Gideon’s reactions to his call from God provide an excellent opportunity for us to begin examining some of the ways that we test God and the ways that God tests us. My first reaction to the events in Judges Chapter 6 that produced the wet and dry fleece was, “How did Gideon get away with testing God?” Why did God permit Gideon to test His decree? Even Gideon was concerned about the potential anger of God when he requested the second test of the fleece.
In the first passage we will read, Gideon has just been approached by the angel of God for the first time and has been told that he will deliver Israel from the hand of the Midianites.
Judges 6 (All scriptures in this sermon are from the English Standard Version.)
16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” 17 And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18 Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” 19 So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. 20 And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight.
It was through this sign that Gideon realized that he had actually seen the angel of the Lord and he became willing to listen to the instructions of God, which would soon come to him.
22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites. 25 That night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.” 27 So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had told him.
Thus far, Gideon has passed two tests. In the first, he recognized his visitor as the angel of the Lord. In the second test, he listened to the angel of the Lord and did as he was instructed. He faithfully destroyed the altar of Baal, which showed that he could be useful to God. As events unfold from this point, God gave Gideon a special gift to help him with his next task. He clothed Gideon in His Spirit.
33 Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him.
Even though Gideon was now clothed in the Spirit of God and had new courage, he seemed to falter at this point. So, Gideon proposes the first test of the fleece. Gideon asked for a sign that would give him physical proof of God’s plan that he could literally touch with his hands. Gideon was hearing directly from God, but must have still been questioning his perceptions.
36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water.
For me, this is where it gets even more interesting. Gideon was well aware that his next request might just cause God to react in anger, but he still made another attempt to test God.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.
As I considered the events up to this point, I concluded that Gideon must be finally ready to serve God and go into battle. Certainly he must be convinced. But I was wrong. Gideon still needed more reassurance. Gideon did not ask for it, but God knew that Gideon needed one more proof to fully trust in God and His provision.
9 That same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. 11 And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the armed men who were in the camp. 12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance. 13 When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” 14 And his comrade answered, “This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp.” 15 As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.”
We do not know how well Gideon was educated with respect to the Jewish scriptures that described all that happened from Adam through the entry of the Jews into the promise land. Perhaps it was from the scriptures or maybe it was from the folk wisdom of his people that he knew that it was risky to test God. These are a few of the scriptures that he might have known.
Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?”
He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?”
22 none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, 23 shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it. 24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.
Ultimately, Gideon displayed great valor and was used to defeat the enemy of Israel. The turning point in Gideon’s transformation is seen in verse 34 of chapter 6. “But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet.” The Spirit of God enabled Gideon to turn away from his old self image, “my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Gideon yielded to the Spirit of God and began to let the Spirit of God mold him into a new kind of a person. This was a person who was sensitized to the voice of God and who was willing to submit to God’s instructions. It is fair to say that this molding took some time and there were a few steps that God used to strengthen him, but ultimately he became a man who was able to serve God without holding anything back from the service of the Lord.
Did Gideon really test God on the second day when he asked Him to let the fleece be dry and let the dew be all around it? Probably, but let’s consider the context. Maybe God was using the opportunity to teach him something so that he could become ready for battle. I think of Gideon as a teenager on the way to manhood. God’s kindness and love are abundant for those who are being molded for His purposes. God’s expectations for Gideon grew as his weaknesses were overcome. We don’t know Gideon’s motivation for asking for the second test of the fleece, but we do know that God was willing to give a second test and to even give a third confirmation that Gideon did not request, as seen in the dream of the enemy soldier and the interpretation of the dream.
I want to explore more about the Spirit of God at this point, because it was through the Spirit of God that Gideon was able to serve the Lord.
As we read through the next scripture that is taken from Matthew, please pay attention to the use of the word “Spirit.”
Matthew chapters 3 and 4
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
There is only one Spirit in both the Old Testament scriptures and in the New Testament, and this is the Holy Spirit of God. John baptized with water, but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit that descended upon Jesus was the same Spirit that clothed Gideon. The Spirit that strengthened and clothed Gideon also acted in the life of Jesus to strengthen Him for His fasting in the desert and for his temptation with Satan. The Holy Spirit strengthened Jesus and then allowed Him to be tempted by Satan.
Today, those who have had their hearts regenerated by God also have the Holy Spirit. He dwells within us. The Holy Spirit is given to us today for the same reason as He was given in Old Testament times. He comes to mold and shape us so that we can become useful in the service of God. Repentance for sin, faith in the Gospel of Jesus, and submission to the leading of Christ in one’s life are present in all people whose hearts have been regenerated by God. True Christian men and women are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, because God has decided to use us for His purposes. He is preparing us day by day to become more useful. The plan is God’s, and we, like Gideon, must work our way through the process of believing that God really wants to use us, and will really be with us as we serve Him. We may at times doubt that we have heard Him and may falter in the execution of His instructions, nevertheless, God is helping us mature through the presence of His Holy Spirit in our lives, because we are His children.
My question for us at this point is: “Should we test God like Gideon did?”
At this point in time, it is not wise to test God the way Gideon did. We do not need to do this, because we have the Holy Spirit living within us. Those who try to test God as Gideon did will open themselves up to being led by Satan. They will find themselves doing some type of divination. They will pose questions and then look at events in the physical world for a clue about God’s will.
A person might say, “God, if you want me to quit my job, then let 6 inches of snow fall during the night.” If there is 6 inches of fresh snow on the ground in the morning, then I will give my notice, if not, then I will stay where I am.
Or, some might ask, “God what do you want me to do with my money this month?” Lord I am going to randomly open the Bible and the first thing I see that describes people in need will be my guide to the giving of my gifts.
Or “God what kind of car should I buy?” I am going to write down the names of 6 cars and the prices, and drop them into a hat. I will buy the one that you let my hand pick out of the hat and trust that you will provide the money to pay for it.
It is true that we read in various Old Testament scriptures that the Jews drew lots. And it is also true that even the Book of Acts describes how lots were drawn to decide who should fill the twelfth seat in the group of Apostles that was vacated by Judas. However, when the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost, devices of divination were no longer needed.
Everything changed at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit no longer limited His contact to a few people, but now lives within every person who has been regenerated by God. People who have the Holy Spirit living within them have access to the truth regarding any situation. We do not need to flip coins, study tea leaves, read the daily horoscope, or consult a psychic. All we need to do is pose our questions to God, to pray, read the Bible, and to repent. God’s Holy Spirit will reveal truth. The answers to our questions may be found in scripture as we read. They may come to us during times of intense prayer and fasting. They may be delivered through conviction of the Holy Spirit who shows us our idolatry and other sinful practices that need to be discontinued through repentance. Sometimes God will even deliver an answer through a book that He brings into our awareness or through an unexpected conversation with a person. The answer that we receive, regardless of the source, must always be examined through scripture. Even if we think a particular verse of scripture has come into our mind in answer to our question, we must consider the whole of the counsel of God to be sure that we are not just picking a scripture that serves our personal interests, or have been reminded of an inappropriate scripture by Satan. Satan loves to twist scripture, misapply scripture, and misquote scripture.
Every one of us wants to know the will of God. This is normal and natural for anyone who has been made a new creature in Christ. Nevertheless, we all struggle with doubt at some level. We are not that different from Gideon in that respect. However, we must not neglect to pay attention to who we are in Christ and what we have been given as heirs in the household and kingdom of God. Those who have been given new hearts of flesh are adopted children of God. His children will be sensitive to sin and to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and need not fear being obedient to God’s call to suffer for the Gospel.
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Let us not undervalue or underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us not keep deceit and falsehood in our hearts. Let us listen to the Holy Spirit and not grieve Him or rebel against His Holy counsel. Let us uphold appropriate fear of the Lord and respect His judgments of us. Let us not end up like Sapphira who tested God.
9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
Now, the matter of being led by the Holy Spirit and receiving truth through God’s Spirit may seem to be a great mystery to some who hear these words or will read this text at some point in the future. Some may feel like they have never heard from the Holy Spirit. They may feel like their lives are dry and barren when it comes to knowing the will of God. Some may feel like they have been forgotten or are being punished with Godly silence for not being good enough to hear from God.
If you are not aware of the working of the Holy Spirit in your life, then you may need to take certain actions.
The first action is to pray for God to show you any sin to which you still cling. Sometimes we are unable to hear God when we live with the deafening roar of sin in our ears. We are all in a process of ongoing sanctification, which means that God is systematically making us more holy over time. We may have brief periods when we think we are OK with respect to sin, but these temporary plateaus should not be allowed to last too long. If we hang on to the notion that we are no longer committing sin, then God will bring us down to our knees in humility. It is much better to routinely ask for God’s Holy Spirit to show us the places in our lives where we still retain Amalekite gods, than it is to test His patience and His holiness by waiting. Asking God to show us the idols to which we still cling is a great way to face our earthly fears and to break bondage to the lies of Satan. Identifying the idols in one’s life is sometimes quite difficult, because we find great comfort in them.
Unconfessed sin stands as a barrier to hearing God, but that is not the only barrier. There is an even greater obstacle.
There are many in the greater church community who believe that they are Christians, but they do not know the Holy Spirit. They do not know the Holy Spirit, because He does not live within them. He does not live within them, because they do not have regenerated hearts and are not really Christians. They are simply people who have been deceived into believing that they are Christians. The Holy Spirit proclaims the presence of sin to the unregenerated as well as to Christians. However, He does not lead and guide those who have not been adopted into God’s family. He only convicts them of their sin. For the Christian, the Holy Spirit is a comforter, counselor, and partner in prayer. He is none of these to the person who has not been truly saved by God.
There are many who believe they are part of the body of Christ, because they have said the sinner’s prayer and rest their assurance of salvation on certain words that they have spoken. Quite often these people will live their lives in ways that look in most respects just like the world. In some churches, these people are called carnal Christians. They are thought to be saved even though they have not yet made Jesus their Lord. There is no Biblical support for the existence of a Christian of this type. A person either has Jesus as Lord or Satan as lord. There is no in-between option.
A person with a regenerated heart will have been given a new sensitivity to sin by the Holy Spirit at the time of regeneration. The sensitivity to sin manifests as restless discomfort and hatred of sin. Holy Spirit empowered intolerance of one’s own sins actually grows in strength as a person matures in Christ. This sensitivity makes it harder and harder to stay in sin, because the agony and grief over sin propels a person into rapid repentance. Over time, the true Christian increasingly sees his or her remaining sinfulness from God’s perspective and is humbled by the perception. This perception works to further break down self-centeredness and awakens healthy fear of the Lord.
13 The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
Proof of our salvation is ultimately measured over the course of our lifetime. Those who stay committed to Christ until physical death were very likely true Christians. Those who drift away from Christian living and Christian fellowship for long periods of time, and those who do not return, were not saved regardless of their years of Christian living, years of Christian service, or their having said the sinners prayer. If a person drifts away from Christian living and falls into sin and stays for many years, and then returns to Christian fellowship with a desire to renew his or her commitment to Christ Jesus, then it was unlikely that the person was truly regenerated in the beginning. This is very common among people who claim childhood or teenage conversion.
There are many who believe they were saved at an early point in their lives, and then drifted away for perhaps a decade or two before coming back to God. Those who have departed from God in this way were never of God. Sometimes people return to Godly living in their thirties or forties, because God has, for the first time, regenerated their hearts. However, one does not renew his or her commitment and suddenly become holy. One never needs to renew what was real and holy, and one does not say a prayer of recommitment to become holy again. Holiness comes from God and is a direct result of His regeneration of a sinful heart.
Saying a prayer of recommitment followed by renewed self-effort to begin acting holy again is not a sign of regeneration. Regeneration flows from the power and majesty of a solemn and sovereign God. It is a gift that one does not throw down in order to pick it up later in life. There are many who have never had the true experience of having their pride and hatred of God crushed by the hand of a righteous God who demands ongoing sanctification. Those who are crushed by God lay down their lives at His feet and wait for His gift of saving grace. When God puts a former sinner back on his or her feet; the new Christian experiences true gratitude for having received the living water of life. This is in contrast to those who say the sinner’s prayer or a prayer of recommitment, and then just try to clean up their lives under their own power.
It is possible, of course, to act holy and to appear sanctified, but there will be no real fruit. Those who do this will look and act just like the world looks and acts in most situations. Maybe they will give up some addictive vices and substitute less offensive ones for those that a specific church denomination condemns, but this is not a sign of salvation. They may act holy on Sunday morning, but this does not mean they are being sanctified or are part of God’s kingdom. Scripture is very clear on the characteristics that are present in the life of a Christian.
1 John 1
18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
When a person is truly regenerated, the Holy Spirit gives the person a strong distaste for sin. He imparts a true hatred for sin, which takes the pleasure out of the sin even if we fall into the sin again. He gives a strong desire to repent as soon as sin has occurred, He gives a thirst for the Holy Scriptures, He gives the intense desire to be in fellowship with other Christians, and He gives His people a longing to be holy as Jesus is holy. If these characteristics are not present in a person’s life, and the person’s life does not reflect these qualities during the years of absence from Christian living, then the person simply was not regenerated. I realize this statement goes against the widespread teaching of many who have taught the false doctrines of modern salvation over the past hundred years. It is a false teaching to believe that a person receives a ticket to heaven just by saying the sinners prayer, regardless of what happens later in the person’s life. Such teaching is far from what Jesus taught and it is far from historical Protestant Christian beliefs.
I am discussing the false doctrine of the carnal Christian, because God treats his true children quite differently than He treats unrepentant sinners who believe they are Christians, because they said a prayer, signed a card, or raised their hand at a prayer meeting to signify that they accepted Jesus.
I am now ready to shift the topic somewhat to talk a little about how God tests the true Christian. He does not tempt us to sin, rather, He allows us to be put into situations where our commitment to Him as Lord will be tested. This type of testing is not for God’s benefit. It is for our benefit. The trials and tests that we experience as His children reveal our spiritual strengths and weaknesses. They reveal our capacity to persevere and to continue loving God despite what happens to us. Sometimes we may fail God’s tests and He may find it necessary to chasten us, but God only chastens His true children. Being tested by God, having the things of the world that you love be pruned away, and having our idols burned to ash in His holy refining fire are all signs that we are children of God.
There will come a day in the life of every man and every woman when each of us will face the judgment seat of God. He will examine us and decide our eternal fate. Will we be allowed to live with Him in the holy eternity of heaven, or will we spend life in eternal torment being subject to His constant unquenchable wrath.
If you have no evidence that the Holy Spirit is leading and guiding you, and you have no reason to believe that God is pruning and refining you, then you may be under the false belief that you are a Christian. If your life looks like the typical non-Christian and you behave in ways that are just like non-Christians, then the reason may be that you are not a Christian. If you think you are a carnal Christian and are therefore safe, then this is a warning to you. All carnal Christians live in subjection to Satan and will end up in hell. All carnal Christians worship Satan as their God regardless of whether they attend church, pay tithes, or serve on church committees. Carnal Christians will not escape hell and eternity in the lake of fire.
So called carnal Christian are testing God every day. They are trying to get God to shower them with the gifts that are intended for God’s true children. They are seeking the blessings of the Kingdom without having paid the price of adoption.
The price of adoption for any sinner is to repent for his or her sins, to believe in the gospel of Jesus, and to submit to follow Jesus in every aspect of life. Belief in God is not enough. Many believe in the existence of God and many believe that Jesus was the son of God, but this does not make them Christians. Many read the Bible every day and attend church every Sunday, but this does not make them God’s adopted children. Many have bumper stickers that proclaim God and listen to Christian radio, but that does not make them holy. Salvation begins with repentance for sin.
Those who say they are Christian, but live like men and women of the world, are inviting God’s wrath. A person, who says He or she is a Christian, when there is no evidence of it, is testing God’s patience and is building up God’s wrath for the Day of Judgment. Such a person is a child of sin and wrath, and God’s judgment may be just a few moments away. When a so called carnal Christian speaks of having a personal relationship with God and says that the Lord is his best friend, he is either completely deceived or is a liar.
If you find that the Holy Spirit is convicting you of the sin of masquerading as a Christian, then it is time to repent. It is time to throw yourself at the mercy of God and to pray that He will save you from the damnation that you deserve. You will never be saved by repeating the sinner’s prayer no matter how many times you say it. Only the grace of God will save you from the eternal fire.
Questions for Reflection:
1. Do you have a passionate hatred for the sins that you still commit? (A true Christian will hate the sin that still has not been overcome.)
2. Does the Holy Spirit convict you of your sins as soon as they are committed? (Over time, true Christians will experience shorter delays between sin and awareness of the Holy Spirit’s rebuke.)
3. When the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin, do you immediately repent and forsake the sin, and ask for God to cleanse you of the sin and to strengthen you so that you will not commit the sin again? (A true Christian will feel empowered to do this even if he or she hates the feeling of humiliation that precedes repentance and reconciliation with God.)
4. Can you look back over your life from the time you were saved to the present and identify a list of sins that you used to commit that are no longer a problem? (A true Christian will show evidence of having become more holy, which means that some sins of the past will have been overcome.)
5. Can you look back over the months and years since you became aware of your salvation and see how your repentance has given you joy, your joy has strengthened your faith, and your faith has made you more holy as Jesus is Holy? (If you are a true Christian then you should have more joy, more faith, and be more Christ like today than you were when you were first saved.)
If you are beginning to doubt your salvation, then please take the time to read 1 John, 1 Peter, 2 Corinthians, Romans 12, James, and Matthew 5-7 to further examine yourself.
If you cannot find clear evidence of your regeneration when you examine yourself, then you may need to begin asking God to give you a new heart of flesh even if you have said the sinner’s prayer. You will know you have been truly saved when you see real evidence that God has pruned and chastened you. You will know you have been truly saved when the Holy Spirit is convicting you of sin and you respond with Godly sorrow and repentance. You will know you have been truly saved when your conformity to the worldly lifestyle of Satan is diminishing, and your holiness is increasing. If you don’t see evidence of this type of activity in your life, then you need to take a hard look at yourself and face the possibility that you are not really saved and are not a Christian. If this is the case, then it is time to repent for your sins and to cry out for mercy. Pray that Jesus will give you a new heart. Cry out to God in the same way that the tax collector in Luke 9 cried out for mercy.
13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Prayer and Bible study are key ingredients for those who are asking that God save them. Continue with reading the Bible and praying for God to regenerate your heart until you feel moved to repent for your sins. You can specifically pray for God to break your pride, self-seeking desires, and spirit of independence. In short, pray to be crushed and to be made pleasing to God. When you begin to experience your own black and vile heart, then you can be sure that you are being drawn closer to God.
When you begin to experience Godly Sorrow over the depravity of your life and see yourself as a sinner, then you can begin to repent for the sin of seeking to control the Lord Christ Jesus by commanding Him to come into your heart through the saying of the sinner’s prayer.
2 Timothy 2
24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
God is mercyfull, thake care of our need, compassion about our weak intelligence. Also the test, like with jesus, let a rememberance of the real power of God. David in front of Goliath was full of insurance. He even reminds to him that God has many time proven His presence and His protection in his struggle with the lions and the beasts savage. A non public battle, but in private, but useful for strengthened his faith, enough to be face the enemy publicly and mightily . Yes “The Holy Spirit no longer limited His contact to a few people, but now lives within every person who has been regenerated by God.”
“His children will be sensitive to sin and to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and need not fear being obedient to God’s call to suffer for the Gospel.” The key. I note is for the Gospel. Many time I suffer, but it is not relate with the Gospel. Important to see wha is a persecution what is consequence of the sin, and even of my own sin.