UNANSWERED PRAYERS FOR GUIDANCE
ORIGINAL WEBSITE REQUEST ‑ If you are petitioning the Lord about something specific, not a laundry list item, but your next move in a spiritual matter and the Lord is silent for quite some time on the issue: Does the Lord speak thru his silence and is there scripture indicating such? It seems there may be a season of waiting or an issue of the testing and proving of our faith. I do not know.
JOHN’S RESPONSE: Dear ____you’ve come up with a very penetrating question. I pray that the Lord gives me exactly what He wants you to have concerning this. All I can do is share my limited perspective and understanding, for I, like you, struggle at times to figure out what is happening and what God wants of me and how I do (and do not) fit into what He is doing. I’ll begin by pointing out some things I think I’ve learned over the years (usually by hard, agonizing, gut-wrenching personal experience).
Let me begin by pointing out one of the tragic and maddening consequences of Adam’s fall and the Sin-damage it inflicted on us. Sin separated us at the roots from God’s living Word. After that, the Word was no longer our Head…and we were no longer His image and likeness. We’ve never seen how it was before The Fall. All we know is the way it is afterward. So we have no real personal, experiential grasp of what an ‘image and likeness’ of God would look like and how it would operate in real life. We simply have the few words given in Genesis. But we know for sure that the way it is now, is not what God originally created. We inherited what the Serpent and Sin and the Death that follows from Sin have created.
Even after we’re saved, a lot of residue from our original state of fatal Sin-corruption remains within us. We get new spirits (which we can’t touch, feel or comprehend); but we remain stuck having to struggle with our Sin-corrupted, fallen, and very damaged minds, wills, affections, desires, imaginations and feelings. All of that residue remains within our deteriorating mortal flesh. And it can be easily aroused within us by our own thoughts and memories and surrounding, especially the flesh that is in the people that are all around us. All of these things continue to work against us. And the powers of Darkness use them very skillfully, in order to deceive, mislead and derail us.
I call our original rebellion against, and disobedience to, and separation from God’s living Word: ‘decapitation’… because Sin separated us from our Life Source and True Head. So we’re born decapitated in the sense that we are ‘Head-less.’ The Word of God does not lead us and we do not follow Him the way living members of a physical body ‘know,’ follow, depend on and receive everything from their head. We don’t identify with our True Head, nor can we share in His eternal Life. We inherit a radically independent perspective on things…with radically independent thoughts, actions, reactions and interactions…from conception. We’re born into a world and a system of operating that are ‘Head-less’…based on humanistic radically independent ‘wisdom’ that we get from ‘elders’ who are all Sin-corrupted…and often spiritually severed from God and His Word and Holy Spirit.
So as we begin our existence, God’s living Word is not our eternal Life and Source for everything. And we are no longer His embodiment and image and likeness. We begin as alienated…strangers to God…and clueless about what we were originally designed and created to be in relation to our Creator.
We’re so used to that way of viewing ourselves and the world and life in general, that even when we want to know and interact with God…we often become hyper-religious, striving to interact with God as ‘separate sovereign nations’. We send out ‘feelers’ to God in hopes of establishing ‘diplomatic relations’ between Him and ourselves. We do this because we retain our original perspectives and viewpoints. Thus, we cling to that deluded assumption that we’re independent beings… that we have lives of our own that we must control and run (and if we’re religious, we claim to do it with God’s help, of course). Such religious people try to get God to help them ‘fix’ and ‘improve’ and ‘spiritualize’ their Self-life. But very seldom are any of us ready or willing to forsake and surrender that viewpoint, and what it keeps prompting us to do, for true and final execution on the Cross, even though that is what God actually requires of us.
We must come to grips with the fact this this ‘my life’ viewpoint is a symptom of our inherited radical independent from God viewpoint! And it is totally false. It is not at all based on reality. The truth is this: we’re nothing but dead dust apart from God’s creative, sustaining Word. Whether we admit it or not, His Word must continually supply us with every breath, heartbeat, brainwave and ability we will ever have. He must continually sustain our existence or else, we would blink off and disappear. So God’s Word doesn’t create us and pat us on the head and send us off to have an independent existence and say: “Okay, off you go…have a wonderful life…and be sure to stay in touch!”
Such a concept would be metaphysically absurd! As I said, if He were to do that, would blink off and instantly slip into oblivion! There is no such thing as a creature with an independent existence or self-generated ability to live apart from the one and only Source for everything. Everything is created and sustained by Him…AND FOR HIM! (See Colossians 1:15-20)
So there’s a huge difference between God’s Reality and His laws of Creation…in which we are designed and intended to be His Word’s image and likeness (or perfect reflection and expression of His indwelling Word and Spirit)…and what Sin has actually made of us. Now, we are used to operating as radically independent, self-centered, loners, believing that we actually have the ability (and the right) to try to make our own way and determine our outcomes. That is how distant and alienated we are programmed to be in relation to our Creator. Nevertheless, He actually must provide absolutely everything we can ever be or have and do…moment by moment…without a break. Without Him, we do not even exist. Apart from Him, we’re nothing!
So there’s an enormous gap between what God actually has in mind for us to be…and what we’re actually like even after we’re saved, at this present stage of God’s Plan of Redemption and Salvation. Ponder the following text:
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in (man-made religious) ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the (flesh-derived) enmity.” (Ephesians 2:1-16 Amplification and emphasis added.)
So God reveals that the spirits of true believers are regenerated and made alive with the Seed of our Master’s Eternal Life. That Seed of our Master’s eternal Life in our spirit is the ‘security note’…the ‘down payment’ or first installment of our new Word-Life nature…that is leading to the total Fulfillment that is yet to come. When God is finished transforming us, we will not only have new regenerated spirits, but we’ll have completely renewed and transformed souls by which to express the Word who will abide within us. And we’ll also have glorified, eternally perfect bodies from which to embody the Word of God and His Eternal Life. By then, He will be preeminent over all of Creation and will completely prevail within us. And we will embody Him throughout eternity. We will then be able to identify with our Head just as much as He has already identified with us…even while we were still His alienated, Sin-blasted enemies. But at present, we’re still a long way from that ultimate stage in our development and training.
So we’re in the process of having our original, demonic illusion of ‘self-life’ DECREASE…in us…step by step and moment by moment…and at the same time, the awareness and realization of God’s living Word, Yeshua (Jesus), abiding in our spirits becomes ever more prominent and dominant in our consciousness. The idea is for Him to INCREASE in us…step by step and moment by moment until we finally get it…and realize that He is actually everything to us. We realize that He must operate in us and that He is ALL in all things to us and in us, on every level…eternally.
So notice how God-centered and Christ-centered that text from Colossians above really is. Because a lot of our so-called ‘Christian’ views and thoughts are still extremely self-centered and radically independent, we have a tough time believing what Colossians says. But if we’re going to believe God’s Word and what it promises, rather than getting hung up on our current perspectives and feelings, we can begin to realize, even now, that: None of what is going on in this life is really about us…about our delusionary ‘self-life.’ It only seems that way to us because of the Sin-corruption residue that still abides and works in us. It is all about the Word of God who supplies us with everything at all times.
We are still largely bound within a demonic delusion of independent existence. That has never been and never will be, real. So that is what God has to deliver us from and why what I call, ‘MY life’ is on ‘death row.’ That is an insane notion. It is utterly unreal. And God in His mercy is taking us out of that satanic ‘La-La Land Insanity’ and leading us out of that trap and into the Light of God’s Truth, Reality, Sanity and Freedom.
But so much of what is still in us is still generated by the Sin residue that remains in us. It is false data, programmed into our onboard computers. It keeps stimulating the false promptings that arise in our souls…they activate the demonically misleading hard-wiring that is installed in our brains and nervous systems. That causes big time dysfunction, as is clearly evident throughout the fallen world and its religious systems. Most of the time, most of our human race is spiritually ‘out of it’ because of what Sin and its residue within us keeps doing to do to fool and mislead us.
“But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.” (Luke 23:34)
So we are saved purely by God’s grace. It’s all about Him before He saves us and it’s all about Him after He saves us…until we are completely perfected and glorified in eternity. Then all of Creation will abide with Him in His Truth.
But until then…it won’t seem that way to our messed up perspectives. Nevertheless the Truth will remain: everything in this life is all about our Creator and Sustainer. And although we’re still pretty ‘messed up,’ He is here with us to finish the job of saving us and taking us all the way across the ‘Finish Line.’
For believers, it is maddening and utterly frustrating to try to make sense of all this. We’re still so self-centered, self-absorbed, self-protective and self-asserting in our thoughts and views and instinctive reactions. The Sin residue keeps operating in us and it really messes us up at times. (See Romans 7; Galatians 5:13-26). It makes us incapable of ever being able to truly grasp what God has so clearly revealed:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:8-11)
The Sin- residue twists our fallen souls and bodies into mechanisms that are like self-centered, self-absorbed ‘pretzels.’ Even after we ‘get saved’ we still retain that old pretzel configuration in our thought patterns and so we struggle to reconcile what God promises with what still lurks and arises from deep within us. Often, the best we can do is to try to hide what’s still really going on inside of us behind facades of hyper-religiosity. We struggle against that inner rebellious drive that is always being aroused and tempted to take charge again and control and run ‘MY life.’ But of course those urges do not come from the Holy Spirit. They are the residue of Adamic DNA and the way we were conditioned and wired at conception…to be ‘Head-less’ or decapitated, and to think, act, react and interact out of our former radically independent lifestyles. Because of that, we operate as if we’re like sovereign nations trying to get God to help us get better at running our lives and enabling us to make our Self-life work better by accepting and blessing it. But He will never accept or approve of what we do to bypass His living Word and come up with counterfeit substitutes of our own making.
I know this from my own bitter personal experience, and the ‘scourgings’ with which Father has had to discipline me at various times in the past. I also learned this from the experience of being involved (in a ministerial sense) with the struggles of thousands of other fellow believers that were placed in my care over the years. I’ve come to realize that we unconsciously keep trying to maintain MY life while still trying to be on good terms with God. We ‘ride the fence,’ and try ‘to have it both ways.’ Our skewed viewpoints shut us down so that, mentally and emotionally, we stop short of the Cross. Instead of considering our Self-life to be dead and gone…we keep trying to get God to help us improve, fix and sanctify it. We even ask Him to shower our Self-life with the blessings that will only come to those who abide on the Resurrection side of the Cross. But until that Self-life is truly dead and no longer part of our computations…nothing much will really ‘work’ as we strive to ‘walk with God.’
“Therefore if (since) you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4 Amplification an emphasis added.)
I ask you to ponder this: what kind of viewpoint would we have working in our minds if we really and truly did identify with what the above text is describing. In that scenario, there would be total identification and oneness in our mind…joining us to our Messiah. We would not be two separate ‘sovereign nations’…we’d be one composite unity! He would truly be our Life…not just a role model or occasional helper. He would be our Head…and we would be His living members. We would exist only for the purpose of revealing and expressing Him…AND…He would be living in us…to obey, reveal and express His Father…100% of the time!!!
So in that scenario…how much would be about us, as separate units, in the scenario Paul describes above? Who would be the big deal? Whose life would we be expressing and revealing if our self-life was truly dead and hidden with our Master, IN GOD?
If we were doing nothing but revealing God’s living Word…and He is always revealing His Father…would there be any need for God to explain Himself to any of the members of His Word’s Body? Or would that just be a big misunderstanding…based on the residue that remains from the original Serpent-inflicted ‘you shall be like God’ delusion that he slipped into Eve’s hard drive in the Garden of Eden?
The lone ranger mentality that humanistic fallen humans habitually operate from, instinctively forces me to see myself as the hero of MY story and star of MY show. I must therefore be in total charge of running MY life. I may try to do it with God accompaniment and assistance…but it always remains MY life. However, compared to the real Truth and Reality God reveals in His Word…that is totally CRAZY! God does have ‘a wonderful plan for MY life’. The plan is: to crucify, execute and dispose of it completely!
If God were to allow that self-life viewpoint to abide in our mental pictures, He would be relegated to a minor place in the dim background, of our personal preeminence …playing soft background accompaniment to our center-stage, spotlighted stardom! It would be MY show…and God would be MY co-pilot and all around background backup assistant.
When we see things that way, we assume it’s up to us to have to figure everything out and steer and control everything…and so therefore, God has to explain Himself to us and give an account of what He is doing…to us…so that we can make sure He is in sync with our agendas. And we assume it’s up to us to ‘figure everything out’…and when we can’t get a hold of that mirage that keeps eluding our grasp, we continue to assume that something must be very, very wrong!
But God is the Source of everything. Even His own living Word (His Son) does not think or act independently of His Father! And we are supposed to be His Word’s disciples (image and likeness)! So how could I assume that I can be independent and have an agenda of my own when even my Master would not dare do that for one moment? The reason why I’m so unsure of what Father’s will and timing are is because I’ve been so used to taking the lead for myself instead of going through Disciple Boot Camp and learning what it is to truly Follow Him, that is, follow the lead of my Head…my Source for all things…as He continually obeys His Father from within me…at all times…without question…and without any hesitation in the least…regardless of the circumstances.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing…” (John 5:19-20a)
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.’” (Matthew 16:24)
So I don’t believe that our petitions to God, as His Word’s disciples, should be to ask God to explain Himself and divulge His agendas and timing to us. Our petitions would probably be more appropriate if we asked Him to make us utterly one with His Word…in Spirit and in Truth! We would do well to ask Father to help us ‘go with the flow’ of the obedient Word-Life that now operates within us so that its nature may work freely and do what it does…without any interference or opposition from us. It’s up to us to look to our Master and continually receive from Him…His Life, Wisdom, Strength, Courage, Faithfulness and Perseverance into ourselves. His utterly meek, humble, obedient LIFE is to be found abiding and operating from within us…so that we can be what He created us to be…His image and likeness.
I know that the pop religion so often promoted in organized religion doesn’t share this viewpoint. Much less will it teach and help to promote it. Very few people on Earth are willing to accept, promote and finance such a message. But I am convinced that truly is what the Lord is calling His disciples to be and to do and to demonstrate.
The disciple lifestyle, as I see it, never caters to the self-centered residue in people. It doesn’t cater to our false assumptions and counter-productive wishes. On the contrary it strives to deliver us from the tyranny of those things. The God that is revealed in the Scriptures does not cater to our Self-life residue in the least. The fallen world does that. But ponder what God’s written Word says about How God views those attitudes:
“Thus says the Lord, ‘Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things; thus all these things came into being,’ declares the Lord. But to this one I will look – to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word.’”
“You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:2b-7 Emphasis added.)
So you can see that God demands the crucifixion and execution of our ‘Self-life’ so that His Spirit and His Word can take over in us. THEN God can do what He knows has to be done to us, in us and through us, as we trust in His Perfection and Fullness and do our best to learn to abide in Him and let Him, in His infinite Wisdom, take us where He’s going to take all of His Creation. When we see what we’re really created to be and do…we will trust completely in God and His Perfect Finished Work…rather than trusting in our own understanding of what we will do and how we will do it as we keep trying to help God out and justify the fact that we can’t keep our hands off the ‘steering wheel.’
Scripture tells us that our agendas and time tables are not God’s concern. He has His own Agenda and Time Table. And He is intent on restoring His Word’s image and likeness to Him…not in helping us to perpetuate the original satanic rebellion against Him. What time means to us is not what it means to Him. He’s never in a hurry…but, in His Eternal Perfection, He is always ‘on time’.
On the other hand, we Americans, even as Christians, remain the slaves to our humanistic, Hellenistic culture. And that culture is completely at odds with God’s Biblical Hebrew culture. We Hellenistic Westerners are programmed to try to be in charge of and at the center of everything. That forces us to live like slaves. We can never rest. We have to ‘multi-task’ and strive endlessly to ‘get everything done’ and ‘cover all the bases.’ Our self-centered views frazzle us and keep us over-burdened and ‘time-challenged.’ Thus instead of submitting to the true Biblical disciple-training lifestyle, we are only willing to handle ‘bullet point’ explanations and shallow teachings and non-invasive sermonettes. We gulp those things down and move on as quickly as possible so that we can get that stuff over with…and resume the running of MY life.
So, because we’re in such a hurry all the time, our impulse is to try to get God to speed things up and give us a running report on everything that’s going on with ‘MY life’ so we won’t have to wait around on Him and His good pleasure.
That being the case, I believe that because God really is Perfect…Perfect in His Faithfulness and Righteousness…He has to deal with the demonic residue of Self-life in us…not by catering to it, but by crucifying it while He still has time to do it. Since we would have no way of doing that for ourselves, as His creatures, He has to do it from start to finish:
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him (whom we have been called to follow) who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3 Amplification and emphasis added.)
Notice how agonizingly long Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses…not to mention our Messiah Himself who was representing us…had to wait and wait and wait and wait on God before He decided to move and fulfill His promises. In fact…THEY ARE STILL WAITING ON GOD to fulfill completely all of the promises He made to them. OUR RISEN LORD HIMSELF IS STILL WAITING ON HIS FATHER to fulfill His promises to Him (see Psalm 110)!!!
And of course…God IS STILL WAITING ON US! He’s been waiting since Adam fell…for us to get a clue and fall into step with Him and what He is here to do to set things straight.
So it’s not surprising when we find ourselves in a position of having to wait and wait and wait on God too, without understanding what is happening or why…even when it hurts and is very scary. That goes with the disciple job description! It’s standard ‘boot camp training’, par for the course, daily fare for disciples-in-training.
So the real question is this: Can we, do we, really and truly trust God because He is Perfect in every way, without having to have other reasons and perks thrown into the deal? Can we really and truly trust Him no matter what…even if we can’t figure anything out or control it in any way? Can we really and truly trust Him and in the Perfection of what He has already done on our behalf…even while we hang naked on a cross and are mocked and ridiculed and taunted by our Head-less, self-adoring enemies who challenge us to, ‘save ourselves?’ Are we ready to serve as our Master’s image and likeness and follow and follow and follow Him, no matter where He goes or what He decides to do or not do, simply because He owns us and we are His property to do with as He pleases?
That, for us disciples, is what I see to be the real question. Is God so utterly Perfect in our eyes that He never has to explain Himself to us? Is He so Perfect in our eyes that our trust in Him depends only on Him and His Perfection and absolute Authority, and on nothing else?
I believe that when we can truthfully answer ‘Yes’ to those questions, we’re truly crucified…and ready to ‘Follow Him’ into the Last Days Arena of Testimony where the demonic powers of Darkness wait to see whether or not we and our testimony to our God are for real.
_____…I believe you’re right when you say: “It seems there may be a season of waiting …an issue of proving our faith.” This is in keeping with the disciple-training God has to give those who are truly called to be His ‘sons.’ Ponder the way the Amplified Bible puts this:
“You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood. And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him; for the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes.
“You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline? Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all]. Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live? For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.
“For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness—in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God]. So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees, and cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured.” (Hebrews 12:4-13 Amplified Bible)
_____…that sounds like ‘Boot Camp’ to me! How about you? Anyway…all of this is what came to my mind as I tried to answer your question.
I pray this will help you in your obviously sincere and serious effort to please God and follow His beloved Son. I ask Father to bless your efforts to understand and to honor your faith and trust in Him as you seek to be obedient to His awesome Word!
Joining you in His Service, purely by His Grace,