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GENUINE REPENTANCE (PART 7)
Hunger, Humility, and Holiness
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
The natural coarse of life assures us that a newborn baby WILL be hungry (I Peter 1:23). Newborn Christians are to desire the sincere milk of the word of God that they may grow thereby (I Peter 2:2). As that word is taken and applied to the persons life and walked in, then and only then does it become spiritual food. That hearing and doing of Gods word produces spiritual growth. Jesus said that His meat was to DO the will of the Father that sent Him (John 4:34). And if we are born of the Spirit, the Fathers will- will be our will also. The cry of the Newborn Child of God is, What must we do? They likewise begin to exclaim, Men shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. The word that proceeds from the mouth of God produces life in us when we are doers of the work and not simply hearers. In other words, our meat is not to just hear, but DO the word. It is not meat to us until it is lived out in faith through obedience. When we take the simple commands of the milk and begin to use that word to make difference between sin and righteousness, holy and unholy, and sacred and profaned by disciplining our senses to discern these things- God will begin to increase our understanding and our ability to handle deeper truths of Gods word. To graduate from the milk to the meat is to have no need that any man teach you, but the anointing which you will receive shall teach you all things (I John 2:27).
An Appetite for God
Jesus chose hunger as the analogy with which to describe the desire for God that brings blessedness. Hunger is a powerful driving force in a human being. Spiritual hunger is one of the mechanisms by which we can measure spiritual health. In the natural coarse of life, once an appetite has been lost, there is great concern of some other sickness or problem. So it is with our spiritual health. The enemy has a whole medicine cabinet full of spiritual appetite suppressants. Worldliness in general suppresses a Christians appetite for the things of God and increases the appetite for sin. Secular media is a serious spiritual appetite suppressant. Nearly everything that comes from the secular media of radio, television, and Internet is antichrist to the core. It is electronic worldliness. The images of the world- the message and ministry of the world is preached through these media. Christians that feed on these things soon become grossly devoid of an appetite for God and righteousness. They are cold in spirit; they are secular, fleshly and carnal- ever struggling to walk in the power and anointing of God. Some have given up the fight. Some have lost all desire for the Shekinah glory of God. For Cain- sin was crouching at the door. For many Christians sin is flooding into their homes and into the door of their hearts. Cain was told to master sin- but sin is mastering many Christians. Why? They do not resist it. They desire it. They befriend it. They long for it. It is on their mind continually. They hunger and thirst for it. Why? They have cultivated their appetite for worldliness and it has overthrown their desire for God. They go through the motions powerlessly and many are used to living without the Spirit. Their heart burns with all manor of sin- but the burning for God is all but gone. They have not mastered sin- sin has mastered them.
Pride- the Archenemy of Humility
Pride can spend a thousand years in Hell and not repent (Revelation 20:3). It is absolutely impossible for a proud person to repent. A proud person will lie and deceive their way out of repenting every time. They will blame others for their sins- even the victims themselves. Prideful men and women will redefine sin and call it everything but what it is. Prideful people make mistakes and have lapses in judgment, but the humble declare plainly that there is no excuse for their sins- only regret for having committed them. One of the greatest talents that the enemy posses is his ability to twist meanings and dumb down sins by renaming them. Satan is the ultimate wordsmith. Changing the words dumbs down the sting of the sin when we hear it and immunizes us to the feelings of guilt and shame. Moreover, the proud are more concerned for their own reputation than Gods and would rather vindicate themselves than God and His infallible word. The proud are defensive of their sins.
Self-defense and repentance can never coexist. Richard Owens Roberts Writes, A tremendous consequential myth that we frequently see illustrated in our day is the myth that it is possible for somebody to be repentant and self-defensive at the same time. Those two things can never be put together. You will never find true repentance and self-defense linked. Whenever a person is seemingly repentant and yet busily defends himself, you can be sure his repentance is not genuine. When people start pointing fingers and making up excuses you can be sure they have not repented. When we truly see our sin for what it is we agree with God about it and turn to Him for relief from it. Pride is at the center of excuse making.
There is a place of brokenness that we can reach under the enormous weight of our sin that the pride and self-defensiveness is utterly crushed and self is broken in pieces. And in that brokeness there is an abandonment of our own reputation and a vindication of Gods. The truth is easily told-, as there is no need felt to keep running from God and men. Unconditional surrender is the battle cry of the broken. And out of those pieces a glimmer of light of hope begins to shine. The mask of the well-polished look of pride that God once hated is replaced with a broken and contrite expression that no longer cares what any thing save God alone. It is that place of humility that comes from the revelation of who God REALLY is.
When I survey the wondrous Cross on which the Prince of Glory died- my richest gain I count as loss and pour contempt on all my pride. Never before or since has such a dichotomy of innocence and torture met on earth. It was at that Cross where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart rolled away- It is there by faith I received my sight and now I am happy all the day. Through the finished work of the cross we by faith have died with Him (Galatians 2:20). It was the old rugged cross that we cherish and the precious blood that was shed for our sins. The cross is the hammer that breaks a hardened heart.
Before Christ went to the cross He suffered the night in the Garden of Gethsemane- the place of the crushing. We all need a Gethsemane. We all need to take up our cross and follow Christ. A.W. Tozer was once quoted as saying, There is one thing for certain you knew if you saw a man carrying his cross out of the city- you knew he wasnt coming back. When the broken take up their cross and leave the city of the old life-- they will never be back. Once the old man is finally dead that old look of pride will be replaced with the glory of God. The priceless radiance of Gods blessed approval- will adorn the countenance and illuminate the darkness. When you reach that level of brokeness God will dwell among you. God will inhabit a broken Temple any day. It seems He prefers it that way. You see, man looketh on the outward, but God looks on the heart. A proud heart is a hardened heart. When God sees a proud look He sees it first in the heart. God will give a very special grace to the humble. He will plead their cause. He will walk among them.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8)
Leonard Ravinhill once stated that Christians in this generation are more afraid of holiness that they are of sin. If the reality of that is true then it would lend to reason that people would protect themselves more against holiness than they would sin. The natural progression of this is that Christians have opted to err on the side of sin- as a form of caution. This is a serious problem because the power is in the Holiness. In an atmosphere where sin is tolerated- God is not present. God does not tolerate sin. When holiness is not present Christians drift into emotionalism to replace the moving of the Spirit. God is my girlfriend like songs begin to replace songs about the blood and the cross. Modern Positive Christian music rarely convicts of sin. The emphasis is placed on the mood that the lyrics and the instruments can produce. This is exactly what the world does with their music.
God is Not Listening
God will not as much as hear the prayer of a person who regards iniquity in their heart (Psalm 66:18). To conduct a service without God would be like going to visit a person at their house and carrying on a conversation with their empty chair because their gone (Luke 13:35). It is the oldest stunt in the book to try to keep carrying on when God is not moving- as though He is. Isaiah 1:15 spells this out clearly
And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
They Clean the Outside of the Cup
The world is constantly trying to bend our minds into conformity with its sin (Romans 12:2a). If the enemy cant tempt us into a full blown carnal mind, he seems to settle for a double mind that both loves and hates sin (James 1:8). They enemy doesnt mind if we appear to hate sin on the outside and yet entertain sin in the heart. As it is written
Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness (Luke 11:39). The outside of the cup is the part that is seen- but the inside carries the life giving water. To pour water from a dirty cup into other peoples cup is to taint all the Holy Spirit is doing through your life with that dirt.
The Power of Purity
It is a fearful thing to think that a generation of Christians that need the power of God unlike any other would be turning away from the very path of life required to walk in that power. Pentecostalism was birthed in the fires of holiness preaching and living. Leonard Ravinhill said it well when he said that, true Christianity has not been weighed in the balance and found wanting- it has been tried, found difficult, and rejected! Christianity today is a mere shell of what it was 100 years ago. It is more like worldliness with a Christian flavor in a lot of cases. Youth all over the nation and the world are turning to false religions because modern Christianity does not have the depth that other religions offer. Why? Because the enemy has filled the Church with sin and they dont have the purity to preach the real message with the real power. They do not water down the message because the people wont hear it- it gets watered down when we dont live pure enough to preach it. This modern generation wants to be preached to- but its hard to preach from the devils playpen of sin. Hunger, humility, and holiness governs the threshold of preaching and teaching. When once again there is a hunger for God- that issues forth from brokeness unto holiness- we will see powerful manifestations of Gods glory changing sin wrecked lives. The world is waiting. God is watching. This is the last days. What-will-we-do?