A New Touch
The temptation to run away is always a mistake. Seek God when discouraged, get a new touch and know you belong to Him.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? You doing Alright today? Oh, I feel fine, thank God. I just look forward to these times with you because it refreshes my own soul. I think one reason I like to stay on the radio is that it does something for yours truly, and I feel refreshed and strengthened after I’ve shared something from God’s blessed Word with you.
We’re talking about the different temptations people face there in the Gethsemane experience: The temptation to take it easy and sleep; the temptation to lash out in drastic self-will; then the temptation to run away, I’m gonna get out of here. I remember being in the hospital some years ago for a check-up, and the man in the bed next to me was… Well, he wasn’t quite with it, and so they finally had to put him in some kind of restraint. They put some cloth loops around his wrists and tied that to the bed frame, and it irritated him even more. So in the middle of the night, I awoke to this thrashing about in the bed next to me, and I heard the old man say, “I’m gonna get out of here. There could be a fire and I could be burned up, I’m gonna get out of here.” [chuckle] Boy, he worked at it [laughter] I remember it took two… They had two little Filipino nurses, nice ladies. It took two of them to calm him down, and get him straightened around.
[chuckle] “I’m gonna get out of here.” Well, I’ll tell you something, that feeling will hit you several times in your lifetime, the idea that you wanna disassociate yourself from the inconvenience and the reproach and perhaps the danger of being identified as a Christian; self-preservation being, as it is, the first law of nature. You say, “I’m gonna see to it that I don’t get caught in this crunch,” and you’re gonna look for an exit from the situation. Now, identify that feeling for what it is. When you are serving your Blessed Lord… When you are serving your Blessed Lord, and doing what you understand to be His will, the temptation to run away is a mistake; to look for an escape hatch when you’re doing God’s will is always a mistake.
I say to pastors who sometimes talk with me, because I was in the pastorate for 18 years, I know something about it. And I say to pastors who confide in me that they’re discouraged and they’re gonna leave, “It’s always the wrong time to leave when you’re discouraged and sort of fed up. Get a new touch from God, and a touch of revival for your church. And then the Lord may lead you to another place of ministry, but don’t leave defeated; don’t leave as a refugee; don’t run away from things, because the problem is, when you run away from a situation you end up dragging the emotions of it with you. And so you become a kind of refugee running scared from one defeat to another.
That’s no fun. There’s no future in it; don’t run away. Am I talking to a pastor who’s been having a difficult time of it? Many of you will be listening to this on a Monday, and Monday’s a rough day for pastors. I had in one pastorate a lady who would call me promptly at 6:30 every Monday morning and tell me what I had done wrong the day before. [chuckle] She would always ask, “Did I get you up?” And I would always say, “No, I had to answer the phone anyway.” [chuckle] But she would always tell me… It’s a rough day; Monday is a rough day for pastors, I know that. You’re tired and if you were something less than eternal in your preaching, you are conscious of the fact that you’re just a human being, and on Monday you’re a tired human being. And if somebody said some things to hurt you or your family, the pastor’s family suffers right along with him, as you know. You’re not only tired and human, but you’re hurting. So Monday’s rough, isn’t it? Listen, don’t become the victim of the desire to get away from it all and run away from this thing. Instead, seek your Lord for refreshment of spirit, for a new touch.
When Elijah got so tired and scared and discouraged that he asked God to kill him. Do you remember that? He said, “Now O Lord, take away my life for I am not better than my fathers.” He was suffused with self-pity, combined with exhaustion and fear. What did God do for him? Do you remember? God rested him, fed him, revealed himself to him, and gave him a new touch. The answer to discouragement is not to run away, beloved. The answer to discouragement and weariness and fear, or all of the above, is to seek God for a new touch, a new meeting with your Lord. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart. You see the problem with the preacher and all the rest of us is a heart problem. If God has given you a new touch, and your heart is on fire with love for Him and for people, nothing can daunt you; nothing can stop you. But if your heart is cold and discouraged, and your body is tired, well, then, the best thing, humanly speaking, that you can think of is to run away from it; always a mistake to run away when you’re discouraged and under pressure.
Get a new touch from God instead, and then He’ll lead you as well He may. Good idea? Oh, somebody needs that, you’re so discouraged and so hurt because something happened yesterday that hurt you so deeply, or somebody criticized your children, because the pastor’s children are supposed to be paragons of virtue, and maybe your little boy did something, or your little gal did something that seemed to be out of line and somebody criticized, or somebody said something cruel to your wife or whatever; people are that way. Listen, don’t give up, don’t run away, don’t get bitter, don’t brood on it and incubate your hurts. Instead, go to your knees, seek your Lord, come from the place of prayer with a new shine on your life and in your eyes, and let God lead you in victory not defeat; don’t run away, Alright?
Now, there was another temptation there, and that was to be anonymous, to be unidentified in the crowd. Peter, having been brought into the courtyard by John, who noticed that he was outside and went and spoke to the person who kept the gate, and brought him in. He sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire. And so someone said as Peter was beneath in the palace, one of the maids of the high priest, she said, “Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied, he said, “I don’t know. I don’t understand.” And a maid saw him again and began to say to them that stood by, “This is one of them.” He denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, “Surely thou art one of them. Thou art a Galilean, thy speech agrees there.” He began to curse and swear, saying, “I don’t know this man.” Now, the rooster crowed the second time and Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said, “Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.” And when he thought thereon, he wept.
Yeah, The temptation to try to by anonymous, to try to be unnoticed and unknown in the unsaved crowd. Well, the problem is that people know you for what you are. Notice what they said, “Thou wast with Jesus.” The second statement was, “This man is one of them.” The third statement is, “You talk like them.” You belong to them because you talk like them. Now, right on the face of it you can see a simple basis for the world’s identification of a believer whether or not he wants it. If you’ve met the Lord Jesus you will never be quite the same again. “If any man be in Christ,” says Paul, “He is a new creation. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.” You’ll never be quite the same again if you’ve had a meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is folly to try to hide that fact; you’ll be different.
I remember the years when our two older daughters were in high school, and they took quite a bit of abuse from unbelieving teachers and others over the fact that they were trying to live for the Lord and that involved certain standards of lifestyle that we believed were important. And I remember them coming home one day after school and looking at us and saying, “Are we squares? Are we weird? Are we different? Are we odd?” And I had to sit down and tell them, “No, you’re not squares, and you’re not peculiar. The fact is that you’ve met the Lord Jesus and you’re different because you’ve met Him. And that’s what the world identifies. Hold your head high and be proud that you’re a Christian.” The temptation to be anonymous is a temptation to try to avoid the instinctive identification that the world has for a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ. Thou wast with Jesus. Over in the Book of Acts it says, “They took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.” The contact that you make with His life will make your life different.
Well, then, another young lady saw him and began to say to them that stood by, “This man is one of them.” One of them. In other words, there is a sense of belonging that is impossible to hide. When you belong to your Lord, it’s gonna show up in all of your attitudes and in all that you do, regardless of how hard you try to appear purely secular and disinterested. Now, the obverse side of that is the person who tries to act religious all the time, and that of course turns out to be an elegant phony. This is not what I’m advocating, and you know it. What I’m saying is, when you’ve had a real meeting with the Lord Jesus, it makes a difference in every… That is, everything you do. And people identify the fact that you are one of His. All that you say zeroes in to the impression that people get that you belong to Jesus. Then the third basis for identification was the way he talked. “Surely thou art one of them for thou art a Galilean, and thy speech agrees thereto.” You talk like Him. I suppose one of the finest compliments that one could get would be, “You sound like Jesus.” Wouldn’t that be great if people would say that about you and to me? Well, that’s what they said to Peter, “You talk like Him. You sound like Him.” And that was the basis of identification. Don’t fall a prey to the temptation to try to be anonymous; it simply doesn’t work. You’ll always stand out as different because you know Jesus of Nazareth.
Dear Father today, keep us from the temptation of failing our Lord. Make us true to Jesus, I ask in His name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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