Archive for October, 2010

v4.12 Godly vs. Worldly Sorrow

Godly vs. Worldly Sorrow

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Cor. 7:10

This world system promises a perpetual party for those who join and are in league with it. It has some pretty convincing propaganda, I might add. Everything you want and desire or believe you want and desire (think Amnon and Tamar; “but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her.” 2 Sam 13:14-15.) can be had for a cost. You wager your eternal soul (your spiritual inheritance) as did Esau, against the pot of porridge (this worlds fleeting fulfillment of my immediate lusts). Do the math!

People have been doing the math for all the ages. They noticed that God promised to come back and bring judgement with Him, yet He has not come. So they heartily attend to their personal pleasures and indulge themselves in their own will “for a season”, which by and by becomes a lifetime, and by and by reaps a destiny.

But those who are the sons of God realize by faith and the Spirit through which they passionately seek God and not this world’s passing pleasures, that, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Pet. 3:9.

The essence of Sin is not what you do, but a turning of your heart away from God. Choosing to become a free agent from God. It is the assertion of my will, what I want (i.e. a bite of the mysteriously forbidden), without regard to His will (i.e. do not love the world). There is a point at which sufficient knowledge of Him, or a fear of God by your own conscience, tells you that it is wrong according to the Standard in your heart. The act was the fruit of the heart that turned from Him. In other words, what you did was a result of (not the cause of) what you became by choice — a free agent.

Now the party has been raging in the earth since time began. And the Spirit of God is contending with your heart against the spirit of this world. Many have fallen away proving that, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” 1 John 2:19.

There is great revelation in this. Right here is a great clue as to who is “of us”. You see the rich young ruler is a picture of a man who was not willing to enter the kingdom of God having loved this present world. His great display of sorrow when asked to sell all that he had revealed that he was bound to this world by the magnetism of the things it offered. You can not take hold of the Kingdom of God if you will not let go of this world system.

The great and decisive question that God brings before us repeatedly is “Will you turn your heart from this world and back to Me? Will you follow Me, denying yourself?” The rich young ruler could not.

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matt. 10: 37-39.

Right here is where your heart can be seen. Right here lines are being drawn even today. By any account this world system is passing and we are beginning to witness its preliminary birth pangs. It is groaning “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” Rom. 8:19.

I imagine that you are groaning too. The question is are you groaning for the manifestation of the sons or are you groaning for the loss of this world system?

Godly sorrow, Godly groaning, is earnestly waiting and expecting the will of God to be accomplished in the earth. It is a sorrow unto repentance in earnest for the souls of those who are turned away from God. It is intercessory in essence. It is going to God on behalf of this wretched generation, of which I am one, in repentance for our lack of faith, trust, devotion and desire for God. “I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” Isa. 6:5.

Worldly sorrow, is sorrow unto me and the end of my selfish schemes. I see the death of my hope and dreams instead of the progression of God’s Desire of the Ages. I see God’s desire as the competition to my own. I am not sorry that He is closing the door of opportunity of Time to redeem men, I am sorry that the door of my opportunity for me is closing.

If you find yourself in conviction just now, repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Cor. 7:10

Our culture has worked for centuries to convince us that the works of men are valid endeavors for our lives, that God is taking too long, He has forgotten us. But remember, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Perhaps God is waiting for you and yours. Perhaps there will still be an opportunity for Godly sorrow to bring repentance to a wicked and perverse generation.

“Weeping [sorrow] may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” John 16:20

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” John 16:22

“Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” Isaiah 51:11

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation of John 21:4

Quote Title Quotation Source
A Gulf That Cannot Be Bridged To be a disciple of Christ, one must renounce all he has. He cannot hold on to the world with one hand and with the other hold on to the Lord. Watchman Nee – The Salvation of the Soul, © 1978 Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.
The Trouble With Peace If thou be despised loving Christ in His gospel, remember that when David was thought base for dancing before the ark, his way was to be more base. “The more thou troublest thyself, or art troubled by others for Christ, the more peace thou hast in Christ.” Quote by John Donne from The Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon, abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
Take Eat I say that the ineffable speech which Paul heard spoken in Paradise (2 Cor. 12:2-4) was the eternal good things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived (1 Cor. 2:9). These things which God has prepared for those who love him, are not protected by heights, nor enclosed in some secret place, nor hidden in the depths, nor kept at the ends of the earth or sea. They are right in front of you, before your eyes. So, what are they? Together with the good things stored up in heaven, these are the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which we see every day, and eat, and drink. They, we avow, are those good things. Outside of these, you will not be able to find one of the things spoken of, even if you were to traverse the whole creation. If you do want to know the truth of my words, become holy by practicing God s commands and then partake of the holy things, and you will know precisely the force of what I am telling you. Symeon The New Theologian – The Ethical Discourses – circa 1000; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Failure to Launch I had a vision of a life of prayer yes, and limitless power, which I saw depended on two things only faith and prayer. For the moment I was thrilled. I fell on my knees, and as I bowed before my Lord what thoughts surged through my mind what hopes and aspirations flooded my soul. God was speaking to me in an extraordinary way. This was a great call to prayer. But to my shame be it said I did not heed that call. Unknown Christian – The Kneeling Christian, circa 1890, © 2007 Bidge-Logos.
Relationship, Not Knowledge, is the Ticket People believe that at conversion their sins are forgiven, that God accepts them so that they may go to heaven, and that they should try to do God s will. But the idea is strange to them that they may and must each day have this blessed fellowship with God, just as a father and his child on earth have pleasure in fellowship. Andrew Murray – Andrew Murray 365 Day Devotional, © 2006 Whitaker House.
Letting Go is the Hardest Part Pray for strength and faith enough to trust yourself completely to God. Follow Him simply wherever He may lead you and you will not have to think up big plans to bring about your perfection. Your new life will begin to grow naturally. Fenelon – The Seeking Heart, circa 1690, copyright Christian Books Publishing House
Little Steps Lead to Bigger Leaps The things most readily to be done those that lie not at the doorstep but on the very table of a man’s mind are often the most neglected and overlooked. Can a man become strong in righteousness without learning to perform ordinary acts of kindness for his neighbor? Will a man climb the last flight of the stair when he has never set foot on the lowest step? Could it be that the Lord, who demands higher virtue of us, tests us first in little tasks before he entrusts to us bigger ones? George MacDonald – The Best of George MacDonald © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries.
Lacking Evidence of Life If our common life is not a common course of humility, self-denial, renunciation of the world, poverty of spirit, and heavenly affection, we do not live the lives of Christians. But yet though it is thus plain that this, and this alone, is Christianity, a uniform, open, and visible practice of all these virtues, yet it is as plain as there is little or nothing of this to be found even amongst the better sort of people. You see them often at church, and pleased with fine preachers; but look into their lives and you see them as just the same sort of people as others are that make no pretenses to devotion. The difference that you find betwixt them is only the difference of their natural tempers. They have the same taste of the world, the same worldly cares and fears and joys; they have the same turn of mind, equally vain in their desires. You see the same fondness for state and equipage, the same pride and vanity of dress, the same self-love and indulgence, the same foolish friendships ad groundless hatreds, the same levity of mind and trifling spirit, the same fondness for diversions, the same idle dispositions, and vain ways of spending their time in visiting and conversation as the rest of the world that make no pretenses to devotion. William Law – A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, circa 1728; Random House Inc. © 2002
Unlimited Supply of Water Not personal benefit but community benefit. All who come to me to drink shall be benefited by the Water that is Living in Me and poured out through you. You are a source of the Source. The same water that satisfies, only a smaller, yet not limited, representation. The Water in you is unlimited for it is Living and Active. It has this effect of satisfying the soul of them who hunger and thirst for righteousness. You have become a Well of Me. Tom Van Hoogen
The Very Essence Of Sin We are staggered at immorality, but Jesus faced those things in the most amazingly calm way (see Matthew 21:31 ). When He was roused to a state of passionate indignation it was by people who were never guilty of such things. What Our Lord continually faced was the disposition behind either the morality or the immorality. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin . . . ( John 15:22 ). Any man would have known without His coming that it was wrong to take life, the law is written in him; any man would have known that immorality was wrong; but no man apart from Jesus Christ would believe that my right to myself is the very essence of sin. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers

A Bird in the Hand is Worth… ?

“If you hold it too tightly you kill it, but if you hold it too loosely, you lose it.” – Tommy Lasorda, The Artful Dodger

We hold everything too tightly except Him. We must cling to Him and let go of everything else. Instead we cling to everything and anything else but God. We make our family, our job, our children, our money, our work, our happiness, our health, our pleasure, and anything but God our joy and desire.

There is nothing you need so desperately as to know Him personally. He knows that you hold all of these above Him and He looks at you with compassion. “How long My child, how long will you hold to that which can never save you, can never love you, can never satisfy you. Come to Me.”

What are you holding onto that is so important you cannot release it? What is the bird in your hand, the thing you have and will not let go in faith to trust your Heavenly Father? He knows you need these things, but He also knows that you need to trust Him more than that thing in your hand. Let it go.

Carefully careless. That is a phrase used often by Oswald Chambers. It is the essence of working out our salvation with fear and trembling. We must release everything in our hand and trust that if we need it He will restore it, even better and more when once we offer it to Him.

If you cannot take everything you possess and bring it before Him with open hand and offer it to Him as a reasonable sacrifice, even to your very life, then you are holding too tightly to that thing. It will be the thing that will keep you from relationship.

Do not deceive yourself and believe that you can have an intimate relationship with God when you place a greater value on the things you hold to. He is not mocked. He may not ask you to sell everything immediately, but if He sees your eye on the thing, He will ask for it. Let go of that bird in the hand, if it is from God it will come back.

Oswald says in his treatment of “Spiritual Disenchantment and Delight”:

“It is necessary to be detached from things and then come back to them in a right relationship. A sense of property is a hindrance to spiritual growth, that is why so many of us know nothing about communion with Jesus Christ.
When we are detached from things on the inside the fury of desire burns itself out. The attitude is not one born of external detachment, that is atheistic, Paul told Timothy to beware of those who teach abstinence from meats and marriage. The detachment is not to be that of an æsthete but that which springs from being in perfect communion with God. Our Lord’s external life was so social that the men of His day, who were externally detached, said of Him, “Behold, a gluttonous man, and a winebibber.”† They were detached externally, but not in spirit; Jesus Christ was detached in His disposition, but not externally. Those of us who are spiritual are hopelessly blind to God’s purpose; the Spirit of God is all the time trying to make us detached in mind in order to bring us into real communion with God. God is trying to educate us in inner martyrdom and we won’t have it, we get tired of being educated spiritually.”

In the end it is this willingness to let God have your life, your things and your desires that will tell on your heart, whether you love Him or not.

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Luke 9:23-24.

Open your hands and let go that which you are holding that your Father may give you perfect gifts.

Here is a poem I have shared before but bears another telling:

Give it to God

Just as my child brings all his broken toys
with tears for me to mend,

I took all my broken dreams to God
because He was my friend.

But then instead of leaving Him in peace
to work alone,

I hung around and tried to help
with ways that were my own.

At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How could you be so slow?”

“What could I do my child,” He said,
“You never did let go.”

His Kindness Leads Us to Repentance

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Rom. 2:4.

In the NIV we read, “…not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”

What men often classify as tragedy and disaster, ruin and brokenness of heart brought about by the assertion of self will and even trying to do God’s will in some cases (as concocted in our own minds by our own thinking and feelings) is often a kindness of God.

Did not the Prodigal’s father allow him to go to the far country?

These great crises of our lives are but disguises for the God’s loving-kindnesses. He, in His enduring mercy and grace has revealed to you (and that perhaps often) the futility of your own plans and strength to work apart from Him. “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.

We plan and strategize our hours our days and our lives, we set our agendas and goals and all “apart from Him”, without seeking Him. Then God, by His kindness allows it all to fall on our heads, crushing the spirit of Self, till we cry out, “God help me! I have sinned against You and You alone.”

Now He can prepare the fatted calf, now He can get the royal robe and place it on our back, now He can put the ring of relationship on our finger. Because now He can forgive us on the basis of our repentance.

His kindness leads us to repentance.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

We all like to get where we are going. I’ve noticed that I always like to entertain the idea that I should take the scenic route to work and enjoy the views along the way, but I rarely do. I like to get where I am going.

In travel, especially that travel marked by spiritual landmarks, the goal is to get to the destination, where God wants you to be. Although you may or may not enjoy the journey, and some of the sights can be less than pretty, you do want and need to get where you’re going. The Israelites present the classic example of going places but never arriving. Their Wilderness experience is a lesson in the costliness of lostliness. Lets just say they had some things they had to work out before they could enter in.

God has places we need to go, places we need to enter into too. He has marked out paths for each one to travel to get to the destination of His purposes. Which are, namely, to know Him and the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus, to become complete and mature, fully functional and spiritually operating sons of God. Then, when once we are become the sons of God, He desires that we be set forth in the Kingdom to accomplish His will on the earth, as His delegated authorities.

We have a long way to go by those standards. Many are having trouble finding the pathway much less getting on it and making good progress and good use of time. But lets, for argument sake, assume you are already on the path, following God the Light. That He is able to lead you in His paths of righteousness. How will you try to get there?

Some common modes of transportation we are familiar with are planes, trains and automobiles. Think of each of these descriptions in a spiritual mindset. Look for the parallels of the concepts to the spiritual progress and hindrances they each present.

Of these, trains are the least popular method. Trains have inherent limitations. The time you would save by rolling on continually is lost by the time it takes to start and stop at each loading station. It seems like there is more starting and stopping than forward motion. They also have a very limited number of places they can take you. They can be noisy and a difficult place to find rest. They can however, get you where you are going, but the ride is often bumpy and slow going. Trains are like your emotions.

Automobiles have their own set of pros and cons. An automobile has great agility to change direction and course quickly. It can start and stop very quickly too. You get to decide where you are going and which way you prefer to get there. The more frequently you have gone to a destination the easier and quicker it is to get there the next time. Sometimes you can just put your car on autopilot and it seems to know the way.

On the downside, travel by auto has a more complicated set of rules than the train or the plane. There are frequent lights and stop signs, guard rails and ditches and medians that keep you on a prescribed path. There are police that may pull you over and become costly, both financially and in time spent. Autos require a lot of maintenance and attention too, you continue to pay for them the more you use them. It seems like they are always needing repairs and new parts.

Then, of course, there are all those other pesky drivers that can cut you off, that run contrary to the direction want to go. If you are not careful you may be headed for a collision with others. And don’t forget about the traffic problems and breakdowns along the road. Cars are high maintenance. Automobiles are like our mind.

Plane travel is superior in many ways. I would never dream of trying to fly a plane myself though. I know I need a pilot. Planes get you where you are going quickly and cover lots of distance in short order. They are not subject to traffic jams, and your typical ground rules. They are navigated and attended by a seasoned pilot who has done this many times before. They provide the best comfort and rest as compared to the other modes mentioned. Planes are also the safest and most dependable mode of travel.

Planes have amazing views, taking you above all that is on the earth. They give you greater perspectives of the things below. And your view of the horizon is only limited by the height at which you are traveling. The higher you fly the farther you see.

Planes operate by the laws of aerodynamics that give them the ability to overcome the laws of gravity — the pull of the earth. And with the laws of thrust and air lift you are able to rise above and soar to incredible heights. The things that make planes work is beyond me. I don’t have to understand how they work, just trust them and have faith in their ability to take me where I need to go.

Your emotions will never get you where God wants you to go. Your mind will never get you there either, although you will see a lot, your perspective will always be horizontal. No, if you want to get to where God wants you to go, if you want to see the way God sees, you will have to go there by plane. You will have to leave this earth for a while, get a different perspective and then come back. Planes are like spiritual travel as compared to trains and automobiles. The price to fly spiritually is submitting your will to the pilot’s. You have to trust Him and rely on Him alone to get you where you are going. Just sit back, rest and enjoy the view.

“…they shall mount up with wings as eagles…” Isa. 40:31.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Wait and See When you are tempted to doubt the faithfulness of God cry out, “Get thee hence, Satan.” Though you cannot now harmonize God’s mysterious dealings with the avowals of his love, wait on him for more light. In his own good time he will make it plain to you…. Blessed are all they that wait for him (Isaiah 30:18). Arthur W. Pink – The Attributes of God, circa 1940, copyright 1975 Baker Books
Waiting On the Prayers of His People It is to prayer that God has given the right to take hold of Him and His strength. It is on prayer that the promises wait for their fulfillment, the kingdom for its coming, the glory of God for its full revelation. And for this blessed work, how slothful and unfit we are. It is only the Spirit of God that can enable us to do it aright. How speedily we are deceived into a resting in the form, while the power is wanting. Andrew Murray – With Christ in the School of Prayer, circa 1880, © 2008 Wilder Publications
Drawn By Another Attraction Jesus said, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself.” But, we have another plan. If we tell people what they want to believe and offer things they like to do then we will draw them too — albeit for the wrong reasons. Tom Van Hoogen
Quitting When the Going Gets Tough These persons have the same defect when it comes to the practice of prayer, for they think that prayer consists in experiencing sensual pleasure, which they strive to obtain by great effort. They weary and fatigue their faculties and their heads. When they do not find this pleasure, they become greatly discouraged, thinking that they have accomplished nothing. Through these efforts they lose true devotion and spirituality, which consists of perseverance, patience, humility, and distrust of themselves, that they may please God alone. St. John of the Cross – Dark Night of the Soul, circa 1560, copyright 2007 Bridge-Logos Publishers
Humility Grows Best in the Light You complain about your inward darkness and poverty of spirit. Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” It is good for you to see your weakness, but don’t excuse it. Remain simple and low before God and He will bring you peace, gentleness, longsuffering, and contentment even in your trouble. Fenelon – The Seeking Heart, circa 1690, copyright Christian Books Publishing House
Something Else in View The world s reality is contingent upon compatibility with God. While others are intoxicated with the here and now, the prophet has a vision of an end. Abraham Joshua Heschel – The Prophets © 1962 by Abraham Joshua Heschel, published by Hendrickson Publishers
By Grace Through Faith Unto Works It is a fatal misunderstanding Luther’s action to suppose that his rediscovery of the gospel of pure grace offered a general dispensation from obedience to the command of Jesus, or that it was the great discovery of the Reformation that God s forgiving grace automatically conferred upon the world both righteousness and holiness. On the contrary, for Luther the Christian s worldly calling is sanctified only on so far as that calling registers the final, radical protest against the world. Dietrich Bonhoeffer – The Cost of Discipleship, circa 1945, copyright 1959 by SCM Press Ltd.
Grab Your Sword and Go! The great need of the religious world today is a return to the Bible. That is necessary for two reasons, negative and positive. Negatively, because the most serious feature of the hour in the life of the Church is the neglect of the Bible for personal use and study by religious people. Positively, because we have today enormous advantages in connection with that return to the Bible… We have through the labours of more than a century of the finest scholarship in all the world, come to understand the Bible, in its original sense, as it were never understood before. P. T. Forsyth – The Work of Christ, Wipf & Stock, 1910
Stepping Out in Faith Often I have gone to God in dire need, aggravated by nervous depression and heart sickness, and said, “My faith is flickering out, and I am losing all hope. But You are faithful, and I am counting on You.” Do not trouble about your faith; count on God’s faithfulness. If He asks you to step out on the water, He knows that He can bring you safely back to the boat. F. B. Meyer – The Best of F. B. Meyer, circa 1910, © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries
Without A Care in the World How happy and how well disposed will your soul be, if retreating within itself, she there abide in her own nothingness, both in her center and superior part, without minding what she does: whether she recollects or not; without heeding, thinking, or minding any sensible thing. At that time the intellect believes with a pure act, and the will loves with perfect love, without any kind of impediment, imitating that pure and continued act of intuition and love which the Saints say the blessed in heaven have, with no other difference than that they see God himself there face to face, and the soul here sees only through the veil of an obscure faith. Miguel De Molinos – The Spiritual Guide, 1675 – excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
What Would You Give for Your Lord Would you sacrifice that which is the dearest to you, in order to be able to assure your selves that you belong to Christ? If you reply in the affirmative to these inquiries, I will declare to you, in the name of Him who “hears the cry of the needy, and will not despise their prayer,” that the woe pronounced upon Judas has no reference to you, and that the glad tidings that you may bless the hour in which you first saw the light of this world, are for you. F. W. Krummacher – The Suffering Saviour, Meditations on the Last Days of Christ, Wipf and Stock Publishers
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