Have you ever been undone? I mean truly undone? You have nowhere to go but to look up to God? Maybe you’ve been there and chose not to look to God but to stay angry and stuck in your circumstances. I can’t think of a worse place to be because in that place, there is no hope in the great things of God.
Yes, man can pick himself up by his bootstraps and work diligently and produce a kingdom for himself, but it can easily be lost again, and worse is that there will be no eternal value.
In one of my devotionals yesterday I read the following and it is still with me, I can’t move on until I begin to walk the journey the Lord has in this word. This is an excerpt from Streams in the Desert. The scripture reference is II Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His….”
“God is looking for a man, or woman, whose heart will be always set on Him, and who will trust Him for all He desires to do. God is eager to work more mightily now than He ever has through any soul. The clock of the centuries points to the eleventh hour. ‘The world is waiting yet to see what God can do through a consecrated soul.’ Not the world alone, but God Himself is waiting for one, who will be more fully devoted to Him than any who have ever lived; who will be willing to be nothing that Christ may be all; who will grasp God’s own purposes; and taking His humility and His faith, His love and His power, will, without hindering, continue to let God do exploits.” C.H.P. “There is no limit to what God can do with a man, providing he will not touch the glory.”
I would venture to guess that many will say that is what they want. But is it really? The end cannot be achieved without becoming totally undone and broken. We want the result, but we don’t like the process. We may, inadvertently, stop God’s process in our lives of this breaking.
The modern day church seems to be under the impression that if we are broken, if we are walking through the valley, that we just need to be delivered! I’ll touch on one man of God that went through this “scourging” as the Lord called it. Of course, today we would never use the word “scourging” because to us that implies we’ve done something wrong and are being punished. But the Word of God in Hebrews 12:6-8 states, “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”
This discipline is not punishment but training (which includes correction) in the army of God. We were sinners, saved by grace. We knew nothing of the ways of the Lord. So we begin walking with the Lord and learn very quickly that we are clueless of spiritual matters. Thus we enter into a new season of learning, not only the ways of God, but learning who God is and begin to develop a relationship.
This is exactly what we see with the disciples as they are called by Jesus and begin their training in ministry. More often than not, even while they were in the midst of the miracles all around them, they still didn’t get it.
Let’s look at Peter. I picture Peter as a tall muscular man who can be intimidating because he is very direct and quick to act without thinking things through; impulsive would be a good word to describe him. He always has a quick word and sometimes it can be really sarcastic. He considers himself very macho and is always bragging to Jesus that he would die with Him, or in the next breath, he would never let anyone kill Jesus. At one point, Jesus’ response to Peter was very passionate. In Matthew 16:23 we read, “ But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."
You, along with Peter, might find this to be quite offending, after all, Peter was only trying to keep Jesus alive! Was Peter’s heart in the right place? Yes and no. Yes, he loved Jesus and wanted to protect Him, but he wasn’t in alignment with God’s plan. (And he didn’t need a deliverance team to do the work that can only be received by walking through the storm.)
The next verses in this chapter describe what discipleship really is, let’s read it: Matthew 16:24-25, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.’”
I believe that there are many of us who believe in our hearts, like Peter, that we can take the heat of battle and all will be well. But without intensive training for battle, we, like Peter, will be broken without realizing what is happening to us.
See, Peter still didn’t understand why Jesus was going to die and he was still determined to do everything in his power to prevent it. There are too many situations to demonstrate this but the one that really brings it all home is when Peter again tells Jesus at the last supper that he was willing to die with Him, and Jesus’ reply was that Satan had asked to sift Peter, but Jesus had already prayed and the outcome would be that Peter would strengthen others in their walk.
I can just hear some of you thinking, Jesus would never turn me over to satan! Really? It’s in the word; satan asked and God granted his request. If you still are having trouble grasping that, read Job 1:8, “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.’ “ In this passage, God initiates the exchange!
What would have happened if the deliverance team delivered Job and Peter from the snares of the enemy? They would have missed the blessings of the Lord and the calling God had on their lives before they were even born! Back to Peter…..
Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane and Peter is sleeping. (It’s pretty hard to protect someone if we are sleeping, both physically and spiritually). Peter is awakened by soldiers coming to arrest Jesus and pulls his sword. Jesus tells Peter that those who fight by the sword will die by the sword. I’m sure Peter was thinking that there wasn’t any other way to get rid of these soldiers! But Jesus was, again, teaching Peter that this was a spiritual battle even though it looked very physical! Peter follows to see where they are taking Jesus and people around the temple begin to recognize him as one who was one of Jesus’ followers. Peter is going to step up and defend Jesus...no, he denies him, not once but 3 times. As soon as the cock crows he gets revelation that he just denied Jesus to save his own life. Talk about being undone!
Just imagining how Peter must have felt, I imagine he wanted to die. He was embarrassed, his pride took a huge beating and worse of all, he found that for all his bravado and talk, he was weak. He knew he betrayed Jesus, the Messiah! (Remember, Peter was the one who received the revelation of who Jesus was.)
Where do you go from a place like this? I imagine he felt pretty worthless. Hiding was even worse because of the attacks on his mind from the enemy about how weak he was and how he was selfish and couldn’t possibly be a follower of Jesus! So he went back to fishing. That was the only other thing he knew. It was a place to hide and not have to talk to people, and it was something he could do without any effort. I would imagine he was completely depressed and felt like his life was over.
I’m not making this very appealing, am I? Being broken and undone is not appealing, nor is it easy. But Jesus wasn’t done with Peter. See, Peter was created by God and had all the gifts and characteristics in his DNA because God had designed him that way, but they had to be “disciplined” and “trained” to work spiritually and not just physically. If you asked Peter if he was “scourged” I would imagine you would hear a definite “yes”. If you would ask him if he could have gotten his breakthrough any other way, I believe his answer would have been “no”.
If you can get your breakthrough in your power, or help from others, it’s not a work of God. A breakthrough is supernatural, there is no way the result could have been achieved other than by God Himself!
So the question today to take before the throne of God is, am I willing to be one whom the Lord is searching for who is willing to become nothing and allow God to get all the glory? There is a cost but there also is a prize, the crown of life!
Dear beloved, seek first His kingdom and all else will be given to you by Jehovah Jireh, our provider. The Lord is looking for men and women who are willing to stand in the gap of wherever God calls them. But they also must be willing to accept the “discipline” of the Lord that will teach them His spiritual ways. Will you join me?