It All Depends On God
One of my favourite parts of the Bible is where God spoke through Balaam’s donkey (Numbers 22:28-30). I was brought up to try to be perfect and if I didn’t perform properly, then I wasn’t okay. I had to get it right. This false belief continued on into my new life after I became a Christian. Although I knew I was a new creature in Christ, I still believed that I had to somehow get myself okay or do it right so that Christ could live through me–as if it all depended on me. Balaam’s donkey is a great illustration that it doesn’t depend upon the vessel but, rather, the operator. The donkey did not have to change; what changed was the fact that God did it. He spoke through the donkey despite what were spiritual, mental and physical limitations on the donkey’s part.
After salvation the one required change in us has taken place: the change of operator from Satan to Christ, and He is now responsible for living our life. But the process we have to walk through from then on, in human terms, is "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2)–in other words, the key is what we believe about ourselves. Satan hinders us, and where he can, he halts the outer transformation (which is only the outer evidence of the already inward change). He tells us we are "just our-selves," and we have a choice to believe him or to believe G.
Over the past two months, God has shown me several situations in which I have still chosen to believe Satan’s lie and see myself as an independent "I" (really Satan in disguise). As a result, Satan has been able to live through my members, "doing the very things I hate to do," (Romans 7:15) with chaotic results. Then he blames "me" for doing it and I end up in a frantic spin trying to get myself clear. I know that I do not consciously choose to believe I am an independent self. But I have been tricked by my focus being on an outer thing, like something I want -"Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust" (James 1:14). Another trick is when I look at how I am behaving or feeling, which is really judging by outward appearances (John 7:24). And then when I get focused on myself, Satan condemns me with comments such as, "You messed that situation up,""See, you’ll never change,""You always do that," and "There’s something wrong with you; you’d better find it and fix it."
So Satan has been able to deceive me into trying to change or improve myself–which is impossible because I’m the vessel, not the operator–and I’ve missed the real temptation, which is to believe that I am an independent "I." This is bondage and it’s tight! The more I continue to believe the lie that it’s "just me" and I’ve somehow got to do it, the more Satan lives through me in ways to prove his lie is true, and the tighter the bondage, which is really sin.
It had puzzled me for some months that I had repeatedly chosen to believe Satan’s lie and had seen myself as independent with the result that I ended up in a Romans Seven situation, bound up by the Law, and no matter how much I thought about it, I wasn’t able to figure out why I just couldn’t get to the bottom line–that there was no independent "I" who could do this, that, or the other in any given situation. I would suddenly realize something was wrong, and when I talked it over with some-one, again and again the problem had been that it just had not occurred to me to say the truth about myself. Where was the problem? When in my logical mind I knew it was the truth, why would I not say it? I wouldn’t say it, of course, because Satan was running my life in that area and there was no way he was going to enlighten me because he would then lose that place.
However, there had to be a spot where Satan could hook me–my area of responsibility. And God is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9), for when I was sick and tired of the situation, He showed me where the root problem was: I have lived most of my life in chaos, and since it was familiar to me, it was also comfortable. The insanity of the situation was that I preferred the "comfort" of the chaos brought about by believing I was "just me" than the unfamiliar stability and peace of knowing that Christ lives my life. at can I say??!! Satan is insane and produces insanity in our lives.
The way through is to get back to believing by faith (because it will not look or feel like it) who the "I" really is–not "just me" (Satan) but Christ/I (Galatians 2:20); to get honest–"Confess your sins to one another so that you may be healed" (James 5:16), being sure to get to the root of the problem; and to differentiate between soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12) in our daily walk. My experience is when I do this, then Christ is back in the driving seat, Satan is resisted and he flees (James 4:7), and I once again experience the freedom which has been there since salvation because He never changes and He in me is that freedom. Great!!
If God can speak through a donkey whom He is not joined to, then what more can He do through His chosen vessel, wo whom He is joined, if we but believe what He says about Himself in us.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 12 No 4
- It All Depends On God
- Editor’s Note
- Fooled By Our Souls
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- Free At Last
- Who Will Me Deliver Me?
- Questions & Answers
- Faith Defies Difficulty
- The Mailbox
- Irish Conference Report
- One Requirement
- Tape Talk
- Summer Camp 1996: The Adults
- Summer Camp: The Youth
- See Ye First
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Words to Live By…