This is the Word of the Lord for 2021 and beyond: Do not be sensuous in your faith, sensual in your walk with Me! You serve me when you feel like it – when it is convenient for you! You love me when you feel me – when my presence affirms you! When you feel my presence you are happy and joyful, and I rejoice! However, when you do not feel my presence you shrivel up, doubt, and crumble, and I sigh! You wilt under pressure and crumble under the powers of difficulty and challenge! Is it a light thing to dishonor me by crumbling to powers inferior to me? My presence, glory, and love abides even when you do not feel me. Do not cause me to sigh at the hands of your superficial, convenient, self-serving love! Do not tempt me and cause me to serve in your fair-weather faith! If you were gifted my Spirit you were gifted Me – my promise, my seed, my first-begotten Son! To this child of mine will I look and be delighted: those who are confident in my Word, in my presence, and in my love! I will not leave or forsake. If you persist through, my power will get through!
Yesterday I wrote about persistent difficulty, how irritating it can be, and how we must have a controlled response to the irritancy. This morning I was listening to the late, renowned, reformed theologian R.C. Sproul. His lesson was on encountering God, which was so good I will need to expound on it in another post. However, during the lesson he told an anecdote, and it immediately struck me because it was exactly what the Lord had me write on yesterday! He told about a time he was asked to fill in at a church one Sunday on behalf of the pastor who was seriously ill in the hospital. He was asked to speak and administer communion, so he buckled down and studied hard to give the congregation a great message in the light of communion and their leader being sick unto death.
The message did not go as he felt, thought, or hoped. For whatever reason, he did not have his usual flair or energy. He did not feel like preaching and described his sermon as “flat.” In his many years of preaching, he recounted this event as one of the few moments in his life and ministry where he had an overwhelming feeling of the lack of the presence of God! When he was done preaching, he said he wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out, feeling like he let God down, the pastor, and his congregation! He went to the back of the church to customarily shake hands with the congregation members as they were leaving when the most amazing thing happened. Every person who shook his hand had a glazed expression on their face, like zombies who had seen a ghost! One by one they shook his hand firmly, thanking him for a message touched with the breath of God! Incredibly, everyone in that church felt the presence of God except him. In that moment and from that day forward, he vowed to never be a sensuous Christian – someone who needs to feel God to know He is there. If you need to feel Him you are influenced by your feelings, not by His Spirit. The members of the church did not encounter a ghost that day, leaving their faces glazed over. They encountered the Holy Ghost, the Father of spirits, the glory and power of a holy God. Get out your senses. Get out your feelings. Stay out your flesh. To remain in truth is to remain in the Spirit, for only there can we please God (Rom. 8:8). In Jesus name.