Whatever the things to which you are bound, God will deal with them one after another. Not even such trivialities as clothing, eating or drinking can escape the careful hand of the Holy Spirit. He will not neglect one area of your life. You may even be ignorant of your affinity for a certain thing, but He knows and will deal with it most thoroughly. Until the day comes when all these things are destroyed, you do not know perfect liberty. In these dealings you can finally recognize the thoroughness of the Holy Spirit. Things long forgotten are brought to mind by the Lord. God’s works are perfect, and nothing less than perfection can satisfy Him. He cannot stop short. Sometimes He will deal with you through others, arranging for you to be with someone whom you are angry with, or whom you despise or are jealous of; or very often it is through those you love. Before this you did not know how unclean and mixed you were, but afterwards you realize how much “rubbish” there is in you. You thought you were wholly for the Lord, but after receiving discipline of the Holy Spirit you begin to see how far reaching the effects eternal things have on you are.
Then again the hand of God may touch our thought life. We discover that our thoughts are confused, independent and uncontrolled. We feign to be wiser than others. Then it is the Lord that allows us to crash into a wall and hit the dust—all to show us that we dare not use our thoughts inordinately. Once we have been enlightened in this, we shall fear our own thoughts as fire. Just as a hand immediately withdraws from a flame, so we shall instantly draw back when we encounter our own uncontrolled thoughts. We shall remind ourselves, “this is not what I should think; I am afraid to pursue my own thoughts.”
Further, God will arrange our circumstances as to deal with our emotions. Some people are extremely emotional. When they are elated, they cannot contain themselves; when they are depressed, they cannot be comforted. Their whole life revolves around their emotions, with their elation resulting in dissipation and their depression in inactivity. How does God rectify this? He places them in situations where they dare not be too happy when elated, nor too sad when depressed. They can only depend on the grace of God and live by His mercy, not by their fickle emotions.
Although difficulties with thoughts and emotions are quite common, the greatest and most prevalent difficulty is with the will. Our emotions run wild because our wills have not been dealt with. The root is in our will. The same is true with our thoughts. We may be able to mouth the word, “not my will but thine be done,” but how often do we allow the Lord to take over when things happen? The less you know yourself, the more easily you can utter such words. The less you are enlightened, the easier submission to God seems to be. He who speaks cheaply has proved he has never paid the price.
Only after being dealt with by God do we really see how hard we are and how ready we are to have our own opinion. God must deal with us to make our wills tender and docile. Strong-willed people and convinced their feelings, ways and judgements are always right. Consider how Paul received this grace recorded in (Philippians 3:3) “do not trust in the flesh”. We must also be led by God to such a place we dare not trust our own judgement. God will allow us to make mistake after mistake until we realize that this will be our pattern for the future too. We truly need the grace of the Lord. Frequently the Lord permits us to reap the consequences from our own judgements.
Finally, you will be so stricken by your own failures that you will say: “I fear my own judgements as I fear Hell fire. Lord, I am prone to mistakes. Unless thou are merciful to me, unless Thou dost support me, unless thou dost restrain me with Thy hand, I will be wrong again.” This is the beginning of the destruction of the outward man: when you dare no longer to trust yourself. Your opinions usually come easily until you have been dealt with repeatedly by God and have suffered many failures. Then you yield and say: “God, I dare not think, I dare not decide.” This is the discipline of the Holy Spirit: when all kind of things and all sorts of people are pressing in from all directions.
Messages feed us, prayer restores us, God’s word refreshes us, and helping others releases our spirit.