Acts 17:11 Archives

Waiting for the Miracle of Change

In answer to the question: "I've really been trying to die to my old self and start afresh with God. It doesn't seem to be working?" by Dean VanDruff.

Mark 4:26-27 (NIV) ..."This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how."

Ask Him, and wait. Waiting is difficult... and not just for you! I do not like waiting either, but this is the way of the Lord in the Gospel. The seed is planted, and we must wait. The seed will sprout and grow, night and day.

We can want something and not-want it at the same time. This is the struggle between the flesh and Spirit, and we can beg God to give strength to the Spirit to overcome.

Mr 9:24b (NIV) "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

You have perceived, correctly, that the stakes are high. The battle is a violent one between flesh and spirit, for those with alive spirits anyway. But:

1Jo 4:4 (NIV) ....the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

That includes you. God is greater than YOU... or your proclivity to sin. Believe it and wait, and you will see the glory of God.

Fasting and the Disciplines in general are useful along this line. Such allow for training in safety to see the tricks the flesh will play to get its way. But you can also ask, (and we will ask with you) for a miracle of deliverance as well.

  • "I am a Christian, so I know I'm saved, but these evil desires are still there. How do I get rid of them?"
  • There is only one way for sure, and that is when we physically die. In the meantime, we must spiritually put to death our carnal natures "daily".

    Rom 7:24 (NIV) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

    God has taken away some of my evil desires, or at least given me victory over them. This was because, like you, I had no success in the normal way of Christian life... so it took a miracle of grace. It worked. I can still feel an occasional tug of temptation, but it is almost funny to think how sin used to bowl-me-over in the past. It is not funny when you are going through it, though. But God is faithful. Keep waiting, keep hoping, keep hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and you will be blessed.

  • "I try to have faith that God has taken it from me, but then I know he doesn't do that, that I have to get it out..."
  • It may be a little of both. God will do it, and Him alone. But He might do it through His life in you.

    There is nothing wrong with hoping for and praying for a miracle. That miracle might come overnight, or might be done by God more gradually and with your cooperation. But either way, keep "bugging" God with persistence. <smiles>

  • "I want my heart pure and clean before him. I know nothing is hidden from him and I try to not deceive myself into a false security, but I feel at times that I have hidden things (or attempted to) because if I ignored them they would go away. It is this way with this evil desire. I try to say "Its gone" and believe it, thinking that if I believe its gone then it will be. I don't know any other way."

  • The other way is really. Mental gymnastics can work to a certain extent in the minor things of life, but in the big things such mental tricks are merely delusion. Jesus is offering real freedom from sin for those who wait upon Him.

    John 8:36 (NRS) "If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed."

    Isa 40:31 (NIV) Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

    Ps 130 (NIV) Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning...

    Consider David. His enemies were physical: people milling around outside a cave wanting to kill him presently. But we can see how these things apply spiritually when wrestling with spiritual enemies--including our own carnal-natures. Certainly, temptations, demons, and past failures surround us and try to suggest that they have more power over us than they do, while Jesus softly beckons us.

    See if you can relate to this sampling of Psalms in your inner thought life.

    Ps 38 (NIV) O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me. Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. All my longings lie open before you, O Lord: my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away. Those who seek my life set their traps, those who would harm me talk of my ruin; all day long they plot deception. I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, like a mute, who cannot open his mouth; I have become like a man who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply. I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God. For I said, "Do not let them gloat or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips." For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin. Many are those who are my vigorous enemies... O Lord, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Saviour.

    Ps 88 (NIV) O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength. I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care. You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths. Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. Selah... My eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, O Lord, every day; I spread out my hands to you. Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead rise up and praise you?... But I cry to you for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Why, O Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me? From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death; I have suffered your terrors and am in despair. Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me. All day long they surround me like a flood; they have completely engulfed me.

    Ps 22 (NIV) My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: "He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him." Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no-one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me... people stare and gloat over me... But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen....

    Ps 119:81-84,116-117,169-176 (NIV) My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, "When will you comfort me?" Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees. How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors?... Sustain me according to your promise, and I shall live; do not let my hopes be dashed. Uphold me, and I shall be delivered; I shall always have regard for your decrees... May my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word. May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me. I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.

    Ps 13 (NIV) How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.

    Sound familiar?

    It is OK to beg God to move, to ask Him "How long?" For He is our only hope. Let us knock on His door late at night and persevere till we get the mercy we need. Mental tricks will not suffice, He must lift our heads.

    That God has put the desire for new-life and experiential salvation in you is a cause to rejoice. Yes, it is painful, but it is the start of a great hope and blessing. You, like David, are being given a heart after the Lord. Seek Him, and you will find Him.

    Mt 5:6 (NIV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

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