Can you hold out your hands in front of you, open, palms up, with all that you have and all that you are or will ever become held in them?
Can you keep them open like this, open to the Lord?
Then you are beginning to know THE TRUE FAITH!
Will you refrain from grasping, self-promoting, or gloating? Will you love those He gives you to care for, as they continue on their journey, passing through your hands? Or will you have your own agenda for them, push and manipulate by fear or condemnation and guilt?
Will you give what He tells you to give, and let go what was never yours in the first place? All is His!
Here is one just as hard if you are prone to being manipulated by false obligations – will you not give when He tells you not to give?
Can you let go on those who would go on from you, or will you hold them ever close to your small sphere?
Will you encourage others past you, not reluctantly, but this your greatest joy?
Do you suffer guilt and fear when no one is following you, or do you let all rest in the Lord?
Worse yet, do you whip them and cajole, when no one will follow? Or do you resort to the Lord in humility and ask Him why they are not following?
How presumptuous are you – do you ever think the church was built to support you, or you to support the body, the bride?
Do you picture yourself as a leader a servant of the church – or do you see the church your platform, to make a spectacle for you/and the Lord,(in your mind, the two synonymous)?
Could you lay it all down for others to come into their ministry – or do you protect jealously what little patch of ground you’ve been given, as if it were an eternal inheritance built just for you?
Are you protecting – or do you entrust all to Him to protect?
Once a man cursed David up and down, David’s mighty man said,”Pease let me go over and take off his head.” David’s response was that it may be the Lord who has given it to the man to so curse David. His trust in God, David said, was that perhaps the Lord would bless him for the cursing he took that day.
Are your hands open wide in the humility that does not judge yourself so high as beyond reproach – or grasped tightly, saying all that touches them is mine, ALL MINE!? Do you believe that it is the Lord who gives, but it’s people who are always trying to take away from you, or do you see the Lord is the one who both gives and takes away.
Have you been with Abel, whose brother slew him for the purity and faith of his sacrifice? Would you offer such a sacrifice if there was a chance your brother might slay you for it, how bout if you knew he was going to slay you for it? If you can, you are free, you are the Lord’s servant, not the servant of men, or of your own image etc.
Have you walked in the quiet places with Enoch, while the world around you is consumed with life?
Or have you built with Noah, labouring long in faith, building for a day which is to come, while the whole world had no concept of what you were building, labouring for what you believed will be swept away?
How many of you have been with Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees, forsaken all with him to travel to a land you had not yet seen, believing only the ONE who sent you. Have you walked the wilderness with him, valuing the uncharted mountains in preference to the established but charming, captivating, luring corruption of cities.
Have you known with Abraham the agony of the failure of your own self-promotions, as when he was goaded to fashion his own promised seed in the person of Ishmael, when the one that was promised was not yet to be born?
Did you know with Abraham the anguish of a hope, now received in seed (Isaac), a seed promised and received from God, and then to have it all challenged by God himself again, could you offer even your Isaac to Him. Still your fidelity towards God is called to be dashed to the point of a faith that says only a resurrection could save the promise now, even the promised seed remains in God’s hands. We get to touch it, minister to it and with it, but the seed remains His.
Have you been taken where you did not want to go, with Joseph, whose God given dream was tested beyond any measure, over and over again. And then, just as hopes seemed to improve, all was taken out from under him again, till all that he had left was God? If the Lord has dealt with you this way, you are very blessed indeed. What fruit you will bear will be born of God!
Do you see how Moses was brought to the point where he realized all his best efforts to save Israel, with the best of title,position, education, or zeal could only result in disaster? You are a lucky man if God has so brought you to such a place, and not allowed you to go forward on on your own.
Were you with David in the wilderness, where first he came to know the grace of God in secret small places, yet even when the Lord made it known in open places, and amongst all Israel, again and again he returned all promotion to the hands of the Lord. Blessed are those who knew with David, that if the Lord has been the one to promote you, be it to a throne, a palace, or a wilderness with sheep or a ragtag army; the Lord is the one who will uphold you, and not you yourself!
Will you stand with Elijah, whose trust became so resolute that it unnerved kings and queens, driving armies of the priests of false gods to a frenzy, while you rest in your GOD! A trust so forged into steel, a bond that you know from the absoluteness of a reciprocating consecration. A partnership with GOD! Douse the sacrifice again, SOAK IT WITH WATER – MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE for any salvation but GOD! Whoa ….. ya ……… go for it, SOAK IT ! ! ! MY TRUST IS IN GOD ! ! ! !
Were any of you with the baptist, when He held so dearly the one of whom he spoke – that when he beheld the lamb, the Messiah, he humbled himself and said “I have need to be baptized by you” the one whose shoe-latchet he considered himself unworthy to undo, and called himself but the friend of the groom. Did you behold him as he decreased, while the ONE he pointed to was lifted up high that He might draw all men unto Him. Can you take your two most ardent supporters and followers, point them away from you when you have done your part and say “behold the lamb of God” “and the two disciples followed Jesus” this being your intention and motivation all along! John 1:35
And do you now follow Him, of whom it was recorded, though the God of all that is temporary offered Him the kingdoms and wealth of this World, and when men came to make Him king – believed in HIM alone who is the true king-maker. Believing this even to the point of death. This is fidelity – this is the humility that will make Him your all in all! The Lord said to my Lord, ‘How much do you trust me, and how much are you mine?’
‘This much Lord’ and with that His hands were stretched out wide,and he died.
Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men, A TEMPLE NOT MADE WITH HANDS.
There is no greater strength known, no deeper rest – than in the confidence of the true faith, an ABSOLUTE faith – IN GOD ALONE ! When we take our faith off of God and put it on what we can or think we must do to make things happen, our Ishmael is begun, our own Babel, anything but the city of God.
But when we follow the way of all the men of history who have asked for and submitted to the dealings of GOD, we begin to discover one of the greatest strengths our Lord can give to man – TRUE, DEEP, SATISFYING HUMILITY! In this state a person so confesses their trust, refusing to take up the arm of the flesh for their own promotion or deliverance, that they move into a strength that defies even death to take away their destiny. When a person so much is the Lord’s, nothing in the universe can move them, BUT GOD.
The Lord is making an army of such people!