Outside the Camp

Hello Readers. I just would like to mention that this is something which I wrote over a year ago, but wanted to share it right now as well. Some of the information is outdated. 🙂 But, I hope it is an encouragement nonetheless. Blessings, Lynea

I work part-time at a small country store and bakery called “Bushels”. It is a really nice place to work. Safe, conservative, and friendly. The Lord placed the job right before me, like an open door, and told me to walk through. (But that is another story altogether.) And while this store holds several blessings and little benefits about it, it also holds a very distinct religious atmosphere. It is a Mennonite store. The wide variety of co-workers and religious beliefs that are mixed into one small place is almost amusing to me. Several of the young girls I work with are either Mennonite, holding strict outward standards but with little depth to mention, or girls which claim to be “Christians”, but honestly, don’t look or act much like a Christian at all. If I hadn’t asked what they “believe”, I would have never guessed. And then, there’s me. Somewhere in the middle of it all.

Several weeks ago, I had a very interesting occurrence. A conversation with one of the girls I work with. She has been a fairly new addition to the store help, but also, a nice addition. And while we were chatting away one day about life and such, she asked me, “So, are you going on the camping trip this weekend?” I just starred at her, with a rather confused look. “What camping trip?” And her hesitant ,“Oh”, for a response, wasn’t exactly reassuring. All the young girls from work had planned a camping trip together that weekend. I obviously wasn’t invited. In fact, the week before, my boss had made sure to let me know he would be needing me to work that following Monday, because the girls were asking for the day off. He failed to mention why. I must admit, I did feel a little bit like “the unpopular school girl who wasn’t invited to the birthday party”. But honestly, I didn’t really care that much. Sure, I might have considered going for a little while or something, but it wasn’t anything worth crying over. Later, when my work shift was over, I began to think about it all over again. I mean, it was a little odd, that I was the only one not included. Even one of the girls, which I just mentioned before, who was relatively new and married (all the other girls are single) was invited to go! Why not me? Was I really that different? And I would also like to mention right here, that the girls I work with, are very nice to me. At least, to my face they are. I wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression. All of us generally like working together. So, I do not believe this was so much a matter or personal dislike, but rather, of spiritual indifference. So I asked myself, what would “worldly Christians” and “Mennonites” have in common that I do not? You’d think I’d fit somewhere right between the two, but I don’t. In many ways, I am actually much more conservative than the Mennonites, even though I don’t wear a head covering or claim to be one. No, instead, I claim to be a Christian, though I am totally different from the girls that also claim to be “Christians” there. And so, I don’t think they really know quite what to do with me, or where I fit. Maybe I make them feel uncomfortable? and would therefore ruin their fun little vacation? Or possibly that the things they would enjoy doing would contradict with where I stand? Whatever the reason, I realized for one of the first times in my life, what it really is to be different from others around you, even so called “Christians” or “friends”. To be willing to stand “outside the camp”. And to stand alone. Someone had once told me, that to follow Christ is lonely. I hadn’t completely understood exactly what he meant by that, until then.

A few days later, the Lord met with me about this very subject in my devotions. I was reading Hebrews 13 at the time, and this is what I read:

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Hebrews 13:12-14)

I looked down again at the words before me, “Without the camp”. I set my Bible down on my lap and just started to laugh out loud. Literally, “without the camp”. He was laughing with me. Christ suffered without the gate. He suffered alone. He was willing to be rejected, despised, to be misunderstood. And because of this, He knew exactly how I felt. He’d been there Himself.

In a very small way, He had given me the opportunity to bear His reproach. And again, I mention that it was in a “small” way, because it was. Others bear so much more. But I was thankful for it. Thankful to be outside the camp.

“Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:” (I Peter 4:4)

I hope you know, that I am by no means encouraging employee rivalry. To be excluded socially isn’t “spiritual”. Being liked by other employees, doesn’t automatically mean you’re “worldly” either. But, I do want to say, that the people who are comfortable being around or with you, does say something about you. What is your conversation like with them? Do you just agree with their standards? Or neglect to state your own? Is there anything different, anything deeper, anything real that they may see? Or do you simply fit right in?

“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” (Luke 6:22)

Christ went far enough to tell us how that we are blessed when we are separated from their company. That “Blessed are ye” when we are reproached for His name’s sake. When we are hated, for the cause of Christ. As Christians, we should actually expect this.

“Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” (I John 3:13)

As the World hated the witness of Christ Jesus, so the world will hate us. And just as they persecuted Christ, so are we persecuted for following Him.

“I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14)

“ But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: And be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” (I Peter 3:14-17)

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings: that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” (I Peter 4:12-14)

He tells us, “Happy are ye” and “Blessed are ye”. And Why are we so blessed? Why are we so happy? Firstly, because it is His will for us.

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” (I Peter 4:1-2)

Truly, suffering is not fun. Being rejected isn’t exactly joyous either. Especially for those of us who “like to fit in”. It can be hard to stand alone. But He does give the ability to. He has already gone before us, making a way. Hebrews 2:18 and 4:14-16 says how we have a Father who feels our infirmities. Once being tempted as we are, yet without sin. Because He suffered alone, so can I. Because He gave up all,”despising the shame”, so can I. Because He chose to bear my reproach, by His grace, I can bear His. He gives the grace and He promises to keep us.

“Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”    (I Peter 4:19)

Because He is faithful to me, I can be faithful to Him. We are also “happy” and “blessed” in this, because it brings Him glory.

“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (I Peter 4:16)

Christ is worthy. And if we, Christian, are not willing to stand, who is? “Without the camp”. Are you willing? Even in the little things, the small areas of our lives? In the workplace or our own social outlets? Even in our homes? In relationships? Must Jesus bear the cross alone? Or will we also take up our cross,”despising the shame”, for the joy that is before us?

“Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free?

No, there’s a cross for everyone, and there’s a cross for me.

The consecrated cross I’ll bear till death shall set me free,

And then go home my crown to wear, for there’s a crown for me.

Upon the crystal pavement, down at Jesus’ pierced feet,

Joyful I’ll cast my golden crown and His dear name repeat.

O precious cross! O glorious crown! O resurrection day!

Ye angels, from the stars come down and bear my soul away.”

(Written by George N. Allen and Thomas Shepherd and others)

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

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God Ordained Authority, Part Two

I would like to continue just a few thoughts on the subject of God ordained authority. If you have not already, please read my previous post on this subject as well, God Ordained Authority, Part One.

Last post, I stopped with the fact that, in trusting our authorities, we ultimately are trusting in the Lord.  God almost always chooses to use men, in one way or another, to perform His will for His people.

In Ezekiel 22:30 the Bible says- “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”

The Lord chose to use Joseph to provide through Egypt’s famine; Moses was called by God to lead the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; Caleb stood against the multitude; Joshua fought the battle of Jericho; Gideon smote the Midianites; Asa cried before the Lord and the Ethiopians fell; even rebellious Jonah eventually went and spared Nineveh their destruction. In Romans 10:14, we see where the Lord proclaims that He needs men to reach the lost. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” God chooses to use ordinary men. The men of the Bible did not possess any “special power” because they were from that time period. The only difference was their faith.

Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” (James 5:17-18)

God chooses to use our authorities in the same way. To say that my authority isn’t an “Elijah”, doesn’t hold water my friend. Just as He chose to use Jeremiah to prophesy to the people, He chooses to use our authorities to direct His will for our lives; whether that is through our fathers, a father-figure, our pastors, or maybe our husbands. It can honestly be a hard concept to swallow. But it’s Biblical. I’ve seen where too, the Lord has used my authority, even when he was wrong. Seriously wrong. I’ve learned that the Lord sees beyond this. In spite of my hopeless dread of a situation, His ways are still above it all. The Lord is still greater than any wrong authority. He can still turn a king’s heart. He turns the worst situations into blessings. I have no idea how He does it; but He does.

Prayer is such an importance here too. There have been many times I’ve honestly been tempted to just “tell my dad how it is”, but instead, chose to pray. And you know, the Lord heard. In giving it all to Him in prayer, it helped me to keep a right attitude and a submissive heart, while allowing the Lord to deal with my authority. I don’t have to say something, or let him know he’s wrong, or even tell him how I feel about it. I have a mediator. And I can trust the Lord with my authorities’ decisions.

I remember once, when my sister and I were helping someone in town for an extended period of time. This person seriously needed and appreciated our help, while she was still recovering from having had a new baby. We were happy to help. However, we received a call a few days earlier than expected. It was from my dad, saying how he wanted us to come home tomorrow. We both knew that we weren’t needed at home, nearly as much as we were needed in town. It was hard to submit to my dad in this, when I knew that another person was actually counting on us for help. How could we just “drop everything” and go? My authorities’ decision seemed wrong. And even worse, it felt selfish. So we just prayed. God knew. The next day, we went home as we were asked. And to the credit of an almighty, all knowing, and all sufficient Saviour, this person actually was ready for us to leave when we did. This was an answer to prayer. God provided a way, even when my authority was wrong.

Proverbs 4:1 says- “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.”

“Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.” (Proverbs 4:13)

“Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” (Proverbs 8:33)

I would like to use the example of David for just a moment. David was a shepherd boy who became a mighty man of valor. God eventually made him king. Although he was strong, he also had a soft heart towards the Lord. He was an example of a godly man. Did he do everything right? No. Certainly not; but God did say that he was a man after His own heart. One thing that is admirable about David’s character is that he submitted himself to authority. And this wasn’t just to any authority; but to a selfish, violent, wicked, and ungodly ruler. To an authority that actually tried to kill him, more than once. When Saul disobeyed the Lord in sparing the best of the sheep and the oxen, God then rejected Saul as king. Incomplete obedience amounts to complete disobedience and the Lord sought to make David king in his stead. However, Saul wasn’t just willing to hand over the kingdom. (You can read more about this in I Samuel) David fled for his life, even down to hiding in caves, because Saul wanted to kill him. David was a threat to a kingdom Saul could not hold onto. Not only did David not retaliate towards Saul, but he still upheld him as his authority. When Saul eventually was killed in battle, David wept. David loved Saul and still upheld him as his king. In all rights, Saul wasn’t supposed to be in a place of authority over David. God had chosen David to be king, not Saul. What an example though. He submitted to someone who was not only selfishly hoarding what was rightfully his, but also to someone who tried to kill him over it. If this isn’t an example of a bad authority, I’m not sure what is. And God blessed David for it.

Hebrews 5:7-9 says- “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”

I am amazed by this verse. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” If Jesus had to learn obedience, how much more do we? No one is exempt from authority. And even Jesus Christ the Lord submitted Himself to the Father.

“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38)

Jesus submitted His will to the Father, and He was GOD. Before Jesus went to the cross, in the garden of Gethsemane, we see Christ’s submission to the Father’s will. “And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed. Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:40-42)

“…the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11)

Christ is our example. We are told to walk even as He walked. (I John 2:6) He is also our Lord, our Master. Matthew 10:24 says- “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.”

Submission can be very humbling. It is letting go of our will and accepting the will of someone else. It requires death to self. This isn’t joyous; this isn’t fun. It also requires trust. And if you cannot trust your authority figure per se, you can still trust the LORD to work through that authority. His hand is not shortened that it cannot save. His ear is not heavy that it cannot hear. Jesus knows. And He makes a way. He gives the grace to bear. He gives the power and the ability to overcome. We can submit, even to an ungodly authority, because it is right; because He has supplied all we could ever need for victory!

The War We Forget

This is a longer post, but I know I was allowed to write this for a reason and for specific people.  I hope it is a blessing.

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If we are followers of God, and walk in love, as Christ has loved us, redeeming the time, submitting ourselves one to another, and obeying Jesus in the details of our life, we can be sure of this – the devil seeks us, to devour us, as a roaring lion. Us personally.

 

Lately my family, as well as church family, have been confronted by the enemy. I am convinced in my heart that right now a spiritual battle is being fought, desperately against us. Our adversary is prepared to take on his prey.

 

He is a murderer from the beginning. John 8:44. He hates those that open their mouth for the dumb in the cause of those that are appointed to destruction. If you are an abolitionist against human abortion, the devil hates you. You are now a target.

 

If you are a innocent, if you have committed to purity of heart, you are a target. If you are a parent, and seek to train up your children in the way they should go, you are a target. If you are a willing channel, and walk in the Spirit, you are a target. If you influence souls, you are a target.

 

This is reality, not just a spiritual phenomenon. Whether we are prepared or not, our enemy is skilled and cunning. He seeks to take advantage over us. (2 Corinthians 2:11.)

 

And yet, our enemy is predictable. We are not ignorant of his devices. And Jesus has given us armor against him. Our part is to be sober and vigilant and to take on that armor. This is an evil day (Eph.6:13) and we must stand. Principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness stand at your gates.

 

Our Armor

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Truth

 We are to be girt with truth. There is no truth in our enemy. When he speaks he lies, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44). He will lie to us. He will tempt us to lie. He would have us in bondage to lies and sin and fear.

Jesus is Truth. He says he is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6). And that the truth will set us free. (John 8:32). We have not received the bondage of fear but the true Spirit of adoption whereby we cry “Abba Father”. (Romans 8:15). Truth will shield us.

 

Breastplate of Righteousness

We are born sinners. In a wretched state. But Christ in his mercy stole our earthly heritage and made us his joint heirs by His righteous blood. He is not only truth, but He is righteousness (1 John 2:29) and any righteousness through us, is Him. Our righteous stand before God gives us peace (Rom 5:1-5). We can stand in quiet confidence because before God we are righteous. Righteous instruments that He can now use. (Rom 6:13). With His breastplate of righteousness, sin no more has dominion over us.

 

He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” Isaiah 33:15-16

Preparation of the Gospel

The Bible says that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. (Rom. 1:16). Paul was unashamed of the gospel and was ready to preach the gospel, knowing that righteousness is revealed through it. All of mankind is seeking peace; they hold truth in their unrighteous hands and don’t know what to do with it. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrightesouness.” And we should be prepared to give every man an answer to that which lieth in us. (1 Peter 3:15). And that answer is the gospel of peace. (Eph. 6:15).

Shield of Faith


Shield 


1. To cover, as with a shield; to cover from danger; to defend; to protect; to secure form assault or injury.
2. To ward off; to defend against; as clothes shield one from the cold.

 

The Bible says we can resist and remain stedfast against the devil in faith. Why? Because faith believes that “the God of all grace, who hath called us…after we have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 

(2 Peter 5:9-10)  

Faith can cast all it’s care upon Him and trust Him and know that He cares. (2 Peter 5:7).  Faith dares to ask anything of her Father. 

Matthew 21:22 

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”


 Faith can move mountains. Faith believes and knows the love God has toward us. Faith boldly dwells in love and Love dwells in her. Faith does not fear, but enables the heart to love. And perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:16-18.)  Faith is a shield of confidence. (1 John 5:14-15). Faith secures us against assault. The fiery darts of the wicked.

 

…faith is not a once-done act, but a continuous gaze of the heart at the Triune God. …While we are looking at God we do not see ourselves– blessed riddance. The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Christ, the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do. …Faith looks out instead of in and the whole life falls into line.” A.W. Tozer (Pursuit of God, 83)

The Helmet of salvation

All would be null and void without the saving blood of Jesus Christ on our account. By grace and faith are we saved, (Eph 2:8-9) in Jesus Christ alone.  There is no other salvation in anyone else, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).

 

The Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

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I was standing, alone, out in a field, trying to pray. And they surrounded me on every side. Demons. I was terrified, too scared to run back home – what if they just followed me? Only a few weeks ago my brother was confronted by them as well. So I started praying aloud. I still felt desperate. So I started quoting Scripture, and the strain melted away. They were gone.

 

I don’t know how common spiritual attack is in different families, but my family has definitely had our fair share. Whether in sudden fear, battles with depression, evil imaginations, or direct attack, we’ve experienced it. Through it all, we have learned that those who rule the darkness hate scripture.

Hebrews 4:12 says that the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword. It pierces and divides asunder the soul and spirit and discerns thoughts and intents of the heart. God asks – “Is not my word like a fire…and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? (Jer.23:29)

 

We can only be thoroughly furnished by knowing His word. (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Prayer

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…” Eph. 6:18

 

I am convinced that we, and others, suffer because we forget to ask.

We hope God will work in our behalf. Sometimes desperately hope. Or we feel like we just need to “take it on the chin” and bear it all cheerfully. Or trials weigh us down, the enemy beats down,we are surrounded so we whimper. And our Father, with baited breath, waits for us to call on Him. He wants to prove himself. And then when we finally resort to prayer, we ask him for a sip — when He’s ready to pour out the ocean.

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I’ve asked many people if they know whether they will go to heaven or not when they die. And many answer. “I hope so.” We know that that person’s eternity is at stake. How about us who “hope” God will work in us and for us?

 

When is the last time we sincerely persevered in prayer for something or someone? Have we recently asked God for something and knew He would answer? If we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if He hears us we can know for certain that we have whatever petition that we desire. God says so. (1 John 5:14-15).

 

I recently have been praying very specific things for certain people. And these people have told me (without any clue that I’ve been praying for them) how God has taught them this, or done this thing for them, or helped them in this area. God loves to work specifics. He loves to work outside the box. He enjoys proving Himself and getting glory. But He chooses to use channels. We’ve got to be available and willing.

 

When is the last time we came together, as siblings in Christ, and prayed for something? God says that that we can ask anything and it will be done for us. Where two or three are gathered together in His name He is in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:19-20.)

 

Image result for armor of godOver and over He asks (and commands) us to come to Him and ask. I wonder how many times we have grieved Him because He waited to give us a blessing, and we never came to receive it? How many times has He desired to bless someone else through us as a channel but we weren’t there…we never asked, we didn’t come.

 

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7

 

Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

 

And I say unto you, Ask , and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Luke 11:9

 

James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty thing, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3

Psalms 34:17 “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delievereth them out of all their troubles.”  

Trained to War

This morning Jesus showed me that He has conquered demons through me.  And it isn’t me at all — HE has girded me with strength to battle, He spread them abroad.  He avenged me.  He lifted me up on high above them that rose against me.  He has delivered me from the violent.  (2 Samuel 22)


My burden hasn’t gone away.  I am still on a battle front.  The devil still seeks me out.  These won’t change.  But!  He has given me supernatural acceptance and compassion.  He has given me a spiritual mission.  One that involves pain.  But He has supplied me with all I need to face them.  He conquers demons through helpless, vulnerable, weak channels.  He loves working through incompetent channels; He enjoys using the weak.  I am amazed at how simple it is.  Painful, but simple.  


I wonder how much we limit Him and His angles because we choose to be blase’ and silly on the battle field.  There is a cost to following Him.  There is a cost to allowing Him to love through us.  There is a battle.  A war.  And no matter our distracted state, our adversary is full-time employed. The devil’s only stumbling block – the warrior Christian. Those who are sober and vigilant. Who pray – believing behind their shield of faith. Those who use the word of God. The demons are only conquered by believing, willing, helpless Christians. Jesus is teaching my hands to war. Praise Him! He has given me peace. He has answered specific prayers. He loves answering specific prayers. The Spirit world is so real; so important. I am amazed at how joined the spirit world is with the physical. My work, my home, they are both battlefields. Like a friend so recently said, there is no such thing as a non-combatant in this war. We are all players, whether we want to be or not. When we fall asleep, we are not normally the devil’s priority, but he has no qualms of slaying us then. But jump into the fray and we are lighted targets. We shine in a dark place and he will try to take us out.

Our Weaknesses

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I’ve wondered why evil seems to know our weaknesses so well. I remember a pastor telling me that he wouldn’t mention his weaknesses aloud for fear the enemy would hear. They already know. How – I have no idea. But they know the secret unmentioned weaknesses. Yet, it doesn’t matter. Because it’s our weaknesses God can so greatly use. The very thing that haunts us about ourselves is the most powerful link to His power. Because there is absolutely nothing we can do with it. Weakness is difficult to rely on. Which is perfect for Him, because we can’t get in the way. God knows our weakness better than we do. If He molded our strengths, it is not too long of a stretch to believe that He has given us our weaknesses. Where we are weak we can be sure that there is the place He intends to use us the most.

 

The greater our weakness, the greater His glory. The more abnormal our weakness, the more supernatural He will prove. Guilt is something to shun. Our weakness in not an accident. We are not broken. There is nothing to fix. Our weakness in not a crutch but a sword!

 

Loneliness may be a companion, if so we must learn to embrace it. God works miracles in lonely places. The enemy has bows of steel. We have our weaknesses. Satan’s archers have had thousands of years of experience, but we have the Creator God who is Forever, that moves and lives through us.

 

You are godly with God in you. You are righteous with Christ’s blood atonement. We are joint-heirs, children of God, pure and holy – nothing less. Christ doesn’t see us as less because we aren’t less. He has trusted us with our weakness. The greater our weakness the more proof of His trust and great expectations. We are exactly what He intended. Accept it, and we will find an incredible journey before us. It doesn’t matter if we choose to go through it with open alertness and armor, or asleep and hateful – either way is painful. But with one we are not to be used, misery will depress us – or, we can be channels in which He receives glory, and demons are conquered, and our scars will be for Him.    

The Heart of the Matter Part Two

Please note, this is the continuation of my previous post, The Heart of the Matter Part One. (Please consider reading part one before reading on further.) Here, I would like to continue to address the struggle most Christian girls experience with their desire for marriage and the discontentment that can arise, when that desire is not met.

Thirdly, our desires and our affections should be set on Christ, not marriage.
Here is a quote by Hannah Whitall Smith that I would like to share with you. It is a little bit lengthy, but it was a help to me and I hope an  encouragement to you too.

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14) “By being ‘crucified to the world’ Paul meant that he was dead to it. …To be dead to a thing must mean that that thing has no power to attract. And this is what is meant in the Bible by ‘taking up the cross’. It is to become so dead to the world (that is, the lower plane of living) that its power to tempt is gone. It is to have our affections so set on things above, that merely earthly things have lost their charm.

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)

To have our ‘affections set’ on anything must mean that we love that thing; and if our affections are set on the will of God, we must love His will. It is impossible that God’s will should seem hard to a man whose affections are set on it. It may be accompanied with hard things, but in itself it must be a delight. Our Lord could say, ‘I delight to do thy will. O my God!’ because He was dead to everything that was contrary to His Father’s will. His affections were set on the will of God; and until our affections are similarly so set on the will of God as to delight in it, we have not ‘taken up the cross’ in the Scripture sense at all.”

(Hannah W. Smith, The Commonsense Teaching of the Bible p.115)

Our affections, our heart desires, our love, should be set on Christ. Does this mean that you never have any other desires? No. Does this mean it is somehow wicked to want to be married? Certainly not. But what we thought was so dear and precious and even important to us before, in the sight of Him, fades completely. He is more precious than that desire ever could be. And He is more lovely than its fulfillment in our lives.
I think many young girls can be in danger of believing that marriage will somehow make them happy and content, when otherwise, they weren’t. But this idea is false, not to mention rather covetousness.
What is covetousness? “To desire ardently (especially, something that another person has); crave; long for.”


I know many young girls who reek of covetousness, when it comes to this subject of marriage. Girls who literally hate weddings, because they themselves haven’t had their own. They are envious of what God has chosen to given someone else, and even bitter. Just because you don’t have a statue of Buddha sitting on your desk, doesn’t mean you aren’t guilty of idolatry. Not according to the Bible. Many girls’ innocent desire for marriage has become an idol in their heart. And although they might not even verbally say it, feel like God isn’t good unless He gives them their desire for marriage. This is scary.
Are you covetous? Longing for something that isn’t in your possession? Is your heart coveting something that isn’t yours? Or maybe even something that the Lord hasn’t seen fit to give you yet? (Like marriage.) Are you maybe even coveting someone that doesn’t belong to you? (Like a specific person you might admire or maybe just the desire for a husband in general.)
What do you usually talk about? 

Where does your mind oftentimes wonder? 

What seems to make you more excited than anything else? 

What (or who) are you always excited to talk or think about?
If we answer these questions honestly, I know it would reveal where our hearts truly are.
Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” 


Why are we able to be content with “such things as ye have“? (Such as singleness) Because we have Him. He has promised never to leave us, never to forsake us. He is that life-long companion most young women have both dreamed about and yearned for. He is that friend. He is the one who can hold your hand through the hardships of life. To comfort your pain. Who accepts and loves you just as you are. The one who adores you and seeks to capture your heart. The one who will be faithful to the end. The one who you can trust no matter what. “We can face anything, if we face it together.” This is Christ.
Fourthly, our heart motivation for wanting to get married shouldn’t be derived from selfishness, but actually from love.
And here is what I mean by that. A lot of girls have silly infatuations towards someone they admire and label it as “love”. Just because you “like someone” doesn’t mean you are “in love” with him. Love is so much deeper than this.
And in the same sort of way, some girls hold an infatuated idea of what marriage is. And their dreams and hopes and imaginations for what marriage will be for them, are usually, at the core, selfish.

Feelings like-

 Marriage will make me happier. 

Marriage is my romantic dream come true.

Marriage will make me feel loved, cherished, and accepted.

Marriage will make me feel secure. 

Or marriage will change my current unhappy circumstances.

Marriage will ____(this), or marriage will ____(that) for me.


Is marriage all about you? Are you hoping to get a husband, just for the happiness and fulfillment he may give you? This isn’t real love.
I would like to share another quote with you from Hannah Whitall Smith. This quote is on love. Real love.
We must remember, however, that a great deal of what is called love ought really to be spelled s-e-l-f-i-s-h-n-e-s-s. [selfishness] People love their own enjoyment of their friends more than they love the friends themselves, and consider their own welfare in their intercourse with those they profess to love, far more than the welfare of the so-called loved ones. It has been said that we never really love anyone until we can do without them for their good; and, measured by this test, how few there are who really love.

….

The law of love can never be a cherishing of self at the expense of the loved one, but must always be the cherishing of the loved one at the expense of self.” (The Commonsense Teaching of the Bible p.141)

True love, is Christ’s love. A love that doesn’t think about self at all. A love that is never motivated by selfish wants or needs. Marriage isn’t something to enter into selfishly for your own pleasure, although I think the majority of people do. The first motive for marriage, should be a love for Christ. A love that desires His will over our own. (Whether that will is marriage or not marriage.) Marriage is a picture of Christ and His bride. And when a marriage is derived from knowing His will and in His timing, it can be such a pure and beautiful testimony. The second motive for marriage, should be out of real love for that other person. Not a selfish desire to please your flesh, but from a desire to please that man and fulfill his needs. To be his helpmeet. To love him, to honour him, and to accept him as a gift from the Lord, and also as your “new ministry”.
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

(Romans 13:8-10)

Girls can also be in danger of thinking that marriage will somehow magically change them for the better. But this simply isn’t true. Walking down the wedding aisle doesn’t suddenly warp you into Cinderella. Sorry girls! Haha J Marriage changes your circumstances and your position maybe, but it doesn’t necessarily change you. If you are discontent before you are married, you will be discontent after you are married. If you are selfish before you get married, you will still be selfish after you get married. Marriage is joining yourself to another fleshly human being. And through Christ, it can be wonderful. But, everyday life goes on after the honeymoon. And you are still you. The girls I have known that were discontent and unhappy in Christ while they were single have still been just as discontent and unhappy married. It is sad. Marriage doesn’t change the state of your heart. And instead, now I see a marriage that is struggling, and a husband that feels frustrated, because she is trying to take something from him, that he simply cannot give.

 Only Christ meets the deepest needs of our hearts. That is a place reserved only for Him. Girls have a strong need for love. This is how God made us. We naturally need and yearn for affection. But human love can only take you so far. And while human love is imperfect and selfish at best, Christ’s love is perfect and unselfish. He satisfies like no other, every time. He desires us. He draws us to Himself. He seeks our hearts. He is a friend that is closer than no other. And His love is forever.
“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” (Psalms 62:5)

And fifthly, the Lord knows what is best for each of us individually, what brings Him the most glory, and is the greatest furtherance to the gospel.  

“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Psalms 40:8)

If we can honestly say that our whole desire is Christ and that His will is our delight, as David did, then surely we would be accepting of that will, whatever it might be. Even when that will crosses ours. What if marriage wasn’t His perfect will for you? What if He needed you single? Not many are even willing to consider that an option. I don’t think anyone believes I Corinthians 7, where Paul says it is better to be unmarried, in serving the Lord, than married.

“But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” (I Corinthians 7:32-34)

This isn’t to say that marriage isn’t a godly calling, or that you cannot serve the Lord married, but we should be willing, if He asked.

Letting Jesus direct our lives, from the biggest decisions to the smallest details, is peace. It is sweet to trust Jesus, because He is trustworthy and because His love is towards us. His plans are good, not evil. If He chooses to withhold a desire from your heart, it is withheld in love. 

Psalms 84:11 says-“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Are we able to say, as Paul did, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20: 24)

Shouldn’t this be, without question, the purpose and heart cry of every Christian? There shouldn’t even be anything to weigh that desire with. He is both worthy of our best and worth seeking after with all our hearts. He should be our goal. Our whole desire. To the point that we count nothing dear unto ourselves, but that we may win Him.