This is a subject that I needed to research. And hopefully from that I could come to a clearer understanding of God's desires. One piece stood out far above the others. A story from David Wilkerson. Immediately I liked what I was reading...the good and the bad. I had never heard of David Wilkerson before, but his words explained the question far beyond anything I could have imagined.
Before I share with you.....here is the short version of who David Wilkerson was, just so you know he knew what he was talking about. He was the Founding Pastor of Times Square Church in New York City. Pastor Wilkerson was called to New York in 1958 to minister to gang members and drug addicts, as told in the best-selling book, "The Cross and the Switchblade". He died on April 27th of this year.
Heck, I had heard of Pastor Wilkerson afterall. I remember his book as many of you might. Can he relate to the travels in desiring to become a man or woman of God? Read on......
I want to tell you about three men whom God used mightily - and how God used failure to produce godliness in each of them. We hear so much talk today about how to be successful. It is time the body of Christ learns to recognize the scriptural pattern God uses to produce His chosen servants. And the hard truth is this: Pain, torment, sorrow and failure have produced the men and women of God who have stirred their generations.
Consider Job, the man who failed in his motives. Job said, "I have never harmed anybody - I know I have been righteous." Although Job was a godly man who shunned evil, it is evident he was convinced of his own righteousness. After reading the book of Job, you'll wonder how God could have had such high regard for a man who was so proud of his own goodness. Yet God knew what He was doing when He allowed Satan to prove and test Job for a season.
Consider also David, the man who failed in his morals. Can you imagine such a steadfast man of valor falling into such blatant sin? How could David have fallen so low as to indulge in adultery - and then commit murder to cover it up? Can you comprehend that, even after all this, David was still called "a man after God's own heart"?
Consider Peter, the man who failed in his mission. He had an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and a personal call on his life from the Lord. He was entrusted with the keys to the kingdom. Yet this disciple and friend of Jesus later stood on a hillside weeping, having rejected and cursed the very Christ he so loved. But in spite of his failure, Peter became a man who was miraculously transformed - and who served as God's spokesman at Pentecost.
Finally, consider Jesus - the Son of God, who was touched by all of these men's infirmities and testings, and who is touched by ours as well.
|You have to learn to walk.........|
What are the processes used in the making of a man or woman of God? What forces and pressures does God use to produce righteousness in those who love Him? What deep, hard, cold battles must a person face who wants the touch of God? If you really want to know the answer, first be warned: Don't pray, "Jesus, put Your hand on me and use me," unless you are willing to face the trials that must come.
For instance, when you read the biography of a missionary who has been mightily used of God, don't expect to find a story of constant romance, adventure, beauty, love, honesty, happiness and victory - not at all!
At times you'll find the deceptive character of Jacob jumping out at you from the pages. At other times you'll read of heartache and discouragement - of people who often cry out, "I'm so inconsistent, so inclined to sin. How can God ever use me?" You'll find stories not of adventure, but of tears and sorrow, of people who cry themselves to sleep. The pages of such books are filled with tears, fears, suffering and failure.
If you desire to become a man or woman of God, I must ask you: Have you spent time on your knees beseeching God that Christ be formed in you? Have you longed in your soul to become a real follower of God who walks in the Spirit? If you have not been obsessed with your desire to be a man or woman of God, then you have missed the mark entirely. Because your heart and your lips should cry out, "Jesus, make me into Your own image! Let me become Your bondslave!"
I have never once believed that I have attained this. Yet still, there is one thing I want more than anything in the world: to become a true man of God. I want my living and my dying to bring glory to Jesus.
If you really want to find out about the processes that produce godliness, then study what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane. Look at Jesus, the Son of God, because He is our example. All the forces that were arrayed against Job were there in the Garden, arrayed against Christ. The tempter who came against David on the rooftop also sought to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. All the tormenting forces that plagued the soul of Peter also mounted an onslaught against our Savior in the Garden. There is not a trial facing us that Jesus did not face Himself. He is touched by the feelings of our infirmities and afflictions - every one of them. And to be like Christ, we must be willing to face what He faced.
There are three trials that every true man and woman of God eventually will confront. We'll find out about those in Part 2.