Growing Connections

Guard jealously your relationship to God. Jesus prayed “that they may be one, even as We are one”—nothing between. Keep all the life perennially open to Jesus Christ, don’t pretend with Him. Are you drawing your life from any other source than God Himself? If you are depending upon anything but Him, you will never know when He is gone. {My Utmost for His Highest : January 20}

There are several specific subjects that I have been dwelling on and learning about and applying to my own life and heart over the past few weeks. I have sensed that God has brought to my attention these things and impressed me to focus on them intently until the real truth about them begins to emerge and to transform my life. As I have done this with each subject I quickly began to notice striking links and strong connections between these apparently separate things and I see better how they fit together much closer in the puzzle and complement each other.

I have been seeking to unpack the deeper meanings in the parable of the Ten Virgins and particularly what is conveyed in the symbol of the oil in the extra containers or flasks used by the wise virgins. I have also been studying the strong connection between righteousness and loyalty along with the word obedience. This is all taking place in the context of my intensive study of chapter four in the gospel of John where every day I am urgently pursuing the real truth about what is belief and how to experience it. One of the last subjects that has re-emerged recently is the subject of false gods and what they really look like in our lives today.

Each day all of these subjects and words take on new meanings and form deeper direct connections with each other in my mind and heart. I have written out much of what I have been learning and thinking about but not always doing anything with all of those writings except to let some of them sit in my computer for a time while I see what else may come to add to it. When I read this passage this morning from My Utmost I immediately noticed a strong connection to the subject of false gods I have been making notes about and how they can impact my ability to maintain that vital, intimate relationship with God that is so necessary in order to be a true Christian, a wise virgin who is allowed into the wedding feast.

The similarities between the foolish and the wise virgins are so close that I have sensed for years this is something that is vitally important to study and heed for anyone serious about having a truly saving relationship with God. All of these girls were called virgins which means that they represented people who are in the right church or who have the right doctrines and even experience the joy of having the Holy Spirit illuminate the Word of God in their lives. They are not false believers or unbelievers as far as truth is concerned but are all together in unity as they wait for the Bridegroom to come and take them to the great feast.

The parable also clearly states that all of these virgins fell asleep, not just the foolish ones. This is closely tied in with the message to the church in Laodicea and Jesus' admonition concerning lukewarmness. Jesus is calling for all who claim to have the truth to wake up and perceive the deep self-deception that keeps them blinded to their true condition. This applies to me as well as everyone around me who is seeking to live as Christians and fellow believers. I need to wake up much more as well as have my extra container filled with the holy oil in preparation for the soon coming crisis.

I have been seeking to do this through personal study of the Word and in much prayer all through the day. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is to begin dialogging with God and praising Him and seeking to have my mind filled with His presence. I sense every day a deep need to have my spirit shaped into harmony with the Spirit of God for the first few hours of each day or I am in extreme danger. I have to deliberately surrender all of my emotions, desires, fears, dreams, plans, preferences and tension to Him and absorb His peace into the deep places of my soul. I cannot afford to miss this time with Him or it can take days or weeks to find my place back to what is sometimes lost if I fail to do this.

The devotional this morning alerted me to the importance of not allowing anything but God be my source for life. Keep all the life perennially open to Jesus Christ, don’t pretend with Him. Are you drawing your life from any other source than God Himself? If you are depending upon anything but Him, you will never know when He is gone. This is one of the greatest dangers that threatens me. And what makes it so dangerous is that it can happen without my even noticing it until much later and much damage may have taken place in the meantime.

One of the key ways in which to unmask the presence of false gods in my life is to be more aware of what I may be depending on as a source of life for me in some area of my life. I am learning that this is the evidence that must be paid attention to if I want to become free of the influence of false gods manipulating and deceiving me. But again, one of the worst things about false gods is that they can be so transparent and obscure for so long because they are so familiar and comfortable.

I have been sharing with a few friends over the past few months the importance that I sense of our need for a personal and intimate connection with God if we want to be real Christians and to be ready for what is coming in our lives. This sense of urgency to have a deep heart connection with Jesus is increasing not only in my own life but in one or two others around me. I believe that this is a sign of the working of the Spirit in our lives and as such is good reason for hope. But I also want to be much more aware of how I am still blinded and hampered in deepening that relationship with God by the continued presence of false gods that prevent me from fully trusting and resting in God as my sole provider for every need.

Only the Spirit of God can expose these false gods and help me to let go of them or disconnect from my dependence on them. I desperately want to be totally weaned away from a pretend religion; I want to live a real life and quit pretending with God in every area of my existence. Fortunately God is not into the condemning business while all of this takes place for which I am extremely grateful. God's grace provides a healing and safe atmosphere around my soul while I am seeking to know Him better and reflect His character more accurately. But I am constantly being challenged to face and deal with false gods on a regular basis as the light of God's Word and His Spirit keep exposing more and more in my heart.

I am choosing to focus all the attention that I can on drawing life and hope and love from God as my primary source instead of depending on other sources to give me pleasure and satisfaction. I also want to be aware when God wants to use others in the body of Christ as His channels at times in ways that are meant to provide some of my needs. He does this because He wants me to form close bonds with His family on earth as well as directly with Him, but I must never allow these earthly bonds to become my primary source upon which I depend or they can quickly morph into false gods for me.

Likewise I must also be very careful not to inadvertently set myself up as a primary source of life and truth for anyone else or I can find myself in the position of playing the part of a god for them. That may have the effect of making me feel very valuable and important and even deeply connected to them for a time, but in the end it will prove to be devastating both for them and for me. I need my bonds and social connections with others to be God-inspired and God-led and God-arranged so that His love and life and truth will be the motivating factor in every relationship that I form.

Father, thank-you for what You are teaching me and doing in my heart and life. I feel so clueless many times but I know I can rest in Your wisdom and not have to know myself everything needed for my salvaging. You are in charge of my life and my healing and my preparation for heaven. When I look inside I see so much damage and hardness of heart and all sorts of other things that obviously are not in harmony with You. But I also know that I cannot fix myself but can only cooperate as You continue to shape and mold and heal my heart over time.

Thank-you so much for teaching me from Your Word directly. Thank-you for the circumstances that You have placed me in even though I often resent them and long for something that feels much better to me personally. Sometimes I feel spiritually starved around the people you have placed me with, but I still see signs of Your work both in my life and in theirs. So I trust fully in Your faithfulness, in Your compassion, in Your wisdom and most of all in Your heart whether or not things make sense to me in the moment.

Thank-you for drawing me closer to You. I am learning to worship You in truth and in spirit and that is really affecting my heart. You are the only one who really understands and cares about me and I trust You to finish the work in me that You have been doing for so many years. Teach me to rest, to trust, to enter into this real, saving kind of belief that John spent so much time trying to get across. I am sensing that this kind of belief has to be deeply rooted in my heart, my right brain far more than the intellectual based kind of belief that I have had most of my life. This is the work that only Your Spirit can accomplish in me for I seem to have little direct access to change my own heart most of the time.

So I give You full permission again to do whatever it takes to blend my heart and mind into conformity to Your heart and mind and to live within me in that mysterious way that causes me to live the life of Jesus spontaneously. I don't know how this all works but I do know that You work and I rest in Your work both within me and outside of me. I rest in Your love.


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