Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wilderness Walk

The following is an article from Cathy Morris at Lovest Thou Me.

There is much talk today of the wilderness experience. Some people fear it, some are ashamed of it, some dread that it might happen to them. We feel safe in the familiar. There is also much exposure of the failures and shortcomings of the Church today.

Not any one particular sect or denomination, but across the board. Everything bearing the name Christian is polluted. We are aware that the Church is full of mixture and corruption, but we still feel like we have to defend it, or some how try to fix it, after all, it's all we've ever known. There has to be a Church.

We all have different and yet the same experiences. We all encounter rejection, slander, disillusionment and disappointment. At the same time our Church life is seemingly falling apart, we can also experience a closer personal awareness of God's presence within. We may go places and do things that we never thought we would do. For some of us our marriages have broken up, our families have wrongly judged us, the world as we once knew it has drastically changed, and apparently for the worse by the way we are being judged. On the outside we may appear to be lost and wandering, we no longer seem to fit in anywhere. How could God's hand be in this? We must have messed up somewhere along the way, right?

I think it is important for us to take a moment, catch our breath, and stop struggling and fighting against the inevitable. Often times we thrash around like a drowning man beating the water for anything to keep us afloat. It's interesting how alike we all are, how similar our sufferings may be, and yet how alone and cut off we feel. Let's get our perspective straight. Just what was our crime? Having a heart to know God? Being grieved over the hypocrisy and merchandising being perpetrated using the name of Jesus? Resisting being controlled and manipulated by others to do what they want rather than what the Lord was speaking to our hearts? This morning I did a word study on "follow me." Jesus said it 20 times in the New Testament. It is a commandment. We cannot love the Lord, and not follow him.

Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.

Hello! Jesus, and only Jesus, is our example. Jesus is who we are commanded to follow. So why are we feeling so guilty and like such failures when we find ourselves on the wilderness road? It's because it is contrary to everything we have ever been taught. Man's quickest response to something that did not originate with them is usually, "God wouldn't do that." Try telling that to Korah & company.

Everyone knows and acknowledges that Jesus was taken into the wilderness for 40 days and tempted there before he started his earthly ministry. If it was good enough for the preparation of the Son of God, why do we think we should somehow be exempt? Look at what Jesus said while in the wilderness.

Luke 4:4 It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Luke 4:8 Get thee behind me, Satan: For it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Luke 4:12 It is said, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Jesus could have said many things, he could have responded many ways, but these statements are how he answered Satan. Therefore, these three things must be critical to coming out of the wilderness experience triumphantly.

  1. Our very sustenance in this life must be every word of God. This goes far beyond memorizing bible verses. Jesus went into the wilderness following his baptism in the Jordan by John. At his baptism the Holy Ghost descended upon him like a dove. The Word tells us that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all Truth. 1John 2:27 But the anointing which you have received of him abideth in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, you shall abide in him.

  2. Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and him only shall you serve. We are commanded to worship and serve God and God alone. Not leaders, not causes, not things.

  3. Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God. Tempt in this verse means to test thoroughly. We must make a distinct choice here. Are we going to align ourselves with those who consider themselves to be authorities on interpretations of scripture and doctrine? Or are we going to lay aside and reject the wisdom of this world, the understanding of the carnal mind, and subject ourselves to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit?
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

We must choose whether we will believe God or not. As we walk in our own wilderness, the Spirit will quicken our understanding. As we learn humility, we stop trying to dictate to God how we think things should be from our limited understanding. We gain the priceless revelation of Who God Is. The more we see, the more willing we are to let God be God, the more we must truthfully acknowledge that we do not know anything yet as we ought.

To tempt God is to walk in unbelief.

Ps.78:41 And they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.

Ps.78:56 Yet they tempted and provoked the Most High God, and kept not his testimonies.

James 1:13, 14 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Tempting or testing God will not bring us the desired result. Questioning and doubting God's Word is setting ourselves up for the rod of correction.

Jesus entered the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit. We have the same power today as we walk our own wilderness road. Being placed in the wilderness is not a punishment, it is an act of love. What we do with the opportunity afforded us is up to each individual. Are we willing to follow Christ? This is the road Jesus walked. We do not go through the wilderness walk alone, or in our own strength.

Jesus promised us "I will never leave you or forsake you." This walk may well take us through dry times, when we feel alone. Yet after a time, we can look back and see clearly that even at our darkest hour, when we were bereft of feeling anything, He was there sustaining us. We all have to be purged of every thought, idea, belief and attitude that is not pleasing to God. This is a painful process.

Broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are walking in it. Few there be that are willing to pay the price to walk the narrow path that leads to life. Over and over again, Jesus said, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. We have all heard it many times, but few comprehend the depth or meaning of this statement and what it entails.

To come after... is to get behind, to walk as Jesus walked.

To deny himself... is to utterly disown your own conceits, to put self to death. Only the operations of the Spirit of God can bring this about in man.

To take up his cross... is to bear or lift up our own self and expose it to death; self denial.

And follow me... is to be in the same way with, to accompany as a disciple, to follow Christ.

The wilderness walk is a necessary part of following Christ. The result of Jesus' wilderness experience was that he returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about (Luke 4:14).

We too can look forward to the same reward, if you will. If we will subject ourselves to the Spirit, we too will be endued with power from on high. We will be conformed to the image of the Son of God. We will be vessels, molded and shaped by God, that He can use to set the captives free, heal the sick, raise the dead, and open the blind eyes.

I have never heard anyone speak on this. I was raised in Church. I believed everything I was taught. Down through the years it has not always been pretty, and not a walk that I would wish on anyone else. Yet I am so grateful and thankful to God for putting me in the places He has, because it was the only way to work out of me all the self-righteousness I had acquired. It was the only way to strip me of the accumulation of wisdom and knowledge I relied on. It was the best way to bring me to the end of myself and into total dependence and reliance on Him. It is important that we do not try to circumvent the process.

God sends us to the wilderness for a very good reason. Because He loves us and wants us to reach the potential for which we were created. At times the misery is so great, the loneliness so unbearable, we will try and escape. We will try and return to Egypt, we will seek anything that will give us even a temporary relief. But we find that we cannot escape. There is no substitute for walking it out.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

The day will come when we will gratefully embrace this experience, but not while in the depths of being brought to the end of oneself. One day we will be able to look back and see the hand of God in our lives where before we saw only darkness and confusion. We will be able to rejoice that we were called and chosen to suffer these things, because of the newness of life this wilderness walk brought forth within our hearts and minds.

Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.

How will we respond to our Lord when he calls to us, "Follow me?"

There is no other way to come to God, but through Jesus Christ the Son. Jesus has commanded us to "Follow ME." He went through the wilderness experience. Where do we get off thinking we have somehow been absolved of following our Lord in this area? We are willing to be used of God in the ways we perceive to be acceptable according to the religious standards man has created. We accept the teachings of men and assume that we are thinking the same way the Apostle's thought.

When we are introduced to the wilderness we don't understand what is going on. It doesn't fit in with any of the things we were taught. In fact, it is a flagrant contradiction to our expectations. Maybe what we should glean from this is that our expectations have not been as in line with the will of God as we thought they were. What if the wilderness walk really is an integral part of God's plan for his children?

If you have found yourself plunged into the wilderness, rejoice, you are not a bastard. Instead of trying to fix things you don't understand in the first place, just rest in HIM. There is a coming out, and if we have come to the end of ourselves, it will be in the power of the Spirit of God.



  1. Great post! Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you! I too grew up in the church; my grandparents, an Evangelist and Minister, traveled and preached at different church across the states. When I became older we had a lot issues with me becoming "rebellious" when it came to my church attendance. No one ever explained the way you have done so in the wilderness posts I've read, I never understood the next step once your a believer that Christ had died for your sins to be forgiven. I now understand what was happening when I did return the church a couple of years later and once again being a believer, but feeling this total abandonment from my leaders that was purely based upon me not doing things the way they saw fit. At times it purely came down to, "I shouldn't wear pants to church, as a Bible Study Instructor". I should have been relying on the Spirit to teach me those things.
    I now am very happy and a bit saddened by what I have learned: Happy, because I feel I can now try again to do the things that are pleasing in God's eye, and ask know how to avoid the brick wall I continued to run into not knowing what the next step was. And as simple as "Follow Me" sounds its what I have failed to do repeatedly, instead I followed myself into what I thought was right to do or someone else understanding.
    I am sad however about the time wasted, it seems like the devils best trick is to cause us to waste time, I even think about the Israelite and how their journey in the wilderness was longer than it was suppose to be due to their disobedience and self thinking. This post has truly enlightened me and will help tremendously in my walk through the wilderness of this world, thank you!=)

  2. These latest series of post, and this one have really put into perspective some of the things that have been happening to me: lost of my car, having to depart from many people including family and more... I think the biggest struggle for me has been the lost of people and the lack of fellowship. I've been also getting over the fact of how people look at you when you chose to go all out. You look like a loser to them - but I know this is how the world will percieve us. It's all part of the plan and I do know that God is with me; and is building my dependence on him rather than others or myself. My concern is how far will he take it - oh well, I'll just have to be prepared for whatever he takes next. I been learning to fast and now I'm moving to even longer periods to really beat the flesh down and hear him. These latest posts have been very very encouraging.

  3. Hi Anonymous & Neal,

    We have all wasted time, but God is doing a work in His Body, and He is faithful to complete it. I can see God doing this work in me too as part of my own wilderness experience, so I know it is not easy. However, I also know it is for our good. WHATever and WHOever needs to be cut from my be it.

    I too used to wonder, "How much do you have to cut Lord?" Yet, He would answer that if I have to ask, then that is evidence that more needs to be cut. :-)

    I recently heard a quote from A.W. Tozer which said,

    "God wants to get us to a place where if we only had Him we would STILL be happy. We don't need God AND something else. It's God plus something else that's the trouble with us. But when we get God and satisfied so as we can have God and nothing else, THEN God gives us Himself and let's us have other things to."

    Remember, as long as we have Jesus, we have everything.

    God Bless!

  4. Last fall, in a single day I was thrust into a wilderness experience. I did not perceive the Lord's hand at the time, I do now.
    I ended up isolated with nobody to turn to. The storm involved slander, and even a professing man of God bearing false witness against me. In the midst of this, as I prayed about the externals, especially about vindication, the answers to my prayers were about other matters; about the difference between mere belief and true fait (I thought I had faith, but had only belief), about my failure to obey and honor Yahweh God, and how I had placed my trust on myself and everything and everyone around me, but never on Him except in word only. Now I see that Jesus is working a supernatural, radical transformation in me, and that I am called to depend on him not just daily, but moment by moment, and that it is His purpose to transform me from the vessel of dishonor that I was into a true vessel for His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom, and that it will require nothing less than my full sacrifice of my old man and a consecrated life of holiness for His purposes; and that He Himself will do it IF I am obedient and submit to the workings and leading of His spirit in me. He is in fact answering the prayers I had made over the years when I sought Him not but thought I did seek him, and when I praised him with my lips though my heart was far from Him. This wilderness experience is painful in one dimension but a matter of Joy in another; to think that the Lord has heard me and has answered, and that His answer brings comfort by way of chastisement and isolation is truly a supernatural work, I see clearly now that my carnal man could never and would never undertake such a way on its own. I am blessed by this blog because in my isolation the Lord has given me the grace to see and know about other brothers and sisters who are also receiving the purification of His grace.

  5. One of the precious things I have learned while walking this path, is that when God takes something, or someone, in our life away and makes a separation... it is for a good reason. We seldom understand at the time, but as we go along the understanding does come. I so appreciated reading through these, and the common elements that we all experience. It is part of the process of weaning us from the teachings of men, and bringing us into complete dependency upon our Heavenly Father for All Things. "Not my will but thine be done" takes on a whole new meaning. We no longer fit in with the believers we once had fellowship with, because God is calling us to come up higher. We can no longer be satisfied with making 'people happy and pleasing them'... we are made painfully conscious that for all of our effort and activity, we are not pleasing God and have to change. Our change is perceived by others as criticism of themselves, and they respond critically.
    Thank you Mia for sharing the quote from Bro. Tozer. When God takes someone out of our life, it is for our good. We may miss them, we may feel adrift for awhile, but ultimately He will fill us with more of HIMSELF. He is all we ever needed. Coming to that realization is so freeing, that we no longer grieve over what is lost to us.
    Man's concern is with the outside of the cup, while God is solely concerned with changing us from within, that He might indwell His Temple. Small wonder then, that the 'things of God are foolishness to man' and 'he cannot perceive them.'

    God bless,
    Cathy Morris

  6. I am truly blessed by this series i too have came to the understanding of what is taking place in my life. All my friends have been cut off. now instead of spending nights on the phone i am spending my nights in the word an prayer. it is painful this form of isolation but it is for our good. just as the children of Israel in the isolation of the wilderness. I feel left out when among other believers because their minds have not been renewed and they still chase after Egypt and the possessions of this world. keep up the good work, i will keep you all in my prayers

  7. God is great!!! I marvel at how GREAT HE truly is. When I was 20. I was walking the wilderness God took family and friends. I did'nt understand what was going on a new christain. I made the mistake of going to church getting busy w/ the church doing things for God.

    When I left the wilderness there would be times I would remember the sweet walk I had w/him. It was painful but even when I tried fitting in w/ people who say they love him somehow I never could fit in anymore. So I returned to wilderness and left the church. Its me and the LORD at times the price has gotten higher. But I can say I trust him. He has removed a daughter and granddaughter from my life my flesh screams inside but I know for others to come into the body of Christ we must die to self so Christ can shine in us.Thats why we never see true change or the power of the Holy Spirit move greatly because there is to much self in the way. The wonder that Christ is raising up a sweet humble army that are willing to die to self is amazingtoo me. I heard of man put on death row for 3 years and witness to people on death row. I thought wow, that is love of the FATHER and the man gave his life for the sake others its mind blowing to me. I want that heart. I will be afraid but I know he will give me strength the day he calls. This suffering is not in vain. There are things that happen in the spirit realm when we surrender all to the KING of KINGS!!! He's so sweet everything he ask of us he did first when were weak to broken to go on he will pick us and carry us. I love him so... I love reading everyone's wonderful heart touching comments. It gives strenght just knowing other people love the LORD. God Bless you all!!!


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