The child of God, having gone through His fire, becomes a new creature; his attitude and character changes even his thought and manner of speaking reflect Christ. Moses, an orator (Acts7:22) emerging from God’s refinery, became a stammerer. No one will remain the same after passing through the Refiners Fire. It’s in the fire that the heart is circumcised and the person comes out “another man.”
That is why Paul could say “I live, yet not I …”
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
What I was before, I am not anymore; a change has taken place. I no longer hate, I love. I am not aggressive anymore, I’m gentle. Rather than the proud and haughty person I was, I am “meek and lowly of heart.”
The outer man, the flesh, “dross”, having been peeled off, the inner man, renewed after the spirit, is manifest. Like John the Baptist said, that “he may decrease and He increase.” This is the whole essence of “denying self”, which is indeed a very hard thing to do, but nevertheless a major requirement to having fellowship with God.
Paul was so proud of his new person; the person he had become that he counted his former person as nothing and his previous achievement as “dung”.
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” – Philippians 3:7-9 (KJV)
He willingly lost “all things”, not some, but “ALL” things: his family, because of his new faith, disowned him and excluded him from the family wealth; his educational and Pharisaic attainments he also set aside for the excellency of knowing of Christ. His was a radical change.
Some of the things we should discard from ourselves if we are to have fellowship with the Father are in Galatians 5:19-21
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19-21 (KJV)
A careful observation of the above scripture will reveal that these acts originate from the heart!
“And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” – Matthew 15:16-20 (KJV)
Sin and uncleanness go beyond the act. They are products of the heart and start from thoughts and imaginations!
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” – Luke 6:45 (KJV)
The heart of man, being open to two sources of information, should be guarded with all diligence! And yes, we may not completely block out negative thoughts and imaginations, because the heart of man is wicked, yet we owe God the responsibility of pulling down every thought that does not conform to the word of God!
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)
Without the cleansing of the heart, one would not be admitted into the place of fellowship, and consequently cannot have fellowship with God!
….to be continued.
“And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.” (Genesis 32:30-31).
Running from his brother Esau, Jacob left alone, encountered the Lord and wrestled with Him. This was the day Jacob “saw God face to face”. Yet we know no man can see God and survive.
“And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20).
So what could he mean?
It was the day he “saw” God’s plan for him and accepted it; the day he made his ways right before the Lord: the day he got born-again.
All his life he had been controlled by situations and circumstances, and what people thought about him. He lived in the paradise of other people’s imagination, consequently ended up supplanting his brother, deceived his father and cheated his uncle. He was on his way to inherit God’s possession (Canaan) pronounced on him by their father, Isaac. Indirectly, he was going to possess God’s gift by manipulation. Yes, God had him in mind for that land but not through lying and deception. He connived with his mother to lie to his father; certainly God cannot be in a lie, this was not His way! Again, no unclean thing can inherit the possession of God.
“And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called, The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the way-faring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” (Isaiah 35:8).
“Who shall ascend upon the hill of the LORD? and who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” -Psalms 24:3-5.
This was a land that God chose for Himself before the foundation of the world to be His headquarters on earth; a land that rejected and “vomiteth” the inhabitants whose ways were not right with God.
This was the land Jacob, in his carnal, “fleshly” nature was going to inherit?
God does not change; in nature and in principle. Jacob had to be stopped: hence the wrestle with the angel; in which Jacob was brought down “dead” while “Israel” came to life. Jacob did not inherit Canaan, because of his supplanting nature; Israel did!
After this experience with the angel, he became transformed, he became changed, he became a brand new man.
“Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
For the first time in his life, he noticed the Sun rise upon him. He had been in the sun before however this was no ordinary sun, but the Sun of righteousness, giving approval of the new man who has come to know the Lord for himself: a man who now has power “of agreement” with God to enter Canaan and possess it. For the first time, he saw himself in a different light.
God had been walking with him like He walks with everybody today; to lead, to guide, to protect and to bless. But we have to mend our ways: to agree with Him.
“Can two walk together, except they are agreed?” – Amos 3:3.
The blessing of God does not come by how much we work; even for the Lord: how much we run around, where we go, who we meet or associate with, or by what methods we employ. No. The blessing of God comes by obedience and agreement with Him.
“If ye are willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:” – Isaiah 1:19.
“Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: by this good shall come to thee.” – Job 22:21.
The word “acquaint” is old English for “agree”. In other words “agree with Him then good shall come.” Good comes only when we are in agreement with Him.
“By this” (Websters)
“By that” (Amplified).
Just this one thing: agreement!
Whatever comes outside agreement with Him, does not stay, yet multiplies sorrow.
Jacob was at the verge of losing everything to Esau (a man of the flesh; a man of the world), thanks to God for His mercy, his life was preserved.
If we have to experience not just success but growth: the increase that establishes success, we MUST AGREE with Him. Only by agreement with Him do we have the Sun of righteousness lead us.
“But to you that fear my name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” Malachi 4:2.
“Breaking forth” and “growing up” are things we pursue everyday, but can only get when the Sun of righteousness rises over us, taking the lead and ordering our affairs.
The Sun rising upon Jacob means he agreed to walk with God in total surrender, led by God. Not like before when God walked with Him; no, it was different now: he walked with God!
His conduct and character changed. He began to see things from a new perspective, his mode of dressing changed, his language and speech changed; all reflecting his new found life in God. Even his manner of walk changed! He began to limp: unable to do certain things he did easily in his former way of living, or should we say he felt ashamed of those deeds and could not indulge in them anymore. However way we interpret it, Jacob became a new creature and old things passed away, paving the way for the new – Israel.
The power to live holy comes, when we surrender to the Lord and agree with Him to drive our life. Let us learn from Jacob so that the sweet fragrance of God “shut” in us would find expression.
When professionals finish their work they say it is finished. Jesus partnering with God said “it is finished”.
However that is not the end. It only marked the end of an era, the Old Testament and Old Covenant era; and marked the beginning of another. (Rev. 3:7-8)
Picture two rooms. Eternity has two rooms. Christians are in the first room governed by the prince of this world, with all of its trials, persecutions and evil.
When you ask “why me?”, it is because you are in this first room!
For as long as you are in this first room, you will have tribulation.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 KJV
Here in this first room, there is misery, pain, persecution, and trials.
Jesus said “but”.
“But” carries you by faith, into the second room where you are untouchable; where you cannot be sick, a place where you can not fail, a place you can not be defeated, caged or go hungry: a place of victory.
This second room is the place reserved for those who do know their God.
“….. but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32b KJV
It is the room of exploits! (Isa. 35:8-9)
If so, why have we all not entered into it? SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS!
“Behold”, see, consider, stare at.
Rev. 3:9; Isa. 43:19
Isaiah, in his days, could not see the ultimate plan in God’s heart. He could only relay what God asked him to write but did not have the fullness of God’s mind like we do today. The “New Thing” did not spring forth in his days. In our days, the Kingdom of God has sprung forth. We ought to “see” (Eph. 1:8) it because “IT IS FINISHED!”
Paul prayed that our eyes be opened for us to see it, implying we do not see it!
Though “it is finished”, we still do not see it, why?
Firstly, our free will is standing against us! How?
In Deut. 30:19, God set a choice before us. He is not forcing us but rather gives us the choice to make. We choose! Jesus had a choice to make in Matthew 4, He rejected the world and its glories. Many of us His followers, on the other hand embrace what He rejected!
Our eyes are not seeing what Jesus saw; what God wants us to see, what Paul prayed that we might see.
In the parable of the sower of seed, the third category of seeds were choked and became unfruitful because of the thorns which by interpretation, means the cares of this world: materialism! This was the reason Lot’s wife looked back.
We are too attached to this world! Materialism has eaten deep into our hearts. We are satisfied with being in this first room, just because of the temporal treasures and pleasures! That is why we are not seeing the door into the second room!
Jesus said “Behold I set before you an open door.” – Revelations 3:9
The door into the second room is standing open before us yet it would take “BEHOLD” for us to see it! “Behold” means focus, attention, concentrate, stare till you see! We need to pull our faces from the distraction or attraction of the first room. The Cross of Jesus is the key that opened up that door but until we reject the “glories” of this world we may not see it.
So many things are behind the Cross, the second room, stored up only for as many as are able to “find” it.
May we strive harder, stare harder to see the OPEN DOOR, that peace and victory be ours. Amen.
“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” – Genesis 3:8 KJV
So much has been said on the “cool of the day”.
Was this day time or night time?
Many limit themselves by seeing themselves as not praying at the “right” or “appropriate” time when God supposedly answer prayers.
The “cool of the day” does not refer to a geographic or chronos time, but to the condition of the heart. This refers to when the heart is free from every interference or distraction. A time when the heart is noise-free; not busy with things of this world or life.
You, are God’s temple, not Jerusalem. Your heart is His throne. (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Here on earth, this is the holy place.
The power of the heart lies with the subconscious mind. What you are is from here. What limits you is for here. What kills you is not something from outside, but something you have or do not have in your heart. What you know, or do not know.
“And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.” – Mark 7:20 KJV
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” – Hosea 4:6 KJV
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32 KJV
Jesus warned: “be careful what you put in your heart for out of it are the issues of life.”
The throne of God in your heart is the power that magnifies what you put in your heart. Whether the King is on the throne or not, the throne itself carries power.
“I sleep, but my heart waketh.” – Song of Solomon 5:2a KJV
This power of God’s throne in you, is propelled by a law; the Law of the Spirit of Life.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” -Romans 8:2 KJV
There is a way to use or apply this Law, else death and decay would set in.
Some believe it is in vigils (all-night). I hold vigils, so don’t get me wrong. Some believe it is in very early morning prayers, “Womb of the day”. 3am – 5am prayers. Again I am not discrediting this.
However it is not in the time or period of prayer but in the Law of the Spirit of life!
Many observe “the womb of the day” and “womb of the year”. Yet, they do not see Him!
The question here is, how do we apply this law?
Let’s take a cue from Jesus. Why did He always withdraw?
Answer: to be alone; to be undisturbed.
What did He withdraw to do?
Answer: to recondition His mind and pray. Part of His teaching: to watch and pray.
Why was His withdrawals mainly at night?
Answer: He was flocked around at day time.
Where did He withdraw to, a mountain? Or Jerusalem?
After the death of Jesus, a replica of the Holy place was finally birthed here on earth. That place is where I should withdraw to.
Where? A mountain? Or Jerusalem?
“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” – John 4:21 KJV
From Christ, the temple of God on earth shifted from the natural to the spiritual. That is why Jesus said:
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” – John 2:19 KJV
No physical place can contain God. Not the temple, and not any mountain!
My heart is where I should withdraw to!
“Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” – Psalms 4:4 KJV
When Solomon withdrew to this place, that was when he knew that all he pursued were vanity.
“I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.” – Ecclesiastes 1:16-17 KJV
As we withdraw to the Holy place to meet the King, we are expected to take gifts to Him and not go empty handed. We are to present His Word to Him
“Thus saith the Lord , the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.” – Isaiah 45:11 KJV
Most often we remind Him of what we think or feel, or what others said. Consequently He does not answer us. Nevertheless, He allows the power of His throne to answer us. (His throne is alive! – Eze. 14:1-5)
His throne on earth is also our heart! It can deliver what we desire, but that spells stress because it would not last! We worry ourselves when things go wrong. Only the blessings of God does not have sorrow attached!
Anyone can activate the power of His throne, even non Christians
“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” – Mark 11:23 KJV
How should we withdraw?
(1) Know the Holy place on earth is not a geographic or physical place, but your heart.
(2) Like Jesus, withdraw WHEN you are not flocked or overwhelmed with many things. Make time to be with Him, shutting off all other things. The best result is achieved just before bed, and when you just awoke from sleep, but still in bed.
(3) In the secret or holy place, ponder or meditate on the Word of God. This is how you present the gift; His Word, to Him.
(4) This Word conditions your mind or heart. From this overflow of your heart in adoration, your mouth should speak in prayer, powered by His Word (from His throne- your heart)
Everything about your life are affected from here.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 KJV
The condition of your heart, tells how much peace (quietness and security) you have.
Your ultimate victory does not lie in a time of day or year but in the quietness of your heart, the condition of your heart and what you used to condition it.
Ife stirred awake. Lazily he looked at the bedside clock, 9.30am. Like a bolt, he jumped out of bed having a 10.30am appointment to keep.
With the Lagos traffic, he knew he ought to be on the road now. To be composed when ushered into the office of the Senator.
He, being a busy man, is a stickler to time and if he, Ife, missed the appointment would take almost six months to fix another.
Hurriedly he brushed his teeth, washed his face, no time for a bath, he got into his clothes which he heavily perfumed, and ran out of the room. It would take a miracle to meet the appointment; one he must not miss.
No thanks to his friends who kept him up late last night. No matter how he protested, they refused to go home; rather they teased him the more. Now he would have to deal with the rush alone.
His eyes were red and pepperish, and he prayed no one would notice his sleeplessness or the fact that he did not have a bath. This was one of the few situations that prompted him to pray; for a traffic-free road, and for God’s favour.
Surely God was on his side, for evidently the traffic was light and moving. He heaved a sigh of relief as he drew near the office.
Not being truly composed, his heart thumped louder with every step that took him nearer the Senator’s office. He looked at his wrist watch; a few minutes more. His strides became longer as he tried to cover the few yards with a few steps.
“Brother Ife, you’re just on time”, the Secretary told him as he entered the reception, “the Senator will see you now.”
“God!” he breathed quietly, walking to the door to the Senator’s office; no time to rest or catch his breath. He knocked at the door.
“Come.” A deep voice invited.
He turned the knob and suddenly found himself in the massive, posh office of Senator Ken. The man’s presence was intimidating. From the Secretary’s office, he began to feel the man’s presence; powerfully strong and intimidating.
Rivers of sweat began to cascade freely under his singlet, and he prayed it would not show on his shirt.
“Sit”, the man told him without looking up from the file on his desk.
But he kept standing; transfixed by the energy of the man’s presence. His perfume, aura and personality combined as a whirlwind emanating from him, that he felt like running away. What was he doing here? He suddenly forgot the reason for the visit, feeling like an insignificant pest in that massive office that even the butterflies he felt in his stomach seemed to seek an escape route.
No doubt you have felt like that some time. But that is just in the presence of a mere man.
This is one thing we often overlook or forget as we go into His presence, either because He is not really there, or we have become too familiar with Him. This portends a very dangerous trend for us as Christians.
Jacob said “The LORD is in this place and I know it not”. Many of us enter into the place of prayer not knowing that God is there. We are so full of ourselves and our fleshly requests, we fail to acknowledge Him in the place of prayers. It is like walking in a bright and well lit room where there is a pillar, but being occupied with other things, one bumps into the pillar.
Jacob eventually knew God was there. Do we eventually?
Many do not. Neither are they troubled or bothered. We play religion; make some noise called prayer, work up sweat as we jump up and down the prayer room with a zeal that has no foundation or substance.
It reminds me of the prophets of Baal who prayed, cut themselves, jumped up and down the altar producing sweat, yet producing no fire! All because the presence of God was not with them.
That partly explains why we hardly produce fire today, as Christians. Because there is no presence of God in most prayers. He who fills heaven and earth IS there in the secret place or prayer room. But we fail to connect Him! We ignore and despise His presence!
HOW DO WE CONNECT HIM?
(1) Draw high to Him and He’ll draw high to you!
“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” – James 4:8
This is a deliberate action, not forced by the situation or circumstances that sometimes threaten us like Ife who was forced to pray as he walked along. Nothing is wrong with praying on the road, but let it not be the only time we pray. Such prayers are not only hastily done, but are not focused because of distractions; our heart needs to be fully on Him.
We need to deliberately make time for the secret place, not to run in there when situations threaten. Many Christians, like Ife, only remember prayer when situations threaten! And we do so hurriedly. It should not be so!
(2) Treasure Him.
We place a high value or premium on things we treasure, and our heart gravitate around them.
Whatever is dear to us is constantly on our minds. We place it on a scale of importance above every other thing.
One of the reasons we do not connect God in our prayers is because we do not treasure Him enough.
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” – Mark 12:30
Most often we forget the one to whom our prayers are directed, placing value on other things, and making Him jealous.
Love Him, treasure Him above your vocation, even if it threatens your life!
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”
– John. 21:15
(3) See Him through the eyes of faith.
Entering the place of prayer with spiritual blindness stands against our receiving. What we see, we receive.
Elijah said to Elisha that receiving his request would only be possible if he saw. If Elisha failed to see Elijah, the one from whom the request was made, he would not have received his desire.
Till you see God in the secret place you cannot receive what you ask!
God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. You have to seek Him in the secret place before you can receive your request. Seek Him for Who He is, not just for the solution of a situation at hand; seek Him diligently and with all your heart then you will find Him and be rewarded. Jacob could not inherit Canaan till he had wrestled with God.
See Him first then He would usher you into inheritance.
Let your eye be single, no distractions; for God will never share His glory with any man or situation. Disconnect from external things; they distract! Peter began to sink when he regarded the boisterous wind.
“But when He saw the wind boisterous, He was afraid; and beginning to sink, He cried, saying, Lord, save me.” – Matthew 14:30
(4) Use The Power Of Imagination.
This is the only time I advice the use of this power.
Paul’s advice is that imagination should be used only on things that honour God, else, don’t use it!
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5
Imagination can kill, and it can make alive! It is in Man, what the tree of knowledge of good and evil is in the garden of Eden.
Imagination can lead you into adultery! It can inspire you to steal, to kill and to destroy! What you imagine, rather than restrain you, will empower you! That is why Jesus said that whoso looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery; that imagination if not dealt with will grow and become real!
That is my grouse with “motivational” speakers or preachers. The “word” motivation, is relative! A robber can be motivated! A murderer can be motivated! An adulterer can be motivated! Motivation can be good or evil. What direction are we motivating ourselves!!!
The mind is home to motivation, and thrives on imagination. Imagination can produce what you direct it to.
But ask Nimrod and all in Genesis 11; they had results, but because the results were not of God, they did not last! Do you still wonder why your blessings don’t last?
Even the strong-willed Christian will fall if he employs his imagination outside the leading of the Holy Spirit, because imagination would always conquer the Will when pitched against each other. Like in the military we are not called to think for ourselves but to obey instructions.
Its only but a matter of time and you will be overtaken by your imagination! As much as it is possible, do not use this power!
But in the secret place (prayer room), and in the direction of God, yes; employ your imagination. See Him through the eyes of faith, seated upon the throne, and you at His feet in humble adoration!
Imagination can connect you to God if directed to Him. It can also disconnect you from Him if directed to any other person or thing. Train and use the power of imagination only towards God.
The Secret Place is the only place no one can follow you, not even your spouse. Like Ife in the Senator’s office, you have to be alone in the presence of God. The direction of your heart has a lot to do in your appointment with Him. Fill your heart with the joy of His presence and let not your heart be troubled.
Remember, He is your Father.