discerning the spirits, dying to self, encouragement, entering his rest, entering the Kingdom of God, experience, following Jesus, fruit of the Spirit, God's love, joy, love, patience, peace, rest, soul, spirit, spiritual power, the devil, the Kingdom of God, the new self, the old self, thought life, walking by the spirit
Dear brothers and sisters, I would have never expected that Jesus Christ would really enable us to move from the burden of self-life with all its stress and unsolvable problems to His restful life in the Kingdom of God. Actually, I always hoped that the possibility existed but I had almost given up on waiting for the enjoyment of continuous love, joy, peace, or even patience (something I NEVER knew before!). Apostle Paul encouraged the Philippians several times to “Rejoice IN the Lord always….. Indeed, I still ‘hear’ myself doubting this possibility a few months ago. However, it is true!
It was only during the past week that God taught me several practical lessons on the simple HOW to leave the bondage of our soulish self-life that is continually fed by the enemy. Dear reader, I found out that sometimes the Bible’s most plausible Scriptures seem to be the deepest. For instance this one we all know. Jesus invited us here (to),
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30 ESV)
I want to give you practical examples on the implications of these seemingly obvious statements by our Lord. Let’s imagine that God gave us the choice between two kingdoms where we could spend our whole life, just like Abra(ha)m who let Lot decide in which part of the land he wanted to live. Well, we know that we cannot really decide before we are born again since our flesh, the carnal (wo)man, knows nothing but self-life. However, if we have come to know Jesus as our Lord, He keeps inviting us to “come over”. In fact, that is exactly what He has been telling me this week quite often.
Whenever I found myself confronted with another problem, a difficult person, a hurtful remark, in cases of unscheduled delays, hindrances, injuries – you name it, I habitually started to puzzle my head over what had just happened, searching for the proper solution to come out of these situations again. But for the first time in my life with God… believe it or not… Jesus interfered!! At first He asked me whether I truly wanted to go on thinking what I always thought, following that beaten track with its familiar boundaries and restless emotions. I recalled how often in the past I had asked Him for His help in similar situations, yet I had not been able to hear Him that clearly back then. Instead I would struggle on and on, captured and driven by my own soulish nature.
Still surprised about His specific question, I answered Him, “Of course not!” But I had no idea about how to break free until He simply said, “Come to me.” At the same moment I somehow saw in my spirit that I was standing at the border of two different realms. On the right side was Christ in the Kingdom of God, waiting for me. On the left side, instead, there was my old nature’s realm with which I had been familiar all my life. I realized that if I decided to go back there, nothing could ever change, neither my thought patterns, nor my negative, worried, and hopeless emotions. Furthermore, the longer I stayed on that side, the stronger Satan could pull me under his control and under those of others who were of the same soulish spirit. OUCH! I did not want this!! 🙄
However, here is the option. Jesus told me that whenever I gave up on my own plans, my habitual to-do lists, and my own ideas of how and when things ought to happen and rather approached Him in my spirit, He would give me rest. And indeed, that was exactly what I have experienced several times this week! In the beginning it was still pretty difficult for me to let go of my own plans as I feared to not be able to finish all my (esp. civic) duties in due course of time. But on Monday as I felt somehow pressured into making two tax declarations, the Lord drew my attention to the beautiful weather outside and I felt strongly that I should go on a bike ride. And of course, I rode with much joy! 😊 The tax declarations I made one day later quicker than expected since He helped me with any emerging problem. 😉
On Wednesday it was really strange because I did not know what to do at all. Of course, there would have been some things I COULD have done. However, I felt no inclination to do any of them. Quite the contrary. So I waited on the Lord and His instructions. And I waited…. and waited… but nothing happened. Eventually I asked Him whether I should stay at home and do something there. But then God nudged me to prepare some things and to go downtown. His leading, though, was not that clear yet because He did not tell me what to do there. When I got closer to the downtown area, God reminded me that I’d need new boots. Winter was coming and my old ones fell apart last spring. I knew that but God also knew how much I hate shopping, in particular clothes and shoes and therefore I tend to procrastinate such activities. 😛
Well, I did not expect to find really good boots in the first store because it was a discount store. After some listless going through the different shoe racks, I eventually felt His leading telling me to leave and to go to our new mall in town. When I arrived at this much more expensive shoe store, once again, I found no proper boots on some shelves there, either. Suddenly a saleswoman approached me, asking if she could help. I told her I would like to buy warm and comfortable boots. With lambskin, yes. She showed me two or three different ones as I suddenly realized that one of them looked the same as my broken pair, only the color was different. Wow, who would have thought… since I REALLY loved my old Panama Jack boots! 😍
Alas, that boot was not my size and the saleswoman could not find the proper size all over the shop so she left in order to check out whether they had it in stock. I think I was already waiting there for some time, walking through the store, talking with one or two other sales women, as I asked the Lord what His plan was. Waiting or leaving, these boots or not… Instead of an answer I felt great joy and PATIENCE! I could hardly believe it but I enjoyed the feeling of having TIME. No haste needed anymore.
As this woman came back she told me about the good news, that is, she had found the proper left boot in a shoe box, so the right one had to be elsewhere. Dear reader, I can tell you, it was not! At least, not “elsewhere”. She was looking for IT, I was searching for IT, too. I even left the store a few times to check the display of the store windows just as she did from the inside. Nothing. 🙄 But what I felt all the time was patience, I lost track of time, and I felt compassion for this woman who was stressed out since she could not find the second boot. Eventually, after a pretty long time, another saleswoman recognized the right boot that had been behind the store window all along. Yet it wore a “mask”, so to say. The lambskin was turned to the outside and thus the boot seemed to be much smaller, too.
When I left this store, I thought how amazing and easy it was to do God’s will according to His plan. In comparison, following my own plans tends to be hard work. Yes, His yoke is easy and His burden is light! As this entry is already pretty long, I only want to share another short story with you.
Today in the late afternoon I went on errands. On my walk home I pondered on telling my husband about a few bad things I had experienced. As I had just started to delve deeper into the how to tell Paul about it later, I heard Jesus asking me again whether I wanted to experience my familiar bad thoughts and feelings which would keep my mind busy until I was at home and much longer, too. All of a sudden it got clear to me that this was real bondage, a prison in my own mind that kept me from experiencing God!! It was not that easy to let go of my initial intention to keep thinking about these things because this kind of surrender was new to me. But when I finally followed Jesus’ invitation to go to Him on the right side of the border, which is the division of soul and spirit, I found this rest, love, peace and joy I have been looking for all my life. What a wonderful God!
All images © Susanne Schuberth 2021