15. Let God!
When everything that can go wrong goes wrong, let go. When everything hits you hard and you find yourself in tough situations and you can hardly stand it, let go. Tears stream down your face and you say "God, I can't stand this." When you find yourself a complete failure in the eyes of everyone around you and in your own eyes, let go. Trust Him.
15. Let God!
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? . . . For you are the temple of the living God as God has said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be My people.’ Therefore, ‘Come out from among them and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you . . . Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
We are looking at the essential ingredients of our transformation. We are being transformed from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord into the image of Jesus Christ. Purification is part of this process. Separation is part of purification.
All down through the centuries of Christianity there has been a clear dividing line in the church of Jesus Christ. The majority of those who confessed that they belonged to Jesus also gave themselves in allegiance to the kingdoms and causes of this world. But at the same time, all down through the centuries there has been a few who saw a revelation in the gospel of Jesus Christ about another kingdom that is not of this world. Who read these words:
Come out from among them and be separate; do not touch what is unclean.
The whole world is unclean, and everything in it. All the kingdoms of men.
All down through the centuries there has been a small group of people who have refused to give their allegiance to the kingdoms of Satan in this world.
Peter said that those who live godly in this world will suffer persecution. And yet we live in a church in this country that does not. All down through the centuries there have been millions of Christians who have not suffered persecution. But there have also been many who have been thrown to the lions, who have been burned at the stake because they wanted the same love of Jesus as we desire, because they loved the same gospel that we love.
When you study the history of the martyrs of Christ you will find that very often the issue of martyrdom was this. Those Christians who gave their allegiance to the kingdoms of this world were the ones who demanded the death of those Christians who refused because their hearts belonged to another king.
But we know better in today’s Christianity. And so we teach our children to put their hands on their hearts and to give their allegiance to this world.
What agreement has the temple of god with idols? What part does a believer have with the unbelievers of this world? There must be a separation. We are in this world, but we are not of it. We belong to another kingdom that is not of this world. We are separated from all the nonsense and bickering and argument that goes on in this world between fallen and foolish men.
We are the temple of the living God. Therefore we cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. We perfect holiness in the fear of God.
There is a dividing line that goes right down through this world separating the kingdom of darkness from the kingdom of light. As Christians growing up in a confused environment, we don’t often know where that dividing line is. There is so much in our lives that is of this world.
But we must be very careful as we draw that line, seeking to separate ourselves from this world. There is no question in my mind that the central element of the image of the beast that speaks and causes people to change, to give themselves to the beast, is the television set. So many of God’s people allow that image to teach them the meaning of reality and truth, the meaning of life in this world, what to believe and what not to believe. That miraculous thing speaks and causes you to change the way you see reality. So many Christians spend so many hours devoted to it, giving their hearts to it, opening themselves up in a passive response of worship that fills their hearts and minds with the thinking, the ways, and the impressions of this world.
To the pure all things are pure. It doesn’t mean that if you watch a show on television that has some value that you are compromising yourself, you are not. Yet the television is just one of many ways that as believers we mix the ways of the world, the music of the world, the thought processes of the world, we bring them into the church and make them part of our Christian experience.
We must be careful as we seek God to draw the line. He must draw that line for each of us in our own hearts. To the pure all things are pure. We are not double minded or double hearted. Our hearts belong to Jesus fully. As we walk through the wreckage and ruin of life in this world, there is no question that we will pick up the dust upon our feet of the paths of this world. And so we wash our feet.
In the upper room, as Jesus washed the disciple’s feet, Peter thought it was terrible that the Master would stoop to do what the lowest servant should do. At first he would not let Jesus wash his feet. But Jesus said, “If I do not wash your feet, you have no part with Me.” And so Peter in his way said, “Lord, wash all of me if that’s the case.” But Jesus said, “I don’t need to do that.”
“You are clean. Peter, you are clean. It is simply that the dirt of this world has gathered on your feet, and I must wash your feet.”
So as we walk through this world, the dust that comes to us from this world and from the demonic realms is cleansed from us. This is an outward cleansing. Our hearts belong to Jesus. I speak to those whose heart belongs to Jesus; who desire Him with all of their heart, who want the truth, who want His way, who want to be led by the Holy Spirit.
“Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Do not touch what is unclean.”
For every one of us who keep ourselves before God, there must be a dividing line. We do not just walk into everything this world offers. We especially do not give our bodies to this world, to the militaries of this world, who will take our bodies and claim them for themselves, or the bodies of our sons. We do not give ourselves to the kingdoms of Satan in this world to do their will. We belong to another kingdom.
There is no agreement between us and the kingdoms of this world. We do not find a place for ourselves here. We are separate. We walk among the people of this world, yes, but we are not of the world.
The caterpillar crawls along the ground; it eats and eats and eats. As it grows, that skin suitable for him at one point becomes too small, so he casts it off and a new skin grows. He eats and becomes larger, filling himself with the life and strength he will need for what’s ahead. Finally the time comes when the caterpillar separates himself from all it has been before. It attaches itself to a branch in an out-of-the-way place. There it weaves a chrysalis around itself. In that quiet place, all of its activities cease. Everything that he has taken into himself, all the truth and life and experience of walking with God, rests in that quiet and dark place.
God comes to him and says two words. “Let Go.”
“I will take you all apart. I love everything that is inside of you, but it is not put together in the way it will be because I have a purpose. If you will trust Me to let go of all of it, I will take it all apart, and I will put it all back together again in a way you could never imagine, if you will trust Me.”
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into all different kinds of trial, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2
When everything goes wrong in our lives, James tells us to count it all joy.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have been grieved by all kinds of trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Whom having not seen you love, though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:6-9
When a gold miner digs the gold out of the rock, that gold looks like gold. It is gold. Gold has its own unique sheen and appearance. Very often people look for sparkle when they look for gold, but they have the wrong thing in their minds, the wrong definition of gold. Gold’s beauty and value is much deeper than what sparkles on the outside.
So the gold is there, extremely valuable; it can be used to purchase things of value. But a merchant or a bank that collects gold would not be satisfied with the gold in that state. Yes, it is gold, but it’s not 100% gold. Scattered throughout that gold there are slight impurities, tiny little things that don’t belong. 99% of it is gold. But no one is satisfied with 99% gold; they want 100% gold.
But even though it is 99% gold, yet the tiny imperfections scattered throughout that gold cause it to be weak, cause it to be not what it was meant to be.
The only way to get those imperfections out is to put it on the fire. The gold has to let go of itself. By the very act of boiling, all that is not gold comes to the top where it can be removed. It is the simmering that removes the impurities. It is in giving thanks in the midst of difficulties that we are cleansed of that tiny bit of dross.
And so God has a way for us. We do not fully understand why. In the middle of everything going wrong that can go wrong, we don’t understand it. We cry out to God, “Why is this happening to me?”
Over and over again, the Bible teaches us that when difficult things come our way, God has a purpose in them. God is working everything together for our good; we keep our eyes focused on the good that God is bringing out of us. We have a future and a hope that we are just like Jesus.
This cleansing is the ingredient that in the end is the most essential. All of those things that are essential and that come first, in the end, will be of no value to us if we do not also embrace with all our hearts this final ingredient. When God is ready to take us all apart, to take everything we ever thought was true or right, everything we ever hoped for in this world, and take it all apart. Are we willing to let go? Are we willing to trust Him? Are we willing to say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him”?
My life has not been an easy one. From the time I gave my heart back to the Lord Jesus at the age of 19, I have faced difficulties and contradictions. I have found myself in so many difficult, difficult places. It seems that I hardly jump out of one fire before I am hurting from the next.
For many years the verse that gave me comfort was Lamentations 4 where Jeremiah says, “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. He has led me into darkness and not into light. He has broken all my bones. He has set Himself against me.” And yet, through all those years, I held to Him; I trusted Him.
To me the pinnacle of life was to sit among the ministry in the body of Christ. For twenty years, I walked just as a brother in the church. And yet that was my desire; I longed for the fellowship and the anointing of a shared ministry with others who had that anointing.
Then when the day of that opportunity came, I discovered it was not what I had thought. I found that those I had looked up to for so many years had a definition of ministry that my heart could not agree with, they had an attitude towards those who were not ministry that I knew I could not share. They had a willingness to manipulate other people’s lives. I would go home from the discussions of what other people ought to do with a sense of horror. I didn’t understand it; I just knew that what I had longed for through many years, to join with it would be hypocrisy. I could not become what I knew in my heart was not Christ.
Oh yes, there was an anointing, there was tremendous wisdom. Yes, there is so much mixture in the Church of Christ. God is not bothered by the mixture. The blood of Jesus allows Him to be present with us. The blood of Jesus allows God to overlook all kinds of things. And so He attends our lives with His presence. But we must never think that just because God attends our lives with His presence, that everything we have in our minds is right.
I finally gathered my family together and put all our belongings into our van. I had to drive away from that place. I didn’t understand it, and they didn’t understand it. In my mind, I was a complete failure. Here I was at the pinnacle of all I had desired for twenty years, and I was a complete failure. I have rarely felt more confused than what I felt like over the next few days and months.
Then, a few months later, I sat in a conference under the ministry of the word. A brother’s words spoke right into me. In the middle of them, God spoke. He said, “Son, you passed the test.”
I said, “What are you talking about. I blew it. I was a failure; everyone thinks I was a failure.”
He said, “Son, you passed the test.” He said, “Because through everything you went through, everything that was wrong, everything that was right, inside of you or outside of you, whatever happened to you, you justified Me. You did not blame other people, but you justified Me and you put your trust in Me.” He said, “Son, you passed the test.”
Don’t ever think that the test God has you in is what other people imagine it to be. It is God who takes us apart, and God puts us back together again. What must be in us is a willingness to let go and to let God do His work.
When gold simmers, it releases its connection to itself. Everything is loose and fluid and moving all around. The gold doesn’t understand what’s happening to it. It has to let go. As the gold lets go of everything, the dross cannot stay anymore and it goes to the top. The master refiner skims it off and the gold becomes pure.
There is a word in Revelation concerning the bride of Christ, the New Jerusalem, that the entrance into that woman who bears the very life of Jesus is through pearls. The gates are pearls. We enter life through a pearl.
A pearl is nothing more than a response to an irritation. Inside an oyster down on the ocean bottom, a little speck of sand gets in under its shell and lodges in its flesh. It hurts and irritates. But the oyster responds, not by getting angry, but by coating that grain of sand with thankfulness, with trust in God. It coats that irritation with trust in God, believing Him that nothing can come into its life except what He has ordered and that God is working everything for good.
That oyster coats that grain of sand, that irritation with more and more thankfulness and trust. Later on, when you open up the oyster, you see that irritation sitting there, and it has become a thing of great beauty and value.
The Spirit of God is saying, “This is the entrance into God, into His city.” When everything that can go wrong goes wrong, let go. When everything hits you hard and you find yourself in tough situations and you can hardly stand it, let go. Tears stream down your face and you say “God, I can’t stand this.” When you find yourself a complete failure in the eyes of everyone around you and in your own eyes, let go. Trust him.
Trust Him. Believe God, that He knows what He is doing, and let go.
You know, the great dividing line in the church is between those who so want Him that in spite of the hurt, in spite of the darkness, in spite of the confusion, they hold onto Him. “You can take me all apart, God, but I will not let go of you.” And He holds onto them.
Do not think God is not holding you close to His heart. He most certainly is.
But there are many who profess a belief in Jesus who will not let go. When a truth like the word you are reading in this volume comes into them and they realize that it challenges everything they ever heard was Christianity, there is an unwillingness to let go. They hold on, keeping it all together.“This is all I know, and I don’t know if I can trust God in that way, to let Him take me all apart. So I’ll just hold on to my handful of verses, that’s all I need.” And they do not let go.
When difficult things hit us, when people treat us with contempt, when they do things that destroy our dreams and our hopes. When they abuse us with words, if we get angry, if we get bitter, if we fight back, God is unable to do this most important work in our hearts. We take our human anger and our human bitterness and put it before God. We forgive, and we do as God commands us, “Count it all joy, be of good cheer, glory in the difficult places, get excited when everything that can go wrong does go wrong, give thanks in all things.”
A son of God knows that when things are difficult, God is working inside of him a far more eternal weight of glory. To be like Jesus. We know that if we will let go and let God take us apart, He will put us back together again in a way that is more beautiful and wonderful than we can even dream.
And we will be just like Jesus. We are just like Jesus. All the confusion and swirl of this world and all the insistence in nominal Christianity that God cannot win in this world, that we cannot be like Jesus –cannot stop us.
We know. We know, that as we rejoice in tribulation, as we give thanks when everything that can go wrong goes wrong, as we lift up our hearts in trust to Him, when He takes us all apart, we know that He is making us just like Jesus. We know that He is because He said that He is. And we trust Him. We trust Him.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3
I will not let go of anything God has done in my life. Every dark place, every difficult place, where God brought me His comfort. Oh, I will let go of myself. You see, failure is one of the most valuable things that God will ever give us. I am so willing to let go of myself because there is nothing there to hold onto.
But I will not let go of anything God has shown me in the dark places, in the hurting places, when He spoke His comfort to my heart. When He showed me Himself, when He taught me of His ways, I will not let go of those. And everything God has taken me through, always, always I had this hope in my heart, that someday God would use this agony and this difficult place to be a blessing to other people. That that really was His purpose.
Yes, for a time I held the theology that difficult things came my way because there was something wrong with me, that God was trying to get my attention because I was “walking in the flesh.” Yet underneath of that, I never bought into that line in my heart. Yes it was lodged in my brain, but not in my heart. Through all those years, I knew in my heart that everything God takes me through, every hard and lonely place, every tear, that God was working something deep inside of me that would one day be a blessing and a comfort to other people in their difficulty and in their trouble.
This is a truth found only in God. You will not find it in the wisdom of this world. The comfort I receive through suffering becomes God’s ministry through me to others. I do not belittle my weakness or despise my failure.
I quote from The Jesus Secret, Day 137.
My human weakness, my propensity to stumble and fall flat on my face. My perpetual dilemma of getting it wrong so many times. The tentacle of death still residing in my body that brings me down. It is this weakness that God has entrusted to me. Here in my weakness, I find the comfort of Jesus; I find His tender answer. Here in my weakness, I find the power of Christ. And as I find His power victorious in me, I receive the greatest gift I can give. I give to those who so desperately need it, the same hope and comfort that I so lovingly received from Jesus.
The comfort I receive from Jesus becomes God’s ministry through me to others.
If we will let God take us apart, if we will let go, God will remove everything out of our lives that is not gold, that little bit, that 1% that is not pure. He will wash the dust of this world from our feet, and He will work in us a glory and a ministry that is so far beyond any little bit of difficulty we might face in this world.
Let go, let God take you apart, and let Him put you back together again, just like Jesus.