I was thinking this morning about how after every alter experience
with the Lord, where I lay down my desires in favor of His, He gives me more joy through some wonderful new revelation. Today is one of those days. I had a recent alter experience in my life, where the Lord called me to forsake my own desires in favor of His as He reminded again of the verse "delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" . We tend to delight ourself in the lusts of our flesh (desire) and expect God to tag along. But God means it when He says " Thou shall have no other Gods before Me". When we realign ourselves with truth and lay that desire down in favor of the greatest desire- "Jesus our tree of life" , we often get the other things thrown in. They may not be in the shape or form that we pictured , and it may take time but those desires are fulfilled nonetheless because He re-shapes those desires to align with His.
I used to get so upset when I would read Prov 13:12 "hope deferred makes the heart sick but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life" . I could never see any good in the verse, and I used to tell God so. One day He illuminated for me the truth that anything we put our hope in other than Him WILL over time make our heart sick ,but when our desire is for Him alone it will be a tree life ,refreshment, joy and peace to us as well as others. Only then can the other things that we enjoy in life be in balance. We can abuse our relationships, alcohol, money , food, sex, and any number of things if we are seeking to eek out of them the fulfillment of our deepest desire which is God Himself. I have this propensity to try to extract from people ,experiences ,or things something that only God can provide for me. Any abuse of these things is a refusal to delight myself in God. And each time I refuse the only hope worth anything, my heart becomes sicker and sicker...And it affects my relationships with those I love and most of all with God. He wants to be front and center because He knows the only way we won't abuse relationships and ultimately ourselves, is when we delight ourselves in Him! If we've filled ourselves at the well of Living Water, then our thirst is quenched . When we are thirsty however, the temptation is to suck other things dry in an attempt to fill us. And they may “seem” to fill us but it's only temporary . The more we are filled with God however, the more He becomes through His Spirit a well of Living Water springing up in us.
Can you count the alters in your life? If there have been few, then the well may not be springing up at all. Maybe it's pretty empty . I know people who have great knowledge of the Word and yet lack wisdom and understanding, and I wonder is it because for all of their knowledge of the word there has been little surrender to the Living Word- Christ? Knowledge puffs up, but when we surrender to the love behind the scriptures , that love builds up (or edifies) and makes us stronger. I even think of the marriage bed as an illustration of this point. The bible refers to the consumation of the marriage as a man “knowing “ his wife. Well we know that before a man knows her in the marriage bed he knows of her. But the marriage bed implies a deeper much more intimate “knowing”. Even the word consumation indicates being taken in with (or by) in the physical sense. So is it in the spiritual -with God. Not only is our life in Him , but at the point of surrender more of His life is in us! In the marriage bed it is mutual ,(His life in me and my life in Him) ... Both are giving of themselves and receiving from the other at the same time. And quite literally both are pouring out of themselves....The man of his literal seed and the women of her bodily fluids lubricating the pathway to where her eggs are waiting to be fertilized in her womb. So we can see that this 'knowing' is a much deeper knowing for the husband and his bride than the initial knowing before the marriage is consumated. Knowledge without the consumation of surrender produces no lasting fruit from the womb....So it is with our relationship with the Lord through His word (the seed of life). If we have knowledge of the word and yet we walk away and do nothing with the knowledge, we fail to as James 1:21 says lay aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness, the engrafted word, which is able to save our souls. The bible says to work out your salvation for it is God who works in you BOTH to will AND to do according to His good pleasure. He not only gives you the desire , He also gives you the power to obey if you will walk in the Spirit! We are in the process of being saved , but we are saved through the Word of life engrafted into our very souls at each point of surrender to the Word. Our mind is renewed not just by knowledge but by obedience to the knowledge God gives us. This is where the mind is made new (or renewed) . Knowledge doesn't necessarily equal understanding. Understanding comes through application of the knowledge . A man knows his wife before he lies with her but you can BET he knows her more intimately and she/him, when she has surrendered to him. And imagine if she never surrended to him in that way again after the wedding night or begrudgingly withholds affection and dispenses it only when she 'feels' like it.. No physical fruit (children ) nor spiritual fruit (intimacy) would be born of the union.
How many Christians do this with God? We surrender to Him at salvation but then we think we're “good”. Salvation is JUST the beginning! Or we surrender to Him in one area because it is appealing to us, but not another when He convicts us because that might hurt too much. It may costs us our pride or cost us something else we're not willing to pay. The bible says work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you both to will AND to do according to His good pleasure. He doesn't just give you the desire to do right , He gives you the POWER to do what His Word commands according to His good pleasure. And we are to "work out" or excercize our faith to gain spiritual muscle or weight.
In the gospel of John the 15th chapter Jesus said "I am the vine and you are the branches, he who abides in me and I in Him , the same shall bring forth much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing." I believe there is a sense where we can abide in Him and yet He is not able to abide (dwell continuously) in us because His Spirit is grieved when we refuse to surrender to His life giving seed (word) We can be going to church, even reading and studying the word and yet when we refuse to surrender in obedience to the word, His Spirit is grieved and He is not allowed entrance so as to engraft (implant) His word into the womb of our mind where it can bear fruit. We become like a stubborn wife who refuses to lie with her husband because she 'feels' he's asking too much of her or he hasn't been 'nice enough' to her. Or like the man who buried his talents, because he thought his master was a hard man, we bury the gift of the Holy Spirit (power and “dynamite to do right”) We must be very careful to be sure that we are investing into the kingdom with the VERY gifts that He's given us . The GREATEST gift He has given us is the Spirit inspired word of God! Jesus! Jesus said my words are spirit and they are life. And God says He magnifies his word above even His name. The Holy Spirit convicts us as we read the word of the very things he want to deal with in our life and at that point it is our responsibility to surrender in obedience to His word thereby walking in the Spirit rather than surrendering to our old fleshly ways of naughtiness. .He desires obedience and NOT sacrifice. As we do obey the word, the living water of his Spirit gushes forth with greater force out of our belly. We have girded up the loins of our mind, and by doing that which the Spirit has willed us to do, (remember His words are spirit and they are life) we have rested our hope completely on the grace that is to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. And like Mary the mother of Jesus, when SHE surrendered to the word of the Lord, which had come to her through the angel, we can be confident that “that holy thing which is to be born in us shall be called the son of God! "
Trans-formation or re-creation takes place as we not only behold, but as we surrender our will and allow His written word entrance that it might be engrafted into our very soul- thereby birthing in us more and more of the life of the Son of God... This is what it means to be living epistles known and read of men.
And again trans-form-ation is taking place. No longer are we bearing the fruit of the flesh but the fruit of the Spirit of the Living God is forming is us. It is fruit that will remain even though it is tried by fire. We will learn more and more NOT to depend on "feelings" but on truth!
May we all surrender from this day forward as Mary did and agree with God like Mary did when she said " Let it be done unto me according to thy Word !"
But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your ownselves.
We can actually deceive ourselves when we are convicted by His Holy
Spirit and yet we don't surrender to that conviction.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye trans-formed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
1 Cor 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.
Just before Jesus went to the cross ,He said Father let this cup pass from me , nevertheless not my will but Thy will be done. And when His Father did not take the cup from Him, He denied Himself and went to the cross .
The following verse puts the reverent fear of God in me in this matter of surrender.
Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not proper.