Disillusioned: delivered from illusion

I have spent a lot of time with Oswald Chambers over the years.  The guy makes me look deeply at biblical truths that I have often glossed over. This morning’s reading in My Utmost for His Highest is no exception.

Disillusionment means having no more misconceptions, false impressions, and false judgments in life; it means being free from these deceptions…

By Chambers’ definition, disillusionment is a GOOD thing.  But the word in our times usually has negative connotations.  It’s like giving up on your dreams or on life.  “The man sadly walked away in disillusionment.”

One of Paul’s famous commands to believers is to “put off the old man and put on the new…”  In the growth process, a real disciple of Christ realizes that she must unlearn things as well as learn things!

I don’t simply need more information.  I need to have misinformation that has become lodged in my brain uprooted.

And it’s this uprooting that is sometimes very difficult and painful. Disillusionment is a process of getting separated from the error and lies that have held us.  But if our overall expectations of life (or of God) were/are based on these faulty expectations, it can create a powerful vacuum that sucks us into hopelessness and despondency. You might need to read that statement again.

That’s why we need to not only confront sin and error in our thoughts, but we need to place before our minds (and affections) the “great and precious promises of God.”  For it is by these that we “become partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by lust.” (see 2 Peter 1:3-4)

So here’s the timeline for this kind of change for many of us:

  • it begins with God dealing providentially with us, through circumstances, troubles, other people, etc.  Life doesn’t work out the way we had expected. We might have even had our biblical “proof texts” that we quoted over it for years.
  • The unexpected happens, and we are left reeling.  How could this be?  This is not supposed to happen?  Where was God?  What did I do to deserve this?  Why did she leave us?  Doesn’t God care about us?  And on and on the thoughts manifest when disillusionment is occurring.
  • And this must happen so that we are able to actually receive God’s reality.  As the error becomes uprooted, we have a capacity to hear and perceive things that we were closed to before.
  • But some people get stuck in the hard circumstances and never press on to receive God’s real answers. They stay in the land of unbelief and denial. They deny that their illusions were illusions.

A good example of this process is Peter, the apostle.  He argued with Jesus over His prediction that he would deny Him.  “No way Lord. You’re out of Your  mind. Trust me, I’m not like the others. I will never forsake you.”

In less than twelve hours, Peter was passing through the darkness of disillusionment.  What he thought was light had become darkness.  What he really deeply believed to be true was now found to be a lie. He entered the dark night of the soul.

But this was absolutely necessary for Peter’s real growth.  He would never be able to deeply receive Christ as his own resurrection and life until he no longer looked to and relied upon his own ideas and resources.

Elijah had to be delivered through a process of disillusionment too.  He had some huge expectations related to signs and wonders and national revival.  When the fire of heaven fell, he just knew that the nation would repent.  But they didn’t. Nothing changed at all.  His illusions came crashing down.  And he got depressed and even suicidal.  He ran away from life and apparently even from God.  When he finally was ready to allow God to speak to him about REALITY, it wasn’t in the wind, fire, or earthquake that God spoke.

It was in a still small voice.

And God made Elijah acknowledge his disillusionment.  He had to admit some hard truths.  But when he had done this, God spoke in a fresh way to him and then gave Him a new vision for his remaining life and ministry.

So God will do for each of us who is willing to be disillusioned by the Lord.

Maybe you are going through a period of disillusionment just now.  Don’t be afraid to allow God to separate you from your former expectations and assumptions about your life, your future, your marriage, your ministry, your health, etc.  The reality that God has waiting for you is better than every earthly and temporary substitute you have clung to in the past.

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