10-The Pathway to a Life of Victory
We're dealing with a very serious time because we're in that perilous time the Apostle Paul spoke of. There must be an examination of our life, whether not we be in the faith whether or not we are a reprobate. That word examine means to prove your own self as to whether you are truly in the faith or not. These lessons are designed for that one purpose. We've seen what light, what darkness. We've seen what man fell from, what he must come back to. We've seen whether we're there or not. There must be a renouncing of the hidden things of darkness. All of this is to show us where we are in Christ. The Word of God must be preached or else men will continue as they are and hell will be full of people looking for preachers who lied to them. We are seeing what it means to belong to God and to walk with God.
God had me bring these lessons for His elect's sake, because He said in the last days there would be so much deception that if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived. I'm dealing and probing down into that heart, having a new look at what you are. Are you what God said you should be? That is the key to what we are talking about. We must under God know we are right. The rapture of that bridal company is about to happen and only those who have overcome will be ready. To overcome is to overcome this natural life of self.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The Apostle Paul is writing to a church who knew God and was beginning to drift away from Him. The things of the world had become important to them again and they had begun to revert. This verse reflects Paul's own personal testimony. Covetousness, desire is the first and highest power in the life of a man. The sure proof of man's origin is his wonderful capacity for desiring after God. When man fell, his desire was turned from God to self and the world. This happened in the fall. All of man's s evil consists in a ceaseless desire for that which isn't God. Covetousness includes all desire for honor, self pleasing, which in turn is the cause of envy and pride, and every sin against light. To understand this is of great importance for all the elements of self have one common root. While some people appear freer from one form of self than others, there is in all the same root of evil so the ax must be laid at the root of the tree. All the branches have one common life. All of them must live or die together. It profits little to be free from one form of sin. Dying to self, to our own life, to have the new life of the Spirit of love born in us is an absolute necessity. It's right to fight with individual sin and cultivate individual graces, but when it's thought this is all we can do, the mistake is fatal to our success. Every uprising of our sin, every attempt to refuse it's allurement, must serve to remind us the secret root of self is a covetous, perverted desire.
Only Jesus can take away sin. But just as sure as power went out of His earthly life to everyone that touched the hem of His garment, so will that power come from His glorified life to all who trust Him.
When we bow before Him in humility, meekness, patience, we prove we consent to death to self and that it's utterly sinful and impotent. Then we set our hope in Christ alone. All who persevere in the path of humiliation and self emptying, will know there is a difference. That person will sooner or later experience the victory of the life of Christ triumphing over that life of self. Death to self means a total despair of any spiritual help from that angle. It means to give up any thought of having or doing anything that is good in any other way but that meek and humble spirit that totally resigns itself to God. All we do in religion without this conviction is in ignorance of what we are and is often rather the light than death to self. When we are ashamed or vexed at our own pride, it's simply because we expected something better of ourselves. When we condemn ourselves for being angry, it is the hope we won't do it again. When we purpose not to sin, it's a secret hope by our resolve and strength of will that we won't do it again. All of this is the life of self, and if we have the slightest degree of success, it will produce a pride that will look down on those who are not so strong every time. We must be brought to an inward conviction that we may as well attempt to fly without wings as to conquer sin or self in our own strength.
Now this conviction alone will bring us into that entire dependence on God, and that simple faith in Jesus Christ will absolutely produce the victory over this self. God must do all or all is nothing. God can't do all unto all is expected of God. He doesn't ask your help, He asks your submission. We will never expect all from God until we totally despair of human help. We must be brought to that place where we have no hope, trust or longing but a patient, meek, humble resignation of all to God. We must by revelation come to know there is no true good but what God works Himself. The one thing God expects of man is faith and that man expects all goodness from Him alone. The one hindrance to that faith is the lack of that meek, humble lowly nature of the Lamb of God who was in total resignation to His Father. It's the lack of this nature that gives self His place in the believer and the church. Every failure in the Christian life, every outbreak of evil temper, every disappointment because our prayers and efforts seem to avail so little is the result of a secret trust that we've placed in the power of this self. Now to be delivered from this power, we must embrace the Lamb of God, with His meekness and lowliness, and to wait before Him in patience and total dependence upon God. That gives immediate help. But persevering in that nature will make us conquerors. The Spirit of love will be birthed in us. That's the key to it all. The church, in its divisions, its fellowship with the world, its worldly wisdom, it's pride, in its giving and accepting so many of the methods and measures of the world is positive proof that self still rules in God's temple on this earth.
In His earthly ministry, Christ spoke more of grace of humility than any other grace. Let this grace become the one desire and the mark of every believer and again we will see the glory of God upon His church. Then we will see the life of self make way for the life of love and the life of God. At this point, all things again become possible. This meek and lowly nature must become the state of the heart. He that humbles himself shall be exalted. This humbling is our part. The exaltation is God's. It is said of Christ, He humbled Himself therefore God has highly exalted Him. To the extent we desire and seek to share in Christ's humility on earth, we will then partake of the Spirit of power and of His glorified life. He can truly live His life through us. God will rise as the light of heaven in the man or woman who seeks to stand in the meekness, humility, patience and total resignation to God. The humility that has and seeks nothing of itself or for itself, will be crowned from heaven with the Holy Spirit and the fullness of the love of God. This humility is not to be a now and then thing. Not only an act repeated thing when we pray. It's to be the constant state and disposition in which we live and walk before God and men. Everywhere and in everything we must keep this state of heart. Then our house is built upon the Rock. Then the light and love of God will begin to work in and through you and sanctify every power of this fallen soul. Put your trust in Christ, the Author, the giver of all true meekness and lowliness of heart. Let this be the Christ you receive in your heart. Let His meekness and lowliness be the salvation you receive from His death on that cross. For it's in this state of the heart conformed to the likeness of Christ's heart that God reveals and proves the power and likeness of His salvation.
Most Christians forget this truth or never knew it. Some Christians identify salvation with the pardon of sin, others with sanctification or the glory of heaven. They don't understand the first-salvation is only the entrance into. The second is fruit and proof of. The third is the full manifestation of that salvation. Salvation itself is the life of God in the soul, that for which man was created now restored in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now the only way this life of God can be possessed is by the heart receiving the operations of God's Spirit and the indwelling of Christ. Now the indwelling of Christ can only be received in the heart that has the mind that was in Him. The Bible said He humbled Himself. If we aren't willing to do this, we can never know this great truth that Christ shows us in this great salvation. Christ's Spirit and likeness can only be in us as far as it's in our heart. The state of the heart as just described is wrought in us by the renewing and strengthening of the spirit of the inner man, and is the one preparation for the Spirit of love born in us by the Spirit of light.
Now, faced with the darkness and selfishness of your own soul, and you utterly despair of submitting yourself to God in patience, humility and meekness, what must you do? Every Christian who earnestly seeks to walk in the way of dying to self, will come to the place where he feels he has not in him the humility and meekness he longs for. A sense of utter impotence casts him down. Instead of feeling meek and humble, he begins to feel the darkness and selfishness of his own nature. In this place of despair, the believer is in the best time to test the teaching he's received. It's not a question of feeling, but the will. It's not what you feel but what you believe.
The path that leads to God through death to self is one of the most important lessons a Christian can learn. We look within to our own feelings or what we feel we've attained of humility or the power to submit to it. When we find the opposite of what we hoped for, then we begin to lose hope. But let every true Child of God learn this is the will that is the ruling power. It's the will in which faith has its strength. It's the will to which the Holy Spirit is given to conquer. The fact that of our darkness and selfishness overcoming us instead of keeping us back must be our greatest inducement to totally submit ourselves to God and honest confession that in ourselves we cannot please Him. The desire to resign ourselves to God is accepted by God and if we persevere, deliverance is as sure as God. We must not allow lack of feeling, or a sense of coldness, or sinfulness to discourage us. The more helpless you feel, the greater reason for leaning totally upon God who alone can take away sin. Humility then, is the first of all virtues before God. It's the only thing that can put us in the way of being helped and has the divine promise of certain blessing. You're never closer to total victory over self, than when you totally despair of any self help, providing you have the patience to expect it all from God. Nothing brings you so near to divine help as the extremity of distress. It is the very nature of God to help all who truly want to be helped. Nothing can hinder or delay this help but your turning from the only fountain of life and living water to some cracked cistern of your own making or some foolishness being projected as the Gospel today.
God help us, and God's help is sure to come to those who worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Such worship is the result of your whole heart, soul and spirit, trusting solely in the operation of that God who lives in you. The degree of that operation of God within you, is entirely dependent on the degree of your faith, hope, trust and dependence upon God. When your whole heart trusts wholly and absolutely in the operation of the Holy Spirit within you, when that becomes reality to your life you will find all there is to know and experience of God. But you have to come to that place where you give up all hope of self improvement and believe God.
Every true believer accepts the truth of the operation of God within Him and believes without it He cannot have the divine life. But this general belief profits little unless we with our whole heart understand that a total trust in this divine operation is the only way to God's blessing. As this truth is apprehended, the reasonableness and necessity be seen of the demand that our whole life become nothing but a meek, humble resignation to God and His power. It is here that our whole being will be filled with a hatred for that self that tries to take the place of God and professing to do God's Work, and ultimately robs us of our heavenly birthright of God living and working through us. The heart is the way to God. I know this is a hard saying. You thought your heart was your greatest hindrance. The continual state of your heart almost leads you to despair. How then can the heart be the way to God? Your heart is your life and your life can be altered only by that which is real and working in your heart, not mechanical. You can know nothing of God or receive no grace from God or experience any working of His power but in this heart. The heart can't find God but by its own faith in Him and expectation of everything from Him. All our salvation is in the heart. The Scripture speaks awful things of the natural, evil heart. But it also says wonderful things about the new heart given to us.
As a sinner listens to Scripture, he learns first of all how evil that natural heart is. But if the believer will listen to what the Scripture says about that new heart his Father gave him when he was born again and how He sent that Holy Spirit to dwell in that heart, and keep it fit for His purpose, He'd understand and rejoice in this great truth. The average Christian's answer to this inward operation of the Spirit is I feel and observe so little of this operation. The answer is simple. This is a divine, hidden, inward working that must be accepted by faith before it is felt. Because most Christians do not take the time to wait upon God to get the spiritual assurance they cannot know it. How is this to be remedied? By ceasing to look at what we can see in our hearts and concentrating our whole strength upon believing what God is doing there, and waiting to do. No matter how strong the winds are that sweep the surface of the sea, no matter how high the waves visible to man, in the unseen depths below is perfect calm. It is the same with our new heart. On the surface, the wind may raise storms. In our thoughts, doubts and prayers, our efforts and failures may all be perplexities and darkness, but down in the hidden depths where the Spirit of God dwells, there is a peace of God which rules.
Most do not know this because God refuses to discover Himself to anything but a simple, childlike faith. God has given you a new heart, cleansed by faith, with the love of God shed abroad by the indwelling Holy Spirit. All this amidst the surrounding sin that dwells in your flesh. When the motions of sin arise, don't waste your time in trying to condemn or conquer them, but in humility fall upon God, in believing the Holy Ghost is in you, and He will mortify the deeds of this flesh and the blood will always keep us cleansed. God help you to hear me. This is the day of Christ's coming, an age is ending and we must be ready for that moment. I pray God bless you, and keep you and renew you in all of His love. Amen.
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