The Process is the Purpose

 Lorraine Day, M.D.

Compassion is the new buzzword in the church.  There’s nothing wrong with real compassion, but often church members confuse it with enabling.  And just like the world, tolerance – even tolerance of sin – is the order of the day among Christians.  

Christians say, “The Bible says, ‘Don’t Judge!’”  

Yet we “judge” every day.  Do you not “judge” a pedophile?  Do you not “judge” a thief?  Do you not “judge” a murderer?  Do you not “judge” a child abuser?  If you do not, then you are an enabler, enabling others to “sin” themselves away from God, away from the only source of life – both physically and spiritually.  And God holds you accountable. 

The Bible commands us to expose evil.

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour 

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints: 

Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting; but rather giving of thanks 

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolator, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 

Let no man deceive you with empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 

Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 

For ye were once in darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) 

Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord

 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.  Ephesians 5:1-11 

“We are to expose evil, not be sympathetic to it.  We are to become strong and mature in the Lord.  But the people used to strengthen us are never those who sympathize with us; in fact, we are hindered by those who give us their sympathy, because sympathy only serves to weaken us. . .If we accept the sympathy of another Christian, our spontaneous feeling is, ‘God is dealing too harshly with me and making my life too difficult.’ 

“That is why Jesus said self-pity is of the devil.”  Chambers, O., My Utmost for His Highest, Aug 10. 

When Jesus began to show His disciples how He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, 

“Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee. 

“But Jesus turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto Me: for thou are not mindful of the things that are of God, but those that are of men..”  Matt 16:21-23 

Jesus came to do the will of His Father no matter what it cost Him – even His life - and He refused to descend into self-pity, or even accept the pity of others. 

“I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”  John 6:38 

“Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.  Nevertheless, not as I  will, but as Thou wilt.”  Matt 26:39 

Many who are seriously ill – by their own hand – from the way they have been living, thinking, acting, eating, and handling stress are begging for “compassion.”  What they really want is pity.  They don’t want to hear the truth: that they have brought their disease on themselves.  They don’t want to hear that they must change everything about their life in order to get well.  They brand that message as “harsh” and “non-Christian.” 

They want to be stroked and coddled and pampered.  But Jesus Christ does not treat sin that way.  Because the Pharisees were doing their best to keep the people from hearing the truth that Jesus was preaching, He called them vipers, hypocrites, the synagogue of Satan, and “of your father, the devil.”  

God’s warning against desiring spiritual success 

Christian workers desperately desire spiritual success: the size of their church, the number of new conversions, the number of food baskets the members have provided for the poor.  It’s so much easier to “work for God” than to be “one with God.” 

Jesus told the disciples not to rejoice in successful service. 

“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”  Luke 10:20 

Yet successful service seems to be the one thing the churches want most.  Christians have a corporate mentality.  They count the number of souls saved, but we are not able to “save souls.”  Only the Lord can change someone’s heart.  Our job is to “disciple” them after God saves them. 

“Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace, and our work as His disciples is to disciple other’ lives until they are totally yielded to God.  One life totally devoted to God is of more value to Him than one hundred lives that have been simply awakened by His Spirit. . . Never seek after anything other than the approval of God”  Ibid, April 24

God’s Purpose or Mine?

“We tend to think that Jesus Christ will lead us to great success for Him.  We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us.  In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite.  

“We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not.  The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way.  What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.” Ibid July 28 

God’s ultimate goal for every person is for us to depend on Him, and on His power - - now.  “If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me.  God is not working toward a particular finish – His purpose is the process itself… It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God. 

“God’s training is for now, not later.  His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future.  What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.  God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now.  If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time.  However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal,” then our eyes have been opened.  Ibid. July 28

God is in control of Everything 

We must remember at all times that God is in control of everything.  This means that a follower of Christ must maintain an attitude of perfect trust and an eagerness to ask and to seek. 

“Fill your mind with the thought that God is there.  And once your mind is truly filled with that thought, when you experience difficulties it will be as easy as breathing for you to remember, ‘My heavenly Father knows all about this!’  This will be no effort at all, but will be a natural thing for you when difficulties and uncertainties arise.  Before you formed this concept of divine control so powerfully in your mind, you used to go from person to person seeking help, but now you go directly to God about it.  

“God teaches us the following principle: ‘God is my Father, He loves me, and I will never think of anything that He will forget, so why should I worry?’ . . .Keep in mind that God is behind all things.  Not even the smallest detail of life happens unless God’s will is behind it.”  Ibid. July 16

Worrying is a sin 

Christians often forget that nothing can happen unless God allows it, and if God allows it, it is God’s will.  So, no matter what happens to us, we are to turn to God for direction.  We are not alone.  He is with us every hour of every day, promising to help us. 

“Come to Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 

“For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”  Matt 11:28-30 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. 

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  Prov 3:5,6 

“Fear not, for I am with you.  Be not dismayed; for I am your God; I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness. 

“Behold, all they that were incensed against you shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that provoke strife with thee shall perish. 

“For you shall seek them, and shall not find them, even those who contend with you: those that war against you shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.

“For I the Lord your God will hold your right hand, saying unto you, Fear not: I will help you.”  Isaiah 41:10-13