I’ve just finished writing my blog post for my relationships blog, and I have to repeat here on this post the same apologies I made there – I am so sorry that I have not posted here for so long! I’m all the more sorry because I have been wanting to write this particular post for so long!
It’s like this! Simply that God has been so good! So good! SOOOOO GOOOOOOD! I am so excited! I just want to pour out to Him all the thanks and praise and gratitude of which I am capable. I am so grateful for His mercy towards me, and I am so grateful for the fact that He has brought me to this place!
OK, whenever I sit here talking about how amazing God has been to me, I always feel that I should go into specifics. I always imagine that someone reading this might be looking at the screen in a questioning, or even sceptical way, asking “OK, what has He done?!”
Well, whenever I talk about God being good to me, or about His favour and grace, what I usually mean is that God has given me the wisdom to live my life better, or He has given me understanding about a particular issue or challenge that I have been facing.
God is always so faithful. In this particular situation however, I feel as if He has just given me everything! I feel that all the years of prayer and spiritual determination I have known since graduating from university (and also oceans of frustration!) have finally come to a head, in this!
As any regular reader of this blog knows, I have been struggling so hard with anger and bitterness and also unforgiveness towards other people, mostly Christians, for things that I experienced at their churches. I’ve also been struggling a lot with the darkness of my own pride. As awful as all these things are, these are only the things I’ve been able to admit. There are other things too which I have just not been able to admit (yet!) I believe that God has given me the key to overcoming these things, and with that also the understanding of why certain things in my life look the way they do. Just yesterday, or perhaps the day before, this led onto understanding about prayer, which has greatly been weighing me down – the fact that I’ve been feeling that I just don’t have time to pray for everything which I need to pray for, which has left me feeling immensely stressed for a long time.
And you know what all this new revelation boils down to? It is all very simple – simply the Bible! Yes, it truly has been that easy.
I’ve been reading the Bible intensively for years, trying to know and understand it, the concepts, everything. And yet, it is only within the last month or so that all this revelation has truly hit home.
So I was struggling away with one of my huge, all-encompassing issues, and I found myself crying out to God, thinking “This thing is bigger than me!” And yet I found myself thinking: “The solution to this MUST be in the Word of God, because the solution to EVERYTHING is in the Word of God! No matter how big a problem might seem, God’s Word is greater, because God Himself is greater. PERIOD!!!!”
So this cheered me up. So I thought to myself “How can I apply the Word of God (that is, the Bible) to this particular problem?” And here is the supremely painful part about all this. With this particular issue, I have already found the relevant Bible verses, I have already memorised them years ago! Perhaps as long as a decade ago! I have even identified for myself that the Word of God has power over this particular issue. My problem though is that I did not know to apply the Word of God systematically.
So this is practically speaking what I have learned to do. Because this problem is big for me (actually, huge!) I take out a consistent amount of time every day, to recite the relevant Bible verses to myself. This is what I mean by “applying the Word of God”. My issue with all these problems is that all of these issues seem to have taken root in my heart. And then no matter how I try the fruit of these evil trees is poured out constantly in my mind, which is why it then gets poured out onto my blog and in my discussion with people, and in pretty much everything I do. Well, whenever I recite the necessary Bible verses, I find that these things do not get poured out into my mind. My mind can be clear and free for positivity. This is what I mean when I say that the Word of God has power over these things. This might sound so strange, but it seems to work overnight! So if my mind is already thinking evil things, and I try to recite Bible verses, firstly I will get distracted from the Bible verses, and secondly it does not appear to stop those evil thoughts right there and then. However, the next day my mind will be clear!
However, this is what my issue has always been. I’ve come to realise that even when I recite the Bible, the evil tree (in the Bible, called a stronghold) remains there in my mind. It will take more prayer and/or more Bible recitation for it to be finally uprooted and cast away from my mind. This is where the analogy of the tree is helpful. Even when the tree no longer exists, the devil will still be sowing these thoughts into my mind. My job is to uproot all these seedlings before they can become deeply rooted into my heart. While these thoughts are still seedlings, it requires relatively little effort to get rid of them. However, when I have allowed them to get to the point of becoming trees (and dropping further seeds into my own heart, and even contaminating other peoples’ hearts) then it requires a lot more effort to cut each tree down, and to make sure all its roots are forcibly pulled out from my heart. Yes, God can do it supernaturally, He can do it in an instant, and He often does – but this might still require extreme prayer and fasting power.
So this is true of these one of these issues that I have been struggling with. I now understand that I have to find the relevant Bible verses that deal with anger, forgiveness, love, pride etc etc, and fill my heart with these Bible verses, every day. This will protect my heart for one day, the next day. And then alongside that I have to pray that each evil tree in my heart will be uprooted, so that it does not remain to cast down its evil fruits indefinitely into my heart. So it is this two-pronged approach that I simply have not been able to work out, until now. For how long each day will I need to give myself to Bible recitation? For however long I find necessary to defeat these thoughts in my heart.
So now, do you start to understand why I am feeling so happy and so grateful to God?! I am ecstatic at the prospect of having a heart that is full of holiness and purity and beauty, and knowing by God’s grace how to consistently maintain that before God! And yet, there’s more!
A few days ago, I was pulling out my afro about prayer. (Coincidentally my afro now appears to be a lot longer than it was before I grabbed this understanding – but that is a different story!)
My issue with prayer for so long has been that there are so many things that I would love to pray about, and yet I don’t feel as if I have enough time to pray about everything, alongside everything else I need to do. For so long, I’ve been asking God: “God, how is this supposed to work?!”
So a few days ago, I was thinking to myself for the millionth time that there simply MUST be a more efficient way to pray! And then the following thoughts occurred to me: the main reason I have been so frustrated in prayer is because my heart has been so full of these evil things. The Bible says: “If we regard iniquity in our hearts then He will not hear us” Psalm 66v18. Another translation says in simpler English: “If we cherish sin in our hearts…” So then by allowing myself to cherish and cultivate these evil thoughts in my heart, I have essentially been blocking off my own prayers! So then this is the reason why the devil has been systematically sowing these thoughts into my mind, so that I can systematically be blocking off my own prayers! I’ve actually known that for a long time. My issue has been how to deal with it. And at the same time it occurred to me that once again, I can increase my faith about whatever I am praying about by reciting relevant Bible verses, and meditating on these Bible verses. If I have greater faith, then I can spend less time praying about any issue before receiving the result, because the greater the faith of the prayer, the more effective the prayer.
So then taken altogether what this means is that my first priority in prayer is to make sure my heart is sparkling and gleamingly clean before God – otherwise I will just be spending frustrated hours in prayer, and wading through treacle as I have been doing. I am still going to be spending serious time in prayer, because I believe that prayer is something that warrants serious time and effort. The main way I am going to get my heart clean is by regularly reciting to myself relevant Bible verses which address my main struggles, and then I am also going to be praying that God would uproot every evil stronghold from my heart. The tree does not have to be uprooted completely before I can go ahead to pray for other things, however, while it is still there, I know it can drop its fruit the next day… and the next.
Once however I am confident that my heart is clean, then I can build up my faith by meditating on relevant Bible verses which concern the issues I am praying about, and then finally I can target the issues in prayer with my newly increased faith.
Guess what, this has already started “working”. Seriously! However, it has only been a couple of days since I understood the additional aspect about prayer, or that my primary priority has been to maintain a stringently pure heart. Because of this I have been focusing as usual on prayers for the things I’ve been needing, rather than meditation on God’s word for the sake of a clean heart. However, that is going to change!
You know what people? God’s Word Works! Yes, yes and yes, it definitely does. I am so confident that there is absolutely NOTHING you’re struggling with that God’s Word cannot overcome. It might take time, as I say I’ve been praying for over a decade, trying to glean understanding from anywhere I could. And finally, I feel as if it has all crystallised – and sure enough, the answer has been right there, before my nose, hidden in plain sight within the Bible all along!
So do you now see what I mean when I say that I feel that God has given me everything?!
There are so many ramifications of this I could talk about. God has given me my joy back. Despair has been replaced by confident hope. My businesses! EVERYTHING!!!
God is so good, and to Him, and Him alone be the glory, now and always, and forever and ever! AMEN!!! 😉