You cannot give place to the world, to your passions or your laziness. Words are not enough to claim the kingdom of God. It takes strength and courage and violence. You must violently resist the tides of the world. Violently give up all that holds you back from God. Violently turn your will over to God to do His will alone. This violence is what I pray you will come to know, for how else will you know anything of the life of the Lord Jesus? Fenelon from 100 days in the secret place
The violence that Francis Fenelon is talking about in this above quote is not about arrogant rough hit and punch violence. it is not the voilence we see on tv or read about in the news. it is not filled with swearing or expressed with fists. It is the passionate pursuit of ones goals – in our case – the Kingdom of God. With force and decision and resolve we must resist the desires of the flesh and hold onto the course before us – the narrow path of holiness and surrender. It takes guts to follow Christ. Jesus himself said:
Matthew 16:24-25 If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My sake shall find it.
Sometimes following Jesus isnt all happiness and roses… it is loneliness and suffering, discipline and sacrifice. There are times when God works on our character that just arent pleasant… when we feel like we are walking through the fire and flame, and feel like we are walking those paths alone. God seems distant and prayers unanswered.
i was watching Rob Bell’s Nooma dvd NOISE today and i was again stirred by Elijah meeting with God on the mountain top – not Mt Carmel, but a forgotten, hidden mountain where he had run away too. he had run away from his ministry and the people and the opposition – he was running away from life. While on the mountain there was an earthquake, a mighty wind, a raging fire – but God was NOT in the fire or the wind or the earthquake. he was not in the loud demonstration. he was in the small quiet voice… Rob Bell pointed out that this really means SILENCE. God was in the silence. God is in teh silence we face in our lives, when he seems far away he is so near. do we hold on and hear him and find him or do we continue to run?
Take hope in the words of the Bible, that say that God IS with us through the fire and the flame (Isaiah 43) and that He does hear our prayers always.
1Peter 1:6-7 in which you greatly rejoice, yet a little while, if need be, grieving in manifold temptations; so that the trial of your faith (being much more precious than that of gold that perishes, but being proven through fire) might be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
Our faith is regarded as being much more precious than gold to God. It does go through the fire of refinement as we are shaped into the character of Jesus.
We must be committed to following God, to allowing His way in our lives and to walking one step at a time forward. We must be committed to making God-decisions, not just good ones, and to rejecting the things we must reject. No one ever said it would be easy, just worth it. Eternally. we must press on, as Paul said.