When God draws us closer to himself, He uses the same methods for all of us; His grace leads us through brokenness, forgiveness, and surrender to an intimate relationship. Each one of us must come alone; no one can do this for us or anyone else.
Roy Hession wrote in his book, When I Saw Him, about the experiences of Isaiah, Saul, the Disciples, and Joshua and then writes, “What Is Your Vision?”
In Isaiah 6:1-9, the reader is taken to Isaiah’s view of the throne. “Woe is me! for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips...” God desires that we see Him in His holiness: that our service has been done in the flesh, perhaps for many years, and that without our knowing it. Self has intruded even into holy things, and so much of what has been done has been only in the power of the self-life rather than in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit convicts of sin. We read about three main forms of the self-life. First of all, there is self-will-I make the plans; I, rather than the Lord, initiate things. As each day dawns, I am the king of that day and if I want to indulge in something, I will. The second form of the self-life is self-effort-I trying to do God’s work for Him by my own efforts, expedients, and schemes. What begins with me, has to be done by me. This applies not only to service, but to the Christian life itself. And then the third form of the self-life, self-glory- the desire for people to think well of us; the doing of things ostensibly for God, but really for our own glory, hoping that people will think “What a victorious Christian!” God’s plan is completely otherwise. Read Romans 11:36. When we see the Lord we are convicted of this right down to details, in the holy as well as the secular part of our lives.
Saul of Tarsus saw Him, Acts 9:1-9; what effect did this vision of Jesus have on Saul on the inside? Paul describes himself as being full of pride, though at the time he was quite unaware of it. That is the usual thing with pride: you are quite unaware of it until the Holy Spirit shows you; then you see you are full of it. Even God, he thought, must have regard to a man with these things to his credit. The first was pride of ancestry; the second was pride of orthodoxy; the third was pride of activity; the fourth was pride of morality. Now all these things had to do with Saul’s righteousness, that is, his rightness with God. All his efforts were directed to adding to his store of righteousness. He wanted to excel. How many of my activities are directed to adding to my store of righteousness before God and before other fellows?
Now what was revealed to him when he had this vision? Saul saw the brokenness of Deity. This was Saul’s final surrender of self. What was the effect that this vision had on Saul? Let him speak for himself by reading Philippians 3:7-8. Doing so, he cast away his own pathetic righteousness in order to embrace Christ as his own.
“…what the Lord desires to do is to take us all much deeper in what we already know and give us a much deeper conviction of sin and brokenness than we have ever experienced before and with regard to areas we have never allowed Him to touch before. It might be His purpose for these pages to be stained with the tears of the one who reads them, as he looks again on Him whom he has pierced and mourns for Him, and as a result be brought into an altogether new liberty and fruitfulness.”