THE AREA OF PERSONAL DEVOTION
Reverend Basil Williams
I. MEN OF THE NEW TESTAMENT WERE DEVOTED MEN
Acts 15:26 “Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This word, hazarded, found in our King James Version is translated differently in other translations to amplify the word, and to secure its most original intent. The word is translated by Lake and Cadbury as devoted, thus indicating a giving up in the primary sense and not of a risking. It is an established, scriptural fact that a giving up leads to a risking perhaps we could say in a secondary sense. In this scripture there are some things that apparently are correlated to the words of Jesus: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
(Matthew 16:25) Notice, these were not questions posed to a group of inquiring believers but they were statements made to a group of receiving individuals. Jesus said that if you save, you lose. And if you lose, you save. I believe that one of the things that behooved the man of God as well as any other born again believer is to look into his own area of personal devotion. I am certainly
concerned about my own personal devotion, and rightly so, I am deeply concerned about my fellow minister’s personal devotion.
I ask myself the questions “What did these men devote their lives to? What was there about their lives that caused them to be so devoted?” The Bible says men who have devoted “their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Speaking to a friend recently, I commented that due to all probability, the majority of born-again apostolics (including ministers) would not be free to devote anymore of their time to the work of God than what they are presently devoting, due to a heavy financial commitment, I feel it prudent to expound a bit farther on the preceding statement. Some things that we become “devoted to” are actually having a detrimental influence on our lives instead of being a spiritually contributing factor:
II PERSONAL DEVOTION IS ABSOLUTELY PRIVATE
Permit me to speak of our area of personal devotion as being the “inner sanctum”. The word, inner, means “that within”, and sanctum sanctorum means “a place strictly private”. Let us realize the fact that there is an area inside of us that of necessity must be devoted. We automatically ask ourselves the questions, “Is devotion related to personal consecration? Is devotion related to personal commitment or personal surrender or personal dedication?”
There is, I believe, a difference between apparent devotion and absolute devotion. I may not be able to discern whether or not you are “apparently” or “absolutely” devoted. But, there is one with whom we communicate, the spirit of the living God, that does know how to properly evaluate our particular type of devotion. As it searches and try’s the hearts of men, properly investigating the souls of individuals, God’s spirit knows whether there is within our bosoms, within the recesses of our souls, the seat of our affections, somewhere deep inside an absolute devotion, a consecration, a commitment, a yielding, a surrendering, a pouring of our lives into the work of God, or whether there is just an apparent devotion.
Devotion is not only internal, but if it does not originate in the inner sanctum, that inner private place that the Lord has reserved for a special purpose and a special task in our lives, then we have nothing more than an external exhibition.
The Word of God would automatically classify us with the Pharisees of Jesus’ day: Matthew 23-26 says, “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” I believe that there is within us a desire to not be Pharisees, Deliver us from mere external devotion, from that which would merely be of a surface nature, from that which would merely secure the attention of men and never warrant the attention of God.
The inner sanctum has a very limited access. It is not possible for friends to go into the inner area of your life. You say, “I have friends in whom I share the most intimate thoughts of my life,” No doubt you do, but they never can go into the inner sanctum, friend. Regardless of how intimate you are with them in expressing the head, you never are able to share that seat of affections. Notice in I Kings 8:39 “(for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)” It is impossible for me to share with you totally or even in part the inner sanctum or that internal area of my life that is devoted. Individuals respond, many,
people can see that you are devoted as a pastor.” External devotion is not the subject under consideration. There are things that we can do by rote; we can sing, pray, worship, (or go through a semblance of); we can fast and give, and yet, all the above may pertain to external devotion alone. Consequently, we would be merely classifying ourselves with the Pharisees.
III. IN PERSONAL DEVOTION WE HAVE A PRE-EXPOSURE TO THE MAN WE SHALL BE
My life style will furnish a fair readout of the activities of my inner sanctum, particularly if observed over a lengthy period of time. The Word of the Lord tells us in Proverbs 4:23 “Keep they heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” In looking up the word “heart” in this scripture, it means “area of affections, an area where that which we love comes from or originates.” The area that I really care about. What do I really care about? What do I really long for? What is the passion of my soul? What is the thing that really gets my attention? There are ways for us to keep our seat of affections or the inner sanctum of our lives with
The inner sanctum can be as valuable or as detrimental to us as we desire. On the plus side, looking into God’s Word on the value of a properly programmed inner sanctum, there can be:
(1) a pre-exposure to victories. You can meet people and when you do, you know that they are feeling victory in their soul. They may not see it, but that is irrelevant inasmuch as what they are looking for has already occurred by faith somewhere in the
recesses of their inner sanctum, in that area where you have never been. And you’ll never go there, because it is the area of personal devotion that only God knows. They have been pre-exposed to the future victories of their ministry; it’s the potential that
they are believing God for. Many times we look at circumstances and say, “O God, there is no victory. I can’t see what I’m asking you for.” Friend, let’s not look: The Bible says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
(Hebrews 11:1) Lord, let us, in the inner areas, in the recesses of our soul be pre-exposed to victories that God has not brought into existence yet, but that which we are claiming in Jesus’ Name.
(2) In the inner sanctum you can receive power to make your spiritual dreams come true. I’m talking about the pluses, the advantages, the values of a properly programmed inner sanctum-the area of personal devotion.
(3) Then, there is that unique something called God’s Inner Sanctum Dispensary. What would that mean to YOU? In the inner sanctum of our lives we can enter into God’s Dispensary, God’s Clinic, God’s Hospital. The Word of the Lord tells us in Isaiah 61:1 “…he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted….” You say, “I’m brokenhearted, I’m discouraged.” Friend, let the Lord enter your inner sanctum, that private area of your personal life, that holy of holies, that area that you do not, will not, would not permit anyone else to enter, Psalms 34:18 says, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;…” Thank God: When we enter into the inner sanctums spiritually and let the spirit of God enter in with us, we are aware that He is able to bind up the broken hearts. You take that bleeding wound that you’ve received at the hands of a gross perverse world and you enter into that inner sanctum of devotion and you say, “God, touch me, stir me, move upon me, do something to me and for me, Lord, that I might be what you want me to be. Let the inner area of my life be genuinely opened to you only, God, not for someone else to trample or trespass, but for you, dear Lord. Speak to me:”
(4) Here in the inner sanctum you’ll find the crystal clear waters that flow from the eternal springs of God. The Word of the Lord also tells us in Psalms 42:1,2 “As the heart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth
for God, for the living God…” There are some absolute, positive aspects of having a properly programmed inner sanctum, the area of personal devotion.
IV. EVERYONE HAS TIME FOR PERSONAL DEVOTION
It is a normal human reaction when something of this importance is suddenly brought to our attention, to just as suddenly begin the rationalize our own particular situation. We can think of many and varied reasons why what is being presented will not
work in our specific locale. One of the most common responses that is offered is, “I just don’t have time.”
“We have the same amount of time in every day as everyone else has. No one has any more time than YOU. It is absolutely impossible to delay the clock or to hasten it. (Who would want to?) We are not permitted to treat time as if it were a common stock commodity and buy it, neither is it possible for you to give it away. The Bible instructs us in Col. 4:5 “Make the best possible use of your time.” (Phillips)
Statements like: “My hours are minutes, it seems”, “Time flies”, “Time will take care of it”, and “I don’t have time” bring one particular thing to my mind. The things that we consider important enough are always taken care of. “Our heavenly father never gives us too much to do; Men will. “We assign ourselves an overload, but never the Lord. He knows what he wants from each of us, and there is plenty of time in His day for things essential to His plan”. Faith Balwin called time “a seamstress specializing in alterations”. When we finally get to the source of the trouble in this type of case, it is not “time’s fault”, but rather the fault lies within my unprogrammed inner sanctum.
On the minus side
1) to neglect the inner sanctum of our lives is certain to provide a breeding ground for spiritual decay and secret sins, those little foxes that sneak in. I’m not talking about what you see displayed in my life or what I see displayed in your life. I’m talking about the inter areas where what I see should originate:
(2) As ministers of the gospel we could carelessly assume or think wishfully that if we neglect the inner sanctum, then it will lie dormant and nonproductive.
If we do not see to it that our inner sanctum is producing something spiritually profitable, then the adversary of our soul will assume, with hate, the “production rights”. We must take care of the inner sanctum with all diligence: Remember the scripture that said, Preserve or “Keep thy heart with all diligence….” Keep thy inner sanctum, that area of personal devotion, with all diligence “for out of it are the issues of life”. There is no way for us to be properly in charge of our lives if we are not in command of our inner lives.
V. ALL BATTLES OF LIFE ARE WON OR LOST THROUGH NEGLECT OF
OR PRACTICE OF PERSONAL DEVOTION.
The inner sanctum is that precious area of your life where you fight, and win or lose every battle even though the arena of display may be in the church, in the community, perhaps on your job where you appear to lose the battle. I’ll tell you where you lost the battle or you won it–in the inner recesses of your personal devotion, That’s exactly the place. The Word of God teaches us that from that area are the issues of life. In our inner sanctum or that area of personal devotion, is where the skeletons that are in our closets were allowed to come into existence. Remember when they come stalking out into the open, you allowed them to be. There was something about your life that you didn’t want anybody to know. Friend, it was the time when you were not personally devoted that such a skeleton was developed. It wasn’t your neighbor that skinned the corpse and make it a skeleton. It was the lack of your personal devotion in your own closet, You say, “Oh, I’ve got things that I would never want my friends or my church people to know.” Fellow pastor, the time in which that came into being was not when you were prayed up and seeking God; rather, it was the time when you said, “I can run my own show. I’ll still be able to raise my hands and clap them. I’ll still be able to sing, study, and preach.” (But, where does this physical exercise originate?) Welcome to the Pharisee’s Club!!
VI. WHAT DOMINATES OUR DEEP INNER THOUGHTS IN TIME CONTROLS
The inner sanctum is so private and so precious that many individuals have a difficult time recognizing exactly what is their area of devotion. It doesn’t always come easy. First of all, we must look honestly at ourselves, We find this painful. Remember, no one else treads the area of the inner sanctum, so we can’t say, “You take care of my internal devotion.” “Pastor friend, you take care of the area of my life that should be consecrated and is not.” If there are things that we are doing that you don’t feel that you should be doing, then you need to check up on who is controlling the activities of your inner sanctum. It will no doubt prove to be a power you detest, but you’ll never be able to lay it onto an individual you don’t like. You are personally responsible for your own life. The times that you do not seek God in a real consecrated way, the times that you just say a prayer: “God, bless the missionaries and all the people around the world; bless my church and help it to grow; touch my ministry; and now I lay me down to sleep, Lord”, you have no one to blame but yourself! I’m doing some research on the ones that the Word of God speaks of as having communion with God, and so far I have not found any who had a prayer life in the evening. The Word of God does speak, however, of those that woke up, they stood up early in the morning as having communion with God. Lord, speak to our hearts concerning locating and recognizing our inner sanctum and its activities.
What is down inside of us? What do you think about in your idle or unguarded moments? Remember what the Word of the
Lord said, Guard or “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” What do you do when you’re at a place where nobody knows you? What do you think about? Let me remind you that sin is conceived in the thoughts of men and women. What do we do when there’s nobody to check up on us? Well, what do we do?? Do we flirt with sin, and court devilish mental attitudes? Is there something that comes up within us, and we are possessed with lust or strong desires for ungodly things that normally we would be immediately condemned of? What is going on in our inner sanctum??? What is happening within us? What is there about our personal devotion that is grossly question marked in the mind of God? Remember, that only fools flirt with sin mentally, and then cry against temptation in the flesh. To the individual that says, “Oh, the temptations are great!”, I must ask, “What are you flirting with in your inner sanctum? What are your innermost thoughts about?” God, speak to us about the inner sanctum of our lives, our personal devotion.
VII. OUR JUDGMENT OF SIN IS CONDITIONED IN THE INNER SANCTUM OF OUR LIVES
Thoughts of sin that are continually dwelt upon seem to lose their sinfulness. There are things sometimes that are allowed to remain and “rest” in the minds of individuals, thoughts of sin, that after a period of time are no longer as exceedingly sinful as they were when they first entered. There is a certain unique conditioning about the inner sanctum. I’ve heart the statement, “Familiarity breeds contempt”. But you know what? Not only does familiarity breed contempt, but familiarity in the inner sanctum can breed a laxness. It can make sin not so sinful, and filthy things not so filthy. It doesn’t worry me about familiarity breeding contempt in the inner sanctum. What concerns me deeply is that familiarity can breed a laxness when something enters into our inner sanctum and we tolerate it.
At first, that which was intolerable becomes tolerable, then acceptable, and then perhaps even enjoyable because its ugliness
has lost its ugliness. I listened to a man talk one day about his difficulty of hating sin. I thought, “O God, surely we have lost our perspective in relation to the personal devotion when we have trouble hating sin.” God will speak to us if we will allow him to, about the things that we tolerate in the inner sanctum of our lives.
Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he!…” You do believe that what does on in the inner sanctum of your life is eventually going to find its way outside!? Proverbs 4:23 speaks again of keeping your heart, preparing it, preserving it, guarding it, watching it diligently, Luke 6:45 says “…for of the abundance of the hear this mouth speaketh.” It is impossible to continually produce something orally that you are not thinking of internally. There comes those days of restriction. You may say, “Lord, I love you; Lord, I love you”; and you may produce that program for 3 years and 7 months. But, one day, the world is going to know whether or not you loved him, I may say, “Jesus, I’m yours, I’m surrendered, I’m dedicated”, but one day, the world is going to know what was going on in the inner sanctum of my life. One day. Be sure your sins, those that did appear sinful but became more familiar with a mere relaxing of the standards that you have tolerated in your innermost being, will one day surface to display their vileness.
Pastor, we are the controller of this internal area. The devil does not have trespass privileges for this area. God has reserved and preserved something for Himself. If I never allowed God to possess it, then I am opening myself, of course, for the devil to come in and possess it. If I don’t do something with it, due to my neglect, it will not become non-productive, but due to neglect will become productive in the wrong sphere of life.
VIII. A CHRIST-CENTERED DEVOTION PRODUCES VICTORY
The inner sanctum, if programmed properly, will produce an individual that consistently has the fire burning and is enjoying victory. If the inner sanctum is programmed properly, it will produce stalward Christians who always overcome and are never overcome by the onslaughts of hell. Note carefully, 2 Corinthians 11:23-26 “…in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen,..” You say, “O friend, if I get in perils of my own countrymen, there’s not enough inner sanctum sanctity to keep me sanctified.” If you are one of those people that have their inner sanctum, that area of personal devotion, already established, then all these things will not move you, friend. Paul said that neither height, nor depth, principalities, powers, things present, or things to come will ever remove me from or change me or take me from the love of God. And he continued in 2 Corinthians 11:26, 27 “not only in perils by mine own countrymen, but perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings
often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness,” Now, back to what I said in the beginning. Most of us, if the Lord spoke to us today and said don’t go to work tomorrow, use that day for witnessing or pray all day tomorrow, there would
be many of us that could not afford to do so; because we have so many things that we have signed our name for or have committed ourselves to other than the Kingdom of God. You ask, “Are you preaching against materialism?” I’m preaching against materialism!
I’m praying, “God, give us a proper priority,” I do not believe it is the will of God for Apostolic Pentecostals to be so dreadfully
in debt that their area of personal devotions is neglected because of the job they must do just to exist!! I believe that it is the will of God for Apostolic Pentecostals to keep themselves in a position where they can do for God what God wants them to do. Let us know, Lord, what it is to be properly programmed in the inner sanctum. Open it up, my friend, and say, “God, walk up and down the avenues of my personal life. There is no one else who can do it or will do it, Lord, and I don’t want anyone else that close to me. Oh, God, your spirit can speak and give me spiritual direction, and you can allow me to know what I need to do for you. Give me direction, Lord, and make me a stalward Christian who always overcomes and is never overcome.”
IX. A CHRIST-CENTERED DEVOTION PRODUCES STRONG INNER STRENGTH
A properly programmed inner sanctum will produce genuine Apostolics who resist sin and keep themselves unspotted. Note
a faithful forerunner of the apostolic age. Daniel was a man with like passions as we, but the Bible says in Daniel 1:8 …”But Daniel purposed in his heart (his inner sanctum) that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine…” He purposed; he made up his mind; he settled it one day. It was not a matter of him settling it on the spur of the moment in one of those five minute miraculous sessions taking care of his personal devotions, but there was something inside of him that had been pre-settled. This is the mistake that many are making today, We are not willing to say, “God, here it is. I’m putting it on the line, God, there it is.” Three Hebrew children said if or if not, we know our God is able. If he does, O.K. If He doesn’t, O.K. They did not make their decision the day they were forming that golden image. They didn’t decide that the day they heard the mimeograph machine running and issuing edicts telling them that you’re going to bow to the image or you’ll be killed. Their properly programmed inner sanctum gave them a preserving spirit. It gave them a hunger, a desire.
X. A CHRIST-CENTERED DEVOTION REPLACES SELF
If you and I ever become properly programmed, we’re going to be precious, selfless Pentecostals who maintain an attitude of sacrifice in this avaricious world. In a world that says “Give me, I’ll take; Give me, I’ll take”, it’s going to produce a group Apostolics that find nothing better to do than to sacrifice and to give and witness. You say, “Give what?” Give everything that you’ve got! Don’t pull an Ananias and Sapphira and lie about it though. Don’t act so holy externally, and internally be full of dead men’s bones. God, save us from our hypocrisy and Phariseeism!!!
If we could get rid of all the Phariseeism that is in our lives, if God someway would save us from ourselves, there is no telling what God would do in our midst. We sometimes sound like the man who stepped into the temple and said “O God, I’m glad I’m not like him. I’m glad I’ve already taken care of myself. I’m clean. I look clean. I smell clean. Lord, smell me: And after all Lord, in case that hasn’t impressed you, there are some other things I want to tell you about myself.”GOD, SAVE US FROM OURSELVES: I’m talking about selfless Pentecostals that have had the inner sanctum programmed properly. I’m talking about men who care about the things of God more than the things of the world. You say, “Well, all of us do.”
Don’t lie. You know you don’t love God more than you love other things. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired of people who
don’t care about the kingdom of God. “God, we love you.” Don’t talk to me about loving God. All you love is yourself. And that’s
all I love, up until now. But, God is speaking to our souls and would like for us to consider where we have fallen from, You say,
“That’s berating.” My pastor friend, it’s time we got down to business and quit playing around with God. If we can’t God deliver us from the extremely important position that we are supposed to be filling.
Andrew was an apostolic and a martyr. He was the brother of Peter. History tells us that Peter died upside down on a cross because he didn’t feel he was worthy to die the way the Lord died. Andrew preached in Asia, and the governor warned him, “Quit denouncing the idols. We’ve got our program going and quit bothering us. If you persist, we are going to crucify you.”
He kept his word. They took some cords, and laid a cross on its side instead of standing up. They tied Andrew to the cross with the cords so that he would die a slow agonizing death. Andrew perhaps was hung more on one arm than the other, because the cross had the base in the ground and the transverse pole across the top was in the ground, I don’t know all the things that happen to a man when he dies on a cross, but I have heard some extremely excruciating details about an individual who is suspended on a cross. Andrew died a slow 48-hour agonizing death.
You say “O God, I couldn’t ever make it two days, 48 hours.” Do you know what history tells us he did during that time? He
preached to them that had crucified him! People would come by and he would preach to them. He said, “I would never have
preached the glory of the cross if I had been fearful of being crucified on one.” O God, give us something down in our inner
sanctum. Put something down inside of us Lord, that will speak of true Jesus’ Name soul winners who calmly endure persecution
and never develop a martyr complex.
I read of those pre-apostolic day Pentecostals in Hebrews 11:32, 33 “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Japhthae, of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets! Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,” Brother, they didn’t subdue kingdoms until their inner sanctum was subdued and completely committed. They wrought righteousness, never before was it an internal possession. They “quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection! And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment! They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskin and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented.” (Hebrews 11:34-37) Materialism had no part in their lives. Every time they got one bill paid down, they didn’t see what else they could buy. They were destitute; they
were afflicted; they were tormented. You say, “That doesn’t sound like Apostolics.” It sounds to me like people who knew what
commitment and consecration was. Hebrews 11:38, 39 (Of whom the world was not worthy) Would there ever be the remote possibility of them entering your name or mine into a hall of fame like this? And saying–They were so properly programmed in the inner area of their life and so devoted that you never had to wonder. Continuing “they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all having obtained a good report through faith…” They did not obtain a good report by what they saw, what they observed, what they were able to latch onto in the world, but through faith. If we can ever get our inner sanctum or area of personal devotions properly programmed, we could produce mature citizens who were not only prominent in their church but also in their community. It would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that an internal consecration will produce external graces. There would be something about that individual that would speak of an inner sanctity. I don’t mean sanctimonious.
I mean an inter preserved spirit; something that finds its way outside and produces the graces of God, the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. These are things that the spirit wishes to flow in and through our lives if we can just be properly motivated, properly oriented, properly programmed in the inner sanctum, that area that I’ve never seen in you.
XI. PERSONAL DEVOTION GIVES GOD OPPORTUNITY TO MOLD US
I believe that any man among us who spends sufficient time in the inner sanctum chiseling away at the spiritual man will finally come out with a properly formed spiritual man. I don’t believe we can leave it to chance. I believe that if we spend sufficient time in the inner sanctum in secrecy, which is what the inner sanctum really is, then there would be the external reward. Matthew 6:6 says “…thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” That’s a promise! You say, “Why don’t we see some things that we’re wanting to see?”
Because the majority of us are not willing to pay the price. A fellow brother mentioned to me that in the early days, when he
had just been filled with the Holy Ghost, they would be praying not particularly for healings; but they would just pray for people,
and they would receive their healings automatically. There was something about the inner sanctum at that time that was different
to what it is today. The resounding comment is, “We’re living in a perverse world.” My dear brother, circumstances do not alter the power of God; God’s spirit is in me all that I’ll let it to be. You say, “I get tired.” Do you reckon HE never got tired? Do you reckon HE never got weary? There exists no worldly glamour nor human praise in and during the activities of the inner sanctum. You say, “O, I want something that people can see so that they will know that I’m getting something done.” If we’re ever going to
have anything that brings glory to the kingdom of God, we’re going to spend some time letting God’s spirit mold, make, chisel, and bring us to the place of perfection in the inter areas of our lives.
XII. THE GREAT SPIRITUAL PLANS OF A MAN’S MINISTRY ARE BORN IN PERSONAL DEVOTION
I believe that scripturally the individual who takes time in his inner sanctum that which is necessary, needful, and imperative, will be prepared to meet life’s ever eventuality, whatever comes. You say, “I don’t know what’s coming tomorrow.” My pastor friend, it won’t make that much difference if you have spent sufficient time in the inner sanctum, in the area of personal devotions. Psalms 37:5 says, “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass,” Too often we think, “I’ve got to trust in what I can get my hands on, I’ve got to see what I can do.” The Bible says to trust only in the Lord, to commit your ways unto Him. You say, “That’s foreign to my human nature.” Which nature is the more important? Is our nature that we acquired as a result of the spiritual birth more important, or is the nature that we inherited by our first birth?
The Word of the Lord says in Proverbs 14:30 “A sound heart (may I substitute inner sanctum, the area of personal devotion) is the life of the flesh.” I believe that the inner sanctum is the area where monumental ideas, plans, and programs are conceived. We can possess great plans; but unless we stay in the inner sanctum, they will never materialize. remember one of the pluses: If we keep the inner sanctum properly cared for the dreams that you have relating to the will and work of God can come to fruition. The inner sanctum furnishes the life support because it is the womb of our soul where plans are conceived and are growing. The inner sanctum must be the life support system during that period of time in order to keep those plans alive and those God-sanctioned ideas well fed. There is definitely a period of growth that is necessary before an idea or plan is delivered into a hostile world. You say, “I’ve got things that when I talk about them, people say I’m crazy.” Many of our ideas are totally foreign to the “worldling”. Oh, but let those spiritually motivated ideas that are conceived in the inner sanctum of your soul, in the womb of your life, remain there and be nourished; and therefore will grow and flourish. Then, there will come a day when God will allow this to be delivered
into a world that would normally be hostile, but it will have sufficient strength of its own at that time that the environment will not be able to kill it or deaden its activities. This is all possible because that idea or plan was nurtured properly, cared for in that area of the soul that is preserved alone for God’s spirit to touch. The miscarriages that occur and the still-births that might happen can never be blamed on the embryo. That which you have in your soul–thoughts, ambitions, and desires can be shaped by the invisible fingers of Deity and He can make them as godly as He would have them to be, and properly spiritually oriented. When your soul delivers something into the world, it will not be merely a head-plan; but it will be something that came from the recesses of your life. It will be God ordained and eternally sanctioned. And when it does come, it will not be still-born, but will be alive and vibrant forevermore.
XIII. NO ADEQUATE EXCUSE CAN BE MADE FOR NEGLECT OF PERSONAL DEVOTION
I pray that God will preserve us so that we will not have the spirit of a Demas. Demas has forsaken me according to 2 Timothy 4:10. Why? Because his inner sanctum was not properly cared for. Revelation 3:14 says, “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
God does not like mediocre experiences. If you are doing all you can do, that’s all God expects, At times we hear the response, “I’m doing as much as a certain individual,” That is no problem as long as you’re doing all that you can do. That is all God expects. You say, “That person is fantastic. His life is just unbelievable.” Yours can be too, if you are doing all that you can do, But, in the neglected area of the inner sanctum mediocrity does develop. It is spawned and flourishes; a lick and a promise, a prayer and a hope. “Oh, God, I’ll do better tomorrow.” You’re lying. You didn’t do better yesterday. Well, what about it? Easier, generally, to rationalize than to reorganize, “Now, God, you understand that my work is of such a nature that you know it just can’t be any different, Lord. I really must excuse myself, Lord. I don’t want to be totally guilty, at least not in my own eyes.” Rationalize, call it O.K. Friend, remember the one who invades the inner areas of our lives does not accept excuses because He is aware that an excuse is a skin of a reason stuffed with a lie. All the prefabrication’s of humanity will never excuse man in God’s eyes. We are responsible. We are not to be mediocre, but to be absolute and wholeheartedly and completely consecrated. A man who is not producing his fullest potential is not even functioning at God’s lowest standard for him. If I’m functioning at a given level, and perhaps a level that appears to be quite an accomplishment as far as you are concerned; but God knows that I could be doing more; then, I am not even arriving at God’s minimum for me. What can we do then? We can give everything we’ve got. We can do everything we can and quit excusing ourselves. God, speak to our souls. God, don’t curse us because of our lethargy. Be merciful unto us, Lord. You say, “Brother Williams, you’re talking to yourself,”You’re right, I am. I really am. God, deliver us, Lord, from a
stage of “I’ll do better tomorrow, Lord; really I will. But, right now, I’ve got to do something that I want to do.” The flesh is so demanding, and it will have its way. It’ll scream; it’ll cry for priority. The things that God would want us to do, they go lacking. You say that you’ve got a burden for souls.
Our daily life is going to be reflected sooner or later as an image of our inner sanctum. The character and moral fiber of your and my life find their origin, or lack of it, in the inner sanctum. What I am morally is the result of definite commitments in and during my personal devotion. I just don’t up and fail God one day. There was a neglect of an inner sanctum somewhere. Any man or woman who fails God, comes up short, brings disgrace has a gross neglect in the inner sanctum, that area of personal devotion, long before that moment of failure.
Not when you see me, but when you don’t see me, what do you think about? When I’m in an area where no one knows me,
what do I do? It’s time to shake ourselves and awake ourselves because to whomsoever is given much of them is much required.
We should guard our inner sanctum like the government guards Fort Knox. What little gold we have left that our government
hasn’t squandered as a result of a playboy governmental system is still there in Fort Knox, and they guard it diligently. You and I should guard our inner sanctum with all diligence because we need the things that come from there. God has something for us Apostolics besides mediocrity. I just can’t believe it is the will of God for a people to be mediocre that He has entrusted with the greatest thing that has ever been given to the world, VIZ: a message of redemption, the flesh of God. And the only time that the flesh of God was ever manifested was for the purpose of producing a bride of Christ. You and I are hopefully a part of that bride. I can’t believe that He designed the bride to be a mediocre bride. Can you imagine? I pray that God will take the Word and speak to your hearts. Again I say, I pray God’s Word will speak to your hearts. People, we need to be spoken to!!!