Keep An Unclouded Relationship With God – At Any Cost
Sit down with pencil and paper, and – verse by verse – let the Word of God
search your heart. It will mean recognizing, admitting, even recording your sins
as they’re revealed – yours, not your neighbor’s. It will mean
Spirit-guided confession and restoration. It will mean obedience at any cost –
in a literal following of His Word. It will help you go forward in the life of
This article is recommended for study at mid-week services and home Bible studies. By Harold Voelkel
In the summer of 1939 a Miss Aletta N. Jacobsz and her companion, Miss Eunice Marais, came to Korea for a vacation from China. At Whajinpo where they were vacationing, cottage prayer meetings for the deepening of the spiritual life were held daily, led in turn by different missionaries.
Miss Jacobsz was asked to take a meeting, and to those who were present, it was evident that she was a woman of special gifts and had experienced the power of God in a remarkable way.
She was then requested to conduct a week’s meetings, and as a result many were blessed. Dr. L. T. Newland of Kwang Ju writes thus about the meetings:
“Miss Jacobsz is the only person I have ever met to whom the Lord is as real and close a Friend as any human friend. I have read of the rapturous love of certain great souls for their Lord but in Miss Jacobsz for the first time I met such a person.
“Her methods are simplicity itself. She brings the Book to bear upon a life. She does not argue or plead but asks that you be honest enough to heed what God says. She works among church leaders who claim to be consecrated already and trained in Bible teaching. She only asks that you take God at His Word—and let Him tell you what is the matter with your life.
“We discovered that God is a Heavenly Father who does not accept the blanket statement, ‘I am a great sinner,’ but asks searchingly, ‘What sins?’ When you sit down with pencil and paper and God’s Word and try to write down what God considers sins then you are terribly enlightened and you can cry out with Isaiah, ‘I am undone,’ or with the publican, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’
“To discover one’s sins, and some of them for the first time, is to bring one to the Heavenly Father for forgiveness, and then follows the cleansing (1 John 1:9).
“To confess to God was not enough for we found to our dismay that this beautiful, unified missionary station had buried away misunderstandings and jealousies. These things had to be confessed and righted, and others whom we had wronged in many ways had to be sought out and written to.
“We sought out Korean pastors and leaders and others whom we had judged and criticized, and confessed to them, and found them strangely warm and tender of soul. Our homes were made more beautiful; our station was made over, and ten of us lay claim with glad humility to a new complete cleansing through the blood of Jesus Christ.”
Later, we in Andong heard the following experience of a member of Kwang Ju station from his wife. When Miss Jacobsz arrived here it was known that she gave private interviews when requested. The wife of Dr. X., having been greatly helped by an interview, dropped a suggestion to her husband that he seek one. His reply was, “I don’t need to talk to any woman about my sins. I know what they are myself.”
Finally, however, at the gentle persuasion of his wife he did consent to arrange for a conference. As expected, the same thing happened to him that has happened to many others, namely, a realization of the awful deceitfulness of the human heart. I do not remember all the details of the interview but in the main—he has given it publicly a number of times—it is as follows:
Miss J.: “Have you considered Matthew 6:33, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God’?”
Dr. X.: “Yes, I know that verse. I preach on it frequently to the Koreans.”
Miss J.: “Are you willing to face this truth squarely and see if you are actually seeking God’s will FIRST in all things?”
Dr. X.: (after reflecting) “Well I suppose I’m not seeking God first in everything. Yes, I’ll have to admit I’m not really putting Christ first in my life.”
Miss J.: “Now, Dr. K., since you say you have preached this truth frequently to the Koreans, and you now recognize you are not fulfilling it in your own life, what would you consider anyone who, while urging others to do something, is not doing it himself?”
Dr. X.: “A hypocrite.”
Miss J.: “Then how do you characterize yourself?”
Dr. X.: “A hypocrite.”
Miss J.: “Will you please write it down.”
And he wrote it down, “I am a hypocrite,” and at the end of the conference there was a long, black list of sins that he had no idea had been there, sins that broke his heart and would break the heart of any missionary or Christian worker. How gratefully lie now tells of how, while praying, repenting of his sins, a deep peace and a wonderful sense of forgiveness and cleansing pervaded his soul. Since then he has been greatly used in helping others, both missionaries and Koreans, into a similarly joyous experience.
The Power And Presence Of God
After the Kwang Ju revival, meetings for missionaries were held in Seoul and Taiku, and word that something was happening to our fellow workers reached us here in Andong, we considered our need for a revival and then extended an invitation to Miss Jacobsz to come here for a series of meetings.
She very kindly consented, despite her strenuous schedule, and arrived with Miss Marais on Saturday evening, November 11th. They were physically exhausted after having given themselves a day and night in meetings and interviews in Taiku, and rested on Sunday while members of Kwang Ju and Taiku stations gave their testimonies.
Being thoroughly indoctrinated Presbyterians, we listened to these testimonies, at least I did, with the attitude of a theological connoisseur. My principal concern was to pigeonhole these testimonies doctrinally.
However, when the meeting was over I found myself occupied not so much with doctrines as with the evident power and presence of God in their lives. I wasn’t altogether convinced, but I couldn’t explain away the difference in their lives, for I had known them for years.
We were then introduced to an outline, lists of Scripture references arranged under five headings:
• God’s picture of the human heart
• Some of His standards.
• What my sin cost God.
• Sorrow for sin.
• The life God promises and paid for on Calvary.
The plan was for us to go over these Scriptures carefully and write down any sins that we felt applied to our lives. I made a perfunctory attempt at self-examination and did get a few things written down, but as yet it was all on the surface for I had not begun to go at things seriously. The verses were all so familiar and I had used them so continually in my work it seemed hardly necessary to get worked up about them.
Miss Jacobsz began her meetings Monday evening, and from then on for five days we met twice a day, morning and evening, for Bible study and prayer. From the start, all of us were challenged by her power.
When speaking about God, she spoke convincingly, and her remarks about the Lord Jesus came from a heart that was close to His. Listening then to the glories of our Saviour morning and evening, and allowing the searchlight of the Word to fall upon our hearts the rest of the day, brought the inevitable result.
In a few days we were so convinced of our sins that tears streamed down our cheeks. I lost the desire for food, and although I had in the past studied about the subject of fasting, I now fasted simply because I didn’t want to eat. I was sick with my sin.
Moreover, I couldn’t sleep, and all one night sat up with my Bible and my God alone, craving peace. Through two interviews I saw a terrible pollution of sin in my life, and was burdened with such an unbearable anguish of soul, that I prayed with all the sincerity of which I was capable— for God to take my life if He would not cleanse my soul. I had written down several pages of sins which made me wish to die rather than go on living as I was.
“Lord, Is It I?”
At this point I turned to Romans 1:21-52, one of the references on the outline. I had been teaching Romans in a weekly Bible class to Korean young men, and had taught this passage as the spiritual history of the race, after the tradition of the best commentaries. I had pointed out that in the beginning, man knew God, and then, through not glorifying Him and being thankless, etc., had gradually degenerated into the unmentionable sins listed at the close of the chapter.
Now, with my heart burdened, I read these verses, and beginning with the first word, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened,” etc.—it was as though scales fell from my eyes and I saw that this record was MY history.
These were the things I had done, and—from that moment until this—the Bible has been MY book. It speaks to me personally, and the Saviour it presents is mine: Jesus shed His Blood for my sins.
There, alone with my Bible, I had the same experience Bunyan’s Christian did. I actually felt the sins lifting from my soul. I wept tears of joy and called my wife to come and look at the truth I had discovered. Oh, what peace, and what joy! I remember saying distinctly, “It makes me love everybody.”
Thank God, this same experience came to all ten members of Andong station as we repented and confessed our sins and made restitutions. One member in telegraphing the good news very appropriately wired, “Ten Lepers cleansed, all grateful.”
Revivals continued in two more stations until a total of nearly a hundred missionary lives were transformed by the grace of God. We, therefore, feel we must tell those in the homeland the great things the Lord has done and is doing for us, and remind you that He has promised to do the same for all who meet the conditions.
In Sackcloth And Fasting
Having been blessed ourselves, it was inevitable that the revival spread to the Koreans. The servants had seen us weeping, they saw meals go untouched, the lights in our houses burning all night, and they wondered what was happening. What was this little woman telling these missionaries that made them forgo their sleep, refuse to eat, and weep?
After our blessing, we told them, and then they wept, repented, made restitutions, and were blessed. They found, as we had, that no sin was small; that in God’s sight so-called small sins were just as effective barriers to holiness of life and power in service, as were larger ones. Sins that had been excused, ignored, or glossed over began to take their proper proportions.
Little jealousies were seen to be the roots of hatred, and hatred in turn, was seen to be the same as murder in God’s sight. “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15).
In the light of Matthew 5:28, unclean thoughts were discovered to be as abominable before God as the act of impurity itself. Special meetings were begun immediately in the local churches and the Holy Spirit brought deep conviction of sin, humble repentance, and radiant victory to many.
All this revival is—is that a whole station has started studying God’s Word just as though each member were the main one in mind when the Book was written, and each one’s self is revealed to him there.
Challenge Of A Spirit-led Life
Keep an unclouded relationship with the Lord—at any cost!
Appropriate the blessing daily, and pass it on as He gives opportunity. God can use a person marvelously, as we have seen and testify. But we must not depend on any person. God will use other persons marvelously. He may use me—if I will go His way, all the way. In Miss Jacobsz’s diary was written, “With tears I offered this weak life. Once again … I told Him if only He would send revival ... it may cost me my life.”
If this comes into the hands of one whose life seems to be futile and unfruitful through defeat or selfishness or unrecognized sin, will you not accept the challenge of this Spirit-led life? Use the Scripture selections that have been a blessing to so many others. Follow them through carefully, prayerfully, personally.
Let His Word search your heart, verse by verse. It will mean recognizing, admitting, even recording your sins as there revealed—yours, not your neighbor’s. This is a transaction between you and God. You bring your sins to Him to be forgiven. It will mean an honest dealing with yourself and others. It will mean Spirit-guided confession at any cost in a literal following of His Word.
Read slowly and thoroughly over and over again the passages listed below. Read them prayerfully until the Holy Spirit turns the full force of His searchlight upon your past life, and upon the present condition of your failures and impurities as revealed by the Spirit.
I. God’s picture of the human heart, and His names for the sins that spring from it:
Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:2-5; Ephesians 5:3-7; Colossians 3:5,8-15; Titus 1:16; 3:2-7; 2 Peter 2:10-14,17,18,19; Jude 15,16,20,21,23,24,25; Mark 7:20-23; James 3:2-18; Romans 1:21-32; 2:1-11; 2:21-24,29; Romans 8:5-8; Psalms 14:3; 66:18; 140:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Genesis 6:5,6; Matthew 23:25-28; Ezekiel 16:30,47,51,52; Proverbs 17:15; Ezekiel 20:42,43,44; 36:21; 2 Corinthians 7:1.
1. Some of His standards:
Matthew 5:41-44; 7:1-5; 6:33; Luke 6:27-46; Matthew 12:46-50; Malachi 3:10; Exodus 20:8,9; Galatians 5:22,23; Titus 3:2; Philippians 2:14; 4:11; 2:5; l Thessalonians 5:18; 1 Timothy 2:8,9; 1 Peter 3:2-4.
2. Helps in making list of sins:
a. All things I have loved, sought, or placed ahead of God. Matthew 6:33; Matthew 10:37; Matthew 19:16-26; Matthew 6:19-34; Mark 8:34-38; Matthew 22:37; Luke 12:13-34; Luke 16:14,15; John 5:44; (for example, my work, family, pleasures, myself, my money, possessions, reputation).
b. All the sins I have committed against God. 1 Corinthians 10:10-15; 1 Peter 2:17-25; 1 Peter 5:5,6; John 5:30; (for example, attitudes of murmuring, rebelling and lack of quiet submission to His will).
c. All the forms in which self appears. 2 Timothy chapters 2 and 3 (self-will, self-defense, touchiness, self-pity, self-comfort, self-ease, etc.).
d. All the things in which I am not quite unspotted from the world, that is, not separated from worldly pleasures, places of amusement, etc. Any evidence of immodesty or vanity in appearance or dress. Galatians 6:14; James 4:4; James 1:26,27; 1 John 2:15,16; Matthew 6:24; 2 Corinthians 6:17,18; Psalm 14:2; 1 Peter 3:3,4; 1 Timothy 2:9,10.
e. All my sins against my neighbor, all the ways in which I have broken God’s law of love toward him. Mark 12:28-31; Matthew 5:38-48; Matthew 28:19,20; Matthew 7:12; James 2:8 (for example, resentment, criticism, impatience, deceit, false impression, estrangement, broken promises of confidence, unforgiving spirit and unfaithfulness in correction in love of one who has erred). James 5:16; Matthew 5:23,24; Luke 19:8; Acts 19:18; Proverbs 28:13; Matthew 18:15-35; Mark 11:22-26; Matthew 6:9-15; Leviticus 19:17,18.
f. All that must be put right, past or present in my home, to servants, church, friends, or enemies. Commence making restitutions immediately until not one thing is brought to remembrance by the Holy Spirit.
g. All the hidden defeats that have never seen the light and perhaps have not been put right. 1 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Timothy 5:24.
h. All of my failures in real service as a winner of individual souls. Let His searchlight fall upon my life of service.
II. Read very thoughtfully and prayerfully, under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the passages listed below, to bring to repentance.
Ponder over these scriptures until there comes upon
you an awful sense of the blackness of sin. Open your heart to a sense of the
horror of sin, until its great depths are stirred, and deep sorrow of soul leads
to true repentance. This will surely come if you wait for it.
1. Passages that tell something of what my sin cost God.
Matthew 26:37-39,42,67; Matthew 27:26,28,29-31,34,44,46; Luke 22:22-44,63,64; Mark 14:33-36; John 11:33; 19:1-3,5,28,34,37; Isaiah 52:14; 53:2,3,5,12; Lamentations 3:16-19; Zechariah 11:12,13.
2. Passages that help to bring sorrow for sin and contrition.
Psalm 6:2,6,7; 25:11; 31:9,19; 34:18; 38:1-10,17,18; Psalm 40:12; 41:4; 51;3,4; 55:4,5; 69:3-5; Psalm 102:2,4,9; Job 42:5,6; 40:4; Luke 18:13; 15:18,19; Isaiah 6:5-8; Jeremiah 29:13.
III. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, make a complete list of restitutions to be made.
IV. Read thoughtfully the passages listed below to be convinced God has a life of victory for you.
Note the life that God promises and commands. Study these passages prayerfully until the Spirit makes clear that God plans such a life for you. Do not proceed further until you are convinced that He has this for YOU!
1. Some passages descriptive of the life God promises, and that Christ paid for on Calvary.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 (His will); 1 Thessalonians 4:7 (His call); 1 Peter 1:15,16 (His command); 1 Thessalonians 5:23,24 (His work); Psalm 51:10; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:26,27; Romans 8:37; Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 John 1:7-9; John 8:36; Ezekiel 36:25-27.
V. Definitely seek forgiveness and heart cleansing.
Seek, through confession of listed sins in detail, giving them the names that God gives them. Seek, through a decision to make all necessary restitutions. Seek, through the consecration of your all to God in detail.
1. Helps in making a list of things to be included in entire consecration.
a. All the specific, unconditional surrenders to be included in giving to God my all. Philippians 3:7,8; Romans 12:1-21.
b. All the things to go out of my life. Legitimate things perhaps, but not the best things for me if I am to be greatly used of God (for example, certain forms of pleasure, certain books or magazines, questionable amusements, certain good things, that are not the best things for me).
c. All things that He asks me to do for Him. Perhaps things that He may not necessarily ask of others. Give Him implicit obedience in these things. Acts 5:29; 1 John 5:2,3.
d. All the things in which I may pay off my debt to those who were sin-bound as I was. Romans 1:9-17.
VI. Read carefully the passages listed below to create faith for forgiveness and fullness.
Base your confidence upon these promises, and receive forgiveness, cleansing, and the fullness of the Spirit by a God-given faith. Galatians 3:14; 1 John 3:16-24; Ephesians 2:8; Acts 5:32; Luke 11:1-13. Should faith not spring up in your head, begin at the beginning and go over all the passages again.
Failure to receive faith for forgiveness and cleansing is a sure indication that somewhere along the line has been failure. Perhaps you will need to confess to some friends in whom you have confidence, that particular secret sin that has been causing you trouble.
1. Passages upon which to base faith for forgiveness and cleansing after confessing sins:
1 John 1:9; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Romans 8:37,26-39; 8:1-4; 1 Timothy 4:5; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Corinthians 15:57; 6:11; John 8:36; 8:11; 2 Timothy 2:21; Jude 1; 1 Thessalonians 5:23,24; Hebrews 10:10-18; 9:13,14.
VII. Read carefully the passages listed below and go forward in the life of victory.
This is through constant obedience to God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who became obedient for us. Abide in Him! Walk in the light as He is in the light. And you will find a thrilling, blessed life opening up before you.
1. Passages for encouragement after obtaining forgiveness and cleansing:
2 Chronicles 20:15; Jeremiah 1:4-10; John 2:5; 8:11,36; 9:31; Galatians 5:1; Romans 6:11; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 10:33,39; 6:11,12; 1 John 1:7.
Lord, TAKE me,
Me, with all my selfishness, with
All my pride and jealousy,
All my willful disobedience,
All my lack of love to Thee,
Me, with all my fruits and frailties,
All my secret hidden sins.
And BREAK me!
Break my stiff and stubborn will, Lord.
Break my self with all its pride;
All its dearest dreams, ambitions...
Break my heart, its idols smash—
‘Til in splintered, shattered fragments
I lie helpless at Thy feet.
And MAKE me!
With Thy tender, skillful hands, Lord,
Make or like Thyself to be,
Moulded in Thy glorious image,
Sweet and loving, humble, kind,
Faithful, gentle, finding pleasure
Only in my Father’s will!