Thursday’s Thought: Bill Johnson and Brother Lawrence on Introspection and Sanctification

In my own pursuit of God, I often became preoccupied with ME!  It was easy to think that being constantly aware of my faults and weaknesses was humility.  It’s not!  If I’m the main subject, talking incessantly about my weaknesses, I have entered into the most subtle form of pride.  Repeated phrases such as, “I’m so unworthy,” became a nauseating replacement for the declarations of the worthiness of God.  By being sold on my own unrighteousness, the enemy has disengaged me from effective service.  It’s a perversion of true holiness when introspection causes my spiritual self-esteem to increase, but my effectiveness in demonstrating the power of the gospel to decrease…

I struggled for many years with self-evaluation.  The main problem was that I never found anything good in me…

It may sound strange, but I don’t examine my motives anymore.  That’s not my job.  I work hard to obey God in everything that I am and do.  If I am out to lunch on a matter, it is His job to point that out to me.  After many years of trying to do what only He could do, I discovered that I was not the Holy Spirit.  I cannot convict and deliver myself of sin.  Does that mean that I never deal with impure motives?  No.  He has shown Himself to be very eager to point out my constant need for repentance and change.  But He’s the one with the spotlight, and He alone can give the grace to change.

There is a major difference between the believer who is being dealt with by God, and the one who has become introspective.  When God searches the heart, He finds things in us that He wants to change.  He brings conviction because of His commitment to deliver us.  Such a revelation brought me to pray in the following manner:

“Father, you know that I don’t do so well when I look inward, so I’m going to stop.  I am relying on You to point out to me the things that I need to see, I promise to stay in Your Word.  You said that your Word was a sword – so please use it to cut me deeply.  Expose those things in me that are not pleasing to You.  But in doing so, please give me the grace to forsake them.  I also promise to come before You daily.  Your presence is like a fire.  Please burn from me those things that are unpleasing to You.  Melt my heart until it becomes like the heart of Jesus.  Be merciful to me in these things.  I also promise to stay in fellowship with Your people,  You said that irons sharpens iron.  I expect You to anoint the “wounds of a friend” to bring me to my senses when I’m being resistant toward You.  Please use these tools to shape my life until Jesus alone is seen in me.  I believe that You have given me Your heart and mind.  By Your grace I am a new creation.  I want that reality to be seen that the name of Jesus would be held in highest honor.”

– Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth

When he had failed in his duty [Brother Lawrence] only confessed his fault, saying to God, “I shall never do otherwise if You leave me to myself; it is You who must hinder my falling and mend what is amiss.”  After this he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.

– The Practice of the Presence of God


Category: Thursday’s Thought

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One Response to Thursday’s Thought: Bill Johnson and Brother Lawrence on Introspection and Sanctification

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