A Message from the life of the Bob Jones

Bob Jones, prophetIn the life of many of God’s chosen servants, events in their lives speak to us with prophetic urgency. While this is certainly true throughout the stories in the Bible, we also find it is true in the lives of many of His Servants today, as well.  In this, there is one instance in his life of now late prophet that I think speaks profoundly to this generation, the life of Bob Jones.

I feel this small snippet of the life of Bob Jones, his recovery and time in rehab under a Christian doctor who wanted to “just save one more” speaks to the condition of the young people in the church, those who know they are called to be used of God, but are, for whatever reason, unable to move forward.

For the many of this generation who either know their calling, are running for it, or are simply clueless to the plans God has designed for them, I believe this speaks to them today.  This is taken in part from the Prophetic History of IHOP-KC, the 1988 version.

Bob’s Story

Bob was not always a prophet, but ran from the calling until his 50’s.  When the call of God finally caught up to him, he out of the Army, an alcoholic, street fighting, gambling, and the like, God placed him in rehab under a Christian doctor.

At this point, Bob shook uncontrollably, after so many years of drug use, alcoholism, and running from God.  Though many wanted to give up on him, the wise doctor say, “I am going to help that man.”  He had Bob mop the floors.  Bob had never had done that kind of work, but when he mopped the floors, his shaking stopped.

So, he mopped the floors while meditating on Psalms 23, until a demon came to him one night, and spoke to him to go and get a gun, and kill the people who had hurt him in the past.  He called out to God for help, and Jesus told Bob that he couldn’t help him until he had forgiven the 12 men the devil wanted him to kill.  Jesus told him, “Go kill them or forgive them.”  And, then, Bob started forgiving.

God told him that one of his greatest sins was “self-pity”, blaming others for his problems, and that his problem was his own selfishness.

And, in the 1988 retelling of his story, Bob said this,

I didn’t see him, but i knew who he was. I knew he wasn’t the devil. And that voice i listened to. And I went to
my knees and i said, “LORD, Jesus, if you will forgive me, I’ll never let anybody give me sympathy as long as I live and I’ll never give anybody sympathy as long as I live.” Sympathy is agreein’ with their problems and sympathy is other people coming and agreeing with my problems instead of dealing with tum. And all of a sudden I woke up and I was seen on the floor and in that bed all night long and it was daylight. I had slept. When I asked the Lord to forgive me the second time. See what he was dealing with me. So that I not get into self pity. I don’t give it either.

It wasn’t long after that that Bob was out of the hospital, working a job, and on his way to recovery.

God’s Message To Us Today

Today, I think that while this is a profound story of recovery, it also speaks to the condition of so many today, in this generation.

I see the following progression.

  1. He was given responsibility.
  2. He was confronted with his need for forgiveness.
  3. He abandoned self-pity.

I think for many people today, they have never had any real taste of responsibility.  In an age of video games, parental abandonment, and a culture filled with waywardness and rebellion, many do not have in their hands the things that they should be done, or anything at all.  Life is a game, and the people in it are only actors.  As Rick Joyner says frequently, if a man has nothing of significance to fill his time with, he will go insane.

But, Bob was taken from his dope, the drugs, in the same way that young people today need to be stripped of theirs, of social media, of entertainment, of media and the secular news.  In their hands, instead, should be placed the tools of a servant.  In the place of Bob’s selfishness was given a way to serve.  No pressure, no demands, only a mop and a not-so-long hall.

But, it wasn’t long before this had an effect.  As he grew to know the Lord’s protection, through Psalm 23, the enemy came to him.  His next biggest challenge was to forgive.  According to Bob’s testimony, Jesus was so direct as to say that He couldn’t help Bob until he forgave.  Bob would have either had to go kill those men, and obey the devil and go to hell, or obey Jesus.

The most important act of self-deliverance and inner-healing comes through forgiveness.  It is the why of when we get caught up in something, get snagged by something, or are otherwise distracted in the things of the Spirit.  When we judge, it closes the door to God’s Grace in our lives, and we are unable to receive from Him the things we would otherwise have.

Finally, Bob had to abandon all ungodly, unsanctified mercy.  He had to put an end to pity, self-pity, and “sympathy”.  There is, of course, godly compassion, in a moment of need, that is always accompanied by action (faith without works is dead).  And, there is another kind, the kind Bob was referring to, which is agreement.  To agree with someone else’s pain, or have someone else agree with yours, is the adding together of the collective faith of the individuals for the problem, rather than the solution.  Rather than two or more touching and agreeing in faith for God’s salvation in a given situation, self-pity, ungodly sympathy, as Bob termed it, is an agreement with the situation, rather than the way that God has prepared, even though it seems there is none.

This is precisely how this generation is wired to operate, however.  From New Broadcasts, to films, to nearly every drama TV program, to even our music, it is all geared at appealing precisely to our sympathies.  All the way back to our Civil Rights victories, and probably before, how were they won?  By presenting to us a narrative which could capture our affections and hence, harness our initiative.  While the Civil Rights landmarks of yesterday may have been worthwhile cases, today, all that is needed, is for any liberal media to portray any situation in any manner in which public sentiment may be captured and directed–whether or not the facts of the case are even true or not!

When Adam was created in the garden, there was one tree the fruit from which he was told not to eat–the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Of course, God has the knowledge of good and evil, so why would that be bad for Adam to have?  Because Adam was finite.  Only God has infinite knowledge, perfect wisdom, and so Adam, in his judgement, would always judge wrongly.  What was God’s solution?  As Jesus spoke, “As I hear, I judge” (John 5:30.  Man, in his original design, was designed to judge (John 5:27), but never in his own capacity.  Lacking his own knowledge of good and evil, Adam could only judge based on what the Father told him.

As Jesus later went on to day, if we judge not, we will not be judged.  And so, thus was the original intent of man.  Paul, writing in 1 Corinthians 2:15 says that the “spiritual man judges all things and is judged by no one”, because the one that is spiritual is of the Spirit.  It is not his own judgement he is exercising, but like Adam in his original creation, he speaks as with the Oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11), discerning a matter with his eye (Proverbs 20:8).

The Application

If this was the design of God, then this generation is caught by the nuance of a novelty and ensnared in the cages of contemporaries.  Every news broadcast attempts to prey upon the sympathies, the selfish, self-seeking sympathies that Bob swore never to enter into again, upon our affections, on our emotions, and upon our intelligence.

The facts need not be shown, not in news stories, not in movies, not in anything.  We are shown cut-outs designed to evoke empathies which are then counter-set with abominations of the most varied sort.  We give them names such as “compassion” and “love”, when they are not, and we label our causes as just, not knowing even the basic facts at the set.

On a psychological level, when we look at someone suffering in deep distress over a situation from which they are removed, in general, we are not (contrary to popular opinion) experiencing their deep emotional pain, but our own.  Their emotional pain may not even actually exist (as in the case of movies depicting completely fictitious encounters by paid actors).  No, the only thing we experience when we see someone “suffering” is what we need to be healed of.  True compassion, on the other hand, need not be enmeshed with another’s pain.  It is aware of suffering, and makes a conscious choice of whether it is appropriate to do something or not, depending on the situation.

It is, as it were, in this generation, that a “Lord of the Flies”, having descended, our every deep wound and pain in our own lives, becomes the landing strip for every sort of prey from the culture around us.  We pick up the slights of others, they being offended at a thing, we become so offended.  They liking or disliking something, we do likewise.  We hear the pain and plight of someone “in need”, but, not even knowing the real situation, only what someone wanted us to know, we rush headlong into “helping”, and hence, judging.  Not because of true righteousness, but because “not helping” “feels bad”.

And, the solution?  The antidote for this generation?  Honestly, it’s all so simple.

This is, as it happens, one of the most selfish generations to date.  People pray for “social justice issues” today more out of a sense of being violated in their own inner hurts and wounds than they do out of a righteous mandate of God to see wickedness overthrown, and it is worthless to God (John 6:63).  And, at the heart of it, the wound of it all, is self-pity.  Because we have been trained to be led around by the nose by whatever pity story comes along, whether it be by the church, or the state, or by someone down the street.

Man was not designed to know good and evil, but was designed to follow God.  And, it is only in that place that we can truly operate in heavenly judgment.  As we hear, we judge, and our judgment is just because we do not seek our own, but the will of Him who sent us.

We must not judge by human standards, but rather by righteous judgment (John 7:24).

This Generation

As I see it, the path ahead for this generation is relatively the same as it was for Bob Jones, coming out of his years of running.

We must come to grips with the reality of responsibility.  We must learn to be servants, and no longer be our own masters, but submit to righteous leadership (the wise doctor).

We must lay down our offenses.  This can be tricky, because it is hard to miss our own unforgiveness at times.  There is Grace, of course, for if we are blind, we are not guilty of our sins.  But, forgive we must.

Isaiah 58 offers a portrait of forgiveness.  Living in self-pity always involved putting the yoke of our unfortunate circumstances upon another.  Isaiah said to put away the oppressive yoke.  This, in all its forms, is the spirit of (unrighteous) judgment.  If we do not, it quickly turns to the pointing of the finger (the spirit of accusation), and finally, to malicious talk (slander, akin to murder in the Gospels).  But, if, instead of satisfying our own needs, we spend ourselves on behalf of others, and satisfy the needs of those who are oppressed, the God will come.

It says God will guide us continually, and even our greatest moment of darkness will be as noon.

This is the solution for a people in gross darkness–that their darkest hour would be as bright as the noon-day sun.

But, the last thing that Bob Jones had to do, is the prophetic message to us all.

Stop it.  Stop listening to the voices of everybody else.  Stop feeling sorry for anyone–it only adds to their pain, and yours.

Stop having sympathy for yourself, and all those around you.  It may not “feel” pleasant, but even secular psychologists recognize the only way out of drama not to play along.  And, that always looks like you being the “oppressor”.  Simply walk away.

In Jesus’ famous parables in the Sermon on the Mount, the sower of the seed had only one job to do–sow the seed.  God did everything else.  Nothing else is your responsibility.  If God blesses you because of your obedience to the Word, other than helping someone out in their time of crisis, what God gives you is for you.  Anyone else can have what God has for them simply by obeying the same Word, the seed, that you did.

When we stop being enmeshed in every one else’s emotions, through media, through hype, through even the day to day of other people’s problems, we are free to just be within ourselves.  As we forgive, and deal with the fear in our heart, we are set free to love, un-encumbered by the shame the religious spirit would try to put on us for not trying to “save the World”, all by ourselves (and without Jesus, I might add).

The Message

What this generation needs to do, is, like Bob, disconnect from the current of public emotion.

Jesus said, My sheep hear my voice, and the follow me (John 10:27).  The voice of another they will not follow (John 10:5).

Today, perhaps like the late prophet Bob Jones, our greatest need is to lay down our selves, to humbly serve, and, in forgiving, no longer pick up the yokes and false burdens that the world and others offer us to carry.

Only then, will we be free to hear, to listen, and to obey.