The following is what I had been taught about salvation before God led me into the wilderness. First, you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. Then, baptism is required. Thereafter, you must conduct yourself as a Christian. The next step is accountability to the Church members. The step after that is to serve God. Then, when you die, you will be rewarded for your service to Him here on earth. As a result, I became involved in everything that I could within the Church. I wanted to do as much service as possible so that I would be somewhat important in heaven. After a few years, God finally took hold of me and dismantled all that. He also explained that this was man’s definition of salvation.
Before He dismantled my belief, I was being persecuted at work. This was a few months after I had fully surrendered to Him. Even though I tried to suffer for Christ because by then I had a dimmed light, God later revealed to me how I mishandled my sufferings. It appeared on the surface that I was suffering for God. But my heart felt like a victim, and I was depressed all the time. My boss realized that I had a victim mentality and took full advantage of it. Comparing my life now and then, I can see how I was always trying to escape with some degree of dignity.
So, here is how He dismantled my belief.
1) He taught me that He alone must approve whether my faith in Him is true or not. Just as He approved Abraham’s belief in Him in Genesis 15:6. After considering the fact that Judas never truly believed in Christ and that he betrayed Him, this finally made sense to me. In fact, Simon the Mageus did not believe in Him either (see Acts 8:18-24) Currently, there are still these types of Christians among us, because there is no one to unmask them. Christianity has become a joke and the church has become a social club and a business.
2) He defined what it means to have Christ as your Lord and Savior and it has nothing to do with our understanding. First, most of us want Him as our Savior but are more than willing to let go of the Lord part for two reasons. It is easier for us not to have Him as our Lord because we are in competition with Him. In our desire to be the master of our own lives, we repeatedly repeat the same mistake made by Adam and Eve. As a result, we are under the impression that accepting Him as our Lord is an option and not a requirement or a by-product of true salvation in the heart. Hence the controversy surrounding Lordship’s salvation. This controversy is the product of Satan. Let me explain. Christ was made Lord by God. When we live this life as if He is not our Lord, we appropriate His glory. We are not making Him “our Lord.” Already He holds that position. Our acceptance of Him as our Lord implies our recognition that He owns our lives and gives Him the glory that is due to Him.
At the moment we recognize that He owns our lives, we also recognize that we must ‘die to self’ in order to give Him dominion over our lives. If you do not want to die to yourself, there is no place for the triune God to dwell within you. And it gets worse. It is evident that even those who claim to believe in the Lordship’s salvation do not practice it since Satan is deeply entangled in the affairs of the church. These individuals have no idea they are just paying lip service to God. In the meantime, most of us who claim to believe in the Lordship’s salvation are criticizing the demonic and moronic group who do not believe in it. While both groups are practicing Christianity with a half-Christ, Satan is celebrating. Is it any wonder? Satan played us on both sides.
Third, trying to change our behavior that way—in the flesh, on our own instead of the Spirit– and carrying ourselves like a Christian is useless. All we end up doing is repeating the Pharisees’ mistakes. Yet, we tend to believe it should be enough for God. As long as we do so continuously, it becomes increasingly difficult for God to help us get out of our own way so that He can accomplish the inward work that is needed to be done by the Spirit. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
There are more Pharisees in every church building than there are genuine Christians. It begins with the leadership of the Church because they are taught to duplicate themselves, just like the Pharisees. The Lord showed me in a vision that He went to a mega church, but that He only had a handful of believers. I felt so sad that I lamented. I still feel sad whenever I think about this vision.
Recently, He taught me something new. Several years ago, I made the statement that heaven will not be crowded on social media. I stated it in light of the small number of true Christians in every church. Someone commented on my post and asked, “If it is true, then why does revelation mention that there were a multitude of people?” He quoted Revelation 7:9.
“After this, I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”
To be honest, I had no idea. What I said was only a result of what He showed me in the vision.
He revealed to me recently that neither of us understood. He showed me something about the individual who posted the comment. It is unnecessary to discuss it here. However, He also showed me where my mistake originated. The man who made the comment on my post on social media, and I, appeared to have distinctly different motives in our hearts. I was shown the same vision as I had previously experienced when He found a handful within a mega-church. He continued, “Imagine that there are always a handful of these true Christians in every church building and every generation.” Now, consider how many billions of people have died to date. Now, consider the length of time that has passed since the earth was founded as well as since Christ’s advent. Suddenly, I got it. It was right there in front of me. I understood what John meant when he said: “there were multitudes of people.”. However, He has not explained the size of heaven as it is described in the Bible. Knowing God, He will do it in His own time, should He decide to enlighten me.
In terms of service, this one is quite exceptional. Here is an example of how heaven’s reward is misunderstood that He shared with me. During the wilderness time, I had an opportunity to be part of the leadership group, doing Church planting about two hours from where I live. This was around early in 2009. It was so important to me that He released me from the wilderness to let me be a part of the Church planting opportunity that He had for me right here. This was an exceptional opportunity because I did not have to travel overseas. Since He made it clear to me that I was to participate in the project, I could not understand why He was not releasing me. One of the reasons I felt the need to wait for His approval is because I was taught by Him of the importance of making sure I am right with Him before beginning to serve Him. I was agonizing on a daily basis. By then the group had started meetings, and although I participated in the meetings, I knew God had not released me yet. So, I could not make a full commitment to the group.
Finally, one day, He shared a vision in which I could see a mega-church pastor in the United States who is still alive today and making money by the bucket load. I will not name the pastor because He has not granted me the right to do so. He explained to me that this pastor decided to start a television Church just because he/she could. This person did not wait for God to confirm what he/she felt was ‘the calling’. About three months after the vision, which occurred almost 15 years ago, I wanted to share it with others. Every time I wanted to do it, my tongue filled my mouth. It was a head-scratching experience for me every time. Unfortunately, I did not know God well enough to understand better. As a result, I decided to blog about it. The moment I began writing this person’s name, my tongue filled my mouth again. Finally, I understood. It turns out God was still trying to convert this person.
As a result, He revealed how we misunderstand our calling when we don’t wait for Him. We enter our ministries because we are compelled to do so and because we can. But when we do this, we are no better than the Pharisees. It would be easy for us to see how all we are doing is leaving behind us a trail of dead bodies if we had spiritual eyes. Not only the leaders are blind who are leading the blind in the pews and pulpits but there is more to it. We are repeating Matthew 23:15 over and over again.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”
Thus, He told me, “I am using this pastor against his/her will.” This made perfect sense to me since the pastor was out of God’s plan and purpose for him/her. Millions of followers adore this pastor. It is evident when he or she is preaching. The amen, the enthusiasm, and the applause, all appear to be appealing on the surface. As a matter of fact, this pastor claims that his/her ministry has been given to him/her by the Lord. While it is not true, He told me, “This does not mean I cannot use him/her to lead some people to me“. In conclusion, he said, “Woe to you if I have to use you against your will.” The lesson ended there that day.
I felt humbled. First, because He revealed this mega secret to me. Second, I was so humbled that it changed my attitude and disposition. While in spirit, I saw myself bowing down to Him, all I could say after this lesson was “do your work in me Father”.
Some years later, He used the same person to share with me an example of what it means to be saved by the skin of one’s teeth. I must admit that even today when I hear this person preach or read some of his/her books that have been given to me over the years, I find only scattered bits of wisdom.
I also found out that God did not intend for me to be involved in Church planting personally. When I shared above that I felt compelled by Him to participate in the project, it turned out that all God wanted was for me to participate only through prayers. I got that when He finally made things clear to me. He even showed me some of the shortcomings of the program and the individuals involved so that I can pray rightly. All He wanted me for was ‘intercession’. I was agonizing the whole time, but He never intended to send me. I would not have known that if I had not waited.
My experience has taught me that God uses those who are poured out in every viable way for Him. As I read 2 Timothy 2:9-10, I gained great insight into serving the Lord. “For which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.”
God has assigned me plenty of work in my ministry dealing with carnal Christians and those who never made it to a full conversion. Nonetheless, these carnal Christians believe themselves to be the kind of Christians pleasing to God. Within my family alone, the harvest is plentiful. The challenge I am experiencing is that they have all fared better financially than I have. In fact, one of my siblings felt that I looked much more like a homeless person than the well-dressed person I used to be. At one point, I prayed for God to grant me some credentials so that I might have some credibility in their eyes.
This is the way He answered this prayer. “What do you think 2 Timothy 2:9-10 means? He said since everything has been written for your benefit, why do you think I wrote the verses mentioned? He then said, “Look at my life, didn’t I come to you in humility?” I knew He meant His coming to us, to die for our sins. He said, “Couldn’t I have come to you in all my glory?” He continued, “Look at Paul’s life and listen to what he has to say.” Why do you believe he was imprisoned for most of his life while sharing the gospel? He said, “do you understand how degrading it was for Paul to be telling people that He knew me that deeply, yet he was imprisoned?” “Do you recall the similarity in our lives in terms of humility when you read Matthew 27:42?” “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him“. Just as Job had nothing to say after God finished speaking to him from chapters 38 to 41, I felt the same way.
God opened my eyes to see and understand, those He uses in His service must be willing to decrease completely. They become a poured-out sacrifice. Their attitude and disposition are not the same because they have been set apart for Him. People cannot see anything in us, they must first see Christ, to see us through Him. The truth is we need to be poured our sacrifice on a daily basis if we are to learn the meaning of perseverance and endurance in His name. Everything else is nothing but dung.
In His Agape Love,
No one can lead you where they have not been with God for themselves.