“Exult, thou barren, that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and shout for joy, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord”, Is.54:1; "Indeed the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve", Mat.20.28.

We know that the inner resources of any human soul are great in amount and in self-willed and self-desired capacities. Many times (more than thinkable and desirable even), the greatest problem is not about the goal or aim or even the knowing of what to do or where to go, but rather the means we may use to achieve those. This is what causes barrenness to appear in a church, whether one has those means available and attainable, or even whether one is available to them. The means count more to God, now, than the goal itself. One day both the means and the goals will be equalized. Man's means are grounded upon sin, prompted through pride in him, are settled in vain ideas about himself and others.

We read in the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus says something which so easily escapes our attention. He said, “Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven”. I thought it strange at first that the Lord had not been asking that the Father’s will be done, but rather that the way it is done should be grasped at first and above all: as in heaven it must be done. It is the way which concerns the laws of heaven, even though we easily acknowledge there won’t be a way without being an end to meet. “For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ”, 2Cor.10:4-5. We know what happened to Aaron’s sons when they put strange fire in God’s altar, how they fell dead before the Lord and the people even though it was a fire and they were high priests. And we should notice that it means here our own imaginations and cares, and not merely other people’s. Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to convert others. We read in it, “convert yourselves”, right through.

The main reason for barrenness in spiritual Christians (and I am not involving here fools who go to church quite often), is that, after confessing all past and present sins by name and having them put in the light deliberately both to people and to God, they still maintain the human way and capacity to hold on to hope and to faith, because that human capacity has how to do so in itself – and that is the last thing they should be able to do. People, when they see something they have a reflecting, natural reaction towards it and, in the same way, when they hear about God they do things as they have learned to do. It means they still hope in holy things but by means deriving from ways of previous flesh, just as it would hope upon lottery before. The same weapons and resources one used to be unholy with and through, are now in usage in the Temple of God. It cannot work out, since God never called out for a holy flesh, but for a dead one. The fear of failing, the scaring visions of having and needing to be unconditionally holy, the genuine visions of true Life and accurateness demanded by God Himself now for a change, all of that which stirs souls to its foundations, makes people to be driven but not through wisdom and the power of holiness gotten from God alone. Think of it: would God grant you a vision without the means to get there as well? Why do you think, many a time, God hinders people to be able to preach, to reach out and to do something which He clearly showed is His will for them? I found many Christians thinking and believing they would never reach it, since God seemed to be hindering Himself whatever He placed in their hands to carry out. This would be strange and look contradictory if it only would not be so true. God hinders His will because it is not done after the way it is done in heaven, I mean, the flesh came in to serve in the Temple of God and, if that temple is holy, it cannot but be hindered to do so. An unholy temple will promote the hard work of the flesh with the Bible in its hands, however. Many, therefore, give up on God and on God's will because they give not the means up. So, instead of giving up on the goals, try giving up on the means. “So says Jehovah of Hosts: Now ask the priests the Law, saying, If one carries holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and touches his skirt to bread, or boiled food, or wine, or oil, or any food, will it become holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then Haggai said, If one unclean of body touches these, is it unclean? And the priests answered and said, It is unclean. And Haggai answered and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before Me, says Jehovah. And so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean”, Hag 2:11-14). The place is right, so are the goals; the means are wrong.

The main point about Christianity which is genuine is that God’s New Covenant with us all, the only one there is for real, is that “I will make a new covenant… But this is the covenant that I will make with My house after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: and they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord”, Jer.31:33-34. Any preacher who does not lead people to be taught by God alone is a fool and gathers not with God, nor for God. One not being taught by God personally is breaking a covenant.

When the Lord Jesus commanded His disciples, just before ascension and when sending them out, He said: “Go therefore, and make disciples … teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”, Mat 28:19-20. He would be doing it Himself through them, not only teaching about it, but above all, teaching how to be able to observe. We easily forget that Jesus states that real faith is fruit brought forth from a real and genuine relationship with Him. Hence the words “If you can believe”, Mark 9:23. There are people who just can’t believe the right way and they do it anyway. Instead of creating and going after a relationship with God which He approves, they try believing! but, if the relationship were there at all, so would be the believing as well. Genuine trust will emerge from that relationship being there, since one will get to know the Lord as He is; and it just won't work otherwise - ever.

We should never forget any of the words of Jesus, nor attempt to turn them to suit ourselves at all. He meant He would come to serve and not to be served. That would be the only kind of service acceptable unto Him: the one done and carried out through Him to the end – by Him in us. The most humbling thing for human beings is to be thought of as unable and impotent. They will easily charge at God's will and goals, but they will do away with their own means with a great grumbling and resistance even. It is more humbling to be unable having the means to be able still, than to be fully disabled. Graceful beings will never afford to say to the Lord, “Lord, you shall never wash my feet!”, for Jesus comes to have them fully served alone. "And coming up he will serve them", Lk.12:37. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God (His faith within us as our own), who loved me, and gave himself up for me”, (Gal 2:20). This has got to be real though, or it will never work. Amen.

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José Mateus