A young man was in possession of His father’s old Bible. Reading through notes his father had made on the fly leaf, he came across this: “Father, where shall I work today?” The Lord pointed to a tiny spot and said, “Tend this for Me today”. “Oh no Lord! It’s so small. No-one will ever see”, the man responded. The Lord said, “Oh little one, are you working for Me, or to be seen by others?”
God’s first concern is not what we do, but why we do it? He examines the motive of our heart, the reason why we do something. I can do the right thing in the eyes of man, for the wrong reason, that is to be seen, and gain approval of others, in order to look good in their opinion of me. Pride! God hates it. I discover His disapproval as He resists me. 1 Peter 5:5 “…..be clothed with humility for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”.
Why do I do what I do? There is only one acceptable motive to the Lord, and that is to please Him. His word teaches us, 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you eat, or drink, or WHATEVER you do, do ALL to the glory of God”. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance, let a man examine himself and examine why he does, what he does. Is it to please God, or others, or self? Self glory, looking good in other’s eyes, is the devil’s ground. We give the devil a foothold in our lives when we allow this guest entrance. The Lord will work with us to purify our heart and motives if we walk humbly with Him, yielding to the light from His word He reveals to us. Psalm 119:105 declares “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path”. God’s word, the Bible, is our handbook for life. As we seek to know Him and His ways more, He reveals Himself to us through His word.
The Lord Jesus gives each of us a measure of His faith. What we do with that gift is our choice. If we apply that faith in Him where He directs, standing on what He has spoken personally to us, trusting that He will perform what He has promised, our roots will grow down into Him, and we will be established. What does this establishment mean? It is a growth in God, a maturity developing as we learn to trust Him in who He is, and what His word declares of Him. The end of the trial of our faith is an enlargement of Christ in me, the hope of glory – all the credit goes to the Lord. He alone is worthy to receive it.
Growing pains only come from resistance. Take a lesson from nature and God’s creation. Observe the changing seasons and their purpose. In summer, note the restful ripening of the fruit bearing tree. As the season progresses, the fruit matures until it is ready for harvesting. Then it is fit for purpose, to be plucked from the tree, eaten and enjoyed. As we yield our will to the Lord, He will make us a vessel of honour, fit for purpose. All creation groans for the manifestation of the sons of God, (Romans 8:19). We are not waiting for God, God is waiting for us……..to embrace and walk in faith in what He is saying to us. James 5:7, speaking of the Lord as the husbandman: “…….the husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth…….”.
Arthur would often describe how a young tree, a sapling, needed to be tied to a stake, a piece of dead wood, to support it in its early growth. Without the stake it could easily bend and break in the wind as it does not have enough growth in its roots, or strength in its young stem to withstand the elements. During this time, the sapling begins to develop greater depth in its roots. They grow downwards, deep into the soil, seeking the nutrients it requires to mature. Eventually the sapling matures to a certain level where it can support itself. It is cut free of the stake, the dead wood. It is established to a new stage in growth and will continue to mature, all glory to its Creator!
We can be likened to that young sapling. God will tie us in to circumstances that we do not like, (the dead wood of the stake), in order for us to grow to a deeper depth of trusting Him, proving Him. This is the trial of our faith, (1 Peter 1:6-7), not to be resisted but embraced in God, with God! As our roots go down into Him, we learn to trust Him in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. If we do not resist Him, we find the sweetness of His presence far outways the circumstance. There in the wilderness we learn to sing the reality of “His presence is heaven to me”.
Have you found His sweetness in your trial? Can you sing as the old hymn writer, C. Austin Miles, discovered:
“For He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known”.
When the trial has performed its purpose, a deeper walk with the Lord, a shedding of old ways and ungodly beliefs, a new level of trust in Christ Jesus, another measure of the fullness of the Son worked in, then God will remove the dead stake of that circumstance. The purpose of the trial is to remove the dross in my heart, that only the gold of Christ in me is left. When I submit to the Holy Spirit’s leadings, He establishes growth in another level of maturity in Christ. I learn not to be affected by the winds that blow in changing circumstance. I may not like them, but I have to choose not to be affected by them. In God we trust!…..not changing circumstances! Let God be true…..in my heart…..a pure heart.
Song: “Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, tried and tested, pure and true,
With thanksgiving, I’ll be Your living sanctuary, Lord, for You!”
Romans 8: 13-14 “For if you live after the flesh you will die, but if through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”.
……led by the Spirit of God. Is the me in me, too big to be led?
He must increase, I must decrease, (John 3:30). There can be no compromise for growth.
Photo by Georg Eiermann on Unsplash