I was recently approached by a brother I love very deeply. A brother I have always respected and because of his aggressive and devoted study of Scripture, I saw him as a stalwart of our faith. And, before I say much more, I will add all of these things remain true. And, I will add, I doubt any of you know who I am speaking of, so quit trying to guess. Who it is, is entirely irrelevant.
Okay, this hero of our faith came to me broken, contrite and humbled by a sin he had been committing for several months. He told me he had betrayed his Lord, his church, his brothers, and sisters — but most of all, his wife.
As you probably presumed, he was having an adulterous relationship with a married woman. As I said, this had been going on for several months, and no one, not even his wife knew (although his wife suspected the infidelity. She just didn’t have the confirmation). Evidently, this brother and his wife had spent several years living in the same home, but more as roommates, than as husband and wife.
He approached me after the realization of the pain his sin caused his Father and to all those involved. He came in a spirit of humility and repentance, seeking accountability and forgiveness. I assured him thatJesus would make all things new and heal what needs to be healed, but also break whatever needs to be broken! That is how healing is often brought about. The Holy Spirit will do this with anyone, despite who you are or what you have done. I assured him that he was not. That I still loved him and would never judge him, and would do all I could do. That, through his brokenness, the Lord would never leave him or forsake him.
I believe this was the correct approach to take because of something that Paul wrote:
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly [although, sometimes I am not convinced how Godly I am] should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path” (Galatians 6:1)
But here’s the thing, we are not required to be a spiritual giant to help someone. All that is needed is for us to be seeking our Father’s diagnosis of the problem, and allow Him to provide the solution. And, I assure you that the answer will come when the Holy Spirit illuminates God’s truth from the Word stored in our own heart, in our own mind, and from our own life. See, it doesn’t matter how “spiritual” we may be. When we are dealing with sin (the sin in our own life, and the sin in someone else’s life), we have to realize that only the Holy Spirit’s wisdom is needed because the outward symptoms of sin are not the underlying cause of sin.
Oh, I better explain that one, right? Well, there is no way we can treat a sin simply by looking at the symptoms — the sin itself. We must discover the spiritual cause and cure it spiritually if we hope to restore somebody. Remember how Paul explained that we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12)
As I heard one brother say, “Like a dog tied to a tree by a rope, too many believers are hooked into a sin and made its slave. They keep pulling hard to break free but only entangle themselves more tightly into their situation.” That is because they keep pulling and yanking on that rope, and they end up being strangled by something they can’t fix! They cannot fix it through mere willpower and certainly not through self-analysis.
I am sure that most of us want to help people out of their circumstances. But we are doing it before we identify the root of the problem. But here’s the thing. As Paul points out in that verse above, if something spiritual is the cause, then the only cure must be spiritual.
A snare is always rooted in the spiritual because the source of any snare is Satan, our flesh, or both. When we are attempting to restore one another, we better try to address the spiritual issue because that is the only way we set the person free. When you treat the source, healing comes, not through addressing the symptoms. And, to get to the source, we have to possess a spiritual approach.
Too many people are so focused on the wrong things. Healing will occur, and freedom from sin will come when people recognize the spiritual warfare they are in and turn to Yahweh to free them. That applies to our attempts to restore others, as well. And, in case you are confused, Solomon told us how to fix all this:
If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land (II Chronicles 7:14)
See? This should help you understand what is needed. Solomon instructions came during the Dedication of the newly constructed Temple, and he prayed, asking the Lord to forgive and restore the people of Israel when they sinned (see II Chronicles 6:12-42). After he had prayed, Yahweh told Solomon (as we see in the verse above) that, whenever the Israelites sinned, restoration would come after they recognized their emptiness. When they compared themselves to their Almighty God, their limitations would become evident. The reality is that we do not have the rights nor the commendation before our God. In our abilities, we are both guilty and unworthy to stand in His Holy presence. He is everything; we are nothing.
The prophet Habakkuk understood this as he cried out, “The Lord is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him” (Habakkuk 2:20). Although, Tozer provides us hope when he writes,
“The yearning to know what cannot be known, to comprehend the incomprehensible, to touch and taste the unapproachable, arises from the image of God in the nature of man. Deep calleth unto deep, and though polluted and landlocked by the mighty disaster theologians call the Fall, the soul senses its origin and longs to return to its source.”
Once we understand our weakness and limitations, we can enter into prayer. Our prayers are a perfect act of humility. When we enter into prayer, we don’t present a list of desires, even though, yes, Yahweh does care about our needs and as Peter explained, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (I Peter 5:7). But He is also calling us to know Him, to fellowship with Him. As Tozer again points out, “An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.” What a wonderful, yet, sobering thought.
We can cry out, “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” However, Jesus also showed us that the primary purpose of our prayers is to prepare us to perform the perfect will of God: “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22:42).
So, after we humble ourselves, through our prayers, we can then endeavor to discover what His will for our lives is.
Once we discover His will, we are finally able to find communion with our Father! Remember how the Lord called us to “seek my face.”? It is a call to live in His presence: to commune and fellowship with Him. And prayer is the doorway we use to enter into communion with Him. Scripture instructs us to seek God, and to do so “continually.” Not just Sunday morning or when we are deep doo-doo. No, we are live in His presence every day, in this life and beyond this life. We are called to live every second of our lives as if we were serving before His throne in heaven. It is to be in constant dialogue. It is to be so intimate with our God now, that when we finally do reach eternity, it will be as simple as passing through a veil: talking with Him “face-to-face”! What a glorious thought!
Scripture tells us that “the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend (Exodus 33:11). Wow! What an amazing experience that must have been. Oh, that’s nothing. We are called to “seek God’s face” and to walk with our Father as Enoch did. Their fellowship was so close that the line between earth and heaven became blurred. When Moses communed with God, he came so close that his face was glowing (Exodus 34:34-35). Paul described his communion with the Lord was so intense that he was caught up in the third heaven (II Corinthians 12:1-3). Oh, dear Lord. Our Father wants to lead us from humility into prayer and from prayer into communion. Oh, such a beautiful thing we are called to experience!
The Spirit of God is calling us to humility, from humility to prayer, from prayer to communion with our Father and finally, to repentance. A mental renewal. This change in mindset allows us to turn from our “sin” and to experience life and liberty. Free from all condemnation and guilt. Repentance is the offspring of communion. I am not talking about the “repentance” that is a prerequisite for salvation. That passage above was speaking to “my people, who are called by my name.” So, He was addressing those who are already in the fold. Romans 12:2 describes repentance for believers as transformation by the renewing of our minds.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil . . . And do not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Matt. 6:13a, Romans 12:2)
Any believer who humbles himself before The Almighty God will pray because he recognizes that he must submit (submitting demonstrates humility) to the will of our Lord. The believer that discerns the will of God through prayer must also “seek God’s face,” because to walk in the will of God you must walk in communion with Him. And the believer that walks in communion cannot help but have his mind renewed. The one depends on that other.
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