Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry


By Jeannette Haley

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

 – Joshua 24:15 

      In my last article I wrote about how God raised up a man called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, and it all began with separation. Moses was separated from both the courts of Pharaoh and his own people when he fled to the back side of the desert. After a separation of forty years, God called him to go and deliver the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. His forty years of separation may have seemed like a spiritually dry or even wasteful time for Moses, but what we need to understand is, God was working in his life in order to prepare him for great things just as He works in our lives when we fully consecrate ourselves to Him. Of course, the first thing we must be separated from is our sin. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have his face from you, that he will not hear.” We need to consider our ways!

      Moses is a very interesting man to study, for if you follow his life you will glean powerful spiritual examples, principles, as well as knowledge and understanding of God and His ways through various shadows, types and patterns. Knowing that Moses was raised in the courts of Pharaoh where he was educated in all the ways of the Egyptians, which were by far more “advanced” in science, medicine, architecture, music, art, history, philosophy, economics, etc. than most people realize, we stand in amazement that he was willing to give up the best the world had to offer at that time. As the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses undoubtedly was one of the most privileged young man in the entire kingdom, yet God knew his heart was with his own people, the Hebrews.

      One of the things that stands out is (besides his courage and leadership skills) is his strong personality. The Bible records for us the times when his anger pushed him into unwise actions that resulted in drastic changes in his life, such as when he killed the Egyptian who was mistreating a Hebrew. That is when Moses departed from his high station in life and dwelt in a remote desert region where he no doubt learned basic survival skills as well as some character-building virtues that a shepherd of both sheep and people must possess.

      Moses fell into a daily stride as he humbly carried on his life with his wife and two sons as most of us do as we trudge through one day at a time, just doing our best to accomplish what needs to be done. I believe he was totally unprepared for the sudden appearance of the burning bush, His encounter with Jehovah God, and the call upon his life. The lesson here for each of us is to be as separated in our hearts from Egypt (the world) as much as possible, while living for the LORD, reading the Word, loving the truth, walking in the Spirit, praying in the Spirit, and listening to the Spirit. If our hearts are right with God, when He calls, we will hear His voice and answer just as the disciples did when they left their nets to follow Jesus. If we are going to go on to follow Jesus, know Him more, come higher in Him, and truly know Him, then we must allow the process of separation to take place in our hearts (affections) and minds (worldly focus) in order to be prepared for the days ahead. The Apostle Paul declared, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” Galatians 6:14.

       After so many years as a “nobody” living in obscurity, Moses’ youthful zeal along with any causes or agendas he may have had were a thing of the past. Therefore, when God called Him to go and speak to the children of Israel, he was more than reluctant because at this point in his life, he no longer believed himself to be qualified for such a high calling. No doubt forty years of living on the back side of the desert had brought Moses to a place of true humility where self-realization was not present in his life. Concerning self-realization, Oswald Chambers wrote, “A saint is not to take the initiative toward self-realization, but toward knowing Jesus Christ. A spiritually vigorous saint never believes that his circumstances simply happen at random, nor does he ever think of his life as being divided into the secular and the sacred. He sees every situation in which he finds himself as the means of obtaining a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ, and he has an attitude of unrestrained abandon and total surrender about him. The Holy Spirit is determined that we will have the realization of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives, and He will bring us back to the same point over and over again until we do. Self-realization only leads to the glorification of good works, whereas a saint of God glorifies Jesus Christ through his good works. Whatever we may be doing— even eating, drinking, or washing disciples’ feet— we have to take the initiative of realizing and recognizing Jesus Christ in it. Every phase of our life has its counterpart in the life of Jesus. Our Lord realized His relationship to the Father even in the most menial task. “Jesus, knowing…that He had come from God and was going to God,…took a towel…and began to wash the disciples’ feet…” (John 13:3-5). The aim of a spiritually vigorous saint is “that I may know Him…” Do I know Him where I am today? If not, I am failing Him. I am not here for self-realization, but to know Jesus Christ. In Christian work our initiative and motivation are too often simply the result of realizing that there is work to be done and that we must do it. Yet that is never the attitude of a spiritually vigorous saint. His aim is to achieve the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances.”

      When God’s call comes upon a person’s life to follow Him and do His bidding it is an awesome experience. Sometimes a believer’s excitement, however, far exceeds his or her understanding, which tends to get him or her ahead of God and His plan. There has to be a time of waiting on the Lord, and preparation, and one of the first things that has to be dealt with is pride. God is faithful, and He knows just how to work pride out of each of us. It reminds me of the old saying, “Give him/her enough rope and he/she will hang themself.” This process is one of the most difficult and humiliating places to find oneself, but in order to serve Christ in the right spirit, and give Him all the glory, it’s not only crucial, but absolutely necessary. Oh LORD! Cause us to be separated from our pride, and unto You! As workers and witnesses for Christ, help us to remember that “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” Proverbs 16:18.

      If we fail to allow God to separate us from, not only our old way of doing things, but our pride, then we will never truly be an instrument that God can use to the fullest. Pride makes us stiff-necked (stubborn and rebellious), hard-headed (unteachable and unreasonable), and self-serving instead of self-sacrificing. Just as Moses had to go through his personal process, then get past his excuses to not answer the call, and learn from his failure to obey God’s covenant by not circumcising his sons, so too, if we are to grow in God and live pleasing lives for Him, we must yield to our “process of separation” as well and honor the LORD in all we do.

      God never calls us to perform only that which He can perform, such as the miracles of the ten plagues and the mighty parting of the Red Sea. Our duty is to simply follow His instructions, no more and no less as is evidenced throughout the Old Testament examples. God uses us as His instruments, as He will, but all the power and glory belongs to Him. God was revealing Himself to be mighty to both the Egyptians and the children of Israel. To the one, (Egyptians) it was to reveal Himself so that they would know that “I am the Lord” Exodus 14:18a and the Israelites would fear the LORD, and believe the LORD, and his servant Moses, Exodus 14:31. The Lord also clearly showed His mighty power through all the plagues by separating His children from the effects of the plagues that fell upon the Egyptians, “And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night” Exodus 14:19, 20. Their final separation from the Egyptians came at the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea.

      Exodus 14:30, 31 tells us, “Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.” How wonderful that the people were united in their “fear of the LORD” and “belief in the LORD” at that time. As for our world today, to come to this point where all the people fear, believe and love Him will not occur until the return of Christ when He sets up His kingdom on earth, to rule and to reign with a rod of iron for a thousand years.

      As for Moses and the children of Israel, the were jubilant beyond description, as you can imagine, and celebrated in song and dance. They sang what became to be known as “the song of Moses.” Music is a powerful uniter of hearts and minds, and wonderful in worship to the Lord when offered up in Spirit and truth. You can read their song in Exodus 15. In Exodus 15:20, 21 we read that Moses’ sister, “Miriam the prophetess . . . took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.”

      So far, we’ve followed the children of Israel as they were separated from slavery, saved through the parting of the Red Sea, and then triumphantly singing of songs of victory and praise. It didn’t take them long, however, as they followed Moses in their journey to the Promised Land, that their singing turned to sighing, and their hearts turned back to the place of slavery from which God had delivered them with a mighty hand. We read in Exodus 16:2, 3, “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

      Likewise, so it is with many believers who have come to salvation through Christ, and who have been delivered from the bondage of sin, baptized, set free, and rejoiced in the LORD, only to lose sight of God’s promises when faced with the trials and tribulations of this world. The Apostle Paul, in recounting Israel’s unbelief, ingratitude, dissatisfaction and murmuring wrote, “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted” 1 Corinthians 10:5, 6. Jesus said, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” Luke 9:62. True separation to Christ from the slavery of sin means there will be no sighs of regret or longing for what was, and no looking back, for such “sighing” surely leads to slipping! In the process of time, even Moses’ sister, Miriam, went from singing to slipping when she, with her brother Aaron, challenged Moses’ leadership, and God’s judgment fell upon her. (See Numbers 12.)

      As the people struggled in despair concerning food and drink, God in his mercy said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no” Exodus 16:4. God was not only providing for them, but He was also “proving” them to see if they would obey Him. God was testing them, just as He tests us. Psalm 17:3 says, “Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou has tried me, and shalt find nothing: I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.” Besides our inward life being tried by the LORD, there is also a refining and purifying process. There is also the test of the storm to see if our “house” is built on the solid rock, or on sinking sand, and finally there is the test as stated in 1 Corinthians 3:12, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”

      The question is, just what does “separation” mean for a Christian? A. W. Tozer summed it up well: “The Christian is called to separation from the world, but we must be sure we know what we mean (or more important, what God means) by the world. We are likely to make it mean something external only and thus miss its real meaning. The theatre, cards, liquor, gambling: these are not the world; they are merely an external manifestation of the world. Our warfare is not against mere worldly ways, but against the spirit of the world. For man, whether he is saved or lost, is essentially spirit. The world, in the New Testament meaning of the word, is simply unregenerate human nature wherever it is found, whether in a tavern or in a church. Whatever springs out of, is built upon or receives support from fallen human nature is the world, whether it is morally base or morally respectable. The ancient Pharisees, in spite of their zealous devotion to religion, were of the very essence of the world. The spiritual principles upon which they built their system were drawn not from above but from below. They employed against Jesus the tactics of men. They bribed men to tell lies in defense of truth. To defend God they acted like devils. To support the Bible they defied the teachings of the Bible. They scuttled religion to save religion. They gave rein to blind hate in the name of the religion of love. There we see the world in all of its grim defiance of God. So fierce was this spirit that it never rested till it had put to death the Son of God Himself. The spirit of the Pharisees was actively and maliciously hostile to the Spirit of Jesus as each was a kind of distillation of the two worlds from whence they came.”

      So, where does that leave a Christian in our day and age when the rallying cry is “unity,” “togetherness,” and “oneness?” Aren’t we supposed to be “united” or “one” in Christ? Indeed, the true church of Jesus Christ is “one body” because we are of the same Spirit. Again, I quote Tozer on the subject: “The universal Church is the body of Christ, the bride of the Lamb, the habitation of God through the Spirit, the pillar and ground of the truth. The local church is a community of ransomed men, a minority group, a colony of heavenly souls dwelling apart on the earth, a division of soldiers on a foreign soil, a band of reapers, working under the direction of the Lord of the harvest, a flock of sheep following the Good Shepherd, a brotherhood of like-minded men, a visible representative of the Invisible God. It is most undesirable to conceive of our churches as Works, or Projects. If such words must be used, then let them be understood as referring to the earthly and legal aspect of things only. A true church is something supernatural and divine, and is in direct lineal descent from that first church at Jerusalem. Insofar as it is a church it is spiritual; its social aspect is secondary and may be imitated by any group regardless of its religious qualities or lack of them. The spiritual essence of a true church cannot be reproduced anywhere but in a company of renewed and inwardly united believers.”

      What should be clear to Christians is that to follow our LORD and remain true to Him means we cannot come into agreement with enemies of the cross, and we must be separate from, and remain separate, from those who preach “unity” out of a different spirit, with different motives and goals. The growing anger, hatred and violence we have witnessed over the past year, not only in our own nation, but around the globe is a witness against itself what spirit it is of—that of Satan. There is no virtue in “unity” when the holy falls into company with the profane, and for a Christian to compromise with the atheistic Marxist, Communist, globalists and their communist “Reset” agenda is to bring, not only a reproach upon the everlasting Gospel, but to give way to blasphemy, lies, and the darkness of death and destruction. Remember, Christian, Jesus warned us that we cannot serve two masters!

      Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said the country is in the midst of a “battle of Good vs. Evil” and Americans must “refuse to go to the funeral of our own independence” amid President Trump’s legal efforts concerning the election. “The battle we are engaged in cannot be fought with only human weapons: It requires the intervention of God because in a war against the forces of evil, only the Lord can obtain the victory,” Flynn wrote in an op-ed. “And as American citizens, we must refuse to go to the funeral of our own independence,” he continued. “We the people are proud to proclaim that the United States of America is ‘One Nation under God. We do not want a world governed by tyrants whom no one has elected and who want to have power in order to destroy us.”

      He added, “We understand what their plan is: to eliminate dissent, subdue any criticism and outlaw those who do not submit unconditionally to the dictatorship of the ‘new world order.’ Our Constitution is about individual liberties … not collective liberties that only these people in Washington, D.C., understand.”

      When we pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are invoking our Father in heaven to have His will done in every aspect of the earth which includes, of course, the nations of the world, and the governments of the world. The question is, when we ask for God’s will on earth, what mental picture do we have in our minds? Is it limited merely to just nature with sunbeams and butterflies, or do our hearts long for holiness, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost over every living soul in every nation? From the increasing number of flippant comments Christians make these days, it appears as if many professing believers inadvertently long for their will to be done in heaven far more than they want God’s will to be done on earth. It appears as if, in their minds, the best that heaven has to offer are all the things they enjoy the most on this earth such as their favorite activities, their favorite sports teams, their favorite hobbies, their favorite eating places, or anything else that is a priority in this life, along with endless partying. Can there be any greater proof that the post-modern church has greatly failed the Body of Christ, rendering it into a self-centered society of silly schmucks instead of saints? “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” Romans 14:17. Colossians 3:2, 3 says, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”  Therefore, just as the LORD delivered His people out of slavery and brought them out of Egypt, so too must there be genuine heart separation from the ways and systems of the world in order to enter into God’s kingdom.

      God separates His children out from the kingdom of darkness unto Himself and into the kingdom of light, but this distinct separation requires obedience on our part. There is a price to pay as we leave “Egypt” behind and consecrate ourselves to follow the Lord in the paths of righteousness. “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” Colossians 1:13. Nowhere does the Bible tell us that somewhere “in the middle” there is a “kingdom of gray” for those who are half in and half out!

Jesus made it very clear that there was only one “narrow way” not three ways consisting of a narrow road, a broad road, and a “middle road.” He said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” Matthew 7:13, 14.

      In this day of Marxist “political correctness,” “social justice” and New Age “harmony” we need to remember what God’s Word tells us. After all, Amos 3:3 simplifies it with this question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Jesus declared in Matthew 10:34, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” That sword is the two-edged sword of truth, and when the sword of truth comes down, a separation automatically takes place. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. The sad truth is the children of Israel loved the world (Egypt) more than they thought they did for, after they had been delivered by mighty signs and wonders, and the parting of the Red Sea, it didn’t take them long before they began to murmur and complain. Their singing turned to sighing, and their sighing turned to slipping as their ingratitude and their faith in God waned while their lust for their former Egyptian diet grew greater.

      The question is, what about the people of the world today who find themselves caught in the current web of insane propaganda, crushing injustice and overwhelming lawlessness? Right now, as I write this, the whole world is holding its “collective breath” waiting to see what is going to happen, and wondering when, if ever, we can go back to our “normal way of living.” Shock, fear, anger, worry and despair have shadowed people for almost a year, while the Cabal of evil world “planners” have skillfully put into action their diabolical plan to force upon every “irredeemable deplorable” person their totalitarian rule. All of this, along with Bio-warfare (COVID-19, deadly chem trails and Big Pharma killer drugs) has culminated in much sickness, suffering, sorrow and death. Could these days be the “time of sorrow” that Jesus spoke of in His Matthew 24 discourse?

      As always, the Word of God holds the answers to these questions, and more. If we trust and obey, we will find the “peace that passes all understanding.” (See Philippians 4:6-13.) But, if we continue to mourn the loss of the old while struggling and kicking against the separation that the LORD is working out in this world to cause His people to look up, and not back, as did Lot’s wife, then we shall surely find ourselves, as did the Egyptians, in the thick darkness of despair and death.