Willie Pollock - Human Inclinations - Pusan, Korea - Sunday Morning, January 28, 1990

Hymn 46, "Lord Jesus, Lead"

 

I do not understand your language, but I believe I understand your heart. The same God who touched your heart a few years ago touched my heart over 50 years ago. I understand you because we have all come through the same narrow door, and we are walking in the same narrow way. We have come from many different places but we are all going home to God by the same Way.


If we had to speak to you today to impress you, we would be worried but if only we could inspire you to be true and to finish right. The whole purpose of the Gospel is that we might finish right, then all will be well. 


Hebrews 2:1, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” We will come back to these verses later. 


We sang in that hymn, "I am so weak and prone to go astray."This made me think of some of our human inclinations that are against us. The flesh is weak but the spirit is willing. The weakness of the flesh is a life sentence, and we will never get away from it. But the willingness of the spirit will help us to overcome the flesh. Willingness is the key into the kingdom. 


A man stood at a door wanting to get in and he could not find the key. In the house was everything that he needed in comfort and food, but he had no key. Could you imagine his joy when he found the key and opened the door and went in? Willingness is the key into the Kingdom. A man standing at the door of the Kingdom and he wants to enter in and he doesn't find it, he cannot go in. But when he finds willingness, he can go into the presence of God.


We were at the conventions in the Caribbean islands a year ago. We went out to do some visiting and when we came back, the house was closed up, the people had gone to visit a hospital. We were visitors and we had no key, so we searched under the flower pots and around but could not find it. Inside the house was everything that we needed and we did not have the key.


One of the brothers went to ask a sister worker and he came back and said, "The key is under the mat," and we were standing on the mat! The key was not far away. Humility is the difference between willingness and unwillingness. One of our friends opened his heart to us and said, "I don't think I can continue in God's Way. I have such a battle with my thoughts and I don't seem to be able to control them. I thought when I professed I would have only good thoughts." I said, “You sound like a normal Christian!” He asked me how long this battle against his thoughts would continue, and I comforted him by saying it will go on until his death. I asked him, ”Before you professed, did you not know that God's people have struggles? Struggles with their thoughts and with their desires?” He said, "No, I didn't know." I said, "Isn't that wonderful. They covered their struggles with victory, and you saw only the victory. You go and do the same, cover your struggles with victory." That was 14 years ago and he is still going on.


The hymn says, "I am so weak and prone to go astray." That is the first inclination we will mention. We are inclined to go astray. We are inclined to take wrong steps and make wrong decisions. The prodigal went astray. He thought he was going out to liberty, and he was going out to slavery. Resentment took him away, repentance brought him back. Very often it is resentment against God's will or discipline that makes people go astray. His father, looking on his son, could have said, "My son is not bad. He has a good heart, but he has bad habits. Those bad habits will take him away, but his good heart will bring him back again." A good heart is not a guarantee that the feet will not go astray, but it is the hope that those feet will come back again.


When he came back home, he had lost resentment because he had repented. "I have sinned and I am not worthy." The father didn't punish him because sin will punish and disobedience will punish. People do not come to God to be punished. They have been punished already; they come to Him for forgiveness. The father did not ask him, "Where were you? Where is the money?" He accepted that the tree had fallen but he looked at the stump. Man looks at the fallen tree, but God looks at the stump. Man looks at what it lost, but God looks at what is left.


We have a Spanish proverb, "Of a fallen tree, everyone makes firewood." The father accepted that the tree had fallen but there is a stump left. That stump can be faith and hope and love. It is not so serious if we have failures and faults, if we still have faith and love. We are liable to go astray but God is as much a Restorer today as He was a Creator. God made the world once, but He restores it every day. The prodigal was restored to his place that he had lost. Some have lost their place and God would like to restore that again.


David did not lose his place but he lost his joy. He lost his song, but he did not lose his cry. We could still be in our place, but serving without joy and peace. "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation." We are inclined to go astray, but God is a Restorer. God is not looking at the past, He is looking at what is in us now. In the Caribbean Islands, a good man left his home and left his place and went astray. I was back on a visit after years away and I went to see him. He was very sad and very ashamed and broke down in tears. I said to him, "Do you still believe in us and love God's way?" In tears, he said, "I still believe and I could never believe anything else and I still love and I could never love anything else. I still love God's way, but I have lost my place and I cannot find the way back." We said goodbye and I did not see him for years again. Now his wife was dead and he was back home but he was not in his place. I said to the friends I would like to go and visit "A." The friends said, "He won't want to see you." I said to them, "He is too good a man to lose. We love him too much to see him lost.'' I went along to his house and slipped around to the back and cornered him in the garden where he was working. I told him this might be the last time we might ever meet on earth, and I am not going to mince my words. "Do you remember the talk we had seven years ago? You said you loved God's way but you could not find the way back." I said to him, "You are an old man now and I never expect to see you on earth again. My message is, you belong to God's people. Get back to your place." We said goodbye in tears, both of us. That was a year ago. A month ago in Australia, we got the good news that he has professed again. He is back to his place again. What a comfort! A fallen tree can never stand again but there can be a new tree. A lost testimony cannot be recovered but there can be a new testimony.


Another inclination is that we are inclined to get discouragedDiscouragement is a breaking down of our spirit and encouragement is a building up of our spirit. Do you ever get discouraged? If you ever get discouraged nod your head ... so do I. Discouragement is not of God; God doesn't discourage His people. Encouragement is of God but discouragement is of the devil. It is the way to break down our spirits. God wants to encourage us that we might continue, and the devil wants to discourage us so that we will go back. We can do so much to encourage others and also discourage others.

When I got back from the islands I found a note in the room with the keys from my companion; he had gone. He got discouraged and he left the work and he left a note thanking us for our kindness over the years. He said, "I am sorry, but I cannot make it in the work." He went home from Guatemala to his mother in Mexico and got a job. He would write saying , "Keep praying for me, don't give me up." I said to his companion who had been with him, "Did you do anything to discourage Rod?" He said "No, I didn't do anything to discourage him." I said, "What did you do to encourage him?" and he was silent. We may not discourage others, but do we encourage them?


Encouragement is not praise or flattery but it is appreciation.I went up the mountain 8,000 feet to a little study meeting that week. After the meeting, I told the church, "Rod has got discouraged and left the work. Did you do anything to discourage him?" They all answered, "We didn't do anything to discourage him." I asked them, "What did you do to encourage him?" and they were silent. After meeting, by candlelight, a boy was writing a letter and I said, "Who are you writing to?" He said "To Rod." I said, "That is very good. Did you write to him while he was in the work?" He said, "No." I said "It is late now, he is gone." Friends, don't let it come to an emergency. Help one another while you can. In an emergency, everyone will jump to help, but they should have helped before. That was in January last year. In October, a phone call came and it was from Rod. I said to him, "What do you want?" He said , "You know what I want. I want to come back. I cannot find myself outside of the work. I miss you all and I miss the work." He came back for our second convention in Guatemala. It was such a tonic to our friends to see him back to his place. God is a Restorer and He restored him back to his place in the work! He is one of the workers in Panama holding on while others could not go there. The boy who is with him is the one who felt he was not worthy to be a child of God. The two unworthy ones are together but God is helping them. They are in their place. We are inclined to get discouraged.


I will tell about one time in Panama when I was trying to cross a busy street and the traffic would not let me. Standing near me was an old lady and a little girl, and I thought, "If they don't respect me as a man, they might respect them." So I went closer to them but nothing was said, it was not necessary. We took one step, and another step, and one car stopped. We kept on walking and the second car stopped, and the third and fourth and we got to the other side, and the old lady said to me, "Thank you, sir. I could not have crossed without you," and she was the one who helped me to cross! That was encouragement.


Encouragement is to understand and accompany, to go along with, and help someone to cross what they could not do alone. Children can do much to encourage their parents. When they ask to go places they should not go, they are making it harder for their parents. Parents are not made of steel; they need to be encouraged, too. If children obey, they are helping their parents to serve God. If children are peaceable instead of fighting, they are helping their parents. 


In Mexico, a girl of 15 said to her father, "Dad, is there a God?" He fell into a trap! He said "Yes, there is a God." She said "Dad, if there is a God, what are we doing about it? No one in this house prays, no one reads the Bible and on Sunday, we go to the beach; if there is a God, what are we doing about it?" He had no defence; he was disarmed by his own daughter! He said, "I will take you to the meeting on Sunday." That was to Mexico City, and I was there. The next Sunday they were back, and he stood up and said, "I came to see what it was like and it is beyond all my expectations, and I am ready." He professed and his wife and the daughter. That girl was the bridge that brought her parents to God. 


They had a television and the father said, "You have been brought up to eat looking at the television, to study looking at it. What will we do now?'' He told his four daughters, "We will let you decide what we will do with it." Little Lucy spoke up and said, "Sell it, it won't help us in God's way." Lucy was 7 years old and she told her Dad, "It won't feed our hearts."


The next Sunday, the mother came out of the room dressed ready to go to meeting. Little Lucy said, "Mamma, that dress is not for you now, you are professing now." Mother knew she was right and went back into the room and changed her dress and never said a word. Lucy was helping her mother to serve God. Lucy is grown up now and she is still helping them. In Mexico, sometimes a man and his wife have their difficulties and don't get on so well, but you wouldn't understand that! So Lucy got between them and she was a peacemaker. Children can be war-makers or peacemakers in the home.

 

Another inclination is a more personal one and I hope you will forgive me for this. We are inclined to suffer from self-pity. It is an inclination to feel sorry for ourselves and feel we are the victim. When Peter spoke to Jesus of having pity on Himself, Jesus said to him, "Get thee behind Me, Satan." Do you feel sorry for yourself and say, "Pity me?" Apparently not; I don't see any heads nodding! It came very real to me that self-pity is an inclination, it is not from God. Jesus told Peter, "Thou savourest of the things that be of man." That is not of God. Peter might have said, "I was just wanting to be helpful." We never help people by discouraging sacrifice. If we want to help others, encourage them to deny themselves.


When Peter denied the Lord, it was self-pity on himself. Self-pity leads to self-saving, and if you save yourself, you will lose it. It is a comfort to sit down and feel sorry for ourselves and feel we are the victim and it is an injustice. That is not what Jesus taught. When someone offends us, we feel sorry for ourselves. Jesus taught it is impossible but that offenses must come, but woe unto him through whom they come. If someone offends us we should be sorry for them, not for ourselves because it is the offender who will have to answer before God. 


A woman gave her testimony in a meeting and said, "I was feeling sorry for myself because I wasn't so well and thought I wouldn't go to meeting, but just then the devil told me, 'Take a day off,' and I told the devil 'Why don't you take a day off?'" She said "Take a day off and leave me alone!" The devil doesn't take a day off, not even at New Year.


One of our boys at school one time and another boy would slap him on the face to draw him out, and he would just say, "Thanks." The next day, he slapped him harder, and he thanked him again. After a while, the other boy was furious and said, "Why do you thank me when I slap you?" He said, "Because, you are increasing my reward in Heaven. If you do me wrong and I take it right, God will reward me, but you look out!" Self-pity is one of our inclinations but it leads to self-saving and it is not of God. Sometimes I have felt sorry for myself when someone has done something or something happens, but it is not of God. If Jesus had felt sorry for Himself, He would not have died on the cross for us.


Another inclination, we are inclined to be carelessNegligence is of the devil. Diligence is of God. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? We could believe everything and be loving everything and lose everything by carelessness. We ought to give more diligent attention to what we have heard lest we would lose it. That is not paying attention in this meeting. Hebrews 2:1. It is paying attention to what we know already. Be more diligent with what we already understand, to keep it. If we lose it through neglect, we lose our salvation. Carelessness is an inclination and it is called "the creeping sin of carelessness." It is so easy to neglect reading and praying and trying to help others.


In Central America, in the material things, the people are careless and don't fix them. If a chair breaks, a man doesn't fix it. The women criticize them, but they are just as bad in their own department. It is not wrong, it is just careless. "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" The narrow way is a way of escape and if we lose that, there is no other escape. 


One time, I sent some letters inside a letter to be mailed in another country. They read my letter and put it away and forgot to mail my letters. After two months, the lady took it down to answer my letter and found out their mistake. She said to her husband, "I have been careless, I didn't mail Willie's letters. Should we tell him?" Her husband told her, "You'd better tell him, because he will find out anyway, and that will be worse." She wrote, confessing, "We have let you down, we have been careless and I am sure you will never send letters like this again." I was just as sure I wouldn't send any more, but she finished off the letter and at the bottom she put a PS. "Forgive me and trust me again."


Very often, we feel we have let God down and our prayer would be, forgive me and trust me again. God is not the God of second chances; He is the God of another chance. 


The first question asked in the Bible was by the devil. "Hath God said?" It was a doubt. We are inclined to have doubtsFaith is of God, doubts are of the devil. Do you ever have doubts? One man has doubts! I have had them, too. We are inclined to have doubts, but the thing to remember is that doubts are not of God. Doubts are a breaking down of faith. It is so easy to doubt our salvation. Has God really called me? Has God forgiven me? Do I really have the Spirit of God? Is it true that this is God's only way? Doubts are of the devil. He set a doubt in the mind of Eve by saying, "Hath God said?" He might have said, "Did you hear God say that?" and she would way, "No, I heard my husband tell me," and the devil might say, "Do you believe Adam?" She would say "Yes, I believe him." She said, "The serpent deceived me." But, doubt led to deception. God said, "It is wrong," and she was deceived. Paul said the woman was deceived but Adam was not deceived. In her case, it was deceit and in his case, it was disobedience. When she looked at that fruit, she felt it is not wrong. That is how she was deceived into thinking wrong is not wrong. When the Bible says something is wrong and we think it is not wrong, we are deceived also. Eve would have said to Adam, “You can eat this, it is not wrong." Adam would look at that fruit and say "I know it is wrong, but I will eat it anyway." We say, "Why did he do that?"  We say, "Why do we do that?" Certain things we know are wrong and we do them anyway.


God said to Adam, "Because you hearkened to the voice of your wife." It is not always wrong for a man to hearken to the voice of his wife, but he hearkened to her when she was not under the control of God. You husbands! If your wife is under the control of God, listen to her. My mother professed in our home first and two years later, my father listened to her and he professed, too. We are inclined to have doubts, but it is good to remember that doubts are not of God. Faith is of God.

 

The next thing Satan said is, "Ye shall not surely die." That was a contradiction. Confirmation of truth is of God. Contradiction of truth is of the devil. "Contra" means "against." You have read of the Contras in Nicaragua, the ones who are against. Contradiction is to speak against God. 


We are inclined to contradict and be contrary. We are inclined to be opposite and stubborn. It is born in us from children. When a little child gets stubborn.... "Do you want cornflakes?" No! "Do you want milk?" No! He wants it all the time! Something in us that is against. Contradiction leads to discord and discord leads to division.


Two friends had a disagreement one time and the worker there went to the softer one of the two and said, "Go to the other man and say 'I am to blame, please forgive me.'" He said, "I am not to blame, and I am not going to take the blame when it doesn't belong to me. He is to blame, and he has to come to me." The worker said, "Well, go to him and say, 'I’m half to blame, so forgive me for half the blame.'" But he said "I'm not half to blame." The worker said to him, "Jesus was not to blame and He took all the blame and died for you and me." The worker said, "You are guilty of sin and Jesus died for your sin." Then he said, "Yes, you are right; I have sinned, because I don't have a right spirit." He went up to the brother's home and knocked at the door, and when he came out he said, "Please forgive me. I am to blame." So they started to discuss as to who was to blame! They wanted the privilege to forgive.


We are inclined to justify ourselves. If we don't do what is right, we justify ourselves. If we do what is wrong, we justify ourselves. "He willing to justify himself said, 'Who is my neighbour?'" No man can justify himself before God. If we walk close to Jesus, we don't have to defend or justify ourselves. The further we get from Jesus, the more we have to defend ourselves. Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood justifying himself, despising the other man, saying, 'What I am and I'm glad I'm not like this man,' but the publican with his head down and beating on his chest said, 'Be merciful to me, a sinner.' Jesus said he went down to his house justified." Justified by God. He who humbles himself will be justified by God.

 

We are inclined to get tired. Are you tired? 


We are inclined to compare. Measure ourselves by ourselves and compare ourselves among ourselves, and Paul said this is not wise. We are inclined to compare Korea with Japan and compare one worker with another worker. Paul says this is not wise. Comparisons are not conducive to good. Jesus said, "Judge not according to appearances but with righteous judgement."


We are inclined to judge according to appearances. We see a young man and a girl talking and we have them marrying. That is judging according to appearances. Where information is lacking, imagination will fill it in. Appearance will judge right away, but righteous judgment will wait and allow it to be settled.


We are inclined to form habits. It is good to form good habits. You have the habit of sitting on the floor here, but this is not my habit. I have tried to do it while I am here. It is a good thing to have the habit of getting in touch with God in the morning and in the evening, and at midday, also. A companion of mine when I started in the work, Willie Donaldson, he told me after a meeting one night that I had used the word "well" twenty-five times. I knew he had to be right so when I felt the "well" coming up, I put it down. It was a habit I was not aware of, because we are habit forming. A few weeks passed and I said to Willie, "Do you know how many times you said 'well' in the meeting tonight?! Twelve times." He said "Yes, I learned it from you!" We should cultivate good habits because others are inclined to copy us: the habit of getting to meeting in time, and being quiet, before meeting; the habit of getting a message from God and sharing it in the meeting; the habit of being constant in spirit.


We have the habit of having favorites. Paul said, "Do nothing by partiality." But we are partial. It is a human inclination to lift some up and put others down. Paul said to Timothy, "Don't be partial, don't have favorites" yet Paul lifted Timothy up and said, "I have no man like minded." There is no one like my son Timothy in confidence. He knew if Timothy goes, it is the same if I go, because we think the same. It was not partiality, it was confidence. 


We are inclined to dig into the mystic things, to the mysteries and the unknown. But that verse said to give more diligence to what we already know. A girl in Cuba said, "I would like to go to a meeting and hear something that I have never heard before." Then she said, "Look at me wanting to hear something I don't know, and I haven't fulfilled the things that I do know!" In our studies, in our meetings it is good to leave the mysteries to one side and stick to sound doctrine, the real truth and sound doctrine that cannot be condemned.


"I am so weak and inclined to go astray." These are just some of our inclinations. May God help us to watch them and be true. 

 

Summary: I'd like to share an extract message of Willie Pollock with you: 


I thought of some of our human inclinations that are against us. The weakness of the flesh is a life sentence and we will never get away from it. But the willingness of the spirit will help us to overcome the flesh. 


We are inclined to go astray but God is a Restorer. 


We are inclined to get discouraged. Discouragement is a breaking down of our spirit and encouragement is a building up of our spirit. Encouragement is of God but discouragement is of the devil. Encouragement is not praise or flattery but it is appreciation. 


We are inclined to suffer from self-pity. It is an inclination to feel sorry for ourselves and feel we are the victim. When Peter spoke to Jesus of having pity on Himself, Jesus said to him, 'Get thee behind Me, Satan.'


Self-pity leads to self-saving, and if you save yourself you will lose it. When someone offends us, we feel sorry for ourselves. Jesus taught it is impossible but that offenses must come, but woe unto him through whom they come. If someone offends us, we should be sorry for them, not for ourselves, because it is the offender who will have to answer before God.

 

We are inclined to be careless. Negligence is of the devil, diligence is of God. How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? We could believe everything and be loving everything, and lose everything by carelessness. Carelessness is an inclination and it is called the creeping sin of carelessness. Very often, we feel we have let God down and our prayer would be, forgive me and trust me again. God is not the God of second chances; He is the God of another chance. 


We are inclined to have doubts. Faith is of God, doubts are of the devil. Doubts are a breaking down of our faith. The first question asked in the Bible was by the devil. 'Hath God said?' Doubt led to deception. When the Bible says something is wrong and we think it is not wrong, we are deceived. Next thing Satan said is, 'Ye shall not surely die.' That was a contradiction. Confirmation of truth is of God. Contradiction of truth is of the devil.


We are inclined to contradict and be contrary. We are inclined to be opposite and stubborn. It is born in us from children. Contradiction leads to discord, and discord leads to division. 


We are inclined to justify ourselves. If we walk close to Jesus, we don't have to defend or justify ourselves. The further we get from Jesus the more we have to defend ourselves. Two men went up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee stood justifying himself, despising the other man; but the Publican, with his head down and beating his chest, said 'Be merciful to me, a sinner.' Jesus said he went down to his house justified, justified by God.


We are inclined to form habits. We should cultivate good habits because others are inclined to copy us. The habit of getting a message from God and sharing it in the meeting. The habit of being constant in spirit. It is human inclination to lift some up and put others down. Paul said to Timothy, 'Don't be partial.' Paul didn't lean to Timothy in partiality, he leaned on Timothy in confidence.


We are inclined to dig into the mystic things, to the mysteries and the unknown. But that verse said, "Give more diligence to what we already know." A girl in Cuba said, "I would like to go to meeting and hear something that I have never heard before." Then she said, "Look at me wanting to hear something I do not know and I haven't fulfilled the things that I do know." In our studies in our meetings, it is good to leave the mysteries to one side and stick to sound doctrine. The real truth and sound doctrine that cannot be condemned. "I am so weak and inclined to go astray."


These are just some of our inclinations. May God help us to watch them and be true.