A Letter to A Dear Brother
I thank you for your prayers and I will certainly pray for you. Actually I have been praying for you and others. A few times I have knelt down before the Father and our Lord to seek His enlightenment for each of you. Do continue to press IN before you press ON. Yes, through this, you will learn the benefit and the power to wait on the Lord.:)
In the beginning, it can be hard for our wandering minds and undisciplined souls. But eventually, wave after wave of His “breakers” will rush in and they shall be unstoppable! The sound is of many RIVERS!!! 🙂 The waterfalls of His power and joy, and almost always, of our profound remorse in thoughts and emotions as well.
This is because during such a process, the Holy Spirit will convict us of the sinfulness of our sinful nature as a son of Adam, Christ’s great mercy and love through His Sacrifice, and the rightoueness and severity of God with His judgment. God’s absolute holiness will compel us to cry out for His forgiveness, to humbly and zealously seek the benefits of the atoning power of the blood of the Lamb of God. The Judge of ages is indeed just, and He is the judge of all: the living and the dead, men and angels. Through our keen knowledge of the severity and the justice of His judgment, we are awakened to the eternal reality and living power of His Love. This is our living hope that will flow us into His living grace, which is the substance of our living faith. Without this living river, we are left dry and dying. But with it, we will be firmly rooted and be ever growing in Christ, bearing many fruits in the end.
[NIV] John 3
16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
[NIV ] Romans 8
14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
[NIV ] John 14
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.
But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
20 On that day (a special moment, a peculiar time, like in the day of Pentacost when the baptism of the Spirit came) you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
21 Whoever [step 2] has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who [step 1] loves me. He who loves me will be [step 3] loved by my Father, and [step 4] I too will love him and [step 5] show myself to him.”
[NIV ] John 16
5 “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. 7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
The effect of such convictions will sooner or later narrow us down, so we could gaze into the sinfulness of our sins, like a bruised nose staring at us in the mirror of His holiness. Oh, what a truth it is that the Love of God in essence is HIS long-suffering! And NOT ours, as if we really have loved Him so much that we are still holding on. That is a lie! Then we will clearly see that the miseries of our life, most of the time, are profoundly rooted our love of a pitiful self and our love of an evil world. With this light, we would never think it is a happy thing for anyone be dragged into our party of miseries. How absurd it would be if a young lady tries to pose for a fine wedding shot with such a nose on her face! A sensible bride would never show up at the wedding before that nose is absolutely healed. And how much she would appreciate the allowance of a time for healing!
Someone would say: you are so unkind and so terrible in describing my “adorable” life (or “miserable” if from another spectrum), and the achievements (or the losses) of my “spirituality” in God. I would say, oh, you poor wretched soul, rise up from the ashes of your life and ask God to reveal yourself in His eyes. Are you now a bride without any spot and blemish, so beautiful that heaven and earth will adore, that men and angels will praise? Are you ready to be the wise wife of the Father’s choice that the Son would happily bring into His inner chamber? Are you ready to be crowned with Christ and to rule with Him in His Kingdom?
Do you not know His is the jealous LOVE, and the best of ours is but a love of soulish jealousy and worldly cravings? You see, until one is totally undone by His Love, we have very little of the testimony of the passion and the power of His love. It will forever change us if we do have it. We can never be the same. Oh, how I long that He would fill me up, to the brim, with His Love! That my lips be filled with praise and my heart with adoration. I want to dwell in His glory and in His glory I would know fully His power and goodness. This longing, this craving, this travailing, is the fire buried deep in the crust. Anything close to the earth’s core would be melted totally into gas or lava. It is impossible for it to enjoy any other state of being, retaining any form or shape of its own. Unseen forever in the eyes of the distant – trees, birds, clouds, stars, men of many races and many epochs, yet it remains the same, always true to its nature, always inflict the same “desctruction” to things alien to it being of burning.
Paul testified, in the crucible of his trying life, that this love is like a flood sweeping over. It will burst and explode everything in us and about us. John testified about this love in his dying age, still with a curious sense of wonder and amazement:
[NIV ] 1 John 3
1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
At the realization of our own wretchedness and the wonder of His love, should we feel bad about ourselves? Yes, rightfully so! It is guaranteed. But now we can ask Him for forgivness and receive the abundance of His Love. It is the first step of His work for our regeneration. (1 John)
How can we be BEAUTIFIED when we are still proud of our dresses, adornments and hair styles? Impossible. We have to see clearly and acknowledge without any pretense the fact of the matter is that we are naked, poor, unfit and in desperate need. We can’t worship it away. We can’t explain it away. We can’t even hide it away. If anyone thinks he can just patch it up and pretend it is not there, that is to LIE it away. He is deceived. Do we think anyone would be impressed by the beauty of our husband’s wedding if our are such a bride? Surely the Accuser, the Devil, would have a lot to say about that.
Let me use a Chinese parable to double down on this simple truth: none would want to continue to eat when he has found just one tiny dead fly in his soup. Such is the repulsiveness we should feel when we “taste” of the flavor of our sins, especially when it is after when we just tasted of God’s love and mercy. Sadly, some of us have dulled away our senses and blindfolded ourselves, thinking such a contrast should never be revealed in our midst. That is quite some lie. Unfortunately, in this day and in this corrupted age, sinful men parade about with his sinful acts and pervert the very concept and practice of simple decency and good morals. He is like a man devouring a soup of flies and telling everybody that it is tasty and nourishing. Would anyone with a good sense for better things in life want to sit down at such a table? Impossible!
I was the target and the catch. I was, in many many ways, that sinful man. You and I are sinners in the beginning, and will continue to sin if we are not careful with our salvation. But it is one thing to stumble, it is quite another to be defensive about it. Not mention to deny it. I pray we all have a honest heart and have the courage to step into the light of His truth and His love. The GOOD and LOVING Father and the ever-forgiving Lord has put up with me well. But the time is up. And I thank Him that He has carried me through it all. And in His great mercy and the richness of His love, He has rescued me from myself and the murky puddle of my sinful life. How I thank Him for His forgiveness and mercy! Now, I want Him more than anything else and I long to be holy forever more. So be it!
“Oh, God, is there mercy for me? Is there mercy for me? Is there mercy for me?” “Gracious Lord, don’t pass me by.” “I once was lost, but now I am found.” “Mercy found me.”
Oh, how did He find me! I was like a babe abandoned on the roadside, poor and wrenched. After two years of search and contemplation, I became the most repulsive thing in my own eyes. To be was torment; not to be was terror. I hated every thoughts of my own, always keenly felt my powerlessness to do any good. It was impossible for me to trust anyone because I had such profound a distrust of myself. So I desired and expected no good from anyone, nor from anything of this miserable life. I asked that the course of my life would quicken my end. I was tired of everything that makes me as a man. I was tortured with all my senses and needs, with the fact I had to hear, to eat, to sleep, to talk, to think. There was not a moment of escape nor a drop of honey. A new friend was another statement of the hypocrisy and vanity of life; a new song or verse was another evidence of man’s shallowness and deceitfulness. Where was anyone that I could truly love? Who in the world would really care about me?
If it was not Mercy, who would I be this day? I am nothing, and in me “there is NO good thing.” How true!
In the Gospels, Jesus speaks about certain folks through whom sin enters into others’ life. Better tie a stone on his neck and throw himself into the depth of the sea. He “kindly” advised the disciples to rid of such a thing in their lives. Because He knew they would be sent into a perverted world of wolves as defenseless sheep in the ways of evil, so he wanted eagerly that they become shining lights and “preserving” salt. Not that the world would leave them alone, but that they will undo the world and reverse its course of evil and corruption.
Who are His worst enemies for this mission? The naysayers. “You can’t do that. God already decided the world will go to hell and we are saved. And there is not much you can do about it. He is sovereign, so this corruption and the doom of it is predestined. You can do nothing about it and should do nothing.” If there is a sin that leads to death, such a doctrine is very deadly. You see, it essentially nullifies the transforming power of God in sudden conviction, the work of genuine repentance as evidenced everywhere in the Bible and in the living works of God. Even more dangerous, it discredits the “greater works” through God’s servants in exercising the power of the Gospel and dispensing the ministry of God’s love for the forgiveness of sins, which was and still is entrusted to His church on earth.
Equally deadly is the message of cheap grace. “Come to God as you are. He will embrace you with His open arms.” Really? If that is the BIG message of the Gospel of love. I would suggest that we are so deceived that we don’t even have a hint of who is the God of all holiness. It is everywhere in this age of apostasies. Few days ago, I was put in a situation being asked to be a bit spiritual: after hearing a strange story of a man who was caught in all kinds of sins and continued to brag about his ministry in prison. I knew I was expect to detect a “might man” in this believer through my “prophetic gift”. I should have just leave them alone. But there was this part in me still wanting to connect with others and so I ran with some unguarded way of my past. I did not withdraw. Now, I have to say, I do have a bit of “prophetic” ability in me, if there is such a thing. I saw very clearly a lying spirit operating in this man, and in a flash, saw a bit of a history of his spiritual walk. Evidently he was a product of a few foolish cheap-grace teachers. I took pity on him, and I tried to be as tactful as I could to advise him of the danger of being falsely spiritual. It did not trouble me that much that the sinful man was not readily convicted-I had my own sins in the weighing. So I kept quiet and did not press on the matter. But I had to confess that I was a bit caught out of guard and since then a bit troubled when it was implied to me that the lying man should be treated with “kindness”. And that he should be encouraged with his “spiritual future services” because he could somehow feel “the power of the spirit” or have certain spiritual gifts. Well, now I think about it. I don’t think this dear, kind and humble brother had a clue of what kind of power of God he was asking for. You see, witchcraft is very spiritual, can be surprisingly gifted. But to exercise it is to believe a lie with supernatural endowments and religious vocabularies. It is spiritual gift, no question of it. Yet deep down at it core, it is not serving God, but the carnal man in keeping on his sinful nature and his “lawless” life.
The missing part, which is a grave sin for a minister of the Lord, is that genuine repentance is not required or eagerly sought after. In reality, the truth is, there is NO forgiveness of our sins without our TRUE confessions of them. It is not even about our “painful” struggles with them. But that we are sinful and our sins put us directly at enmity with a holy and righteous God. We deserve His wrath and the terrible “prison” of Hades and Death because we are sinful in our unregenerate heart and have led a carnal life driven by our senses. There is no “governing” of the Holy Spirit, thus no true “lordship” or “leadership” of Christ Jesus in our life till TRUE repentance with joy becomes a life style of our spiritual life.
I tend to believe that not until we cry out to God with a clear conviction: “Abba, Father” in the light of our sinfulness, thus His tender mercy and the power of His love shed abroad in our heart, sin would not have been fundamentally dealt within us. As a result, it is impossible for us to be fully sanctified and justified in Christ Jesus. Eventually the fullness of our salvation will be missed out. It is a clear and wise suggestion by Peter, who went through it all, that we should “work out our salvation with fear and trembling”. To have to work out something implies clearly that it is possible to not have it worked out or never even started it.
This is not a great topic to argue with, but a very simple truth to reckon. Imagine if we procured a fine pearl for a beautiful crown, we would be foolish to think that just because I risked my life for the pearl, that it would now fit perfectly in the crown. And all by itself! It would also be unwise for us to think that because the pearl fitted in the crown, we would then be crowned legally and effectively as one sitting on a royal throne. You see, some “spiritual” thinking of “untaught” minds are very wrong, full of confusion and absurdity. The reason is that they have indulged in the imagination of the ways of God, but have never immersed into the full spectrum of it.
To generalize one’s life experience into spiritual truth is a very dangerous practice. It idolizes our own life over the Truth as revealed in God’s Word and the LIVING power of His LIFE in the living way. This, in essence, is the way of the “sons of Greece”, a self-exalting false spirituality that is built upon human ideals and human intellectual power, rather than on the “direct” and PURE revelation of God, evidenced and testified by the written word of God.
Now, concerning sin, David said: “Against Thee only, I have sinned.” Again, “I have sinned against Heaven.” And again, “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I was born in sin from my mother’s womb.” You see, these are not mere revelations or mere confessions of bad things of life. No, they were the cream of an extremely troubled soul, the resolute statement of a contending yet yielded heart, the pronouncement of a crushed and cleansed conscience. Unless one went through this, his witness of God’s forgiving power would be very limited and thus in danger of being one-sided. Not wrong, but not totally true either.
From confession to repentance, from repentance to deliverance, we learn to enter and enjoy a life of repentance in Christ Jesus as a MATURED son of God. Jesus, being the Pattern life of holiness, lived out day to day as an obedient Son in a corrupted world and with a corruptible human soul. What a miracle that He kept and was kept sinless. What suffering He must have endured to be obedient to our Heavenly Father in every way in this light. Not just a few days of terror and misery before and on a Cross, but the everyday life of restriction (captivity) and discipline (meekness), with genuine willingness out of a joyful and worshipful heart to please His Heavenly Father.
Two cents of mine on the practice of healthy, wise, balanced and disciplined self-reflection, which, in my assessment, is the very content of the work and the very being of “sound-mindedness” or “sober-mindedness”. It is a major character of a matured spiritual man in Christ Jesus.
The scripture tells us that godly sorrow leads to true repentance. And godly repentance is ALWAYS without regret. In another word, it is always without anything missing and/or should never incur a sense of loss. “Come and taste that the Lord is GOOD.” This taste always starts with repentance. Because His GOODNESS will always expose the nakedness of our soul, thus the futility and pride of our own righteousness. When the Light of God comes, it will always expose darkness, first and foremost in us, and then in the world. If one still struggles with the general practice of repentance, that is because one chooses to deceive himself. It can be very hard for him to imagine that the more we walk with the Lord, the more intensely and readily we repent. This way of life at least is a big part of what Jesus meant when he inspired others to “carry your cross”. Daily! Not once a while, as Paul later testified.
Let me share my life a bit.
You hear I always say: “sorry.” Other may take it as if that is because I am a Chinese. They are being presumptuous. They should have known me when I was a Chinese, a very decent one – one might find more reasons to enjoy as a friend than I am today. I was generally a generous, hospitable and amiable person. But in that life, the only times I apologized and meant it were when I was caught in an act of wrongdoing, thus put in a place that I had to face my own follies. Few these “shameful” times were when I was confronted severely by my loving father. My father was a good, noble and honorable man in every way I could think of. Other than that, I don’t remember ever apologizing to anyone when I felt I was in the right. And because I was always able to “make it right” or “choose the right”, I seldom said “sorry” in my life.
Why do I share this? I want to you to know that even a man of the world knows how to handle a difficult situation with wisdom and humility, especially when they know they have their share of mistakes. I knew this from experience. Many a time in my life I was apologized to as well. Now I am not talking about youthful or senseless people. I am talking about my supervisors, my managers, my professors, my teachers. Why would they do such a thing to a young man who would never demand it upon them, and never really protested? It had been a puzzle to myself in my former life. I think I know now, after the Lord have taught me by reviewing certain things in life: because a living wisdom made them feel convicted and convinced they should right their wrongs with me; so that they had a good conscience and/or that they gain back their respect in the circle we were associated with.
Sad to say this, but I have seldom found such a simple practice in many of the Christian circles I had run into.Now, you know, I have great appreciation of the few kind of brothers who lent great help in my life when I was lonely and helpless. I would never forget the benefit of their blessings. Nevertheless, in my short history of being a follower of Christ, I have also run into quite a few negative experiences with some of the so-called “spiritual” people. In one way or another, I saw a great lack of humility and wisdom in some.
Why this is a problem? It is because of these very things God has disqualified them from leadership or the grace that will now be assigned. How could this happen to those who are loving the Lord and are gifted in so many ways? Because they have lost touched with a basic truth that God is not impressed with our gifts, our zeal, our sacrifices, our this or that. Above all, our unsanctified ways of love, unto Himself as our God, as our Father, then unto others, our brothers, our neighbors. How could He?
However, He will always be touched by a genuine, pure and humble heart.
Who is wise? Who is humble? The humble are wise; the wise are always humble. The Apostle James explained this very well. And it is to the wise and humble that God will give. And this is to be done after they are “established” in God. Once having received “the righteousness from above”, they will be bold like a lion in the land of deception and evil, like a burning torch in the field of thorns and thistles.
In this regard, religious facades or performances will get us nowhere. But when a righteous man, a man upon whom God has sealed with His approval, rises up from his readiness and commences with his calling in God, heaven will rejoice, earth will tremble, angels will serve and creation will obey. Men from distant shores, those who love and fear God, will gather and pay tribute, posterity will remember, nations will be changed, peoples will be saved. Above all, in the end, our Father, the God of Ancient of Days will be pleased: “Well done. My faithful servant, my son.” And how proud and joyful the Lord Jesus, our brother, would be!
Even now as I share, I see in my spirit that there is a great celebration of dances and praises before our Father in the court of Heaven. Why? Oh, let me tell you why. Because he had found a few who heard and obeyed, who have given up everything in the world and everything about themselves in order to gain Christ!
You be this one, please. Allow nothing and no one to hold you back! For all will pass away, but the work of the Lord and His goodness will be forever. Be the stone on His altar. Be the rock on His boulder. Be the lampstand of His glorious light. Be the steady shoulder for the Ark of His Holiness and Might. How we do that? You and I have to continue to be reconciled back to the Father through the redeeming power of His blood and to work together to become ministers of His Holiness, His eternal life, even the cup of His fellowship: where the dregs of our sins will be wiped out and He will pour into it the wine of His pleasure, and feast with us at the table of our Heavenly Father.
Allow me to share something personal. Through the years, you see me weeping from time to time, not crying or being teary, but weeping. Some may have the impression that I am naturally an emotional person. That is not true either. I shed very few tears after I became an adult and before I knew the Lord: the harder life was, the more fortified I was, because I INTENTIONALLY learned to get rid of or suppress my “negative” emotions. My belief was that tears could never solve one’s problem and it is a waste of time. Rise up, do something. So if someone was crying before me, especially young people when I had to deal with it, I would not be interested in helping them. My conviction was that no one can help someone who refuses to help himself. But if I had to deal with him, I would just sit them and tell them to muster themselves, get over it and move on.
Now I am quite a different person, and I want to thank God that He has so changed me, my inmost being, and not just good thoughts or behaviors. In retrospect, I could hardly reconcile the contrast He has wrought in me. I was a man who used to believe wholeheartedly a saying: It is much easier to turn the ocean into mountain than to change the set heart of a man. I used to apply this as a motto in relating to people. How wrong I was! You see, if I could repent from my prideful, self-righteous and miserably stubborn self, I think everybody can. God is willing and we are willing, of course. There is no sinner that the Almighty God could not touch, and there is no heart that He could not change.
And I know you want to see more people changed by God’s love and power. But for that to happen, the fire has be lit first and foremost inside of us. You see, with God’s work, either we are a helper or we are a stumbling block. Someone would say, why I can’t just tag along? Impossible! Not that man has not tried. It is that it is NOT the way how God moves and works. Yes, He is sovereign, is patient and is long-suffering, but He seldom uses an unwilling vessel to fulfill His Work of entrustment.
I want to share an another experience I had in the first year of my walk with the Lord. Seldom did a day pass by that I was not crying. Sometime wailing. Often times, hiding myself away to a private quarter. I still remember a place in the hill country of Austin. There was a bench behind an animal park hidden away in the woods. When my troubling heart became quite unbearable, I would walk hours to get there in order to gain a bit of peace of the mind, shed myself away from surprised gazes and senseless chatters. They could be very unbearable- I seemed to be the only Oriental wandering on the street. My heart was bleeding and there would be laughter. My appearance was terrible and there would be looks of pity even scorn. The bench was like a shelter to me, a last resort where I could find some rest and recover a bit of my sanity. A few times I would stay overnight all by myself, so my troubled heart could pull through the storms within and I could face another day with a bit of composure.
You should know that at the time I was troubled for reasons very strange to me. It was as if I was not myself and I struggled so hard to release myself from “caring too much”. In general, like a good philosopher treating life as an adventure, I seldom felt bad because I was going through a hard day or having a hard life. Those times, I cared very little about how I was treated by life itself. The majority of my troubles were from deeply within. Everyday, I was convicted of an evil within my heart and was put into a place that I would feel so powerless to modify. I could not help but weep for my destitute and ruined self. I did not know how to be good and do good. And I could not think through anything. I lost the grip of self. And that was a greatest trouble of all. Oh, how I knew the terror of not knowing and enjoying no confidence of one’s self. Should I smile? Should I talk? Should I nod? Should I walk? Should I eat? Should I sleep? The basics of life were often times a source of confusion and trouble. I could not seem to be myself whenever and wherever.
Sometime I would just weep before others for no good reason and would apologize again and again for the mess. I’ll never forget this dear lady. While I was crying before her as a total stranger, she did not walk away. She stood through it. After a hour or so I simmered down a bit, she continued to follow me and then sat down with me. Not a single word. I was so embarrassed because the break down was in public and everyone felt awkward being around. Yet, she just hugged me gently and held me to her chest like a mother to a poor child. I felt pressed to explain myself, told her I was not like this at all before I knew the Lord. I just did not know why I had to weep. I could not help it at all. She smiled and said: “That is because God had given you a gift of tears.” Wow, really? So this embarrassing mess of mine is a good thing? For days I could hardly wrap my mind around it. It was too much for me, too good to be true. But I knew something profoundly changed in me. My heart had become so tender, so “brittle”, so sensitive, that I could hardly bear to see anyone suffer, downtrodden, misused, or abused. It would pain me to the core.
Few times, it even maddened me. I would “challenge” the God of power, goodness and justice with some hard things. “If You are whom You claims to be, why man have to suffer so many unfathomable things?” I never got my answer, until it was revealed to me that the same sinfulness in me is the very root of all evil in the world.
You see, only many years later, I began to appreciate the power of repentance that happened to me. And I was a very slow learner. For many years, I still considered my days of suffering as a homeless person was a bad and embarrassing experience until the Lord reversed my thinking. Yet, even these intense experiences of drastic changes of heart and understanding never was a stay. Always, the newer and greater things of God would overtake. His is the unstoppable force of change. Only now, in order to share life with you, I begin recall some of these details of life.
With the intensities of past boiling in me now, strangely, my heart is full of joy and peace. The tenderness of His love and the goodness of His care is so real to me. How grand and strong His love can be! It allows nothing to tame it, nothing to contaminate it. I know fully well that none without His touch is capable of such a love.
You see, His work in us indeed is a mystery and a wonder. I can testify that this Mystery of Godliness (1 Tim) is truly HIS life in action, a living power infused into us so real, and so beyond our old self to contain- they are incompatible. All of our human faculties will be broken down and have to undergo “revolutionary changes”.
“In a moment, at a twinkling of the eye, you will be changed(transformed).” That is, the essence, the core of our old being is “suddenly” undone, and we are “supernaturally” released into the immensity of God’s life. Such is the living power of His resurrection and glorification.
“How do you know?” Well, I am experiencing it once again. I have hardly slept for the past 8–9 days (2–3 hours each day) and I feel full of energy and excitement, enveloped by a unspeakable peace and overflowing joy. To read, hear or talk about anything of God just inspires me to love Him more. On the contrary, anything canal or evil would make me feel very much troubled. All my spiritual senses are heightened. The hate against evil and love for righteousness and holiness has intensified, like it is superimposed upon me. It is very strange and “refreshing”.
Let the dead (old life) bury the dead (old self) and let us follow Him. Let Him be who He wants to be for us, in us and through us. He is willing and He is more than able. 🙂 Glory to God!
Why not set aside some quality time to pray until you get breakthroughs. 🙂 Let me know when you got it. 🙂
Your brother Immanuel
(Jan. 7, 2016 at Port Angeles, WA)