This post might be slightly on the longer side. I am telling you what I learned in the past 7 months. – this is from an email I wrote a month ago (sorry if this looks familiar)
I will try to keep it short, or at least bullet it/ write it in a form that’s easy to skim:
- I moved back home to look for a full-time job.
- I worked part-time at Gap for the past 6 months.
- I’ve been looking for a full-time job since February and it’s be quite the experience.
- I’ve been blogging about my Bible reading (here), which I’m still doing, just no longer everyday (blogging, I’m still reading my Bible everyday).
- I’ve loved the Lord and disliked Him (at different times and sometimes simultaneously)
- I’ve wondered what the meaning of my life is.
- I’ve visited and dwelled in a black hole and have come out of the black hole a few times.
- I went to a week-long conference on The Minor Prophets and felt like I received such a timely word, touching many things I struggled with.
Before going to the conference on The Minor Prophets, I could sum up my experience with 2 statements:
And blessed is he who is not stumbled because of Me (Matthew 11:6)
“You should rejoice in the fact that you cannot make it” (The Overcoming Life, Watchman Nee)
—-both I am still struggling with and learning.
In light of The Minor Prophets training, my past 7 months, and a chapter called, “Living by Faith” in Fact, Faith, and Experience (W. Nee), I enjoyed that our Christian life seems to be characterized with mountains and valleys, but as we go on in our Christian lives, “the joy becomes less intense (though deeper), and the time of joy becomes shorter. At the same time, the dryness becomes more intense and lasts longer (though shallower)” – opposite of what we would think. It’s not anything we did or did not do, but there are 4 reason for this (you don’t necessarily need to read all of it, bold is good, aftermath is if you would like an explanation):
- That we would not be for ourselves. Are we reading the Bible because of our interest of because the Bible is the Word of God? Is the purpose of our prayer to seek God in His presence, or is the goal the joy we feel in our prayer? If we do all these things for ourselves and to satisfy ourselves, then our aim is not God’s glory. God is testing us to see if we will keep praying, reading the Word and testifying for Him during the times when the joy is gone and the dryness is present. He is seeing if we are working according to our duty, or if we are working because of joy. This cycle will continue until God arrives at His purpose when we realize that our desire for joy is for ourselves and not for God.
- Disciplining the power of the will. When we are dry, we have to exercise our will and our work is the result of our real person. The reason God gives us the dryness is so that we will learn to exercise our will during these dry times. His intention is to train our will, so that at the darkest hour, we could still exercise our will, and at the time when we we feel dry, we could still exercise our will to read the Bible, pray, and testify. By doing this, the strength of our will will become stronger and stronger.
- Overcoming the environment. If you can overcome the feeling of dryness, you can overcome your environment. The environment that is closest to a Christian is his emotions. Only by overcoming your emotions can you overcome other things.
- Living by Faith. Our joy and our dryness will be completely merged as one. Today God has no intention other than having the just live by faith. If you live by faith you will be able to live a joyful life in the driest hour and live the driest life in a joyful way. Christians today are strongly inclines toward a life in the emotions. Whenever God takes away their feeling of joy, they have nothing left. But God says that we should live by faith and not by feelings. If we live by faith, we will not be affected by either of the two. This does not mean we are insensitive; we do have feelings of joy and dryness. But these outward feelings do not affect us inwardly.
Note: all are direct quotes from the chapter. To be more accurate, I probably should’ve included “…” but I didn’t. Lo siento. But really if you have time to read the chapter. I do recommend it.
So if you’re ever wondering why you’re going through the things you’re going through or why God does not care, remember this chapter and this song:
Lord I believe,
When all around me is defeat.
And it seems
That nothing’s changing outwardly.
No, I’m not discouraged -
I’m believing You.
Yes, I believe,
And there is no demand on me.
Simple faith -
Yes, that is all You want from me.
Freed from anxious doubting, Lord,
I’m free to just believe
Because, Lord, You are my success.
When I fail, all I must do is just confess
and go on enjoying You.
I love believing You.
Not exactly my experience, but we’re all getting there. =)
Romans 1:17 For the righteousness of God is reveal in it out of faith to faith, as it is written, “But the righteous shall have life and live by faith”