“And I will give them an heart to know me”March 22, 2010
This cogitation must begin with a passage that, while familiar to most, may initially seem to not be the best selection for this topic:
Revelation 5:2-4 “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.”
This had to be one of the most incredible revelations; equal to all other pieces of understanding that were imparted unto John during his time on the isle of patmos. In a single panoramic moment, he saw a side-by-side comparison which revealed just how absolutely righteous the Lord is and just how far removed we are from that level of righteousness. The wickedness of man was seen in its full and it was almost more than John could bear. (Praise God for verse 5!) There’s no way of knowing how much time transpired during this portion of revealing from on high, but it had quite an impact on “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” (John 21:20) Such revelation will forever alter the life of a person; regardless of how spiritually mature they may be. Even if the revelations of that day had proceeded no further than this single truth, Johns life was already forever altered. He would never have been able to view the world in the same light again after witnessing this.
Over the past several days, two themes have been dominant. The first is the consideration of just how “contrary to God” this fallen world is. It is a place that becomes more ungodly, seemingly by the hour, as the third chapter of II Timothy becomes manifest. The second is how few people seem to care, or even notice that this world is at complete odds with the God who created all that is, holds the very breath of life in his hand, and before whom all of us must stand at the time appointed. Everyone who is born of the Spirit, can remember back top the times when, we too, gave little or no thought to matters of eternal significance. Were it not for the gentle drawing of the Holy Spirit, we would have continued down that road until our allotment of days expired and we found ourselves in a place of everlasting hopelessness. As these thoughts came to the forefront, I had to make another visit to a favorite memorial. The defining moment in my past wherein the Lord gave me a heart to know him.
In hindsight, one of the most incredible aspects of the summer of 1983 was the “drawing.” Over the course of those months, the Lord used a family in Elkhart to bring me into the household of faith. I met them in June when their neice, whom I had known for years, went down to live with them. I began to make routine visits to their home, wherein I started to notice something profound. It seemed as though the very atmosphere was different around them. I knew that they were Christians, however, this was deeper than just a religious profession. Dennis and MaryAnn never actively tried to evangelize me; although they would politely answer any questions that I had. Over the course of weeks, I found myself desiring what they had. I understand it much better now than when it was transpiring in real-time, however, it was an ever so sweet “drawing.” Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was being granted repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; a revelation that would result in my believing upon the Lord Jesus Christ at around 11:30 am on a sunny mid-september day of that year. (I’m quite certain that it was a Friday)
When the moment arrived, I knew that it was time and I truly desired to know the Lord Jesus. This wasn’t the culmination of extensive theological study, comparing one belief system to another, or thorough analyzing all of the data at my disposal. It was the result of the Lord opening my eyes in a way that would have seemed impossible just a few months previous. Everyone who is born of the Spirit has a unique testimony; and yet in every case, it was the Lord who granted the increase. The more that we consider our great salvation, the more incredible it becomes. To realize how much time we spent “one heartbeat away from perdition and that it was of the Lords mercy that we were not consumed. To realize that the Creator of all that is, who has no beginning and changes not, took upon himself a body of flesh, and bore upon that body the sins of all. It bears repeating; if I had perished in August of 1983, I would now have been in hell for 27 years and 7 months with no reprieve, no hope, and the knowledge that it didn’t have to end that way because my sins were paid for 2000 years ago on an old rugged cross.
The following passage has become, as it were, a “signature verse” as it’s referred to often:
II Timothy 2:25 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
It’s easy to become discouraged by appearances. To see so many souls in our venue going through their allotment of days with no regard for their soul is heartbreaking. The vanities and lusts of this world seem to have them in a death-grip and one is tempted to question whether or not they can ever be reached. This grouping includes co-workers, relatives, neighbors, outstanding members of the community, and what have you. And yet, each of us can remember when we were lost and without God in the world. Everyone who is born of the Spirit can remember the incredible way that the Lord brought us out of darkness and into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Each testimony is a miraculous event; whether it’s one dominated by a lengthy series of calamities over the course of decades, or one that’s relatively void of upheaval and heartache. Each one is a testimony of the Lord granting unto a lost soul, a heart to know him.
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
I Corinthians 3:6 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”
It’s become a standard prayer request as names are lifted before the Lord in prayer. That request is that the Lord would give them a heart to know him. That he would draw them unto himself; just as he did me 27 years and 8 months ago. There are people in my venue who seem so hardened and oftentimes it seems that everything I say or do is the wrong thing. Yet the Lord can open the hardest of the hardened and grant repentance unto the most contrary of our contemporaries. When we understand that it is the Lord who grants this increase (while all of us understand this from a theological standpoint, our thoughts and actions oftentimes reveal a different belief residing in our heart; one that we may be hesitant to recognize) we’ll be more diligent in lifting them up in prayer. Coming before the throne of the one who can open blinded eyes with just a word, and petitioning on their behalf.
I’m certain that someone was lifting me up in prayer prior to the hour in which I first believed. It may well have been Dennis and MaryAnn. Someday I should dedicate a post to these saints who had an immense impact on my life, both before I was born again and in subsequent years when I would confide in them regularly.
This prayer also applies to the saints as all of us are a work in progress. Each of us can remember times when our level of spiritual maturity was less than it is today. (At least we should be able to do this. Likewise, we should be able to revisit this current moment one year from now and be able to pinpoint areas of growth during the span of time currently in front of us) The more a persons heart is united unto the Lord Jesus, the more they will seek to separate from anything that’s contrary to him; be it the vanities of this world, attitudes, time bandits cleverly disguised as “harmless pastimes” and what have you. A heart to know the Lord will casue one to reside in heavenly places while compelling those around them to taste and see that the Lord is good. A heart to know the Lord will cause one to realize just how lifeless the treasures and agendas of this world are as they seek a continuing city wherein dwells no darkness and no timepieces. Their thoughts and affections will gravitate toward issues of eternal significance while the offerings of this present world lose their power of allurement. One more signature verse:
Philippians 3:15 “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if, in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
This has become longer than intended and as such I must be going. Finding time to operate in this venue is still proving to be a challenge, (especially on weekdays) however, Lord willing, I’m minded to keep it going. I love the fellowship that one finds here. Even though I’ve never met another blogger in the flesh, just knowing that there are saints in other places, whose posts reveal a heart that’s firmly set upon things above, is encouraging. I’ll try to be more diligent in visiting everyones site; even if it has to be done at 3:00 AM. Thanks to all who continue to stay in touch through this venue.
Malachi 3:16 “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.”
Blessings always in Jesus name.