W. Austin Gardner
Breaking our pride 4
The following continues from a sermon by Ron Dunn called “Ministry of Failure!”
Dunn says there are two forms of pride, self-sufficiency- I can handle this situation by myself.
Dunn says later: Three and a half years of ministry and Simon still had not learned! Now, listen carefully to what Jesus says… I told you a moment ago that sometimes the Lord negotiates for our failure. Here it is. Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired you that he may sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you and when you are turned again, when you get straightened out from this mess, that you will be able to strengthen your brethren.” Now, the word translated “desired”… “Satan hath desired to have you…” is a word that means “to obtain by asking permission.”
Do you know what Jesus was saying? He was saying, “Satan hath asked permission to get hold of you and turn you inside out and I have given it.” Now, that’s really encouraging to me in one aspect. It says to me that the devil can’t touch me without the permission of the Lord Jesus. He cannot do it! God has built a hedge about me and the only way the devil can touch me and get to me is if the Lord Jesus gives His permission. And He was saying, “Simon, there’s only one way you’re going to learn.”
And by the way, he learned. If you’ll follow his career you’ll find he never again had a problem with self-sufficient pride. God taught him something through his failure He could not teach him any other way. And I say to you tonight that there are some things in your life…whether it’s home life, business life, church life, personal life…there are some things God is not going to be able to teach you apart from failure. He’s going to have to manipulate you into a situation where you’re faced with failure to empty you of your self-sufficient pride. And He said, “When thou art turned again…” which meant that Jesus knew that Simon was going to fail, but when he failed and learned the lesson of that failure, then he would be competent for ministry. He said, “…then you’ll be able to strengthen your brethren.”
But not only of the pride of self-sufficiency…He also uses failure to empty us of the pride of self-satisfaction.
And you’ll never discover the resources of God until God first of all puts you in a situation where you’re hungry for Him. And the only way you can be hungry for what God has is for God to deprive you of what you’ve been feeding yourself on.