The Terrible Plight of the Impulsive Christian

 

“Unstable as water, you shall nimpulsivetiggerot have preeminence.”

Genesis 49:4

“Walking on water is easy to someone with impulsive boldness, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is something altogether different. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he “followed Him at a distance” on dry land.” 

Oswald Chambers

Peter was bold, brash, and impulsive.  

That explains much. He did good things for sure, but he also could be weak and vacillating. This quality also describes those of us who are fairly often morally and spiritually out-of-control.

The impulsiveness symptom describes much of our actions, and our personal direction. We are something of a “loose cannon’ and we can deeply frighten people who know us. We love God deeply, (at least some of the time).

Those of us who struggle with mental illness must often deal with impulsiveness.  We find ourselves turning aside so quickly.  We do those things which will later destroy us.  Self-destruction comes so close. It’s like we are playing some kind of spiritual ‘Russian Roulette.’ I wish that this wasn’t so.

But our soul is constantly loved and watched over. 

He cares for us as a Father cares for His son.  As mortals we make a lot of choices. Many are godly, some are not.  We sometimes find ourselves out of control, mostly because we choose so poorly. We know it’s wrong (so much cries out against it)  but we do it anyway, no matter what. We are often ashamed of our impulsiveness.

There is a lot out there, much that can side-track us. So many choices, and many opportunities.  And the Deceiver will parade them all in front of us. I suppose that sin is as seductive as we let it be.  I remember a friend saying, “It can’t take me if I don’t want to go.” That makes some sense I think.

We must try to develop a commitment to what we know is true.

Impulsiveness will tear us apart.  When it resides in our heart, it’ll eventually destroy us.  It’s like uncontrolled nuclear fission within, it takes over and it seems I can’t stop it.  When I find myself out-of-control, it seems to take me  beyond human help.  Once we are in this state, we are completely unreasonable. It seems only God can intervene.

In my awful impulsiveness, I can see His faithfulness.

We often think we are just spontaneous people, and we consider it to be a plus.  But our decision-making is dangerous. (Some will understand what I’m saying, but many others won’t).

It seems when we choose the worst we’re degraded us the most.  We make these sudden decisions without the Spirit’s guidance.  They take us to places we otherwise never dare to go.  We find ourselves in an ugly and lost place.  We chose wrongly, and usually without considering the results of our choice.

When we are impulsive, we are like a ship without an anchor.  We go with the wind and the current, pushed along and directed by no one.  We think we are spontaneous, when all we are is desperately foolish. We’ve chosen to sail into forbidden waters. We’re really in spiritual danger.

We now face the reality of being shipwrecked!

As a physically and mentally ill person, I simply can’t direct myself in a God honoring way apart from His active hand.  I’m a just ‘a kid out of school’– unable to understand the eternal issues at stake. When I abandon myself to the vacillating foolishness of my heart, I bypass the strength and solidity of the Spirit. I sail into forbidden waters.

If I could pass anything on to others, it would be the ability to say “no.”

I really don’t want to degrade and destroy myself by my wrong choices.  The Holy Spirit keeps comforting and encouraging me, all with an endurance and persistence far beyond my reasoning. For some odd reason, He is very much in love with me, (isn’t that strange)?

Truly His pursuit of me is relentless. He won’t give up.

But even in my impulsiveness, I can still see His faithfulness. He wants to free me from these awful forces that would tear me apart. He isn’t sitting on a comfortable throne, passively watching to see if I survive. No, not hardly. Instead He comes alongside, and holds me in place. “Thank God!” 

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Number Them

 

          “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” –ESV

 
“Teach us how short our lives  really are so that we may be wise.” –NLT

 “Oh! Teach us to live well!
      Teach us to live wisely and well!”– MSG 

Psalm 90:12, three different translations

Growing up we must learn different things.

We’re taught the alphabet, how to brush our teeth and use deodorant.  We need to be educated, or tutored into many different skills.  Our teachers direct and guide us, they provide for us an understanding of the skills we need to acquire.  As we advance through their instruction, we grow in proficiency.

The Psalmist comes to the realization that he needs to develop a particular skill.  He desperately wants to craft his life to be honorable and obedient.  He turns to God and seeks His aid.  The psalmist seeks a ‘teacher’ who will instruct him.

Our own lives are often chaotic and foolish. 

We live in a great deal of ignorance, strained relationships and bad decisions.  Most definitely we are ‘saved by faith,’ but the course of our lives can still be difficult. There is much to be learned in the spiritual world. We’ll make many mistakes.

The author of Psalm 90 doesn’t want to continue doing stupid things.  He has a need, and he is pretty adamant that God will help him.  Part of what he understands is that he needs to get ahold of the reality of the ‘shortness’ of his life. That’s a good start.

He must understand that he has a limited lifespan–an expiration date. 

He refuses the deception that life will just always continue unfolding.  He doesn’t buy it.  He counts on God to pace him, and to keep him from recklessly wasting his life.  He is asking for restraints. He must learn to say “no” and say “yes” to many things.

I encourage you to consciously make this step.  Be deliberate in this.  If we lack wisdom, we need to ask Him for it.  Apart from His presence, our lives grow increasingly irrational.  Living without restraints will lead us into more foolishness and despair. We must learn to say “no.”

“Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

Ephesians 5:16, ESV

 

The Prayer of a Minor Prophet

A prayer by A.W. Tozer

Every now and then, I come across something that will not fit into the scope of Brokenbelievers. This is one of those times. I share it with my brothers and sisters who serve Jesus in any leadership capacity in the Church. I think it’s fitting that this be shared as we step into 2022. These are challenging times to serve him; but not dangerous–at least not yet.

The Prayer of a Minor Prophet was originally written on August 18, 1920. It still means a lot to ordained/non-ordained serving in the ministry. I suppose it still speaks to every leader in every Church. You may want to copy and keep this for those hard times that will come to each of us. Could it be that you might want to share this word with the leaders of your local fellowship?

The article was written on the day of Tozer’s ordination into the ministry.

O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou has called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou art about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, my Lord, Thou has stooped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man taketh this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant.

1897-1963

My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine, but Thine. Thou has said, “I knew thee – I ordained thee – I sanctified thee,” and Thou hast also said, “Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done.

Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee Thou will honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.

It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pastures and the sheep are torn and scattered. And false shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils which surround Thy flock. The sheep are deceived by these hirelings and follow them with touching loyalty while the wolf closes in to kill and destroy. I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to see and courage to report what I see faithfully. Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.

Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should be come a religious scribe and thus lose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet – not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

I accept hard work and small rewards in this life. I ask for no easy place. I shall try to be blind to the little ways that could make life easier. If others seek the smoother path I shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly. I shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes. Or if, as sometimes it falleth out to Thy servants, I should have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Thy kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows. Teach me to use whatever I receive in such manner that will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power. And if in Thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour that I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.

And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.

Though I am chosen of Thee and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men. I pray Thee, therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself and from all the injuries I may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with Thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. I will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.

Then, dear Lord, when I am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above, and make me to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. Amen.

AMEN.

Written in 1950, Aiden Wilson Tozer was 23 years old when he was called to pastor a new church in Clarksburg, West Virginia. On August 18, 1920 at a campground a few miles outside Cleveland, Ohio, leaders of the Christian and Missionary Alliance scheduled an ordination service.

After the formal ceremony, Tozer slipped away from the crowd and found a quiet place to be alone with God. He never forgot what he prayed that evening and years later as the new editor for the Alliance Weekly, Tozer published his prayer in an article “For Pastors Only: Prayer of a Minor Prophet” (May 6, 1950).

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