A deeper life awaits the pilgrim of the soul. It is a life of followship and obedience, of confusion and frustration and yet amazing encounters with Him along the way. It is a life of both success and failure and, finally, after obediences have been found lacking no matter what we do or try, it is a journey into relinquishment.
This deeper life for the Christian begins with seeking...seeking to do life on His terms and to bring our behaviors into alignment with His ways. It is an "Old Covenant" kind of experience in our New Covenant relationship of grace...doing what we're supposed to do. We do not grow without these obediences - without a heart that desires to do it His way. This is a very active region of the journey that is often attended by Bible study and prayer with many questions posed and answers sought. It is here that we learn a lot about God...and about ourselves. It will cover many years of our life with Him. But then one day...
We will realize that obediences that once seemed so easy no longer are. That old man that had once seemed so easily tamed is stirring to life again. Or new temptations and weaknesses are cropping up and obedience is fraying around the edges. Romans 7 becomes our reality: "the things I don't want to do...I do, and the things I do, I don't want to do." For some reason our will no longer empowers us as once it did, and we keep having to crawl back to the throne of grace knowing how utterly unfit we are for His favor. It is usually but one issue at a time that confirms our spiritual deficiency rather than a covey of them...though this is not always the case.
It is here in this zone that the engines are switching. We must find a different power source because obviously our previous power source no longer works. The key that switches us from our engine to God's is RELINQUISHMENT. Relinquishment gets us out of God's way. It lets go of our own ideas and efforts because we have found them to be inadequate for the obedience at hand, and it submits to the Spirit of God. We yield to God and His ways as we acknowledge our need for Him.
Relinquishment Relinquishment is not an easy thing. Obedience often carries joy with it, but relinquishment never does - at least not initially - because something of self must die with relinquishment. It is here that a battle is waged before the final decision to yield or to resist. Once one surrenders their own will to that of the Lord's, then peace will descend upon the battlefield. The spiritual breakthroughs that come with relinquishment are often deceptive. Because relinquishment is like an onion with many layers to the same issue, it is never a completed item until the core of the issue - the core of the onion - is finally breeched and relinquished to God. Only then is the Holy Spirit fully released to do in the pilgrim what otherwise cannot be done. Prior to the "core" relinquisnment, having given all that we know of our self to all that we know of God, a breakthrough occurs and we feel empowered in an area of previous struggle only to find it snatched away in a few days to a few months, with a return of stuggle and failure. This is because all that we knew of our self was relinquished to all that we knew of God...but there is so much more of both self and God that is yet for us to know.
When we relinquish all that we can at the layer we are at....breakthrough happens. God accepts our offering as unblemished. Breakthrough will not happen with our relinquishments if there is more we can release to Him at the level we are in. If we have truly done all we can do at that level, we will experience a breakthrough and the river of His Spirit will flow in new places in us. Once He starts taking us down to the next layer of the same issue, we will be baffeled at the unexpected return of an issue we thought we had dealt with before the Lord. This time it is a deeper sub-text of the same issue, and He will come at it from a different direction with a different trip-wire than before. This new angle simply exposes what we could not otherwise have known remained of self on that issue.
The Deeper Life studies and offerings explore the journey of discipleship and the discoveries that await us in the deeper regions of our life with Him.
Snapshots from the Frontier of Faith
The frontier is not about quitting your job and going to the mission fields of Africa. It is the frontier of the soul and it begins where the familiar ends. It can be but a step – or a decision – away.
In her book, “The Kingdom of Love,” Hannah Hurnard writes of the enemies of God’s Kingdom of Love in her own life that undermined her ability to overcome certain sin patterns. She had read extensively of the giants of faith and their miraculous breakthroughs in this area, yet none of it worked for her. When, finally, she did break through, she realized the individuality of each threshold into supernatural living. For her, it was realizing that four of her persistent failures were interrelated and must be dealt with as one. This was the key that likely brought “Much Afraid” in Hind’s Feet on High Places to the altar in the high mountains and replaced her human love with divine love:
“…for me the key to my individual failure was discovered, and I could either hand it over to the Lord, or decide not to make the sacrifice, and so go on in bondage. I saw even then, and later came to experience, that the four things went together. This was the “fast” which the Lord asked of me personally. I was to fast completely from criticizing other people, and from talking about my own victories, and from reading fiction, and from daydreaming. If I kept this 4-fold fast, all the gates [to the Kingdom of Love] would be safely locked. If I broke one of them, I would again find myself powerless… “When that surrender was made, and that four fold fast entered upon, for the first time in my life I immediately found myself delivered from the habit of daydreaming, able to refrain from criticizing others, and from the very desire to do so…moreover, I found that my critical, impatient thoughts were now completely changed and my whole attitude toward people transformed…. For I was really and truly set down in the universe of love, and in my thought realm I was transformed by the renewing of my mind. The things I had prayed for so long actually happened, not gradually, but immediately. I knew that the kingdom of love had come within, because the gates were shut and locked against love’s enemies.”