Have you ever struggled with why? You know, why your life has turned out as it has? Have you ever felt that things weren’t supposed to be as they are? You sit and watch other people succeeding and prospering, but you don’t seem to be going anywhere. People are all telling you that “God has a plan.” Yeah maybe. But this isn’t what you thought He was planning.
Sure, the Lord assured Jeremiah: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (Jeremiah 29:11). That might have been a nice Word for Jerry, and we love to quote that verse and all, but really, does He have a plan for us?
Someone might have believed they were going to be a successful businessman. But there they are, living day-to-day, relying on the Lord’s provision! I personally believed I would be traveling the world preaching the Gospel, but what happened? Well, today, I can’t travel on any long trips. Other believers believe they would be in a successful career, but today they are no closer than they ever were. Are you disappointed? Disillusioned? Frustrated? Angry?
Okay. So, if our God has indeed called us to be really like Jesus, we need to expect to be drawn into a life of crucifixion and humility. The only thing He will expect of us is obedience! The Greek word that describes this concept is, “hupotasso,” which means “to arrange ourselves under the command of a divine viewpoint rather than to live according to our own human point of view.” It is surrendering our will to that of our Father’s! If we truly submit and obey to our Lord, we will not be allowed to follow other people, listen to their opinions, judge ourselves by their abilities and accomplishments or concern ourselves with how we may appear to be succeeding (even in our own eyes).
Do you ever feel that the Lord will often (or should I say, normally) allow other people to do things that He will not allow you to do? I mean it. You will certainly see other Christians who, as one brother pointed out, “seem very religious and useful, push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans.” but if you attempted to the same things, you would fall on your face and receive severe correction from the Lord! Oh, sure, preacher “Do-Dad” is doing something (that appears to be succeeding), but the Lord will not allow you to do the same thing! Quit comparing yourself to them!
Let me be personal for a moment. Both my wife and I have reached that magical “60.” We figured that we would be set. Large retirement funds; have the ability to travel the world; have a much larger house (why we would want it, I am not sure. But we believed we would have it!). But it all turned out differently. I have a dear friend who has traveled to other countries and held large revival meetings. Me? I can’t even travel across the country, at least not easily. But, here is the thing, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “If you don’t have something, it is because you don’t need it.” Huh? That’s right. Sure, there may be things that I would like to have, be I don’t need it!
I am thinking of Tozer’s comment about this:
When the Lord divided Canaan among the tribes of Israel Levi received no share of the land. God said to him simply, “I am thy part and thine inheritance,” and by those words made him richer than all his brethren, richer than all the kings and rajas who have ever lived in the world. And there is a spiritual principle here, a principle still valid for every priest of the Most High God.
The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever.
Above, I shared a comment the Lord gave to Jeremiah, assuring him that he had everything under control. But right before that verse, Jeremiah was busy whining and crying. “Oh, woe is me. I have done all kinds of things for you God, but now I have people chasing after me, hoping to kill me!” Not a good position, is it? But, in His great mercy, what did the Lord say? “Jerry, I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Contrast that with Paul. After the Resurrection of our Lord and King, Jesus, more is expected of us and he became afflicted with something, and THREE times he asked to Lord to deliver him. But did he receive the deliverance? Nope. Paul was telling the Lord, “Hey, I asked you THREE times about this. The Lord answered, “You sure have, but I assure you, My Grace, my Mercy is sufficient for you! It is all you need! My strength and power are perfected, fulfilled and completed and show themselves most effective in your weakness! (II Corinthians 12:9)
Go look it up. Oh, oh. But how did Paul respond? Did he cry out, “Oh, God, this ain’t fair!” Nope. He said, “Well, Okie Dokie! I will rejoice in my weaknesses and infirmities! I can because the strength and power of Christ, my Messiah is able to pitch a tent over me; to dwell upon me!
Sure, I could (but won’t) gripe and complain about my situation. But why? Because His presence and Grace has never been as sweet, as intimate, as present in my life than it has ever been. I love my Father’s fellowship and wouldn’t trade it for ALL of the riches of the world! I finally understand how Paul was able to say, “I have learned how to be content, at peace and satisfied. Even to the point where I can not be disturbed or disquieted regardless of the state I am in. None of it moves me!” (Philippians 4:11)
Whoa! Think about this. At one point, Paul said, “Here I am, compelled by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know exactly what will happen to me there, except the Holy Spirit made it clear in city after city, that imprisonment and suffering were waiting for me. Okay, so be it.
But none of these things move me; I don’t even esteem my life as being dear to myself. My only desire is that I may finish my course with joy and the ministry which was entrusted to me by the Lord Jesus, faithfully to attest to the Gospel of God’s grace; His unmerited favor, spiritual blessing, Presence, and mercy! (Acts 24:21-24).
Are you wrestling with things like this? Are there things that you want to do, but the Lord won’t allow. These are good things, endeavors many others have been allowed to do, but if you attempt to do the same thing, the Lord holds you back.
For instance, for years I have dreamed of publishing my study of Job (and others) Many have suggested that I publish these Morning Messages. But for whatever reason, the Lord won’t allow me to. Shoot, I have even assisted others in having their work published. So, I don’t know why I can’t. But I don’t need to know why. My duty is to simply obey!
Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.
In your case, maybe it isn’t ministry wise, but possibly in your business — or maybe in your family or school. I have no idea what the issue is you have been wrestling with, but I want to share a word a brother share many years ago. Now, I admit that this was given about eight years ago, but I believe it is as valid today as it was then. Give it read and see if you agree:
Others may boast about themselves, about their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin to do any of those things, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.
Yes, others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor. Why? Because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence upon Him! [my emphasis] His desire is that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury. Yes, the Lord may allow others to be honored and put forward, and yet He keeps you hidden in obscurity. Because He wants to produce some choice fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.
Yes, He may allow others to be great, but will keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and receive the credit for it, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then to make your work still more precious, He may let others get the credit for the work you have done, and thus make YOUR REWARD TEN TIMES GREATER when JESUS COMES.
Here is what you need to know: The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for even little words and feelings or for wasting your time, which other Christians never feel distressed over. So make up your mind right now, that God is an Infinitely Sovereign Being, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own.
No, He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with you, but if you will absolutely sell yourself to be His love slave, He will wrap you up in Jealous Love, and bestow upon you many blessings which come only to those who are in the inner circle.
Settle it now and forever, that you are to DEAL DIRECTLY WITH the HOLY SPIRIT, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. When you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this PECULIAR, PERSONAL, PRIVATE, JEALOUS GUARDIANSHIP and MANAGEMENT OF the HOLY SPIRIT OVER YOUR LIFE, then you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.
Yep! That’s where I want to be: “. . . in the inner circle.” Right there, living and basking in the Presence of my King!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts.
It is your faithful and continued support that
makes these messages possible.
(You may send funds via Zelle® or Paypal):