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    Journey to Holiness — The Wilderness Walk

    Journey to Holiness
    The Wilderness Walk

    One of the most critical parts of our journey to holiness is that time when Holy Spirit calls us to walk in the wilderness. You will recall that when John the Baptist baptized Jesus, a voice was heard from heaven proclaiming, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." The Father acknowledging His approval of Jesus to this point in His life on earth. Till this point in time, Jesus had not yet preached His first sermon nor healed or delivered anyone from their affliction. No miracles. Yet, the Father expressed His great pleasure in His Son and did this in such an extraordinary way. Why?

    What had Jesus done to receive such praise from His Father? Jesus had walked for thirty years as a son. He grew up honoring His parents and worked as a carpenter as his earthly father had done. In this Jesus demonstrated for us what was the most important aspect of His life before He started in His ministry, to be a son first and foremost. Before we as Christians embark on any great service we wish to walk in, we MUST first learn what it is to be a son/daughter to our heavenly Father. We must learn what it is to be taught and trained by Him. We must learn to receive chastisement and correction. We must learn how it is to be loved by Him. For it is in this relationship with God, this daily walking with Him and talking with Him and His teaching and training us that we learn what He considers to be the most important thing. Jesus encouraged His disciples to:
    Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)
    Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
    In this, He is inviting us to see what it means to be an accepted son, an approved son.
    2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)
    Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    2 Timothy 2:19 (NKJV)
    Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal:“The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
    2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NKJV)
    But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
    2 Timothy 2:22 (NKJV)
    Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
    When Jesus warned of those who did not continue in their walk but told them to depart because, "I never knew you...", it was because these had never learned what it was to be sons and daughters. It is in this process that we learn what pleases God and what displeases Him. As He said, in a great house their are vessels of gold and silver as well as vessels of wood and clay, so it is He also says that we NEED to cleanse ourselves of the vessels of wood and clay. These are those things that can be burned up in the fire of testing and trials. Holding on to these worthless vessels means that we value them more than that which does not perish in the fire.

    If we hold to these, when trials and tests arise, we will suffer the loss of all things we had held fast to. In a practical view, these items of wood and clay are representative of all things that do not come from heaven. Only those things from God's kingdom will not be destroyed. These worthless items are the lies we continue hold fast to, such as; our traditions or the traditions of our fathers and families; cultural and national traditions; grudges we have held on to because of past offenses not yet truly resolved; mindsets we've adopted because of injuries and offenses from both our past and our present. These are the grave clothes we still wear when we, like Lazarus, were called from death into life. What bound us in death still cling to us in life. This is why Jesus commanded to loose Lazarus and let him go. Notice that Jesus did not call for the religious leaders or the elders to do this loosing of Lazarus but He called those who were nearest to him.

    This is the very thing of which Paul spoke of when he encouraged us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. Why? It is that very aspect of learning what it is to be sons and daughters that we learn both the goodness of God and the severity of God. In His goodness, He engrafted us into the vine. In His severity, He can remove us if we do not continue in faith and instead of listening to and obeying His voice, we go our own way instead of His. We find ourselves PRESUMING on the Lord with that expectation we already know what He wants. We may find ourselves being included in His rebuke to the children of Israel in Isaiah 30.

    It is during this walk with Him, learning to be sons and daughters that we learn that He is a Holy God and a Jealous God. He will not share His Glory with another. We learn what it means to be holy and acceptable. We learn the rewards of chastisement, both the pain and the peace (Hebrews 12:11). In the end, we know we must first be approved by God before we can be released as a servant to do His work. We learn the high priority He places on being a son and daughter first and then out of this relationship, we serve.

    Jesus was thirty years old when He began His ministry. This is thirty years of preparation before He was to be released to begin His ministry. Before He could be released, there was one more thing that needed to be done. It is something that was established centuries before when the children of Israel were delivered from the slavery of Egypt. This was the wilderness walk. The bible describes it this way:
    Deuteronomy 8:1-6 (NKJV)
    1 “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers. 2 And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. 5 You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.
    6 “Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.
    Two things were necessary for the final approval of God to those who will follow Him. Both are found in that wilderness walk.

    First, "to try you and test you to see if you will obey Him or not". This was absolutely critical because although we have been taught and trained, until the fiery trial of testing and burning comes, when we are depleted of our own strength, then the true nature of what is in our hearts will be revealed. For we do not really know what we are capable of until we are thrust into that test. Until we are faced with life or death choices, we cannot know which course of action we will take. This test of the wilderness walk is not so that God can know what you will do but it is so that YOU will know what you will do. When Adam hid from God and God asked, "Adam, where are you...", God did not ask because He did not know where Adam was but it was Adam who did not know where he was. God knows all things from the beginning of time to the end of time. He lives in a place of timelessness and created time for our benefit. It is we who need to measure time for our own time in this earthly life is limited and numbered. It is we who need to redeem our time because of all the distractions we are so easily beset by. So this test of the wilderness walk is for our benefit. For only as we pass through the Refiner's fire will that which is not of God be burned up or rise to the surface to be removed and in this way, our faith is purified.

    The next thing that God says the test of the wilderness is for, "so you may know that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." This is also critical because we do not know the obstacles we will face while in service to Him. It is vital we trust that God has our best in mind when everything else screams the opposite. This test is one in which He will allow us to not only suffer the loss of our wants but also the loss of our needs. Will we maintain our trust in Him when everything appears as if He has forgotten us? I've often heard this quoted, "He shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory." What happens when He withholds those blessings? Will we feel He has abandoned us? Will we cry against those He has placed over us to lead us because we suffer for the lack of our most basic needs? Will we cry against God Himself as the children of Israel did in their test in the wilderness? Will we rebel against God and His anointed and turn away to return the way we came? Will we say it was better for us as slaves in Egypt?

    It is not until we are deprived of everything, even our needs, that we truly see whether our hearts trust in Him or not. It is during this time of suffering and deprivation we decide whether we will trust in the Lord whether He delivers us or not. As the three Hebrew children, before being cast into the fiery furnace said, "Our God is able to deliver us but even if He does not, we will not bow down before that image." We MUST know and understand that it is God who holds us and keeps us through the power of His word even if we face death itself.

    When Jesus was baptized by John, He was immediately driven by the Spirit of God into the wilderness for 40 days. It was afterwards He became hungry. By now, His body had started to feed on itself and the pains of hunger overwhelmed Him. He was at His weakest point and Satan knew it. If there was to be any time that Jesus could be tempted, it was now. So Jesus would be tempted in three ways.
    1. The test of Self-sufficiency—God has abandoned you so now you should use the power you possess to provide for yourself. Turn the stone to bread.

    2. The test of Faith—cast yourself down from this temple and the angels will carry you so that you will not be harmed. If God is truly with you, He will not allow you to suffer.

    3. The test of Worship—bow down to Satan and He will give you to rule over all the nations of the earth. Satan is always going to offer an easier way to reach your goal than the route God has called you to. For God's way means suffering and death while Satan only requires you to bow down and worship him. He doesn't tell you what the true cost is of that price eternity with him in hell. He only shows you the grandeur, the fame and the money & power.
    All these tests proved the heart of Jesus and will prove our hearts as well. This may surprise you, at no time did Jesus use the scriptures while answering these temptations as a form of defense. The very heart of God is reconciliation. This heart was also in Jesus. It is my belief that Jesus used the scriptures to minister life. To remove darkness, you simply turn on the light. Once Jesus had endured these tests, He left the testing ground and straight away, began His earthly ministry.

    For those who follow Jesus, there comes a time after our approval from the Father, we too, must endure the testing by fire of our faith. We too are called into our own version of the wilderness walk. For Jesus, it was 40 days. For the children of Israel, it was to be 40 years. For each of us, there is no set length except that which has been set by the Father. That depends on us and the nature of the test He has designed for us.

    For me, it was about 3.5 years. It began when the Spirit of the Lord and I were in fellowship one particular day. He told me, "I am bringing you to a place where you will receive absolutely nothing. You will suffer want. You will suffer need. Your wife will not understand. Your pastor and brethren will not understand. No one will understand. You are not to work during this time." And that was it. He said this and that was that. I knew He was going to test me and test me He did. We suffered want, need and no one could understand. Most of my brethren quoted to me those verses, if a man does not work then he won't eat. I did try to explain, but no one I spoke to had ever experienced such a thing yet in their own lives. They did not believe God would call anyone to such a life. It was during this time, I discovered what it is that God was seeking to accomplish in me. It was during this time I saw the miraculous provisioning of the Lord. I virtually lived at the address of Matthew 6:33, seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. This was my daily bread, each word proceeding from His mouth. Only by the power of His grace was I able to endure this wilderness walk.

    I must confess that I did stumble. I was not supposed to work but chose to disobey and started to deliver newspapers. This did not last long as one day, while lined up with other cars, we waited to load our papers, another car behind me had put their car in drive instead of park and pinned me between their car and mine. My legs were not broken but severely bruised with a section of my kneecap dangling under the knee. I now have a 5 percent permanent disability due to this. Like a good shepherd who has a little lamb constantly straying away, He breaks his legs, binds them up and carries that lamb on His shoulders till the lamb is healed. So did the Lord do with me. Never before, in my life, was I to have a more intimate time of fellowship with Him than during that time.

    Eventually, the time came when my wilderness walk came to an end. The ministry that He called me into so many years ago began to flourish. He opened to me many of the mysteries of His kingdom and opened the eyes of my heart to see Jesus in the Old Testament. Before this, I had never quite seen the value of the Old Testament. Today, however, the Old Testament and the New Testament are intertwined in such a way as to barely distinguish them apart. For just as the whole of the Old Testament spoke of Jesus, I was now able to see how it is that Jesus was the fulfillment of all that was written of Him. In fact, the way I see the bible today is as the testimony of Jesus Christ. For the whole of the bible testifies of Jesus, the anointed One. To me, there is no longer two book sections, separate from each other but one testimony. What was foretold and that which was revealed, the root and the tree.

    In closing, allow me to review what we have learned. The journey to holiness takes a necessary step in order to put us to the supreme test just prior to our being released to minister under the anointing of God. It is this testing of our faith that the road comes to its narrowest point. It is during this supreme narrowness of our path that all things which are not profitable for kingdom use are stripped from us. It is while walking on this path that we find the path to become ever so much more narrow. It is while walking on this extremely narrow road, we learn the secret to walking the narrow road.

    The more we are humbled in our own sight, the appearance of this narrow way is broadened to enable us to walk it much easier than before for we are diminished in our own sight (humility). This verse of scripture becomes real to us:
    Psalms 18:36 (NKJV)
    You enlarged my path under me, So my feet did not slip.
    It is during this wilderness walk that the message of Psalms 18 becomes to us a reality. Before, we were moved by fear but afterwards, we come out victorious as He has taught our hands to make war and defeat our enemies. For it is during this wilderness walk that we learned what is of value and that which must be discarded. Our eyes are set on the task before us and we are determined to never be distracted by going to the left or to the right but we go straight ahead wherever the Spirit leads. With our focus firmly set on Jesus, we will walk as He has walked, as a love slave of His Father, not speaking our words not doing our own will but of His. Whatever we see the Father do, we do likewise, in total obedience to His every word and desire. In this, we have become not only the righteousness of God in Christ but we too have become holy just as God is Holy!

    Jerry Sundberg

    Soon after I received the Lord in 1976, I started receiving prophetic visions and warnings about the future of the church and the United States. I share my visions on my Hidden Manna websites and offer free of charge my two ebooks entitled “Hidden Manna” and “Hidden Manna 2”.

    Website: Hidden Manna

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    1. Flesh Cutting message brother Jerry! I have written messages like this in the past 26 years, though I have not gone on with the Lord but failed every time in the wilderness to choose or to endure. So the wilderness time continues until the old generation dies and the new is raised up in me. I had thought that in getting the revelation of the wilderness and the dealings of God that I was there, I had made it!! Only to find that I had only just begun. About 4 months ago after leaving a series of part time jobs over the last 2 years I heard the Spirit say, "Now is not the time to look for a job." Since then the troubles our daughter has suffered came to the light(still not solved)and He began bringing us into extreme lack and pressing needs(still not solved). I would often berate myself and tell God, If a man does not work he does not eat! SO I would go on enforced fasts like a worker going on strike to make the boss pay him more wages. Ha ha!! God is not like an earthly boss and was not moved in the slightest. I cry and whine that I don't understand why He says nothing about our money situation.I forgot that I wrote messages like this one years ago when I was a single man. I tell Him I cant go on anymore, I pout and cry and fume...I apply for jobs away from home in the hope I will get it and have to leave and simply exist to send money home to pay the bills....I try to run from the fire! But He won't let me escape, I fetters of iron on my feet and they hurt. He causes all my loved ones to depart from me and all my acquaintances are afar off. I am in danger of knowing too much when in fact I have not tested any of what I know! I know nothing at all and am less than other men, yet I still judge them and exalt myself above them. I am unbearable to myself! What a journey!
      Thanks Brother Jerry for this message of pruning.

      By the way-- All of those comments above are spam comments, not genuine readers. If you look at the email addresses I guarantee they are all gmail addresses that are not even real and they have linked the comments to some website either porn or some sales site or a back links site.

      1. Because my response is too long, I will be sending my response through email. Blessings to you my brother!


    Item Reviewed: Journey to Holiness — The Wilderness Walk Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jerry Sundberg
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