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"THE BENEFITS OF BACKSLIDING!"--MO August 9, 1972 No.312--GP
--God's Way Up Is Down!

Copyright (c) August 1972 by The Children of God
P.O. Box 31, London WC2E, England or GPO Box 3141, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936

(MO's lesson as a result of reading Shula's letter with questions about backsliding:)

Answer: Closer!

Question: But after Eve ate the "apple" she knew the evil and couldn't be simple again.
Answer: But she was a lot wiser and humbler! She believed a lot more, had more faith, and now knew the Lord was right!

Answer: Same as last answer above: Defeat teaches you a lot. Like the Prodigal, he lost his birthright, but he gained many other valuable lessons, and the Lord promised to make many nations of Ishmael and Esau (Gen.27:39,40).The sons of Ishmael and Esau became the Arab nations!

Question: But when you have so much knowledge and get away from the Lord, many times it's hard to get back.
Answer: It was a hard road for David, but look what it taught him. Compassion, humility and gentleness.

4. BACKSLIDING IS A HARD SCHOOL Look at Jacob in the school of Laban: Jacob was really crooked until he had to work under someone even more crooked than he was! But it finally broke him, and look what he gained. Before his downfall, he was only "Jacob the Deceiver" But afterwards, he was a "Prince of God and Man"!

5. IT'S FUNNY HOW WHEN PEOPLE LOSE THEIR INNOCENCE THEY DON'T FEEL THEY ARE AS CLOSE TO THE LORD AS BEFORE. That's because they don't really realise what God's righteousness is. Their idea of righteousness is so different from God's. When you feel so righteous and good, it's because you're self righteous and not closer to God, but closer to your self! It's a perverted idea from the churches--a kind of "sinless self-perfection."

6. DAVID WAS FAR MORE RIGHTEOUS AFTER HE BECAME A GREAT SINNER--than he was when he was so haughty and self-righteous! One reason why I really need to confess my sins and tell everybody about them, is because it really helps keep me humble! It helps you to be honest with yourself and with others and with the Lord.

7. CONFESSING THAT YOU'RE A SINNER, really exposing yourself and your sins, reminds you you're no picture of purity and innocence! You no longer feel quite as angelic, but you're a whole lot more saintly according to God's idea of saintliness!

8. THE WORLD EQUATES GOODNESS WITH GODLINESS, BY WHICH THEY MEAN SELF-RIGHTEOUS PERFECTION. Sinfulness they equate with Devilishness. But the Lord said the sinner was closer to God than the so called sinless self-righteous perfectionist!--The drunks, harlots and drug addicts are closer to God, for God's way up is down.

9. GOD GETS HIS GREATEST VICTORIES OUT OF SEEMING DEFEAT. Jesus said, "To whom much hath been forgiven, the same loveth much." David sinned a lot, but God called him a man after His own heart!--He was after God's heart!

10. YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO BAD FOR JESUS, ONLY TOO GOOD! And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased: and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted" (Mat.23:12). The Prodigal was closer to the Father when he was wallowing in the mire than he was when he was first at home, because in the mire for the first time he began to appreciate home!

11. THAT SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS IS A WORKS TRIP! It's a deceit of the Devil that you were closer to God when you were pure and ignorant! It's a lie that Adam and Eve were closer to God when they were living in the Garden!--They weren't driven from the presence of the Lord--they were driven into the presence of God to know Him in a way they'd never known Him before! They were driven out of the Garden in to a position where they had to get closer to the Lord to survive and to be saved!

12. THE GREATEST MEN IN THE BIBLE WERE GUYS THAT MADE TERRIBLE MISTAKES and realised they were sinners, that they needed God. Some people have said that Joseph was the only guy in the Bible about whom there was no recorded mistake. But I can remember when I was little boy in Sunday School thinking: "What a stupid idiot he was to go and tell his brothers when having dreams like that! He was a typical little spoiled brat, and if he hadn't bragged about his drams, showing off to his brothers about how he was so superior, he wouldn't have gotten nearly killed and thrown into the pit and sold into slavery in the first place!"

13. BUT THAT'S WHAT THE LORD HAD TO USE TO TAKE HIM DOWN--the Lord had to make a slave and prisoner and criminal of him to humble him, before he was able to be exalted and become the Saviour of his people. He was a real spoiled child!--What was he doing at home with his father instead of out helping his brethren take care of the sheep? Obviously his dad didn't make him work very hard!"

14. THE DEVIL'S IDEA OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IS TOTALLY THE OPPOSITE OF GOD'S IDEA. The Devil's idea of righteousness is the self righteous, holier-than-thou hypocrite--the supposedly sinless perfectionist!

15. WHEREAS GOD'S IDEA OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IS THE PITIFUL, HOPELESS, LOST, HUMBLE, LOVING, SINFUL SINNER who knows he needs God! Those He came to save! He came not to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners! There are churchy people who give into the gratification of the flesh in overeating, for example, but don't think a thing of it! But in gratifying the flesh sexually they think, "Oh, that's a sin, so terrible!" But you can't find any place in the Bible where normal sex is counted as a sin!

16. ACCORDING TO THE {\b \i MASTERS AND JOHNSON'S REPORT ON HUMAN SEXUALITY}, some of the most scientific research done on the subject of sex so far, they came to the conclusion that people who released their tensions even through normal masturbation because they couldn't find sexual satisfaction any other way, were actually more adjusted and peaceful and content and were less apt to become neurotic and go haywire mentally, etc., than those cases where there was such strong religious training against sex that they developed tremendous guilt complexes which affected their mental condition!

17. SO GOD'S IDEA OF GOODNESS IS GODLINESS--A SINNER WHO KNOWS HE NEEDS GOD and depends on Him for Salvation--not the Devil's church, self-righteous, hypocritical Pharisees who think they can save themselves by their own goodness! So sometimes backsliding can actually be good for you to wake you up to what a hopeless helpless sinner you are without God's help! Then there's hope you'll turn to God for help--whereas the self-righteous think they don't need His help, and are lost!

18. BUT WHILE THERE IS LIFE THERE IS HOPE. Isaiah says: "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him and to our God for He will abundantly pardon" (Isa.55:7).

19. SHULA NOT ONLY LOVED OUR OWN SON AARON, BUT SHE RESPECTED HIM, TOO. In a way it was a sacrificial love, and God greatly honored her for it. She honored his words and usually did not mistreat him, but was good to His prophet. So in that case the love of the Lord arose 'till she could hardly contain it! (Just the opposite of 2Chr.36:16.)

20. AARON WAS MUCH CLOSER TO THE LORD WHEN HE DIED THAN HE WAS BEFORE.--He was so self-righteous in the past! But Aaron later became much more of a spiritual leader than he was then. He once was so hard and cruel he even constantly judged his own father! Just before he died he was the humblest I'd ever seen him and more respectful of his father than he'd ever been in his whole life!

21. IT TOOK TRAGEDIES AND TRIALS TO HUMBLE HIM. Before that he was often unmerciful and cruel, the utmost in self-righteousness. He judged everybody. God almost had to make an absolute fool out of him to humble him, because he had been so self-righteous! Before that, he never felt wrong and he was very self-righteous, so judging and condemning of others, the typical older brother! Before that, Aaron was so contrary he almost always did nearly the opposite of what you'd ask him!

22. BUT THE LORD SHOWED GRANDMOTHER FOUR FINGERS AND A THUMB, STUCK OUT BY ITSELF AND SAID, "I HAVE MADE HIM A SPECIAL INSTRUMENT IN MY HAND!" The Lord said He made him what he was--and iconoclast, a non-conformist, very different from others because of the work the Lord was going to have him to do, and that we were not to try to change him or make him conform.

23. THANK GOD HE WASN'T TOO SURE OF HIMSELF MANY TIMES, cause some of the decisions he made were terrible! The thing with Aaron was that he was always ahead of his times, like most prophets. The day may come when we may do some of those crazy things he talked about, but right now it may be a little premature!

24. HE HAD SOME CRAZY IDEAS SOMETIMES WHICH WERE OFTEN GOOD BUT NOT ALWAYS REASONABLE. Like the rich man in the Bible who wanted to build bigger buildings, which was not so bad in itself if had wanted to do it for the right reasons. But his purpose was to increase his goods for himself, not to share with others. The reason his heart was in the barns was because the barns were in his heart. His own soul had become barney and materialistic.

25, YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE SOME BARNS TO HAVE SOME PLACE TO LIVE and keep things and survive physically. But you can't become like the world who cares for nothing but barns. The churches have gone to the extreme on barn-building, unreasonably so! Barns are OK, but you must also harvest to fill them, and then share with those in need. Aaron loved to share, but not always wisely.

26. I BELIEVE EVERYONE WILL GET THE KIND OF REWARD THAT HE REALLY APPRECIATES AND DESIRES. How can you judge the reward? The body and the material are satisfied with the material things of the world, but the spiritual ones have to have spiritual reward to be satisfied.

27. NEVERTHELESS, IF THOSE DEACONS WHO ARE MATERIALISTICALLY-MINDED ARE REALLY DOING IT FOR THE LORD and the sake of God's children and the glory of God then I believe the Lord will reward them accordingly. That's the sort of thing they like, so God will reward them greatly materially and will treat our kings like kings! God will give them their heart's desire.

28. BUT AARON BECOME SO HEAVENLY-MINDED HE WASN'T DOING ENOUGH EARTHLY GOOD, SO THE LORD HAD TO TAKE HIM up to a plane he would work in more effectively--the Heavenly! He had at one time been very materialistic and real moneymaker and rather selfish. But through his sufferings he became so spiritually-minded and unselfish that he was almost too good for this world!

29. SO THE LORD TOOK HIM TO WHERE HIS TALENTS COULD BE BETTER USED AND MORE APPRECIATED. I'm sure I and others have felt this help many times. Sometimes the prices of doubt and discouragement even can be defeat and death!--But out of it can come an even grater victory! He knows better now, and helps us more than ever before! Hallelujah!

30. GOD GETS SOME OF HIS GREATEST VICTORIES OUT OF SEEMING DEFEATS! God's way up is down to the defeat of self and self-righteousness!--Up to the victory of the cross and death to self for others!

Are you at the end of your rope?--
Let go and let God!--
Just can't cope?
Take God's dope!
Send for more of these letters TODAY to cheer you up and give you something to hang onto: God! Your extremity is God opportunity! You tried everything else?--Why not try God? He loves you!

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family}