|"He walks and I follow. He stands and I stand beside Him. He leads and I am obedient to do as He asks, to take the steps He has designed."
DENIAL IS just another opportunity to exercise patience and endurance. It is not a moment of rage, but an opportunity to exercise humility, meekness, and self-control. It is a chance to grow stronger through denial of the flesh, of the desires of the body and of the mind. I embrace denial. Though it is painful at times, I embrace the chance to grow through it. Let God say to hold fast, to let go, to keep standing and it require me to deny myself satisfaction I think I deserve, and I see His strength in it. I see the change in me because of it, and that is more valuable to me.
What He wants of me, from me, is of far more value than anything I can come up with. I don’t fight for my own way of moving forward. What good would that do? It would be as men who fashion idols. Having eyes, they see not. Having ears, they hear not. When I desire life and truth and strategy, planning that only the Almighty can give, I must go as He directs me, the direction He sends me, at the pace He wants to walk. He walks and I follow. He stands and I stand beside Him. He leads and I am obedient to do as He asks, to take the steps He has designed. There is no other way but His, and no route which takes me toward success but that which God has crafted.
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” (Philippians 3:7-8)
He is the Potter. I am the clay, and as clay, I submit to the pressure He has designed me to hold. I speak not of pressure from the outside. He does not bring evil against me. His hands have formed me; He is gentle to the touch. His burden is easy, and His cross is light. But it is that what He has formed within is what strengthens us for what will come against us. A vessel must hold what is placed within it. A weak vessel, an aged vessel, given what is new will tear, crack, and crumble.
These were Jesus words when He faced the Jews. They thought only of what had been passed down to them but in that, remained stuck in a place that Jesus had been sent to take them out of. Without His death and subsequent Resurrection, the Resurrection must be included for there to be salvation, whoever continued to call on Him would do so from a place of death. God’s great salvation, the depth of His love, changes our inward vessel, and the pressure of the Spirit within gives us great strength.
We must walk through some things to deal with them properly, but we never do so alone and on our own. We are never, never, never alone. We are never weak and fragile nor continually leaking when God’s Spirit is within us. Minister Bill Johnson said God never leads us into what we are not prepared to endure and to endure successfully. God makes us into fit vessels through denial, through exercise of restraint. I often say, The fact this makes me unhappy means I need to grow.
Our growth comes through experiences. There is no twenty-question quiz to pass. It is not a written test but a spoken one. Can we say no to what we want and do what God asks of us? Can we pass up what looks like a better route in favor of the one we can’t fully see? Can we trust God’s timing over our own? It looks like we are missing an opportunity, but He sees further than we do. What looks like our failure is instead a step to a higher place in Him, and I will take that any day.
Finding joy in denial is the key. Turning our frustration into happiness, into praise, is how we become better people. When that situation we want isn’t what God wants, and we can rejoice in it, we have passed the test. God never tests with sickness and disease. We never have to deny health to gain a closer walk with God. That goes against His Word. God never leads us into temptation to see if we will grab hold of it. He does not tempt with evil and is not tempted by evil (James 1:13). No, the test comes through denial of temporary things, knowing God will support us in it and lead us into something even better.
He never sits us down to struggle and leaves us there, alone, but knows we are properly dressed for what we are facing, we are wise enough to last through it, and more than powerful enough with His Spirit flowing in us to come out ahead. Denial of certain things gives us more and better things as stronger people, closer to our heavenly Father, now fitted to wear excellence which didn’t fit before. And He has taken us to that place. We are there for our joy and success, but we are there so that He can be seen in us. I would wear His coat and have all men see it and not one piece of it be anything I have made but all of it be from His loving hand.
“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.“ (Matthew 10:39)
Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay
Suzanne D. Williams, Author