Episode #73 – God’s Response to Choices

May 11, 2008

with Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow

(M) 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 am so intense, and so…
(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 the reason… 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. I say all that to say, that when you choose death, by choosing yourself, by choosing your self-will, your selfishness, you choose a tremendous hole in your being that is the void of character; and that is death. And death will cause you to live dead. And we’ve seen that too, haven’t we John? Vividly. So I think the people in my experience that control the most, are the people who have chosen death, because they have no vitality, no energy. We had a discussion the other day, a real lively discussion, and someone said what they steal is your; what people that control steal is your choice, or something like that. I said no. What they really get, what they really want from you is your energy, your vitality. The essence of Christ’s life is enormous vitality. But I don’t think we understand that…  As I began to explain, my understanding of personality came from that story where the man had no personality; he had never developed character, he had no conscience, he had no life.
(J) You talking about the murderer?
(M) Yes, the murderer in New York that I began this series with. He was empty inside because death is void. Death is a void. When the Holy Spirit brooded over in the beginning, He brooded over a void. It wasn’t the presence of anything. And if you consistently choose yourself, as opposed to any other choice, you are choosing death, because Jesus said the basic principal of the universe is “If you save your life, you will lose it. If you lose your life, you will save it.” Most of the choices that God calls for are a call to lose your life. But by losing it you gain life in vital form, energy, dynamic purpose and meaning; and destiny and eternity. So we’ve got to know that Jesus said, very profound, and it’s so simple; I go back to it and I’m astonished. He said, “Every bad tree bears bad fruit. Every good tree bears good fruit.” What makes a good tree and a bad tree? Are we just born good and bad? No. As Julie said, we are accountable; we are responsible for what kind of tree we are. And I think I started this with the issue of the trees didn’t I.
(J) Absolutely.
(M) Well, here we are again. You choose to be a good tree by choosing the right values. The simple one, the basic one, is I choose to live a life of love. I will not tolerate hate in my heart. Ok, that’s a secret work, but it makes for a fruit of love. And we are responsible for our fruit, and we will know by their fruits. “You will know them by their fruits,” Jesus said. What is the fruit? I used to think it was, you know, something phenomenal, like spiritual ‘woo-woo’. That’s what I want. But no, fruit is simply love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, self-control; it’s the fruit of the Spirit.  It’s character. The Spirit builds character. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets,” when He spoke about those trees. “They’re ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Ok, what does that mean? That is a clue that the person you meet externally is not necessarily the person they are. The person who lives in death appears, presents a facade of a sheep. That’s another thing we’ve learned by living in our Body, that some of the people that spouted the most wonderful things to us were the most deadly, the most destructive. Their fruit was awful in our midst. And I think we want a gift of discernment apart from our own character development, from our own integrity. I believe that only as you develop purity and character can you discern where that is absent, can you discern where a person is lying and giving you a line. Ok, if you look at the scripture it says, “Let us not love in word, but in deed.” So a person’s words may be neither here nor there.   Who knows?  It’s what they do, what they are, and what they give and what they are willing to do, that tells the story. Because so much of what we would call Pharisee-ism is talk. Jesus said they tell you what to do, but they don’t do it themselves. That is a false prophet, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So see, our very health depends on what we choose, and these small choices of obeying the nudges of the Spirit is what it amounts to. You said the choice comes from God.  It comes to you by the nudges of the Spirit, by the questions the Spirit raises. And when you make those choices it’s like an explosion of God toward you.
(Julie) A long time ago, I think it was in a teaching on God’s love, you said that you have a choice but God has a choice too.  And God has the right to come in and reinforce your choice. So if your choice is for Him, then He can come in and propel you toward Him. But if your choice is to be away from Him, then He can come in and harden your heart. So you are making…He’s allowing you… It’s just what John was saying. God sets up the whole circumstance of the choice. And so, whatever choice you make He just simply can come in and move you in the direction of that choice toward Him, for Him, or against Him, life or death.
(M) Yeah.  I think I wrote it in “All and Only,” Julie. And what I said was, we have free will; there’s no question.  We have free choice, but God has the choice of how He will respond to our choices. And He can sometimes respond to let you have your choice in full, if it’s bad; if that’s what you really want, He will sustain your choice. And I think we think…I was telling you today to deal with teenagers by consequences. Because the one thing the enemy wipes out, he wiped it out in the garden, is “You shall not surely die.” And one of the wisdoms God gave me through my children when they were teenagers is  …I said to them…  I was teaching teenagers. I said to them, ok, my kids, tell me what teenagers need to know about God. And my daughter, Julia, said consequences; nobody tells these kids the consequences of drugs, the consequences of bad choices. And it was marvelous advice. And I used it on them. (Laughter) Because see, when a teenager gets to the place where he has the ability to do things that won’t be known about, he thinks he’s gotten away with it, or she. But to train a kid…  And she said you taught me consequences, and her father did too. He told them what would happen if they got into drugs.  And he told them what he would do; that he would report them. But that was a big thing in our home, was consequences. And I wasn’t even aware that I was teaching them that. But you see?  You’re right.  We respond to God with a choice, but He responds to that choice. See?  It’s a relationship, and a relationship is back and forth response. Ok.  She’s got something.
(Julie) But you’re taking it to a whole another level when you talk about personality, to realize that… My, is this right? My personality is also the consequence of my choices as well, you know? Whereas again I think in our culture it’s become twisted to think that; well I’m not so entirely responsible for the things that happen as a result of my personality. But you’re taking it to the most basic, basic level, that everything about me is an intimate inter-action between me and God, even to the formation of my character. And so that makes me entirely accountable.
(M) Beautifully said.  That’s what I wanted to get out of you. Yeah, you said it better than I could.  Exactly.  It gives us such a participation in who we are, and we don’t believe we have a participation.
(Julie) And that is incredible freedom to anyone who has ever, by however means they got there, fallen into the place of feeling like they’re somewhat a victim either to there circumstances or even to their personality. Because it means that ‘today’, like the great today of Hebrews, today is the day that I have the choice to begin to respond to God in faith and see my personality follow that choice. In other words there’s never a point in my life really that I am outside of that incredible accountability and also incredible grace; that at any point I can respond to God and see everything even down to the level of my personality, be changed as I face my God.
(M) Wow. You know Julie, I have called it through the years, inner-demand. It’s my demand of myself. I demand of myself the choices I have made. David said, “I will walk in my house in integrity in my heart.” Ok, those choices you make become your demand of yourself. And that demand of yourself is read by other people. Instinctively if you demand of yourself that you do not…  Oh, I’ll say,   indulge in off-color jokes, or you don’t indulge in sarcasm. When you go into a room of twenty people, suddenly they will cease to do that. They will live up to your inner-demand of yourself; so you don’t have to control them. I said in the last pod-cast your greatest power is influence.  It’s not control. John often talks to me about Samuel; As long as Samuel was alive, Israel was holy. He had that kind of influence on them. But our choices for our self exude the most powerful presence. So not only does God respond to our choices with consequences of either blessing or cursing; Moses said choose life or death, blessing or curse; that’s what is involved. If you choose death, you’re under a curse. If you choose to reject God, sorry, you’ve chosen death. But it also has the power of influence, which is what we really in our basic humanity want to have. We want to have influence, and we do it out of the lack of integrity by controlling people, manipulating. We do it because we want to have influence, but the influence comes from my demand of myself.

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