When is God going to deliver me?Posted: Fri. May, 27 2016
When is God going to deliver me?
Every believer seems to hang on to some aspects of their old Adamic life. There are various reasons for this and they all fall under the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. The believer isn't made mature or complete at the moment of salvation. This is why God must transform our minds through His word (ROM 12:2), be filled with the Spirit (EPH 5:18), walk by means of the Spirit (GAL 5:16), and grow in grace and knowledge. 2PE 3:17-18 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
1TH 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.
Spiritual growth is one heck of a lifelong experience. At times we seem to be growing at a crawl and at other times it seems almost too fast and we wish it would slow down a little. No two Christians have the same plan for growth, for God knows what each of us need and that is distinct. The very hairs of your head are all numbered and some of us have more, less, and in different locations. If you're bald you might take the comfort that God is counting the hidden follicles, whatever helps you.
One of the many benefits to spiritual growth is that the aspects of the Adamic nature to which we have clung are one by one laid aside by the power of God. They hinder us from running the race. They are encumbrances that slow our pace and deaden our vigorous spirituality. Since it is growth that is the key then the question of who is responsible rears its head yet again. This question is as old as the church itself, "Is it God who is doing this or is it Me, or is it some conglomeration of the two of us?" The answer to this question is what we will explore in this brief article.
Every believer desires to do good. This is a benefit of the new creature in Christ that all of us become at the moment of salvation. 1JO 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. But we understand that at times we struggle mightily to do good, and we do the very thing that we hate, ROM 7:15. Subtly we may desire to do good for selfish reasons. We want a better marriage, a better friendship, better health, or better performance at work or school. There is nothing wrong with these things alone, but when they become the priority of our desire then our god becomes ourselves. The result of doing God's good may result in loss and not in gain. Why we desire something is just as important as the desire itself. All is to be to God's glory. To do good that is intrinsically divine is to honor God and not ourselves. But all in all the desire is there. And why is it there? Because God put it there when He made you a new creature in Christ at the moment of salvation.
So we have the desire, what about the power?
We cling to certain parts of the Adamic nature for a reason. We like them. Others like them in us. They give us earthly power and approbation. These bring conflict within since the new creature desires to worship God alone. GAL 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another. The conflict is bothersome for the child of God who longs to glorify Him. So we set about the work of eradicating the components of our Adamic nature that we have been clinging to.
Quite naturally we usually set about this work from our old experiences of seeking change. Will power is the order of the day. We're simply going to stop something or do something immediately. We may have a halfhearted will in it or a vigorous one, but it doesn't actually matter which, since it is all human effort. Ironically, it is human effort that we are trying to get rid of. Lust and pride are human efforts. You don't ask the thief in the house to throw himself out. He can only be removed by a greater power, and even then, he will only go reluctantly. Our initial works to lay aside the aspects of our old man that we have been clinging to result in failures. MAT 12:43-45 "Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it. "Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. "Then it goes, and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. The Jews had given up idolatry and were clean from it, but rather than inviting the Lord into the house of Israel, they chose rather to invite in legalism in the form of worshipping the Law above God. When we attempt to cleanse our hearts by our human power we may find a minor victory in one area, only to invite great defeat in another area. Human effort always has human motivations. "I'm going to do this for my wife, my children, my career so my family will have more money," etc. All of it is rubbish. Our old lives have been crucified.
So God does it all?
If God does it all then why doesn't He just get on with it? - the sooner the better. If He is going to remove it all, and we can all count on this, at least when we transfer from earth to heaven, then why not just do it now, or better yet, right at salvation? But He doesn't. He allows the conflict between Spirit and flesh to continue. So can we conclude that God doesn't do it all and that we do some of the work? If that is true then we're right back to self trying to improve self. Even in the smallest part this is doomed to failure.
It is a partnership?
This proposition has more appeal since partnership is a word that means fellowship and that, we know, we have been commanded to have. If it is partnership then whatever we do cannot be of the old nature. This is shown clearly. But if we contribute from the new nature, which God has created in perfection and given to us in grace, then is it really us or Him? The new nature is a product of the Lord Jesus Christ and so it does not work independently. We cannot say that the new nature contributes independently in any way, no matter how small. We must conclude that fellowship is not us contributing to the work of God. That is human partnership.
God will sever us from the aspects of the Adamic nature that we cling to when our eyes are open to the fact that it is Him alone who is doing it. So do we contribute? That's the wrong question. We don't contribute a thing, but we do have to be ready. The answer for us lies in the question of recognition. Are we to recognize the work of God? Yes, by faith in what the eyes of the heart now see - a vision, and a faith in the objects of that vision that God has caused. God brings me to a place that I can see what natural eyes cannot, and God reveals to me that I can put all my faith in that which I see. Because I see, I no longer want complete severance from Adam for selfish reasons. I ask with pure motives in that I want to know Him more, serve Him more, and love Him more. He has shown me that I cannot go any farther with Him in the spiritual life if I continue to cling to these things, and I truly desire the spiritual life more than those things. Now, and only at this time, when God sets about the work to release your grip on the Adamic nature, you know unequivocally that it is God who is at work and not yourself.
If God just did everything to remove the lust and the pride for us before this point then we would likely think it had something to do with us or someone or something else. If our hindrances just disappeared would we know without a doubt that it was He who did it all?
God has to bring you to the end of your own resources and power so that you will truly admit that you are powerless. In this admission you put the issue solely in His hands. Then, and only then, when He works you will have no doubt. When His work on the issue is finished and you have been delivered, you will praise Him alone. You will laugh with joy that God alone did this just for you, and then you will laugh at yourself for ever doubting that He would. You will be closer to Him than ever and His intimacy and promises will be more real to you. Your walk with Him will be more personal and intimate and you will be more conformed to His will, which is being more conformed to Him. In essence you just climbed the Mount of Transfiguration and saw the resurrected Christ face to face. Just don’t forget that you have to walk back down that mountain and get to work in the fallen world in service of Him.
God's answer to Paul's prayer was silence, and Paul found that the Lord would see him through his infirmity by means of grace.
2CO 12:7-10 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me — to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Joshua fought the Amorites in a great struggle and God sent hailstones and threw the enemy into confusion. The Lord also allowed the sun to stand still so that Israel could fully destroy them.
JOS 10:12-13 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
"O sun, stand still at Gibeon,
And O moon in the valley of Aijalon."
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies.
In each case these men found more strength and more courage because they realized that it wasn't their own might or wits that delivered them, but God alone. They put their faith in Him and went forth in victory. Because they knew this, God could deliver them from any sort of distress, for they would never have given the glory to anyone else.
The following three Psalms are praises of the same. God alone delivered and the psalmist could do nothing but praise Him alone.
PSA 18:1-3 For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said,
"I love Thee, O Lord ,my strength."
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.
PSA 34:4-7 I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.
PSA 107:1-6 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary,
And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region;
They did not find a way to an inhabited city.
They were hungry and thirsty;
Their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He delivered them out of their distresses.
So it is myself or God or a partnership? It is God alone who delivers us, but only when we see that clearly through faith. So do we have some part in it? Yes, but not a contribution, only a recognition.
EPH 1:18-19 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you,
Pastor Joe Sugrue
Grace and Truth Ministries