PHILIP YANCEY -as obtained from the Miracle Revival Newsletter.
Overcome or Work of Holy Spirit?
If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you must have faced disillusionment in your life.
Have you become disillusioned with life, with other Christians, with church, with yourself - with God? Do you find it harder than you thought to walk as He walked? Do you agonise over unanswered prayers, harsh or shallow people in church, or loss of joy, peace or passion?
If any of these rings true for you, then praise God! Disillusionment is a work of the Holy Spirit in the life of every believer. In fact, I will go so far as to say that, if you have never known such disillusionment as this, then you have not been growing as a Christian.
"Illusions" are false gods of whatever system (or mindset) we are in.
For, what is it to be disillusioned, but to have your illusions shattered? And what are illusions, but untrue ideas and beliefs that we have acquired along our way? The Holy Spirit wants to root out your illusions; he wants you dis-illusioned!
Disillusionment, rightly understood, is a very beneficial force! The more illusions we can be rid of in this life - and there are many - the better! In fact, you will discover that disillusionment naturally leads to renewal. The Lord breaks down; but He also builds up.
In fact, it is sometimes so hard to have our illusions challenged, that we prefer not to grow any further, and to keep our illusions intact.
We don't want to accept that our brothers and sisters in Christ are not perfect, are often, in fact, most imperfect. We don't want to believe that the world is so opposed to God, and we think we can live like everyone else while remaining true to our Lord. We want to think that our heavenly Father will always lead us in peace and love and joy, and we will never know doubt, sadness, or any kind of lack. But these illusions can rob us of the fruit which the Holy Spirit wishes to produce in our lives.
All of the things spoken of here have to do in some way with sight:
And these things have to do with how we see God, the Christian life, our brothers and sisters in Christ, church and ourselves. The young Christian believes he will be able to turn the world upside down in no time, so full of love for God and man is his heart. It is hard to accept that it may take years of pruning and teaching before he is ready to be used by God.
It is not my ability, but my response to God's ability, that counts. Corrie Ten Boom
The reason that disillusionment is so widespread is because people consistently put their hopes in the wrong things. Even in Christian circles, they almost universally put their faith in organisations more than in God himself. When the organisations let them down (and they always do), there is nothing left for most people to do except hide their disappointment and carry on the best they can.
Disillusion is the child of illusion… i.e., we feel betrayed and let down because from the beginning we've had the wrong ideas, the wrong expectations.
You see, our problem is that we tend to try to box God into acting one way… our way… the way we want Him to act, the way we want things to turn out… and then if that doesn't happen… we get discouraged, we throw in the towel and in despair, turn back to the old life.
Many people were disillusioned by the crucifixion of Jesus - wasn't He supposed to bring freedom to the Jews, wasn't He the King of a new Kingdom?
The problem had not been their experience with Jesus, but rather their problem had been WITH THEIR EXPECTATIONS.
Now the question… What are God's promises that we can depend on? What can we expect from God?
Well, the Bible makes some very incredible claims… “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.” “To those who wait on the Lord, they will renew their strength, they will mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and now be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
These promises mean that when life is hard God can be expected to make a difference…
Here is the key… The crucial thing to remember is that there is not just one form of divine help that applies to every situation. God does not act in just one way. His “very present help in time of trouble” is a many-splendid thing.
God's help is available to us in at least three different ways… not just one way. The divine help has at least three different forms. Let me show you quickly what I mean:
Another way of putting it is to say:
God is not a God just of the emotions but the God of truth. Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God's sight, and begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it.
Disillusionment means having no more misconceptions, false impressions, and false judgments in life; it means being free from these deceptions.
However, though no longer deceived, our experience of disillusionment may actually leave us cynical and overly critical in our judgment of others. The problem is a disillusioned person is often cynical.
But the disillusionment that comes from God brings us to the point where we see people as they really are, yet without any cynicism or any stinging and bitter criticism.
Many of the things in life that inflict the greatest injury, grief, or pain, stem from the fact that we suffer from illusions. A large measure of disappointment with God stems from disillusionment with other Christians.
We are not true to one another as facts, seeing each other as we really are; we are only true to our misconceived ideas of one another. According to our thinking, everything is either delightful and good, or it is evil, malicious, and cowardly.
The disillusionment with our own abilities is, perhaps, one of the most important things that can ever happen to us. Refusing to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering of human life. And this is how that suffering happens-if we love someone, but do not love God, we demand total perfection and righteousness from that person, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; yet we are demanding of a human being something which he or she cannot possibly give.
There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.