“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37).
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). I can still recall laying in bed that night, alone in my bedroom at college, just sobbing and crying out to God with all that was in me, and then Jesus speaking life into my weary heart through these verses; the very same words He spoke two thousand years ago.
I didn’t have any actual resolutions for 2020, I was resolute that God would answer a long-term prayer by showing me how to love others as He loves them. As I prepared myself to write the post, the Holy Spirit spoke to me through the prophet Daniel. “Then he continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them'” (Daniel 10:12), and “So he said, ‘Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come;'” (Daniel 10:20).
I believe the Spirit led me to the exchange with Daniel in verse 12, because, like Daniel, God has also heard my prayers. As I was praying that morning, the Holy Spirit reminded me again of my long-term prayer about loving others, and although my spirit rejoiced with what will come, the rest of me, for a brief moment, wanted to die; that was no doubt pride in my flesh. No wonder “the rest of me” reacted so ferociously, if only for a brief moment, because even a little pride, even a little rebellion, makes it impossible to truly love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:39), much less love God with all my heart and with all my soul and my all my mind (Matthew 22:37), as I will one day come to love and obey God. I am still working out the purpose of emphasizing verse 20, so for now, we shall see.
Interestingly, in Ezekiel 16:49-50, the Lord stated that the sin of Sodom, which led to its destruction, wasn’t entirely due to sexual immorality, as is frequently emphasized, but also greed, arrogance, and a lack of concern for the needy, none of which are any less dire (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21); all wonderful passages to revisit and consider. For the family of God, life is a race to the bottom, not the top. Likewise, may the Body of Christ set aside such shortsighted human notions as the eye is greater than the ear, or the work assigned to the foot is greater than that assigned to the hand (1 Corinthians 12:15-20); many of you should already know, considering how highly you credit yourselves spiritually, that all assignments are ordained by God (1 Corinthians 12:18) and indispensable in His plan (1 Corinthians 12:19). Therefore, shall the knee covet the work God called the nose to do? Certainly not! (1 Corinthians 14; 1 Timothy 2; 2 Timothy 3; Titus 2). Amen, indeed, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28), because whereas the law made certain class distinctions, to which the apostle Paul was referring, we are now one Body, in Spirit; each one of us called by God according to His Word. Therefore, how can any word or prophesy or teaching contrary to the Word of God be of God? (Galatians 1:8). I totally get that no one is perfect. The first apostles made mistakes—post Pentecost even—and had to repent, but show me a major Christian ministry, or movement, today, which advocates the whole counsel of God.
Again, as with my post last night, I find myself thinking back to what I wrote in The Wall: “The Spirit of God came to me this morning in church, and He said to speak against a wall. God showed me a wall, and I was instructed to speak against the wall. I was not told to request that the Lord do something, for the Lord had already acted. My instruction was to declare what He had done.” None of this—the prayers, the visions, and the specific scripture passages the Holy Spirit has led me to—is coincidence. I realize that the coming year is going to be one of submission. The Spirit has already begun the work of revealing areas of my life that I have yet to surrender to God, and these strongholds, these walls, will come down, uncomfortable as that may be at times for me and for others. “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37).
I started this post back on January 20, 2020, and then it set and set until today—February 13, 2020. Much has happened in just a few weeks. One other thing God made known to me is that He has placed me at my church, at least for now, and when I had merely considered the notion of leaving and going elsewhere, a powerful feeling of adultery poured over me, which I did not like one bit. Some of the all-time worst advice I have ever received, although well intentioned, was to be true to myself. Instead, I am learning, bit by bit, day by day, to be true to Jesus. I am grateful that God is slow to anger and abundant in kindness (Numbers 14:18; Nehemiah 9:16; Psalm 86:15), because His patience leads me to repentance (Romans 2:4). Praise God!
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This is so nicely done. I loved all your scripture references and the way you weaved them into a cohesive narrative. Thanks for your insights!
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Your are so kind. Thank you got reading!
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Ah, the old “Be true to yourself” advice. So popular today, and so wrong! I’m glad you’re not falling for it.
P.S. One night when I was a child, longing for a strong faith in God, I was being seriously attacked by doubts. I opened my Bible under the covers and read by flashlight that same passage (Matthew 7:7-8.) Immediately a wave of peace swept over me as I sensed that Jesus was with me.
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