By David J. Stewart | January 2014
Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
The closer that a believer draws to the Lord, the worse of a Christian you're going to feel like. The more that you try to live for God, the bigger failure you're going to see yourself as. The reason why is because the more that we draw nearer to God's holiness, the more we are going to see our sinfulness and shortcomings. Isaiah in a heavenly vision saw his wickedness as he drew near to the Lord's holiness in Isaiah 6:3, “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah saw the triune Godhead (holy, holy, holy) and exclaimed, “WOE IS ME! FOR I AM UNDONE”!
My friend, if you ever draw near to your God as His child, you will say as did the apostle Peter in Luke 5:8, “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” What did Peter see that caused him to feel so humbled, inadequate and broken hearted, acknowledging his sinfulness? The disciples had fished all night and caught nothing. Jesus taught the people for a while and then told Peter and the other disciples to “LAUNCH OUT INTO THE DEEP” (Luke 5:4). The disciples expressed their doubts, but obeyed Jesus' command nonetheless. They caught so many fish the Bible says that their net brake. The goodness of God broke Peter's heart. Romans 2:4, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” God is so good to all of us!
I once heard Brother Hyles say on a Sunday at church that the worst Christian in the auditorium was probably the best Christian in the building; and then Brother Hyles pointed out that the person who thinks they're the best Christian is probably the worst Christian there! The reason is because the closer we walk with God, the more we are going to see our own failures, sins and faults, feeling like we are the worst Christian on earth. It is easy to spot lousy Christians, for they are the ones who are the quickest to condemn others who have gone into sin, or fallen by the wayside. The mature Christian doesn't say, “He has sinned” or “She has sinned”; but rather, “WE HAVE SINNED”!
Our God Is A Consuming Fire
Hebrews 12:29, “For our God is a consuming fire.” London's mightiest preacher, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) once said that he had felt nervous at times throughout his life without being able to attribute the cause to any particular reason. One day Spurgeon read in Hebrews 12:29 that “OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE” and reasonably concluded that it was the presence of God in his life that made him nervous. The Lord's consuming holiness caused Spurgeon to feel nervous. I can relate to Mr. Spurgeon, oftentimes throughout my life, since my youth when I was saved at age 13, feeling nervous as a cat, but not being able to attribute that nervousness to any apparent reason. I am confident that God's presence was upon me, and is upon me as His humble servant.
In hindsight I now recognize that it was at each of those nervous times that I was seeking, praying and desiring to draw near unto my God. As I was seeking the blessed assurance of my salvation as a confused teenaged youth, God's Holy Spirit presence did burn within my heart as a consuming fire. Likewise, it has been at the most difficult, burdensome and heartbreaking times of my adult life that I have felt that holy nervousness caused by the consuming presence of God's precious holy Spirit. Psalms 34:18, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” James 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
The closer that you draw to Jesus, the bigger of a sinner you're going to feel like. It is spiritually healthy to feel like you can always do better. As Brother Hyles once said, “I know that I'm inferior, but I don't have an inferiority complex!” 1st Corinthians 10:12, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” It is good and wise to feel like we can always pray more, do more, witness more, love more, care more, give more and serve God more. I don't ever want to think that I've arrived, because none of us ever have or will arrive in the sinful flesh. None of us is a shining example to others of what a Christian should be. All of our lives are a mess! We all need wisdom and grace from God.
You May Be A Better Christian Than You Think
Many believers feel like they are lousy Christians. The reason why is because they try very hard to please God, failing at times. Even the best of Christians fail to walk in the Spirit all the time. We can choose to walk in the Spirit at any given time, but we won't always make that right choice because we are still sinners in the flesh. We must remember that there is no call to GROW; but rather, to OBEY. Our part is to OBEY God's Word and then God handles the growth process.
Remember this truth my friend. As you grow closer to the Lord, you're going to feel like a horrible Christian. Ah, but that means there is plenty of room to grow in God's wondrous grace! And be careful when you start to feel like you're doing pretty good in your walk with God, feeling like you've reached the mountaintop in your spiritual journey, for that is usually when you're headed for a steep fall. Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 18:12, “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.”
If a believer fails 5 out of 10 times to live right, they become discouraged; yet the unsaved world, and backslidden or immature believers don't even try. The Christian who tries to walk by faith and fails feels like a lousy Christian, but at least they tried to please God. The person who deliberately indulges and sin and doesn't even try to please God by faith feels little or no remorse. Literally, there are many believers who attend church, tithe and have their popular social circle; yet they hardly walk in the Spirit and don't really care, because the think they're doing ok.
They're attending a neo-evangelical church where the preacher hardly preaches against sin. Instead of hearing preaching, most churchgoers hear sermonettes based upon human psychology instead of the inspired and unchanging Words of God. The easiest place in the world to backslide is in church, if you let yourself get used to it. Always be on guard against becoming complacent. The world is going to Hell, literally. Preaching is truth set on fire! Sadly, truth has fallen in the streets and in the church pews on idle ears. The great need of the hour is PREACHING PREACHERS WHO WALK WITH GOD!!!
No one can spend time walking with God in His holy presence without being changed. You will change! Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” If you want to become like Jesus, then walk with Him in the holy Scriptures. The Lord confirms this truth in John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” The more I study, the more I feel like I should know more. The more I pray, the more I feel that I should have prayed more. I always feel like I could have done better. As the old cliché goes... “I should of, I would of, I could of.” God doesn't want us to live in that unchangeable world. The past is gone forever. It is written history. Tomorrow may not be ours. All we have is today to live for God, or not! Each and every day of our life we are writing our own history.
The very nature of walking with God is to feel a sense of sinnership and inadequacy, as we behold His glorious beauty, sinlessness and majesty as our great God and King. We should feel sinful when we're in the holy presence of God. Thank God that even though we deserve His wrath (Romans 5:9), Jesus took our punishment upon Himself on the cross, sacrificing His blood so we could be redeemed. Romans 5:9, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
Our Wonderful Caring Lord
The closer that we draw near to our holy God in prayer, soul-winning, fastings and abiding in the Scriptures, to that same extent we're going to feel as if we are incapable of living up to God's perfect standards. The unsaved world doesn't realize how wicked they are because they avoid God's Laws. John 3:20, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” The immature believers who fail to faithfully walk in the Word of God are the ones who gossip, condemn and point fingers of judgment at others.
You're not a good Christian because of where you're at; but rather, how far did you journey to get to where you're at? To be a good Christian means deliberately thinking about OTHERS and what we can do in the Lord to help them in their Christian walk. Philippians 2:4-5 teaches the mind of Christ, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Revelation 14:11, “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
ACDC's Brian Johnson Wants a God Who'll Look After Him