no further in renewal. No use trying to square off with the Lord! He does not yield to the kind of self-justification that short sighted people yield to. No use trying to decide what is sin in your life by yourself! You will never admit the real areas which must be repented of. Only GOD can show you yourself as you are. Are you willing? Or are you saying something like this right now inside, “but I am a godly person, and I honestly never do wrong. Why I can honestly say my love and kindness are outstanding. I know others fall down often, but I will just keep standing strong and live a godly life when all the rest have fallen in a heap!” People who say this have no light from the Lord! It is not that they are really so godly, they are just blinded by self. You don’t like that? None of us do. Humble yourself before the Lord.
2. By seeing the “extenuating” circumstances which have “forced” us
We are not bad tempered and irritated, we are tired and even a lily-white saint would be upset by the things we have been through. We are not bitter, we forgive from the heart, it is just that we will never forget what “they” have done. Anyone would feel the same. I am not arrogant, why there is not a proud bone in my body! It is not like me to boast, but I did do such a wonderful job! Thank God he has given me such a lovely character. I give God all the glory - of course. I didn’t really lie, what I said was true enough. He was proud and stuck-up, so I just exaggerated a little! He was trying to make himself out to be so great! The traffic was awfully dense, anyone would have yelled at that motorist! That woman who calls me her friend was awful to me, so I told her to get out of the house. All my real friends agreed with me! By the way, she is talking about me to everyone! Many Christians excuse sin, indulge in sin, are blind to sin - that is in their OWN LIVES! Most of us can see all sorts of sins in other people’s lives all right. It hurts too much to see our own sin. But God only shows us so that we can be free, and so that all bondage to sin can be done away with. It is well worth the pain to be rid of sin! SIN is what makes you miserable, breaks up friendships and family ties, and stops you being a Spirit filled believer. SIN spoils your testimony and ruins the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. It stops you from becoming Christ-like. It causes you to distrust God and drown in self-pity. It makes you super-aware of other people’s faults and oblivious to your own. I could go on and on.
3. By seeing the sin as merely human nature, not sin, just a part of
being a frail human.
“I can’t help it! It is not that I don’t trust the Lord over the matter.
I am human, and I am worried about where we will get the money to pay our
bills! I am a very sensitive person really, and I get anxious!”
NO! Anxiety, worry, refusing to trust the Lord are sins that should be confessed immediately they raise their ugly heads.
“... for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. “ ( Romans 14:23).
Do we trust the Lord to care for us or not?
We are commanded to:
“Be careful [ filled with care, worried, anxious ] for NOTHING; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ( Phil. 4:6).
Will you dishonour the Lord by refusing to trust Him? “Oh, but yes I DO trust Him. But it is only human to get a bit anxious, surely.” The only way we can have God’s peace is to treat lack of faith in Him and lack of trust in Him as SIN! The Blood will wash it away if we confess it ( 1 John 1:9). If we condone it we cannot enjoy the opposite of anxiety - which is peace which passeth all understanding. It helps enormously to confess SIN before asking the Lord to fill you with the fruit of the Spirit. I will explain this. You want to have peace, it does not come. Confess your sin of worry, then God can give you the peace of the Holy Spirit. You want to be meek and mild. Confess your temper and impatience first, then be filled with the meekness and patience of the Spirit. You want to love the unlovely. Confess firstly your selfishness and lack of love. This “lack of love” can come close to being hatred! If so, confess your own hatred of that unlovely person. Above all, don’t accept sin as part of your own human frailty. See every failure to trust God as yourself being overcome by the enemy. You would NOT depend on the Lord who loves you, so you fell from dependence upon Him. No excuses. Some of the most victorious saints of God have been those who have suffered the most! Your trust in the Lord, in the midst of trouble and suffering, is one of the most precious gifts you can give to Him. And don’t demand instant relief from your trial - yield to the Lord Jesus, He knows best.
4. By so hardening our hearts that our worst sins have become rooted in our every day interaction as habitual behaviour.
The sins can then be ignored altogether in an appalling way.
These could be called continuous repeat sins! We see them [ in
others ] as a part of personality. “That Christian man is cold, hard to
get to know.” “That sister in Christ is a real know-it-all. I am
afraid to speak to her because she always makes out I am wrong and corrects
me!” “She always smiles in a superior manner. She is so condescending.”
Easy isn’t it to see these “repeat sins” - in others! They are so
ingrown within us that we often never notice, ever, that they are there
in ourselves! To get them acknowledged by ourselves so we can be rid of
them is truly a miracle work of the Holy Spirit!
We will never see these sins by our own natural senses.
Everyone else can though!
What do people say about you?
It is not always useless to listen to other people’s opinions.
Are you known as a sharp-tongued person?
Or a person who always has a moan?
Are you considered to be a person who is bitter about the past?
Someone who likes to talk about other’s faults?
Let God show you your own besetting sins, others are aware if you are not:
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so EASILY BESET us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; ...” ( Hebrews 12:1).
To walk in the light with God is to agree to be shown every area which
is of the sinful carnal nature - and to agree with God to let Him wash
away those sins. Then He can fill us with the Holy Spirit Who will transform
you into the image of Christ. This is NOT a work of a moment, it is the
life-long activity of the Holy Spirit in us and for us. He shows us the
TRUTH about ourselves, as well as doctrinal truth etc. Are you willing?
“...Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into ALL TRUTH: for he shall not speak of himself;” ( John 16:13).
The carnal nature which operates in ourselves by self-effort, opposed to righteousness by faith through grace, can never produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit which the Lord accepts as holiness and righteousness. We always end up with sin! Picture here a man who diligently wants to be doctrinally correct, he turns from gross sin, wants to refuse in all areas worldly ways - and yet does not see that he himself cannot work the righteousness of God! He becomes very legal, obeying the letter of the law but is far from being Christ-like in character. He will become self-righteousness, holier than thou, coldly pious, unapproachable and hard. Someone called a well-known person who is this way “acid-face” recently! Although it was not very nice, it was very apt. The nature of man cannot produce the holiness of Christ Jesus. Only HE can do that through the Holy Spirit. Get the message, we always fail. We poke our sin away in some areas, only to have it break out somewhere else! We are by nature, after we are born-again, sinners. Only Christ can deliver us from this “body of death”: Do you want to be renewed in the Holy Spirit? Then admit you always fail, that you are incapable of living the Christian Life. Let Jesus Christ be your entire Life - let HIM save you from the POWER of sin. He can do it so easily. But it will take a level of reality about your true state which you may never have encountered before. It did for me, and it hurts. But what a blessing!
“ But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:23-25).
WHY DO WE HAVE TO BE CLEANSED OF SIN
BEFORE WE ARE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT?
The modern movement of “revival” and “Holy Spirit” power does not equate the fullness of the Spirit with victory over sin or confession of sin and cleansing. People who live careless even sinful, worldly lives during the week can go to a “revival” meeting on Sunday and get as much of a buzz and a thrill as anyone else! Then they go home and live careless lives again. Yet, as long as these people speak in tongues they are considered to be “Spirit-filled” Christians. This can never be, if the Holy God of the Bible is really giving the revival! What is really happening in false revival is that the SOUL is being stirred by supernatural forces who are counterfeits of the Divine. The SPIRIT is not involved. This is why sensual experiences often accompany false revivals. They are of the “senses.” Although this is not a savoury subject I should mention here that so sensual often are these false revival meetings, Brownsville, Pensacola, Toronto, in the UK, in Australia, that a number of ministers have encountered a quite horrifying result. From the UK came reports that women were going to their church leaders to confess that they had had orgasms during the height of the extreme experience phenomena of the “revivals!” The soul, the emotions, the sensual areas were being targeted by Satan’s hordes.
In true revival NO real fullness of the Spirit can bring us revival
unless we are totally abandoned to the Lord God to be His entirely. In
true revival we are revived in RIGHTEOUSNESS and GRACE, not in experiences
( although God can surely give us Godly peace and joy as an experience).
“Feelings” are nothing at all if we are NOT having victory over sin, and
if we are NOT consecrated to a Holy God in a vital, humbling way. If we
will not walk in the Light as He is the light, we are not consecrated to
a Holy God. If we walk with God then the Holy Spirit will always reveal
that which dirties “the cup” of our lives. He cannot deny Himself. He cannot
fill a “dirty cup.” So there are two opposite sides of revival which are
1. The side which denies the carnal self life which cannot do anything but produce sin ( in God’s sight, maybe not in other people’s sight). The side which refuses to be self-centred any longer, bows the knee to the Lord becoming ALL.
2. The side which accepts the “positive” ( for want of a better word) aspects of revival. The side which knows self cannot produce the Christian Life, and utterly depends on Jesus Christ to save to the uttermost and give victory over sin by His fullness of Life. Not only victory over sin, but FRUIT of the Holy Spirit.
KEEP ON CONFESSING, OR EXPECTING VICTORY?
When I first walked into this personal revival with God I saw it in quite a different way to what I see it now. God has shown me something deeper in these days. Earlier I felt that if I confessed sin immediately it was revealed, and walked diligently in the “light” with God, asking for Him to fill me again with the Spirit after I had failed (1 John 1:9) I would know revival in a real way. This was true up to a piont, quite true. But now I see that God has drawn me deeper than that. For I was rather like those who go into a marriage with their eyes on the divorce court, even at the altar. Looking for a way to get out of the union if the thing fails! I saw myself as always failing lots of times during the day, and needing constant cleansing to keep fellowship with the Lord. Not so now, I am trusting Jesus Christ to SAVE me NOW from the power of sin!
To trust Jesus to save from the power of sin means that we accept with
delight that He will enable us to HAVE power over sin! We go into every
day confident that He will do just that - and He is. We want 100%
victory, are expecting victory, not vaguely expecting to fail over and
over again. Do we see results? Yes, for the Lord is doing this, not we
ourselves. 100% victory? We are aiming for this, to obey in His power 100%,
but in this life we may never achieve this perfectly, but we know already
this familiar adage is true, which believers from my youth used to say:
“It is possible for me not to sin, but not impossible for me to sin.”
Hey, you might say, I thought the believer didn’t have to achieve anything, that GOD did it all? Quite right, but the Lord does NOT treat us as robots. In the moment when temptation comes, I must respond! Here is the problem. As a free agent I might choose to not respond to Jesus Christ. Here it is in a practical setting. I am tempted in a split second to be bad tempered, as stress is building up in a confrontation over doctrine. I can turn my eyes upon Jesus right then - and He will save me from sin’s power! BUT, the person is being condescending - I sense a great desire to put him/her down. I yield, and lose my temper. Was there a NEED to do so? No, but I did not choose Jesus in that split second of decision. I must then confess and be cleansed at the earliest possible moment - my cup is dirty. Sanctification by Grace is learning every day, every hour, every second to say “yes” to Lord, every time I am tempted.
This real situation had developed in our house. Two women living in the same home, a mass of work to be done every day. Machines everywhere which do not do what they are supposed to do - often! Frustrations from E-mails, letters, phone calls etc. We would get fussed and rushed. My co-worker is a “nervy” type who gets hot under the collar a lot. She would flare out at me, and I would be resentful about this. No way could we do anything about a continuing battle going on! The reality was we were sinning! The only way to get rid of the habitual war was by the Blood of Christ. But, there was no way to get that liberation but by repenting and confession to God. No use doing that at night, it had to be done right away, when the temptation came. Now, all is quiet on the Western Front Jesus has brought peace through the Blood and His Spirit. Yes, temptations and failures happen at times, but we are seeing a delightful power over sin operating in and through us, with no effort from ourselves. We expect power over sin, not to have to confess and be cleansed, and then go on and do the same thing again and again. Can you see the difference I am expressing so poorly?
DOES NOTHING GET DONE BECAUSE WE ARE
NOT LIVING BY OUR OWN EFFORTS?
A man recently when confronted about this issue, said something like,
“I have to get on and do things for Jesus,
I can’t just sit around all day praying and worshipping.”
He seemed to think that sanctification by Grace, being saved from the power of sin by Jesus Christ’s power alone, meant nothing practical would ever get done! because he was not doing the work. NO, we may not be able to produce the new life and righteousness, we may not take the responsibility, but things get done because the LORD works through us! He is REAL, we are not the only ones who are REAL. THE LORD does what we can never do. This is not about rest and inactivity, it is about rest and Divine activity.
Let me just bring before you the wonder of it all in our experiences thus far. Both my co-worker and myself have victory which we have never had before. Now the reader must bear with me being very open. I want to be, because I yearn for your deliverance from the miseries of sin and self as well. I want you to be at rest in Jesus Christ all the time. God wants to save you from sin and self far more than I can possibly imagine. These areas have been transformed - without one bit of effort on either of our parts, just a willing agreement to be saved from sin’s power:
1. We had put on a lot of weight. Sitting at computers all day, not getting exercise, grabbing any food we could eat in a hurry, eating chocolate and fish and chips - and so on - had wrought disaster! We tried many times to diet and get exercise. We had no will power, and failed every attempt. Getting bigger I might add ever time we failed. Two months ago we abandoned ourselves totally to the Lord in repentance. We agreed with Him that we could never be self-disciplined enough to do the right things and lose the weight. We asked Him to take it all over, and we trusted Him entirely to do it. Without any effort at all on our parts, we have changed everything in our lifestyle and have lost about two and a half stone! Was it hard? Hardly knew we were doing it. We did not crave food, fail, struggle or suffer in the least. What was impossible to us was done in no time at all by the Lord. It all was done all right, but we did not do it, GOD did. He put before us a method and we trusted Him with it and He kept us to it.
2. We both often failed in our relationship with each other. The
conflict between two women sharing 90% of
their time together working and managing can be thick! We tried many times
to get it right. Over many years. We utterly abandoned ourselves to the
Lord and He has saved us to the uttermost! What was impossible for us is
easy for Him. Do we have troubles still? Only if we refuse to let Jesus
save us! He will always save us from the power of sin, if we say “please
do it.” The peace here is flowing like a river. Some slips, as we
grow in Grace. Yet, it was impossible to achieve with constancy before!
3. My life before was filled with deep grief. I was happy on the upper levels, but sad past events in my life had left me with a deep grief, as though my inner heart was broken. Nothing changed this. No blessing or circumstance alleviated this broken-hearted feeling. I expected it to be there until I went to glory. Dear reader, it is gone, never to return. In its place is joy, deep joy. From where did it come? Just from the One Who loves me so. I could not manufacture such delight in God. How long had that broken-hearted inner grief been there? For over twenty years. No matter what happens now I have the joy of the Lord as my strength. Nothing can touch the inner reservoir of this. It is real, it is not a picturesque expression. Joy is making my heart sing in the midst of life’s happenings - even trials. Before this personal revival my heart cried even in the midst of outer blessings.
4. Dying to self is a big part in this delightful walk with God. Self can ruin everything for you and me. The agony endured by NOT dying to self is a crying shame. Let me spell it out for you. Before I would just let self “all hang out.” If someone said something nasty or insensitive I would let self suffer and smart. I saw no actual escape from this effect. But Jesus can save me now from self as well as from sin. Only a few days ago someone said something which would have hurt me for days. It was an unintentional insult. I would never have let people see that I was hurt, but I would have been and would have suffered from it. When this person said the hurtful thing, however, I hurt for a moment and cried, “save me now Jesus!” I saw straight away that it was only SELF, and that I did not want self to dominate any more, never again. So I thanked the Lord that self had died on the Cross with Him. I would not let myself entertain self at all - and the hurt was gone at once! How much of your pain and grief is hurt feelings for self, and how much need never have been borne at all? How about now? Are you willing to just let self die? If sin and self are already dead in Christ Jesus - reckon it to be so!
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin,
but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
( Romans 6:11).
CAN LIFE BE AS SIMPLE AS WHAT HAS BEEN SAID SO FAR?
When we were unsaved people we might have thought that salvation could not possibly be as simple as just trusting and receiving freely - through Christ Jesus. We know better now. The same applies when it comes to freely receiving power over sin and the fruit of the Spirit. Can it be that ALL has been given as a gift by the Heavenly Father, through the Son? Taken by faith, and enjoyed freely? Yes, it is true. But, just as salvation is a reality to those who are enlightened by the Holy Spirit and who have repented and returned to God, so power over sin and God’s fullness is a reality to those who come God’s way - by faith, repentance and acceptance of freely given Grace. The sooner you realise that YOU will always fail to live the God-kind of life the better! The failures of the past should you have shown you this by now. Don’t be content with SAYING you know about the revival life if you don’t! It is not a matter of words, nor is this a matter of pride. Much depends on reality.
WHAT TRIGGERS OFF REVIVAL?
If the Remnant Church of AD 2000 is going to be effective until Jesus comes, we must know WHAT “triggers off” revival. I will look back to the events of our own lives in the past months. We knew all along the message of sanctification by grace through faith, but still lived lives which were up and down often. What is different now? It was like looking at a beautiful garden through a glass door, green pastures and still waters lay beyond, but how to get in? The door is Christ Himself, the key that opens the door is repentance! Repentance that is all the way! This is abandonment to God, consecration. And total trust is a part of repentance. To not allow fear, worry, anxiety, lack of trust to dwell in one’s heart for a moment. Repentance is the key to the beautiful garden of still waters and green pastures! Walking in the light, and not allowing self deception to rule is a huge part of repentance.
Back in the 1950s Roy Hession, a preacher of international fame, was
challenged by African Christians about repentance and revival. He was at
first angry with them.
Here is a quote from his book, “My Calvary Road”:
“I have to confess that at first I did not appreciate the challenge that William Nagenda brought. Whatever the matter in question, most of us have a hard time confessing ourselves to be wrong, such is our love for our own righteousness, and I was no exception. I resented the challenge and criticised William for it. But eventually I could only agree with God. and I saw it all; I had indeed been putting something else in the center, but Jesus Himself now took that place and we all moved into a new experience of liberation. ...
“For Christ is the end of the law for
righteousness to every one that believeth.“
Not only was He the end of the `struggle for righteousness’ (that is, a right relationship with God) by the law, but the end of the `struggle for peace’ by the law and for power by the law, and we saw especially, for revival by the law. As sinners at the foot of the cross we had come to the end of our struggle for revival: there where we confessed failure. He became for us all our revival and everything else we needed.
One gospel song became our special favourite.
Jesus Christ is made to me
All I need, all I need;
He alone is all my plea,
He is all I need;
Wisdom, righteousness and power,
Holiness this very hour,
My redemption full and sure;
He is all I need.” ( End of quote ).
THE WALK WITH A REAL DIVINE BEING.
Jesus Christ is REAL. He will make all our longings for holiness and purity a reality - trust Him. Now there are many areas of our lives which must be opened up to the light by the Holy Spirit of love. It is always love that wants to show us sin, God loves us so much. The repeat sins can be so “automatic” that we are hardly aware, even after revival comes, that we were in such a bad way. Bit by bit God patiently opens up the various areas which must be repented of. It is a bit like having a growth which has roots in an organ of our body, and the ripping out of it makes the body bleed! God cannot open up all our hidden personality sins at one time, we could not bear it. Be utterly abandoned to the Lord, and He will do all the work in His time. It is His responsibility to do this, yours is to agree with Him as He gives light. No stress and struggle, just rest and trust and peace. Much of our attitudes are filled with self, these will get less and less as we rest in the Sanctifier of our souls and spirits. Light received gives more light, light refused gets darkness as to our true state.
THE CAPACITY TO BE FILLED GETS DEEPER.
Someone once said that a cup can hold to the full only as much as its capacity. A bowl can hold more. A bucket holds more, And a pond holds much more. We can never on this earth understand the depths of God’s holiness and complete purity and righteousness! We will never be sinlessly perfect, like God, on this earth. BUT, we can sure trust Jesus to save us from the power of sin - in our own capacity at our own level. I pray that I am making sense here. Yield to God’s light on your own condition, with complete openness and truth, and He will lead you on day by day into the depths of the New Man and His Image - being created anew in you. As you let Him cleanse away the sin of the old man, and die to self more and more - your capacity to hold more of the depths of Jesus Christ’s Life grows. Less and less of you, more and more of Christ’s Life. Be a pond, not a mere cup! Our attitudes can be entirely wrong, in many areas of our lives, yet we do not consider ourselves to be in need of repentance. Not until the Lord deals with us. The man who treats his wife continually as though she was of no consequence, less than importance. The person who always tries to take the higher hand with others, speaking over them, pontificating in many of their dealings with people. The attitudes we allow and even cherish, towards our nearest and should be dearest, which are nothing less than selfish and sinful. These must be dealt with as the Lord reveals them.
“Into the will of Jesus, deeper and deeper I go,
Praying for grace to follow, seeking His will to know;
Bowing in full surrender, low at His blessed feet,
Bidding Him take, break me and make, till I am molded and meet.
Into the cross of Jesus, deeper and deeper I go,
Following through the garden, facing the dreaded foe;
Drinking the cup of sorrow, sobbing with broken heart,
“O Saviour, help! dear Saviour help!” Grace for my weakness impart.
Into the joy of Jesus, deeper and deeper I go,
Rising with soul enraptured, far from the world below,
Joy in the place of sorrow, peace in the midst of pain,
Jesus will give, Jesus will give, He will uphold and sustain.”
(Excerpts from a hymn of Oswald J. Smith’s 1890).
THE BOOK OF PROVERBS.
In Proverbs 21:2 we read:
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes:
but the LORD pondereth the hearts.”
In Proverbs 12:15 we read:
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes:
but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.”
The most depraved person will manufacture an excuse for their own behaviour. They cannot live with themselves unless they do. The prostitute will rationalise away the wicked way in which she earns her living. The thief will excuse himself because of his parents neglect, or his weak inherited nature - not his fault! We are prone to be always right in our own eyes! We are fools in this matter, even Christians who are truly redeemed will invent excuses for their own sin. This is an automatic response in human beings. Do not trust yourself to decide what is sin and what is not. The first place we must repent, from the heart, is right there. God is yearning for you to take your stand against yourself! He is pressing you to do so. This automatic reaction rises up as soon as you begin to see that you have been WRONG! You will insist you are right - to the Lord or to your fellow man. This is where you must repent right at the start of renewal. It takes Holy Spirit humility to enable you to do this. This is the beginning of brokenness.
( TO BE CONTINUED NEXT MINI-DESPATCH. See you then!)
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Editor of Despatch W. B. Howard