What Cannot Be Mimicked

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Here on the streets of New York City, you can buy a Rolex watch for as little as 15 dollars. As every New Yorker knows, though, these watches aren’t truly Rolexes. They are simply cheap copies of the real thing.

There seems to be a duplicate for just about everything today, but there is one thing that cannot be replicated, and that is true spirituality. Nothing that is truly spiritual can be copied. The Lord recognizes the work of his own hands, and he won’t accept a man-made replica of any of his divine workings. Why? Because it’s impossible for man to duplicate what is truly the work of the Holy Spirit alone. He’s constantly at work, doing something new in his people. There is no possible way for us to reproduce that work artificially.

This is the big mistake of modern religion. We think if we merely impart knowledge of the scriptures and biblical principles to people, they’ll become spiritual. The fact remains, though, that no person or institution has the power to produce spirituality in someone. Only the Holy Ghost does that.

Very little of the work God’s Spirit does in us can be seen. This is why truly spiritual people rarely look for outward evidence of his work. Paul says, “We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NKJV).

In the context of this passage, Paul is speaking of sufferings and afflictions. He said, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Those who submit to the leading of God’s Spirit, who face their afflictions confident that the Lord is producing something in them, will emerge from their crucible with strong faith. They testify that the Spirit taught them during their suffering and has been doing an inward work, renewing their spirit.

In all my years of walking with the Lord, I’ve rarely seen an increase in my spirituality unless I endured hard testings and opened myself to the Holy Ghost’s working. If we submit ourselves to God’s renewing, he will produce in us a faith and spiritual strength that cannot be copied by the world.

So We May Win Christ

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Paul was completely captivated by his Lord, and yet he wrote, “What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ(Philippians 3:7-8, NKJV, emphasis added).

Why would he feel the need to “win” Christ? Christ already had revealed himself clearly and not just to the apostle but in his life. Even so, Paul felt compelled to win Christ’s heart and affection. Paul’s entire being — his ministry, life and very purpose for living — was focused only on pleasing his master and Lord. All else was rubbish to him, even “good” things.

Is this scriptural, you may ask, this idea of winning the heart of Jesus? Aren’t we already the objects of God’s love? Indeed, his benevolent love extends to all mankind, but there is another kind of love that few Christians ever experience. It is an affectionate love with Christ such as occurs between a husband and wife.

This love is expressed in the Song of Solomon. In that book Solomon is portrayed as a type of Christ, and in one passage the Lord speaks of his bride this way: “You have ravished my heart…my spouse; you have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes, with one link of your necklace. How fair is your love…my spouse! How much better than wine is your love” (Song of Solomon 4:9-10, NKJV).

The bride of Christ consists of a holy people who long to be so pleasing to their Lord, and who live so obediently and so separated from all other things, that Christ’s heart will be ravished. The word ravish in this passage means to “unheart” or to “steal my heart.”

The Bible version of the above passage says that Christ’s heart is ravished with just “one look” or a singular gaze. I believe that this shows a singleness of a mind focused on Christ alone. This is the life we are called to pursue!

More Precious than Gold

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

The story of Esther is one of intense spiritual warfare. The devil was trying to destroy God’s people on earth, this time through the evil Haman. This wealthy, influential man persuaded the king of Persia to declare an edict calling for the death of every Jew under his rule, from India to Ethiopia.

The first Jew in Haman’s sight was righteous Mordecai, Esther’s uncle. Haman had gallows built especially for Mordecai, but Esther intervened, calling God’s people to prayer and laying her life on the line to countermand Haman’s order. The king not only reversed the death order, but he gave Haman’s house to Esther, an estate worth millions by today’s standards (see Esther 8:1-2).

Yet Haman’s mansion wasn’t the only spoil taken in this story. Scripture tells us, “The Jews had light and gladness, joy and honor” (Esther 8:16, NKJV). These were the true spoils gained in battle with the enemy.

Our trials not only gain us spiritual riches, but they also keep us strong, pure and under continual maintenance. As we put our trust in the Lord, he causes our trials to produce in us a faith more precious than gold. The Apostle Peter understood this well and said, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Jesus plundered the devil at Calvary, stripping him of all power and authority. Paul wrote to the church, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). When Christ rose victorious from the grave, he led an innumerable host of redeemed captives out of Satan’s grasp, and that blood-bought procession is still marching on.

That cooperation begins when we are in the midst of conflict. Our resources are the Christlikeness we win while immersed in battle. They’re the lessons, the faith, the character we gain from warfare with the enemy. There is value in the battle. We can be confident that good will come out of it.

Take Hold of Your Trial

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

If we didn’t have conflict, pressure or trials, we would become passive and lukewarm. Decay would set in, and our temple would lie in ruins. That’s why the enemy’s plan against us is clear: He wants to take us out of the battle.

We find all our resources for strength to go on and power over the enemy in our spiritual battles. On that day when we stand before the Lord, he will reveal to us, “Do you remember what you went through in that awful battle? Look at what you accomplished through it all. It was all secured through the battles you won.”

The simple fact is that God has put his treasure in human bodies. Scripture states, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair” (2 Corinthians 4:7-8, NKJV). The Lord has made you a temple, a house for his Spirit to dwell in, and you have a responsibility to maintain that temple.

If you become lazy and careless, neglecting the maintenance work needed — regular prayer, feeding on God’s Word, fellowshipping with the saints — decay will set in, and you’ll end up in ruin.

As I look back on my own years of ministry, I recall many times when it would have been easy for me to quit. I would pray, “Lord, I don’t understand this attack. Where did it come from? I don’t see any purpose in it at all.” Over time, I began to see fruit from those trials, and that strength and spiritual wealth was supplied me in a way that I couldn’t have gotten through any other means. 

As Paul explained to the early church, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

I urge you to take hold of your trial by faith and believe God has allowed it. Know that he’s using it to make you stronger, to help you take spoils from Satan, to make you a blessing to others and to sanctify you for his glory.

A Dangerous Love of the World

Gary Wilkerson

Once I met a man who is a pastor in Laos under a harsh Communist regime. His church is underground, and he’s been put in jail for being a believer. In that country, almost 90 percent of the time when you get put in jail, you never come home. That’s how dangerous it is.

As a pastor in America, I might have more people download my sermons and I might have more opportunities to preach in different churches, but that man far outweighs anything I’ve ever had in terms of his knowledge, revelation and relationship with God because he stood strong in the forging of that fire of suffering and difficulty.

Oftentimes, here in America where we’re not under that same weight of persecution, church becomes so easy and light and fluffy, and our practical theology becomes comfortable and easy. If we’re not careful, materialism and comfort come in and take us away from that radical, true devotion. It moves us away from the fire of faith, from being on fire for God.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul speaks of one particular man who drifted away from the Lord because of difficulty. “Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry” (2 Timothy 4:9-11, ESV). The end of Colossians mentions Demas, and Paul’s letter to Philemon includes a greeting from Demas who is called Paul’s fellow-worker. Here, however, he said Demas had forsaken him.  

In other words, this man loved the things of this world and didn’t want to sacrifice, suffer and deal with hardship as a part of being a radical follower of Christ. So he left.

Whether you’re in good times like we are in America or you’re at that place where Paul’s warning that difficult times are coming on the face of the Earth is becoming a reality, we are not excluded from this warning against the allure of the world. No matter what, we would be on guard, diligent, faithful, on our knees, looking to the Word of God. The Lord is asking us to be on fire for him, no matter what times we’re in, even if we’re in good seasons and everything’s peaceful.

We must not allow ourselves to be compromised when things are easy so that we will not give up when things are difficult.