Surrendering to the perfect will of God is not always easy, especially when our will does not match His.
I want to share a very personal story with ya'll, in hopes of encouraging someone who may be going through a spiritual trial.
As most of you know I grew up in the church, and for many years have enjoyed and experienced some very powerful services. Services where the power of God was so thick in the air that if you reached your hand upward you felt electricity go through you. There have been services where people were running the isles, women were shouting their hair down, and at times tongues would go forth. I became so accustomed to these types of services that I took them for granted.
We came to Virginia two years ago, due to my husbands' job, and we found a small, but good church to attend. The longer we had been here I realized that this church was not at all what I thought it should have been. We would have really good services one weekend then go a while without another powerful move of God. And because it wasn't fired up, and running the isles kind of church every service, I quickly became discouraged. I began to point out all the things that I thought was wrong with this church and the people. This took a major toll on my spirit and attitude, I became a very negative, unhappy person. I allowed it to eat me up inside and take away my joy. I would complain and push the blame on certain individuals. I would gossip about all the issues our church was having, instead of praying and then get upset when each church service wasn't up to my standards. I lost my desire to want to be in the house of God, and was not as faithful as I should have been. I was miserable for so long that I almost forgot what it was like to be happy. Wasn't I supposed to be joyful in the Lord? I have the Holy Ghost, was baptized in Jesus name, lived for God most of my life, so why was I so miserable? That question haunted me day and night. I didn't understand why I felt so down, angry and sad all the time. Why I just couldn't seem to have that true inward joy that the preacher speaks about, and that my bible tells me I was supposed to be so full of. This was not my ideal way to live, surely there must be something wrong with this church and we just needed to find somewhere else to go.
Finally, the Lord revealed to me the answer. I was miserable because my attitude and spirit were not right!
Matthew 7:16-20 ~
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
The fruits of my spirit were rotten, because the source, my spirit, was rotten. Oh yes, I looked the part of a perfect pentecostal woman, and my standards were high and in my opinion completely infallible. Boy was I wrong! Yes, standards are important and even necessary(I believe this with all my heart) but without having the right spirit and attitude my standards were lived in vain. All that I did meant nothing because my heart wasn't right before God. The Lord had to bring me to a very desperate place in my walk, or lack thereof, with Him, to realize the root of my misery. I didn't want to give in to what God was trying to teach me, what He was trying to do in me. I pushed against it! And then the reality of it all smacked me right between the eyes. It wasn't about having firey church and services where everyone was running the isles, although it's wonderful and awesome when those services happen. I realized that the fire was non-existant in my own life because I was lacking the personal closeness of a real relationship with God. And that relationship must begin at home in my quiet closet of prayer. I couldn't just depend upon "church" to give me everything I needed from God. The church is so important and plays a huge roll in our lives, we should be faithful to God's house and fellowship with His people. These things are vital, but if I didn't build a relationship with the Lord for myself, I wasn't making it to heaven. I couldn't rely soley upon the church to get me to heaven, or the church services. My salvation is dependent upon me, and my decision to fully live for God. The bible tells us that without holiness, no man shall see God(Hebrews 12:14). Holiness is mostly about our inward man, our spirit. A Christian can look so "holy" on the outside and seem like they have it all together but without inward holiness they are just as much a sinner as the ones in the world.
I am so grateful today that God is so patient with us, even when we are being stubborn. I have never been a patient person to say the least and I think I can finely say that through this trial God has taught me what it means to be patient and to fully trust, and rely upon Him. I had to remind myself that I am but only clay in the hands of the potter, and in order to be made into a beautiful vessel from which He can flow, there will be some molding. Molding a vessel takes time, patience, and love. I am so thankful I serve a God who takes the time, has the patience, and gives love so that I may be created into something that He can use for His glory.
I pray that this has helped someone today and that you will take some time to look deep within and pray for God to show you if there be any wickedness in your heart, that He may remove it. Creat in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.