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Comprehending Godís Nature

Everyone, at some time in life, faces a major problem. In your own life, crises will occur, which may not be of your own making. When such difficulties arise, how you respond will determine whether you overcome in the situation or whether the situation overcomes you. And that response has a spiritual root.

Iím not talking about little problems that we have to deal with every day, or technical matters that require a technical solution. Iím referring to much bigger things that could alter your spiritual destiny. If your roots are not in the right place Ė in God Ė you will fail. Ignorance is the soil of failure Ė and specifically, ignorance of the nature of God.

God says:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).

The lack of knowledge He is referring to is a failure to understand and appreciate Him. He went on to explain why Israel was destroyed:

There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land (Hosea 4:1b). ...you have forgotten the law of your God (4:6b).

The law of God is a liberating law (James 1:25), but few know that! It reveals Godís nature.

In a prophetic word on 1st September, God said that He gave man the Ten Commandments to show us what is in ourselves that resists Him in our lives. Those commandments highlight areas of disobedience that we need to bring into line with His Word. It behoves us to meditate on how those 10 commandments affect us in our individual lives, because they are the basis of Christian living.

If people understood Godís love, they would want to obey His commandments (1 Jn 5:3). But few comprehend and appreciate the nature of God. Hence we see a world full of problems and crises caused by disobeying Godís commandments.

That same prophetic word also stated: ďFor worship or praise of the lips is of no benefit if there is no worship or praise of the heart.Ē There is much hypocrisy among believers, who claim to love God, but who donít obey His commandments. A spirit of lawlessness is not from God but from Satan. And his course only spawns crises and troubles.

When facing insurmountable problems, people have a tendency to excuse themselves and to blame someone else, even God! But the problems we face are ours, not Godís. You have to face up to the fact that what comes your way in life is your responsibility to cope with. And there is only one way out, which is to recognise the One who should have been recognised in the first place.

For example, you may be facing such hardship in your own life that you donít know where your next meal is coming from. You, individually, did not cause drought, famine, disease epidemics, natural calamities, economic disasters, or any other tragedy which befell you, leading to your present situation. But nonetheless spiritual laws were broken which led to the trouble. Humanity must bear collective responsibility. Disobedience to God has had catastrophic consequences.

Recognising your need to obey God, to submit all your life to Him, and to trust Him to show you the way out of your difficulties, is the solution. But you can only fully embrace that dimension of experience if you comprehend His love for you. If you have never known it, you cannot have that faith or trust in Him.

The massive problems, which most people face at some time, stem from ignorance Ė an ignorance of Godís loving nature. As you come to know Him and His love, you find the help you need to cope in your situation and overcome in it.

Coping Under Trial

When you are beset by troubles, you cannot blame others. You have to accept the situation and see your own duties and obligations in it.

You, as a natural human being, without the Spirit of God, do not see things the way God looks at them. With Godís Spirit indwelling your mind, you can begin to view things differently, and your approach in life will be correspondingly different. It has to be, if you are to survive spiritually!

God says that whatever He allows to occur to you is for the best:

...in all things God works for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28, NIV).

However, notice the last three words. That is the crux of the issue. All things do NOT work out for good for those who donít love Him. And there are Christians in that category. I know of Christians who want God for selfish reasons Ė many of them! Not everyone who Ďacceptsí Jesus, truly loves Him. Most love themselves. And because they love themselves more than God, they end up with problems that donít seem to work for their best.

Recently a news item here in Britain featured a man who was wrongly convicted and sent to prison. Stephen Downing was only 17 when he was convicted of a murder he didnít commit. He spent about 30 years in jail! But when he was released, he didnít hold any bitterness or vindictiveness for what he had suffered. He merely accepted that it was an inevitable part of his life, even though he was deprived of many of the things most of us take for granted. Once out of jail, he got on with picking up the pieces of his life, and set about to make the best of what he had left.

What an example! That is what everyone should do. Every believer should do that, of course, but also you and I who trust in Christ, have more reason to respond positively in each negative situation. Why? Because God loves us, and once we truly comprehend His love, we have the impetus to cope in any situation that confronts us.

To an unspiritual mind, the love of God makes no sense. But to the spiritual man, it holds the key to enduring and overcoming in every trial or test.

David Wilkerson, the evangelist and preacher / founder of Times Square Church in New York wrote a very cogent article on this subject in June this year. With his substantial experience as pastor of that church, he could see the two main reasons why trials overwhelm people:

1) They donít comprehend the love of God.
2) They are blinded to Godís delight in them.

It is no coincidence that in our fellowship meetings, we have received prophetic words down this line. Only yesterday (written 2nd Sept 2001) God gave us a prophetic word, reminding us that He is pleased with those who turn their lives over to Him, to allow Him to live in them through His Spirit. It was no coincidence that I should Ďhappení to see David Wilkersonís article on my desk this morning, and felt moved to read it. (God has a way of drawing your attention to things at the right time!) There I saw this prophetic word restated! (See later.)

God wants you to know His great love for you, and He wants you to also realise that He takes pleasure in you. When you truly believe in Him and in His love for you, you will be able to accept that the negative things in life which He allows you to go through are for your development. When you trust Him through negative experiences, they have a positive outcome.

You CAN Please God!

This is the prophetic word which we received on 1st September, about Godís pleasure:

ďFor God loves His people and He wants to dwell within them. He wants to dwell within each person who surrenders their heart to Him, and He derives great joy from that surrender and that union.

ďPeople often donít think of how they could be pleasing God, or of how God could be pleased by them. Too often people dwell on the negative and think, ĎOh, God could not be pleased with me, because look at the dreadful life Iíve lived.í But He does take pleasure in all those who turn their lives over to Him and He takes great pleasure in those who surrender their spirit to let Him live within, that the human spirit may be blended with His Spirit. That is when He takes greatest pleasure; that is His greatest cause of rejoicing.Ē

This is a revelation that sets people free.

Another was given to us on 4th August. As three people were praising God in tongues, this inspired interpretation came, explaining that what was spoken were thanks ďto God for His Spirit of reconciliation. He is a God who pours out His Spirit upon all flesh to bring all flesh to Himself, to be reconciled to Him and to enjoy every good thing at His right hand.Ē It continued:

ďGod is a God of love who loves to bless His people, and these are expressions of His love through the power of His Spirit in tongues.Ē

However, some people really have a problem accepting Godís love. They find it too much to believe that He really loves them.

We had a lady like that stay with us some years ago. She had suffered a lot in the second world war, and since then also. She resisted the revelation of faith, preferring to believe the physical and what she could only perceive in the natural. Consequently, she denied Godís love for her and failed to benefit from it.

She needed healing, but she also had some problems of self-indulgence to overcome. When we prayed for her healing, a Ďtongue of fireí came down on her head. (Our younger daughter, who was 7 at the time, saw this manifestation upon her and told us about it later.) We received a prophetic word for her that the demon of nicotine addiction was broken in her body. (Demons cause addictions in people, in case you didnít know.) But, she could not bring herself to believe it. She preferred to believe the lie that God did not love her really, and that her habit of smoking could not be overcome. So, when the demon tempted her again to smoke, she lit up a cigarette instead of exercising her will to stand against the temptation.

That is unfortunately, how too many think. They look and listen to the physical or the sensual, instead of looking and hearing through the eyes and ears of faith, believing the spiritual. God loved this woman. And He wanted her to overcome her sinful habit. But overcoming is not based upon will power alone. It is first grounded in faith.

How To Overcome

Faith is the Ďsecretí to overcoming: believing that God loves you; that Jesus died to pay the price of all your sins; and believing that He gives you the power through His Spirit to resist and overcome sins and wrong habits. Had our lady friend tried to resist the temptation, she would have found out that she could overcome!

If only people could believe that God loves them, they would have a head start in weathering the storms of life that come against them!

The problem with too many of us is that when we are faced with the choice that temptation puts before us, we choose to give in to the temptation rather than exercise faith in Godís power and love. In those situations, our desire for the physical or sensual is greater than our desire for Godís holiness which is spiritual.

So, how can you change it? Itís a process. It doesnít happen overnight. Little by little, through the experiences of life, we come to accept that Godís righteousness is desirable. As that desire increases in us, so does our love for Him. We then become more at one with Him because we share the same aspirations. And the cycle continues in an ever increasing spiral towards God. Tragically, the converse can also happen. If you choose to go the other way, you can enter an ever-descending spiral into the devilís ways.

But you can end that descent by simply expressing your desire to change. I donít mean verbally, although that helps. I mean in actions. As you Ďbite the bulletí, God steps into your life and helps you. And He will endlessly forgive you, no matter how many times you fall down along the road, seemingly failing to make the grade, so long as you donít give up. As long as He sees that desire to change, Heíll forgive and He will help.

Thatís the extent of His love and patience.

The trials and difficulties of life play their part in forming and transforming you. Thatís why God allows them to bother His people.

Suffering has its purpose in turning you away from sinís ways and towards Godís ways (1 Pet 4:1-2), but in all that suffering, God will never leave you (Heb 13:5). Nothing and no one can cut you off from the love of God (Rom 8:38-39).

At this time, when the people of God face an uncertain future and their greatest trials, it is essential for you to understand and know Godís love and delight.... in you. It is the key to successfully enduring through the worst trials that life can throw at you! David Wilkerson expresses it eloquently in his article You Donít Have To Die In Your Wilderness.

Malcolm B Heap, December 2001

Copyright: Midnight Ministries, PO Box 29, Aylesbury, HP17 8TL, UK