“The longer you stay with Me, the more you will realize that My ways are not your ways. You will understand that success, as I see it, is not the way that the world and most of the church sees it. Those of you who are called to a deeper walk, one of intimacy, will not be understood at all by those around you. Your lives will often appear foolish and full of what look like bad decisions, as I lead you from challenge to challenge to refine you. People who have not heard what you have heard for your life will not understand and will continually attempt to bring you to their idea of the way you should live. In their ignorance, you will be chastised, ridiculed, judged, and cast out.
"Sometimes you will be alone with only My promises. I plan it that way. I am birthing My Spirit in you. You are being taught obedience. You are being taught how to love when no one loves back. You are being taught how to give everything away, so that you have room for only My life in you. While others are busy attempting to appear spiritual by doing many good works, you wait in My presence for orders to do only those works that hold My presence. Walk only where I tell you to walk. Move when I tell you to move. Never fall for the lie that you are alone. I have many who are being taught of My ways. I have many who have heard the same call to holiness.
"While I am doing My work in you, serve others. Love deeper. Empty yourself of all malice and judgment. You must never take a posture of anger or hostility. Never defend yourself or your actions, when you have sought My Word and wise counsel. Never come against anyone who judges you. Bring an aroma of the gentle Spirit of Jesus with you wherever you go. Live a soft life. I will be your defender. I will be your friend. I will be your reward. My way is eternal. My way is the way to true riches.”
1 Cor. 4:9-13 NIV
9) For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men.
10) We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!
11) To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.
12) We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;
13) when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
2 Cor. 2:14-16a NIV
14) But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
15) For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
16a) To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.
Many years ago, when I was in the Air National Guard, a division of the Air Force, I had the opportunity to fly to Germany on a training mission with others from Wisconsin. We went over on one of our refueling planes, so it was necessary to have parachutes handy, “just in case.”
One member of our group was a person who loved being right, always boasting about who he was, how much he had accomplished; and why he was better than any of us. Listening to no one, he always had all the answers. Biblically, he would be called a “fool.”
To make a long story short, because he thought he knew everything, he did not pay attention while the instructions about the parachute were being given. In fact, as soon as we were in the air, he pulled the wrong handle, and the contents of the bag fell in a glistening white pile on the floor of the plane. Instantly, this man - knowing now that if anything should happen to the plane, he would be in deep trouble - changed from being an arrogant, prideful, “having all the answers” person into a fearful, humbled man, who now went from person to person to see if he could attach his harness to theirs should we run into trouble.
I believe that many people, who call themselves Christians, have not been listening to instructions. Relying on their own strength, power, and wisdom, they have not understood the importance of devoting themselves to those things that the Lord deems important.
Things such as total surrender, absolute obedience, and humble faith in the Lord’s provision seem foolish to them while their ways succeed, because they haven’t been tested in the fire of affliction. In difficult times, these ways - the ways of the world that have been brought into the church - will not work. Just as the empty parachute case emptied the bravado of the man in the plane, overwhelming pressures will cause those, who are untrained in the wonder of desperately needing God every day of their lives for everything, to run to those who have only listened to the instructions of the Lord as their life source.
Needing to need only Jesus,