Recently I counseled with a Believer who is in a time of great uncertainties. Everything is changing, This person is trying to cope with issues of aging, growing children who resist the old family patterns, a marriage relationship that is being redefined, a sense of place in the world that is shifting, even new thoughts about God and how He works. As we talked, this troubled soul asked – “What can I do to make this all go away? Am I praying the right way? Am I doing something wrong?” As I saw the situation, this Believer is at a moment where there is the potential for great spiritual growth. Yes, in the same moment, there is also potential for tremendous destruction! I quietly told this Believer, “At no time in your life, other than perhaps when you were a teenager, have you had the opportunity to make such a huge difference in your future with a few decisions. You can choose to try to make the pain of change go away by drinking too much, leaving your family, seeking some pleasurable diversions OR you can face the changes with courage, take time in prayer and counsel to learn and do God’s will, and become a mature saint with an unshakeable faith!”
The picture of a piece of pasture land comes to mind. A rolling field of grass, a pretty meadow, can only become a fruitful field of grain if the ground is turned by the hard edge of the plow. We cannot become people of abundance in spirit unless we are willing to let God plow up the meadows of our lives! Jeremiah called on the people of God in this way saying: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns.” (Jeremiah 4:3, NLT)
I take issue with those prophets of prosperity that fill our TV screens and sell thousands of books telling the people that they need not ever suffer, that they can have more money, better health, and unending happiness if they just ‘confess’ that they are King’s Kids! The spirit of the church of Laodicea (see Revelation 3) pervades the Pentecostal/Charismatic churches of America today. Faith becomes a formula to get rich, to grab power, to avoid anything that is unpleasant. The sales pitch of these false prophets never varies much from the self-focused message of triumphalism — “You can make your dreams come true by confessing your victory, claiming your inheritance!” They claim that Believers can get what they want from God by saying faith-filled words. All too often what these so-called saints want from God are bigger houses, nicer cars, eternal youth, and more perks at work!
The real issue is not what I want from God – it is what God wants from me. He doesn’t exist for me, I exist for Him. But the arrogance of our national success culture has crept into our churches, the ‘can-do’ attitude of American philosophy has twisted our theology so that we firmly believe God should bless us by endorsing our plans and providing for our personal habits of happiness. God cries out to us; “I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. And also buy white garments so you will not be shamed by your nakedness. And buy ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference.” (Revelation 3:17-19, NLT)
What do you want most from the Lord today – an easy road or to be full of His Spirit and transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ?
Answer that honestly. Are you willing to let Him plow up the fields of your heart to prepare for planting the seeds of the Word for an abundant harvest to come?
He promises that we will not go through the times of transition alone. And, yes, there is victory for us. No, it isn’t the temporal success story. It is the eternal success story that will be told ’round the table of Heaven. Take this promise with you today. Meditate on it and invite Him in.
Jesus says -“Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors!” (Revelation 3:20-21, The Message)
Oh, deeper yet, I pray,
And higher ev’ry day,
And wiser, blessed Lord,
In Thy precious holy Word.
Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus
Daily let me go;
Higher, higher in the school of wisdom,
More of grace to know.
Deeper, deeper! Blessed Holy Spirit,
Take me deeper still,
‘Till my life is wholly lost in Jesus
And His perfect will.
Tho’ it cost hard trials,
Deeper let me go!
Rooted in the holy love of Jesus,
Let me fruitful grow.
Deeper, higher, ev’ry day in Jesus,
Till all conflicts past
finds me conqu’ror,
And in His own image perfected at last. – © Public Domain CCLI License No. 810055