Month 2:20, Week 3:5 (Chamashee/Teruah), Year:Day 5936:049 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 10 May 2012
Late Chag haMatzah 2012
6. Are You Making the Right Sparks?
Continued from Part 7
Very often Yahweh's will is delayed in our lives because we keep on postponing important decisions. We can even waste our entire lives because we are slack or because we are have not sought Yahweh's will earnestly enough, especially when we have had a suspicion that His will may not exactly be our own. Insisting that He solve a problem our way rather than His is...well...folly.
"I made haste, and did not delay to keep Your mitzvot (commandments)" (Ps.119:60, NKJV).
A minister once very astutely pointed out, based on his considerable experience, that those who say they know what Yahweh's will is for their lives almost always reveal that His will always happens to be in line with their own desires. Unfortunately, in my experience, most of these convictions that we are doing Yahweh's will turn out to be simply our own desires relabled by human fiat as 'His'. Yah'shua (Jesus) told Peter that he would be taken to a place where he did not want to go. More often than not Yahweh's will rarely corresponds with our own. I tend to be suspicious of those who vainly proclaim that they are constantly walking in Yahweh's will because this can sometimes border on vain confidence.
Our default nature - our carnal nature - is one of postponement and rebellion. That is our default state of being, unfortunately. The other day we were talking with a sister who came to us for deliverance whose own spiritual life, by her own account, was flawless, so that we could find no obvious grounds for her demonic issue. When I told her that she was hiding something, she adamantly denied it. When I told her that there was some unsaved part of herself that she was keeping back from Yah'shua (Jesus), she was even more indignant. She said that she was born again so that couldn't be true! And yet the emet (truth) is that Yah'shua (Jesus) can only rebirth in us that which we surrender to Him. Indeed, many Christians don't seem to understand that the words 'salvation' and 'deliverance' are interchangeable. So if we say we need deliverance from some demonic oppression, what we are in fact saying is that we need salvation in some part of our lives.
After quite a long time the sister's eyes slowly began to open though she remained in denial. She at length confessed that she did not actually believe that Yahweh would heal her in anything and wanted to mark down her tribulation to the kind that Paul had. I had to gently remind her that Paul's 'thorn in the side' was simply to keep him humble - he was not tormented to the point that he could not function! In the end the sister's problem turned out to be something childishly simple - a lack of emunah (faith, trusting)...she really did not believe she could be fully delivered/saved but still can't wrap her mind around this problem because of the doctrinal errors she has acquired in the charismatic movement.
Like it or not, salvation is a process marked by certain key divine events, of which the first (our intitial trusting - Pesach) and the third (our being reborn - Yom haBikkurim) are the most important markers in our spiritual journey. The third (the working out of our salvation by getting sin out of our lives - Chag haMatzah) takes place before and after the third because it's for the 7 metaphorical 'days' of our whole life!
That is why Yahweh gave us the seven annual festivals to teach us these things so that we can walk in clarity of mind and know what we're doing. They teach us applied emunah (faith). For there is salvation past (the work of the cross already accomplished in us), there is salvation present (the continued working out of salvation) and there is salvation future (for those who run the race to its completion). There is no 'Once Saved, Always Saved' doctrine, however much some misguided evangelicals scream 'legalist' or 'heretic' when you say so.
The emet (truth) is we are always postponing the spiritual transformations Yahweh wants accomplished in us because we aren't trying to work out our personal salvation with nearly enough trembling (Phil.2:12). It's for this reason that Torah-compliant ministers like myself are constantly having to admonish believers (and ourselves, I hasten to add) to get out of denial and into a life of proper repentance which is what this festival of Chag haMatzah is all about.
Or to put that into New Covenant parlance, how long will you be slack to go and take possession of the salvation which Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) has won for you on the Cross? The work of salvation is done, we don't have to do it, but we do have to do is yield or surrender all unsurrendered parts of our mind, heart and body - our soul - that we have not yet given to Him...those parts which choose rather to be subject to the flesh.
"How long will you be slack to go and possess the land which Yahweh-Elohim of your fathers has given to you?" (Josh.18:3, Amp.V.).
The very clear message that Yahweh has given to me for you all today is that we have got to stop trying to fix our lives by self-will and using the tools of the flesh. It won't work. And when we try to do that, we are simply postponing our ongoing deliverance and salvation. Worse, we remain struggling over the same old issues interminably and get frustrated that we seem to be going nowhere. Then we get angry with Elohim (God) when in fact it is we who have been slack and rebellious. Then we seek solutions and some 'life' in other things both lawful and unlawlful.
Times and seasons like this second Chag haMatzah are opportunities to refocus our minds and levim (hearts) so that we can let Him fix things His way. We can safely let go of the endless struggle that is reliance on the flesh - on our own intelligence, wisdom and timing - and instead trust our Rosh (Head) and have in mind that the glory we should be seeking is His and not ours.
To give you an illustration let me share with you something that happened yesterday. A great survivalist tool invented here in Sweden (which I recommend you get for your own home storage program) is the Swedish Firesteel fire-striker, a very simple and effective piece of high-carbon steel used for striking a 3,000°C spark to get fires lit in any weather or at any altitude, including rain and snow. Invented by the Swedish Department of Defence, this is probably the best fire-striker there is. Each one will give you about 12,000 strikes which is not bad for around $10.
Then yesterday while I was eating lunch out with some of my family a documentary was playing on the restaurant TV about a couple of men out in the wilderness of Arizona trying to survive on the little the sparse and harsh environment provided for them. The only items they had with them were water bottles and a Swiss army penknife. The water (when they could find it) was infested with bacteria and so had to be boiled. Lighting fires proved very difficult even though they did manage to find some flint rock and were striking the blade of their penknife on it to make sparks. I am surprised the penknife survived because it took about 20 minutes of violent striking to actually generate enough sparks to kindle a fire. Compared to the Swedish Firesteel the materials which works with a single strike, what they had was simply inferior: there just wasn't enough carbon to combust with oxygen in the air.
This got me thinking last night. Here we are, starting to get sparks going in our lives to generate the fire of simcha (joy) using the flesh - and flesh has no divine 'carbon' or chayim (life) in it. Yes, it can generate a few pretty sparks but they just don't light anything. Life becomes an endless quest for short-lived sparks barely illuminating the darkness of our lives when all along Yahweh is offering us a roaring fire of ahavah (love) if only we will lay down our hopelessly crude and ineffective fleshy spark-generators.
However, Swedish Firesteel won't make sparks unless you strike the two components! You can't just lay it next to some tinder and expect it to do the work of getting things going for you. You have to do the initial work yourself! And so many believers just don't get this - they know that salvation is free and that they can't do anything to earn it but what they forget is:
And you are not a 'legalist' for doing so or telling other people that they have to do so - it's plain common sense!
- 1. You have go to make it work for you by applying it to your life; and
- 2. You have to keep on applying it every day of your life!
A lot of very unwise, foolish believers (so-called) are sitting around waiting for Yahweh to strike their firelighers - their 'faith' for them. He won't, because true biblical emunah (faith) is never passive but active. It's trusting that leads to action. That's your part of the work, making the choice. Motorcycles don't jump-start themselves and ignitions don't start a car without your decision and intitial effort in turning a key or pressing a button.
A practical illustration to make my point. My house received extensive damage from ice three winters ago. I went to a company to ask for a repair estimate and nearly had a heart-attack when I was told how much it would cost to do the job. I didn't have that sort of money and probably won't for a very long time. I put the matter aside considering it hopeless while watching every year more damage being done to the house. Then one day I was waiting for my son to finish an appointment when I saw a man on the other side of the road doing some repair work on a house. The Ruach (Spirit) told me to go and speak to him. I did. I stated my problem and asked if he could help. He said he could and gave me an estimate which was 3.33% exactly of the original estimate given to me by the company! I could hardly believe what I was hearing because the sum was well within my financial range - and the percentage difference is a prophetic number.
Yahweh provided the fire-striker - I simply had to cross the road and open my mouth to strike the required sparks.
The two parts of the human fire-striker are emunah (faith) and works on our part, grace on Yahweh's and emunah (faith)/works on ours. True, saving emunah (faith) always moves with works. When true active emunah (faith, trusting) meets and moves with grace (Yahweh's undeserved loving kindness, unmerited favour), the esh or fire of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) results, just like the parts of the fire-striker.
"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has emunah (faith) but does not have works? Can emunah (faith) save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in shalom (peace), be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also emunah (faith) by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, 'You have emunah (faith), and I have works.' Show me your emunah (faith) without your works, and I will show you my emunah faith by my works. You believe that there is one Elohim (God). You do well. Even the demons believe -- and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that emunah (faith) without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that emunah (faith) was working together with his works, and by works emunah (faith) was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'Abraham believed Elohim (God), and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' And he was called the friend of Elohim (God). You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by emunah (faith) only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the ruach (spirit) is dead, so emunah (faith) without works is dead also" (James 2:14-26, NKJV).
Are you struggling with something that is getting you nowhere? Consider the possibility that you may be trying to strike sparks the wrong way. Let Yahweh guide you to the right solution but first you must surrender your own futile efforts. Then when He shows you the solution, don't be slack - do it - and trust Him to do the rest!
Continued in Part 9