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Episode #72 – Character And Performance

May 04, 2008

with Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow
Special Guests Julie and friends

(M) So Julie’s point of  personality becomes who you give your choices to, to submit,   , who you submit, I think you said, your temperament to. If you submit your temperament to God or Satan… that’s it. There are two sources in the universe; one is life and one is death. And I don’t want to make this complicated, because it is very simple. It is a choice between life and death. And then I said you choose from desire. You choose what you want. You just have to learn that what God wants is better for you than what you want. It’s real childish. I mean, we get down to a primal place where you say, oh well, what He wants is always best for me.
(Julie) …Which is faith. That is the leaning of your entire personality on God, that you decide to say ok, with my choice I’m going to give You basically, the right to form my personality, by setting before me the path to walk in that will develop what He intended.
(M) And I think that verse that we’re on in the Amplified Bible, “faith is the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence.”  Ok, the leaning of the entire personality comes when you choose character, because character and performance have to be separated. I can choose, but I cannot perform, as you’re reading in Ian Thomas’s book. I can choose God’s way, but I cannot perform it. And if you think choice is a power of determination that’s not it yet. We can be determined all day long and fail by Friday. Determination is not choice. Choice is simply between two values. I want to love, I don’t want to hate; I choose to love. Can I love? Oh no, I cannot love.
(J) So are you saying it’s more like a rudder? That your choice is like that rudder of where you’re going, but you’re not the wind that’s pushing it, you’re just the rudder, you’re just steering it over. And I see that it’s a moment-by-moment thing; I mean it’s every moment I’m having some stimuli coming at me that’s saying, where do you want to go with this? And if I choose wrongly enough, I’ll be totally off somewhere else. But if I continually choose, you know, God’s will, He blows me over to where I need to be. Is that a good analogy?
(M) That’s a great picture, a visible visual picture. Thank you. Yeah, you take the rudder, and He is the wind that blows.
(J) But there’s always someone at the helm. It’s not like you can just say, oh well, we’re in the middle of the ocean, now I don’t have to be at the helm. You always have to be at the helm. Someone always has to be there, or you may not end up where you want to go.
(M) You lived a lot on the ocean in your family boat, so you’re speaking from your perspective.
(J) Yeah, it was either you were going to put an anchor on the floor and you were going to stay where you were at for a while, or you were going to be driving it, because if you weren’t driving it, it was going to be driving you and you could wind up, you know,  in rocks, reefs, whatever.
(M) And since this is a little bit of a review, I want to say that your choice, I think I wrote it in the book “Adoration”, but we are constantly, instinctively making choices. Even to not make a choice is a choice. And I think I told last time, how subtly God reveals something to me in the scriptures, and instinctively I made a choice that later came about. But what I want to talk about is that God takes you, takes your choice, and undertakes your choice, in such a sovereign manner that He brings you to the choice. He not only performs the choice, He brings you to the choice by chastening.
(J) Well that’s kind of what I was seeing this morning. That’s what I was seeing, the fact that I don’t have choices that God does not initiate. And I believe it goes beyond chastening, I mean it goes beyond. He initiates through life circumstances all my choices. I just said that I have believed that I have given Him my choices and then I hope that He hears. (Laughter) But it’s like He says no I am your choice, I’m doing your choices, I’m initiating the response. It’s like He’s stoking the fire in me, of choice. He’s blowing His breeze, and stoking that fire of the choices that He wants to perform in me. So it’s not like I’m….
(M) The originator.
(J) I’m not the originator at all. He is the originator of the godly choices, and then He performs it. So it’s not that I don’t have any culpability in it. That’s not what He’s saying. But what He’s saying is that it’s not free willy-nilly.
(M) You are not the origin of even what you desire to choose. He presents the choice Himself, He is the author of the choice. And what comes to my mind is that when I was first a believer and had young children, I knew that someday I would travel. So I accepted it, so it’s a choice, and there are many words you could use; I just accepted that. I also accepted that it would be many years. And it didn’t occur until not only were my children grown, they were married. And then God began to set me in the path of travel. And though I’d been a homebody, because I chose to accept what I knew His will would be in the distant future, I had the grace, tremendous grace, and power to travel; because it’s very difficult.  It’s very hard work, and it requires a lot of discipline and a lot of energy, and a lot of commitment. Someone said to me, don’t you get tired of traveling? And I said I get tired, but not so much of travel. Because wherever He sends me…  So I think that constituted a choice for me early on. I knew that I would travel the world in those early days. And I said ok, though I had not traveled, I did not grow up traveling, I didn’t have it in my experience like some. We have two people in our Body who are military kids, and they traveled all over. I was not like that, but because I made the choice to accept what I knew was God, when the time came I could make that shift; I had the power to do it.
(J) But back then you had already made the choice to say yes to the…. Though you’d have to re-make that choice, and say yes I’m willing to go definitely now because you’re asking me to go; but you had already made the choice, He had already stoked that fire.
(M) Many, many years ago. But see, what I’m trying to show in that is, number one, if you’ll choose God’s will, in very subtle form He gives it to you.  If you choose God’s will, He will give you the desire for its fulfillment. And it was not a death for me when I had to begin traveling. And He gave me all the support, and the means to do so. Ok, but that’s His sovereign long-term plan. But the thing I’ve seen in the last few weeks is so exciting, and I don’t know that I’ll be able to tell it as powerfully as it is. But He watches over the choice He inspired, and you made.  He sovereignly brings you to it, in spite of your weakness to leave it. Does that make sense?
(J) Perfectly. And that’s the comfort, and that’s the security in it.
(M) Yes, He is brooding over the choices we’ve made every moment. And He is sovereignly working with us…  oh, I don’t even know how to… to make more character choices. He remembers the choice He inspired when we’ve long forgotten it and left it. And He will bring us to that in the most amazing sovereignty. And I wouldn’t know how to tell that.
(J) You’ve told it quite well.
(M) Really, you promise? Ok. But once your choice is made, you’ll be severely tried on that choice. And when I did begin to travel there was great opposition to it. I had to be committed to God’s will to do it. I think my family was a little worried about it. And the first trip was to Russia, and after that was Israel. And my family had to adjust to the will of God, because they worried about me traveling like that. So their worry worried me. So there’s continual having to commit to the choice that you’ve made that you know is God. But you will be tried on your choice; not just to say, hmmm. Have you failed?  … but to secure it. The more you are tried on an issue, the deeper the roots of God go into you so that you become immoveable. Traveling is warfare. We go to Spain, Ireland, we go to Honduras and we go around places and it looks real fun, and we have a wonderful time, but it is warfare every step of the way. It’s just that it becomes so imbedded in you that you have the strength and the patience and the endurance, and the grace and commitment to continue with the choice you’ve made. But the great overshadowing of God is so sovereigneverything in your life. I can see it in hindsight, I could not see it along the way, but He is sovereign over your choices. He will accomplish it in spite of you, in spite of your forgetting it, in spite of your stumbling and being disloyal to it. He affects the end result Himself.
(J) So He’s the initiator of the choice, and then He’s the finisher of the choice. So He’s really and truly the Alpha and Omega.
(M) And you see, if you don’t choose to form your personality in terms of character and values, you don’t have to lean on God; but when you choose as David did in Psalm 101 that I talked about, “I will silence the evildoer every morning”, that would take, those choices that David made require his leaning on God. That’s why faith is the leaning of the personality. And this is going to be kind of hard to get into, but what I’ve seen about the choice between life and death is… life is the presence of God.  Life is God. And when you choose life…, remember I started out with Moses with Israel saying I present to you today, and heaven and earth are witnesses against you that I present to you life death. So that is the choice. Ok. What happens when you choose life is vitality, energy, and a dynamic within you that propels you toward obedience to what you’ve chosen. If you could pull it down to what God’s life would be it would be enormous energy. Even if you choose in weakness, He gives you the energy to live the choice. I don’t know how to emphasize enough that it is dynamic energy. I’m in my late sixties, and I sometimes stop and think I am so healthy; I’m so intense and so…
(J) Alive.
(M) Alive. I don’t feel my age. And I believe that’s what would happen if we chose God, we would have the energy and vitality flowing.  We’d be “a green tree”. And one of my scriptures is… He promised that, in your old age you’ll be a green tree, to declare the wonders of the Lord to the next generation. There’s no other reason to be green.

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