For they have fallen into the spell of the god of this age and have exchanged the knowledge of the Most High for the knowledge of the world. They have heard but have not believed, they have convinced themselves with their own minds.
Matthew 13:15-16 New King James Version (NKJV) 15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should[a]heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear
It is not in my hands to water the seeds or to tell them where to lie. It is my job to plant the word. May I do so with clean motives and a pure heart. Let my words be yours Jesus.
I have just started my recovery in the last month or so. When I went to Nagoya, I wanted to serve the church that I held so near and dear as I served them for the duration of my internship. I taught their children, I prayed with them, I lived life with them. When I came back, things were not as they were. I was held at an arms length. Every effort I put into giving free service to them was ignored. It broke my heart and I could no longer bear to go there and sit quietly on the pew as I watched everyone move around me.
It was this ache that I used to live my own life, and not one of the Spirit. I sought the companionship of the non-Christians that I knew and although I tried on occasion to bring the gospel, I found that any power I once had to do so was not available to me. After all, I wasn't listening to God why should I invite others to do so? This went on for months. I chose to be alone rather than to face a painful situation. I decided to try to take life on by myself with the misguided concept of thinking that I was there to serve God. "I'll show them", I thought. I was wrong. I became lazy, listless, filled with malaise, jaded, cynical, lustful, and supremely selfish. Finally, I fell defeated and I realized what I had let myself become. It was a painstaking look into the mirror and my reflection wasn't what I wanted to see.
I planned a hasty retreat to the US in order to find new direction for my life, though it was still not flowing from a heart devoted to God, only a mouth that said it was devoted to God. I knew what I had become, and I hated it and I hated myself for it, but I felt trapped. Then something wonderful happened. A brother in the Tokyo area heard my situation and had compassion on me. Through prayer, God led his people at the church in Fuchu to invite me for a visit. I accepted the invitation, just expecting to see an old friend. What I found instead was the Holy Spirit waiting for me, bringing conviction, the door to repentance, rejuvenation, and restoration. I hastily accepted this offer, because I knew what it would bring and although my flesh wanted desperately to flee from it, my soul which was bought by Jesus called out for it.
Now, I remember who I am. For a short while, I have felt ashamed of my failed time but through study of the Word here, I have found that many of God's servants have done the same that I have. They had done the same, but had been called back into service, and typically a higher service and state of nearness to God than before. I have found God's people here and I am ready to serve the Lord until the final hour. I am ready to go to the next level of faith and sacrifice.
I asked myself a question the other day, "What do you want most in this life?"
I could honestly say that what I wanted more than anything else was to love Jesus more and more, to serve and understand Him better, and to lay down my life as a sacrifice of love to others so that they might accept the call to do the same.
" ‘ You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: 10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ "
Hypocrisy or not, when the word is preached and is rejected, one is not let off the hook just because the one delivering the Word was living as a hypocrite. See and taste for yourself that the Lord is good.