you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean
the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within
they are full of extortion and excess. 26Thou
blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is
within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may
be clean also. (Mat
Upside-Down, Inside-Out, This Side
Up; No matter what it is, we humans will get it wrong.
And, of course, the last thing we do is the thing we should
do first - such as: Read the Instructions.
Each age of Man thinks they have it
right, and that all other ages were ignorant and too
stupid to have figured things out the way "Modern
Man" can. Take for instance how everyone knew the
world was flat; And how only an ignoramus didn't know
that the Sun and the Moon were gods flying through the
air, and that these gods (a multitude of them) needed
human sacrifice of some innocent soul to quench its anger
and give up the rain, or whatever other source that
particular god had power over.
Then there have been many periods
of time in which a certain ruler of a nation declared
himself as god - and the world bowed their head to him -
or lost it. We look back at such a thing and consider it
ludicrous, although that same thing is still happening in
many countries today.
Ancient man looked up at the sky
and tried to make sense of the Universe that revolved
around the earth - and everybody knew that the earth was
at the center of creation. And everybody knew that
everything was created. Yes, this tiny speck that is
nothing but a blink of a moment called Man knew there
must be something more to life than himself, and he tried
to understand and appease whatever that "something
else" might be.
Mankind tried to rise above himself
and see the world for what it was - and failed miserably.
There were a few brilliant people
who, as we look back, came very close, if not right on.
But since their findings did not fit the doctrines of the
"church" of the day, they were quickly quieted
- usually with a sword.
Modern Man is too smart for such
foolishness, and mocks the wisdom (and even the History)
of the past. Modern Man knows that the world is not only
round, but just a tiny, tiny speck in the whole scheme of
And he knows that the earth is not the
center of all things as Ancients believed. Of course
not - it's a tiny, tiny speck on the tiny, tiny earth
called Man that only lives a tiny, tiny moment that is
the center of everything.
And Modern Man knows that those balls
of lights up in the sky are not gods; of course not -
they're huge balls of burning gasses that just
materialized out of nothing and cast out smaller balls,
one of which we just happened to evolve from a bug upon.
Why, anyone with brain can figure that out. Why, the very
idea that anyone in this day and age of enlightenment can
believe that there is such a thing as a God. Why, it's
I consider myself very blessed and
privileged to be one of the Ignorant Fools who believes
in God. I have a feeling that it won't be long until
those who believe as I do will be put to the test, and to
the sword (as they already are in many other countries)
for their beliefs.
But Mythology is not the subject of
this study. Mythology has only been presented as one
example of how we humans do everything backwards and can
get it wrong if given any kind of a choice at all.
Think of Adam and Eve - two humans with
but one decision; the Tree of Life, or the Tree of Death.
Wouldn't you think one of them might have
thought the Tree of Life more appealing? The fruit of the
Tree of Death was apparently appealing; what did the
fruit of the Tree of Life look like? Surely Eternal Life
must have appealed to them. But of course, they were
young, and the young rarely think of such far off things
as life or death. Come to think of it, there was
no Death for them as long as they left the Bad Tree alone
(which, of course, they couldn't, no more than we can
today - still hungering for illicit knowledge which we
distort and confound).
I have the feeling that the Fruit of
the Tree of life did not appeal at all to our first
Ancestors. I have a suspicion that it was very similar to
Fruit of Salvation that Jesus encountered, and said that
all who wish to spend Eternal Life with Him in the Garden
of Eden must also partake - and that is to completely rid
our self of ego and pride, be others oriented, and to
stay just as far away from all that the Tree of Death
offers as we possibly can.
We don't like to hear that we
"Can't" do something we desire to do. We
discover this with the first whining noises we make after
birth. It runs contrary to all we are, and it is a hard
uphill climb that few ever choose to tackle. And in a day
and age like this one where Heaven is either
none-existent at worst, or obtained with a simple prayer
at best; why should anyone bother with the climb?
Jesus and the Apostles gave us a
hundred "Don'ts" for every "Do," but
our ability to tunnel-vision allows us to completely
ignore the negatives, and focus only on the positive -
that is, the "Fruit" which appeals to us.
Unfortunately for us, but
fortunately for God and the Garden (Heaven), Mankind will
be judged by the "Don'ts" of God's Word, not
only the admonitions we chose to accept.
Adam and Eve were foolish at best,
and lost everything. The pre-flood people were wicked at
best, and lost everything as well. The "Best of the
Best" during the time of Jesus and the Apostles hid
the Truth they were entrusted with so that it was
unrecognizable to the point that they killed the One who was
Then, before the Apostles could even
get a foothold in establishing the Church, they had to
battle against those who had no idea about what was being
taught, coming in and trying to dictate what the
Then the Catholic church of the Middle
and Dark ages took over and completely distorted and
confused what wasn't completely hidden of the Word that
But we're beyond that now. We have
the "Truth," pure and simple. Aren't we lucky.
Again, here is a case of Modern Man
thinking he is too smart for his own good. If it were so
that we now had "Truth," why are there a
million variations of that "Truth," often
diametrically opposed to one another?
"Look at this verse!" one
will say. "No!" Another responds, "You
look at this verse!" and if you can't find
a verse to support your belief - rewrite the Bible.
In my opinion, those people that
the devil can't capture for hell, the World will direct
his way. And those the World can't direct, the church
will confuse and at best stand at the Narrow Gate
blocking its entrance.
And the Church, the World and the
Devil are not what this study is about either. No, this
study is about the Holy Spirit, believe it or not. And it
is about the preparing of yourself (me too) for Heaven.
How do we prepare ourself to meet
the Lord? According to most of the churches of today, we
don't have to do anything, as long as we have recited the
Sinner's Prayer. Well, I won't go into my feelings on
that, I've done plenty of that elsewhere.
But let's say that you don't feel
comfortable sitting in that hard pew where you are told
you are secure, and want to get up and serve the Lord as
the Bible commands you to do (PS. Don't show this to your
Pastor, he's likely to start accusing you of becoming one
of those cult members who feel they have to Work
their way to heaven).
So the first thing you do is start
making a mental list of all the things you do that you
consider as Sin, and you attack each of these, pruning
them from your life like the Bible tells you to do.
It isn't easy, is it? You find that
when you quit smoking, you're jumping on the kids and
your spouse for no reason. When you give up TV, you fill
in the time eating and putting on weight. And the good
deeds you do, often cause rejection at worse, and
unappreciativeness at best.
"This isn't working," you
say. And your right! What you are now doing is just what
your Pastor accused you of - you are trying to Work
your way to Heaven. You are trying to "Do what is
right in your own eyes," thinking you are doing
God's will. [Judges 21:25]
What you are doing is trying to
whitewash a tomb of dead bones. At best, all you will end
up with is a pretty grave.
You can't work your way to Heaven!
So then, what must you do? You know
there's more to being a Christian then sitting in church,
or even being a Pastor of a church. But what is
that difference? Doesn't the Bible say that we are to
prune off those things in our life that are not fit for
What the Bible says is that GOD
will prune off those things He won't accept in Heaven.
What God requires of you is three things, with one thing
added. And He gave you signs to indicate if you are
fulfilling your part of the "bargain," which
are called Fruits of the Spirit." [John 15:1-15]
First, you have to REPENT. The
first step of that repentance was the Sinner's Prayer
where you offered up your sins (And your life as well,
though very few people actually go that far, or any
father than that initial prayer). And though you might
hear that you are no longer to even mention sin in your
life, and that you are now forever saved - Jesus
apparently never heard that wise doctrine because He
shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the
Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood
of the Lord. 28But
let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of
that bread, and drink of that cup. 29For
he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and
drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's
body. 30For this cause many are weak
and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31For
if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name. 10Thy kingdom come. Thy
will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11Give
us this day our daily bread. 12And
forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13And
lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever. Amen. 14For if ye forgive men their
trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15But
if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your
Father forgive your trespasses. (Mat 6:)
This is a sample prayer that we are
to do often - which includes remembering our debts, which
means Sins in God's eyes.
He also said to forgive others if we
wish to be forgiven. Check this passage of Scripture out:
to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee,
rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 4And
if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and
seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I
repent; thou shalt forgive him. (Luke 17:)
What God expects us to do is that
which He does Himself. We are to forgive if they repent,
which means to change their mind and turn away from that
which they were doing. And Repentance also means that we
agree that what we did was wrong - a very important
aspect of repentance.
[As a footnote; who is it that
might have to come to you over and over to ask
for forgiveness, yet will continually offend you? Some
examples might be an alcoholic, or someone with another
habit that they just can't seem to quit no matter how
earnestly they try; Much like our effort to prune sins
from our own life as pictured above.]
Notice that repentance is expected each
time - not just once then forget it. We were created in
God' image, and therefore we know what God is like. If we
doubt that, then we have Jesus as an example of what God
is like. And except for some extraordinary abilities and
attitudes, He was like we are.
I would expect that if a person came to
me asking for forgiveness, though it be over and over
again, that they confess their wrong, and at least
indicate that they repent and are trying to change.
Speaking of confession:
8If we say
that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth
is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we
say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his
word is not in us. (1John 1:)
"If we confess our
I know there are popular preachers out
there who say that God is insulted if we continually
confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, since Jesus
died for the forgiveness of all sins. I have said before
what I think of the doctrines of men, but even if those
who say such things are right, I would expect that
someone wanting my forgiveness, ask for it. And if God
said somewhere that He did not want us to confess our
sins (which I can't find), I would at least thank Him
over and over for that forgiveness that He had given.
Notice also the verse says if we say we
have not sinned, then we make God a liar. If your child,
which we all are in God's eyes, were to take something
from you and didn't even bother to tell you about it -
wouldn't you call that a lie by omission?
Here is another verse of Scripture
which shows that those above are not just flukes, and
which leads into step two of our search:
19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be
zealous therefore, and repent. 20Behold, I
stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice,
and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup
with him, and he with me. 21To him that
overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even
as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his
throne. 22He that hath an ear, let him hear
what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:)
"Hear My Voice." What
does that mean? Does that mean that Jesus Himself is
calling us? Did you ever hear His voice" the
Apostles did, even Paul after Jesus was dead and
resurrected in Heaven did. But how about you and me?
beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And
the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was
upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved
upon the face of the waters. (Gen 1:)
In the beginning the Holy Spirit
was on earth, even before Jesus. And here He is doing His
job before there was any life on this earth.
What is the job of the
Holy Spirit? He is refered to often in the Bible, and
Jesus especially stressed His importance.
32And I, if
I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men
unto me. (John 12:)
Jesus said this, but how did He
plan to accomplish it?
I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go
away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come
unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8And
when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of
righteousness, (John 16:)
So it appears that it is the Holy
Ghost's job to do the drawing to Jesus. Perhaps that is
what He was waiting to do all those thousands of years.
What else might the Holy Spirit do?
answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto
thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
kingdom of God. 4Nicodemus saith unto him, How
can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second
time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5Jesus
answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man
be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot
enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is
born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the
Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto
thee, Ye must be born again. 8The wind bloweth
where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but
canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so
is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:)
Well, how about that? Without the
Holy Spirit, we are not Born Again Christians! I wonder
why we don't hear more about that?
God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy
14And I myself
also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are
full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to
admonish one another. 15Nevertheless,
brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some
sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that
is given to me of God, 16That I should be the
minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the
gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might
be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. (Rom
Here we have our Peace and our Joy
- and not only that, but it appears our Sanctification
(that means to be made Holy, which we must have in order
to approach God) comes from the Holy Spirit as well.
yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them
now. 13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth,
is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall
not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that
shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. 14He
shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall
show it unto you. 15All things that
the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall
take of mine, and shall show it unto you. (John
So even our understanding of the
Word and what God wants to tell us comes through the Holy
Spirit. Have you been having trouble understanding what
the Bible is saying, or have you ever wondered if you
were hearing from God?
the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not
what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit
itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which
cannot be uttered. 27And he that searcheth the
hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,
because he maketh intercession for the saints according
to the will of God. 28And we know
that all things work together for good to them that love
God, to them who are the called according to his
beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith,
praying in the Holy Ghost, 21Keep yourselves
in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord
Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 20:)
And apparently He does the praying
for us. How has your prayer life been? I know that I
could really tell the difference when the Holy
Spirit began doing the praying. It was obvious that He
had a connection with the Father that I did not have, and
in fact I was standing in His way while I was quenching
Him all those wasted years.
I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil
the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusteth
against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and
these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye
cannot do the things that ye would. 18But if
ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19Now
the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;
Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry,
witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife,
seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders,
drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I
tell you before, as I have also told you in time
past, that they which do such things shall not inherit
the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who
walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5For
they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the
flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of
the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is
death; but to be spiritually minded is life and
peace. 7Because the carnal mind is
enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of
God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that
are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye
are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that
the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not
the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Rom 8:)
Pretty strong statements, wouldn't
you say? I wonder why we don't hear more about the Holy
Spirit? I'll bet I've already asked that question haven't
I? And I'll bet I ask it a time or two again.
By the verses above it would appear
that trying to rid our self of habits and sins and
attitudes on our own would be impossible. We need God's
help. And the way He supplies that help is through the
Holy Spirit - which supposedly we received when we said
the Sinner's Prayer.
And perhaps many do, I certainly cannot
speak for others. But that was not the case with me, I
can assure you. And if you find that you are having
trouble dealing with sin, and are lacking peace amidst
tribulation in your life, I would suggest you look into
your Spiritual relationship with the Holy Spirit.
So if we didn't receive
the Holy Spirit at "Conversion," (which everyone
in "the know" will tell us that we did),
how do we receive Him?
then, being evil, know how to give good gifts
unto your children: how much more shall your
heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that
ask him? (Luke 11:13)
Is it that simple? I know
Paul speaks about false teachers swaying believers away
from the simplicity of the Gospel, but to make it so
simple that even such a simple thing of asking
is omitted? I wish I had heard about this a long time
ago. Of course, I should have seen it in the Bible for
myself, but like most people, I tended to read the Bible
hearing what I had been taught to see, not what
was really there.
A good example of this is the
Sadducees. Though the first 5 books of the Old Testament,
which all the Sadducees believed in, contained numerous
references to the Holy Spirit, Angels and such, they did
not believe in them. So is it any wonder they didn't
believe in Jesus? And these were the high mucky-mucks of
the church of their day, even the High Priests!
Unfortunately that is what I tend to
do, and that is what our Religious Leaders of today do as
well; Which is why I wonder if many of them in fact have
the Holy Spirit. I am sure of this - if they did, and
they had the experience that I had - all they would want
to talk about is the Lord and the Holy Spirit
(Trying to convince others to see Them as well).
Following are some further signs
that one has the Holy Spirit. But actually, if everyone's
experience is anything like my own, they will know
without a doubt that they have Him, and won't have to
look for signs.
that we have passed from death unto life, because we love
the brethren. He that loveth not his
brother abideth in death. 15Whosoever
hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no
murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16Hereby
perceive we the love of God, because he laid
down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our
lives for the brethren. 17But whoso hath this
world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and
shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him,
how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18My
little children, let us not love in word, neither in
tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19And hereby
we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our
hearts before him.
20For if our
heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and
knoweth all things. 21Beloved, if our heart
condemn us not, then have we confidence toward
God. 22And whatsoever we ask, we receive of
him, because we keep his commandments, and do
those things that are pleasing in his sight.
is his commandment, That we should believe on
the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another,
as he gave us commandment. 24And he that
keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him.
And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit
which he hath given us. (1John 3:)
Note that John said (which is also
repeated and portrayed throughout the Bible) the Holy
Spirit dwells in us. He is the seed cast upon
the ground. (We are but dust, clay for the Potter to
mold.) We are the Tabernacles that the SHEKINAH Glory
("Dwelling of God") of the Old Testament is to
reside in. ("Many mansions" or "dwelling
places.") But like the Tabernacle, and the Temple,
it has to be made to very exacting specifications, and be
finished to perfection, before the Holy Spirit can take
up residence. Until then, the Glory resides on
us, as did the Tongues of Fire at Pentecost. He can fill
us, as He did many in the Old Testament. But He cannot
take up residence until He has made us Holy - something
we have discovered we cannot do on our own. [Mat 13:2-23]
[Isa 64:8] [2Chron 5:13-14] [Lev 16:2] [Ex 25:8-9;
40:34-38] [1Cor 6:20] [John 14:1-4] [Rom 11:16]
[Acts 2:1-4,16-21] [1Pet 1:15-16] [Col
A third thing we must do is SUBMIT.
Of course, that is what we supposedly did way back
(yesterday for some) when we said "I
surrender," and decided to accept the Peace Offering
that God has provided for us through Jesus, whereby we
became friends and children to God, rather than the
rebellious adversary we had been before.
But turning our life over to anyone,
especially God, is difficult for Man, and when the
pressure is off, many "converts" yank back the
reins of their lives - a dangerous thing to do.
Many, if not most Ministers and
Theologians will tell us we are saved even if we choose
to withdraw our lives from the Lord. Not being a
theologian, I can't really say (although I do
say anyway), if this is so or not. Besides, backsliding
is not the subject of this study. But just for
consideration, I wonder what those Ministers and
Theologians do with these verses:
26For if we
sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of
the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But
a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery
indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28He
that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or
three witnesses: 29Of how much sorer
punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who
hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted
the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified,
an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him
that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I
will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord
shall judge his people. 31It is a
fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
38Now the just
shall live by faith: but if any man draw back,
my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39But
we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of
them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Heb 10:15)
1Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ
is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat
loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2By
this we know that we love the children of God, when we
love God, and keep his commandments. 3For
this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments:
and his commandments are not grievous. 4For
whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this
is the victory that overcometh the world, even
our faith. 5Who is he that overcometh the
world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of
God? (1John 5:)
hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the
churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the
second death. (Rev 2:)
overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his
God, and he shall be my son. 8But the fearful,
and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and
whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all
liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth
with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev
thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy
patience, and thy works; and the last to be more
than the first.
23And I will
kill her children with death; and all the churches shall
know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts:
and I will give unto every one of you according to your
which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26And
he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to
him will I give power over the nations: 27And
he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of
a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I
received of my Father. 28And I will give him
the morning star. 29He that hath an ear, let
him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev
watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that
are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect
before God. 3Remember therefore how thou hast
received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If
therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a
thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon
thee. 4Thou hast a few names even in Sardis
which have not defiled their garments; and they shall
walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5He
that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white
raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book
of life, but I will confess his name before my Father,
and before his angels. 6He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
There is a story of a king who was
about to be attacked by an army of many thousands against
his 500 soldiers. An emissary was sent to him by the king
of the larger army to seek his surrender.
The king called two of his soldiers to
him. The first he told to jump off a cliff to his death,
which the soldier did without hesitation or complaint.
The second soldier the king commanded to run a sword
through his own heart, which he did.
"I have five hundred more just
like these," the king told the emissaries. "I
will not surrender."
The emissaries left to inform the king
of the larger army; and there was no attack.
Submission implies Obedience.
Marriages are based on this principal; armies are
ineffectual without obedience, as are businesses and
God is our King, and our Creator
regardless of whether we submit to Him or not. We have
but two choices: We can be a Jonah who runs off in the
opposite direction from what we are told to do (which is
our inherent rebellious attitude from the get-go); Or we
can be a Job who obediently accepts God's will for us,
knowing it is for our best in the long run, though it may
appear grievous or even tragic at the moment.
God is going to have his way - even
if it means killing us. And speaking of death, we may get
away with playing the coward and adding a moment or two
of tormented life to our span, but in the end, death will
win out. But the Bible tells us that if we surrender our
life to God, we will gain Life Eternal. But if we try to
preserve it and run it ourself, we will lose it
eternally. [Mat 16:25]
The two soldiers in the story above
may seem to us foolish at best from our perspective. But
from their perspective (though I doubt this was their
thought at the time) by sacrificing their own life they
saved the lives of 500 other soldiers as well as their
King and their families. Besides, had they gone to war,
the chances are slim that they would not have been killed
"He might send me to
Bangladesh, or Africa," we say in resistance to
submitting to God. And you know, you are right. He might
send you to Bangladesh or Africa - and if He does, He
will also provide you with the joy to go, and a will to
do nothing but go. Take a look at all the
Apostles; we see cowardly, self-centered men following
Jesus on this earthly plane - then suddenly they become
super human, others-centered Fanatics ready and willing
to give up their lives to serve the Lord and His people.
And that is what He does for us as
well - through the HOLY SPIRIT, (which is the second
phase of our redemption).
We have discovered that we cannot
"Prune" the sin from our own life. Yet we fear
letting God do the pruning because He might cut too deep,
or cut off our favorite sin that we hate to let go of.
And He will, to be sure. But
along with that cutting, he will seal the wound with a
great relief to have it gone, and a joy for being free
from it. [John 8:36] [Rom 6:18]
We dread going to the dentist to have
that infected tooth removed, but what a relief it is once
the tooth is removed and healed!
Submission is not our nature, as
any two year old will prove. But it is absolutely
essential if we expect to have any joy in this life, or
to survive into the next.
Submission is that initial thrust a
runner gets from the starting line. It is the opening of
the starting gate in a horse race. It is what we
supposedly did when we came to the Lord on our knees in
Submission was the opening our heart to
the Holy Spirit; the answering of the door when the Lord
Submission is easy when we have no
other choice and there is a sword at our neck. And it's
the Sword of the Word, and the Fires of this life
intended to try us, to purify us, to burn off the chaff
and the dross (leftover trash) that burdens us and must
be removed in order to make us Holy so that we can enter
Paradise.[Rev 3:10] [1Cor 3:13] [1Pet 4:2]
But what happens when the Sword is
put back in its sheath? What happens when the Fires of
Life return to their normal bed of hot coals? Do we
slowly (or quickly, if we think we can do so without
being noticed) return to our old, predictable lifestyle?
Do we try to glue back on the withered and charred dead
limbs that the Holy Spirit pruned from us while we were
on our knees?
Any soldier can understand what God
expects from him because he has experienced it in other
areas of his life.
He entered the service as a rebellious,
self-centered, egotistic child, and within days he had
become a pincushion for Medics, forced to watch his
beautiful locks of hair fall to the barber's floor,
hurled over ten foot walls, stood at attention with his
footlocker on his shoulder at midnight; fed dust-covered
food not fit for a sow while digging holes he has to turn
around and fill in again. Then to top it off, he is
forced to crawl under live machine gun fire in poison oak
after completing a 20 mile forced hike.
In eight weeks he is changed from a 145
pound wimp - to a 175 pound mass of solid muscle.
It was a journey he hated, would have
escaped if at all possible - yet one that he will
treasure once it is completed.
That is submission. And that is
obedience. But once that Basic Training is over, and the
rebellion is knocked out of the youth - what happens?
Unless that trained soldier goes to
war where his newfound skills and conditioning are
applied, he is likely to be returned to a normal routine
(though in uniform) not much different than if he was a
The sword has been removed from his
neck. Now what does he do with what he has gained when
there is no one to force him to be under constant
Some young men push on, keeping up
their physical condition and adding to their training.
They attend specialized schools in the field of their
endeavor and place themself in positions that add to
their ability to submit.
They leave the Service as fit young men
ready to tackle the world and make the best of it.
I didn't. After three years I came
out a withdrawn, resentful young man with no particular
training and with 180 pounds of blubber that had somehow
replaced all that hard-earned muscle.
My submissiveness had turned to
resistance to authority rather than respect, and any
self-confidence or esteem I had acquired had long since
Perseverance makes the difference.
It's not the fastest horse out of the gate that wins the
race, it's the one who doesn't stumble and makes it to
the finish line that wins.
And we know the one who trains the
hardest, and has the most intent desire to win is often
the one who wins.
But a constant winner becomes a so-what
after a while; not only to others, but to themselves as
well. When winning becomes easy, those who seek the
feeling of accomplishment move on to other endeavors
where they have to start near the bottom and work their
way up again.
But there are many others who merely
seek the recognition of having "won," and
realize that they either have to continue working hard to
maintain their status, or to resign and rest on their
laurels (crowns given to Olympic winners).
What of those who stumble out of
the starting gate? What of those who stumble many times
throughout the race?
It's the stumblers who get the
attention. It's the stumblers who get the recognition. As
the great, accomplished runner passes the finish line and
gets his usual accolades, which soon dies down - it's the
one who stumbled often and received the bruises and
perhaps sprains and breaks, but continues the race even
though hours behind the slowest of runners, who gets the
tearful, joyous recognition. It's the paraplegic in the
wheelchair; it's the retarded youngster who isn't even
sure why they are there or which direction to go that is
But those who fell, and stayed down;
those who quit when they saw they weren't going to win;
and of course those who talked a good race, but
never entered - these are ignored at best, and boo'd at
In this Spiritual race for Eternity
it's the finishers who are going to win. It's those who
work fast, and those who work slow. It's those who answer
their call early, and those who come on the job late in
the day who receive their reward - and all receive the
same reward! [Mat 20:2]
Paul speaks of only one winning the
race. If you fear that you will not be that
"One," fear not, because that "One"
is the "One New Man" which is the Christ; that
is Jesus as the Head of His body, and those who enter and
finish the race which is His Body, having been pruned and
cleansed and made Holy. Upon these Jesus will place the
White Linen Robes of His own Righteousness , and give
crowns to each of them. [1Cor 9:24] [Eph 2:15][Rom 12:4]
[Phil 3:21] [Rev 19:7-8; 2:10; 3:11]
It's Perseverance; it's endurance;
and it's keeping your eyes on the Prize (which is Jesus
and His Righteousness - not the "What's in it for
me" attitude) that finishes what has been started.
So put away that pocket knife that
you have been using to whittle away at your dead limbs
and dead works, and turn the job over to the One who is
specially skilled at pruning.
Admit the sin; Permit the pruning; and
Submit what remains to the Lord.
Keep in mind; we do everything
backwards. We start from the outside of the vessel and
try to work inward.
The Holy Spirit does the cleansing
- from the Inside-Out.