In the revelation of John while he was on the Island of Patmos, Jesus had told him:
“Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].”
Revelation 3:19 AMPC
A Christian who is loved by the Lord must be prepared to be corrected by Him. The correction of the Lord will produce godly discipline in His children. He will not do this without giving us further instruction and direction. No, He does not leave those who are loved by Him, but He will instruct and direct them; so that they can become more enthusiastic and burning with zeal for His Kingdom.
The Christian who is loved by the Lord is constantly being discipled by Him directly. He teaches him the way to take in everything that he does. The correction and discipline of the Lord is very dear to the heart of those, who are watching and waiting in His presence.
A faithful and committed watchman is loved by the Lord. He sees the correction of the Lord, as an opportunity for growing in spiritual wisdom in His presence.
Those who are ignoring and rejecting the correction and discipline of the Lord, will surely end up becoming spiritually orphaned. Anyone who can’t take His correction and discipline, won’t listen to anyone else when being corrected and disciplined.
There are a lot of Christians today who are suffering in this category. The Lord never brought this situation on them. They brought it upon themselves by refusing and rejecting Him, as they were being corrected by Him.
At the end Christians who can’t be corrected by the Lord will stop hearing His voice. That’s how many are arriving at the decision to quit ministries these days. No one can serve the Lord without hearing His voice and obeying Him.
The moment a Christian is no more accepting the correction and discipline of the Lord, Christianity becomes the lifestyle of obedience to some sets of rules and laws to him. Instead of living by faith which works through love (Galatians 5:6), the philosophies and teachings of men begins to overrule the teachings and doctrines of Christ in his life.
To be an effective watchman before the Lord one will need to be prepared, to listen and obey Him. You must be prepared for His correction at any moment. You will need to be spending more time with Him, praying and talking in your heavenly language. Any Spirit filled believer in Christ Jesus can sharpen his listening skills before the Lord, by praying more and more in the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:2).
If a child of God is not hearing from Him, it’s because that Christian has not been fully accepting, the corrections which are being given to him by the Lord.
As a watchman for the Lord, one has to be enthusiastic and zealous about the things of God’s Kingdom. Such a person has no time to be entertaining many of the side attractions from the world. He knows that the side attractions of this world are from the evil one; and they are meant to take him away from watching and praying before the Lord. The devil does this to keep the righteous from being faithful to Jesus.
The right attitude in the Lord’s watchman demands a totally and completely faithful heart to Him at all times. If you are giving fifty percentage of your time to the Lord, and the other half of your time to the world; obviously you are not a fully committed Christian.
A watchman stands before the Lord to be corrected and disciplined in his attitude about his calling; especially if he misses anything and makes mistakes in the things of God. The Lord God corrects and disciplines him by Himself, as he stands in the perfect will of the Lord for his life.
The Lord loves those who He is correcting and disciplining. His love binds and sustains them to His correction and discipline. They can’t fail in anything that had been committed to them by the Lord, because God never fails.
Not only is the presence of the Lord transforming such a person, but he must be always willing and ready for change, whenever the Lord tells him to change course and direction. This is the right attitude that is loved in him by the Lord.
The only thing that will cause the Lord to ignore His own children, is their unwillingness to take His correction. He won’t speak to you, until you have fully obeyed His last instruction and direction.
The watchman sees while watching and waiting only those things, which he is permitted to see in the presence of the Lord. He can therefore only speak at the instruction and direction of heaven, about what the Lord instructs and directs him to say.
The Apostle Paul said about his personal experience in watching and waiting before the Lord:
“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, [only] God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, [only] God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words which man is not permitted to speak [words too sacred to tell].”
2 Corinthians 12:2-4 AMP
Paul “was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which man is not permitted to speak”, because those things which he heard were too sacred to say to a mortal soul. In most cases such words are never to be announced on the earth, because people on the earth won’t understand them. In the case of Paul, they were meant for him personally, so that he would be able to grasp other things in the spirit, which were connected with what he was hearing.
We do know that the Apostle Paul, before getting to this point in his life, he had faced the correction of the Lord on the road to Damascus. He was on the road to Damascus while seeking to persecute Christians, when the Lord Jesus had stopped him and corrected him. He later on was instructed and directed about what he was to do, concerning what he had seen and heard (Acts 9).
And as long as Paul was obeying the Lord, he had the protection of heaven, even in the face of persecution. Up till the very end of his life Paul would never allow anything or anyone, to stand in between the call of the Lord to him.
As we can see from the life of Paul, it was the correction and the discipline of the Lord, that brought the fire of God into his life. Anyone who is being corrected and disciplined by the Lord; is also being pruned to be fruitful for Him (John 15:2).
It’s therefore only an illegitimate child that will refuse the correction and discipline of the Lord. And there are a lot of people who are doing so today.
That’s why the attitude and willingness to obey the Lord is very important, for those who are walking with the Lord. The Lord will demand certain personal sacrifices, of whatever things are precious to such Christians. The Lord does this to test the attitude of our hearts towards Him, and the people we are called to serve.
There are certain Christians who are not getting their prayers answered by the Lord today, because they do have a wrong attitude concerning what they are asking for in prayer.
They may have the right attitude towards the Lord. But we must however remember while standing and watching before Him; that He will never share His glory with anyone or anything else in our lives.
A humbled heart is what the Lord is seeking, in those who are watching and waiting before Him. And it is our personal decision to be humbled, and to stay humbled in His presence. God can’t use people who are not humbled before Him. He hates the haughty looks in men (Proverbs 18:27 and 16:18).
And there are many Christians who are missing out of the very best from the Lord, because they are putting their personal passion for the things of this world, above the image of the God who lives inside of them.
Take a lesson from the correction of Jonah
A good example of this can be seen in the life and calling of Jonah. The Lord had sent him on a special mission to Nineveh. But Jonah’s attitude as the Lord’s watchman towards the revival in the city of Nineveh was not right.
Of course as a Jewish believer in the Lord God, Jonah knew what it meant to be in a covenant relationship with the Most High God. The people of Nineveh on the other hand were never in a covenant relationship with the God of Israel. Jonah had allowed the absence of a covenant relationship with the Lord God, to stand in between his calling and the eternal destiny of the people of Nineveh.
Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians were hated and despised by the other nations around them, because of their brutality and harsh ways of governing these nations.
Even though they were the people who were used by the Lord, to judge the sins of His people (Judah and Israel); the Lord alone had the plan to judge them for their methods of delivering His judgement.
And in our world today, it is the Lord God alone Who has the prerogative of showing His compassion and judgment on the wicked. And just as He did it for the Assyrians, He will surely do the same thing today, in any way that He deems right.
It’s not for us to question what He does and how He does it. It is however our responsibility to wait for His correction and judgement of the wicked with faith and patience, as we are watching and praying before Him. The Lord will definitely correct and judge the wicked (see Psalms 37).
Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon who indeed was used by the Lord, as His instrument in judging the Assyrians, said after being corrected by the Lord:
“All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”
Daniel 4:35 NKJV
What an amazing statement from the most powerful king on the earth during his reign, as the king of Babylon. He said: “No one can restrain His (God’s) hand or say to Him, “What have you done?”.
No matter how long it will take, God has His own way of showing His compassion and judgement on the wicked. He will show them His compassion first, because He wants to give them the opportunity to repent and to take His correction. People will always suffer terribly for rejecting the correction of the Lord.
In the case of Jonah, he had allowed his personal opinion to stand in the way of the Lord, while on the way to Nineveh. A good watchman serves to please the Lord alone; and not himself or the popular opinion of the world.
The people of Nineveh did not know that their way of life, and what they were doing was wrong before the Lord. They needed someone to warn them about how they were living. Jonah had been chosen for this special assignment by the Lord.
However Jonah saw no reason why Nineveh should be given the option of repentance. He was obviously following the popular opinion of his world about the Assyrians. But he was completely wrong.
As the messengers of the Lord, we can’t ever allow the popular opinions of our world, to dilute or blur the message that the Lord has given to us, for our communities or to the nations. We don’t preach to satisfy popular opinions; but to please the Lord Jesus alone, Who had sent us to serve the people.
You can’t allow the persecution or the fear of people, to render with no effect your testimony of Jesus. This is exactly what the devil wants. However as the Bible says:
“The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion. Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; But by a man of understanding and knowledge Right will be prolonged.”
Proverbs 28:1-2 NKJV
Being bold in the face of persecution will make the enemy to fear and treble, because of the image of Christ that you are projecting. The enemy only wins when he sees that you fear him. When you are bold, then Christ is also bold in you and through you.
However the Lord God is good to all the peoples of the world. There is no partiality in Him. What the Jews had access to as a result of the covenant with Abraham, is also accessible to any nation on the earth, that will dare to put her faith in Him today.
The Lord wanted to give the people of Nineveh the opportunity to change their way of life, through the ministry of Jonah in their midst. Jonah however saw it differently. His attitude towards what the Lord had called him to do was wrong, even though he had eventually obeyed the Lord by preaching to them; and the people had repented.
The Lord decided to reveal this wrong attitude in Jonah to him. The aim was to correct him and discipline him.
The joy of seeing the whole city of Nineveh turning to the Lord, was supposed to be what should had filled the heart of Jonah. But unfortunately he was not ready at all for that.
Jonah felt as if the Lord had used the wrong man for this mission. He knew that God could never be wrong; but moreover he wanted to see what the Lord was going to do about this people.
The Bible says that he decided to keep a watch before the Lord:
“So Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city and made for himself a booth there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would happen to the city.”
Jonah 4:5 MEV
Instead of rejoicing with the people of Nineveh in the midst of a revival, Jonah was watching and waiting to see, if the Lord would change His mind about saving them from destruction.
Even though he had witnessed the people repenting and calling on the Lord for salvation, Jonah never thought that they had all genuinely repented. He was thinking in line with the popular opinion of the surrounding nations.
There is a very important lesson here for every minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ today. Don’t ever allow the opinions of men or of the world, to stand in the way of your message to the people, that you had been sent to minister the word of God to. The devil will use those things to dilute or blur your message to the people, so that even though you are delivering the message correctly; but the power of God won’t be there to save, heal and deliver the captives.
That was the wrong attitude in Jonah. And there are many today also with this same type of attitude, towards the move of God to their communities and the nations. The news or social media and their denominational attitudes are preventing them, from tapping into the blessing of the Lord to the lost world around them.
Correction comes when joy is absent
Sometimes, I had personally seen Christians reacting coldly when a backslider or person with a troubled past comes back to the Lord. The dead old backslidden or sinful image that they have in them, was preventing them from fully welcoming and embracing the returning prodigals.
We don’t have to be misjudging right motives in people with the wrong attitudes. Embrace the returning prodigals for whom Christ lived, died and rose from the dead, to give a new life and a new beginning.
The love of God covers the multitude of the forgiven sins in their lives. And if Christ sees them as His own, we ought to allow His love to manifest through us in embracing them also.
As for Jonah, the Lord saw and knew what was wrong with his attitude. He waited until Jonah had fully obeyed Him before correcting him.
The Lord had caused a tree to grow up, so as to give some coolness and shade to Jonah inside his booth. Jonah was well protected from the heat of the sun, at the place where he was keeping his watch. But after awhile the Lord had also removed the shade that was cooling him off. And Jonah got angry with the Lord for doing that:
“Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And Jonah replied, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death.” The Lord said, “You are troubled about the plant for which you did not labor and did not grow. It came up in a night and perished in a night. Should I not, therefore, be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people, who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”
Jonah 4:9-11 MEV
The revival of this city was a huge one. The animals even had enough sense also, to respond to the preaching of Jonah. The animals even repented of their sins.
The Lord is more interested in the repentance of any wayward person, who is seriously seeking to return back to Him, than in our personal or popular opinions. He had expected Jonah to be rejoicing for those, who had been saved from the destruction at Nineveh.
Even in those moments when it is awkward for us to be rejoicing, the Lord still expects us to be rejoicing in His presence. In whatever situation, the scriptures tells us to be always rejoicing (James 1:2).
Spiritual strength comes by rejoicing
Nothing catches the attention of heaven faster, than the reactions of the saints of the Lord who are rejoicing in the Holy Spirit.
Be it with shouting, jumping or dancing heaven is always thrilled to see the people of God on the earth rejoicing; most especially in the most awkward moments of our lives, when the circumstances points to the opposite.
Joy in the Holy Spirit is the source of strength in the watchman, as he waits in the presence of the Lord. He is in this way empowered to be doing exploits with the joy of the Holy Spirit, for the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The devil knows this, and he will do everything possible to keep you as a child of God from being joyful.
So, where does the anointing comes to tarry and wait before the Lord in prayer and intercession?
Apparently the joy of the Lord is what gives strength to the watchman to be watching and praying.
The scriptures revealed how Nehemiah had used his personal experience in the joy of the Lord, to affect his own people with what they needed at a time when they were downcast. It says:
“And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:9-10 NKJV
The people here were weak and wary. They were about to allow the sorrow about their past and forgiven sins, to prevent them from rejoicing before the Lord. They were already weeping before the Lord, when Nehemiah stopped them from weeping.
Nehemiah knew what they were going through. He had been in the same situation before, when he had appeared before the King, who had later sent him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The Bible says:
“And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.” So I became dreadfully afraid,”
Nehemiah 2:1-2 NKJV
Nehemiah knew what sorrow of heart was all about. It’s the same thing as grieving for someone or about something bad that had happened. Nehemiah was known for being joyful before the king. He had the right attitude that was dear to the heart of the king. And Jesus – the King of kings is seeking that same attitude whenever you come to Him.
But through this encounter with the king, Nehemiah was corrected, instructed and directed by the king to rebuild the ruined walls of Jerusalem, that was making him sad. Is it not amazing how the Lord could use an unrighteous king to fulfill destiny in the lives of His children.
After leaving the presence of the king, the anointing came upon Nehemiah to do what he did for the Lord. He made the decision to take delight in the things of the Lord. Those who can’t joyfully serve the Lord will only minister misery and death to people, instead of ministering the life of Jesus and His anointing.
As Nehemiah took delight in casting his vision, for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem before the king, he received inner strength from the Lord. The weapon of sorrow and fear that the enemy was about to use, to hinder his faith disappeared immediately.
The joy of returning back to Jerusalem, so as to rebuild the broken walls gave him strength. He was able to transfer that very wisdom into the joy of the Lord, to the people of God when they needed it most.
The joy of the Lord is very contagious. When we are delighting ourselves in watching and waiting while praying, the Lord will give us the strength to do the impossible.
That’s why Paul was also able to say:
“I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:12-13 NKJV
Paul never allowed his personal needs in the ministry to stop him from fighting the good fight of faith. He spoke the words that were mostly needed to give him the inner strength in changing his circumstances. He had declared: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The joy of the Lord gave him the needed strength.
Are you allowing the situation in the world around you right now to affect your joy? That’s the work of the devil. Reject being sorrowful at heart. Being joyful is a decision that you will have to make, because it’s a choice that has to be made.
Let the joy of the Lord fill your heart by choosing to shout for joy while jumping, leaping and dancing in His presence. Yes, you can do it even when you don’t feel like doing it. As you begin to do it, you will see how the joy of the Lord will begin to saturate your heart, to give you the inner strength that you need.
Just keep on rejoicing as you are watching before the Lord. It’s your best shot at getting the very best from His presence. It’s the right attitude that pleases God.
As Habakkuk said while watching and waiting before the Lord:
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.”
Habakkuk 3:17-19 NKJV