Janet Smith ©gardenministries.org, October 30, 2018
We are all in one process or another but if these processes are not producing in us a more God-centered, God-hungry lifestyle, then our processes are just cycling us around in a circle and taking us nowhere. If we are truly after God’s own heart, then our learning-and-growing processes must produce greater hunger and thirst for 1.) Jesus Christ and more 2.) joyful fellowship with Him in His Word—or they are not working. If we are no different in these two areas than we were 1 or 2 years ago, then we are stuck on spiritual low-ground and our heart is not being transformed.
Where we get stuck in our processes is when we hang on to old ideas that seemed to have worked in past seasons but are not working in this season. We have not realized that things changed around us and we didn’t find the entry point to move forward with the changes. For example, in a past season, someone may set their heart on doing or getting something that, if they were totally honest with themselves, they just didn’t want to hear God say “No” to their burning desire for that thing or that relationship, and now, in order to defend their decision(s), they either have to humble themselves and admit that they didn’t want God to say “No” to them about it or they have to form another religious reason why God should have said (or they imagined He said) “Yes” to that thing or that relationship that they are now afraid to let go of. Humbling ourselves and admitting that we didn’t want to hear God say, “No” is a starting point for change. Refusing to admit this keeps us stuck.
In order to protect our self-interests in what we want or just to save-face about things we have taken without God’s clear blessing, we will just keep doing the same patterns of life that get us nowhere, while thinking that this time, maybe they will work. That is a stuck pattern of processing. We have to stop and look at where we are at and be willing to admit when it’s not working. The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are not manifesting. Otherwise, we will just keep holding on to and defending what we once thought was the right thing to do, but didn’t hear God’s clear “Yes” about it.
When we defend our past broken ways that haven’t worked, we are closing our doors to the new season God has for us. In the past, we may have gotten our way for the time being, and now we have “our thing” or “our person” that we willfully wanted but we are no closer to God than before. In fact, we feel more disconnected from Him and can’t figure out why there’s a distance. That is the very reason we need to bow and say out loud to ourselves, “my way is not working.” I want His way!
In His grace, the Lord is waiting for us to come to Him and be still before Him. We can start the change toward breakthrough by simply asking the Holy Spirit to help us hunger and thirst after Him again. First-Love for Jesus is a fire that needs constant kindling and refueling. It’s not a one-time deal. It’s an everyday choice, an everyday discipline! Jesus will always answer us when we come bow humbly dependent before Him. If we really want Him, He will always put His finger on that sacred cow that we religiously defend and will ask us to let Him take it out of our way so that we may become restored to Him as trust-filled hearers-and-doers of His Word and His Ways.
Until we are willing to listen and learn from the past and become convicted in the areas where we forged ahead without His blessing and say-so, we will not draw nearer to God and we will just keep using Him for His unending grace to get what we want while we remain dreadfully unchanged. Stuck in an our endlessly self-centered processes, we are just using our gracious God to stay the same. Now that’s what we can truly call, “a vicious cycle.” How do I know I am stuck in a vicious cycle? I do not feel close to God. I feel stuck and unchanged.
If we really want change, do we dare ask God to put His finger on our every heart’s desire and reveal our “sacred cows?” Will we then put them on the altar and relinquish them for His sake? Is He truly Lord of all that we have and who we are? Or are we still, just using Him to get what we want? Will we let God say “No” so that He can give us His bigger “Yes” elsewhere? Will we wait for Him to speak and be still before Him until He does?