— Brother Phil Enlow: Boy, there’s so much. You could just go on and on and on talking about what it means to be humble, but I’ll tell you, basically, it is an absolute surrender, where God gets to do whatever is needed, and it’s not only okay, but we can say, thank You, Lord. I see beyond this. I know there’s nothing that can separate me from Your love, and Your purpose. It doesn’t matter what instrument You have to use to fix me, to change me, to get at the things that are in me. But Lord, I’m looking to You. I surrender.
Jesus said, I’m…learn from Me, because I’m humble and gentle—gentle. That doesn’t mean he was Casper Milquetoast. But what you get is this sense of, I am not going to run on human emotion. I’m not gonna let human emotions, negative emotions take over, and usually it’s anger. It would be the opposite. That’s when you get mad at somebody and blame them for your trouble, and say God, fix them!
And here’s the Lord…by God’s strength, don’t ever forget that, by God’s strength there still is an ability to have a gentle spirit that never gives way to that anger. I’ll tell you, human anger does not accomplish God’s purpose, and every one of us gets mad. We, every one, struggle with this thing.
And the funny thing is, that if we’ve got a need in a certain area, God’s gonna keep bringing you back to that point, until we learn to say, thank You, Lord, I get it. It’s not about them. It’s about this. Help me to find grace and strength and the willingness…that’s usually the problem, the willingness to say, Lord, the real issue You’re dealing with, I don’t care how You do it, the real issue You’re dealing with is right here, and I surrender. Lord, teach me how to be like You. This is not imitating Him. This is an expression of the same life that powered Him in His earthly walk.
There are so many places you could go, and I don’t want to just belabor it, but I don’t want to shortchange it either. But you know, you go back to Isaiah, and the second thing that he says after being humble, what is it? Do you remember? It’s contrite.
Now, what is contrite? What is contriteness? Brokenness, being crushed actually is part of the meaning, but it has to do with our attitude about the things that we discover about ourselves. When God brings us to salvation, it comes with a knowledge of our need before God, that we are sinners, but when we walk with Him, we will meet ourselves over and over and over and over and over and over again in ways that we’re going to have to face what we are, and boy, we don’t like that.
We are going to find every excuse in the book to side-step that. It might be…I remember there was a time there was someone in the church who absolutely reacted like this about their needs in the area of sin. Well, it’s all taken care of. Oh, God. Does that sound like contriteness? No.
There has got to be an absolute honesty, that recognizes what it is that God’s dealing with, what the real problem is. See, our problem…the root problem of human nature is, what? It’s pride! And if God brings me to a situation that brings out something that is not very godly in me, is not my natural reaction gonna be to say, wait a minute, I’m not really like that? I made a ‘mistake.’
No, you didn’t. You acted in your human nature…a thousand and one ways that we will side-step. It was their fault. We’ve already talked about that…so many ways in which we will…we can blame God. Anybody here…ever kind of fallen into that one? God, this is just the way I am. What can You expect?
Well, this is what we’re talking about. What is God looking for from us? He’s not looking for excuses, not looking for, well, it’s just you way I am. You’re gonna have to take me like I am. Just as I am does not mean He saves us ‘in’ our sins but ‘from’ them.
He brings us to a knowledge of what we are so He can deliver us, but how can He deliver us if we don’t take ownership of that, if we don’t come to Him with a humble honesty of heart that says God, not only do I recognize the truth of the this, the facts of this case, but God, I want to be on Your side. I don’t want to have this controversy between us about what happened. I want to stand over here and join the prosecutor and say, guilty.
Thank God it doesn’t end there. You know, what does John say? If we confess our sin—confess. What does confess mean? You’re taking ownership. You’re agreeing with the prosecutor. There is a total laying it out and saying, Lord, I offer no defense. I bring this to You, and the contrite part is, I’m in agreement with You. God, this distresses my soul that I could do this, that I could be this way. Oh, God, I come to You, longing for deliverance from this, and I look to You based upon the cross and the blood that was shed there as my only hope!
God’s promise is that He will take away that guilt and that shame. There is an answer to everything, but there is no way to side-step the issue, and we do it a thousand and one ways. We just accept, we compromise, we minimize…we just side-step the absolute truth.
Look at what David went through. I mean, was he guilty? Oh, my God. Was He clueless? He was a lot more clueless than most of us. He committed adultery and murder, and didn’t have a clue until God confronted him through the prophet, and said, thou art the man.
But what a picture of a contrite heart do we find in Psalm 51. He took complete ownership of what he had done. God, You are completely right. I am completely wrong. I offer no defense. I don’t offer any excuse. I don’t offer anything to rebut this. There’s no debate here. Lord, I was utterly wrong.
But what a promise he understood, that a humble, “…and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (NIV). Thank God, that we’ve got a God like this! What an amazing thing it is that we can take complete ownership of our need before God, and yet, come to Him with a confidence of His love!
That’s what we’re afraid of. I don’t want to admit that I have this need, that I’m this bad, or that this is wrong with me. I don’t want to face that. God, I want to come and pretend that everything’s okay.
You wonder why bondages hang on? You wonder why needs hang on? What God is looking for is that humbleness, but that contriteness where we just literally come and lay our case at His feet. That’s what He’s looking for. He doesn’t despise you when you do that. He loves you. There’s something in His heart that reaches out. Mercy is what He’s looking for! Mercy triumphs over judgement!
He hates when He has to judge the world. It’s not something He looks forward to. He doesn’t have any pleasure in the death of the wicked. There’s one thing He’s looking for, and I pray that He finds it more and more in my heart, because this isn’t just something for the people out there. This is something for everybody in here.
You and I are facing issues in our lives right now that are bringing things out that we don’t like, and we don’t want to admit, but God has an answer. And the answer is not to duck it, deny it, side-step it. It’s to come just as we are, just as I am. What a perfect song to have led into this, “Just as I am…I come broken to be mended.”
That’s the kind of heart God is looking for. If you’ve got a heart like that, man, you’ve got something that only God can impart. Praise God! Praise God! There’s nothing of any greater value on this planet.
Oh, how this world values strong-minded, strong-willed people who can go out and conquer the world. And the Lord is looking for a child who will just say, Lord, I need You. Lord, You’ve got a plan that goes beyond this world. I have no way to participate in that unless You perform a miracle, and so I am in Your hands. You are the potter, I am the clay. Go for it, Lord. Well, He does, doesn’t He?
( laughing ).
He does. A lot of folks here can testify of things that you didn’t know were coming. You didn’t have any idea they were needed. And I’ll tell you, when you’re in the middle of it, and we have emotions to deal with, that’s when we need grace. That’s when there are battles to be fought, and the battle isn’t, God, fix it, always. It’s, God, help me to see what You’re doing in this to fix the needs that are in here.
Help me to trust You, because trust is not simply a theological principle. It means, when the rubber meets the road in the circumstance I never wanted to face, here I am! How do I feel about God and my place before Him? Do I stand in that same place as when I was over here rejoicing? See, that’s what God is looking for. He’ll give the grace to do it, but there comes a place where we’re gonna have to trust Him, and we’re gonna have to listen.
You know, that’s the other thing that he says there. It’s for, “…he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” He’s not talking about the kind of fear that we think of. He’s talking about a deep respect.
And I’ll tell you, if your heart is really surrendered to the Lord, He has a way of letting you know when He’s talking. It might be through a message. It might be through something someone says, something you read, or just in the quiet of your own heart. You know when God’s talking.
And I’ll tell you, when God speaks, it’s not a time for debate. It’s not a time for, ‘but’ this or ‘but’ that. We don’t say, well God…I’m really a good person, I just made a mistake. Good luck with that one.
God knows, and when He says something, we need to say, yes, Lord, and not just in a resentful way, certainly not in a resentful way, but in a way that recognizes this is the author of love itself. I’m His child. He loves me, and He’s loved me from eternity past, and He will love me in eternity future. He knew exactly what He was getting into when He saved me. The things that I still haven’t…haven’t come to the surface in my life, He’ll still love me when that happens.
But what’s He looking for? What kind of a response is He looking for? To humble myself, to believe His Word, to believe His promise. I’ll tell you, the thing that the Devil is likely to try to jump in with if you hear something like this is, okay, well, how can I do that?
I thank God that serving Him is not something we have to try to work up in ourselves. And the time when we feel our deepest need is usually the time when we have the hardest time going to God. Some of it is pride. Some of it is unbelief! But that’s the very time we need to be going to God and saying oh, God, I come as I am, because You have promised! Lord, I look to You right now in my time of need. I need heavenly grace. I kind of need what Jesus needed.
Think about that. Jesus just didn’t blow through life because He was the Son of God. He got down on His face and said, oh God, this is hard. This world wants so hard to suck me into its ways, to suck me into this rebellion that’s led by Lucifer. Oh God, if You don’t give me strength, then I won’t have what I need! But You are faithful, and He knew where to go to get His help. Folks, that’s what we need.
At the moment of need, we need to go to that throne of grace, not later on after we’ve fixed it, and we feel better about ourselves. It’s when we’re in need is when He invites us. When Jesus was facing the cross, oh, did He feel the need? Oh, boy. I mean, three hours of prayer that was so intense that He bled…He sweated like great drops of blood. That’s pretty intense.
God, give us the grace to realize there are no quicky fixes to this. So many people out there have an idea that they’ve got some experience or some mantra that you can say or some something that will just kind of let you blow through life and fly above it like the eagle. We’re gonna be down in the depths, many times, looking to God and crying out.
Look at Paul’s life. Did he have it easy to accomplish what God wanted to accomplish through him? He went through deep sufferings. He went through battles. He went through so many things to be able to give out God’s Word and to seek God, and God brought him through. And he recognized at every point, this is God’s hand upon my life. I could not do what I’m doing if God didn’t kill something in here that wants to live.
We want some easy way, and we think if there’s something hard going on in our lives, something’s wrong. It might be the very thing…I’ll take the ‘might’ out of that. It’s the very thing that we need.
Do we really believe it when we sing nothing can happen outside of God’s will? It’s really easy to sing when everything’s going good, plenty of money in the bank, and we’re feeling good, everybody likes us…well, most people anyway. Nothing can happen outside of God’s will. Praise God!
It feels good, and then, all of the sudden, the hammer comes down, and the clouds settle in, and there’s something that looks impossible. And it looks awful, and we’re trying to figure it out. What did I do wrong? What’s going on? And all God’s trying to do is shine a light on something in here that He wants to bring out to the surface.
How can we be delivered if He doesn’t bring the stuff out? We want to find a way around that. We would like an experience that would just make it sort of all vanish, and suddenly, we’re what we’re supposed to be. God is going to continue the process that brought us into the kingdom where He had to show us our need. He’s gonna be showing us our need every single day, in one fashion or another.
And what is He looking for? He’s looking for a heart that will be humble, and honest, that will be contrite, join Him in His feelings about that, instead of looking around and trying to find somebody else to blame, and somebody that takes Him at His Word.
I’ll tell you, the Word I need right then is His promise. He has got all the promises that we need, and this is a God who cannot lie. Praise God! He’s given us every reason in the world why we can rejoice, and give thanks in every kind of situation.
“Rejoice in the Lord always.” Did I ever read this verse in Philippians? I don’t think I did. Philippians 4:4. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” This is somebody who’s writing from prison, by the way. Life is not a happy thing in the natural. There he is suffering for Christ! And he writes them and says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” That’s a testimony that you can listen to and believe. He was living it, wasn’t he?
But I guess I started with this because of the reference to gentleness. It says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” God, You’re gonna have to do that. It’s not in me. There are so many situations where my natural reaction is just gonna be anger, blame, fix it! And God wants to reproduce His nature in me, but I’m gonna have to face, honestly, what’s wrong.
Can I duck it? Can I just pretend it’s not there? Can I act spiritual and pretend and think the Lord’s stupid? That’s what it boils down to. I mean, does He not know? Can we not trust Him? Can we not trust somebody who went to the cross for us?
Oh, what it cost Him to be able to do this, and the example that He set of total humility and dependance upon His heavenly Father. He called Him, My God. There’s an order. There’s a dependance that was real in His life. This was not play acting on His part. He absolutely looked to His God in, many times, travailing prayer, and that was the reason He was able to offer Himself without spot to God. God gave Him the strength to do it.
That same God is with us, and He will give us the strength that we need to face the things that we need to face. God knows what He’s doing. If we’re gonna humble ourselves and trust Him, we’re gonna have to trust what He does. We’re gonna trust when He does it, and how long it takes, because we know where this is ending.
I’ll tell you, if you’ve got that faith born in your heart, you know how it turns out. It’s like Brother Jimmy said, we’ve read the last chapter, and we know how it turns out. It’s the process that gets to us and we need to learn how to handle it.
I’ll tell you, we have a God. And I’ll tell you sort of in a summary way, there are several things God does not want us to do. He doesn’t want us to be fearful. Don’t let any of this cause someone to be afraid. Oh God, what’s about to land? God, it’s been too good. I’m just waiting for the next, no…waiting for the hammer to come down. I’ll tell you, God does not want us ever to react with fear as though somehow everything’s gone to hell in a handbasket. The Devil’s winning. He’s a liar!
( congregational amens ).
Jesus Christ is on His throne! He is ruling, and He’s reigning, and He loves you! Whatever He brings, He doesn’t want us to be cowering in fear because of it. He doesn’t want us ever to be discouraged, or to give up, or to be weary in well doing and to say it’s not worth it, I can’t do this.
Of course, you can’t in yourself! I can’t either. I find that out all the time. God, I need You. And it isn’t always just this quicky okay, Lord, I need You. A lot of times, we’re gonna have to go to God, seriously, and cry out. Anybody know what I’m talking about?
( congregation inaudible ).
Yeah. That’s part of it. That forms something in us when we do that. There’s an exercise that strengthens that part of us that God is wanting to build, that’s wanting to grow up that new life. It exercises itself against the resistance of this world and this nature.
( congregational amens ).
God makes it strong when we have to fight. We don’t want to fight. We want Him to do all the fighting and us just coast. There’s a reason God says it’s a battle. It’s a warfare. “Fight the good fight of the faith.”
I can’t even remember what the last point is, but that’s all right. The Lord knows…but we need to trust Him with all of our hearts. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways…” Praise God.
( congregation inaudible ).
“…Acknowledge him…” Thank you. Don’t get old! “…In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” We’ve got a God who knows what He’s doing.
I don’t know where you’re at this morning, but I know there are battles that are real that are being fought in people’s lives. What is He looking for from you right now? He’s looking for trust, humbleness, to know who you are and who He is, and to accept that with an open, free heart, to have this trust that looks to Him, to acknowledge when He puts His finger on something in your heart that isn’t right, not to be dismayed by it, but to be honest, and to bring it to Him and say, Lord, this is what needs to be changed. I agree with You about it, and I believe Your promise.
I’ll tell you, we’ve got a God that’s gonna take us through. He’s not looking for your strength, not looking for you to be smart, not looking for you to have a strong will, and great performance in the outward way. He’s looking for a heart that comes like a child and says, Lord, I’m Yours, do what it takes to get me to the other side, and help me just to trust You with the process and look to You. I’ll tell you, is God faithful, or isn’t He? Praise God. Praise God!