Answering The Call: Part 2- Life in the Desert
Our Father has issued the call to return to Him. The echoes of that call hearken all the way back to the garden, when the first animal was killed to cover Adam’s sin. I had mentioned I felt strongly impressed that 2016 was a year of refinement for the body. This refinement involves a call to come away with Him.
The door was opened to enter into His fullness at the cross. We are His righteousness. We are Holy, His redeemed, His sanctified. We are His beloved and accepted fully. (2 Cor 5:21. Col 1:21, Eph 1:6, Eph 1:14, Heb 10:10)
These are Positional Truths. These are how we are seen as a result of the accomplished work on the Cross. It is impossible to separate the imputed righteousness of Christ from our salvation. Salvation is the result of the imputed righteousness… not the other way around. We cannot access His presence without Righteousness.. That is why Jesus died, and to be clear here…. it is a gift.
So, what is the purpose of “The Wilderness” if we are Righteous already?
Because there is a difference between
Positional Righteousness and Relational Righteousness.
The word “sanctify” means to consecrate or set apart. He wants us to live for Him and in Him and with Him.
“The Wilderness” is a spiritual experience that may manifest a number of different way in the physical realm, and those physical manifestations may change as you pass through.
What is important to understand is that your wilderness time is hand crafted by your Heavenly Dad. It is a one of a kind blueprint where He has orchestrated every detail of your life in such a way that is hand tailored for you and you alone. Although it may be physical isolation, it is not about location, but rather what the season is designed to perform and do to the inner man of the heart.
Things are meant to die. Things are meant to be birthed in its place.
“And I will visit on her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgot me, said the Lord.
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.
“There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”( Hos 2:13-15)
The Wilderness is designed to sanctify us back to our Redeemer. The wilderness is refinement. The wilderness is to bring us into great intimacy with our Dad. The wilderness is Love.
Everything He did was in order to redeem us and bring us back to Himself. We are called to live set apart for Him. This is not about “works” or “striving” or “doing.” This is about communion, friendship, intimacy and living in very close relational proximity to our Creator.
Intimacy with our Lord comes by walking in agreement with His Word.
Agreement about who He is, and who we are as His creation. All areas of our life may be traced back to what the bible says about these two issues. In whatever area our view of Him, or ourselves is not in alignment with His word, to that degree our communion becomes hindered and corrupted by the dead carnal man in that area.
It is in the Desert Wilderness that our beliefs are tested and placed in the fire. This is a good thing. This is necessary. True communion only takes place in the areas where our beliefs exist and are firmly rooted in His life and Truth.
“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn 4:24)
We cannot acknowledge Him for who He is in any area we are contending with His word. We can only worship Him freely in the areas we are submitted to His truth in our lives. (James 1:6-8, Gal 6:8, Rom 8:7, Gal 2:20)
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6)
Although the immediate context here is salvation, the implications are far greater. Our life does not end with salvation. It begins there. We can only access the throne-room of the Father in the areas we are in agreement with the living Truth. Jesus is the Truth. He is the Living Word. This is “living” the Cross. This is life in Him. This is restored fellowship. This is our calling.
This is the purpose of the Wilderness.
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart,” (Deut 8:2)
“He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you.” (Deut 8:16)
He tests, refines and changes us from the inside out… so that it “may go well” with His children.
Here are some lies that will be addressed in the Desert:
- My self-worth is tied to my successes/failures: it can increase or decrease
- My self-worth can increase/decrease depending on what others think about me (at that moment)
- My identity is tied to how God uses me (ie my “calling” or “ministry” )
- My identity comes from how “mature” my walk is with God
- My happiness depends on my circumstances
“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.” (Isa 48:10-11)
“I cared for you in the wilderness, In the land of drought…I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.” (Hos 13:5)
It is very important to realize that Isaiah and Hosea were contemporaries. Grasp the full picture of the Lord’s heart here. Not being willing to yield His glory is one expression of His love for us, and loving us freely expresses His glory. They go hand in hand.
The end purpose of the wilderness is restoration to Him and to walk in His truth. We are under a better covenant. We have the glory of the kingdom inside us. We have access to the throne of grace. In Him we live and move and have our being.
Even in the wilderness, it is all His love. It’s Dad’s intense fiery love and jealousy to have all our heart. This is what compels Him to set us free to enjoy every aspect of us. We are safe in the desert. It is a place of rest and discovery of that which is Him… and that which is not Him. All our issues come to the surface. Our way of thinking, perceiving, relating, living and dying… All are brought into His light and Truth.
“I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.” (Ex 3:1)
He is with you always. He will never leave you or forsake you. His plans are to give you a hope and a future in Him. (Matt 28:20, Deut 31:6, Heb 13:5, Jer 29:11)
Here are some foundations that will be shaken:
- Do I really believe that God loves me (what does that even look like)?
- Do I trust in my abilities or in God alone?
- What does “He is Faithful” truly mean ?
- Does my rest in life come from God or by things I cause to come to pass?
- Is my life centered on me, or on abiding in Him and Him alone?
- Where do I find my sense of fulfillment in life?
- Am I living out of my soul or spirit (do I even know the difference)?
All these questions (and any and all others) are good! Do not be afraid of them. They are the true issues of our heart. Our true beliefs are coming to the surface and must be addressed with Him. Our Dad causes all things to be laid bare before Him so that He may sift them as chaff. The questions force us to come to true terms with how we relate to our Redeemer. We died to the carnal mind the Word says. How much of that dead man are we still choosing to draw from instead of the Life that is now within us through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit? The desert answers this question for us.
There is no condemnation here. No guilt. No shame. Only truth. Like my dear friend Job, we will stand before the Whirlwind of His love and face the true condition of our heart. Let me repeat: This is love. This is not His anger. In the desert we learn both His grace AND His holiness. His love expressed in mercy AND His love expressed in discipline. It is here that we learn to live and grow to understand from our spirit man and not our intellect. It is out here we begin to understand the aspects of His nature that always seemed to contradict, are in fact, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that when we step back reveal the full landscape of His nature revealed in different ways.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal 5:1)
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin, because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” (Rom 6:6-7)
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Rom 8:17)
Any lie we chose to believe and yet attempt to relate to God, ourselves, or others through, is a yoke of slavery. We are called to walk in union with Him. We have been given the invitation and offered the gift of partaking in His glory.
“Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world…” (2 Pet 1:4)
This is accomplished in the desert.
A word of encouragement. Do not look to be understood. Do not look to be validated by man in any form. You will not be, and if you are, it will most likely serve to slow your journey. You will be told many things… just none of them very edifying. You must set your heart on Him alone. He is your Everything… Everything. All uncertainty, questions, concerns, fears and dread are answered with one word.
Stay very close to Him in prayer. Share every thought openly with Him. He knows them all already anyway, remember? Sorrow, loss and grief, for a season, will be your close companions. Tears are your friend. Shed them without hesitation. He does not want your loyalty, devotion, dedication or faithfulness here. These will all soon become natural bi-products of a life immersed in Him. I will go one step further and state that if these disciplines are not flowing as a result of the Life of Christ moving in you, they are just another form of dead religion and dead works.
He wants your heart. All of it. Openly. Freely. Nothing more… And certainly nothing less.
Brother and sisters, do not shrink back from this season. Do not be afraid. Your Father watches over you and is even now, caring for you in the desert season. It is designed to bring you into great intimacy. You will understand what it is to tangibly feel His love for you. You will know His affections for you. You will learn to partner with Him in all things. His bride is called to heal and walk in great authority and power and love on this earth.
Above all, we are called to live in Him… Him alone.
It was in the wilderness that all the children of God met the Lord and received their greatest revelations of Him. His glory was revealed and released in greater measure out here.
Stay close to Him and rest. Lay all your burdens down at His feet. Let the questions come up, and give all your being to Him. Please, humbly I say, remember what I told you. Set your forehead as flint. You will not be here forever. It is a season that shall pass as His work is accomplished in you. That work is the removal of all that is death, so that His life may come forth in power, in authority, in true fellowship… in love.
“You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
You are loved.
Your brother & servant,