Challenges and victories: Growing in grace and knowledge
It is good for the heart to be established by grace –Heb 13.9
It’s been a while since I posted, so I thought I’d try to catch up. This has been the most amazing growth season for me since I was first Saved back in 1980.
In a nutshell, what’s going on is brokenness turning over fallow ground, necessity sowing seeds of change, and tears supplying the rain. With the passage of time, “someone warming them from below”, and my reintroduction to the Gospel of Grace, which I once knew but had somehow lost sight of, those seeds have been bearing a rich crop.
I’m finding that issues that have dogged me for many years are gently dissolving away. Challenges arise, then I watch them get knocked down in real time. And like the dead soldiers floating in the Red Sea after Moses and the Israelites crossed over safely, I don’t think I’ll be seeing them again.
I’m learning so much that I don’t know where to start, so I’ll only give a brief synopsis. One thing I’m learning is not to defend myself. In the past, when the voice of the accuser came on me, I’d have my familiar script to read back to him. It was all very logical and sound. The problem is that it originated in the soulical realm, the mind. Consider the wonderful verse in Isaiah:
No weapon forged to be used against you will succeed; you will refute everyone who tries to accuse you. This is what the LORD will do for his servants – I will vindicate them,” says the LORD. – Isa 54:17
Notice that last part: “I” will vindicate them. I realized that I was doing an elaborate and unending kabuki with the accuser. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the script to him, but he always comes back. The Holy Spirit has been increasingly showing me lately that I need to silence myself and let Him handle the defenses.
So I’ve stood down. I’m resting in the Lord, holding my peace. Remember that old, great song, “If I hold my peace, and let the Lord fight my battles – victory, victory shall be mine”. That’s what’s happening here. I want the resolution to come from deep within my being, from the workings of the Spirit, so that when this is done, it will be done permanently. I want the past to be passed, once and for all. This is it.
Grace is so beautiful. To think that my sins are not imputed to me! It’s been so long since I felt the reality of that, and a great weight is off me. When I mess up, I don’t have to deny or avoid the facts. Do you know how great that is for mental and emotional health? It’s the very basis of it. I can relax. I feel genuine gratitude for Jesus setting me free, and gratitude is wonderful for the soul. I’m more conscious of His love, and my love reflecting back has increased. Simply put, I’m being set free and empowered.
I spent much of today doing yard work. There are some water issues here – pooling on the lawn, washing out the gravel drive – so out came the shovels and the steel rake, and I went about grading and trenching. The Spirit was so sweet I would have been happy if I could do this the rest of my life. I don’t need advancement, I don’t need popularity, I don’t need much more in the material realm than food and covering. As long as I have the Spirit of God, I felt today that I had virtually no other needs.
As I worked I had a vision of the Lord sitting on His throne, His glory radiating from His face. The light of His glory hit me and went through me. I saw that this was the heavenly hope we all must have, to strengthen us for the ardors of the journey. And I saw that by granting me the vision, the Lord was gracing me with that strength. Realizing that, just being able to love Him turned that yard into heaven for me.
Because of my sin, that glory also carried a purging heat with it. It wasn’t exactly comfortable. This is my concept of purgatory, if you will – as scripture says, we are translated in the twinkling of an eye, but to the degree that we have built on wood, hay and stubble, we are saved as through fire. It’s not punishment, it’s purification, and it takes place in the heavenly context of God’s love and glory. We don’t have to pay for our sins – for 30 days, or 15000 years, or whatever period of time that struck the religious hierarchy’s fancy that day. We can’t pay for our sins, and to say we can is contrary to scripture (see parable of unforgiving servant, Mt. 18), bondage to us, and frankly, an offense to the Blood of the Son of God. If we could pay for our sins then why did Christ die?
The Lord also showed me today that the next mountain I will possess is Peace. He has shown me three areas in my life that need clarity and resolution. And I have not the slightest doubt that His leading me to see the need and to pray about it is a sure harbinger that He fully intends on setting me to it, bringing me through it, and giving me the victory.
The three areas have a commonality centered around what I consider perhaps the most important concept in Kingdom living today – human authority and its limits. We need to know how to deal lovingly, forgivingly, and rightfully, with parents, church and secular authority, not only for the sake of resolving past issues, but because new trials are coming.
All this is essential, because resolution of issues leads to righteousness, which is the foundation of peace. And peace in turns leads to joy, which leads to power (see Rom 14.17 and Neh 8.10). And power is what we need in order to live victoriously.
I’ve been thinking about Caleb lately. Someone pointed out that when the Israelites finally made it into the Promised Land, after their forty year detour for unbelief, Caleb, now eighty-five years of age, requested the area with the very mountains in which those giants that had intimidated Israel resided. He said, ~God may be kind to me and give me victory.~ Caleb was unpresumptuous, but behind it was a faith of forged iron and the courage of a lion. What an extraordinary spirit. Caleb went on to defeat those giants and possess the land for himself and his descendants.
So I’m excited about what’s been shaking, though the challenges are great. I want to emulate Caleb. As the Lord opens doors, I want to say with humility, the Lord may help me, but I know beyond doubt that if I am willing He will glory Himself in me. He is looking for people just like that, to prove Himself strong on their behalf (2Chr 16.9). I want to be one of those people.
I hope you are being blessed. May His glory fill His church to overflowing.