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Just lately I have begun to see that a continuous life in the Spirit has to be governed by the Lord alone. Anything else I chose according to my old fleshly habits led to death, even my own thought life. Before going further by giving you another example, I decided to paste one of two short excerpts from T. Austin Sparks which clearly revealed the truth of my experiences afterwards to me. TAS said,

“You cannot presume upon God, you cannot take anything for granted in this matter, you have got to recognise that you must come back to the Lord every time for every fresh step. There must be a fresh yielding of heart, clearing of the ground, and making sure that you can take the second step on exactly the same basis as you took the first: that you are in exactly the same position for the next move as you were in the last one, and that it is the Lord and there is no fleshly element in this thing at all.”

https://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/004901.html

Dear brothers and sisters, it seems to me that our old nature loves rituals and habits, even regarding spiritual matters. If God allowed me to do one particular thing in the past, I kept doing it until He thwarted me, even strongly, as it happened this week. As for me, I have had the strange habit of checking out other Christians’ blogs, websites, or even social media (which I basically do not like) in order to check out whether these specific Christians could break free from deception and were able to find the real Jesus eventually. Of course, I prayed for them before, partly even years ago, but I wanted to know whether something had changed indeed.

Well, I sensed an approach by the enemy even a few hours before it happened. I recall I also had a few disturbing dreams in the night. Nonetheless, you never know from which side you will be attacked until it really happens. On Monday in the evening then, when I was sitting all alone in the living room, I followed my peculiar habit once again. God did not mind in the past, therefore I did not ask and checked out the first blogger.

Nothing had changed there. Yet I found a link through a reblog on this blog which led me to another more popular blog I had avoided for years. The reason was that that other blogger was a very skilled artist in publishing beautifully written half-truths through which a few people I have known have been led astray, too. Before delving into the reblog on its original site, I had an internal impression as if the Holy Spirit had told me, “Nothing has changed here, Susanne. No need to read it.” Hmm… I perceived this subtle voice, but my self-will was stronger. Actually, that entry was truly fancy stuff, a sophisticated interpretation of a biblical story which enravished most of the commenters on there. However, I saw a severe lack of the fear of God in that writing, combined with a subtle ridiculing of the person of Jesus Christ. That hurt me. I left that blog soon, but then…

For one and a half days hell broke lose. I got severely attacked through anxieties, fears, depressive feelings, I wept for hours about pains that seemed to have been healed by the Lord before. In fact, I did not get it. What was the reason for this onslaught by the enemy? Why did God not help me? Actually, it was really, really bad. I prayed often and I asked others to pray for me as well, yet nothing helped me out of there. The darkness had somehow wrapped me in until during fellowship on Tuesday in the evening I felt the internal “nudge” to talk about my experience and impression of that blog. As soon as I had mentioned the blogger’s name, the dark veil lifted at once and the burden on my heart was gone.

As grateful as I was for having been freed by God so surprisingly, this painful occurrence made me wonder for some time. It was not that clear to me how to avoid a similar spiritual fall from ‘heights’ next time. It was only this Friday evening as Jesus drew my attention to my thought life once again. There was a time about six years ago when our Lord had begun to teach me about how evil spirits approach us and submit us to themselves. At that time I had ignored His leading, too, and opened the (real) door when two Christian writers had rung our doorbell. Although I felt an immediate, “No, I don’t want to receive these guys!” I thought about how “unchristian” my thinking was. But my own reasoning then was completely wrong as hell broke loose for even two weeks afterwards!

God knows with whom we should have fellowship and whom we should avoid. This truth is often misunderstood by more liberal Christians who tend to think that loving our enemies might mean to submit to their influence on our lives, too, by being tolerant in any way whatsoever. But that is not walking in the light and in the truth, either. Love and truth should always go hand in hand. Although we should love all human beings, especially our enemies, our spirits should only be governed by God alone. “Get thee out from among them!” That is what God told me concerning that blogger, too. I had no leading and therefore no protection (i.e., the whole armor of God) to go there, even only on the internet.

The closer we come to God, the more we must listen to Him, which means to deny our flesh by taking up our crosses daily. That does not mean that what God once allowed is always allowed, or what God once was against will remain that way forever, it is all about following the wind of the Holy Spirit whenever and wherever it comes from. I could see this truth one day later as God led me to a former blogger who had experienced a great downfall. I felt grieved to see this and prayed for him once again, knowing that that prayer had been God’s will at that time because despite grief I felt His peace as well. Therefore, I am now pasting the second quote from TAS below that confirmed my very experiences.

“The enemy likes us to take the things of God out of their time. It may be that the Lord is going to call us there to go through that thing, and the enemy wants us to go through it now and it always brings fear and havoc, but when God’s time comes you have got peace. Things have got to be kept to their time by prayer. It is something that ought to be taken into account, that in the heavenlies the times of God should be held to, against a precipitate movement on the part of the enemy.”

http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/004894.html

As for the why we should take up our crosses at all, I found a compelling insight by P.W. Faunch who was a fellow Christian of Sparks. Dear brothers and sisters, there is a reward awaiting us…

“The Lord Jesus, the Captain of our Salvation, who is the overcomer from the very moment that He intimates this purpose of His to the disciples, He begins to show the way by which He will get to the throne. And He intimates therein the way by which His disciples will get to the throne (Matt. 16:24). There is a question there of voluntary choice – “If any man would come after Me…”. The Lord does not compel any of us to come after Him: “If any man…” but “If any man would…”; there is something the disciple must do: not simply trust the Lord, but also deny himself. Not simply trust what Christ did on the cross, but he must “take up his cross and follow Me”. The further we go in spiritual life and conflict, the more the Lord opens this to us and the deeper rooted we find this principle to be, and the failure of the recognising of it. The failure on our part here and there on obeying this active principle accounts for the defeat which we may sometimes experience.”

https://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/004895.html

All images © Susanne Schuberth 2021