För att bära frukt, frukt som består, måste vi be den Helige Ande visa oss områden i våra liv som vi behöver göra upp med. Områden som annars hindrar oss från gemenskap med Herren och som i värsta fall leder oss bort ifrån Honom. Precis som vinbusken behöver vi beskäras. Inte bara de döda och torra grenarna utan även en del av de grenar som bär frukt, men som ändå måste tas bort för att frukten skall bli sötare och skörden bli ännu större. Denna beskärningsprocess är en naturlig del i varje växande kristens vandring med Herren, men när vi möter svårigheter och utmaningar blir denna beskärningsprocess ännu mera påtaglig.
En person som vet en hel del om hur smärtsamt (men nödvändigt) detta kan vara är Debra Westbrook som leder "Rivers of Eden" tillsammans med sin man Marvin. Debra berättar nedan uppriktigt i senaste nyhetsbrevet om den väg hon vandrat, och jag uppskattar hennes öppenhet och ärlighet. Det ger en trovärdighet till henne som andlig ledare och jag skulle önska att fler andliga ledare vågade göra som hon. För att rannsaka sitt liv och omvända sig från det som inte är välbehagligt inför Herren kräver en hel del mod och kan vara mycket smärtsamt.
Have You Lost Your Way?
Rivers of Eden 2009
It seems that over the past few years I have grown weary in my Christian walk. My love for Christ Jesus has not wavered but I can say that 2008 has been a difficult year. At the risk of sounding somehow less spiritual that I should espouse to be, I can only be honest in everyway. It's been tough and perhaps many of you can relate. Despite the depths of my heart crying out for God, outward circumstance, my own will, trials, misunderstandings, persecutions, and much more has left me weary. Yet, I love Him but He was going deep with a passion to expose anything that kept me from having more of Him and shining with His glory. In my weakness He is strong. That is spiritual reality to me.
I am starting 2009 fresh and awake as if from sleep. Passionately loving Him yet so stripped of any way to actually define myself - I am IN HIM. That is simple and true. Do I need anything more? I don't think so. What is my purpose? I am IN HIM. What is my destiny? I am IN HIM. Who am I? I am IN HIM. That truth became experiential to me as the enemy bombarded me with lies and accusations for months over my inadequacy and my failures. That was and is the key to freedom. I am IN HIM. In me, there is nothing but I am IN HIM and in that I am perfected in His love and in His beauty.
The simplicity of being IN HIM shelters me from the chaos and confusion in the world today. It also shelters and protects me from the lies that are espoused as truth even in Christianity.
When in the depths of seeking Him over the past month, I heard Him speak a simple truth to me. One simple statement that resonated like an explosion in my spirit. "You have lost your way!"
I was astonished at the impact the simplicity of that statement had on me. The truth of that statement shot like an arrow into my heart. Rather than debate or reason with God as to its validity, I simply agreed with His assessment of my true spiritual condition. In simply agreeing, revelation opened up in me at lightning speed.
I lost my way. How?
Amidst the barrage of prophetic conferences, cutting edge prophetic words, charismatic hype, books, CD's, DVD's, etc. etc. etc., I lost the simplicity that is found in simply seeking Jesus Christ, dying to my own life, and living obediently in Him. There was a resistance that had grown in me to have things my own way. Yet, I did not really see it. So God used 2008 to bring me to an end to myself and to be alive IN HIM.
I have noticed that over the past few years, the borders of my life have been stretched and distorted and somehow blurred. In trying to be everything to everybody and trying to be on the cutting edge of Christianity by attending the right conferences and reading the right books, I lost my way IN HIM and Him alone. My purpose and destiny was being eroded bit by bit, year by year. I felt frustrated and with a lack of joy.
So what is one to do? There is only one thing. Run back to Him and sit at His feet once again. In stillness and quiet, one is refreshed and renewed. In that place of intimate desperation, devoid of definition and purpose, God instills life and what the enemy intends for evil God uses for His good. I did not find Him in the pursuit of greater avenues of prayer, longer hours in Bible study, or any such agenda. I presented myself before Him - empty and alone. I ran to Him and not from Him in what appeared to me to be my failures. Yet He was quick to show me there is no failure in Him - only room to accept the cross and its power so that He may live His life in and through me.
He truly revealed Himself to me as fresh manna, living water, my refuge and my strength.
In my weakness He is strong. Once accepted, that is a simple and profound truth that leads to death of personal ambition. I can do nothing apart from Him. To truly find myself, I have to lose myself IN HIM.
The hidden areas of my heart continued to be exposed - the hidden agendas, the personal ambition for greatness, the need for reputation and acceptance - all that was and is apart from Him. Looking at it with eyes wide open, I simply accepted my own defeat at the hands of Him who wanted to lead me into my destiny. I repented as I saw each exposure head on. I did not debate or reason. I repented to be washed clean.
I discovered that I did lose my way - not in worldly sin or pleasure but in the very midst of well meaning Christian conferences, books, the latest word or whatever. I lost Him and I am seeing that many are in the same place as me.
I lost my way and yet God who is so faithful kept walking with me as I pursued along my path. When I couldn't see the path in front of me He kept walking with me. The truth is simple. I was trying to walk a path my way and that produces the shadows of carnal understanding and human wisdom. I was trying to work out my Christianity rather than to BE in Him. This may be humiliating for me to say all this but if I am ashamed to say this..............I am not dead enough yet. And I want to die so that resurrection power may flow through me. I had to go through this year. It was necessary for me to be set free................from me.
His word and His way is light to my path. My walk during this past year lost the clarity of purpose that has always defined my life. I looked for Him, yet at times, could not find Him. Yet He was there all along. This would be revealed to me many times.
I was walking in the shadows of my own way at my own pace on my own path. He kept trying to tell me that He was the way - He alone was the way. If I was willing to lay down my expectations and my hope for His, He would bring me out into Him. Finally I hit rock bottom and in deep despair and depression, I simply trusted that He was and is greater than ME. I took my eyes off of myself and focused on Him and I found Him. The path of light before me opened up and it seemed like a new day to me. It continues to open up and my love and passion for Him is returning day by day. I love Him. That is enough for me. I walk a path of simple obedience undeterred by people, places, situations, and things. I simply follow Him and go where He says to go, say what He says to say - simple, clear, perfect.
To say that I am back is a bit cliché. I do feel light again for in losing myself, I am finding Him. I am filled with revelation but in no hurry to get it out for I am obedient to His will and His ways and His divine timing. Perhaps the true test of a prophet is not how much they can say, but how much they can be silent, only releasing as God commands. I am subdued under the weight of His mighty hand and willing to be hidden in the cleft of the rock with a submissive "yes" in my spirit. I have repented of pride and self-righteousness that developed from deep wounding in my life.
I am His and He is mine and with that revelation - He is sweet.
Debra & Marvin Westbrook