|This article is authored by Dick Leggatt, President of Derek Prince Ministries – USA and this comprises his June 2012 Newsletter. Click here to receive the Derek Prince Ministries emailed E-devotional.|
Are you satisfied? Do you want to go further with the Lord? Those are two profound questions the Lord actually asked Derek Prince in the early 1960s as he was walking along a seaside cliff in Denmark. They relate directly to this month’s theme: the pursuit of holiness, and they are profound questions for us to consider as well.
In just a minute, I’ll tell you more about Derek’s encounter in Denmark. I’ll also let you know about a very special free gift we want to send to you this month. But for now, let’s address the matter of holy living and how we can take a step in that direction.
Not a Set of Rules
Right up front, I have to confess that, the topic of holiness has been problematic for me. Growing up in a church-going family, the concept of “being holy” carried a connotation of obeying a list of negative religious rules. “Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t chew don’t run with boys who do.” In deference to my parents, I complied for the most part with outward religiosity, but I didn’t like it. Nor was it fulfilling or satisfying to me in the least. Even more confusing were my parents’ searing criticisms of folks they called “holy rollers” — people who seemed to be trying to walk in genuine faith. Even though the religious prohibitions we lived by were lifeless, my folks didn’t seem to want anything beyond them. In the end, I just knew there had to be something more to life.
When I came to faith in Jesus Christ at the age of 15, I immediately avoided any semblance of structured religion — certainly anything that reeked of religious formalities. Yet I couldn’t deny what I was reading in the Word of God about genuine godly living, the sanctification process, and being holy. I was challenged by Scriptures like Hebrews 12:14: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” What a quandary!
Can You Relate?
Is your experience anything like mine? Have you had the same mixed emotions when it comes to the topic of personal holiness? Have you, like me, faltered in your approach to godly living or become frustrated at times in obeying God’s command to “Be holy, for I am holy”?
If you too have been perplexed about holiness, I have some good news for you. Derek Prince really cleared up the confusion on this topic, and the answer for you may be very close at hand.
“Are You Satisfied?”
One of my favourite anecdotes from Derek Prince’s life is from an incident in the early 1960s as he was spending time in prayer on the seaside cliffs in beautiful Denmark. A shortened version of the story appears near the end of his book, Set Apart for God. A more complete version, told in Derek’s own words in one of his teachings, appears below.
I want to share what the Lord taught me in a very specific, definite and personal way. My wife and I had been on the mission field in East Africa for five years. We returned to Europe and we were on our way to Canada where we were going to do what they call deputation work — traveling through the churches speaking about the mission field.
We spent Christmas with my wife’s sister in Denmark, and for the first time for a good long while I had no ministry responsibilities. There’s a particular cliff overlooking the North Sea in that area of Denmark which is Jutland, the northern tip of Denmark, that I have loved for many years. And I used to like to go out on the cliff and walk up and down and praise the Lord, speak in tongues and release my spirit. I had no problems because there was nobody there but a few seagulls, and I’ve always got on well with seagulls.
So I was up there just around Christmastime 1961, or the beginning of 1962. And the Lord began to speak to me, not audibly, but very clearly with precise words which came from somewhere inside me. (I’m sure you understand what I am talking about.) He gave me a little review of my past life and service for Him, reminded me of the various things that had happened, and He concluded by saying something like this: “You’ve been a missionary in two countries, you’re the principal of a college, you’re the member of a denomination, you have a pension scheme.” Then He said, “Are you satisfied, or do you want to go further?” Well, that was an unexpected and rather shocking question, because at that time I really didn’t think there was much further to go.
I look back with shame and embarrassment, but I really thought basically I knew whatever I needed to know. I mean, I knew there were a lot of things in the Bible I didn’t understand, but I thought, from the point of view of practical ministry, I knew everything that was necessary. I wasn’t interested in being super-spiritual and getting to know a lot of things that were not of practical value.
But the Lord said to me, “Are you satisfied, or do you want to go further?” One thing I have learned is: Do not speak rashly to God. So my response to God was, “Well, I need time to think this over.”
I thought it over, meditated on it, prayed about it for two or three days and then I went back to the same cliff-top by myself. I got in touch with the Lord and said, “I’m ready to give You my answer.” This is what I said. (And again, I really am embarrassed to think this is actually what I said.) “Lord, if there is anything further, I want to go further.”
The Lord was ready with His answer, which was very precise, immediate and practical. He said, “If you want to go further, there are two conditions. First of all, all progress in the Christian life is by faith. If you’re not willing to go forward in faith, you cannot go forward. Secondly, if you are to fulfill the ministry that I have for you, you will need a strong, healthy body, and you’re putting on too much weight!”
Well, when I responded to God, without fully realizing it, I made a commitment. In a sense I said, “All right, You take over. I’ll go where You lead.” And it entirely changed the direction of my life.
Time to Take a Step
The encounter Derek described above is really an early step he took toward holy living which continued throughout the remainder of his life. It represented a commitment on his part, a step closer in his relationship with the Lord. A step further in following the Lord in a life of godliness.
Are you ready to take a similar step? Do you want to go further? If your answer is “yes,” we offer a prayer that Derek shared at the end of Chapter 9 in Set Apart for God that may express how you want to respond. Why not say it aloud right now?
Father, I thank You that this message about holiness in Your Word is so clear, so penetrating, so unambiguous. I pray that I will be open to the truth, that I will not turn away from it, and that I will not resist the Spirit of grace.
I pray that when the Spirit speaks to me of holiness, I will be willing to listen and to humble myself. I know, Lord, that You are pleased to dwell with the humble and the contrite. I pray for Your people, for myself and for others, that as You look upon us from this day forward, You may see us in the beauty of holiness. And I will be careful, Lord, to give You the praise and the glory. In the name of Jesus, amen.
Our Gift to You
The step you have just taken with this prayer may be a life-changing commitment for you. It would take a whole book to adequately cover all the outworking of this desire for holiness in your life. But we’d like you to have a free, downloadable message from Derek entitled “How You May Sanctify Yourself.” Click here to download it.
We are grateful for your generosity and friendship, enabling us to continue the work we are doing. We sense such a strong partnership with you as you link with Derek Prince Ministries in these days, and it is our privilege to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as we serve the Lord together.
Undoubtedly, in the days ahead the theme of holiness will become more and more significant for all of us. Derek Prince himself made this amazing statement in Set Apart for God: “It [holiness] is not just following a set of negative rules. It is a positive, powerful force. In fact, I believe that holiness is the most powerful force at work in the universe.”
May the words we have shared in this letter, along with the free audio download we are offering, be a tremendous encouragement to you! Isn’t it wonderful to take a step — even a faltering one — toward holiness?
On a personal note, Dick Leggatt, President of Derek Prince Ministries says “Thank you again for standing with us. And thank you for considering this important topic of holiness. Please make sure to download your free MP3 version of “How You May Sanctify Yourself”!”