What settings are you in when you fall? Avoid them. What props do you have that support your sin? Eliminate them. What people are you usually with? Avoid them. There are two equally damning lies Satan wants us to believe: 1) Just once won’t hurt. 2) Now that you have ruined your life, you are beyond God’s use, and might as well enjoy sinning.
Many who do come into the secret place, and who are God’s children, enter it and leave it just as they entered, without ever so much as realizing the presence of God. And there are some believers who, even when they do obtain a blessing, and get a little quickening of soul, leave the secret place without seeking more. They go to their chamber, and there get into the secret place, but then, as soon as they have got near to Him, they think they have been peculiarly blessed, and leave their chamber, and go back into the world… Oh, how is it that the Lord’s own people have so little perseverance? How is it that when they do enter into their place of prayer to be alone, they are so easily persuaded to be turned away empty; instead of wrestling with God to pour out His Spirit, they retire from the secret place without the answer, and submit to it as being God’s will.
By trying to please people and live up to their expectations, we can easily fall into a false form of spirituality. We find ourselves praying, reading Scripture, and worshipping not from the heart but from a secret motive to impress others. We become more interested in how we look to others than how we look to God. The more insecure we are, the more susceptible we become to the opinions of others. Humility frees us from this form of pride, allowing us to live to please the Lord.
Because it goes against human nature, forgiveness must be taught and practiced, as one would practice any difficult craft. ‘Forgiveness is not just an occasional act: it is a permanent attitude,’ said Martin Luther King Jr. What greater gift could Christians give to the world than the forming of a culture that upholds grace and forgiveness?
Beloved, stretch out. See, when you stretch out you keep your muscles from being fatigued. When you stretch out, you keep mobility in the parts of you God has need of. When you stretch out, things God promised, happens. And sometimes, your stretching will not just involve your hands, but it’ll be you, stretched out before the altar of God.
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Death to self isn’t to be confused with the death of self. Jesus does not condone self-hatred. If anything, Jesus elevates our worth beyond what we could ever claim or measure! But self-denial and self rejection are two different things. An example of self-rejection would be, “I’m disgusting and worthless.” An example of death to self would be, I deeply want to fight back with my words but I recognize that I don’t have to follow that instinct anymore.” It’s letting go of a lesser life in order to let your new life in Christ to emerge.
So many love to be inspired by tales of revival, so few commit to labor with God on their knees and in their assigned fields to birth one. We stand less in need of itinerant “pied pipers” of revival tales and more in need of men and women whose lives will write them. Men and women who are willing to sink deep roots of righteousness, prayer, faith, hope, truth and love into the soil of their churches, their communities and their cities and birth it.