By Gerald Gadwa
The following article came together out of the conviction of the Holy Spirit within my own life. Although at times I may refer to a condition I see in other believers it is not at all my intention to set myself apart from anyone else. This is truly one area where none can be set apart from any other. Just the thought that we are free of such an illness ought to reveal to us that we are yet entangled in it.
It is only possible for me to even make mention of such things by the grace that I have received from the Lord to do so. I am well aware of the pride of man that yet smolders within my own heart. It has only been since the first of this year that the Lord has been removing the blinders from my eyes in this area of my soul.
It is certainly the greatest enemy to our walk in the spirit. We've blamed the devil, other people and circumstances for our troubles when very often the worst enemy we have is the selfishness and the deceitfulness of our own hearts. The root of all such wickedness is pride.
Pride manifests itself in various ways. Regardless of its manifestation it is always after the interest of one's own self.
I am convinced that there is enough pride and rebellion in the nature of fallen man to send himself to hell without any help from Satan. Satan constantly seeks who he may devour by gaining entrance through the lusts and desires of man's selfishness. This is the dust which he has been given to eat. He works where men seek to save their own lives.
Due to the multitude of spirits that are at work to accompany self interest, it is often that pride will appear in various forms of godliness and be readily accepted by those of whom it desires acceptance. The root of it all is pride and regardless of its outward appearance it is after recognition and selfishly demands a response from others. The desired response may vary from one individual to the other depending on what spirits one yields themselves to. However, regardless of the response desired, self cannot be satisfied without recognition from others.
What you are about to read is a statement of repentance. The greatest fool is the one who remains a fool. A wise man is able to recognize his foolishness but a fool is too proud to admit the truth even when it is known. The truth of Jesus Christ always reveals the foolishness of man. The love of God can only be manifested in the absence of self.
I am most grateful for the harness of the Lord. The stead fast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercy never comes to an end. They are new every morning. Great is the faithfulness of our God. His loving kindness is better than life!
I. THE SEARCHING OF OUR HEARTS
We often ask the Lord to search us, try us, know our hearts and see if there be any wicked way in us. Yet, what do we think about when we pray this way? In such a prayer it is foolish to believe that the Lord needs to check our hearts because He doesn't know what is in them. (see Hebrews 4:13)
In Genesis 3 and verse 9, the Lord did not ask Adam where he was because he didn't know or he wasn't certain. The Lord was not searching frantically to find Adam. It was Adam who was in need.
When Abraham was asked to offer up Isaac, the Lord did not sit back not knowing what was in Abraham's heart. He wasn't fretting over the possibility of Abraham failing to obey His command and how that might affect the generations to come.
It is in the divine plan of God for a people to cry out to be conformed to the image of His Son. In responding to such a cry the Lord asks of us to give Him our hearts. Not part of it but ALL of it. It is not possible for the Lord to answer such a cry without obedience to His call for surrender. Yet, even as we say, "Father I give you my whole heart", the Lord is much more aware than we are of the things which we are still holding on to. Nevertheless, if such an offer is given out of a pure desire for the Lord to change us into the image of His Son, the Lord begins to answer our prayer (I John 5:14-15).
In the process of cleansing and sanctification we must realize that there is absolutely NO holiness outside of Jesus Christ. There is no overcoming that is done independent of Him or that is of self efforts. Neither can there be any overcoming without death to the self-life and there is no death to self that is pleasing to the Father that is of our own design. All such self-imposed slaughter of the self life will always remain outside of Christ; therefore keeping us entangled therein. The only one who can overcome is that same one who already has overcome and that same Spirit desires to overcome and live His life in us. We must follow Him in submission to His Headship.
This is where the Lord begins to reveal to us the things in our soul life which keep us from a closer walk with Him. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. This is the baptism of fire. This is the pruning Jesus spoke of in John chapter 15, vs 2.
The work of searching, trying and pruning belongs exclusively to the Lord. Most Christians do not understand that such a working is the sole purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Many are far more interested in signs and wonders. Let us not embrace the gifts and disregard the greatest desire of the Father. He desires us to bear fruit that we might glorify Him (John 15:8).
The Lord is faithful to show us what is asked of us in this conforming process. That is shown to each of us in the command to follow Him day by day.
The command to follow Him demands a response of obedience from us. Having faith in the Lord is seen in our obedience to heed His call to follow after Him (John 15:14, Hebrews 11:8).
So the light of the Holy Spirit searches and tries our hearts to lead us into a deeper and deeper call from the Father to go on in Him (Heb. 4:12). Our part is to agree with the Lord to rule over every area of our soul life. As He reveals to us our heart each step of the way He says just as he did to Adam, "where are you?". It brings no pleasure to the Father for us to make excuses but to agree with the findings of His great light. This agreement is acknowledged by the confessing of our faults. When we agree with the Lord and repent of our weakness, then its rule over our soul suffers a violent blow. As we surrender again to Him who has already overcome the world, we are conformed even the more to His likeness (James 5:16).
II. THE LORD SAYS, "FOLLOW ME"
While Peter and Andrew were casting their nets into the sea as they did most regularly, Jesus came up to them and said, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men" (Mark 1:16-17).
This was the first call for Peter and Andrew to follow the Lord. For them there was really no option in the matter. The Lord's command demanded response.
Then the scripture reads.... and they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.
The world is full of millions of people today confessing to be Christian who are determined to alter such passages as to avoid the possibility of having to obey this same call themselves.
Many have said, "The Lord doesn't want us to literally leave our jobs and follow Him. What He means is that we are to love Him more." Well that is most acceptable in an age where gain and financial security are most admirable. Yet, how would we like to explain that one to Peter and Andrew. Or better yet to James and John who left their own father as well as their occupation (Mark 1:14-20). To them Jesus' call was far more than a figure of speech or a nice object lesson.
Then we see later on in the gospels how the Lord said that they would all be offended in Him (Matt. 26:31-33). Peter immediately responded, "Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended." Jesus told him that even that very night he would deny Him three times. Peter went on to say, "Though I shall die with thee, yet will I not deny thee."
Then when the cock crew that very same night we read in Luke's account that JESUS LOOKED UPON PETER (Lk.22:60-61). Oh Love of God how rich and pure, how measureless and strong. Jesus looked upon Peter and in one gentle gaze he received the message again to follow Him. Jesus' eyes did not express to Peter the degree of his failure. Nothing in His expression spoke anything like, `I told you so, Peter!' Jesus was calling him on.
After the resurrection Peter was asked of the Lord three times, "...Peter, lovest thou me?" Each time he was asked the Lord responded with a command to follow Him as He called him to feed His lambs and the last two times His sheep (John 21:15-19).
The life of the disciple is truly not His own. The cross needful for us to bear begins in accepting His yoke. His yoke is easy and His burden is light because it is the only means by which we attain true fellowship with our heavenly Father. There is no other way in which to please Him.
Yes, His yoke is easy but may we never deny that it is a yoke. His burden is light yet it must needs be borne if we are to take up our cross and follow on to know the Lord.
One simple act of obedience is a demonstration of faith which inevitably leads us to the next call of the Lord to follow Him. Which call in itself is an offer to be changed all the more from glory to glory and from faith to faith. The just shall live by faith. Such faith can never be expressed in the life of a wild stallion, only a harnessed son. Such glory can never be attained without the bearing of His burden in the fellowship of HIS sufferings and not in the looseness of an imagined grace that requires nothing on our part.
So we see the final work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believers to completely possess and rule over the soul. The work of burning out all that is foreign to the kingdom of God is the desire of our Father in order that we be made conformable unto His death.
The only death that brings life which is pleasing to God the Father is that which was accomplished in the Son. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him. He alone is the final sacrifice for sin. (Therefore) The only life that brings glory to His Name is the Life which He alone is. Come Lord Jesus!!!
III. LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU
(KJV) LET THIS MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: BUT MADE HIMSELF OF NO REPUTATION, and took upon Him the form of a SERVANT, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became OBEDIENT unto death, even the death of the cross,...
How often have we read through this portion of scripture. So many discussions have been had around these passages which I also have felt blessed to take part in. Yet, recently it has been hitting me as a most sobering challenge.
The mind the Lord is speaking of here is no doubt the mind of Christ. Verse 5 begins this statement with, LET this mind... Which ought to inform us of a surety that this mind will not work unless we LET it.
The mind of Christ as described here is totally foreign to the natural mind of man. The truth is that they are vehemently opposed to one another.
Every believer has a hard time coming to grips with this truth as they grow in the Lord. We often end up fighting against the mind of Christ without even knowing it.
The reason for this is seen in that our soul often lives in the realm of human reasoning. There is no greater opponent to faith in Christ. I have heard it said that the opposite of faith is sight. I believe that this is so because it is what we see that causes us to reason and wars against what is not seen. So then our reasoning is often at war with the Word of the Lord.
Often times when I listen to other believers speak I can hear them arguing with the mind of Christ. We all have walked in this realm of unbelief from time to time. I have recently seen that this denial of the faith which we proclaim needs to be repented of. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
How many times have we heard people judge the degree of one's faith in Christ by whether or not they get healed or not, or whether one is wealthy or poor. Such judgments are not the plumb line with which the Lord measures ones faith.
I've known many believers who are wealthy and prosper in the natural as well as many who are poor in this world's standards yet I've seen both with a very similar problem. SELFISH PRIDE! A man's life does not consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses neither of the lack of them for that matter.
All such judgments and comparisons are of the flesh and war in the carnal mind against the mind of Christ.
The problem we all have in common is one that we would like to ignore. It is one that causes one man to fall in love with one thing in life and another to fall in love with something completely different. One man may like to build up a bigger construction company and another may like to build a larger church. The only difference perhaps being that the one justifies his efforts by saying that He is working for the Lord and the other may use the excuse of provision for his families future. Down either or, for that matter, any other road there is the desire of self satisfaction.
There is a lust in the nature of man to please and satisfy himself. Yet, sad to say that one will measure the level of his success by the response of others. This produces many, many illnesses for usually self is not satisfied until it gets its desired response from others who have their own expectations in mind. What a vicious circle! It is no wonder why so many say, "It is a dog eat dog world. Get all you can. I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine." In this we ought to clearly see the spirit of this world in direct opposition to the spirit of the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is impossible for man to admit to this problem unless he truly has a love to be free from it. Even freedom from it then is not attainable unless there is a heartfelt love for the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. He who seeks to save his life shall lose it. In such a walk it is needful in this sense, for one to be in opposition to all that is of self.
After we do all we can do in an attempt to live the Christian life we must face the reality that we are not able to. We must lose our life to gain eternal life. It is at the point of desperation for more of Christ that we see the futility of our own ways.
Today we see so many thousands of "Christians" busy working for the Lord. Even the world admires what they term to be the sacrifice of their life for this or that "good cause." Yet, even in all of our business for God there often remains something very deep within our souls that is left untouched. The sad story is that many have served their whole life FOR the Lord and gone to the grave never having done the works that are OF the Lord. There is a vast difference.
It is said of so many that this one or that one is really used of the Lord. Or better seen yet when one dies after years of service you hear many say how he or she was really used of the Lord. There is no question that many of these people were of those who loved the Lord. To be used of the Lord does not speak of intimacy with Him.
In the mind of man there is very often a desire to do for God and help Him out. The problem with this mind is that the believer very often is the one who decides how to go about helping God out. Such a one determines the approval or disapproval of the Lord upon his labors by the means which men measure success. The acceptance or rejection of others is very important when self is alive and well. I am certain that most believers live in this mind from time to time, if not all of the time.
Here we are faced with a tremendous challenge. That is; I can work hard and help God out or I can surrender to Him and allow His mind to be in me in order that His Kingdom come in earth as it is in Heaven. Only the anointing which comes in the mind of Christ knows the things that are pleasing to the Father.
The reason that we so often fight against the mind of Christ is because it is not a mind that seeks the glory and acceptance of man. (This includes self-acceptance). This mind needs no approval from men and it diminishes self. All of our personality traits; the things which we and others enjoy so much about us is in jeopardy when the mind of Christ is at work.
It is no wonder why we have an entire age where Christians find no pleasure in the cross of Christ but only in singing about resurrection victory while living a life which differs not from the world. This also explains why we have an entire church age which longs to be entertained. It cheers them to live on with no cost on their part all under the guise of Christianity.
How cheap is the acceptance of men. How costly is the pleasing of our Heavenly Father. Never measure yourself by what another person says or thinks about you. Good or bad things can equally be harmful to the Christian walk. We need to take all such things to the Lord in prayer and in doing so we shall find peace with the Father as we obey His direction in each matter.
Jesus Christ thought it not robbery to be equal with God but took upon Himself the form of a servant and became of no reputation. We understand this passage from the Greek to say that Jesus 'EMPTIED HIMSELF'.
In every self attempt to become like Christ we ought to see the absence of the mind of Christ. Only through a surrender of letting that mind work in us are we able to become of no reputation. This is because He alone is exalted. Therefore it is a light thing that we lay down our lives seeing that He gave up His place in glory for you and me.
Christ Jesus was able to humble Himself because He was-and is-the eternal triune God. He had something to lay down which could never be surpassed. For by Him and through Him were all things created and by Him they exist. He gave all for us.
Let it then be known that it is only a small thing that we lay down our lives for one another. If we can see this then we must also see that our aim is not that we work at emptying our selves but that we LET His mind work in us. He teaches us to empty ourselves as we obey His call to follow Him.
It is no big thing that I forfeit my life as much as it is that I allow Him who has already forfeited all to live in me. Although there must be a surrender of my life to the Lord I must see that I am not called to work for the Lord, for in myself there is no good thing. Rather, I am called to live in Him and to allow Him to live in me for He alone has overcome the world and He alone pleased the Father by His obedience, even the death of the cross. Come Lord Jesus!
We are called to follow Him because He alone is able to cause us to become of no reputation. He will teach us as we let His mind work in us. Again I say that it is impossible for us to work this work of abasement of our own selves. It is only found in allowing His mind to work in us.
The scripture teaches us that we have the mind of Christ. What we do with that mind is seen in our obedience or our disobedience to the call to follow after Him.
By the grace of God I have been able to see how often I have spoken many true things out of my own personality and the way in which it has affected others. When this happens others are not compelled to follow after the Lord but they rather are attracted towards or driven away from the individual. This is clearly seen in the emotional attachment or emotional disattachment we often have for or against one another. In this sense we affect one another in a bad way.
When we are moving in the mind of Christ then it does not really matter to us whether we like or dislike someone or whether we are liked or disliked. All that matters is that we are giving and receiving Christ. Then we will have a pure heart-felt desire for people to receive Christ. Our only concern is that we grow in the Love of Christ thus bringing forth fruit to the glory of God the Father.
When our sole desire is to be found pleasing to the Lord... when we realize that the only life that pleases Him is the life of His Son, then we will find ourselves lost in Christ and most unaffected by the opinions of others.
So we are called to follow Him. Not with any self gain in mind. Our only desire ought to be to do His will. Our affection needs to be set on the things above and not on the things of this earth. Our allegiance must be unto a nation that is not yet in view although ever aware of its present reality. We must allow Him to live His life in us with hearts longing for His kingdom to come and His will to be done in earth as it is in heaven.
We are called to be that holy city in which our heavenly Father purposes to dwell. Lord Jesus, prepare us to be a sanctuary of your presence.
Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow I shall do wonderful things among you. For I have had an army of intercessors who have not kept their peace and their voice has reached unto the heavens, says the Lord. Their cry has been according to my will and that is that Jerusalem be made a praise in the earth. They are praying according to my will and I have heard their prayer and will soon answer. The heavens will not much longer restrain. Soon, very soon shall I come and tarry not. I would only warn you my people that the answer to such a cry shall be the very manifestation of my glory. I shall come into my temple, says the Lord. Turn, turn, turn unto me with your whole heart for there shall be many as Ananias and Sapphira. There are many with that spirit now and I hate it, says the Lord. There is yet but a little space to repent for I've heard the cry of my people and I will come. I will come. I will come. My judgment shall soon be made manifest in the church. Then shall I send forth a mighty army that shall not spare. They shall go forth unto the kings and the rulers of the earth. They shall be given in total obedience to my will. They will be hated of all men for my namesake but I shall give them my power and authority in the earth. They shall obey me even unto death, says the Lord and I will surely raise them up even from the grave. They shall rejoice that my judgments are made manifest in the earth. My wrath is coming! My wrath is coming! I shall pour out my wrath upon the earth and upon all those who hate me. I have warned and they have not listened to turn. Even now there are many who know me and hate me. They say they know me but their rebellious deeds are directed against me and so they are judged. I know them by name and I shall destroy them for they have taken upon themselves willfully all of the rebellion of their forefathers. The wickedness of all generations shall soon manifest in those who hate me and I will pour out my fury upon them.Then those who remain of all nations shall come and worship before me for my judgments shall be manifest in the earth. My children, my children, hearken unto me. Hear the voice of my prophets. Call upon me and I will visit you in your secret place, says the Lord. Call upon me and give me your whole heart and I shall keep you from the hour of temptation which shall try the whole earth. Hide yourself in me and I will be your strength. I will be your high tower. There is no safe dwelling outside of me. I am soon to come!
Written by Gerald J. Gadwa.
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