agape, Corrie ten Boom, Darren T. Carter, deception, depression, discerning the spirits, divine inspiration, entering his rest, experience, following Jesus, God's love, peace, rest, restlessness, Satan, separation from the world, spiritual flow, success, the devil, trusting God
This morning as I was searching for a quote from Corrie ten Boom which I had found on my German daily kitchen calendar, I discovered many others in the English language on the internet. However, the one I was looking for was not among them. 😉 In this particular quote Corrie said it so well, “You won’t lose time if you wait on God.” Isn’t it true that our old nature wants to see things been done, if possible all at once… so that we can rest AFTERWARDS? Has it ever occurred to you that God might have forgotten about your concerns since you prayed and prayed… but nothing seemed to have happened?
Looking at the world we live in, we might see that this earthly life has become more and more busy during the last decades. Whether you are in employment or if you simply go on errands, you might have sensed that “only the quick (and strong) survive.” Whoever is slower, weaker, older, is easily ignored, especially if you live in a bigger city. In the countryside it is partly still better. Nonetheless, an accelerated progress both in economy and technology wants to make people believe that they do not belong if they can’t keep up with these difficult times at a hurried pace. Where is the solution for those who struggle to cope with adjusting themselves to this crazy and godless world? Another quote by Corrie ten Boom might help us out here.
“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”
Like me, you might have experienced your own inability to look at Christ when you already feel burdened or wrung out. It is not so that we could “save” ourselves here or to force ourselves to refocus on God during the day when we are not used to taking our private and quiet times with Him daily. Of course, the more you have to work, the more difficult it is to make time for God! However, HE knows how much time is needed for everyone until our focus is off the physical realm with its impossibilities and redirected to the Kingdom of God where everything is possible to the one who trusts in an almighty God. Or once again in Corrie’s words, “When I try, I fail. When I trust, he succeeds.” Ha! Did you realize that it is not about our own success in this world? In this world’s view we might turn out a failure. But that does not mean that God’s thoughts about us were the same. Quite the contrary. God says,
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…” (Jer 29:11-14 ESV)
Hmm… I just found a, which I believe, very interesting excerpt on the net I am not allowed to copy and paste. So, I am going to transcribe it right now. Darren T. Carter in his book “Running the Race to Win: A Radical Call to Discipleship” wrote on pages 81 and 82,
“I want to give you my definition of what I call biblical success. Success is completing and fulfilling the will of God for your life. It is not having a million dollars, houses, cars or anything you want. It is laying hold of God’s purpose and running the race He has set before you.
Success is not a smooth rosy road. Jesus was the most successful person to ever live yet he was crucified! Yes, he rose from the dead as the Victor; yet in this world’s view of Him he was a failure. However, even today there are millions partaking of his success every day. If any other man was a biblical success, it was Paul the apostle. Paul gave us his résumé for biblical success in II Corinthians 11_22-27. He had to endure many difficulties; yet he continued to be obedient to the ‘heavenly vision’ for his life. It seemed that by the end of Paul’s life, all of his work was under attack and he would end up in jail to be killed. However, we partake of his success even today, as we read and study his writings. Was John the prophetic-apostle successful as he sat in the prison cell on the isle of Patmos writing the book of Revelation? In the world’s eyes no, but in God’s eyes yes!”
Darren T. Carter goes on to describe the real meaning of biblical prosperity which apostle John defined, but I thought this excerpt would be enough. If you want to read more, you can read parts of this book online here.
In contrast, if we adapt to this world by ignoring God’s still and small voice that calls us to wait on His guidance and to rest in Him first, we can become successful ‘Christians’ who gain the approval of others. However, we might turn out failures in God’s eyes. We might do a lot of things for Him, we might feed the poor, we could publish books with teachings and doctrine, or we might try to encourage other (discouraged) believers, whatever. If we have not rested in Christ’s soothing and peaceful presence before and then let Him do the work through us, it is all to no avail. Or in Corrie ten Boom’s words,
“Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.”
Nevertheless, we ought to cautiously discern here since not every creative flow that befalls us has been originated with the Holy Spirit. The more educated we are, the more difficult it is to REALLY wait on God since we know we could do a lot under our own steam. Yet it is not so much our mind with which God is concerned. Again, Corrie ten Boom so rightly expressed it by saying,
“God never measures the mind… He always puts His tape measure in the HEART.”
Without loving God and our neighbors just as ourselves, we will never succeed (speaking spiritually here). Or as the apostle Paul described it so perfectly in his first letter to the Corinthians,
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” (1 Cor 13:10 ESV)
It is all about (divine) LOVE. Even discernment of spirits is given to us by God so that we recognize who our enemies are whom we should love, too. As you might have already guessed, another quote from Corrie ten Boom inspired me to write down the aforementioned statement. She said,
“Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never to faultfinding.”
Brothers and sisters, it is the heart and the mind of Christ we all need. We know that Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing. Therefore, if we dare to trust His guidance more than our own reason, Satan will have no chance to wear us out anymore. A last quote from our Dutch sister confirms,
“If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.”
So, I will try hard to keep waiting on Him… 🙂
Hmm… a few hours later, evening in Fürth now. As I had already tried to publish this article in the afternoon, I could not ‘succeed’ 😉 with posting the link to the book of which I quoted above. Although I could follow the link from my draft, the preview of the blog post did not display any link. After various vain attempts to solve the problem, I sensed that I got more and more impatient, if not angry at last. “STOP, SUSANNE!!!” I said to myself. This is not HIS time for publishing!
In fact, whenever I get impatient and do not immediately turn to God, asking Him for His wisdom in a particular situation, He withdraws His peace and protection more and more until I find myself VERY angry. It is the same when I allow other people to overstep my boundaries, again and again. At first I feel an impatience of sorts that increases the more I submit to their spirits instead of submitting to God’s Holy Spirit. And in the end I am angry, both at these people and at myself because of my disobedience. Actually, I have had to learn this and similar lessons during the last two or three weeks. And today I can say that I am VERY grateful that God made me aware of my ignorance and stupidity to not always turn to Him at once, in every tiny situation that might cause problems. Dear reader, this has been a learning process, indeed!