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Wilderness Wisdom (1 of 4)

Mike Connell

So notice when temptation comes, it doesn't feel like God's anywhere near. It feels like He's a long way off, and that temptation's real close. That's the nature of a wilderness experience, it doesn't feel like God's so close. How many know those kinds of experiences? They're horrible. I hate them. Fortunately I know that they prepare you, so no one likes a wilderness, but there are some wonderful things about the wilderness. It's a preparation, not a destination. It's a place of testing, and that word 'test' means, to prove the kind of quality, character that you have. So it's an opportunity for God to put on display, the kind of character, the kind of person you are, and the depth of your relationship with Him. So interestingly when Job was walking down the - notice that God spoke to the devil and said: do you notice my mate Job, what a good kind of guy he is? Then God's pointing out and showing off His servant. The devil says: oh, I tell you what, let me hit him a bit, and then you watch him complain. He said okay, have a go - and he did, and Job never complained.

God said: do you notice my servant down there, he's pretty good isn't he aye? [Laughter] Well you just let me smite him with boils, and you watch, he'll curse You! Okay - but you look at the end of Job, and you find the end of Job, he was doubly blessed. He came out with double portion anointing. Now of course everyone wants double portion anointing. I tell them get away from me, I want it myself. There's a way to get it. You have to go through some experiences with God. People say oh, lay hands on me, I want the anointing, want the anointing! Welcome to some wilderness time. Get alone with God, and begin to find your way into God in the midst of difficulty, and you'll come out in the power of the Holy Ghost. People want the soft thing - come up the front, and I believe in altar call, believe in laying hands, impartation, but my observation over years is most people lose it within a day. Why? Because they never played their part in the season of preparation, and there's important things to recognise in those seasons of preparation.

So pressure reveals what's in our heart. Notice what God says: He brought you into the wilderness, that He might know you. Does that mean God doesn't know you? Of course He knows you. In other words, He wants us to have an experience together, where our heart is exposed. This is intimacy. The word 'no' there is the word 'yada', meaning intimate love connection, so the wilderness is a time of intimate love connection with God. Oh, I thought you said it was a tough time? Well it is kind of a tough time, but it's actually designed to get your heart out to the open where God can see it, you can see it particularly, and a chance for you to become intimate with God, because in the wilderness God formed covenant marriage relationship with Israel. In the wilderness God encountered them. In the wilderness God helped them. In the wilderness God provided for them, in fact they never lacked in the wilderness at all. It was a place of encountering, experiencing God, and deepening character and relationship with Him.

He said: that He would know you, what was in your heart, and that you might know man shall not live by bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. But He said you need to experience the reality that the life you're going to live in the world, is a life of faith, depending on God. What we want is to have the smooth life, and get all the blessings. God wants the faith life, and faith doesn't necessarily feel good. You don't feel any great anointing on you when you're going through a wilderness experience, but that doesn't mean God isn't there. You've got to hold onto His words. You've got to trust His character, and when you see what comes up in your heart, in the wilderness time, you can be shocked. I've been through a few wildernesses - pressures, and the wilderness reveals what's in our heart, and so sometimes in the wilderness I've felt I wanted to have a drink. It was all I could do to stop thinking about having a drink. It wasn't a way to solve the wilderness, but it looked like it could solve it. [Laughter] Have a few drinks. Have one - have a couple, have three. Have the whole bottle, you'll feel a lot better. [Laughter] I did too [laughs] but that's alright, you learn to get out and grow and become a bit different. Don't tell me you haven't tried that either. [Laughter]