Let's Get it Right!
By Michelle Amirault
A pure heart is of great value in walking in the kingdom of God, for the pure in heart see God. By the kingdom of God I am not talking about some place we go to when we physically die, but a place we now have been given access to by the precious sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the first Son of God. He alone is our pattern for purity, and the Holy Spirit is God's instrument for working His purity into us. My concern is that this working is not happening among the body of Christ as it could be, because people have been conditioned to follow men and traditions of men, instead of yielding to the Holy Spirit. We have therefore each learned a form of godliness and have little or no power or reality of His Life shining forth. We are a lot of talk, "hype," if you will, and may appear right, but underneath we are often a stench. Sure our heavenly Father still loves us, but we are not reflecting Him, for we must learn to come into His throne room and to each hear from Him directly. Until we learn to do this, we and the world will not see the Christ flow through us. We will continue to reflect man's many standards and opinions and interpretations, and the world will continue to suffer and die waiting for the manifestations of the true sons of God.
So, how do we get to this place of purity... a cleanness that allows the light of God to shine forth wherever we go, bringing healing and vision from the true God to others?
I'm not claiming to have a quick formula or method for "arriving" for this work must be done by the Holy Spirit. As Americans our culture has trained us to be impatient and want things quickly, this does not help us wait on God. So many people that I've met or read about, who have had a conversion experience, went or are going through internal healings, deep personal cleansings, a learning, changing, growing and an overall renewal or reforming process that takes much time.
Most readers of this article will already know some of the in-workings of the Holy Spirit. (If you do not, you must seek God to receive the Holy Spirit. You will know when you have received Him because you will never be the same again. Jesus promised to send the Counselor to comfort and teach us all truth. (Please read and pray about John 14: 16,17,26 and 16:12-15) There is no other way to know Jesus intimately.) Hopefully, the Holy Spirit has revealed Jesus to you and so with that assumption, I will proceed.
There are many things that the Holy Spirit does within us as God really is an all consuming fire. Intellectually knowing God is not what we are talking about at all here. In fact, if you have too much confidence in your intellect, it is likely that the Holy Spirit will have to teach you about God's wisdom being foolishness to the one who thinks he is so wise. Doctrines and traditions learned from men, especially those with pagan roots, all have to be stripped away, for they limit and miss-color God. So much of what we have been taught belittles the magnitude of God, His power and love and His overall plan for mankind through the ages. There will also be many internal and very personal cleansings that only the Holy Spirit can reveal to us. His light dispels the power of their dark hold on us. Forgiveness is the milk that brings forth much honey in this new land. It not only sets others free, but us as well. There will often be reminders of what we have already come to understand, or promptings to walk in what we have been taught. This is one way we know that we are children of God. These promptings if ignored can bring chastisement, which is always for our good and because we are loved. Learning to be sensitive to God working (and walking) within us is essential for us to reflect His true image.
The big ogre mentality of God has to be stripped away too, for it is the wrong image of His nature. Selfless love gradually becomes our motive in all we do and how we think; but this does take a lot of time. We learn to sincerely care about and focus on others because we become more and more secure in God's love and care for us. He may do big things that are very dramatic, surprising and even supernatural, but I, personally, am often melted in His love by the littlest details that I see His hand perform. No matter how God moves in our lives, we know we are not the same within anymore, even if we slip back now and then to familiar patterns of our old nature. Tremendous honesty is also an essential, but refreshing fruit of this in-working.
It is in this honesty that we are changed in major ways. This to me is a sign of His purity having been burned within. As fire in the natural changes elements, even so does Spiritual fire working within us change us completely, little by little, glory to glory.
The following is an example of how the Holy Spirit gently taught and re-taught me regarding giving. First, not being overloaded in money, giving at church was something I was not honestly thrilled to have to do. At that time five dollars was a lot to put in the offering plate. Going to church was new for me after my conversion experience, but I assumed that is where I was to go. I was far from a person who freely gave anything, (except my opinions, which I now see weren't worth much.) But wanting to be obedient to what I was learning from there, I started giving, but somewhat begrudgingly to be honest. Not long after this, I was taught about tithing, and with help from guilt-giving sermons and my wanting to be a "good Christian," although it was impossible on paper to see how this could be managed, I gave my 10% of gross and began trusting God to cover me for it. To be honest again, I was amazed that He did do that, so I felt I was growing in giving with a more right heart, but what really grew was my ability to trust God. Then when tithing began to become a habit, I gave the 10% routinely with a content heart. Of course, soon after that I was stretched again and taught to give beyond the tithe, and told that it should be done with a joyful heart. We started doing this very cautiously, with more of a stingy heart. But God's Spirit continued working within me. Eventually I learned to ask Him to show me what to give and when and where. At the end of the year, I was amazed that what we had given away always totaled out to be more than the tithe, yet we always could still pay our bills. (I still kept careful track of our finances, as I was the bookkeeper in our family and business.) I was however, very excited because God really was faithful to change my heart and I began to really trust God and enjoy giving freely. I do remember, however, seeing a pride creep in that I was such a "good girl" by giving like I did. This was shown to me by the Holy Spirit, and after seeing the grossness of that from God's eyes, a true repentance came forth and I realized that everything I had was His in the first place! I was only giving back some of what He had given me. It was only with this revelation that I began really getting the big picture. Now it is becoming much more natural to give, for we surely have been given all that we need to do the will of the One Who has called and is forming us into His nature. He is the Giver of All! (By the way, some people are teaching this understanding, that everything we have is God's anyway, and then using it and guilt to milk more out of God's people for their own little kingdoms. This is in no way why I am expressing this understanding of God being Lord of all. In fact, my intent is to help you see that in all you do or give, be it money or deed, do it with the same joy that God gives to us, the joy of relating His love.)
See, we are no longer to give because we must obey the law of tithing (falsely put on us by often greedy men who do not have this faith from God and therefore use manipulation and guilt to get men to give.) Nor should we "give to get," whether it be blessings, like improved finances or recognition which feeds our stinking pride.
We need to be giving out of a new nature, Christ within. Then we not only give joyfully, but with the assurance of the prompting of the life of God going forth to His glory, not ours. Does God still love us if we "give to get"? Sure He does, so be honest about where you are. Once we really can see where our motive is, we can begin to be set free. See, the truth really does set us free in deed. This is just an example of how God works in us using our willingness to be honest to bring us to a purer place.
This purer place is a condition of such honesty with ourselves, God, and others, that we are, in essence, stripped of all coverings that hide the light of God within us. It really is no longer us, but Christ within that lives, for we have thereby been crucified with Him. As all the darkness of the self promoted life is drained or washed out of us, and we abide in Him more and more, He remains to give His life, and uses us right where we are to set other captives free. In this place of purity His glory will be our true glory, for we are One with Him and His purposes. Obviously, the more God-centered we are, the purer we are becoming. Our life is truly hidden in Him.
Is God-centered talking or reading about God, or even doing for God? NO, it is not. It is truly, communing with Him that changes us. Sadly too many times "ministry for God" is not the same as this "communing with God." Reading about God, even to know more about God, is of no value unless it moves us to Him.
Is He really first? How can anyone put God first until they know Him? Remembering that no man can come to Him except by the Holy Spirit drawing us toward God, we need to also remember when we are drawn, to enjoy the sweet pleasure of just being with Him. In this continuing awakening or awareness of His love for us, we learn to trust Him more and more, and our ability to love blossoms in that trusting. We become more sensitive to Him, more honest, knowing even our faith is His gift to us, nothing we should pride ourselves in or work up. As we learn of His complete sovereignty, and work through the changes that knowledge brings us, we will perceive many things differently like the devil's role and power, ourselves and our various circumstances. Everything God strips or takes away from us is to cause us to really grow or enlarge in our capacity for truth, love, peace, rest, and even the Precious Presence of God, Himself.
When we put God first by communicating honestly with Him, and walk in the faith He has given us, trusting and obeying what we know He has worked in us so far, pressing into Him, then we will continually be changed by the in-working of the Holy Spirit. Remember God already knows us as we really are. Yet He dwells with us wherever we are, and promises never to leave us or forsake us. Therefore there is no reason for us not to be truly honest with ourselves. This is simply how we grow in Christ, slowly, but surely having our ability to behold God enlarged as we continue to focus on Him. The loving fire of His eyes will eventually purge and purify all. . .to the glory of the Mighty God. Let us learn to WAIT ON GOD. (Waiting is a verb. That means there is an action to it.)
Learning to be sensitive to Him,