Repent of Begging
No longer a beggar. I want to no longer beg and plead with God as if He is reluctant or even recalcitrant to listen to my desires for healing or salvation, either for myself or for others. What does my begging infer about God's heart, when I display the disposition that God has to be persuaded to bless, to heal, to love, to forgive, to feel compassion? The message it sends is that God is a great deal like me – hard-hearted, loath to let go of offenses, demanding satisfaction for debts and administration of execution for unpunished sins before He will relent to release a measured bit of kindness or mercy.
What a horrific view of God our prayers often unconsciously project without our even realizing it. Yet its true, and its tragic, and I don't want to continue to imagine that God is like the monster my feelings made Him out to be as a teenager based on how others made Him appear in my imagination. To continue to allow those dark, dungeon-like perceptions of God to still affect my thinking and reactions and feelings to offenses is to continue to give authority to the enemy to keep reinforcing them, both in my subconscious feelings as well as arousing similar reactions in others. This has too long been my participation in blaspheming the reputation of God, and I want to be completely inoculated from all such ugly notions that deface the true image of God in my own soul.
Behold, Yahweh's hand is not shortened, that it can't save; neither his ear heavy, that it can't hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2)
What does this mean for me personally? I am starting to see even more clearly that I still perceive God through distorted lenses of lies that cause me to subconsciously believe that God is judgmental, that His heart is hard and stern. Somehow I still secretly believe the debilitating insinuations and slander of the enemy that God's mercy must be earned, along with His favor; that He is not eager to save me unless there is sufficient payment from some Source, or even multiple payments before He will relent and repent to release me from my weight of guilt, shame and condemnation that weighs me down inside.
My mind has been awakening to revelations of the Spirit of God for years to the reality that all of this is really a mirage, a hologram contrived by the enemy who still retains subtle manipulative power in my spirit to some extent. Actually the extent is affected directly by my resistance to fully embracing the real truth that God is not at all like this but is purely light and light alone. This tenacious resistance or reluctance to throw myself totally into His arms of mercy without reservation is the excuse relied on by Satan to maintain his strongholds inside me that continue to hamper my growth, inhibit my freedom and joy and projects unspoken but distinct perceptions to others around me that contradict the words of truth about God's glorious, free and passionate love for each of us that I seek to convey to them.
What this verse is alerting me to as my true Mother, the Spirit of God, impresses me ever more deeply to receive, is that I need to repent from anything and everything that resonates with these sentiments about how God feels towards me and treats me. These are my blind spots, strongholds by which the enemy still retains access deep inside my mind that he uses to manipulate and exploit me for his sordid pleasure, preventing me from living in the joy of God's ecstasy. What God is now using to bring this into the light is my own ways of praying, either openly or internally, that have long caused mixed feelings in me about how God might respond to my prayers and requests.
As I become more aware of this, I realize that I have no power to change myself except by choosing to consent to allow my heavenly Family to do whatever it takes to purge me of every damnable lie that still retains deep roots spewing up bitterness by which Satan is allowed access to jerk me around like a puppet. Such ways of praying too often betray the presence of popular attitudes as if God were more like Satan than like Jesus. I am now beginning to see that secretly, these lurking residual lies deep inside of me still poison my trust in God with their insinuations and old paradigms that are all firmly anchored in the trading mentality invented by the enemy. This system of rewards and punishments defining how God relates to sinners induces a sense of debt to which I still feel obligated to satisfy somehow, even though intellectually I know that entire system is totally baseless.
The lies that obstruct my own heart's direct trust of the liberating truth of God's kindness, unconditional love and forgiveness, even while I am seeking to convince others to believe while struggling to believe them myself, extend far beyond the two or three things God lists here. Yet they are all of the same nature, and the Spirit is bringing this to my attention right now, which is wonderful. I choose to move toward the light of truth so that it may be clearly seen, not just to heaven and to others around me, but to myself as well, that all my works really are done in God. That means that if everything I do is already inside of Christ, and that nothing can separate me from His passionate, relentless love for me – not even my own sordid invisible doubts about His love for me – then I want His light to consume and destroy every root of bitterness, every stronghold of lies still embedded deeply in seeds of deception implanted in my soul implanted at any time throughout my life or even previously. Let the consuming fire of God fall on me to expose and incinerate every lie, every insinuation, every doubt of God's goodness that still strangles and trips up and distorts my reflection of God's face in me. I want my face and disposition to be just like Him in the passionate beauty of His character, love, kindness, gentleness and unconditional forgiveness given in real time.
So let me begin by listening to what God's Spirit is seeking to show me right now in this context. Do I think God's arm is too short to save me? That's not the most accurate description of how the lie hides inside me, so it might be helpful to rework this to fit more succinctly the shape of the particular lies that need to be consumed in my own thinking that trigger reactions of fear, doubt and distrust.
If it is God's arm we are talking about, for me it is seen more like the long arm of the law, or the arm of my Dad who swung at me in the back seat of the car in which we were riding together, furious because my words were bringing him shame for how he had abused me growing up. While I was able to move quickly enough to avoid the physical blow intended for my face, the emotional hit fully planted itself in my spirit and reinforced the dark template which my entire being had already come to view God's disposition towards me. So no, I don't necessarily believe God's arm is too short, but on the other hand the effect is the same, for I still struggle to break free of strong subconscious feelings that God doesn't really want to save me but rather is intent on finding fault with me continually and is very critical of me, waiting impatiently for me to become good enough before He will relent to bless me or trust me with responsibility and privileges or even provisions for my needs.
I bring all this to the light so the truth can expose it for what it really is, and the light of the Son can disinfect and destroy the viruses and evil infections and contaminations embedded in all this puss of lies, filth and rottenness that still lies latent deep inside my heart.
Do I think God is hard of hearing? I don't necessarily see God as unable to hear all the time, though maybe unwilling to hear. So this might be a closer metaphor. Again, what I have long experienced is more of a hyper-critical imagined deity who is all too keen in his hearing, though his hearing might be quite selective in what he chooses to hear from me or about me from others. This harks back to the lifelong images of how I imagined God to be like shaped by the legal paradigms that religion and the world conditioned into me. The reward punishment paradigm has long had a strong grip over how I view reality, and though I praise God that this is all being loosened by ever-accelerating revelations of truth exposing this is patently false, some of these strongholds have managed to remain firmly ensconced deeper inside. So while they may have not be able to retain their logical credibility for me, emotionally they still need to be exposed, evicted and barred from ever gaining access inside my innter temple ever again.
Probing deeper in this text, when it comes to petitions for help, for deliverance, for peace, for blessings, for provision, for guidance, for relief or other such things – then this metaphor of a hard of hearing God might fit well. This is where my need for repentance from begging becomes relevant, for too often I find myself begging and pleading with God to do what I am rather certain He already wants to do even more than I desire it. Yet if I intuitively feel a need to amplify my petitions and requests for healing of soul or body for others or myself with ever increasing intensity of begging, I now realize this is not because God didn't hear me the first time as I might imagine, but rather is inspired by these sinister hidden lies that still cause me to believe that God needs sufficient prodding to overcome His reluctance in order convince Him to do what a heart of love would naturally want to do without any persuasion.
This is disturbing me. Yet disturbing is fantastically good news in this context, for though what is being exposed right now is tragic and dark as it relates to exposing the evil nature of these secret motives in my own heart, this is exactly what needs to happen in order to strip them of their power to strangle my faith, trust, love and joy that have far too long eluded me, resulting in my witness having only very tepid influence on others to fall in love with God. My trumpet has long had an sound of uncertainty in my testimony about God's goodness and power. This is because my own heart is still so out of sync with what my head has been learning in recent years, that it is like trying to play a beautiful melody on an out of tune piano that causes the music to be somewhat interesting but too sour to really convey the rapturous effect the song is designed to convey.
It is no longer enough for me to simply know about the content of the New Song. Until the Spirit that inspired it is given full access to all the instruments of my soul, to tune and shape and revamp everything internally that causes my spiritual music to sound uncertain and not that believable, my attempts to convince others of saving truth will remain out of harmony with the harps and music of those who are fully freed and tuned up, practicing together to become the orchestra of Jesus clones, the elite orchestra who all look and sound and portray God's passionate love the same way the Lamb has always reflected it.
As I have pondered this passage in Isaiah and how it exposes what is hiding deep inside my own heart that still dampens my witness, another passage was brought to my attention.
He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray, and not give up, saying, "There was a judge in a certain city who didn't fear God, and didn't respect man. A widow was in that city, and she often came to him, saying, 'Defend me from my adversary!'
He wouldn't for a while, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God, nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will defend her, or else she will wear me out by her continual coming.'
The Lord said, "Listen to what the unrighteous judge says. Won't God avenge his chosen ones, who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them? [I] tell you that he will avenge them quickly. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:1-8)
Now here is a classic example of the kind of confusion that has affected my spirit for much of my life. This directly confronts the seductive lies that cling to my soul and foul my relationships. It is a secret desire for vengeance on others (yet not for myself) that keeps me out of sync with the kindness of God that alone has power to induce true repentance, either in me or in anyone else. Let me bring in another passage that also has challenged me for years to get real about what is hiding deep inside.
Therefore you are without excuse, O man, whoever you are who judge. For in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself. For you who judge practice the same things.
We know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. Do you think this, O man who judges those who practice such things, and do the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath, revelation, and of the righteous judgment of God; who "will pay back to everyone according to their works:"
to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory, honor, and incorruptibility, eternal life;
but to those who are self-seeking, and don't obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, will be wrath and indignation, oppression and anguish, on every soul of man who works evil, on the Jew first, and also on the Greek.
But glory, honor, and peace go to every man who works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:1-11)
The way Paul writes this infers that when I judge, criticize, fault-find or condemn others for their sins that I think are inexcusable, such fixation merely reveals a resonance with things that already have roots deep inside my own mind which is precisely why I can see them so readily. It is important to note however, that the kind of judging I do is a counterfeit kind of judging to how God judges. (That is parallel study that is also important.) For what this passage points out is that when God judges, it exposes that my kind of judgment leads me to despise, things about Him – like goodness, kindness, patience, compassion, unconditional love and forgiveness. When I find myself offended by such things, imagining that they will never get the job of correcting other sinners like I feel needs to be happen, what is really being exposed (or judged according to Jesus' definition of judgment in John 3) is my own heart filled with similar sins as those I condemn in my misguided zeal for truth and 'justice.'
This is beginning to make even more sense to me now. Why am I still contending against this internal spirit of criticism, fault-seeking, desires for payback and punishments for those who hurt, shame, threaten or offend me? It has to be because deep inside I still believe this is how God treats me. The principle Paul lays out here is always operative, that we cannot help but reflect whatever deep inside we believe about God's disposition towards us, for this is the definition of what it means to be a human. I have long said that if one wants to know what they really believe about God, just look at how you treat and feel towards others around you, especially your enemies.
Why does Paul insist that when I react to open sins I find reprehensible to me in others, that I am condemning myself and practice the very same things? On the surface that sounds like a false accusation by Paul, that is until I look more closely at the meaning of what Paul had in mind when he wrote this out the way he did. Looking more closely at what was just before this exposes the infection of sin in the hearts of all who feel justified in pointing out other people's sins and wanting God to punish them.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. [Remember, Paul says right after this that we who judge such people are guilty of the same things. The same evidence is available to us as well as to them.] Because, knowing God, they didn't glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things. [Everything thus far applies equally to those described in the rest of this chapter along with those in the first part of the next chapter quoted previously.] Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:18-25)
This is what Paul is referring to when he insists that those who judge other sinners practice the same thing. He is not insisting that pious religious people are all homosexual perverts, openly engaged in sexual promiscuity, physically murdering others, disobeying their parents or living openly wicked. What he is really exposing is that the root cause of these symptoms is the very same cause as what leads religious people to judge and condemn others who openly exhibit such behaviors. This is because the cause of judging and condemning other's sins is rooted in the same distortions about God's character in the perceptions that leads open sinners to malfunction. The only difference is in the outward symptoms, for the darkness of the heart view of how we perceive God is the same, leaving us in as desperate need of salvation as everyone we condemn around us. We have all exchanged the truth of God for The Lie, which merely produces variations of fruit but in the end brings the same result.
Notice that in the story of the unjust judge that Jesus shared, it was the judge – that unfair, uncaring, calloused, selfish, corrupt judge, ensconced within and benefiting from the false system of hierarchy, artificial law and the reward punishment mentality, who was expressing opinions relied on within that system. This is actually a parable of contrasts, not a parallel of what we are to believe God is like. Yet secretly these notions feel so familiar that we are let to imagine that God still might be a bit like this unjust, unfair, uncaring judge – which betrays that the spirit of iniquity is involved in distorting our understanding of what this story means, yet opposite of what Jesus intended for it to convey.
I see here parallels to what Paul is saying in Romans 2 about people like me who are still stuck in viewing God's justice as being too much like the kind of justice we practice here on earth. This whole passage alerts me that the system I choose to believe and embrace as most being what I believe God should be enforcing, will indeed result in the kind of outcome I experience, because how I perceive what happens to me in times of judgment will be shaped by how I interpret my feelings about God's motives towards me. This is not that different from how this unjust, uncaring judge reasons in a way that dictates the way his own logic operates. Notice how Jesus relates this.
Listen to what the unrighteous judge says. Won't God avenge his chosen ones, who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them? [I] tell you that he will avenge them quickly.
We have usually assumed that this is Jesus' explanation, His version of what God is like. Is this true? Or might Jesus be rephrasing what the judge said previously to connect it with our typical perceptions of what we expect God to do, in contrast with how God intends to resolve the problem of injustice?
I see this response of Jesus to be a potential double entendre. What does this mean? Let me share an abbreviated explanation of what that means.
“A double entendre is a subtle literary device that uses one statement to convey two very different meanings. Taken literally, a double entendre is usually an innocent statement that has no ironic or inappropriate overtones. Taken another way, the same statement often can mean something too indelicate to be said in polite company. Double entendre is used in all types of literature. Sometimes the double entendre is as simple as a play on words. The ironic twist that a good double entendre adds to a story is a great tool for authors who want to send more than one meaning. A double entendre may also help writers get a laugh or to express thoughts that cannot normally be expressed politely. Double entendres work on every scale, from a single sentence to the narrative arc of an entire story, and can be found in works of every genre.” (Dictionary.com)
How might this answer of Jesus convey a double meaning? That is affected by which set of definitions we apply to the words involved. This is a serious issue, especially in spiritual things, most people assume definitions for words by how we were conditioned growing up, yet are actually counterfeits of the truth about most of the words commonly used in Scripture.
If this is a double entendre, a plain reading might lead us to assume that this judge is simply a bit slow in carrying out what God would do much more quickly were He in that judge's place. Yet I find this problematic when it comes to correctly viewing God, since Jesus is the one who came to fully reveal the truth about God, and His revelation supersedes every other opinion and example throughout all of history. Jesus says that if we have seen Him we have seen the Father and Hebrews begins by insisting that God's Son is the full and explicit revelation of God, unlike anyone before or since. Given this, did Jesus demonstrate these words in the way He related to His chosen people? Did Jesus avenge them speedily? Try asking John the Baptist, wasting away in prison, wondering if Jesus was after all really the one who was to come after him! Is this what Jesus came to reveal about God, or is there a much deeper meaning buried inside the double entendre of his response here?
I have come to realize that many things Jesus said had double meanings in responses He gave in various situations. It was like He was always fully aware that there were myriads of invisible beings, observers, listeners, thoughtful intelligences all over the universe fixated on every detail of what was transpiring on earth in every situation involved in the life of Jesus. There were times when the words of Jesus in a given situation almost seemed irrelevant unless we add that overlay to it, then suddenly we realize that Jesus may well have been talking, not primarily to those challenging Him on earth, but to others observing from the invisible realm. When we come to appreciate this added dimension and how Jesus perceived what was really going on, many of His statements make much more sense. This story may be part of that aspect where Jesus' words appear to be confusing until we appreciate the deeper meaning of the words He used to reveal the true heart of the Father.
If this indeed is a double entendre, then it might be written alternatively this way:
Listen to what the unrighteous judge says. “Won't God avenge his chosen ones, who are crying out to him day and night?” (Yet he exercises patience with them!) The word you have heard asserts that he will avenge them quickly. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find genuine trust of God's heart and embracing of His methods on the earth?
Is it true that God avenges His chosen ones quickly? Try comparing this with a similar passage in the symbolic book of Revelation.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed for the Word of God, and for the testimony of the Lamb which they had. They cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, Master, the holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" A long white robe was given to each of them. They were told that they should rest yet for a while, until their fellow servants and their brothers, who would also be killed even as they were, should complete their course. (Revelation 6:9-11)
Does this sound like God avenging His chosen ones quickly, or does this convey something quite different? To understand this better, we need to identify whose version of avenging we assume is referred to here? Is God even in the avenging business? (Consider 1 Peter 2:21-24.) If so, what does His vengeance look like compared to what we normally have in mind when we desire to see vengeance carried out? Let's check what it might mean for God to carry out vengeance that is closer to heaven's definition of the concept. This is where the double entendre of Jesus might begin to become clear.
Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men. Don't seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord." Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head." Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
This is heaven's kind of vengeance, the vengeance of the Lamb who taught and demonstrated unconditional love for enemies. Notice how radically different this is from what we usually have in mind when we cry out for vengeance. In fact, many find this very offensive, leading them to reject the ways of heaven as used by the hero of Revelation, the violently slaughtered Lamb. They favor a more strident, reactive, assertive, forceful hero – more like the beast of Revelation 13. The kind of vengeance we have been conditioned to expect involves having evil inflicted forcibly on those who hurt or offend others. That's how we usually imagine justice as being satisfied. Yet God's vengeance involves overcoming evil with good, not repaying evil with evil.
Jesus is the champion and leader of all of God's armies as witnessed in Revelation 19, and He is also the Lamb hero introduced in chapter 5. Yet His methods of winning are largely foreign to us and often appear weak in the war against evil. But we need to believe that Jesus alone is the only one authorized to define the kind of justice and vengeance that will kind of power that can defeat evil. He has already demonstrated that power clearly at the cross. It is our distorted opinions about what must happen to overcome and defeat God's enemies must be corrected by deferring to the Lamb in every situation. This may be why in the metaphor of souls under the altar crying out for vengeance, they are not immediately avenged as this parable of Jesus might seem to assert. Why would this be? Because it is more important that time be given for His people to make the adjustment in the way they perceive how God will win the war against evil in ways starkly different than what most have in mind.
This brings us back to the double entendre again. If this is an example of Jesus using this communication technique to convey an important truth, it might also convey the meaning that, yes, God will speedily avenge His chosen ones – that is if they are willing to synchronize with Him by treating their enemies the same way Jesus related to them. When we are willing to embrace God's kind of vengeance in place of our own, and in His name and power carry it out His way even in real time as did Jesus, then through the same unconditional love, forgiveness and by treating enemies respectfully instead of spitefully, God's kind of vengeance could indeed be speedily carried out, and His kingdom just might gain traction far more rapidly. Are we willing to take this seriously?
If this is even close to the true intent of this story told by Jesus, then the closing words of His comments about it makes even more sense. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? If the faith of Jesus was demonstrated most vividly while hanging on the cross, unconditionally loving and forgiving His enemies in real time, which is apparently God's form of vengeance on His enemies, then yes, it is very likely that His kind of faith will be rare indeed on the earth in the last days. That's because it is just as popular today to desire a militant Messiah to return to this world to do what those desiring a similar solution wanted Him to do two thousand years ago. And as it was in the days when Jesus came the first time, so will it be again.
...the world didn't recognize him. He came to his own, and those who were his own didn't receive him. But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God's children, to those who believe in his name: (John 1:10-12)
This is the true faith of Jesus, a faith that His Father's heart was never about seeking violent vengeance or punishment against those who spurned His love for them, but rather a God who made Himself entirely vulnerable to the point of allowing His own children to abuse, shame, humiliate and torture Him to test the extent He would be willing to go before succumbing to urges to defend Himself. The faith of Jesus far surpasses the cheap imitations and caricatures of faith that religion promotes. This is why the overcomers identified in Revelation are reported to have the faith of Jesus, for His kind of faith is radically different from the version of faith we imagine is required to affect God's thinking in order that we might be saved. What needs saving more than us is God's reputation, for when our beliefs about God's heart, methods and disposition towards His enemies is salvaged and restored in our thinking by the mystery long hidden throughout history, then trust can spring up spontaneously when we are willing to believe that God's ways are not our ways but is the only way powerful enough to defeat evil.