Pastoral letter 148

JOHN GILLESPIE

“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted

And saves those who are crushed in spirit”.

 

 Printable version: pastoral letter 148

Dear Hurting Family,

 

There is not one genuine child of grace among us who is not hurting right now over the resignation of one of our pastors.  Please check your own heart right now and make sure that your spirit is humble and contrite before the Lord.

 

This time is either an opportunity for Satan or the Lord to work in our midst.  And the choice as to whom is down to us.

 

If we are more concerned to “be right” than to examine our hearts, then Satan will score a great victory here.  People will position themselves in pride, words will become daggers instead of bandages, and lives will be deeply damaged.

 

Should each and every one of us deal with our own hearts (how easy it I to deal with others’ hearts leave our own untested!) then the Lord Jesus will actually score a great victory here.

 

My spiritual counsel here is that every Jesus-loving person in this Grace Family gets on their face before God and examines their own heart, motives, lives.  Look for pride, fear of man, the deadly desire to win and be right: Repent of the easy option to judge the other person right now!  Yet this is God’s chance to work in us in ways that, I am sure, He has been longing to for many years now.

 

The above scripture passage assures us that the Lord Himself actually is close to the broken-hearted.  This implies that He is far from the hard-hearted.  And, whenever Christians disagree, it is very easy to become hard-hearted.  It is so very easy to become judge and jury over the other’s motives.  We can throw stones and use harsh words, never realizing that in so doing we are actually breaking God’s heart and distancing ourselves from Him.

 

In so doing, it is thoroughly possible to be “right” about an issue, and at the same time drive God away from you.  THINK ABOUT THAT!

 

This does not mean that we do not name sin when we need to.  It does not mean that we do not lovingly hold each other accountable, and confront sin.  But it does mean that we have to have broken hearts all along the way.  Luke tells us that Jesus, in cleansing the Temple, wept before he whipped.  Make sure that your heart is like His.

 

At this time, I have no idea what the practical outcomes of the recent event will be.  But I can tell you without question what the spiritual outcome can be:  If our hearts break over our own sins, if we allow the very hand of God to crush us with conviction, we can actually discover the Lord Jesus in new and deeper ways than ever we imagined before.

 

God has convicted me this week of pride, and compromise and fear of man in areas where I never saw such before.  In being convicted I had a choice:  Worldly sorrow and despair, or press into Jesus and repent and trust the Blood of Christ to cleanse me.

 

Revival, genuine spiritual awakening, begins when the bottom falls out and believers discover that sin was deeper than they ever imagined, that repentance must be more thorough than ever thought, and that the Blood of Jesus cleanses to the very depths of one’s sin and pollution.

 

This is about every one of us.  We are BODY.  Without question, God is shaking and pruning.  I am leaving for missions, and my colleague has felt it necessary to stand down.  Is not God telling us that the Church needs to be built upon Christ and His Word and Spirit and not upon a man?  Any man?

 

God can sort this out and bring all who will submit to His Word and Spirit to a new and better place. Deal with your own heart right now.  Press into Jesus.  Call a friend or two together and get before the Lord and pray and weep and repent.

 

We all have a choice right now:  Humble ourselves before the Lord and let Him break, crush, and cleanse us, or spend our energies devouring one another.

 

Guess which one God wants us to do….Guess which one Satan want us to do.

 

Yours,

 

John Gillespie