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22 March, 2013

The Burning Heart

In today’s devotion, Oswald Chambers said something that took me back. When I am in a similar situation such as the one Oswald described, what I do, I try to work with the worse case scenario, which is the same as the final outcome. There are some outcomes that are easy to determine if it is something that God would condemn. But, I found a lot of times it is not that easy to see through our emotional high if it is something that God would condemn or not. 

When we are very emotional, our train of thoughts takes the lead. I know what I am talking about because I am very emotional. Our imagination runs away from us and with the situation. The more we remain in that state of mind, the more we get ourselves deeper into trouble because we are not thinking clearly and we are making decisions and plans for the next step with a corrupt mind. You mind say why is that corrupt? Yes, it is corrupted in every sense of the way because we are not in the right frame of mind to make proper decisions, and we are thinking and planning in the flesh without the Holy Spirit. When we stop being ignorant of the laws of our own nature, we know and we can see the danger in going wild without the Holy Spirit and we can put a stop to it. But, this takes practice and spiritual growth to get there.

When I was not mature enough to understand when I was going forward with my emotions without Him, I had only one acid test. First, I stop myself from making a decision while my emotions were running wild and thus, it did not matter how pressing the need was. I told God, please deal with the repercussions of the situation for me but I need to know if I am in your will and right now I have no idea. (It is important our attitudes and motives honour God and He will work with us.) The second thing is that I try to have a sense as to how my decisions to deal with the situation will play out. This was so useful and so infallible that I still use it today because if there is a tiny bit of compromising, then I stepped away from it. I knew right away that it was not of God.

I will give you an example, years ago, I lost my job but God already told me that it was Him taking me to the wilderness to set me apart. So, there was no doubt what I was going through was of Him. But, I had no idea what He meant by taking me into the wilderness either. I had no idea of the depth of pain and testing that I had to go through to be set apart for Him. So, two Christians cornered me in the Church after service and said I heard you are not working, I can make arrangement to get you in, and there is a great opportunity available to you right now. After I listened to all the information pertaining to the company, and the opportunity, I was so tempted. Of course it made sense, because I need to work to pay my mortgage and take care of my basic needs. Beside, I was thinking how important it is to God that I work to earn a living because the Bible is clear on that so any attempt at laziness is a sin.

Out of all the emotions I was experiencing, I could feel something inside me was telling me this whole conversation is wrong for me, but, I continued.  I said to the people I was talking to, well, I do not have  references because I spent so many years with the company that I was working with that I cannot just take them off my reference list, yet I did not part in good terms with them. Both people told me it was not a problem we can circumvent that with a little white lie and they gave me an idea what that white lie was going to be, and they were willing to take care of everything for me without me even getting involved. At that moment I said, let me think about it. Of course I never get back to them.

You have to understand something. The fact that it seems like I judged them for the “white lie” did not make me better than them. As the matter of fact, that was exactly where I was too. I truly believed in a little white lie here and there was not a big deal especially when there were no consequences to anyone and this little white lie was going to put my world back to where it should be according to the world standards and my own understanding thus far. So, even though, I was not there yet in terms of maturity, but the guidance of the Holy Spirit was awesome. Even though I was in the same place these people were in terms of maturity,  I also knew I made a commitment to Him to leave behind shoddy Christianity, I knew right then and there that I had to let go of the opportunity because it was not of God. My heart was breaking, but I also knew if indeed it was of God, then I would not have to lie. While the lie seemed small, I knew in Him there was no lie.

Often times when we are in trouble, we claim the wrong promise, and we claim the wrong Bible verse. In this situation I found that I had to choose between more than one Bible verse. But, the Holy Spirit caused that tiny verse to resound so loud in my heart that I could not ignore it. I kept saying “in Him there is no lie.”  The difference between me and these two people is that I was in a frame of mind where I was willing to put my money where my mouth is so to speak. I knew I could not take one side of His Word and ignore the other side of the coin.

It’s funny how all of the sudden, a little white lie became so big to me. This little white lie, when I stopped seeing how it could help me get out of trouble and I started seeing it from God’s perspective, was no longer little.  With the eyes of my heart I could see it just like God sees it and calls it “darkness” - “sin”.  It turns out not taking the job was the right decision for my walk with Him.

In using myself as an example, it is my hope that if it could benefit one single person today of ten years down the road, who is at an impasse with God and you are not quite sure which way to turn, then it would worth it. Make no mistake the consequences of that choice, from the world point of view was disastrous to me. But, it is the nature of the Christian walk with God. It is living an abandoned life at His feet for the purpose of finding the “pearl of great price” which is God the father. While the experience I lived through the Holy Spirit as He allowed me to experience what it means to find the pearl of great price, lasted a few moments, but it was worth the torment that I went through to get there. Few years down the road, God corrected my thinking about wanting to work because I did not want to be lazy and sin in His sight. It is rather frightening how we can take the word of God out of context and apply to situations that have nothing to do with His Word. 


The Burning Heart

We need to learn this secret of the burning heart. Suddenly Jesus appears to us, fires are set ablaze, and we are given wonderful visions; but then we must learn to maintain the secret of the burning heart— a heart that can go through anything. It is the simple, dreary day, with its commonplace duties and people, that smothers the burning heart— unless we have learned the secret of abiding in Jesus.
Much of the distress we experience as Christians comes not as the result of sin, but because we are ignorant of the laws of our own nature. For instance, the only test we should use to determine whether or not to allow a particular emotion to run its course in our lives is to examine what the final outcome of that emotion will be. Think it through to its logical conclusion, and if the outcome is something that God would condemn, put a stop to it immediately. But if it is an emotion that has been kindled by the Spirit of God and you don’t allow it to have its way in your life, it will cause a reaction on a lower level than God intended. That is the way unrealistic and overly emotional people are made. And the higher the emotion, the deeper the level of corruption, if it is not exercised on its intended level. If the Spirit of God has stirred you, make as many of your decisions as possible irrevocable, and let the consequences be what they will. We cannot stay forever on the “mount of transfiguration,” basking in the light of our mountaintop experience (see Mark 9:1-9). But we must obey the light we received there; we must put it into action. When God gives us a vision, we must transact business with Him at that point, no matter what the cost.
We cannot kindle when we will The fire which in the heart resides, The spirit bloweth and is still, In mystery our soul abides; But tasks in hours of insight willed Can be through hours of gloom fulfilled.
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