“All fruitfulness flows from intimacy.” –Heidi Baker
These past few weeks have been very trying times. For a reason that I am not sure about, I have been struggling to sleep and have had very little appetite. My life is in quite the chaotic form right now with getting ready to move internationally, preparing to speak in several churches and fundraise, and ultimately move to a new area of the country and begin a totally new type of job. The fact that I will be in transition for almost an entire year is quite daunting. However, that is not the most daunting thing to me right now.
The greatest challenge I have right now is a challenge given by God Himself – to draw very close to His heart, because the destiny that I am about to step into depends on Him having complete control of my heart and soul. This is the point that He has been bringing me to for the past two and a half years; this is the climax! This is the call to all or nothing with Him. He is taking me from my regular but not adequate time in His presence and is asking me the important question, “How badly do you want the plans that I have for your life? How badly do you want to know me? What is the price that you are willing to pay?”
You see, all fruitfulness flows from intimacy; at least the kind of fruit that lasts. I cannot do the things that God has prepared for me without it. It is an ever-growing hunger for more; a thirst that gives birth to a greater thirst for Him. If I’m going to bear fruit, I want to bear fruit that lasts.
So there in lies the battle. Satan has heard the call as well, and is pressing in. While I am spending more time in worship, seeking to pour my heart out to God, He brings to my attention the many lies that I used to believe and some that I often still struggle to not believe. “You are unlovable.” “You are incapable.” “You will fall.” It’s easy to cave to the feelings that I have, instead of clinging to the truth that Scripture declares over my life. It’s easy to buy into the emotion of the moment instead of depending on the love of God that I know has been poured out over my life. It’s easy to see the mountain in front of me and bow down to its immensity and ominous presence, instead of bowing down at the foot of the cross and allowing God to raise me up in His presence, this same God that can throw any mountain standing in front of me into the depths of the sea with a simple word from His mouth.
My friend sent me this quote this morning, and it has impacted me:
“Now let us turn for a moment to the teaching of this Epistle. Following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ Himself, the poor man, the beaten man, the unsuccessful man, may yet say, ‘I have overcome the world.’ What does that mean? Well, it is built upon this – the world, meaning thereby the sum total of outward things, considered as apart from God – the world and God we make to be antagonists to one another. And the world woos me to trust to it, to love it; crowds in upon my eye and shuts out the greater things beyond; absorbs my attention, so that if I let it have its own way I have no leisure to think about anything but itself. And the world conquers me when it succeeds in hindering me from seeing, loving, holding communion with and serving my Father, God.
“On the other hand, I conquer it when I lay my hand upon it and force it to help me to get nearer Him, to get liker Him, to think more often of Him, to do His will more gladly and more constantly. The one victory over the world is to bend it to serve me in the highest things – the attainment of a clearer vision of the Divine nature, the attainment of a deeper love to God Himself, and of a more glad consecration and service to Him. That is the victory – when you can make the world a ladder to lift you to God. That is its right use, that is victory, when all its tempting voices do not draw you away from listening to the Supreme Voice that bids you keep His commandments. When the world comes between you and God as an obscuring screen, it has conquered you. When the world comes between you and God as a transparent medium, you have conquered it. To win victory is to get it beneath your feet and stand upon it, and reach up thereby to God.” –McClaren Expositions
What do I take away from this passage? The lies, the insomnia, the lack of appetite, the anxious thoughts that constantly run inside my head, etc…are what is coming against me, crowding out all that was placed there by God, and calling me to focus my complete attention on themselves. So I have a choice to make. I can either give in and allow myself to be absorbed by all that would tear me down (which would be the easy way) or I can use these enemies as propellers to grow closer to God.
I was listening to a sermon by Bill Johnson yesterday, and he was reflecting on the passage in Hebrews 12 that says these strange words, “for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross…” What joy is there in a cross? There is not joy in the cross, but rather in the resurrection. The joy set before Him was the outcome: the salvation offered to us. Bill Johnson says that if we are looking at a problem and we don’t see joy, then something must be wrong; we must recalculate because some numbers have not been entered correctly. Why? Because problems, battles, and suffering have the unique ability to be propellers toward the heart of God – if we would so choose into it.
So I am facing this mountain that has fear, danger, accusation, and insecurity written all over it. I have a choice: will I be conquered by the greatness of the mountain, or will I climb it and use it as a propeller to grow exponentially closer to God? I now look at what is in front of me, and I see joy. I do not see an easy path; rather, I see a path that leads to death. However, this kind of death – the death to self – is necessary in truly knowing Him. I can’t say to Jesus, “I will follow You wherever You go,” without taking up my cross. It’s not an “if” Jesus asks me to do it; it is a “when” He does, and the time is now. There is not a soul who has grown to know His heart that has not passed through the forest of suffering.
I have considered carefully the cost of saying, “Here am I. Send me.” My choice is clear; my resolution solid. Let’s do this, Jesus. I want to know Your heart. Take my heart by storm. I am all Yours. I am All In.