If we really trust God, and believe that nothing can happen without Him allowing it to happen, then why do we focus so much on our trials and tribulations instead of focusing on what God is trying to reveal to us about ourselves in this trial and tribulation?
Why do we dread trials and tribulations altogether?
For every Chosen one of God, there is always a conversion at the end of every trying experience.
We look at the goal of conversion to mean “I no longer do this, that, etc”.
That is not the goal of conversion. It is a byproduct of conversion. But not the goal.
A disciplined person can cease and desist from a wide variety of actions and behaviors. Not only can they do it, but they can preach it on a platform that will rival the self- righteousness of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
The conversion of being a Christian refers not to the cessation of certain acts, but to the replacement of a ruling disposition, which causes the person to perform certain acts or cleave to certain behaviors and thought processes. “It is no longer I who live”…
The absolute danger of making the platform of our conversion to be the acts that we’ve stopped committing is that those resolves will be tried and tested. With fire. And when we fail (for if that is the foundation, we will surely fail), we become devastated and begin to question God.
As humans, we act in line with what we know and how we know it. The same goes for our virtues. They are built on our strengths. This is why temptation is directed toward our weaknesses. Because we know this, we then, with respect to our weaknesses, are quick to pull out that umbrella of grace and pop it open with a quickness. “Well, God knows I’m not perfect…”, “I’ve always been this way”…
When we try and fail at “conversion”, meaning we have tried to desist but keep coming back, we somehow make peace with those ‘weaknesses’, shrug our shoulders and say “God knows my heart”.
It is true that God knows our heart. He also knows that this heart is ground zero for every evil imagination that man is capable of. So, saying “God knows my heart should not be a platform on which we should sit comfortably. It is a platform on which we should be terrified.
Because the evil things that we are capable of, that even we are not aware of, God is aware of them all!
Mark 7:21-23 says: For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
Jeremiah 17:9 says: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Therefore, we can never effectively process our conversion.
Luke 22: 31-34 says: And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
When Peter made the statement of being ready to go into prison and as far as death for Jesus, he spoke from his love. He spoke from his zeal. He spoke from the conscious part of his mind and heart. Yet, there he was, a short time later, in the midst of cursing and swearing, denying the very Christ whom he had, but a short time prior, sworn to die for.
Peter didn’t lie. He simply did not know what he was capable of.
But, Christ knew. And that was why He prayed for Peter.
Jesus prayed for Peter because the platform of his conversion had nothing to do with what he did, said or thought. The platform of Peter’s conversion was the breaking of everything Peter did by power, might, zeal, and conviction.
God does not want us to stop stealing, lying, etc. So that we can say we don’t lie or steal. God does not ask us to go through our database and recognize the “things” that we should stop doing.
He wants us to recognize that our whole system of recognizing, identifying and choosing of our “vices” is flawed. It flawed because WE govern it. And anything that is governed by the sinful nature of man is FLAWED!
What God does not need us to do is come before Him saying “I want to stop stealing, or I want to do more…”
He wants us to come before Him and say “I recognize that I am totally and completely wretched! Not the parts of me that I recognize, but ALL OF ME!”
If we are unable to come before God in our totality, and in broken, gut-wrenching, remorse, confess our total, and complete wretchedness before Him, then, we are NOT ready for conversion.
As long as we are adamant that we are partially good; that we have attained a righteous status- especially in part- then we are NOT ready to be converted.
Christ cannot convert us partially. He can only TOTALLY convert us.
His Spirit cannot partially guide us. We can only invite Him to take over all of us. A total possession. Which can only result in a total conversion.
Here’s the truth. If the Spirit of Christ rules in us, then it is Christ Himself who rules in us. If Christ rules in us, then, we cannot do, or be, anything or anyone that is contrary to Him.
If we are still struggling with outward manifestations that are contrary to Christ, then the inward “ruling” can NOT be Christ. It is impossible. The Spirit of God cannot work against the Word of God or the nature of God.
Hebrews 12:1 says: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the SIN WHICH DOTH SO EASILY BESET US, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
So, does struggling mean we are removed from Christ?
The indication of a “struggle” is the evidence that the Lord is making us aware of something. A discomfort with a norm has now set in. If we are truly children of God, and there is a way about us that is not pleasing to God, rest assured that He will cause that thing to cause you great discomfort until you, with your own mouth, tell Him that you wish it taken away from you.
But when we get this prompting, brethren, it is important to note:
1. If you accept it; embrace it and say “speak Lord your servant is listening”, He will take you deep within yourself. To reveal to you dark, ugly places that you didn’t know were there.
2. You must embrace this “Refining”. Every gritty, lonely, humiliating, painful, enlightening, uplifting, inch of it. Because we have to come face to face with that which is within us. That keeps us from being in oneness with Christ.
* Ask the Holy Ghost to take control of your conversion.
* Ask the Lord to tear down every known and unknown resistance in and around you.
* Ask the Lord to shut down every intellect/intelligence/carnal wisdom that tries to insert itself into your spiritual conversion.
* As Christ prayed for Peter “that his faith fail not”, ask Christ to pray for you, that your faith fail not”. So that when we are converted, we, too, may strengthen our brethren.
Now unto him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
The handmaid at His feet.