By Carole J. Keller
As I pursued the truths presented in this book at a deeper level, it became apparent to me that the principle of surrender is at the core of everyone’s felt need. I have discerned that, as long as we hold tenaciously to our way, customs, and practices, it will be difficult to achieve a spiritual breakthrough. To obtain a breakthrough, we have to be willing to surrender and lay our broken dreams, plans and struggles at the Cross. It is there, at the Cross, that we find our Savior and our hopes and dreams take on new life and resurrection power.
Prompted in large part by the pervasive and tragic breakdown of moral values in our country, coupled with financial insecurity and other socio-economic worries, more and more people are longing to see a visitation of God in their lives. This hunger to be filled is the catalyst for restoration. Maybe it is a financial, medical, spiritual or emotional breakthrough we seek. Over time, we learn that we cannot achieve a spiritual breakthrough if our confidence is in ourselves.
We ask ourselves, “How did we get to this place of self-sufficiency?” One thing it seems the Word of God no longer plays a significant role in our culture as some denominations blatantly change meaning to fit the transgression. The diminution of the role of the Ten Commandments in our culture once considered the backbone of our inalienable rights and justice, hardly causes our eyes to Christians in general are too reticent to fight for the Judeo-Christian values that have always upheld their freedoms and liberties. How a candidate’s views affect their pocketbooks appears to have greater weight with the people than the principle he or she lives by. This apathy shames us before the world and is a blight to our nation.
This lessening role of the Word has shown up in relationships. It has created pride, and pride separates more people, causes more unresolved conflicts, creates more division, and shuts off feelings of compassion more than anything else as people fight to retain their own kingdoms. Pride keeps us from connecting with people, hearing counsel, telling the truth, and submitting to each other. We have drifted from being dependent upon God to being dependent upon ourselves, our programs, worldly knowledge. It is the restoration of those time-honored principles, beginning at the grassroots level, that will change our world and once again make us fruitful and prosperous. This brings glory to God and our nation.
In the midst of this upheaval, there are many who yearn for a restoration of the Book of Acts Christianity and the vibrancy that once characterized it. The early church turned the world upside down with Christianity. Believers forsook their prior lifestyles to be identified with Jesus, they depended upon God, they loved truth, and they loved each other. In contrast, today our lifestyle is so commingled with the worldly system and its values that it has blinded our eyes to our need for God.
But God knows how to bridge the gap between himself and His people. In our state of barrenness, God gets our attention, for it is in barrenness that God shows us the deceitfulness of our hearts. In barrenness, God proves to us how utterly dependent we are upon His power to survive. Barrenness brings death to our human resources and vision because everything we do in our own strength must and eventually does wither and die. And it is only at this point that new life is possible: “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24). Preacher and Author James Wilkerson, Founder of Teen Challenge, said,
“When God is at work producing a faith that is tried and better than gold, he first puts a sentence of death on all human resources. He closes the door to all human reasoning, bypassing every means of a rational deliverance.”
Love of Mammon
God wants to put us in places where we have never been before. Our natural abilities and resources not meet the challenge of these divine appointments. To get there, He must break our self-reliance because we will need to depend solely upon God and put all our hopes and dreams into His hands. One of the greatest temptations is the love mammon.
The love for money and what it can buy is an idol. and puts a distance between ourselves and God because it lessens our dependence upon Him. Prayerlessness is the one symptom that manifests when we are too independent. It is the one tell-tale sign that we have not surrendered our will, but are confident in the works of our own hands. We have forsaken the fountain of living water and put our trust in broken cisterns (Jeremiah 2:13), substituting human resources for divine intervention. Rather than drinking from God’s inexhaustible supply of living water to refresh and sustain us, we desire the flesh pots of the world to succor our human cravings (Exodus 16:33). When we surrender the reins over our lives to God, prayer will be restored as our dependence will be upon Him and not our works.
The Bible says the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10), because it leads to greed, covetousness, selfishness and puts its attainment ahead of the rights and needs of others. Sometimes we may use money to advance our own cause. We may use it to establish programs or products, rather than go to God.
The love of money is rooted in fear that we will not have enough. Moreover, we know it buys status, respect, comforts, possessions, power over people, and control over our lives. If we would instead depend on God for our means, our motives would be pure. He would cause us to prosper, because we are standing upon His Word (2 Chronicles 26:5).
From a spiritual perspective, it may be the best place to be when we have precious few resources left to provide for our needs. We will never fully appreciate how faithful God is to supply our needs until we have nothing coming in.
Purging Self Will
Surrendering unresolved, buried emotions and feelings purges our spirits of unclean motives and desires. Surrender perfects holiness. Dying to our own affections and comforts of self brings forth life, whether our desire is to be in control and always winning, or to be constantly lifted up and the center of attention.
God may allow us to go through steep valleys before get to the mountain top. In the valley, God develops our character and tries our faith. One such altar is found in the Valley of Loneliness. In the valley, people feel cut off and unloved, and can be very devastated if they cannot see the good in it. The truth is that some loneliness is ordered by God and opens a door to intimacy that could not otherwise be achieved. Through separation, a greater dependence upon God is wrought that is so vital in order to hear His voice and be attentive to His will. Many destined to be used by God have to endure hardship of rejection, loneliness, and humiliation. If we focus on the darkness we experience, it can drive us deeper and deeper into a state of depression and self-condemnation. But if we can look at it as a bridge to greater spiritual authority through death to our personal will, we will emerge a “spiritual” man or woman that God can use to help a sin-sick and dying world.
In other words, this is a test. We cannot really get a breakthrough if we are insisting upon our own will. God wants us to be attentive to His will, a vessel ready to speak at His command with no respect to person. Therefore, God may use lonely moments to speak to our hearts, and there may be no other means than to separate us from the love and comfort of others, which so often takes the place of the comfort that God gives. Therefore, your loneliness may turn out to be your greatest treasure. Accept it as a gift from God and resist the desire to yield to its negative power. See it as redemptive.
We find grace in the darkest moments to mortify our inordinate affections (Colossians 3:2-3) and let God transform them through the fire of His divine love. The term “inordinate affections” comes from the Greek word “pathos,” which is the soul’s diseased condition out of which the various lusts spring forth [Lexical Aids to the New Testament-The Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible]. The more we yield to these lusts, the more life we give to them and the more engrained they become. God wants to remove the source of these lusts and restore our souls so that we can be vessels of honor ready for His use: “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21). We are to possess our vessel in sanctification and honor.
These seasons of adversity are meant to build us up and teach our hands to war. The principle of surrender is vital before we go to the next level. We have to learn how to trust God in the crucibles: “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of the Jordan” (Jeremiah 12:5).
During this season, when our supports are removed from us (be it human resources or mammon), we begin anew to stand on our most holy faith as we begin the upward assent to the mountain top.
Standing on your Faith as your Climb your Mountain
The devil knows where you are headed, and you will not get there without a fight—just remember you have the victory. We said earlier that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the video take it by force (Matthew 11:12). This means that violent— you and I — strive to obtain the privileges the Kingdom with utmost eagerness, and we win. When we take it by force, we strip, snatch and seize what is ours.
The devil will try to wear you out, defeat you, and destroy your faith in God’s promises, but you must be nourished by the Word of God. When we consistently feed our minds with the Word of God, we will be able to stand when adversities strike at our foundations: “I shall not be afraid of evil tidings: my heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD” (Psalm 112:7).
As God moves us into our destiny, He has to break our dependence upon ourselves, our works. When we failed in the past, we may have condemned ourselves or we may have given up. We did not have confidence in our skills nor strength to endure because our trust was in our own works. But now we have the Lord of glory dwelling in us doing the work and He always wins! When we perform a task imperfectly, instead of condemning ourselves and quitting, we look to the hills from whence comes our help: “He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber” (Psalm 121:1, 3). Our willingness to trust God will be tried. There will be times when we do not operate at our optimum best, people may criticize or misunderstand us; they may misrepresent us. The devil will be there to condemn us, to speak thoughts of fear and defeat. The next time the devil condemns you, tell him God’s strength is perfected in your weakness and that, not to worry, the flesh was condemned by Jesus himself. You will not be moved because your confidence is not in your flesh but in the power of God who raised Jesus from the dead. So, we have to stop looking at what we see (through the works of our flesh) and believe fruit will emerge because we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
Therefore, if you fret and worry about your lack, speak the promises of God into existence and, like Abraham, be strong in faith and give glory to God, being persuaded that what He has promised He is able to perform (Romans 4:20-21). Remember to yield your fears, doubts, and negative feelings to God, as presented in this book, and put your trust in His Word that He will do it.
Releasing the Word of Faith
The Word of faith has to be released (Romans 10:8). The Word is spirit and life. When we speak it, the spirit of the Word is released to bring about that which was spoken. Start calling those things which do not exist as though they did. Why? Because God is able to give life to those things which exist; in other words, He can make “…who quickeneth the dead, calleth those not as though they were” (Romans 4:17). to look at your desolate circumstances if, at the same time, you believe and declare with your God can and will bring light out of darkness… as the entrance of the Word brings light (Psalm 119:130)
Therefore, in the midst of your purging, it important to encourage yourself in God’s Even in your darkest moments when you do not feel God and when things go from bad to worse, the spirit of God’s Words which you release through your mouth in faith will start to work on your behalf to establish and bring them to pass. Your faith is being tested. When you get closer to God, you are open target. But when you claim the promise, you are trusting God, and when you call upon Gods faithfulness He will lift you up so you will not be taken by discouragement. Keep your focus on the goal, and on God’s promises.
So, in the midst of your battle:
Speak deliverance into existence: “The LORD thy God in the midst of me is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over me with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over me with singing, for it is written, I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. Behold at that time, I will undo all that afflict thee; and I will save her that halteth and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you; for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord” (Zephaniah 3:17-20, personalized).
Speak healing into existence: “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I WILL PUT NONE OF THESE DISEASES UPON THEE, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: FOR I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE” (Exodus 15:26, emphasis added).
Speak revelation into existence: “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, will give unto me the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of my understanding, being enlightened, will come to know what is the hope of his calling, and what are) the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. And what is the exceeding greatness of his power me…” (Eph 1:17-19, personalized).
Above all, speak faith into existence: “God is able to exceeding abundantly above all that I ask or think according to the power that works in me” (Ephesians 7:20 personalized) …”I stagger not at the promise of God through unbelief but am strong in faith, giving glory God; And being fully persuaded that, what He has promised, He is able also to perform” (Romans 4:20-21, …”Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19, NKJV).
Offering of Thanks
One of the most powerful disciplines we must incorporate in the restoration process is the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving builds up our faith lives and prepares us to receive the blessing. Fears can rob us of our joy in a heartbeat and then we are back walking in our carnal nature and forgetting all of God’s blessings toward us.
When you are tested, begin to thank the Lord, and thank Him before the answer is manifested. This is the sacrifice of thanksgiving. During the darkest moments of purging, praise and thankfulness can shake the foundation and usher in joy, as did the praise of Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25-26). The Apostles knew very well, when they were in prison, the best thing they could do for themselves was to glorify God.
Here we have a chance to thank God for our trials with the expectation that He will cut off the curse of poverty, illness, addiction, or other calamity. He is getting ready to cut it off. You are grateful for the work of faith and purging the trial has produced in you. You are thankful for your healing. When we thank God, we are praising Him for what He has done and for what He is going to do.
We have a promise that if we offer thanksgiving and pay our vows to God that He will cut off the oppressing spirit: “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: (when God arose to judgment): the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. Vow and pay unto the LORD your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared. He shall cut off the spirit of princes: he is terrible to the kings of the earth” (Psalm 76:11-12). The word “presents” indicates a gift, something given freely to show friendship, appreciation, support, or thanksgiving. Jacob gave Esau presents, and God delivered Jacob from Esau’s hands. Thanksgiving, even by the wrath of man, restrains the judgment of God. When the Philistines wanted to return the Ark of the Covenant because God’s presence brought judgment upon them, they sought God’s favor. They understood God required an offering, so they sent the cart back (containing the Ark of the Covenant) along with golden images of emerods to give glory unto the God of Israel. God delivered them from judgment. (See 1 Samuel 6.) (Note: Emerods were tumors representing the plague, and they were presented to God to acknowledge His power in conquering the Philistines and make reparation for the injury done.)
A culture of thanksgiving and paying our vows to God will deliver us in the day of our trouble: “Offer unto God thanksgiving and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (Psalm 50:14¬15).
The above article, “Breaking Through,” is excerpted from chapter 7 of Carole J. Keller’s book, There’s Healing in His Wings.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.