Chapter 14: It’s All About Refinement
If I have heard once, I have heard a thousand times, “They were such a good person until thus and so happened; then they really changed for the worse.” With all my being, I believe trials and tests do not change a person, they simply bring to light who the person is at their center. It was definitely true in Job’s case as well as my own. Neither of us knew what was wicked within until the disasters came.
Adam lived in utopia and it was true for him. The worst comes out of people in dyer situations because the love of Christ is not in effect. Sure, they may be saved from hell but a person led by Holy Spirit would be able to recognize what God was allowing to happen and even why, instead of tail-spinning out of control and losing sight of God’s reality. Just because one is led by Holy Spirit for a long time does not mean that, in an instant, they can’t revert back to the flesh. Satan is crouching at the door waiting for an opportunity to stumble you. You and I must daily die, which is merely a result of having been transformed into the image of God.
When my first husband left with a note on the coffee table, I fell apart. I began cursing, ranting and raving. Why? It was because I had no grounding in an intimate relationship with God. I had never once said, “Father, show me everything that is wrong within me. Lead me into righteousness.” I had received salvation at the age of six and went on my way “getting people saved” as I was taught. I didn’t drink, curse, sleep around or do drugs. I was basically a “good” kid. However, in reality, it was all a lie because there is no one good but God.
I failed to hear from God, receive warnings, admonition, or anything of the kind. If I had, I would not have married two wrong men. I knew nothing of God except being able to quote a few Scriptures. In my mind, making a profession of faith was equated to “an intimate relationship” when it was nothing more than the beginning of what should have developed into an intimate relationship. I was weak in Christ on my best days and was so because I thought myself spiritually strong and mature.
A terrible weakness in God’s people is the feeling of unworthiness, yet we call it humility. When you focus on your own unworthiness, you are focused on self. Although it certainly appears humble and righteous on the surface, contrary to popular belief, this is another lie from Satan. It is actually false humility, self-abasement, and self-righteousness.
False Humility: “I am unworthy to walk in the shoes of Jesus, so I won’t. I’ll sit here quietly in my recliner of do-nothing. Praise God, one day I’m going up yonder in the sweet by and by. I’ll wait here ‘til I get to Heaven to throw my crowns at His precious feet. Who am I to walk in authority and speak with boldness? I’m too humble to do that.”
True Humility: “I am unworthy and I know it. However, with that knowledge, I (the unworthy one) choose to surrender and live only unto Christ (the worthy One). I choose His worth and allow Him to speak, think and operate through my mortal body. I choose to walk boldly and courageously in the authority and power He projects through me. I give God all praise, honor and glory for all accomplished.”
I pray every believer will get this imbedded in their spirit, heart, and mind. God is not asking for your perfection or power since you have none to offer. He is asking for your willingness to allow Him to move through your weak mortal body as you are merged with Him as one entity. Allow refinement when the hard times hit let you be overtaken by the evil one through despair. God is the perfection in the weakest places of life. Yoked together Christ is the only hope for strength and a sound mind.
“so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:7, NAS).”
“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it (Genesis 4:7, NAS).”
In my 50 years of life, jealousy has never been something to which I have commonly subscribed. I’m always elated to witness success and assist others so as to catapult them into greatness. That being said, having a chronically ill child has, on more than one occasion, provoked a spirit of jealousy within me. I deal with it in the throne room of grace, to be sure, as soon as I feel it. Nevertheless, the pangs of such a vile emotion rear their ugly head when I least expect it. When I see all around me the kids of friends, family, acquaintances and even strangers who are perfectly healthy and thriving, as awful to admit as it is, I feel the sensation of jealousy. It is not for money or possessions, but for good health for my daughter. I weep for my sweet Sophia as I know others weep for their suffering children.
From family to family, it’s a sliding scale of illnesses and severity but, I assure you, pain is pain. I don’t have less sorrow for my child than a parent of a child with cancer or more sorrow than a parent with a kid with an infection which is taking longer to subside than average. Hands down, it is all horrible watching your child suffer while other children run, play, go to school and do the things healthy kids do. Sophia has begun a two month regimen of medication specifically for her issues. It’s been two weeks and we’ve seen some improvement. She’s been getting caught up in some school work and able to spend time with friends here and there. It has been encouraging to watch as slow progress is still progress.
Yesterday, just as Michael and I had embarked on a much needed date night, we had just sat down at the restaurant to order and the phone rings. Sophia called bawling her eyes out because, while at her friend’s house, she threw up repeatedly and was in a lot of stomach pain. What’s more, she was/is very frustrated she can’t seem to kick this and the correlating problems. This morning at church, a friend was excited to revel in our mutual friend’s daughter’s achievements where she had deservedly, once again, taken 1st place. Of course, I am thrilled for my friend’s daughter; in fact, she’s my best friend. Our daughters are only a year apart and we are each other’s daughter’s god-mothers.
I thought to myself how astonishingly disgusting it was that I would feel such pain and jealousy for one I love so dearly; its a bit of a paradox. Even as I type, I weep at the unbearable thought that I would have such emotions. It was all I could do not to cry the entire service knowing my baby was hurting and feeling the way I did. Notwithstanding, the fact remains, people in my shoes do feel surges of jealousy with the desire for our kids to be able to enjoy childhood/teenhood just like everyone else’s kids.
Just the other day, a friend wrote asking me to pray for peace for her because she was feeling jealousy for reasons I just described. She is a follower of Christ and knows God has a perfect plan for her child, yet struggles with such feelings. She mentioned that watching photo after photo of other kids doing so well and having such joy brought her more pain.
I responded like this (roughly): “My personal peace comes from reminding myself that, at the conclusion of this part of Sophia’s life, it will catapult her right into the perfect will of God. If I may be frank, you do not need prayer for peace, you need to believe God has a plan and that it is good; belief is where the peace lies. I don’t know what God has designed for your daughter’s life, but a part of that is not you feeling devastated as if there’s no hope. I say this to you as I must daily remind myself.” Knowing, believing, trusting and accepting God does have a plan is the key. This knowledge is how I am able to:
- Call myself to accountability in my incorrect emotions
- Pull down (away from) my mind all thoughts not of God
- Pull those thoughts into the obedience of Christ until my obedience is made complete
- Refuse to allow my mind to continue a process of comparing Sophia’s life to anyone else’s
- Remind myself God is faithful, He has a plan, He is in love with her and He purposes the best for her
- Believe all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who walk according to the Spirit
- Trust God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength – regardless of what my eyes see or emotions feel
- Reestablish peace that passes all understanding
If I may help you in any way, please reach out to me on Facebook, email or in the comments section. If there’s help for me and my child, there’s equal hope, help and peace for you. Jealousy of others will only lead to further destruction, chaos and confusion, it is a murdering spirit. Just because we feel something in a moment of weakness does not mean we have to allow it to overtake us. Focusing on the love of God chases out feelings which are not of God. Blessings!
Proverbs 14:30: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
Chapter 8, The Real Fight, part I
One of the greatest lessons I learned upon my return to Christ February 2000 was that my fight is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities and the evil in heavenly places. Wow, what a revelation for me! I no longer had to fight for what’s mine, no longer did I need to justify myself (past, present or future); no longer did I need to beg people to realize the life-altering transformation that was happening to me. There was no longer a need to defend my honor because the only honor worth defending was that of Jesus, the Christ. The only way to defend His name was to live righteously, holy, humbly, and with utter denial of self.
I now know that, if I have an enemy, it is not the person but the evil behind their actions. Knowing this basic truth of where my enemy actually lies (in the spirit-realm), I can rest knowing Christ is the only proper weapon of mass destruction. No more do I need to hate anyone, be bitter against an oppressor, be angry and vindictive against someone who has broken my heart, and so on. In fact, by identifying the real enemy, I have the utmost mercy for the offender. I can easily pray for those who curse me, bless those who hate me, and give to those who steal from me. No more do I weary myself over those whom I love that are walking in bondage in some form or fashion.
Once it really hit me and buried itself in my spirit that it is absolutely no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, it changed the entire paradigm of my existence and how I view everything, good and bad. All too often God’s people battle fellow man, for whatever myriad of reasons, and in the process they weaken themselves in all the wrong ways. They stress and strive in their natural man to convince people they need to repent when, unknowingly, they turn people away from that very Christ because of their level of stress, anxiety, nagging, control and manipulation. Love changes people. Rest and peace in the midst of any chaos is proof positive of Christ’s reality.
Fighting one another, constantly in battle with friends, family, co-workers, enemies, or whomever, is not the path to freedom – for you or for them. As we will discuss later, the work of God is complete through Jesus. Since Jesus’ completion of defeating Satan and death, we have no fight, only to surrender to the One who is already victorious. At the risk of oversimplifying, this is the honest truth. I’ve learned (and continue to learn) how to daily surrender people and situations. In so doing, I have rest even when I don’t like what I see or feel. I battle, but only through releasing the blood of Jesus in each and every climate I encounter.
For example, if I’m praying for an addict, I pray this way: “Father, in the name of Jesus, I stand in the gap for __________. I pray for Your blood to cover __________ from the top of his or her head to the soles of his or her feet. By Your power, I thank You that they are delivered from the hand of the enemy. Allow Your righteous right hand to cover them in their weakness. I thank You that Your hand is not so short it can’t reach where they are. By Jesus’ blood, I command the demonic spirits and the generational curse of addiction to be loosed from their assignment over __________.” This is releasing the blood of Jesus and casting your cares upon His shoulders. You cannot carry it.
In fact, because I have weakened myself unto death, I recognize a dead man cannot battle – he’s dead. If I’m dead (metaphorically speaking), Christ, who is my new life, causes me to be victorious even when I cannot see, taste, hear or feel it. It’s done. My warring is through the blood of Jesus, not the flesh; it is not of self-power but of Christ’s. My battling comes with ease in spirit, even when it isn’t necessarily easy for the outward man.
Learning how to battle the enemy through spiritual warfare versus fleshly warfare is a phenomenal element I was missing all my years growing up in a standard denominational church. First, one must begin with taking control of self and all the worldly thoughts that flood our minds day in and day out.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12, NAS).”
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20, NAS).”
“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12, NAS).”
Hebrews 11:1, 6: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval…without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
Some of my all-time favorite Scriptures are found within the confines of Hebrews 11. When I first returned to the Lord nearly 18 years ago, I poured over these so as to learn how God views faith, what faith is at its core. All these years later, I am having my faith tested around every bend, one thing after another, after another. There are moments when it feels as though the roof above me is caving and the floor beneath me is sinking. But, I thank God I don’t function in feelings but in faith. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, feelings are not in sync with the Kingdom of Heaven.
Michael’s job has had threats of termination for at least a year, but that didn’t bother me, not once. Wednesday, he was terminated; that didn’t move me to fear. We found stachybotris black mold in our home two years ago and had to find money, even after insurance, so as to make the necessary alterations to a 1/3 of our home. No fear. Now we discover we still have mold in our home causing Sophia’s illnesses and insurance will not pay. No fear. Numerous issues have transpired over the last 6 or so years and I have been unwavering in my faith in our Mighty God. But, as I live and breathe, nothing has tested my faith more than having our child’s life in peril. I would venture to say that, for any parent worth their salt, whether there is imminent danger such as cancer or heart disease, or chronic illness that never seems to end, faith is always on the line in an inexplicable form.
I would go strongly, unshakable in my faith long stretches without a wince of fear but, in a moment of absolute frustration and sorrow watching my child suffer day in and day out, believe me, I had flickers of doubt. They never lasted long as I would quickly realign my mind, heart and spirit with Holy Spirit, but they would appear nonetheless. I love II Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” Spectacular! My God is always faithful. When I look at my beautiful teenage daughter, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness. She’s alive, whether sick or well. There’s hope. We are here on Planet Earth another day, there’s hope. God is alive and stronger than any danger we may face, there’s Hope.
Fortunately, my hope is not on man’s version of limited hope which is utterly fickle and fluctuates according to how I feel in any given moment. No, my hope is living; it is alive through Jesus the Christ. My faith is not in medicine, doctors, nurses, or anything made by hands of man. Though God may well move for a time through the aforementioned, God is the only healer and comforter. In Him I always rejoice! My faith is anchored in Christ alone, the One who created Sophia. Through it all, both mine and Michael’s faith have soared to places I didn’t know existed until we began this journey with a chronically ill child. Do not lose faith. God is faithful. He has never forsaken us and He has not forsaken you.
I Peter 1:3-9: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
Current Problems Stem from Eden:
“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6, NIV).”
Herein lays the problem of most men and women throughout the generations. First, man had the role of guarding the garden and all that was in it. By deferring to the woman to make a decision, he not only gave over his authority to Satan, but he also gave his authoritative role to the woman. This was a blatant act of rebellion against God. All the way to present day, women struggle with the complacency of men in some area or another just as Adam was complacent in his role of leadership over his domain. Men struggle with women dominating them just as did Eve.
Understand that Adam, because he was the one to whom the Lord gave authority, ushered this curse and it needs to be treated and handled as such – a curse for which Christ died. Through the blood of the Lamb, anyone who is willing can walk differently, supernaturally instead of naturally. Individuals need to bring it before God in repentance and break this yoke by the blood of the Lamb.
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:21, KJV).”
Adam’s place was not only to say “no” to Eve, but also to lovingly direct her to say “no” to the enemy. This is the very reason that women (generally speaking) set the standard in a relationship with a man, whether it is spiritual, sexual, financial, or other. Adam allowed the woman to set the standard, therefore, so it is today. God gave the authority to Adam to set a standard and this is the standard he chose. This cycle must be broken from homes and the rightful role of authority handed back to the husband, the head of the woman and their home.
When done properly, the woman will no longer have to run things. She will become her husband’s helper – neither will have to dominate the other as they will operate in their God-ordained role – they will live harmoniously instead of nearly killing one another with poor attitudes, harsh words or devastating silence.
In the New Testament, we the Body of Christ are instructed that the wife is to submit to her husband. However, in like fashion, we all are to “submit one to another” so that the greater good of the Kingdom of God will manifest in the earth. Because of the rebellion of both Adam and Eve, the power struggle continues this day. No one seems to want to humble themselves one to another; husband to wife or wife to husband. Imagine a world where both people in a marriage were so set on pleasing Yahweh that humility reigned. Wow! Neither would ever have to beg or use controlling manipulation. When we can get to the root of any problem, it can be resolved.
There is a looming curse over women dating all the way back to Eve as we see in the above verse. Eve was led by the lust of her flesh. Just as Adam gave up authority to Eve, she sought after it hot and heavy. She brought in a controlling, manipulative evil spirit on women. Women all over the world nag their husbands to step up to the proverbial plate. When he does finally decide to do so, most of the time the wife resists.
Women have an innate desire to control, coerce and manipulate. Many women say with their lips, “You need to be a man and take charge,” yet actions speak a very different message. Wives need to allow husbands to make decisions even if it means letting them make mistakes along the way. Women with sons, teach them how to be men of God. It’s time to relinquish headship over to our husbands.
Women are to submit, not control. Men are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, not control. This will lead both to submit one to another. By understanding the lack of Holy Spirit leading in Adam, Eve and the modern day Christ-follower, we can certainly see how the problem has escalated over time. Since Jesus bore the curse of the nature of the flesh for all mankind, by properly applying His blood, there’s no reason for us to continue in Adam and Eve’s footsteps.
Once we begin to seek first the Kingdom of God, we’ll begin to delve into the Kingdom Constitution (Bible) and desire most earnestly to pledge our allegiance to the King, His Kingdom and His edicts. Peace and joy will follow.
“But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When He was hung on the cross, He took upon Himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree (Galatians 3:13, NLT).’”
We’ll pick up here next week as we continue with The Root of the Problem. If you are interested in reading more, check out my website to order my books, or go to my Facebook ministry page where I post regularly. Blessings!
Alexys V. Wolf
I have you in my heart…how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus…I pray that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment…TO WRITE THE SAME THINGS AGAIN IS NO TROUBLE TO ME…(Philippians 1:7, 8, 9; 2:20, 26; 3:1; 4:1, 17, NAS)
May I plainly state that this is difficult – the whole “do not speak against one another”? However, when I really begin to understand how God operates in love at all times, you and I will be better equipped spiritually to administer the Word of God without a judgmental or impatient spirit. We must all begin seeing ourselves for just how lowly and forgiven we are personally. It is when we have an opinion of ourselves that is higher than it ought to be that we begin to judge others and grow weary and impatient. I heard a saying while ministering in prison: I’m no one’s judge since I haven’t a heaven or hell to place them. What a simple and brilliant thing to say and understand!
Jesus and His true followers who have gone on before us delivering the message of the Kingdom of God were simply called to walk in and reveal love and truth to the people. Their job was not to force people to get it. Some will receive and some will not. Our concern should not be the outcome, but rather we conduct ourselves in obedience in love. This way, our level of joy will not so easily fluctuate. Our joy will be grounded completely in the Instructor instead the instruction or the instructed and their reception or rejection of it.
What I mean is that, often times, when a person is obedient in speaking a word from the Lord with joy and zeal and a person receives, we rejoice as if we ourselves have accomplished something. Our zeal is through the roof! On the other hand, when a person is obedient to speak a word from God and a person rejects the word, the level of joy plummets to sub-zero. We seem to take it personally as though they have rejected us, when in fact they have rejected God. Our level of joy should not be moved either way. Happiness is emotional and it comes and goes due to circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, is based on faith in who God is and not what goes on around us. The outcome of how people respond for or against us not our concern – it is God’s alone.
Jesus and those who imitated Him walked in pure, joyous love, which kept them balanced; although this does not mean they were necessarily “happy” in every circumstance. Paul said he repeated the word as many times as necessary so that the people would be safeguarded; his concern was for the people and their walk with Yahweh. When we get angry when others don’t receive the word of God we’ve delivered, it is pride in us that brings the irritation. It is us having the poor attitude that they should do as we say, and if they don’t, they aren’t as good as we.
Maintain humility, and our only goal will be to deliver the Word whether people receive or not. We are to keep our eye on being obedient to glorifying Christ. True love does not puff itself. True love is always humble and courteous.
“Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins” (Lamentations 3:39, NAS).
“Do all things without grumbling and complaining” (Philippians 2:14, NAS).
Love, peace, blessings, and Merry Christmas!
Alexys V. Wolf
I have you in my heart…how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus…I pray that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment…who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare…longing for you all…TO WRITE THE SAME THINGS AGAIN IS NO TROUBLE TO ME…my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown…not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. (Philippians 1:7, 8, 9; 2:20, 26; 3:1; 4:1, 17, NAS)
Paul’s objective was always that God be glorified, and that the people were able to grow in Christ. When the people sent him a gift, he was glad simply because it would go to their spiritual account, not for his own selfish gain. He patiently delivered the Word of God repeating himself as necessary. Because Paul’s focus was that of the Kingdom of God, he was supernaturally equipped to be selflessness, hence maintaining joy as well as persuading others to rejoice in all things. It was this very joy that strengthened him in his endeavors. The whole book of Philippians reveals Paul’s continuous joy.
Paul did not allow adversity of life and ministry or the shortcomings of others to rob him of his joy. He understood the very nature and heart of God. As he was forgiven much, he was able to see through the eye of forgiveness and extend it perpetually toward others. God not only spared Paul’s life after he had tormented and killed God’s people, but God went further and anointed Paul to speak for Him! This confounded both the godly and the ungodly revealing that God not only forgives all, but that anyone can receive such forgiveness as well as become anything God desires of them without limitation! Simply astounding is the heart of God –how could any of us not rejoice always? Likewise, how could anyone forgiven so much ever turn and complain against someone else in their frailties and failures?
“Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor” (James 2:11-12, NAS).
May I plainly state that this is difficult – the whole “do not speak against one another”? I know for me that I can do really well with that until a person or group of people seriously push me repeatedly. However, when I remind myself of how God operates in love at all times, I am better equipped spiritually to administer the Word of God without a judgmental, critical, irritated or impatient spirit. We must all begin seeing ourselves for just how lowly and forgiven we are personally. It is when we have an opinion of ourselves that is higher than it ought to be that we begin to judge others and grow weary and impatient.
“Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins” (Lamentations 3:39, NAS).
“Do all things without grumbling and complaining” (Philippians 2:14, NAS).
Hope you’ll stay tuned for the continuation of this topic of joy and gladness!
Love, peace, and blessings!
Alexys V. Wolf