The Freedom of His Word

photo by Claudia Meyer, Paris

There was a time, many years ago, when I thought I was praying in earnest for someone who had some real problems.  Not only did she have problems, but she created problems for many in our congregation.  I understood enough about prayer not to focus on the symptoms that were obvious to all.  I wanted to know the root cause – why she acted like she did – knowing that the symptoms would leave when the root was removed.  When I asked the Lord to show me the root, His answer surprised me.

God responded to my question with a question. “What will you do with that information?”  With that simple question, He did show me a bad root – but it was in me.  He knew I would misuse the information I asked of Him.  Unbeknownst to me, I didn’t want to help this sister in her need, but to share the information with others as a prayer concern (aka gossip).  Any prayer that would have taken place as a result of my sharing this insight would have been tainted because of my wrong motive.

Gossip wasn’t the only problem here.  My motivation in praying for this woman wasn’t to help her at all.  I just wanted her to stop being such a problem for me and others in my congregation.  My motives were totally selfish and self-serving!  I had looked at her actions and attitudes only through my eyes of flesh, not through God’s eyes of unconditional love and desire to heal and deliver her into His freedom through Christ.

John 8:32 AMP  And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.

You know, the Lord never told me the root of that woman’s problem, for it wasn’t the truth I needed to know.  Instead, He told me the Truth I needed to know, that which needed to be worked into my life at that moment, so that I could begin to walk in His greater freedom for me!  Walking in the freedom of this Truth, I am now able to pray for others that the Truth might also set them free.

Show Me the Real!

Mark 16:14 NIV  Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

A short verse, quite easy to follow.  Why did it catch my attention this time?  These disciples stubbornly refused to believe what they hadn’t seen for themselves, and Jesus rebuked them, plain and simple.  Or is it?  If we “hear” Him rebuke as we have known rebuke ourselves, it is.  But, let’s “listen” more carefully to Jesus in His rebuke.

Jesus had already conquered death, hell, and the grave with His victory on the cross.  Satan no longer had the ability even to tempt Him to function with man’s mindset or attitude.  He couldn’t be tempted to be angry or sarcastic with them, despite their stubbornness.  In no way was He arrogant towards them, or judgmental.

Those things Jesus didn’t do in rebuke seem to be part and parcel of most rebukes today – even among Christians.  What are we missing?  Could it be as simple as motive?  Jesus’ motive was to bring the disciples up higher – out of the already dead old man and into the new man in Christ.  His motive was love, pure and simple.  He not only rebuked because of love, He also rebuked in love.  In this very love, He rebuked the disciples for choosing their old ways, then showed them His better and higher way in the next verses.

Mark 16:15-18 NIV He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;  they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

A longing arose from my spirit man as I cried out, “Show me what this looks like, Jesus!  I’ve never seen it Your way, and I’ve certainly never done it Your way.  Show me.  Let me hear it Your way from others.  Even when You’ve rebuked me in the past, I’ve heard a mixture of Your loving rebuke and the enemy’s taunting condemnation.  Help me hear only You in rebuke, Lord, that I will go forth in the greater and higher call to shine Your Light for others to find their way, too.  Show me the real, Lord!”

Whose Gain?

Kay’s glimpse into the obvious: Jesus’ motives were never mixed.  He never did anything for personal gain, only serving others for their gain.

Mark 10:45 NIV  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

As obvious as this seems, a recent application brought into focus how minimal my understanding really was, giving you another opportunity to learn from my mistakes, rather than your own.

As I tried to apply a marketing suggestion made at the recent writers’ conference, something inside was unsettled.  I would be doing something different from the norm for me, but I knew that wasn’t the issue.  Something about it just wasn’t right, or was something about me wrong?

The recommendation was to get involved with organizations that are pertinent to the subject of your book, these being places that would help its sales.  (Potential publishers really like the idea of books selling, for some reason. 🙂 )  During class, I began to think of places that fit this need for me, and included them on one of the many lists I made while there.

Only as I sat still with the Lord, praying about how to get involved with a particular group, did I see the problem.  It was I.  This wasn’t about getting involved because the Lord directed me to, or even because I had a burning desire to help.  I was considering this time-consuming activity only as a means to an end – to make contacts for publishing my as-yet unwritten book.  Yuk!  Yuk!  And, yuk again!  My motive was wrong, no matter how many would have been served.

When the Lord revealed to me the simple and obvious statements shared at the beginning of this post, the discomfort left and the pressure was eliminated – immediately.  Daddy didn’t tell me to do this now.  If He does later, my focus will be to serve for others’ gain – just like Jesus – trusting Him to take care of all my needs.

I think I need to apply this to everything else I do, as well.  Will you join me?