HUNGER FOR GOD IS NOT ENOUGH
March 15, 2013
The Spirit of the Lord is so strong this evening. I have felt His Presence here very strongly since the moment I walked into the building. For a few minutes, though, my thoughts wandered. During those moments, the angel of the Lord came, and he stood right beside me. He came to draw my thoughts and my heart back to God. He is still here, incidentally.
When I was in prayer this afternoon, I was weeping with great hunger for Him. Suddenly, His Spirit drew me with such passionate hunger that I could not withhold myself. I found myself drawing closer and closer to Him until I found myself kneeling before His throne. I noticed nothing except Him. I laid my head on His knees, and I wept uncontrollably because I was so hungry for Him.
Then He handed a scroll to me. He said, “I want you to teach on this tonight.”
It was Ezekiel 40:26:
Ezekiel 40:26-27a Amp. And there were seven steps going up to the gate, and its archway or vestibule was on the inside. And it had palm trees, one on this side and another on that side, carved on its posts or pillars. And there was a gate to the inner court on the south….
No matter how great your hunger for God is, it is not enough unless the hunger drives you with a passion to let go of self. Only then is it enough. It is similar to a situation where a dog has been beaten by a broom by a past owner. You, as the dog’s new master, have been very tender and loving to that dog and it loves you. But if you pick up a broom and lay it in front of the dog, its fear of walking over that broom to get to you is so enormous that some dogs will not do it. Some will because they want the love of the master so badly. That is how Jesus has to pull on you and how you must crave Him. You must come to a place where you move out of the law of sin and death and into the law of righteousness. You must come to the place where you want Him so badly, you are crying out. In your daily walk or when you awaken at night, you no longer think about the things you used to think about. Something in you is crying out for Jesus.
For years, I lived on two hours of sleep a night because if I accidentally woke up, I felt so much hunger and passion for Him that I could not stand to just go back to sleep again. I had to get up and spend time in prayer, in the Word, or whatever I needed to do until I felt consumed in His presence. That left me with about two hours of sleep a night. I cannot say that I only get two hours of sleep a night now, but I will be honest with you. About every hour and a half, He is awakening me. All I feel is a hunger to draw near to Him. So I stay awake, and I pray. Then I go back to sleep, and about an hour and a half later, He awakens me again.
There are seven steps, and then you arrive at the presence behind the veil.
Psalm 1:1-2 Amp. Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.
Do you hear what that means? There are those who work in the marketplace. When they are at work, their minds are not on Jesus, but rather whether or not they are pleasing the ungodly—or, perhaps, whether or not they are pleasing their boss. They do not understand that you are to do your work as unto the Lord, as though He were sitting or standing right there with you, watching and helping you. You are not there to serve your boss; you are there to serve Jesus. If you serve Jesus, your boss is going to be happy because you are going to do a superior work. If you serve a man, you will judge and criticize much of the time. When you serve man, you are always going to get frustrated because you are going to do according to the works of man. When you serve Christ with your work, you will walk in the law of the Lord. You will look to Him and ask Him, “Did I do it well enough for You, Lord? Is there something that You want to give me to put into this job that I didn’t know before?”
I can remember when we first started doing research for our next step in our works in the Gatherings. One of my colleagues came up with so much great information. I asked her, “Jen, did you learn research in school?” She replied, “Not like this.” I said, “How did you learn the research?” She said, “Well, the Lord.” I said, “Really?” She explained, “When I was in school, we didn’t all have computers. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew that we needed this information. So I sat down, and I said, ‘Holy Spirit, You know that I don’t know how to do research, but we need this information. So teach me where to go, how to go, and what to look for that I don’t know in the natural. What is the information You want brought out?’” She would pray like that all the time she was doing research. She was not doing it as unto me, but rather, she was doing it as unto the Lord.
There are things He knows and understands that maybe even our boss does not know and understand. If a husband and wife treated a marriage as unto the Lord, we would never have divorce in the Church. He would be serving her as though he were serving Christ, and she would be serving him as though she were serving her Master and Lord, Jesus. Pastors would not feel the frustration of trying to pastor their flock if their flock were looking to their pastor through the cross of Christ, and if the pastor did the same. The pastors would be looking for the best for their sheep. They would have their Bibles out, trying to shepherd the sheep according to the Word. If the sheep reciprocated, we would never have Church splits.
The problem is that as the body of Christ, we do not do that. We are in it for us and what we can get out of it, instead of finding out what Christ wants to give, impart, and enact. We do not find out what surgery He wants to do to our soul or what blessing He wants to give to our spirit man. If our eyes are set upon a man, it is going to fail. If they are set upon Christ, it will work. If people look to me, I have to say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” If I am not following Christ, then stop. If I continue to not follow Christ, then turn around and walk out. Your spiritual life must rest in His hands and not in the hands of a person. I know you have heard that before, but He wanted me to tell you again.
We are talking about growing in God. People often try to tell me how mature they are as Christians, and the minute they do that, they have revealed themselves. The more mature you are, the less you do that because that is not what you are all about. You are not interested in lifting up yourself, nor in playing the power game or the spiritual game. That has to come to an end if you are going to grow in Jesus. As long as you feel like you have it made, you will be one of the first to fall when the devil starts tripping people.
The Lord wants you to lift up your eyes, and hunger and pant for the righteousness of Christ—not your own righteousness. Self-righteousness is a serious danger. Never has it been more serious than it is today. When you are living in the passion of your own righteousness, you always have to justify yourself to someone. The only problem is that when it is all over, you will find that you were wrong. Then you have the embarrassment because you should have humbled yourself and walked in the way of righteousness instead of lifting yourself up in your self-righteousness.
When your eyes fall upon the righteousness of God, it shocks your soul. The first thing you realize is that you are not where you thought you were. His righteousness is so high, so great, so perfecting, and so provoking. When you look upon His righteousness, you cannot continue to gaze upon your own. Then you are willing to be corrected, established, broadened, deepened, and heightened.
A deception that people get into in the Church, after they have been saved a little while, is that they start thinking they are a little bigger than they ought to be thinking. Maybe they are doing some works in the Church, such as being on the worship team or part of the prayer ministry. The minute that inward gaze happens, we lose the gaze upon our Lord, and we find ourselves getting a little bit bigger than Jesus.
When He brings me into His presence, one of the first things He does is to humble me to the dust. Then, when I know how small I am, He will speak His lofty words. I wrote four or five chapters of one of my books by lying at the feet of Jesus. I would pray until He came in. I found myself literally lying at His toes, clinging to His ankles, pleading with Him to help me understand, and asking Him to tell me what He wanted me to write. Then and only then would He speak, and I would know what to write.
We cannot hear His voice until we lose sight of us and who and what we think we are. This is what “the counsel of the ungodly” means in Psalm 1:1. You do not have to be a murderer or a thief. I am seeing it right now in a vision. Walking in the counsel of the ungodly is when you are walking in the counsel of your own soul. It is when you are so lifted up that you think you have the final word. You might even come to the Word and judge and criticize it because you are walking, standing, or sitting in the counsel of the world! I cannot tell you how many times a week I get requests from people, asking me to mentor them. I write them back, and I tell them, “No. You cannot endure the mentoring I would have to give you.”
You have to come to a place where you realize you are an empty vessel that desperately needs to be filled with righteousness and with the correction of the Holy Spirit. If you do not understand how much you lack, you will not drink of the living well that He wants to give you. He never lets me grow to the next step until He takes me through a journey to teach me how badly I need it. When He has convinced me that I am not even spiritual, then He will speak to me and help me grow like the palm tree. Didn’t He tell us that “only the sick need the doctor”? (Mt 9:12, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31) If your soul is filled with self-righteousness, my dear friend, you are sick. You may not know it because you feel much richer than you did before you got saved. But if your soul is not emptied of the ways of the unrighteous, then to the degree that the world lives in you, you are sick. That is kind of scary, isn’t it? If you felt what I am feeling right now, you would lay yourself in the dust and not get up until Jesus says, “I will fill you.” The pain without that filling is so intense.
Psalm 1:2 Amp. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.
I have told you about when I went through a great trial. My prayer life went way down because I was too sick to give to myself the hours that I used to give. I was not able to fast because it would make me so sick to fast. My time in the Word went way down. I got to the point that it was painful to lift the Bible and read it. It was a fiery trial, and I almost did not survive it. I kept thinking, “I miss You so much, Lord. I wish I could do the night watches. I wish I could spend the hours in the Word. I wish I could spend the time in prayer that I used to.” I am not talking about sitting down in a chair and praying, but I am talking about deep intercessory prayer like I have walked in for all of my Christian walk. I missed Him so much. I missed His council and His law. I missed that manifest Presence that I have always walked in. I would repent and repent and plead with Him for strength to rise up and start walking again. But I had to go through that. He was deepening me, judging what needed to be removed, and shaking it. He was taking me into the deep places in my soul to reveal the weakness in my faith.
Many walk away when it is a time like that. I cannot. Considering where He has taken me and what He has given, how can I walk away? The momentary affliction is nothing compared to the glory. If you despise the affliction, you also despise the glory; you just do not know it. So He has to reveal the ungodly counsel in our own heart and soul. We come to utterly despise it, and we will go through anything to have it removed.
He wants our delight and our desire to be in the law of the Lord. He wants us to become those who meditate on His precepts, His instructions, and the teachings of God.
Psalm 1:2-3 Amp. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].
He will bring you there if you will humble yourself, be broken before Him, look at what you need to look at, and endure the cleansing.
Many years ago, He came to me, and He said, “I would give anyone who will the place to walk with Me that I have allowed you to walk.” Anyone. I said, “Lord, that’s so wonderful. Why don’t You?” He said, “It’s not My problem. Most are not willing to pay the price. They say they want Me, but they won’t pay the price, and this is the most serious aspect of that.” I asked, “What is it, Lord?” He replied, “They refuse to see who they really are. Because of that, I cannot give them My glory. I cannot take them where I want to take them.” The brokenness before the cross must be complete. That only happens when you see who you really are, deep inside.
It is so painful because we are like preppy Christians. Do you know how the preppies dress? They are usually the most intelligent in the classroom, well groomed, and often with glasses. They are the ones who always have all of their homework done and get straight A’s. They always have the right answer at the right time. We Christians are like that, too. We are kind of preppy Christians where we think we are better dressed than anyone else, spiritually. We think we are cleaner of heart than anyone else, spiritually. We think we are smarter, with more understanding of God’s ways, and with more truth than someone else. When God shines the light into that preppiness, and He begins to show us what we really are inside—how spoiled we are, how much self-love there is, how much stubbornness there is, how much of a critical spirit we have toward others, how we judge others by our own standards, the unforgiveness, the bitterness, the demanding of our own rights and way and will—we react. We say, “Get the light out of here! That is not me! I won’t accept that!” And the revelation stops
Now I am here to push you over the cliff, spiritually speaking. Do not worry if you have wings. Put on your bungee gear, and take a good bungee jump. Go! Do not stand still, but let your faith arise and take the chance. Look beyond the discipline, the correction, and what you have to see inwardly. The sooner you do it, and you put your eyes back on Him, you will come to realize that it is not your righteousness that is going to cause you to stand before Him; it is His. He has known this about you from the beginning, and it is going to be His joy when He is able to change this and lift you above this darkness.
If you have a problem lying, do not say, “No, I don’t lie.” The minute you say that, and you hold to fight the battle that you do not lie, when you know you do, you keep the darkness in your heart. If you have a problem with jealousy, do not deny it. Come to the Lord Jesus, and say, “I’ve got a jealous heart for all the wrong reasons. I hate this thing in me. Please remove it.” He wants to remove the darkness. Do not hold onto it and pretend that it does not exist. You cannot go anywhere in Him as long as you do that.
I want you to remember something which is very sacred. He poured out His blood on Calvary, and He chose you. He loves you so much. When He has to show you the rotten of the rotten, it is okay. His love will cover it. Even if you tell Him that He cannot ever touch those things in you, He will still love you. If you have been born again for forty years, and you are no more than a two year old babe in the Spirit, He still loves you. If He poured out His blood to make you His own, how much does He love? So why do we continue in our stubbornness, our judgments, our unforgiveness, our bitterness, and our self-righteousness? Sometimes people say, “Oh, I wish I had someone to love me.” You have someone that loves you. Jesus loves you so much that He went to the cross and poured out His blood that He could buy you off of the slave market of sin. So do not come into His Kingdom and then look back to Egypt and think that the leeks tasted better than the Word of God.
Dine on His Word and let it do its work. Do not just read it, but tell Him that you want His Word to go through you like a rototiller, breaking apart all of the darkness and the ungodliness that you want to cling to subconsciously. He knows that if you really understood what He wants to give you, you would let go. But you have to fast and pray for your eyes to be opened for you to really see.
Come with me, please, to Psalm 119. This is one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible. Every Scripture verse in it is so beautiful.
Psalm 119:1-2 Amp. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the undefiled (the upright, truly sincere, and blameless) in the way [of the revealed will of God], who walk (order their conduct and conversation) in the law of the Lord (the whole of God’s revealed will). Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are they who keep His testimonies, and who seek, inquire for and of Him and crave Him with the whole heart.
How do you get there? Let Him cleanse you. People think that if you are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ, then that is all you need. My dear friend, I am so thankful He taught me the inaccuracy of that. We do need that righteousness. No amount of repentance or works is enough; without it, you are lost and going to hell. So we do need it. But what we want is to be consumed inwardly. We want Him to put His Holy Ghost hammer to our soul and break apart the darkness so that we can flush it out. Then, not only will we have His righteousness, but we will not have our own righteousness. Inwardly, we will have His holiness.
The Bible clearly says that without His holiness, you cannot see God. (Heb 12:14)
Psalm 119:1 Amp. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the undefiled (the upright, truly sincere, and blameless) in the way [of the revealed will of God], who walk (order their conduct and conversation) in the law of the Lord (the whole of God’s revealed will).
I want to be undefiled. I want every part of me to be as pure as it can be on this earth. This word is going through my heart like a knife.
I am going to open my heart to you, so please do not judge or criticize me. One time, I said to Him, “Lord, is this all there is to Christianity? You appear to me. You talk to me. You teach me out of Your Word. I walk in this high and holy place for two or three days, and then I’m right back to where I was except that I had a visitation and some teaching of truth. Is this all there is to being a Christian?”
Then He came to me, and He showed me what being a mature Christian means. He showed what happens inwardly, and how our soul, mind, and heart are transformed. When that happens, you do not go back. You are utterly transformed.
There was a world class pianist who traveled all over the world. In one particular interview, he was asked, “How did you become so great?” He replied, “Do you want to know the truth? I practice every day, seven days a week, for eight hours a day.” The interviewer’s mouth was now down to his chest. The pianist said, “If I miss one day of practice, then my instructor knows it. If I miss two days, then those who are discerning in music know it. If I miss three days, anyone who comes to the concert knows it. I have to be married to this piano to play like I play.” He did it for the pleasure of connecting himself to his gifting to do the best job he knew how to do.
You have an opportunity to be what God created you to be: a mature son of God. You have the opportunity to walk in union with Christ, to walk above the clouds and the storm, and to have the wings and eyes of an eagle so that you can see beyond any hindrance that would come your way. The wings give you great strength. You have the opportunity to walk in the garden with Jesus and to hear Him call you by name. I can promise you, your name will never sound sweeter than when it comes out of the mouth of Christ. You have the opportunity to walk with Him, talk with Him, and ask Him questions that He will answer. You have the opportunity to believe for things greater than you ever thought could happen. You have the opportunity to walk in heaven while still on this earth—if you will just pay the price. If a man can play the piano for eight hours a day and get worldwide acclaim, isn’t it worth it to push away the plate of the world to have the acclaim of God?
When the angel came to Daniel, he did not say, “For thou art greatly beloved” (Dan 9:23) because Daniel was a eunuch who did a great job in the Kingdom, giving much glory to the God of Abraham. He did not even think about that. Daniel was a righteous man. Because he lived righteously before God in the midst of a place like Nazi Germany, the angel Gabriel said, “A man greatly beloved.” (Dan 10:11) He was willing to stand in the righteousness of his faith in God, even if it would cost him his life. Daniel never walked in the council of the ungodly. If you make that decision, it does not mean you will be put in a comfortable place. There were many Jewish people in more comfortable places, but they did not have the walk with God that Daniel did.
During a city-wide conference, with many ministers in attendance, I asked the Lord, “What do You want me to speak on during this conference?” The Lord took me up to heaven, and He said to me, “I want you to speak on this theme. If you want to live where Daniel lived with God, then walk like Daniel walked.” By the time that conference was over, I had so many people angry with me because I told them what I am telling you. They did not want to hear it. It is not charismatic charismata where you can live any way that you want to live, flow in the gifts, and God will minister healing, and maybe even miracles, through you. It is not about that. Our life here is about Christ. The gifts and the healings are wonderful, but they cannot supplant the Lord Himself. We cannot stop there; we must seek His face. We must desire Him in us, the hope of glory. (Col 1:27) We must desire to learn to walk in the same nature and character as was in our Lord Jesus Christ. Otherwise, we will remain babes in the Spirit for as long as we walk on this earth.
The trials that do the chipping of the old, sinful nature are never easy trials. They are not the trials we want. We want to get out from under it as quickly as possible while we have our pistol going in every direction, blaming everyone for our discomfort, when God is trying to, by the Word of His power, chip away that which so cleverly clings. Am I telling the truth? But when you humble yourself and not only allow, but invite correction, doing whatever you need to do to cleanse your soul for Him, then when Jesus looks at the interior of your soul, He smiles. When He smiles, He becomes transparent and His face lights up. When this work is complete, and He looks inside of you and sees the beauty of that cleansed place in which He can put His throne, and you see Him smile at you, it is worth it. He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.” (Mt 25:23) Believe me, the day you hear that, your whole life was worth whatever it took to get you there.
Psalm 119:1 Amp. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the undefiled (the upright, truly sincere, and blameless) in the way [of the revealed will of God], who walk (order their conduct and conversation) in the law of the Lord (the whole of God’s revealed will).
This is a coveted place. This has to be the heart to the first step. Your heart has to be stout and enduring because you are going to go through the fire. If you walk away from the fire, you lose everything. So you do not want to do that, do you? Jesus will help you.
One time, I thought that maybe I could not make it to that place in Him. I thought, “Maybe I’m just wanting too much. Maybe I’m too sure of myself. Maybe I can’t do it. Maybe I can’t get to that place in Him. Maybe I’m too small and too weak.” I told Him, “You know how much I love You. You know how much I want You, but I feel so weak. I feel like I don’t know how to go on. I feel like I don’t have the strength to go through the battles.”
Suddenly, He appeared right in front of me. He said, “Nita, take My hand.” He said it like He was in a hurry. I said, “What?” He said, “Take My hand.” So I took His hand. He helped me up, and we started walking at a brisk pace. He said, “Follow me.” I said, “Okay, Lord. Just hold my hand because You’re walking pretty fast.” He said, “Don’t let go!” I said, “I won’t, Lord.” He repeated, “Don’t let go. Just follow Me.” I replied, “I will, Lord. You’re walking pretty fast, so hold onto my hand pretty tight!” He exclaimed, “Don’t let go!” I said, “I won’t, Lord!” He said, “I know that the trials can be tough. I know that the seasons can be hard, but I will give you strength, and I will give you grace. I will hold your hand as long as you keep moving forward.” It is amazing how much stronger you feel when you are holding onto His hand!
Then I realized that what He was trying to tell me was, “You have let go of My hand, and that is why you’re feeling weak. Hold My hand, and I’ll get you there.” Isn’t that wonderful? He is wonderful to walk and run with, except you really have to hold tight because He runs pretty fast. He is so fun. Just take hold of His hand.
Lord, what is man that You are so mindful of us? There is a love we cannot comprehend, though we try. You are so tender and caring, but sometimes You are also very strong, and You will say things to us we do not want to hear. We are so weak. Much of our weakness comes out of a lack of understanding of how we should be and how to get there. Lord, no one knows better than You that sometimes we just want to cling, not to You, but to the things of which we do not want to let go. We do not realize what we are sacrificing in those decisions.
We need more of Your grace, Lord Jesus. You once told me that grace is the one request to which You will never say no, no matter how many times we ask for it. You will always say yes. So I pray for grace. We need the grace that is bestowed by Your Spirit and which comes through the study of Your Word. We need more of Your grace, and less of us. We are just not sure how much of us we can give up. Help us there as well, Lord. Help us to understand that the word “all” is all-encompassing. We must give up all if we are going to have You. It is not that You want our kids, our husbands, or our wives. It is not that kind of thing. You want us to let go of all that is within us.
I am seeing a vision. A gardener is working to prepare the soil in a particular area. I thought He was going to plant something in the soil, but He was so careful about this soil. He made sure that it was watered properly and that it had the right food and sun. He was very attentive.
Suddenly, up, out of the surface, a cedar tree broke loose. It went up into the sky so fast and so high that it was amazing. It was so beautiful, Lord. As You stood and looked at it, You were so pleased. You were kind enough to do the interior work underneath so that when You brought the cedar forth to be of value to the world, it was already beautiful.
You are so wonderful, Lord. You understand our weakened frames, and it makes us love You more. Give us the grace not to run, but to endure. Give us the grace to be faithful, Lord, for Your glory’s sake. Thank You, Jesus. We are not here to glorify ourselves, Lord. We are here to bring You glory because You are so good and so great. May we live to please You, Jesus. In Your precious name. Amen.
In His Love,