I was born in a small community in central South Carolina. There were three churches in our community: Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian. I was never attracted to any of them. However, in my young adult life an Assembly of God church came to our community. It was there that I became a Christian – didn’t know anything about being a Christian and had not read the Bible. In that day, particularly in my community, there was a reproach on being a Pentecostal. So I was branded a “holy roller” from the get go. That didn’t bother me though. I was there almost four years before the Lord moved me out. The one thing that did concern me during those days was that I was left to figure out my way many times on my own. For example, I was told that I needed to draw near to God but they couldn’t tell me how. I needed to receive the Holy Spirit, but they could not tell me how. They couldn’t tell me how to walk with God. I was told what I should do but not how to do it.
There are many things we are told to do without instructions on how to do them. We were told to submit to God, but how does one do that? How do we draw nigh to God? How do we purify our hearts? How do we humble ourselves to the Lord? Do you know how to open your heart to the Lord? Sounds simple enough, but is it? I have heard some say, “Lord, I open my heart to You.” And they walked on thinking their heart was open when it wasn’t. It takes more than just saying the words to make it true. If you need to open your heart to the Lord, it is because to some extent it is closed. Why is it closed? What made it closed? What must you do to open it? What is your heart anyway? It is not the organ in your chest that pumps the blood. The heart of man is his spirit. Many Christians don’t know they have a spirit. They think of soul. There is a big difference in your soul and your spirit. It is with your spirit that you must learn to communicate with the Lord. Paul said that he served God with his spirit (Romans 1:9). Whatever you need to communicate with God, it has to be done with your spirit. Whatever you need to do to walk with the Lord, it must be done with your spirit.
Let’s get back to the opening of the heart. If you need to open your heart, it is because it is not open or, at least, not open enough. Now, we don’t want to just say, “I open my heart to you, Lord” and walk on without it really being open. Why was it not open or why was it not open enough? Something in your soul life or flesh life is the problem. So it becomes necessary to eliminate that which hinders you from opening your heart. It can be very difficult to discern your own self. Sometimes it is necessary to go to a ministry of revelation and have him pray with you to discern the hindrance.
One of the greatest errors among Christians is thinking they have something when they don’t. They often think they are submissive to the Lord when they are not. They often think they are humble when they are not. We do not want to be self-deceived. Many Christians think they are hearing the Word and walking in it when they are not. Listen to what James says. Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one shall be blessed in what he does. James 1:22-25 NKJ. Now don’t be like many who say, “I’m safe there. I can hear the Word and I’m walking in it.” Every one of us has had a problem hearing the Word and walking in it, and most of us probably still do. Self-deception is a common problem among Christians. It is so easy to think you are more spiritual than you really are.
Now, if you really want to hear the Word and be a doer of it James tells us how in the preceding verse. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21 NKJ. Many would say, “I’m a Christian and have received the Holy Spirit. I have no filthiness and wickedness! The Lord has forgiven me of all that.” You still have human nature, and that human flesh nature is filthy and overflows with wickedness. Human nature is corrupt, that is why we need to be born again with the nature of the Lord. Being forgiven is one thing, having a nature change is another! If you are not able to hear the Word and be a doer of it, then you need “to lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness.” I’m not telling you to focus on your flesh, but you have to be aware of what it is. You cannot receive something from God without eliminating something of self. He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30 KJV. If you think you are going to sail down the river of life without taking to task your flesh nature, you are heading for disaster. There is no progress in God without you putting to death your flesh nature to some degree.
A Christian acquaintance of mine accused me of being too focused on the flesh. Why do I talk about it? I talk about it because you won’t crucify your flesh without me confronting you about it. Most of you are goat-Christians that shy away from the work of the cross. Listen to what Paul says. Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. II Corinthians 4:10-12 KJV. Death, burial, and resurrection is the divine order of God. Every step you take in God is preceded by some elimination of self.
Copyright © 2008 by Henry DuBose