To see... as I have seen
We live in a day of mediocrity where,
A lack of spiritual Reality - of spiritual Passion.
In Psalms 63 David cries out in the wilderness...
"O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;Can we see his intensity - the depths of his cry and the strength of his longing?
Can we see his dissatisfaction with the status quo and his determination to see until he finds?
Here is the responsibility of every Christian - on the mission field, or the homeland, the young, the old--
They've got a saying in South America which says, "To live without suffering is to die without glory."
If there is no hurt,
if there is no challenge,
if there is no enlargement,
there will not be any glory and there will be no fulfillment.
We live in a day when the church is seeking fulfillment.
We heal everybody's hurts, real and imagined; past, present, and future.
We try to get people to feel all right.
We talk about a "good self-image." We're convinced that it is a sad thing if somebody's got a poor self-image. God help us! God pity us!
You know, it's not in what we think about ourselves.
The Bible is talking about a vision of God!
The Bible is talking about a world out beyond!
The Bible is talking about something, done on earth as it is done in Heaven!
Talking about a being put in harmony with God...
and then we will not wonder: "am I all right, or am I not all right; am I okay, are you okay?"
Frustration is the state of the world.
Once again I remind you of what Tozer used to say, "When we come before the throne of God, we are not, not, not going to be able to say to God, 'God, I would have liked on earth to have reached, to have possessed, to have known such a place, such a condition, such a level of faith or ministry...' or whatever it is. We will not be able to say that because God will turn around and say, 'Child, I gave you everything you needed to fulfill everything you've seen."' He is talking about spiritual vision. God does not demand of us anything He has not shown us!
We've got a lot of people going around trying to transmit something they've only heard about. It's not as easy as we think it is to learn the process. You've all heard the famous saying that it takes twenty years to make a preacher, because, it takes that long to understand and see what God wants us to see.
Look at Job, look at all he had to go through, until there at the end, he said, "Lord, I had heard, but now, now mine eyes see." This is what God wants to bring us to.
I remember when I first went to the mission field. There was a man of God down there that had many, many experiences. The Lord had really used him down through the years. One day he came and was talking and he said, "You now, Paul, you have to come to the place where you can say, "This is my God. This is the God who speaks and the God who backs that which I do." This is not just the God of the Bible. This not just the God of church history. This is not just the God of the doctrines of the saints. This is my God. And be able to say, "I know that my God is with me."
Maybe one thing that's lacking in the Twentieth Century is the knowledge that God has total authority. I cannot say, "My God," and then do my will. It's got to be "My God Thy kingdom come." And a lot of times, somehow subconsciously, it's,
We live in such a structured age. I remember when the great discipleship movement first started. Folk thought they had found the secret - "We'll get these folks that don't know anything and we'll teach them all we know and the church is going to go ahead like a 'house on fire.'" It does not work out that way - that's not the way God chooses to do it.
Every time I go out I notice this: people go to church, the person up front says, "This true and this is true and this is true" and everyone goes, "Oh, isn't that right. Amen. Isn't that heavy." And then somewhere along the line he says something that isn't true and everybody says, "Oh, yes. Amen." You know there's no discernment.
And so, David starts out saying, "O God, Thou art My God. All that God is, Thou art to me. I will not look any other direction."
If we're going to live a meaningful Christian life, we have got to come into that. Is God my reality, or is this world my reality?
David goes on to say,
There are words that Jesus spoke to the disciples that we look back at and say, "isn't that beautiful." But if you have ever heard Him say, being in a place where you really, really need it, "I'll never leave you and never forsake you," that's something you go back to day after day... it grows until finally it takes dominion over all of life. He'll never leave me!
David says, "I want to see Your power and I want to see Your glory," here in the desert just as I've seen it in the sanctuary.
"In a dry and thirsty land." This is a land where everything, sooner or later, is overtaken and consumed by death. If we go into one of those mission fields, where that kind of a spiritual atmosphere is present, is reigning, we automatically come under the power of that unless there is a greater power of God within us. Now, is it easy to do the work of God or isn't it?
This world, from pole to pole, is a desert place. Even the so called Christian countries, are desert places anymore.
Okay, how do we get there? Well, we get there by this commitment. There is no such thing as a response in measure. Somebody said that there's nothing worse than somebody who does the Lord's work, giving himself to God in a measure. Of course, we don't consciously do this; we unconsciously do this.
If you hear God's voice, it's always today with Him. He never tells me what He is going to be asking or demanding of me next year or six months from now or even tomorrow. The only way is to say, "Yes, Lord. Lord, it doesn't matter what anybody says." There's a lot of seeking counsel which ends up asking people's advice when we already know what they're going to tell us.
Someone talked about life being like playing checkers and you say, "Well, I know I can win. So, I let my opponent, take this piece, and that piece, and another piece, and then I'm going to win." But, suddenly you realize you don't have enough pieces left! You know, that happens to us all the time spiritually speaking. God doesn't want children! He wants men.
"My flesh," David says, "longeth, longeth, longeth." - If it's just a mental thing it won't go very far. It won't go very far at all. "My flesh longeth." It's something that goes beyond my mind. It's something that I can't contain. It's there, and I can't get away from it. My flesh longeth... God, I've got to see,
God wants a people that have got a vision and say "God, as I've seen, so would I see" in this earth a manifestation.
"Lord, as I've seen." I think I've said before and I'll close with this. After Francis of Assisi died, his disciples mechanized the process and set up the structure of the Franciscan Order and there was one man that couldn't see and he wouldn't come under the discipline they were trying to put on him. And finally the one who was in charge said to this person, , "Brother John, come down from that mountain." You know what Brother John said? He said, "But I've heard another voice."
Copyright © 1997 by Paul Ravenhill - http://www.ravenhill.org/