Watch: Brian’s testimony
Brian spent decades in active ministry and accomplished many things in Jesus’ name, not realising that it was at the expense of his marriage. As a result of being willing to listen to the counsel of fellow believers, Brian realised that he had been ignoring his wife’s feelings and serving in ministry to earn the praises of other people, rather than for God. Demonstrating true repentance, he has now been practising waiting for the Holy Spirit to show him the way forward. As a result, Brian is experiencing greater fulfillment and peace. Praise God! Watch his testimony.
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The Spirit is speaking to me. Do I even listen?
For me, it was a “wow” kind of moment. It’s that, do I ever yield to the Holy Spirit? The Spirit is speaking to me. Do I even listen? Right? Probably don’t listen. Because you already are thinking, “This is good stuff that you’re doing, that means it must be good for God.” That’s not true.
Hi, I’m Brian Kusunoki. I’m Japanese American. I’m married to my wife, Angela. We have two sons, Tyler and Kevin.
I was born into a Christian family and I guess what you could say is that I was good at doing church. Really not having a relationship till after we lost a child, then we started thinking about, you know, God is much bigger than we think.
But I think what happens is that as far as spiritual maturity, I think what happened to me is I started to equate maturity with activity.
It seemed like what they rewarded you for, what they liked you to do is be involved with committees and being doing different types of things and teaching and things. So, I did get involved with all that kind of stuff; forming an NGO, serving the poor, doing things like this. All that to me was about being more godly.
And it didn’t occur to me that it was really maybe not the right way to go. In other words, that it wasn’t really Spirit-driven. I’ll tell you why. I think what was happening is that I was following a lot of the applause and a lot of the recognition that people were giving you for doing different things.
And it didn’t dawn on me that actually, it had made ministry an idol.
It’s almost like an addiction, where I’m out there and I have to be doing something. And at the cost of my marriage.
Now, what happened to me is – this is how obvious it was to a lot of other people – is that somebody sent me an article saying, “Have you made mission your idol?” I read that and said, that’s me right? And, and in terms of giving a confession for my wife, this is how bad my confession was.
I sent the article to her and I said, “That’s me, I’m sorry.” That’s not really a confession.
What you’re supposed to be doing as a confession is you should be allowing the person to talk and express how that made them feel. So again, I decided I would try it again. And she said, “You should know how that made me feel. I’m not going to tell you how it made me feel, because it’s been 40 years of this, it’s been 40 years of this. I’ve been giving you a lot of indications of how I feel and you haven’t responded. Until I see your actions change, that’s not a confession, right?”
It really hit me hard is that, when I realised how much I hurt my wife.
Someone mentioned about, “Where are your priorities, my friend, right? Your priorities are you saving the world, whatever. Where’s God in that? And then where’s your family? You should be reversing things.” And that kind of hit me that I have not been really listening to the Spirit, right? And I think a lot of us get sucked into this.
You listen to a lot of people saying, “Great ministry, great stuff you’re doing. Go out and save the world. I really appreciate what you’re doing.” And it gets to be almost like cocaine.
I think God, our Father, is not real happy with all that because He’s not being glorified in that, you’re being glorified in that.
And on top of that, you’re putting (your wife,) putting my wife, Angela, into a very hard predicament, because how can she push back? How can she explain to friends that, you know, “I’m really upset with him,” when he’s doing God’s work, so to speak right? It’s hard for her to call me out and say, “You know, I think it’s about pride.”
So, you had this revelation, right? This revelation that, “Hey, it’s been all about pride for a long, long, long time.” When you look at the Bible, you look at Joshua and things like that, they don’t just go into war without looking at consulting God first and the Spirit first. So why is it any different for us right? And it really dawned on me that it’s because we’re listening to other people. When you look at the Bible and they say, well, you’re listening to other people, that’s a bad thing, and they’re leading you into bad stuff. Not necessarily so.
I mean, from my standpoint, it seemed like they’re leading me into good stuff, right? But it’s not the right stuff.
What does it mean to yield? And it really means to, from my standpoint, to listen, go to the Bible and just look at scripture. For example, John 15:5, where He’s talking about the Vine. You’re the branches and without Me, you can do nothing. Think that over for a while, right? And mull it over and then ask the Holy Spirit to lead you.
It’s interesting, things just sort of do happen.
Opportunities present themselves that I would never have contrived in my wildest dreams. I mean, before it was always like, “Okay, we have to do this and we have to do this in order to do this.” And now it’s more like, well, “No opportunity has shown up yet, let’s just continue to pray through it and let’s wait.”
Waiting is really hard for me. Waiting is absolutely hard.
What happens is that more opportunities have happened, more things have happened that I would say are just amazing. And you have to say because of that, it’s God’s work. It’s not your work, right? And it’s like I have all these ambitions and plans, right.
And it’s like when I basically was able to slow down and say, “Okay, I’m just going to wait on it.” It is more like just following what is He asking me to do today? And oh my, my goodness, did you know this thing just happened? And that’s kind of what’s been really interesting. It was like almost every day, it’s like an “Oh my goodness!” type of thing. It’s a blessing. Opportunity, let’s go do it. Opportunity, let’s go do it.
You find that actually there’s a pattern to this. He’s leading you somewhere and you’re starting to see, “Oh my goodness, that’s what He had in mind.”
I had in mind “this (little)”, He had in mind, “this (much).” So, it is just incredible. So, I think that’s where we’re at right now; still a lot of work, still a lot of work to get there but it’s been refreshing. I wish I had known this a lot earlier. We had gone through 40 years of marriage to get to this point, but thankfully though, the Lord gives you a few more years to walk this out.
When you confess in this way, and when I really understood that I had hurt my wife so much, and also sinned against my Lord and there’s forgiveness in that as well – what happens with that forgiveness is there’s an opportunity to live a different life. I always tell people, for me it was like a Christmas Carol Scrooge moment. In the Christmas Carol, he goes through this whole night of all these different bad dreams and it ends up very bad for him, right? He ends up dead without any friends, that kind of thing. But in the morning, he wakes up and it’s like, “Oh my goodness, I’m actually alive. This was a dream.” So then, he’s ecstatic. That’s how I felt.
The burden of having to prove myself, the burden of having to do stuff, the burden of having, you know, to achieve a lot of different things for the Lord… you don’t have to achieve anything for the Lord, right? He achieves through you, right?
So that shift was like, it was monumental for me because I think when I woke up, I couldn’t tell people how glad I was.
It was just like, I’m different now. I mean, I don’t have this baggage of having to prove myself to you, right? If you don’t like what I’m doing then about something, that’s quite okay, because I’ve got this opportunity and I’m trying to follow this opportunity from the Lord. And, do I need the applause? To be honest with you, I still fall into that sometimes. Oh, look at what’s happened to this person and they’re getting all this because they’re saving the world and whatever.
But I’m finding less need for that now. I’m feeling more gratified just being a child of God.
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