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|Written by drk|
|Saturday, 21 March 2009 16:58|
Dr. Kluane Spake
You’re not alone, because you have help:
1. Jesus prayed that you become sanctified.
2. He died to obtain holiness for you.
3. Jesus is ever interceding for you.
4. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell within you and lead you.
5. He applies sanctification to your life.
6. The Holy Spirit also intercedes for you.
You have the God-given ability to set in motion the changes that cause your spiritual life to conform with God’s plan. This journey depends entirely on you. Yes...YOU. Your success (arriving at God’s plan) can’t happen accidentally. It’s your choice. God will do it -- only if you choose it.
· Paul admonishes you to proceed with the process of sanctification, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1). This ongoing eternal process of maturity and perfection starts today. The consequence of your salvation should be a newness of life (Rom. 6:4). You should be raised in this victorious life (zoe) -- which is life in the absolute sense -- life which the Father has in Himself, and then gave to the Incarnate Son Who manifested it to the world.
Holiness, your goal, can be defined as the visible presence of the rule of Christ lived out in you. You must practice the presence of God. Are you listening? If you let yourself be distracted, then you’ll not arrive at the destination. You’ve put your hand to the plow, so don’t look back. (Luke 9:62). Another translation says, “Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work that I plan for him, is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” We all share this relentless problem of being sidetracked. It takes perseverance to keep traveling down the road. So decide today to start from where you are and keep on moving forward. God will give you the grace to get there, I guarantee. Remember:
· Abraham lifted up his eyes and received.
· Lot’s wife looked back and died.
· Lot’s tent viewed towards his past and Sodom.
· Lot’s heart was vexed.
· Mentally, the Israelites looked back.
1. Decide today that you will allow this working of the Lord to be accomplished in you. Write what that means to you.
2. Embrace life today and rejoice at being alive. Pick an example to write about.
3. Clarify your direction once again. Choose to believe that the Holy Spirit makes a way for you through this traffic jam of life. To the degree that your mind expands or changes, that is the percentage of light you’ll walk in.
Repent and get back on that holy road
I hate cars that break down, and mine always seem to have something wrong. Cars seem to provide me a constant opportunity to overcome my rage and impatience… Aaarruughhh!
Nowadays, you can’t assume that all’s well with your car or with yourself – both need frequent repairs. Can you see that old gas station up ahead? The name of that station and repair shop is “Repentance.” It rapidly approaches as the first complete stop on the Holy Highway. Just bring your vehicle over there to what may look like an old fashioned place. Pull in… and plan to stay awhile. Now try to remember the days of the full-service gas stations and getting “the whole works”: fuel, windows washed, and the oil checked. Why, someone even kicked the tires and gave a big toothy grin. That friendly total service was a matter a course… Today, it’s time for you to get that long needed overhaul on yourself.
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin”
(1 John 2:1)
We all know what sin means, “Don’t cuss or chew or go out with folks that do.” And since we don’t chew anymore, we must not need to repent -- except that we all fall short. Sin stops us right where we are. Hebrews 12:1 tells to lay aside every weight, and the sin which easily besets us. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, that he will not hear” (KJV).
It may not be in vogue to talk about sin. Nowadays we’d rather call it negative thinking or nerves. But, sin is the opposite of holiness. Sin grieves God. He hates it. Those vile thoughts, words, or deeds oppose God and cause you to lose your sensitivity to the spiritual life. Sin determines how responsive you are to doubt and unbelief. Likewise, the reverse is true; your nearness to God determines your sensitivity to spiritual things.
You may dabble or even peacefully coexistence with sin, but God still hates it. To live in sin is absolutely contrary to God’s purposes. A productive spiritual life requires more than passive indifference. Success demands continuous repentance. Waiting for God’s blessing without repentance is like expecting to win the lottery without buying a ticket. (I’m not telling you to play the lottery, just giving you an example of the necessity to keep on repenting.)
If you could put the benefits of repentance in a pill, it would replace Prozac -- now the #1 prescription medication in the world. Repentance makes you steadily progress forward with a permanent awareness of right choices -- becoming hooked --that is, on becoming all you can be. So, don’t be so quick to roll your eyes and groan because you don’t have the discipline to make right choices. Neither does anyone else -- they’re just people who do it anyway. You see, repentance is an action, not a feeling.
Truth is, there’s an impressive benefit to repentance. People who stay in steady repentance don’t have a problem with lack of will power -- they don’t need it. Good behavior becomes a habit for them… like brushing their teeth. They no longer need to make constant conscious decisions to do the right thing. They just get up and DO it. And they feel great about it. This process of repentance is the reality of prosperous living.
You can’t wait to pray until you have time. Any time you pray must be taken. And by the way, don’t repent for not praying six hours a day. Start by taking 30 minutes a day to pray and study. Wimpy? Nope. If you’re a new believer, you must set reasonable goals that you can live with -- not just for a few days but for a lifetime. Just don’t count the 10 minutes you took looking for your Bible and the 5 on the telephone. The key is to set yourself up to be successful. You’ll soon see that any form of routine makes you feel good about your progress. After a while, you’ll be strong enough to increase your regimen.
Repentance doesn’t mean deprivation – sure, there are some impulses you aren’t going to follow -- but repentance improves your life. It’s a sign that you intend to keep the commitments that you know are correct. Who wouldn’t want to live up to full potential? Who doesn’t want a lion-free roadway?
è Repentance causes us to maintain our yoke of covenant with the Lord. Remember that we said that Israel was harnessed together? God wanted them to all go His way, in the same direction, following the cloud and pillar of fire. How tiring it would be to pull in two different ways (trying to go one way, while God goes the other). Sin pulls us the wrong way and keeps life from flowing out. 2 Corinthians 6:14 reminds us, “Do not be unequally yoked (coupled together to work, balanced)... For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion (koininea - fellowship) has light with darkness?” (NKJ). What does life have in common with death? Why would we desire fellowship with the enemy?
è Because of His love, we’re able to repent.
è There’s no detour here, we must repent.
è Secret sins can’t be hidden. They mean certain defeat (Josh. 7).
Perhaps you may think that there’s nothing to repent about any more. James tells us that to know what’s right and then not do it is sin. So then, we can define sin as doing what we want to do, going our own way, and missing the mark. Maybe we’re no longer switching price tags at the department store, or cheating on our mates. Nonetheless, if we exist for ourselves, then that’s the supreme sin.
And – surprise! It’s time for you to get serious about daily repentance. Don’t be common, ordinary, or naughty just because it makes you popular. It’s time to pull back, to be unsurpassed in loving Him with a “different spirit.” Repentance is the process of deciding to not be yoked with ungodly ways and rebellion. God won’t compromise with sin. The Holy One absolutely won’t tolerate un-holiness. Therefore, repentance must be your continual lifestyle.
We need to keep our accounts short. Bob Lemon says that repentance means, “Admit it and quit it!” If we miss the mark we become restless, bored, and full of empty words. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk.13:3-5). Be assured that our Holy God no longer winks at transgressions (Acts 17:30), but He always faithfully forgives. Remember though, God only forgives sin as we confess and repent.
Repentance acknowledges our sin with sincere confession, regret, and a change of character. Repentance produces calm in misfortune, endurance when wronged, and pardon amid unkindness. When we comprehend the total holiness of God, suddenly we realize the appalling consequences of our behavior. We can encounter His love by turning to His ways once again.
è Sin is not just missing the mark, but it’s missing the Kingdom. It’s living in death instead of living in Life.
Lukewarm, complacent Christians never touch nations. Only purity can turn a generation already heartsick (Prov. 13:12) from hearing empty words from an uninspired religion that has become common and mundane. We need to be ministers that are flames of fire, refined seven times, blazing with veracity, and zeal.
Be honest, have you noticed how some bad thoughts just keep buzzing and growing in your mind? If thoughts are left unchecked, soon your theme song becomes “Nobody Likes Me,” or “I Can’t Get Him Out of My Mind.” And then, you know what? Nobody likes you ‘cause you’re not likable, and you really can’t get him out of your mind. Thoughts turn to actions.
Impure thoughts grow until they strangle the seed of the Word. That’s a truth. Keep watching those awful movies and soon the violence that used to make you shudder won’t bother you anymore. Before long, violence could be your reality. That’s right. The conscience sears until nothing can jar you anymore. You know, I still want to be jarred.
Jesus intends to be Lord of our lives and our minds, until we are without spot or wrinkle. Holiness isn’t like some optional accessory for our car, like automatic windows. No, this commitment becomes the revolutionary reason for living.
Let’s learn to hate sin within ourselves. Let’s search for every hindrance – allowing it to be revealed – knowing that after repentance come times of refreshing.
The Old Testament pictures repentance in the traditions of the Passover feast. On that special feast day, the Patriarch of a Jewish family would search for leaven. After putting on white gloves and lighting a candle, he then elaborately ran his hands everywhere looking (like the candle of the Lord) for even the slightest crumb. He couldn’t celebrate the feast if any fragments of leaven remained in the house. Leaven represents sin, and all sin had to be removed before the celebration could begin.
In such a way, we should allow the Holy Spirit to search our house for signs of sin that would keep us from holiness. Even though our natural heart clings to the filthiness of the flesh that dwells inside -- the desert wilderness desperately needs to be conquered. Daily spiritual housekeeping can never be accomplished by fleshly ambition or drive, but only through the ongoing wisdom of the Lord. This pending process of “perfecting holiness” requires daily sweeping and washing. You do that. The Holy Spirit teaches you how.
The concept of “repentance” encompasses the following basic pre-suppositions:
1. God is holy and sovereign; His Word is true and infallible.
2. Those in covenant with the Lord are to be personally committed to obey His Word.
3. God’s Word lovingly reconciles people to Him.
4. Repentance is ongoing. We must always be repentant. Just feeling sorry once won’t suffice.
5. True repentance changes everything in our life.
6. Turning from sin becomes a continual process of refusing to follow self and deliberately following Jesus.
7. Biblical repentance permanently changes our direction to the opposite way.
8. Genuine repentance is a gift of God (2 Tim. 2:25, Rom. 2:4).
9. Holiness is the ability to receive conviction from the Holy Spirit and then to change.
Come, let us reason together (Is 1:18). God doesn’t need people, but He chose to need us. He chose to make us in His image and likeness because He desired fellowship (communion, koininea). We can only fellowship with Him if we’re “like” Him. He doesn’t need us to help Him do anything. Of course not. But, because of Love, He chooses to give us dominion and authority, and to allow us to accomplish His purposes. He chooses to want to be with us and let us be co-laborers with Him.
God saved you to express His will upon this earth -- not just to have a controlled mind -- but to totally embrace a renewed mind. Don’t present Him in a lackluster, generic package while sitting in the desert daintily sipping a six-pack. Become your best. He has total faith in His ability to get you to where you need to go. It’s His pleasure to invade you and bring you into intimate accord with Him. Get ready. He’ll perfect those things that concern you. This God-life propels you into overcoming purposefulness.
Therefore, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, ...” Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth…” That means in order for His will to be done on earth, it must be done in you. In a dimension underneath awareness, you learn to center on the point of convergence -- the cross. Cooperating with God’s sovereignty becomes a delight. With refined ways, you emerge from the Age of Laodicean blindness, as Jesus takes out a glorious people for His purposes of grace.
You know, I just looked in the back of the car and found it totally trashed with garbage – it’s all stinky rubbish -- empty fast food containers, candy bar wrappers, pop cans – all kinds of stuff that I don’t need anymore. Anyway, it’s hard to concentrate on the road with that junk piling up back there. In order to travel light, guess I need to get rid of it. Gotta throw away those desperately negative ways, the fear of failure, too much work, and distractions of this world.
Maybe you brought lots of mental baggage along with you on this trip. Perhaps you’re discouraged today. Lift up your eyes -- that special Comforter comes along side to help you get rid of all that surplus garbage. This service is not available to a non-believer. So, try it. Ask Him to come in and clean you up, so that He can bring heaven upon your earth.
Christian, if you want to walk a more productive life, then pray this prayer out loud:
Father, My life isn’t all that it should be. I’ve wandered my own way for too long, but now I turn and repent of my preoccupation with earthly things. Right now Lord, I accept Your forgiveness and choose to turn to You in obedience. I ask the Holy Spirit to remind me of areas that need my attention. I yield myself to the workings of holiness, believing that Your character already resides within me, and now it shall burst forth as the dawn. Today, I make a fresh commitment to learn about holiness and to rise above the spirit of this age. In Jesus’ Name Amen. ________________________Signature & date
Solutions on how to not bite the dust:
1. Commit and be accountable to a local Bible-believing church. Tithe.
2. Pray. Make spiritual choices. Build your faith.
3. Live at the point of need and happiness, and not to the point of greed and materialism.
4. Be a servant. Look only to the Lord.
5. Life won’t always be easy, so be happy anyway.
6. Expect the Lord to be supernatural in your life.
1. Does becoming a Christian automatically make a person emotionally well balanced? Are you where you should be in the Lord? Are you completely committed to the will of God -- a total turnaround?
2. Do you see an abundance of fruit in your life?
3. Do you live for your own way?
4. Can you explain in your own words what it means to repent for your sin?
5. Have you personally repented from a former manner of living? Can you describe it?
6. Consider the urgency of the hour and repent on behalf of our nation and our churches.
This section explains:
A. How the battle rages against the God of this age -- the Goliath of your life.
B. How the battle wars in vanity and futility of your mind.
C. What is the soul?
D. How your soul should prosper.
E. How you can change.
kill the devil once and for all
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.[xi]
There you are, walking down that forsaken street in Dodge, like the good-guy in an old cowboy movie. Your gait quickens and your heart jumps as you try to hide from the dreaded stalker. Suddenly, the villain advances. It’s a face-off. You notice him trying to disguise his anger, but his eyes glint green as he quickly draws. His gun is… well, it’s a gun -- and it’s pointed right at you. Your heart panics as you brace your stance. Who’s this bad guy? How do you kill him instead of him killing you? Are you a goner?
We must ask the familiar question once again, “Why does the devil have power?” The effects of the enemy’s smoking gun can be seen in every facet of our natural life. Satan captivates the minds of this world and ruthlessly licks the faces of our children. Evil sweeps the world, and the last days become worse and worse until the influence of the enemy seems unstoppable. He has deceived and tormented the nations. Has he hoodwinked you? How can you conquer the futility of your mind, when ol’ sloughfoot always lurks at the door? How can you get out of life’s wandering maze?
Good questions. So far, most of us have tried every method imaginable to beat the devil, but he continues to defeat us with that plastic smoking gun. Lost in the vaporous haze, the church has screamed, hollered, and bound every thing in sight. We’ve been consumed with warfare tactics, knowing the names of every principality, beating the air, and discovering precise formulas for casting down every wicked spirit. Endless conferences, warfare tapes, outlines, and strategy meetings have produced mostly weak warriors, still strangely puny and defeated. Accustomed to failure, we no longer resist the bombardment of relentless assaults. We spar against the polluted smoke from that gun, exchanging blows with nothing, exhausting ourselves for no reason.
The evil trinity: the world, the flesh, and the devil
The world: John 5:19 states: “The whole world IS most certainly under the control of the evil one.” The god of this world determines this world’s present system of values. That’s why believers must not compromise with the world. James 4:4 says that friendship with the world is enmity with God. 1 John 2:15-18 says that if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us. Stop! Don’t go any further. Let’s repeat it, “The devil is the god (little g) of this world.
The flesh: The fallen Adamic ways are flesh. Consequently, the enemy still is able to influence carnal believers who haven’t been transformed in their mind. Proverbs 10:6 says that the lusts of the unfaithful overtake them. That’s what this book is all about. Believers are often blinded to the truth that obtaining holiness (being set apart) causes them to overcome. Just remember that Jesus became flesh so that you might have victory over your flesh. He broke the power of the flesh in order to give you the power of His Spirit (Heb. 2:17-18). We’ll come back to the subject of overcoming the flesh in the next chapter.
The devil: For most of my life I envisioned a humongously hideous adversary whose only assignment was to hound my tracks and harass me. Losing this imaginary warfare, I almost gave up. He seemed to be everywhere, and I blamed the devil for everything that happened, “That stupid devil took my car keys, and hid them from me. I looked all day.” When actually, the cause was in my own absent-mindedness. Or I would say, “On my way to church the devil made me get a flat tire.” Really? Here he is, the archon spirit ruling worldly systems, and he bothered to give me a flat tire on Sunday morning? Except, I had known for three months about that threadbare tire -- but that devil waited until on the way to church… Can you see that wasn’t the devil? Have you heard this one? “I couldn’t help it. I was walking down the street and the devil made me watch this dirty movie...” No, he didn’t. No, he did not. NO, he did not!
Neither give place to the devil. Eph. 4:27 KJV
Having grown fond of rebuking everything without thinking, we give the devil “place” (topos, meaning a spot of ground, room).[xii] Unfortunately, demons usually aren’t the problem; it’s our unrenewed and unsanctified responses that need readjustment. Our feelings want our flesh to be happy NOW. But the Lord wants our feelings under our feet – He’s preparing us for greater dimensions. That doesn’t mean we have no feelings; it just means emotions don’t control our decisions.
These days, 49% of all confessing Christians state that “the devil is not a living being but only a “symbol of evil.” Let me assure you, the devil lives today in this world. He is defeated (shackled), but he still has a mouth that speaks incessant lies. The Bible calls this villain Beelzebub, lord of the flies. The dung god is the one who feasts on open wounds and hurts. All he knows to do is deceive, lie, and leave his droppings around to fester infection. Those pesky flies (demons) swarm into our unhealed memories and injuries. They try to make evil to seem like good. They swarm to our critical filthy mouth, our fearful confession, and our smutty memories. Where’s the fly swatter?
These days, delusions of vanity and futility still surround us, saying that anything goes. Let’s see -- it’s socially acceptable to talk about Allah, a divine intellect, Indian superstition, crystals, Martians, astrological signs, ouigi boards, walking on coals, a mantra, acupuncture, a supreme force, funny mushrooms, magic carpets, space creatures, fortune tellers or getting your palm read. But not Christianity. Not holiness. The devil loves to persuade others that anything other than Christianity sounds good.
Make no mistake, this impostor tremendously influences this world’s systems through what is called the spirit of this age. This spirit now works in the children of disobedience. John 8:44 says that the devil lies, and we humans decide to exchange the truth for the lie (Rom. 1:25). Yes, he has invincible power over the world, as we know it. But not over the sanctified believer -- unless you respond to him. The problem? Every Christian is tempted, drawn away, and enticed by his own evil desire (lust, and passion). That evil desire becomes conceived and gives birth to sin that grows into death (James 1:14-15).
Finally comes the realization of a great big loving God, and a little itty-bitty-teeny-tiny devil. Isaiah says when I see the enemy, I’m going to laugh, “This is what I was so afraid of?” One day, I’ll see this withered, tiny, shriveled up bag of hot air that tries to make me think he’s something that he’s not.
è Well, be certain this isn’t a book about the devil, but we need to establish that we fight the devil from a finished position. He’s already defeated. Sometimes we wrestle against principalities (Eph. 6:12), but they’re already disarmed (Col. 2:15). We must not continue to thrash the air with wasted effort. Remember that the Son of God manifested to destroy the works of the evil one. His death enabled each of us to become a “son of God” who can also destroys evil works (1 Jn. 3:8).
è Get this concept now: The devil is already defeated. If the devil were able to stop you, he would have done it before now.
è Stop blaming the devil, or anything else.
Stop talking to him! Aggressively resist his influence. A born again, bloodwashed child of God doesn’t need a sweaty wrestling match every day. You may have been brainwashed from previous church teaching -- but it’s time to renew your thinking. When you realize your God-given responsibility and authority, then God can help you.
I recently heard a story about a preacher ministering to an injured Vietnam veteran who kept having flashbacks and couldn’t function in society. This preacher yelled at the veteran, “The war’s over! Your fear isn’t real, it’s just a nightmare.”[xiii]
Ongoing demonic activity in a blood-washed Christian is just the memory of old fear, a nightmare. Either Jesus finished the work of the cross, or He didn’t. Either you are His, or you’re not. It was here at the cross that Jesus cried, “It is finished.” It was here at the cross that the graves opened and the temple veil was rent giving us access to His holy nature.[xiv] All God’s enemies lay defeated, the warfare was completed. That’s why I can reckon myself dead to the carnal nature that desires to respond to his wiles.
· Our warfare for the lost world (against principalities, powers, and wicked spirits in high places) then proceeds out of the conquering Christ (Anointed One) in us. Only the righteous can stand in the gap and be the repairer of the breach. No more begging and pleading. It’s the Anointing that breaks the yoke.
It’s not the devil, it’s us! Many try to break free of old ways, but never succeed, because that “old man” continues to reassert itself. Why’s that? Failure comes from not understanding the battle for our soul. For most of us, the biggest problem is the soul, which is incapable of being renewed without yielding to correct thinking.
Oppression happens because we live unclean lives and don’t walk in Kingdom truths. The Holy Spirit ministers only towards teachable believers, instructing them on how to be free from the sway of this deceit. Overcomers are not oppressed; there’s no foothold in their life for the enemy to work.
The prince of this age, the ruler of this world, the spirit of this age has unparalleled influence upon the times we live -- and upon Christians that don’t understand his methods. A fierce battle rages within the unredeemed (carnal) nature. Like we said before, the war isn’t “way out there” with the devil. Really the biggest problem is our reaction to him. We fearfully listen to his empty thwarts. He’s bound, but not gagged. He overloads us with words, thoughts, and suggestions. Simply put, carnal believers don’t hear what the Spirit says, but listen to the old gooseberry’s lies.
Satan sets huge boulders of hindrance that cause us to swerve off the holy road into a detour that leads to perilous compromise. We must obtain the truth that God’s Kingdom is at hand.[xv] We cannot ignore the road signs. We must not play chicken, trying to swerve just in time. A collision becomes imminent unless we renew our mind.
Enraged that believers now unravel his deceptive strategy, the predator of our soul seriously targets the taproot of who we are – to increase discouragement and disarm us once again. That’s why we now must disconnect from our predetermined ways and connect to The Person who has all the answers. The victorious believer (with a sound mind) learns that incorporating holiness totally defeats the enemy. (Remember that the lion can’t live on the highway to holiness.)
I pray that you follow this process with me -- soon you will comprehend how to convert the spirit of your mind. Let’s examine some areas of your life that may be a problem, and see why the devil can influence your mind. This next section concerns how far this evil trinity has influenced the church.
the wandering church -- the god of this age[xvi] -
è All sin begins in our thoughts, our soul realm.
Yes, there’s a rampant infectious plague amidst the church – it’s called “contagious deadly attitudes.” Maybe you’ve heard it said, “He’s got an attitude!” You know how it goes: get too close to a bad attitude, and there it is, like a transmitted disease. Now you have it. And others catch it too – you can see how quarrels and division show their effects. You’ve probably heard their song, “I Gotta Be Me.” Bad attitudes (the vanities of our mind) strive to be glorified. Oh, could we be carriers of this infectious and deadly disease? How can we stop this killer plague called the Attitudes In Dear Saints? How can it influence our thought life and affections?
B. Meyer tells how ineffectual Christians try to wave the censor between the living and the dead, but the plague won’t be stopped. We must wonder why the church has lost all power. Let’s take a few moments to examine this disease that hinders the mind of the church.
Looking more closely we discover the greatest holocaust imaginable in our midst -- the massive loss of godly character. The ever widening influence of the spirit of this age intersects our good intentions and positions itself at cross-purposes with our well intended plans, robbing and perverting our values and ethics.
MORALITY: For the last thirty years, we’ve all noticed the church slowly integrate into a declining desensitization. Believers scarcely struggle any longer, because they find themselves umbilically tied to the guardianship of the familiar. Morally passive believers, absorbed only with their own individual pleasures of leisure and comfort, fixate upon petting the snake of pleasure.
What were once holy ideals, now quickly change into romantic notions of personal fulfillment. We find congregations once clothed with honorability, now transformed into a “couch potatoes” enjoying once promiscuous subjects that are now on prime time TV – finding them fun and funny. This “Jell-O generation” jiggles only slightly before succumbing once again to the gratification of the flesh, seeking unrestrained freedom and pleasure.[xvii]
Blinded by this world system which Ephesians 4 calls, “The spirit (vanity, or futility) of the mind,” her aimless and untargeted prayers ricochet off the ceiling only to return and wound her. She reacts by becoming almost “dead in trespasses and sins.”[xviii] Anti-holiness reduces her to a heap of ruin.[xix]
LAWLESSNESS: Prideful Goliaths of selfishness have ravaged her once exceptionally civilized life. The prophecy of Matthew comes to pass as we read, “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (24:12). Most of us prefer to call this newly found lawlessness, “liberalism, intellectualism, and self-fulfillment,” but the results of this defiant behavior are obsessive and superficial. The church subtly refuses to yield her will. Her favorite song is, “Don’t Fence Me In;” her motto remains, “Look out for number one,” and her cynical rallying cry, “If it feels good, do it.”
While the Spirit of Independence gloriously founded America, the pendulum now swings too far -- no one can tell her what to do, what to believe, or how to behave. Unprincipled betrayal forefronts the new standard behavior. Sadly, her children manifest the logical outcome of this turbulent liberal philosophy with a greedy obsession for self-gratification that rules every whim -- while the culture spirals downward.
FALSE MINISTRY: Have you noticed how much spiritual show biz goes on – there’s people pleasing, and phony-baloney? While the emaciated world starves for a shred of Truth, many pompous preachers teach only their selective hobby horses; not declaring the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) ... losing God in the shuffle.
Listen, the world is totally fed up with mouthy Christians who don’t live like they talk. Their carnality actively drives the lost away. The credibility of their witness is forfeited, because the unsaved think that Christianity can’t be true because it obviously doesn’t work! Vain religion proudly promotes personalities, yields shallow lives, teaches salesmanship, and contorts the Gospel to say whatever feels good at the moment.
Besides that, lots of Christians backslide. They’ve heard an “easy believism gospel” for so long that when the bottom falls out of their lives, they turn and walk away, certain the Gospel didn’t work. After all, they expected this walk to be an easy one with no accountability. They blame God, without ever allowing the Holy Spirit to teach them. They’ve become diverted from their Promised destination and once again desire the bondage of Egypt (the world).
Amos 8 tells about this “famine of hearing the words of Jehovah.” There, men stagger from sea to sea, searching for the word of the Lord, but cannot find it. Beautiful girls and fine young men alike faint from weariness, thirsty for the truth. These symptoms of a deep sickness suffocate and starve us like an unseen cellophane veil upon our face.
Caught up in the famine, the church gropes in her own starved hopes, dreams, and cares. Gross darkness moves in, like thick fog, to blur and dull her sensitivity. Like Lot, whose heart became vexed because of his evil companions, she staggers, hardly able to stand in these devastating days. She turns to the Psychic Channel, the Shopping Network, and pagan thinking -- while disbelieving freethinking invades her mind.
Church morality fluctuates like a chameleon, blindly following the droning piper, until finally acquiring the color of the surroundings. Unknowingly, she embraces worldliness as a familiar dance partner, gliding and swirling to its enchanting rhythm and style. Tragically neutralized, her lifeless carcass fornicates (joins in unholy union) with the enticing interests. Intoxicated and sluggish, she confesses faith but doesn’t live it. Meanwhile, only a few watchmen remain alert on the wall… Will all be sleeping when it’s time to go to the wedding supper?[xx] Much weeping and gnashing of teeth can be heard at a distance.
Isaiah warned of this deep darkness covering the earth and gross darkness the people (Is. 60:1-2). Those sleepy minds that stagger in stadiums of darkness need the eye-salve of Revelation to remove the cloaked helmet of the enemy, the spirit Paul called “this present evil age” (Gal. 1:4).[xxi]
We hear the perfected bride (in Song of Solomon) longing for her bridegroom, “On my bed night after night I sought him whom my soul loves.” She didn’t sleep because she couldn’t find the One she loved. She rose up to pursue Him. Night after night she looked for Him (3:1-4).
If the watchmen (ministers) slumber… then the enemy can easily take the city.[xxii] The Bible sounds the alarm, “Awake, sleeper and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Those whose lanterns are full of oil arise to meet the Bridegroom, and His light radiates from their hands – on the way to the wedding supper.
Remember Demas, who “loved the world” and no longer walked with the apostles? That same worldliness lurks. Apathy waits to consume those whose oil is gone, whose light is extinguished, and they’re no longer watching and waiting. To one extent or another, busy work replaces relationships, and friends. Hopeless struggles against self bring utter despair, until we’re brought into right relationship with the Father, until we become sanctified and rent asunder only unto Him.
è Deliverance needs to be ministered to our carnal nature that longs to embrace the darkness of the world.
· Jesus prayed His high priestly prayer concerning the disciples, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (Jn.17:16). Can He say that of you?[xxiii] Jesus died to transfer us completely from the world. “Be not conformed to this world,” (Rom. 12:2, 1 Jn. 5:4-5). John also says that the Word of God lives in you and you have “overcome the evil one” (1 Jn. 2:14).
Can we live in this world and not be a part of it? Can we be part of those who arrive at this overcoming life? Jesus says we can, and then Paul explains, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God” (1 Cor. 2:12).
We’re in the world, but not of the world (vs. 14). How can that be? Daniel dwelt in Babylon, but Babylon did not dwell in him. Daniel and his friends gallantly lived within adverse surroundings that totally opposed their beliefs. In much the same way, each of us must live surrounded by a similar Babylonian system, without allowing that spirit to live in us.
Even though we may be starved by lack of affirmation, we must push ourselves forward, not yielding our thoughts to this depraved pressure. We abide “in Christ,” even though we exist temporally in this culture. Jesus gave us His zoe life so that every demonic influence would be destroyed. That means depression and discouragement never linger under our bed. That means we won’t be anxious and angry every day. That means boredom won’t bedevil our minds. To be a friend of the “world” (this corrupt system) is to be the enemy of God (James 4:4). Romans 12 tells us not to be conformed to this world. Afterall, we’re sent to our cities just “AS” Jesus was sent into this world (Jn.17:18) -- to seek and to save that which is lost.
Listen and be prepared. The question is not whether you can make it to your destination, but are you willing to fight in order to endure the “road less traveled by?” Jesus told the disciples to leave their familiar style of life and follow Him (Matt. 19:27). He knew that humans, by nature, were unconsciously influenced by everyday conditions. That’s why Moses pitched his tent “outside the camp,” and Jesus would do the same (Heb. 13:12-14). In that same way, you must leave the comfortable camp of your customary surroundings and seek “The city which is to come.”
As far back as recorded history, God has tried to awaken a people who would walk with Him and be like Him. Perhaps we’re that generation, the remnant that finally arises to shine in these last triumphant years of church history,[xxiv] exposing ruthless illusion. This group races with fervency to discover the honor of right living. They read the road map and then travel the holy highway through the wilderness that aims toward the goal of reigning as heirs of the world. God gives them the title deed. Their light shines in darkness. They’re one with Him in light, Hallelujah, and the whole composite body is full of light.[xxv] Heaven and earth come together. They preach the gospel of the Kingdom and live out the visible presence of the rule of Christ.
Strengthened, we purpose to strike the deathblow to the enemy of our soul. Our keen fighting instincts become a fierce single-eyedness that focuses on the time for the kill.
1. Are you willing to combat the spirit of this age? What are your greatest battles? What’s the difference in a normal interest and a compulsive interest? Turn to Appendix #1 and mark your problem areas.
2. Write a paragraph on how you have placed your hope in the God of miracles and found surprising outcomes.
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How can the devil harm a Christian?
The intruders assignment? To close the road. To divert us from the holy destination of image and likeness, to ambush our future, to detour us from our destiny. He purposes to plunder our goods, taking what matters -- our potential, our dreams, and hopes.
Our conclusion so far? The devil regularly attempts to influence us with lies and deception – if we allow it. And we have. Sure, he exists. But to the overcoming Christian, he’s defeated. The devil is not the real culprit -- it’s our unrenewed mind (self-nature) that acknowledges his never-ending taunts. Our carnal mind endlessly struggles against being holy, not realizing that the acquisition of holiness would kick him off our road, annihilating all wicked influences! Our mind wants to battle and blame the devil, but in reality, the greater battle rages within each of us, as we are drawn away and enticed by our soul. If our renewed mind takes authority, his influence halts, and then his assaults end.
Don’t be ignorant of the devil’s evil tactics toward the believer:
1. He misrepresents the nature of God.
2. He tries to make you think that God’s love is conditional and performance based.
3. He comes to blind your mind, confuse your thoughts and take away your confidence.
4. He uses your mind for the battleground for strongholds.
5. He inspires you to dig up bad things and make them fresh.
6. He reminds you of past beliefs, past mistakes and past hurts.
7. He causes you to want to look to people for approval.
8. He brings demonic doctrines, superstitions, and cultural traditions to seduce and deceive you.
9. He gives thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere, to become darts in your thought life.
10. He lies and tries to alter your opinion and perspective.
11. He wants to kill, steal, and destroy you (Jn. 10:10).
12. He devours what is not of faith.
13. He lies (John 8:44) using deliberate deception, usually a little bit at a time.
14. He tries to steal the Word before it grows.
15. He tries to beat you down and cause you to not have a sense of self-worth.
Like we said, he’s bound but not gagged! He’s lost his power, but he still can pull (entice, imply, and influence). He tugs at your emotions from a rope tied to the limb of old memories. Satan suggests selfish, evil, disgusting, and wicked thoughts that lodge right into the unregenerated mind. Your carnality enables him to fill your soul with fear (2 Tim. 1:7, 1 Jn. 4:18). These soulish responses cause you to fear failure and lust for power. You must cut off that limb that connects you to the old ways! A mind fixed in past desires for the kingdoms of this world, hopes of luck, fate, significance, selfishness, frustration, and success will fail.
Satan really wants you to think that being a holy Christian will totally annihilate your own personality - until eventually you’ll become some robotic “goody-two-shoes.” Actually, the opposite is true; Jesus comes to set you free. Anything that takes away your power of choice obviously isn’t from the Lord.[xxvi]
One wonders, how can this interloper do all these things? How does it happen? Because of the unrenewed mind. Like we said, the problem isn’t really the devil, but what we’ve been taught about him. The enemy captivates our mind by giving suggestions. An unrenewed mind embraces those suggestions and decides to revolt against the holy things of God. That’s why you MUST get your mind renewed.
After awhile, we learn the subtle difference between what is actually “demonic” and what is our carnal response to his annoying suggestions. We finally lay down our prior failures, and stand with our head held high and our eyes forward. We begin to ride upon the well-traveled course that leads us through today; where we learn that we really can overcome, we can endure, and we really do have worth.
1. Satan is a conquered foe (John 12:31).
2. Satan is the prince of this world system -- that system will end.
3. Jesus came to earth to purposely destroy the works of the evil one.
4. Jesus “spoiled (disarmed, stripped of power, humiliated) the wicked principalities” (Col. 2:15).
5. The believer was given Christ’s authority over all power of the enemy (Luke 10:19).
6. We’re not of this world. We walk by the spirit and not the flesh.
7. As believers, wickedness is subject to us because of His Name
8. “AS” Jesus was sent, so He sends you to destroy evil works in the world and in your flesh.
9. For the rest of your life, you’re a prime target for the enemy’s lies. But, he can’t influence you unless you allow it.
è You must have full understanding of who the devil is -- for yourself.
è Stop blaming the devil for all your problems.
è Realize your Scriptural position of authority and be free.
Defeating the devil’s influence becomes a giant step in our journey to finding victory. This discovery brings ultimate repentance, self-responsibility, and unification with God. Kill the devil’s influence in your life, renew your mind, and come to maturity.
Evaluate to what degree your thinking has been shaped by modern education, religious thinking, and television. Be creative and specific.
1. Write in what new ways you can leave the kingdom of darkness today and fully become a part of Christ’s Kingdom?
2. How have you learned to overcome feelings of failure? Comment.
3. Write this down in your journal, “No one can hurt me without my consent. Today, I forever close my mind to all who might try to injure me or enter my thoughts for destructive purposes.”
4. Remember that Jesus always loves you, prays for you, and believes in you. He ceaselessly has favor toward you and mercifully pours out blessings as a byproduct of His love. God already met you in your Spirit, now He wants to meet you in your mind.
5. Hand write in your journal to review daily: Col. 1:13 AMP, 2 Thess. 2:8-10, Is. 40:1-2, John 19:30, Col. 2:15, Jn.12:31, 2 Cor. 2:14.
è Your faith believes that God keeps His Word to you.
the fight – against our goliaths
We’ve seen how that devil like the “Big Bad Wolf” huffs and puffs trying to blow your house down. My what a lot of hot air! The question is, what’s your house made of? He blows and blows upon your thoughts, wanting you to believe every bad thing is his fault. He tries to convince you that he is invincible. So I ask, have you built your house again with wood, hay, and stubble? Or with indestructible materials that withstand the onslaught?
How long do I have to fight? Until you die.
But I’m tired. Too bad.
I’m in a losing war. Do if you give up.
I already fought. Keep on and on.
Notice that 1 Peter 5:8 says that your (not God’s but your) adversary the devil … seeks whom he may devour (Is. 40:1-2, Col. 2:15). Like we just said, he continuously bombards your soul (your mind, will and emotions). He tries to influence your thinking. But, he can only connect to the carnal nature. Like a buzzing hornet, Satan pesters the mind with distracting suggestions… just to wear you out! He’s very convincing.
You’d better learn to fight the good fight of faith. The truth is, you don’t have to fight demons in yourself anymore, you have to fight your carnal nature (the part that decides to believe his lies). Fight or suffer continuous and unnecessary defeats. And that battle to transform your carnal mind must be tooth and nail, if you intend to maintain the upper hand. Listen, if you don’t believe this mental fight is for real, then let’s arrange for your spiritual funeral – really soon.
Satan’s power is limited, but we must fight in order to win. Get this: You can’t be victorious if you’re totally exhausted from fighting a horrendous battle that’s not yours. NO. You must learn to fight successfully, and that fight must continue until your mind conforms to the Word of Truth. You must stop the influence of his persistent and wicked suggestions.
God’s raising up a new breed of believers who know how to be soldiers (2 Tim. 2), and live holy lives in direct opposition to satanic forces. They’re not weekend warriors with a quick “Hi Jesus!” on Sunday, who then whimper through the rest of the week. Soldiers aren’t on a six-day vacation. They occupy until He comes and demonstrate that there are truths and virtues worth fighting for. They don’t scream and yell; rather they stand and speak the Word.
We see this principle of the defeated foe and the overcoming warrior in the well-known story of David and Goliath. To make application of what we have learned, let’s take a new look at the old story of 1 Samuel 17:1.
The Philistines encamped between Succoth (which means a closed-in place), and Azekah, (which means a breach or a border of blood). The long-time enemy of Israel stood on one mountain while God’s chosen people stood on another, with the valley between them. “And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath from Gath...” His name Goliath means to defy, to defame, to strip your armor. Now, this 9’9” giant (a type of the devil) came to do to Israel what the enemy comes to do to you -- and that is to strip your armor.[xxvii]
The enemy comes to get your protective armor, and to convince you that you’re not really saved. Goliath illustrates how the enemy tries by mental warfare to defame you, to strip you, to win over your emotions, and to make you think that you don’t have what it takes. Ask yourself, are you:
· Inflamed by your temper?
· Controlled by your friends and family?
· Disillusioned and ineffective?
· Enticed by the glamour of this world?
· Influenced by your peers?
· Are you wearing the armor of God that provides the ability to stand against the wiles of the devil?[xxviii]
Just imagine how difficult it was for this giant to walk from place to place wearing a 450-pound coat of mail, and a bronze helmet. He also wore bronze greaves (or shin guards on his legs), and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. The staff of his 17-pound spear looked like a weaver's beam and his iron spearhead weighed 16 pounds. Goliath wore so much armor that he needed an armorbearer.
è Goliath wears a lot of armor, and he comes to strip you of yours.
He taunted God’s people, spouting threats designed to implant fear, “...Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me.” The terrified Israelites shook in horror, fearing their longtime enemy who had already stolen their precious Ark and killed the priest Eli and his sons.
Goliath presents the ultimatum, “If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants, but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us” (v9). It would be a battle waged between two people, and the outcome would decide the fate for both countries. Obviously, Goliath knew this was a preposterous offer, but all of Israel shivered and shuddered. Because of fearful words, they ran away.
Now, isn’t that the goal of the enemy? He wants us to think that we can’t win. After all, he is soooo big and you’re sooo little. The trick is to not fall prey to our quivering heartbeat that reacts to his sarcastic threats of deception.
è Every faithful believer will be brought before Goliath.
è You’ll never win until you have victory over your thoughts.
The enemy tries to convince you that he’s somehow co-equal with God. That’s cultist thinking, by the way. Many cults teach you that Jesus Christ and the devil are brothers fighting an endless battle. That’s not the truth. Do you know what would be the opposite force of the devil? Someone like Michael, one of the warring angels. Not God. No way!
Yet, most of the church still gives the devil equal power with God. We always talk about how much the devil harasses us, our difficult situations, what the devil does, what he did do, and what he’s going to do. Let’s settle it. Jesus Christ and the devil are not opposites. It’s not black and white, positive and negative, God and the devil. That’s not the way it goes.
So you see, we get religiously proud because -- bless God, we’ve been fighting the devil all day, and barely winning. A lot of people get confused about this. The Bible says that God created the blacksmith who blows the furnace. The devil is a created being. Jesus Christ is not a created being – He’s the Creator. There’s a whole lot of difference. It’s not a co-equal battle where evil and good proportionately tug at your life. Instead, we have a great big God who created everything, and a little bitty enemy that’s defeated, and under our feet. Do you understand? If you let that scalawag become great big in your thought life -- then guess what? He’ll be great big -- just like Goliath.
è But remember, no lion roars on the road to holiness.
Is there a devil? Yes. He fiendishly blinds the world and the Christian who walk in the flesh. The “good news” -- and the accurate theological position for those who reign with Christ – is that the devil is defeated. HOWEVER, carnal believers who allow sin to control them consequently re-open the door to demonic influence. Sin fuels the influence of the enemy upon your soul.
Our position: Through the progressive indwelling influence of the Holy Spirit I overcome all demonic trickery. I’m born again into a new Kingdom where Goliath cannot rule. When I understand that he’s already lost, then I can take my place, sitting in heavenly places beside the One Who’s already won. The conflict is over. This concept sets Christianity apart from every other religion in the entire world. God conquered everything, so that I win. Now I’m thinking at a higher level, and the targeted reasoning of my renewed mind drives me.
Reigning with Christ means that by faith we rise in overcoming life-style above every circumstance. We take our position – Christ “in me.” Christ, the Anointed One fills our decisions. This anointing brings forth and produces the overcoming Kingdom. When our discernment is high, and we’re no longer willing to be smirked at, then our Godly image arises to take control and we divert the snare.
 Strongs #2222
 The Lord has no pleasure in him who draws back (Heb. 10:38).
 Sin: The influence upon the spirit of your mind that causes you to miss the mark.
 Harmitea the Greek word for sin
 Frangipane, Francis, Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God pg. 59 see Bibliography
 Thorns and thistles instead of Godly seed
 Ravenhill, David “The Power of the Cross” Christ For the Nations, May 96 Paraphrased
 Roberts, Richard Owen, “The Urgent Necessity of Repentance” Herald of His Coming, July 1996
[xi] Ephesians 4:24
[xii] Topos Strongs #5117.
[xiii] Hinn, Willie, Richlands, NC Conference, June 1997
[xiv] Huegel, F.J., The Triumph Of Christ’s Cross” Hereald of His Coming April 97.
[xv] Luke 9:1-2. Notice, Jesus said in John 12:31, “Now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”
[xvi] Eph. 2:2
[xvii] Rom. 13:12
[xviii] Eph. 2;1
[xix] Micah 3:5-12
[xx] Matt. 25:5 see also Eph. 5:14
[xxi] The spirit of antichrist (that which is against Christ, or instead of Christ -- the anointed One) is the SELF nature (chaff) exalting itself against God. How can the antichrist do that? By deception over your ungodly nature. Indeed, this very day that Antichrist temperament intends to take his seat in the temple of God (in you)! He proudly arises to rule over human hearts. There he aims to display himself as God in the temple (2 Thess. 2:4) and to oppose the Godliness in us.
[xxii] Matt. 14
[xxiii] Idolatry is putting “self” before God.
[xxiv] John 1:4, Rom. 4:13
[xxv] John 12:36, Luke 11:23.
[xxvi] Penn-Lewis, Jessie, “The Church Invades in the Power of God” Herald of His Coming Vol. 55 No. 1 (649).
[xxvii] (Eph.6) Our command is to wear armor. Helmets protect the mind, emotions and attitudes of the soul. The Scripture says to let this mind be in you that is in Christ Jesus. Fiery darts of corruption will ricochet off your protective helmet. Wearing armor is a mandatory command and defensive protection for your soul. See 2 Cor. 12:15.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 12 February 2012 12:11|