Janet Weaver Smith Â©2-24-2015 gardenministries.org
James 5:7-9 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble (groan) against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged (condemned). The Judge is standing at the door!
The season of discipline and reproof can feel deeply grievous and the burden of it all so heavy. Instead of growing deeper in patience and more joyful by casting the impossible burden upon the Lord to carry, we may be tempted to hold on to all of the responsibility for change and inadvertently start blaming others as part, or all of the cause of our misery. The enemy capitalizes on this season of hardship and sews seeds of division and unforgiveness as he plays upon our grieving, sometimes embittered souls, and tries to tempt us to hopelessly blame ourselves, blame others, and especially break faith with and blame God as the problem, thus keeping us from the breakthrough.
Breakthrough always means a greater level of humility (i.e., complete dependence upon God for our all), which always involves some level of personal brokenness and an “end of rope” admission. It is at this point of our admission that we are at the Door of breakthrough.
We may be stuck because, rather than sinking into greater patience and humility, our inward groaning is bleeding out sideways against others through resentment or comparison. We want relief but we are not ready yet to admit our own need for greater trust, personal repentance, and God’s infinite mercy. If we have judged ourselves without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, then we are prone to judging others as well without His leading. We will judge that which we have first judged in ourselves and deemed as less than or as superior. And we will relate to others based on these self-imposed, hard-line judgments, comparing ourselves to and competing with them based on our desires for an improved life.
But how can a person feel less than themselves and superior to themselves? That is the ironic epitome of self-centeredness! Who’s to say that our judgments of self are right or wrong? We must have an outside, all-knowing, trusted source for this and the Holy Spirit who loves us is that Source! The judging and condemning of self by self is in-and-of-itself impossible. We must rely upon an outside, objective measure by which we can effectively hold ourselves accountable.
That is what God’s Spirit and God’s Word does for us. He gives us a living Truth plumb line that we can depend on and align with day-by-day from moment to moment. There is no 1-2-3 formula rulebook to follow. There is simply ongoing, alive, spontaneous, family fellowship with God who is our loving Father, faithful Bridegroom-King and sweet Holy Spirit. John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
Whatever God does or says, we can trust Him as being good in all of it. It is His to lead and guide and ours to follow and depend upon. We are always listening, obeying, and rejoicing! If we have asked Him to speak and have opened our heart to hear what He has to say, even if it may be difficult to hear, we can trust that He will tell us what we need to hear to grow closer to Him.
Revelation 3:19-21 Message to the Church in Laodicea 19 ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20 ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
James 5:10-11 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
Hebrews 5:1-2 1 Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.
Weakness creates need. Knowing, embracing, and not excusing our weakness is an ongoing point of contention for all believers in Christ. God uses these very struggles to birth and build in us Christ-like gentleness and compassion. This compassion makes room for His mercy to ever be drawn upon and poured out.
Mercy triumphs over judgment. Godâ€™s mercy is extended to us so that we can rise to a new standard of moral excellence. His mercy compels us to become like Him and repent from the sins of legalistic judgments or immoral acting out. As we sincerely ask the Lord to show us any (or all) of our past, present, and future needs for His mercy and forgiveness and purpose to not defend or prove ourselves with a list of hypocritical excuses, our entitlement bubble is popped and we quickly drop any rocks of resentment, hard-line opinions, criticism, and accusation that we may have been tempted to throw at others or at ourselves.
John 8:7,9 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing thereâ€¦11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Song of Solomon 8:5 Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved? The Bride emerges from her season of discipline in the wilderness, in love with and completely dependent upon Her Bridegroomâ€”Jesus. She has learned to lean.