Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Realizing Deliverance Is Not Enough

I started this blog in Sept 2005 almost a month after my life finally flew apart. I was still too proud to admit, or probably even know what was going on. God had allowed me to be put down to the lowest position I had ever know or imagined, and I still thought I had something to instruct people on. God in His Grace allowed me to write away because though I didn't dare admit it at the time, for the first time He really had my attention and I was actually studying. And that's the way things have proceeded really for the last couple of years. I learned stuff, and like any child I was sure I was the first one who ever "figured it out" and each new thing was most amazing to me. Now when I see others in this same period I see the beauty and wonder of God doing His stuff... but I do have to blush as I think of myself there. I'm even trying to imagine how this paragraph will sound to me next year, I'm trying to be hopeful that I'll be just as embarrassed by it.

So now it's what about 2.5 years later. Full deliverance has not been realized for me yet. Daily I pray for it. But for months now there has been a new growing realization in my prayer-life, and study, even in the fellowship I enjoy. Deliverance, by it's self, is not enough.

Key the dramatic music right? I mean what a mellow dramatic post so far! Not even. I'm telling you God has allowed incredible pain and suffering in my life and that of my family for some time now. He's sustained us through it, even prospered us beyond what makes any kind of sense to the natural mind. He's been showing me, and other men around me, that His presence can be the only desirable end result of any importance. See if God had set me free in Oct of 2005, I wouldn't know Him half as well as I do now.. OK let's be honest I frankly would hardly know Him at all. I surely would not be thirsty for His tangible presence in my life. And His purpose would not have been accomplished. We've all heard it quoted many times, for many reasons. But listen to the Lord again with me now. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

The Lord's emphasis is on the giving of Life. Not the removing of peril. What would it look like if He just came, died on the Cross was buried and rose again up to heaven and left us here to live simply free of our sin debt? Would we have life? Or would we still be as lonely, broken and confused as ever with no hope or purpose? Even if we were freed from the wages of sin, would we not still be desperately thirsty if the freedom didn't come also with the free gift of God? What is Eternal Life? John 17:3 says And this is Eternal Life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. The word translated "know" is the Greek word ginosko and it's a deep knowledge with experience. Such is Eternal Life. It's not just the absence of death, it's experiencing God, relating with Him.

Another often quoted verse is this; Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. The Helper is the Holy Spirit, sent by God the Son to dwell with us forever. The Lord was on His way to the Cross to suffer the debt payment for the cost of our sin. He was going to die in our place, so that we could live instead of die. The expectation He wanted us to have was - look what is coming for you! Not - Look what you can now avoid! Oh precious truth that because He died and rose again, any who call on Him can avoid making their own just payment for sin. But the Lord's promise was of better things! Of living with and in Him! Any who are thirsty are offered free access to drink the Living Water.

Above I asked what it would look like if the Lord had only delivered us from our sin. He describes it Himself in Mat 12:43-45

43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
If one is simply cleaned out of the things they have done and the things they are suffering and they remain empty they will suffer even worse things later! Deliverance is not enough.

All of this is posted here in hopes that you can start thinking past your present situation, and your future. Listening to a preacher last night left me with this true little tidbit. Hope is future, faith is present and love is eternal. The Apostle Paul said "But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. We are told what love is through the Cross, as the Apostle John says in 1 John 4:10. Hope is future, it is sure because of the sure faith we have right now. True hope can only be built on present faith. For faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

So I will continue to pray for deliverance as is well and good to do. But more than deliverance I will now pray for His tangible presence in my life. Deliverance is not enough because it is not freedom from death and situations that we ought seek, but Eternal Life.


Kevl said...

I've been doing some reading on repentance and how our "thirsts" show our desperate desire for God. Even once a person is saved the Lord still commands us to "abide" in Him. Come and drink He says.


Robb said...

You have me weeping this morning.

Robb said...
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Robb said...
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Robb said...

Man, my comments getting messed up! Really sorry! I am going to try one more time...

Robb said...

"He's been showing me, and other men around me, that His presence can be the only desirable end result of any importance."

You know how I'm not a fan of John Piper because he is a strong Lordship proponent? Well, your quote pretty much matches up with his battle cry/war cry -- his battle cry/war cry for many, many years. It's what I like about him most.

You might want to read">

You may also want to get Piper's book Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist

Bridget would be proud, eh? Now if I could only find a way to pimp the ESV...hmm... ;)

Robb said...

"My shortest summary of Christian Hedonism is: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him." -- John Piper


"He's been showing me, and other men around me, that His presence can be the only desirable end result of any importance." -- Kev L

Kevl said...

Hey Brother Robb,

As I've been studying I've been coming into more agreement with John Piper on some things. Of course not his position on Lordship Salvation.

But yes, Sister Bridgette has been on my heart a lot recently.

I could wish that John Piper would find better ways to describe what he's talking about... but maybe the shock was what he was going for...

I'm not sure I like the "English" of John's summary but if you take into account the Rule of First Mention and look at the first use of "Glorify" in the Bible Ps 22:23 and look at the word used there

I can sympathize with his statement. God is most gloried by us when we take most pleasure in Him - vice anything else. Because then He truly is "our God" and we "His people"

God bless you Robb! You're always a blessing to me!