The Bible tells us often that God knows humans better than they know themselves—He doesn’t have to wait for the information to come from the accuser, the devil. God has said,
I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb. For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it. (Isaiah 48:8b-11a)
God does have a stake in each of us—and it is for His own sake that He will lift us up. He is not going to bless us for our own sake—He is going to bless us for Jesus’ sake and for the sake of His own name!
If you think that there is anyone in the world so good that God could do something for that person’s sake, you don’t know sin; and if you think there is anything that God will not do for you for His sake and for His name, you don’t know God! [emphases in article all mine]
If you have failed, remember that you are not responsible to men in this regard. You stand responsible before your heavenly Father and Jesus Christ at the right hand of God. Let us be encouraged by this good news!
In the third place, some are fearful that they will lose their reputation as sober and conservative and traditional Christians. In other words, they have never been willing to be a fool for Jesus’ sake!
It is amazing that genuine Christians are not willing to stand up wherever they are and give a good word for the Lord. There are great political ideologies sweeping the world now whose members will make double-eyed, long-eared donkeys of themselves for the sake of the party and the cause. There are religious sects whose witnesses are willing to go to jail, to be pushed around, to be lampooned for the sake of a miserable, twisted doctrine! But in our Christian ranks, we prefer to be respectable and smooth, and we have a reputation for being very solemn Christian believers.
I can only conclude from my experience that many solemn, professing Christians will never make any spiritual progress and will never really be happy in the Lord until God finds some way to shake them out of their deadly respectability! . . .
HAVE TO LOSE REPUTATIONS
So it has been with all of God’s saints who have pleased Him and praised Him through the centuries. At some time in their witness and expression of the living Christ they have had to lose their reputations among those who have been traditionally pious and somber, dogmatic and cautious.
This is still happening in our day, and with glorious results.
A young man who is director of one of our American Bible conferences has given me his testimony of great and radical things which the Lord has done for him in recent months.
“I realize now that in my service for God I was one of the most self-assured, conceited and horrid young fellows you could ever meet,” he told me frankly. “I could raise money, I could put on a great program, and I figured I was a great success in the Lord’s work.
“But recently on a trip to Wales, I had the opportunity of talking to some older folks who remembered Evan Roberts and the great Welsh revival. They told me about the true working of the Holy Spirit in Christian renewal and revival—and I didn’t really know what they were talking about
“Somehow, and they did not realize it, it was just as though they were burying me under a great load of crushing bricks, and God spoke to me about my own great spiritual lack.”
He told me that he made his way to the little cottage where he was staying and got down on his knees and began to sweat it out before God.
Do you know what this was? It was the act of dying! It was the end of self. That man died to reputation, ability, presumption, success, conceit, personality—all of that stuff!
He said to me, “Mr. Tozer, I was filled with the Holy Spirit and my whole life has been transformed. Now I only want this cheated and betrayed generation to see the glory of God once more.”
I said to him then, “Brother, do you realize that if you carry through with this message and this blessing that you will lose some of your best fundamentalist friends? You will be described as having gone off your rocker!’
“I am not worried any more about my reputation,” he replied. “I am perfectly willing because I am going to let the Lord have His way in the whole operation!”
The interesting thing is that he hasn’t had to switch or change his doctrines around at all—he just found out that he needed the fire of God on his doctrine, and he got it!
WE MUST TRUST
It is for us to trust, to trust wholly in the Lord Jesus. This is the only way in which we can conquer fear and live in blessed victory.
I have had times in my life and ministry when the burdens and the pressures seemed to be too much. Sometimes physical weariness adds to our problems and our temptation to give in to discouragement and doubt. At these times it seems that even in prayer it is impossible to rise above the load. More than once, by faith that seemed to have been imparted directly from heaven, the Lord has enabled me to claim all that I needed for body, soul and spirit. On my knees I have been given freedom and strength to pray, “Now, Lord, I have had enough of this—I refuse to take any more of this heaviness and oppression! This does not come from God—this comes from my enemy, the devil! Lord, in Jesus’ name, I will not take it any longer through Jesus Christ I am victor!” At these times, great burdens have just melted and rolled away all at once!
Brethren, God never meant for us to be kicked around like a football. He wants us to be humble and let Him do the chastening when necessary. But when the devil starts tampering with you, dare to resist him!
I stand for believing in God and defying the devil—and our God loves that kind of courage among His people.
If you are still wrapped in grave clothes and great fears lie upon you, it is time for you to dare to rise and in sweet faith in the risen Jesus Christ declare: “I will not take this any longer. I am a child of God—why should I go mourning all the day?”
Will God answer?
“All right, My child,” He will answer as the burden rolls away, “I have waited long to hear you say that. Jesus is Victor and in Him you overcome!”