authority, discerning the spirits, entering his rest, experience, eyes of the heart, fellowship, following Jesus, God's guidance, God's voice, hearing, obedience, resisting temptation, Satan, T.A. Sparks, the devil, the fear of God, The Holy Spirit, thought life, walking by the spirit, wisdom
I wonder what the Lord tries to tell you and me today. Actually, I believe God wants to help us in ALL things concerning our everyday life. He is eager to lead us into ALL the truth about everything through the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 16:13). Since God rarely approaches us with a loud voice unless a severe warning is necessary, some of His messages go unnoticed. If our minds are busily occupied with the handling of appointments, schedules, and deadlines, His subtlety is easily ignored.
Just now after I finished the first paragraph, a recurring thought came to my mind. I remembered that I had changed something on my blogs lately. Not a huge thing, but it might have affected one or another commenter. This recurring thought led me to write an email a few minutes ago. After sending it, I did not feel better or worse than before as it seemed to be a small thing. However, it was somehow important to God and therefore He reminded me again and again, always very subtly.
Indeed, we have a patient God. He never forces us into following His leading. He suggests, He offers, He nudges. Only if there is imminent danger, then His Spirit urges us to obey Him. Sometimes we run into problems as it turns out difficult to discern what God calls a peril and what we think danger must look like. I remember there was a night in fall 2016 when I was very exhausted and tired. However, there was something going on in my mind that kept my thought life restless. Yet I so longed to finally relax and doze off. I really tried to fall asleep and I prayed and tried…. and prayed that God might help me fall asleep, but He didn’t. Quite the contrary!! 🙄
God told me to follow His leading as soon as possible, even in the middle of the night. It felt as if God’s hand had gripped my heart and squeezed it like a lemon. Finally, after some time of resisting His urge due to my drowsiness, I realized that I could not ‘pray it away’ at all. I was not really enthusiastic about doing His will at that moment as I also feared other people’s reaction confronted with my behavior. However, I felt I had to follow Him there. That reminded me later of how Jeremiah struggled as he said,
“If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” (Jer 20:9 ESV)
So I got out of my bed and booted up the computer. The longer I had felt under pressure in my sleepiness, the more the fear of God had overtaken my own spirit. Therefore, with much fear and trembling before the Living God, I eventually wrote a severe warning on the internet. Not following His command on my part would have meant that no light would have been shed on a hidden, but very dangerous temptation and thus a sneaky delusion through two bloggers might have affected other believers later, too. In hindsight I saw how important and timely God’s warning had been as the enemy, as it is so often the case, appeared as an angel of light.
It happens frequently that Satan sneaks in through nice people whom we could hardly make out as deceivers with our natural senses alone. Even though they might not know what they are doing, this is not an excuse for us to meet with them again. Although withdrawing from such Christians appears to be ‘not nice’, once we see through them, we should not try to have fellowship with them any longer (see 2 Cor 6:14-18). Dear brothers and sisters, if we are truly indwelt by the Holy Spirit, He will make us aware that ‘something’ is wrong with them. Even when everything seems to be love, peace, and harmony, our inward man starts to feel uneasy. You cannot name it, but this uneasiness turns into nervousness, eventually even restlessness when we stay together with them. This is the work of the Holy Spirit who wants to make us aware that false spirits are trying to submit us to themselves. There is only one remedy here that will help us out of such a situation:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (Js 4:7 ESV)
Have you ever wondered why the devil, who longs to destroy humanity, suddenly flees from us weak human beings? 🤔 You and I might know how often he won as he confused our minds by instilling frightening thoughts which, as a result, somehow paralyzed us spiritually. How often have I longed for the courage and authority to resist the devil’s attacks! The answer seems to lie in the authority of Jesus Christ that comes through as we follow Him exactly the way He leads us. Jesus told us,
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:4-5 ESV)
Ha! If we abide in Him as we follow His guidance, God can do through us whatever He pleases. 😇 As Satan fears God, He has no chance to submit us to himself anymore unless we do not abide in Christ. Just now I was reminded of some strange rituals through which Christians, esp. Roman Catholics, tried (or still try, thinking of exorcists here) to get rid of the devil when they were (are) confronted with his ugly presence. They hold a crucifix or a Bible against him or they draw a cercle on the ground, hoping that might protect them. These are all visible signs that belong to the sensual realm. However, the devil is a spirit! He must be fought against with spiritual weapons. We will never be successful against the enemy by trying to use this or that method. That includes trying to put on the whole armor of God as Ephesians, chapter 6, verse 11 recommends. Instead, if we are IN Him, we are automatically protected as all authority in heaven and on the earth belongs to Jesus Christ (Mt 28:18)!
As much as we like reading the Bible, solely knowing Scriptures, theological studies, doctrines and dogmas won’t suffice. It is the difference between the (intellectual) authority of the Scribes and the (divine) authority of Jesus Christ, which is the real thing. T. Austin Sparks put it this way.
“[…] It is not our study, our learning, our book knowledge, but it is a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of our hearts being enlightened, and it is that seeing which brings the note of authority that is so much needed. That is the element, the feature, that is required today. It is not just seeing for seeing’s sake, but it is to bring in a new note of authority.
“Where is the voice of authority today? Where are those who are really speaking with authority? We are languishing terribly in every department of life for the voice of authority. The Church is languishing for want of a voice of spiritual authority, want of that prophetic note – Thus saith the Lord! The world is languishing for want of authority, and that authority is with those who have seen.”
May the Lord make us see more and more of Him in our lives. Amen.
All images © Susanne Schuberth 2021