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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Getting Out of the Rut

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lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Getting Out of the Rut



Getting Out of the Rut

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12–13)

THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THIS PASSAGE is saying two things: God works in you to will, but you are to work with God in working it out. God works in you—that is, God is always previous. God is the aggressor. God saw you in the rut and wanted you to get out of it. He thought of it first, not you. The impulse to know God came from Him and not from you. God works first, and because God works we are to work with Him. We are therefore to dismiss all doubts and all morbid humility.
It is entirely possible to be so humble, in a sick kind of way, that you paralyze yourself and get nowhere. For instance, you say to yourself, “That man has been preaching about getting out of the religious rut. While I haven’t agreed with everything, I have been feeling that I am in a rut and that I ought to get out. This circular grave is getting deeper every year of my life, and I can hardly see out of it. Give me four or five more years and you’ll look right over me and not know I’m here. I need help. But I wonder if God will help me.”
That is morbid humility. If you knew the truth, you would know that you would have gone on around in that circular grave until you had worn your way down to China and never thought of getting out of it. The very fact that you want out is proof that God has been working in you to will to get out. And if God worked in you to want to get out, then when you ask Him to get you out, do you suppose He would not help you out? Would God put an impulse in your heart and then refuse to accept your prayer when you came in answer to that impulse? Would a mother bring a hungry baby to the table, prepare his food and then when he let out his happy little yell and stretched out his hand, pull it away? Would she say, “You’re no good. You’ve never done anything anyhow”?
Grant the baby your intelligence, and this is what the baby would say to himself: “I am now eight months old, and I haven’t helped my mother at all. I’ve been bad sometimes. I’ve kept her up at night. I am obviously no good. I’m not making any contribution to society. Why should I think that mother is going to feed me?”
In the meantime, mother is begging the child to eat, but the baby says there is no use. Now that would be morbid humility. Of course, no baby would have that much intelligence. He would just grab for what was in front of him. That is exactly what God wants you to do. If God had not put it in your heart to want His blessing, you would not have wanted it.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/3 12:16Profile
lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re: Getting Out of the Rut



Work with Him
The fact that you are ready to listen to this kind of message indicates that God has been previous in your life. Therefore, you must work with Him in harmonious cooperation so He can work in you and for you and through you.
People use the word fanatic whenever you get a little bit joyful about the Lord. They say you are a fanatic. Webster says that a fanatic is somebody who is too enthusiastic about religion, as if you could be too enthusiastic about religion. John Wesley said, “A fanatic is one who seeks desirable ends but ignores constituted means.”
Suppose a farmer boy with his blue jeans, torn shirt and tattered straw hat wants to get a fish. His mother says, “Why don’t you go down and catch a couple of trout, son.” So he goes down by the creek. It is a beautiful day, the sun is shining and the cows are standing deep in the water under the shade trees. So the boy pulls off a stalk of grass and begins to nibble on it, and he starts wondering about those fish. He says to himself, “I remember the pastor said if we want anything to pray for it.” In the meantime the fish are breaking the surface begging to be caught. But there he is praying, “Lord, send me some fish.” He can pray until he dies and he will never have any fish. The Lord put intelligence in his head and gave him what we call constituted means. The farm boy takes a branch from a tree, ties on an ordinary piece of cord, puts a bent pin on the end and throws the hook with a worm on it into the stream. The fish will take it.
Would it be proper for the farm boy to be pious and pray for fish or to throw in his hook and pull out fish? Everybody knows that if a farm boy addresses the Almighty God in a loud voice asking for fish when the fish are breaking the surface begging to be caught, something is wrong. He is a fanatic—he is trying to get a desirable end, but he is ignoring constituted means.
Now suppose his father attends the church where they have a fine pastor who tells them that if they pray they will get what they pray for. He wants potatoes in the springtime, and he says, “I’d like to have a good field of potatoes this year. I really need them.” So he gets down on his knees and every day he spends time praying for potatoes while it gets too late to plant them. There are potatoes down in the basement waiting to be cut and planted. They are already stretching out their long roots toward the sunlight. They are begging for him to use the constituted means. Plow the field. Get it in shape. Cut the potatoes and plant them. Go around and keep the weeds down, and come back and take out a great crop. These are constituted means.
Suppose the woman of the house wants some ducks. She just has a yen for a hat full of ducklings. She loves little ducklings, so she wants some. Down on her knees she prays for ducks day and night. She is not using constituted means. The way you get ducks is to find fertile duck eggs and put them under a hen. Four weeks and they are out.
Desirable ends, constituted means
A fanatic is somebody seeking desirable ends but ignoring constituted means. Seeking to get out of the religious rut is a desirable end. It is right and it is in the will of God. But trying to do it in a manner that is not according to God’s constituted means is all wrong and gets us nowhere.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/3 15:43Profile
lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
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 Re: Getting Out of the Rut



When they want to get blessed, some people try getting worked up psychologically. There are some who, while they have not studied psychology, are master psychologists. They know how to manipulate audiences, knowing when to lower their voices and when to raise them, when to make them sound very sad and all the rest. They know how to get people all worked up.
I sat listening to a preacher one time, and right across from me was a young woman, maybe twenty two or twenty three years old. The only reason I noticed her was that she had on a pair of glass shoes. The preacher went on preaching, and he never, as far as I remember, said anything about the Lord. But he did tell us all about his father and his mother and how his father left home and the whole story. I watched this woman, then I would watch the preacher and then look at her again. At first she could not have cared less, but slowly he got hold of her. When it came to the point where the evangelist said in a tremulous voice that every time he faced an audience he hoped that his old father might be there, the girl broke down and went to pieces. From that moment she was eating out of his hand. He knew how to handle her psychologically. He got her, and she would have done anything for him.
Some people try group dynamics. We all sit around together and practice togetherness, and by practicing togetherness we finally work up some spirituality.
What is needed is some old-fashioned, salty horse sense. I am sure there are 189 mules in the state of Missouri that have more sense than a lot of the preachers who are trying to teach people how to get the blessing of God in some way other than by the constituted means. When you get people all broken up, dabbing at their eyes and shaking, what is the result? It does not bring them any closer to God. It does not make them love God any better, in accordance with the first commandment. Nor does it give any greater love for neighbors, which is the second commandment. It does not prepare them to live fruitfully on earth. It does not prepare them to die victoriously, and it does not guarantee that they will be with the Lord at last.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/4 0:48Profile
lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
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 Re: Getting Out of the Rut



The Lord’s constituted means
The Lord has constituted means. Jesus said in the Gospel of John, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me” (John 14:21a). Anybody can understand that, even the teacher of group dynamics.
He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.
If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. ( John 14:21b, 23–24)
What our Lord taught was this: when we obey the words of Jesus, in faith and in love proving that we love Him, He shows Himself to us. There are two subjects acting here—we and He. When we obey His Word we prove that we love Him, and He shows Himself to us. Who is this He that I am talking about? Jesus Christ our Lord. There are, then, two divinely constituted means: faith—the right kind of faith, in our Lord Jesus Christ—and obedience to His Word. Jesus said, “Ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1 KJV).
Faith in Jesus Christ, the right kind of faith, the only kind of faith that matters, is irrevocable, total commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ Himself. You cannot go back on it, and if it is total, there is nothing that is not included. Faith in Jesus is not gulping twice and saying, “I accept Jesus.” It is getting into a state where you have totally committed yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is irrevocable commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ.

Faith in Jesus is not commitment to your church or denomination. I believe in the local church; I am not a tabernacle man. I believe in the divine assembly. We ought to realize that we are, as a group of Christians, a divine assembly, a cell in the body of Christ, alive with His life. But not for one second would I try to create in you a faith that would lead you to commit yourself irrevocably to a local church or to your church leaders.
You are not asked to follow your church leaders. You are not asked like a little robin on the nest to open your innocent little mouth and just take anything I put in. If what I put in is not biblical food, regurgitate and do not be afraid to do it. Call me or come see me or write me an anonymous letter. But do something about it. Do not, by any means, swallow what your leaders give you. Here is the book, the Bible: go to it.
Faith is faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son. It is total faith in Christ and not in a denomination or church, though you may love the church and respect and love your leaders and your denomination. But your commitment is to Christ.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/4 10:13Profile
lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re: Getting Out of the Rut



Obedience proves our love
Obedience to Christ proves we love Him, and in return He shows Himself to us. You say, “There are so many commandments, how can I obey? How can I remember them all, and can I be sure I am obeying?” In faith and love rest, wait and look. Then as His teaching touches your life, conform to it. There are some teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ that you would never get into because they would not touch you. They would not impinge on you in your present state. But as soon as they do touch you, then you automatically, sweetly and quietly obey.
A man was giving testimony about being shipwrecked and praying, and about how the Lord delivered him. A dear old man of God went home, got on his knees and wept before the Lord. “God,” he said, “You never saved me from shipwreck.” And the Lord said, “Son, have you ever been at sea?” The man answered, “No.” Of course you cannot save from shipwreck a man who has never been offshore. There are things that do not touch you, but the moment they do, obey instantly.
For instance, the Bible says, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). If you do not have any husband, why worry about that one? But if ever the words of our Lord Jesus Christ touch your life, instantly—because you are totally committed—gladly and quietly obey and do what you are told. He said that is your part, and His part is to manifest Himself to you and get you out of the rut.

Here are some examples from Luke.
Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. ( Luke 12:1–3)
This teaches us that we are to be as candid and transparent as possible. There should be no secretiveness, no defensiveness, but openness and candidness. That is the teaching of Jesus. Instead of getting down on your knees and praying, “O Lord, get me these fish,” catch some fish. Obey the Lord. Do what you are told. Use the constituted means. Be candid; put away that carefully cultured North American defensiveness. Don’t be so afraid. You are not so bad. You do not have to be afraid to let people know who you are and what you are. Let down your hair, so to speak, and just be yourself.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/4 13:54Profile
lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re: Getting Out of the Rut



Become children
The Lord said to become children. If we all became children, how beautiful that would be. You could walk up to a man and shake his hand without wondering, “Do I know enough judo to handle him?” He would not hurt you. Christians here are not going to hurt anybody, so just be perfectly candid. This is one passage you can practice no matter who you are or where you are. It touches you right now.
I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. ( Luke 12:8)
This passage tells us we are to testify and witness boldly about our Lord Jesus. If some of you would begin to quietly witness where you work, you would find a change coming over you. “Whoever has my commands and obeys them [I will] show myself to him” (John 14:21).
You will get out of the rut when the Lord begins to manifest Himself to you. But you would rather go off somewhere and get down on your knees and pray. Now praying is right—I have taught and preached and practiced it since I was converted. But do not try to pray down something that the Lord is telling you to do. Do what you are told, and the Lord will be right with you. Then instead of begging you can praise.
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
Jesus gives the story of the man who was covetous and lost his soul. So do not be covetous—be generous. Do not be stingy, but be free with your money. Do not be afraid—thank the Lord, trust Him and put fear away. These are examples of the constituted means of faith and obedience. We sing this and do not know we are singing it: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way/ To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.” We sing that, but we have sung it so long that we might as well sing Mother Goose rhymes, because we do not know what we are singing.
Some of us are down in a spiritual rut, the old routine. Nothing has any taste to it. Some churches try to handle that by pandering to the situation, bringing in every kind of weird claptrap in order to get some of the poor half-dead people to get a little taste again.
We have God. We have Christ. We have truth. We have a world needing help. We have the saints, and we have the power of prayer. We have the joy of obedience and we have the sweet wonder of His presence. We have the joy of Christian song. We have all this and we do not need garbage. We have God. All we have to do is trust in His Son Jesus Christ and obey the truth, and the Lord will manifest Himself, show Himself through the lattice.


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/11/5 1:16Profile





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