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|Written by drk|
|Saturday, 21 March 2009 17:00|
Dr. Kluane Spake
not you accept this does not affect the reality of your position. You’re seated with Christ in spite of your own achievements, that He might reign in you. Truth brings us to the overruling position and preeminence of Jesus Christ Who gives us all authority over the enemy.
Though the devil threatens, you can overcome the world’s greatest battle -- in your mind. Goliath intimidated all of God’s covenant people, except David. And today, most of the church cowers with terror, except – you. You finally realize that Goliath is more like Santa Claus— an expanded fable -- guffawing because he’s totally convinced a subjective and puny church of something that’s just not true.
I hope you have digested this most important point. Wicked spiritual powers can only influence ungodly systems.[i] Therefore, our warfare must be fought from the position of God’s finished work. From that place, the enemy is subject to the command of all those who proclaim the Master’s precious name -- Jesus.[ii]
Jesse sent David to the battlefront with five gallons of dried grain, ten loaves of bread, and some cheese. “Bring back proof that they’re alive,” pleads the worried dad as David rose early leaving the sheep with a keeper. Notice how David made certain that every single detail was covered and the supplies were made ready. Only then did he enter the camp to find that the Israelites and the Philistines had drawn up into battle array; army against army.
Long before this story, a vial of oil had already been poured over David’s head to anoint him as king. David, still a shepherd, walked in that gap spot, waiting to see the reality of the promise. Even though David knew he was anointed to be king, he willingly complied with simple orders from his dad. Before David could be King over Israel, he had to be king over himself. David needed this time of growth in his life, because a king who can’t rule his emotions and moods brings disorder to everything he tries to do.
è If you want to have a promotion in God, then do the simple things that you’re asked to do.
David greeted his cranky brother Eliab, who snapped something like, “Why are you here, David? And who’s watching the sheep? Did ya’ just come down here to see the battle?“ Eliab was probably jealous, especially since he was overlooked when David was chosen king. Envious relatives often try to keep you from successfully obtaining your God-given inheritance. Remember that Eliab didn’t have the courage to fight Goliath, he just wanted to find fault. If David had responded with human reactions, this cruel comment could have kept him from the real fight.
è Offense always comes right before the victory.
è If you react to that offense, it cripples you, and you’ll never be a giant slayer.
è No one can ever offend you unless you allow it.
è People who refuse offense become giant slayers.
è Deliverance comes by believing that God can, will, and wants to bless.
è The fears of your flesh are not a reality because, like David, you walk in covenant with God, closed in and boundaried by blood (His covenant place.)
The champion of Gath intimidated all Israel until they ran away screaming. A lot of us allow the devil to loom up big like that. But, in actuality, our bigger fight is to discover why we allow ourselves to believe deception. Remember that the god of this age tries to influence the spirit of our mind. The truth is that your Goliath attempts to strip your armor, until you are ineffective and immobile. But Goliath has no power except to disarm your mind. It’s a big fat lie, so don’t give him control of your flesh. This isn’t a debatable issue! You’ll never outgrow the need to war against your own self-nature, so don’t flinch next time trouble comes. Just look at the enemy eyeball to eyeball and say, “I command my mind to be subject to the Spirit of Christ, in Jesus’ name.”
è Facing our fears opens the way to victory.
Saul tried to convince David to wear his (the kingly) armor. Since it was the armor of the king, it must have been gloriously ornate, and glittering in the sun. But David was only about 16, while Saul was already a very large older man. David said, ““I cannot walk with this armor on for I’ve not tested or proved it, ” and he took it off. He knew better than to try to act or fight like someone else. David appeared recklessly vulnerable, but the winning formula was fighting with what he had.
King Saul concerned himself with image and superficial presentation. This Saulish nature is likened to those pretentious images that we constantly war against. In order to win against the enemy we must change from Saul thinking to David thinking, if you will.
David didn’t speak fear, but confidently rehearsed some previous victories, “I remember the time the Lord delivered me from the hand of the bear, and then there was that lion. I know that He will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.” These expectant words caused his heart and his mind to respond decisively. That unwavering determination aims that rock in the right spot. It wasn’t David’s talent as a rock thrower, but his decision to recognize and to speak his calling. That same certainty from your mouth penetrates your soul with faith to fight powerfully.
David chose five (the number of grace, and ministerial gifting) smooth stones from the brook and put them into his shepherd’s pouch. Some joke that he took five stones because Goliath had four brothers, but certainly they were stones smoothed by waters of adversity. Then, with sling in hand, he walked toward the giant.
The Philistine, fully covered with armor and protected by a guard who bore his shield, went forward. Yet, David walked -- alone and undaunted -- moving toward the adversary. The Philistine challenged this ruddy youth with disdain saying, “Am I a dog that you would come to me with sticks?” “What is this? I am the most fierce warrior in the whole world, and a child comes at me with sticks?” Then like our modern day movies, the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come to me and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.”
David won the battle with these words, “You come to me with the sword and the spear and the javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied (with his cursing).” You have armor, javelins, and all the strengths of the world but, “I come to you with stones and a sling and the armies of the Lord.” The “armies of the Lord” is Jehovah Saboath, which means the God of the Angels. David’s confession went something like this, “I’m not trying to be like somebody else, but I’m coming in my talents and my abilities. I know how to shoot a slingshot and I’m going to do that with all my might because all the angels of the Lord are camped around to help me win against you.”
Without fear, doubt, or unbelief, David announced the certain outcome, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you ... for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.” Then, David hastened forward. He didn’t back off or cower. He just put his hand into the bag, and took out a stone. Then, he put the rock of God into his slingshot.
While on a trip to Italy, I saw the famous David statue by Michaelangelo in Florence. The immense sculpture portrays David with slingshot poised over his shoulder, the second before he released the stone. From the captivating and confident look in his eyes I could tell that he’d already won. He wasn’t apprehensive. There was victory before release, because David knew that the rock had already accomplished its mark.
With great force, David released into ministry that which he was called to do. He slung the stone and struck the Philistine so hard that the pebble sank into his forehead. One little rock from a young man downed this menacing giant. Now, don’t miss this. What did the giant have on his head? A bronze helmet. This rock not only hit this giant smack-in-the-middle of the forehead and killed him, but it went through the helmet. This isn’t a flesh wound. David only shot once. He didn’t have to keep trying. He had extra stones, but they weren’t needed. Just once—one time. One time! God has the right mark.
The Scripture says the enemy was dead. Then, David took Goliath’s own sword and killed him again; cutting off his ugly head to make certain he was DEAD. That’s how we win over the flesh, kill it twice. Don’t mess around; cut off his head! .
è There will be a Goliath in every wilderness. We may slay one giant today and tomorrow an even bigger one might emerge. Nevertheless, we grow stronger with each victory – and those old giants seem insignificant.
è Goliaths can die. When you crucify the old nature, then the power of the enemy has no effect.
Israel needed a David and the world today needs a David-like company of believers to wield authority. You have the “Rock” that defeated Satan. Upon that Rock, the serpent leaves no trail (Prov. 30:19). The enemy is conquered. Who is the Rock of your salvation, and the source of your strength? His power, authority, and strength are in your hand.[iii]
God and His heavenly armies prevailed over the harassing Giant. When the Philistine army saw their dead champion, they fled. Israel pursued them to the gates of Ekron, returning with valuable plunder from the opponents’ tents. However, their newly acquired booty of gold and precious metal only built more idols in the sand.
è That which has been stolen from us should be taken back and used for good.
David stored the giant’s suit of armor (being 450 pounds) in his tent. Then the triumphant teenager paraded the head of the Philistine from the place of battle back to the capital city of Jerusalem. Hanging on to the hair of this huge head, he walked up and down through the city streets, making an open show of the enemy (Col. 2:15). He must have been shouting, “Look how God has delivered me. See for yourselves.” In this same way, God has chosen to deliver you. When you defeat the enemy (cut off his head) -- then tell someone.
David perfected success in this wilderness battle in his mind. The bear came, the lion came, and then Goliath came, and he had to fight. Overcoming, by definition, means we have continuous difficulties to fervently conquer. For our purposes, the bear represents the world; the lion is the devil; and Goliath is the giant monster of self that must be decapitated and destroyed. Remember that the enemy has no authority unless we give it to him. Satan looms in our minds (soul, carnal nature, and unredeemed thoughts). Even though it’s a deception, his darts of fear appear real. If you have felt like you can’t control your fear, then join the crowd. There’s no temptation uncommon to man. We all have fears like that, but we can win.
WHAT WE WAR AGAINST
The bear Goliath The lion______
The world The flesh (self) The devil
Prince of this world Spirit of the mind Spirit of the age
Selfishness Lawlessness Rebelliousness
The only way to get out of this ever-repeating cycle is to remember:
1. Jesus died to set you free.
2. The enemy is already overcome.
3. With patience you can possess your soul.
4. You can captivate your thoughts.
5. The authority that you walk in comes by revelation.
6. You can be resting from your struggles if you want to. Like the old saying goes, Jesus will be either Lord of all or not the Lord at all.
7. The lion has no teeth. The huge dragon of Revelation is only a serpent in disguise.
8. You can choose to not allow the devil to have power.
9. Sign this acknowledgment: Lord, I understand that when I knowingly choose to disobey and do wrong that I come under the control of Satan. Signed ________________________________
10. Say this confession: I declare upon the strength and certainty of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, that the devil is already eternally conquered. I don’t have to do it. I loose myself from the bonds of wickedness, for I’ve been a captive person of the church at Zion (Is. 52). Now, I’ll enforce what Jesus has already done; I can live in heavenly places (Eph. 2:5).
“And do not (for a moment) be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries, for such (constancy and fearlessness) will be a clear sign (proof and seal) to them of their impending destruction, but (a sure token and evidence) of your deliverance and salvation, and that from God.”
Phil. 1:28 AMP
Like David, you’re moving along the fascinating journey through the timeless landmarks, learning how to overcome your own Goliath, (winning over the futility of your mind). Fasten your seat belt and hang on my traveling companion – you’re a winner too. As your vehicle speeds into the fullness of your inheritance, look out the window and see the on-looking crowds streak by like a blur. We’ve found the transformation process that always works -- an exciting life exceeding anything we could ever ask or think.
1. Examine your thought life. What are some things you can begin to do to disarm this opponent’s hold on your thinking?
2. How can you move from the Saul-like rule of superficial authority to that of God-called authority based on integrity and simplicity?
3. Although problems persist, there are positive times that can give great energy and vitality. Every day you need to look for and write down some things for which you are grateful. This is a vital part of your assignments, so don’t just think about it – write it now.
– Part 3 —
n this chaotic time of life, many stand still at their critical cross-roads, confused by lack of purpose, overwhelmed by impossible schedules, and frustrated by too much stress. The way out from that plague of bad attitudes comes by shifting gears and learning why you think like you do, who your enemy really is, how to keep free from the spirit of this age, and how to live a life of decisive direction.
What’s keeping you from doing that? Maybe it’s you -- your human fears and thoughts. Are you holding yourself back? Am I holding myself back? Probably. Why is that? We must know why before we can fix it. And then we ask, fix it to what?
“For this is the will of God…” Paul explicitly tells us God’s will: “YOUR SANCTIFICATION” (1 Thess. 4:3). The desire, goal, and will of God is that we be made holy. He wants to give us His blessed character, but so far our ignorance and lack of holiness has hindered us from receiving. How do we find our way? By diligently walking in the steps of a righteous person on the Highway of Holiness.
We have already established that the purpose of holiness can be viewed in three aspects:
1. A position of receiving God’s holiness at salvation (1 Cor. 6:11). POSITIONAL -- we have it.
2. An ongoing progressive pursuit of holiness. PROGRESSIVE -- we get it.
3. An eternal condition of “unblameable” holiness ( 2 Thess. 3:13). ETERNAL -- we live in it.
Like a tourist, most of us tend to hop from teaching to teaching and, as a result, reading another book often becomes a passing wink that never changes our behavior. As you now may suspect, I’m asking you to make this experience different. Obtaining the transformation of your mind is an enormous part of your entire trip. There are few, if any, discoveries on earth more wonderful than becoming healed in your mind. Understanding the problems of an unrenewed mind often means discovering what causes your problems and keeps you from your goals. Sometimes, those conflicts are often difficult to identify. You should prayerfully attempt to put your finger on key issues by earnestly studying the following information in this section.
God considers this salvation relationship with you important enough to sacrifice Jesus so that He might have fellowship again with you. He desires your total being be wholly made holy. WHOLLY HOLY! God, the Master Planner, arranges for the salvation of your total being. 1 Thessalonians 5:23, says, “May the God of peace Himself, sanctify (make holy) you completely and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Now, for the purposes of discussion, theologians have divided each person into these three parts – spirit, soul, and body. Most of us know that humans are triune beings (having three parts) in one entity. Also, we’ve all seen how sin can produce illness within the spirit, soul, and body. Fortunately, Jesus died to bring “sozo” (salvation and wholeness) into every part of us. The Father’s purpose, bought by the Son, and executed by the Holy Spirit is to ruin the effects of the enemy in all three areas of our life. Ezekiel 21:27 NIV says, “(1) A ruin! (2) A ruin! I will make it a (3) ruin! ” The opponent can no longer overturn our lives!
We cannot actually separate the components of our body, soul, and spirit. However, for the sake of examination we will say that the body is the visible part, while the soul (mind) generates the thoughts to operate and care for the body. God’s life begins in the Spirit when we’re born again. Each part of us links to form an unbroken chain affecting the other areas of our lives. We must understand:
Spirit relates upwardly I am a spirit Justified
Soul relates inwardly .I have a soul Sanctified
Body relates outwardly. I live in a body Glorified
è You’re a person in whom the spiritual, the physical, and the rational must unite.
1. SPIRIT of man: May the God of peace sanctify you completely
The Greek word for spirit is pneuma, which means breath. The spirit of a person is the part that is aware and conscious of God. When we become born again, God doesn’t give us a new body, nor does He give us a new mind. But we do receive a new spirit, not born of the will of the flesh but born of God (Jn. 1:12-13).
Functions of the spirit that also are received by the soul and expressed by the body are:
¨ Receiving revelation from God (communion)
¨ Worship from spirit to Spirit
¨ Fellowship with God (prayer, worship)
¨ Receiver (container) for the gifts of the Spirit
¨ Resident seedbed for the seeds of the fruit of the Spirit
¨ The ability to have knowledge of God.
¨ A functioning conscience.
We feed our spirit the Word of God. This life of God activates the gift of God within us -- our faith. A reborn functioning spirit has knowledge of God that is not head knowledge or philosophy, but a vitalized communion. The Holy Spirit tells us of bad roads ahead, detours, curves, and soft shoulders. He leads and guides our way. Our conscience becomes cleansed by repentance and freely flows between the spirit and soul of a sanctified believer.
2. BODY: May the God of peace sanctify you completely
The body is the earth suit, in which we move and travel. 2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. In other words, we can’t live here on earth without our container.
It staggers the mind to try to grasp the infinite intelligence that our Creator used to coordinate the precise activities of our human body. One hundred trillion cells synchronize together. Over two hundred bones and six hundred muscles coordinate movement. At the same time, it breathes, blinks, gets hungry, and has many other involuntary functions. This exquisite marvel of creation maintains temperature, and moves oxygen to the cells. The body relates to the world with the functions outlined as follows:
Awareness: Information is received from the 5 senses (sight, touch, hearing, taste, smell) and interpreted to the soul.
Reaction: Muscles and nerves respond with actions and words.
Expression: The response of thoughts, actions, feelings and decisions from the soul are presented to the world through our body.
The body represents the bridge between the inner world of feelings and the external world of things. It’s composed of three basic elements: bone, flesh and blood.
Bone: That which gives form and structure.
Flesh: That which gives shape and mobility to our structure.
Blood: That which carries the life of the flesh (Lev. 17:11, 14).
As a result of the Fall, sin came and the body became condemned to death (Gen.3). Now, viruses, injuries, and diseases attack. The sacrificial death of Jesus brings the fallen nature of our bodies back into line with God’s eternal purposes, so that healing can be accomplished.
Many religions teach that the body is earthly and temporal; therefore it can never be of any actual value to the spiritual person. But Jesus, our promise for the future, has a “glorified” body (1 Cor. 15), and He reassures us that we will become like Him. Imagine, our bodies are as important to God as was the body of Jesus.[iv]
Even though we’re saved, we still get old, tired, and smelly. Our bodies (soma) automatically react with self-propelling drives such as: desire, appetite, survival, sex, gain, and acceptance. Our bodies want to be lazy, eat too much, and do bad things. Because of this, Paul spoke of the war in his body that resisted change, “But I discipline (buffet) my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27). Discipline strengthens our weakness day by day, so that God’s treasure will shine from our earthen vessels and that the excellency of that power may be of God and not us (2 Cor.4:7).
2. SOUL: May the God of Peace sanctify you completely.
After the fall, Adam’s spirit died immediately. All that remained was the human part -- the soul and the body which comprise the animal nature, or what the Bible calls the “flesh.” The wickedness of man was great and every intent of the thoughts of his heart only evil continually (Gen. 6:5).
That “person part” that remained is called the soul, and this is where most of the problems begin. The soul is who you are. It is called the conscience, the personality, the medial nature, the self, and the closet of secret communion. The soul (the heart, the essence of affections, and the physical plum) is also known as your mind, will, and emotions -- your center—where the Lord expects you to build His habitation.
è The main battleground is your soul (your mind, personality, and/or heart).
è Christ (the Anointed One) intends to dwell and rule there within your soul.
Generally speaking up to now, your emotions expect to have their way. After being born again, your unredeemed soul continues to want to serve self, and constantly battles against your newly born spirit. This human selfishness emerged out of the evil fruit of the garden tree, and is the central ruler of the soul. Here, this concept of self collides with the new creation -- they can never co-exist. It must be one way or the other. John Osteen says that when you win the battle in your mind, you win the battle. It can be compared to the desert wilderness waiting to be conquered.
The soul (or the part that makes you – you) dwells within the physical portion of your body called a brain. While the actual brain (the container) may eventually die, the nature of the soul can be transformed, devoted, and refined. The redeemed portion of your soul-nature that may eternally join with the Lord is as follows:
Reason: thoughts, what you conceive, and meditate.
Emotion: passion, affection. lusts, and feelings.
Volition: will to choose and decide.
Memory: recall, remembrances, and reflections.
Imagination: dreams, visions, and creations.[v]
Conscience: judgment and discernment.
Curiosity: desire to explore and find out.
Perception: understanding, interpretation, and morality.
Personality: your actions and reactions.
è The soul reasons and justifies your behavior.
Let’s look at the list of soul-realm problems that Paul said cause injury -- it reveals areas of soul-trouble. Scriptures warn that those who embrace the works of the flesh (animal nature, or lower nature) will find their lives robbed and wasted. We can’t erase these difficult passages, but we are confident that the power of God deals lovingly with that old nature. Notice that only commas separate the difference between murder and a party spirit (Gal. 5:20).
1. Adultery =sex with someone other than your spouse.
2. Fornication = sex among unmarried persons,
3. Uncleanness = impurity of thoughts, words and
4. Lasciviousness = indecency or shameless excess
5. Idolatry = worship of false idols
6. Witchcraft = using magical demonic power, sorcery,
7. Hatred = enmity, division
8. Variance = trouble making and strife
9. Emulations = jealousy
10. Wrath = anger (bad temper)
11. Strife = arguing, selfishness
12. Sedition = divisiveness (dissension)
13. Heresies = false teachings with unscriptural views
14. Envying = desiring what someone else has
15. Murders = killing people
16. Drunkenness = intoxication
17. Reveling = wild party spirit, levity, carousing
The apostle Peter penned these words, “Dear friends, you are only visitors in this world. Therefore, I beg you to resist and remove yourselves from the strong desires and lusts of the flesh. These factions war (enemies which will destroy and fight) against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11 Simplified). From these words, you can see how thoughts weave into corresponding actions that damage your soul
è The principles of Godly morality exist for your benefit.
The undealt with lower nature disables our proper responses. We don’t have to look far to discover Christians everywhere suffering sickness in their soul -- they didn’t heed these warnings. Prisons, hospitals, and institutions overflow with believers who are sick in their souls with mental, physical and emotional breakdowns. Their unrenewed souls are filled with thoughts of inferiority, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, worry, doubt, fear, frustration, hostility, fantasy, schizophrenia, paranoia, obsessive thoughts, depression, and anxiety. These feelings directly affect and influence every area of life.
Significant scientific data indicates that certain chemicals may be released into the body due to certain types of thought. Stress and depression seem to easily convert into biochemicals that create disease. Even a remembered stressful situation can release a flood of destructive hormones into our bodies. Recent studies even propose that crisis situations may create new brain paths for dealing with future events that are similar. Our cells actually become altered by our thoughts. This fact reminds us of the proverb that says that a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Righteous thoughts keep us healthy and extend our lives. The point is, reactions become an undeviating part of our nature. Emotions are energy forces, being either positive or negative.
Who you are on the inside – in the seat of your mind, will, and emotions – defines the core of your distinct personality. Your identity doesn’t come from your current occupation (job, house, car), but from the sum total of your past choices. Offer that life to God, and allow His will to be achieved. That is, yield your mind to be renewed, your emotions subdued, and your will consecrated under the control of His divine character. 1 Thess. 5:24 says, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”
That healing brings restoration to:
1. Your past, including reproach, offense, and abuse
2. Your emotional nature
In the previous chapters we began to understand holiness, and then we made a new commitment to journey towards it. Now we come to the “How to” part, where we begin the lifelong journey of the transformation of our souls. By the way, there’s an end to this pilgrimage. 1 Peter 1:9 says that the end of our faith is the salvation of our soul. Just imagine “the END” flashing on the screen -- and now the credits! In getting to the END we must fight and win the battle. How?
Why does this “saving our soul” sound impossible? Well, the god of this age clamors to live in our soul, to keep us from holiness, to make us ineffective, and to influence our thinking. While we read this part, we should be wondering why our minds believe this continuous deception.
Our text verse for this portion will be Ephesians 4:17, which tells us to no longer walk like Gentiles (unbelievers) in the futility (vanity or spirit) of our minds. Paul tells us that the solution is to be renewed in the spirit of our mind (Eph. 4:24). That means that none of my brilliant human logic can bring spiritual insight. Some of us are still like the Gentiles who had their understanding darkened because they were alienated from the Life of God. Their hardened hearts were past feeling (vs. 18, 19). The vanity of their minds drags them backward into the old ways and takes over again.
Most open minds should be closed for repairs.
It’s not wrong to be tempted. You know, birds fly over everyone’s head -- just don’t let them nest there! Somedays I really want to let somebody have it… but I’m not doomed because thoughts pass through my mind. The problem comes when I entertain those ideas. We’ve all had temptations. Even Jesus was tempted, but He chose to not comply.
Rest assured that your mind responds in faith or unbelief depending on your decisions of choice. Soulishly dominated lives short-circuit the rule of the spirit, disabling productive responses. Carnality creates double-mindedness, or a “house divided” (Matt. 12:25, 34, and James 3:10). That’s why your house (body, soul, and spirit) must become unified and wholly holy.
Let your moral character and disposition be free from the love of money, including greed, averse, lust and craving for earthly possessions. And be satisfied with your present circumstances and what you have, for He, God has said, ‘I will not in any way fail you, nor give you up, nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not (verity or perfected truth) in any degree forsake you or let you relax my hold on you. Assuredly not.
Hebrews 13:5 Amp.
Paul asked the Corinthians, “Are you not yet still carnal?”[vi] The Living Bible calls them baby Christians controlled by their desires, and not God’s. The NIV translation calls them “still worldly.” The Apostle wanted to talk to the Corinthians, but their unchanged, carnal nature predominated every action. Their “mind-set” obscured what they should become, and they remained like a lot of us -- infants; unspiritual, having the nature of the flesh -- under the control of ordinary impulses. They behaved according to human standards and like mere (unchanged) men.[vii] If we’d be honest, we’d admit to sometimes finding ourselves acting carnally. That sensory lower nature keeps us from holiness.
è Our wilderness wandering teaches us that our human reasoning can do nothing of eternal value.
We usually think that carnal means perverse, or perverted. However, carnal just means natural thinking like a human being. Some call it human reasoning. Carnality, the old animal nature (body and soul), expresses itself within a world of flesh still encumbered. This compromising, worldly thinking (the old me) tugs from one side while the spirit man pulls from the other.
Carnal Christianity, an incredible contradiction in terms, can never produce life. Carnality glorifies people and accomplishment, while spirituality glorifies the Lord. Yet the painful truth remains, carnality characterizes millions of believers who don’t comprehend that they’re saved from the power and effects of sin. The process of soul sanctification turns out to be the on-going project of each believer. When we turn completely away from ourselves, then this tugging of the carnal nature ends.[viii]
Elmer Klassen once wrote a daring article entitled, “Why Be Spiritual When Carnal Christians Go To Heaven Too?” However, he later points out that no one really knows if they really do go to heaven. We do know that major parts of the Bible leave no excuse to be carnal.[ix] Paul told us that the natural man can never receive the things of the Spirit of God, because they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Truth is, maybe we don’t receive spiritual inputs either...
James knew about carnality, “But if you have envy and self-seeking in your hearts...This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic” (James 3:14-15). This kind of ungodly behavior condemns us and becomes the entry for true demonic activity. Know this, carnal thoughts and hostile purposes will never be acceptable to God.[x]
For those who are according to the flesh (lower nature, carnally minded, worldly, slaves to feelings) and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh (please themselves), but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things that gratify the (Holy) Spirit… For to be carnally minded is death...because the carnal mind (the mind of the flesh) with carnal thoughts and purposes, is hostile (in enmity) to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot..
Rom. 8:5-7 AMP
If carnal believers cater to their appetites and impulses, they cannot satisfy God nor be admissible. But if the Spirit of God leads them, they develop into grown sons and adult heirs of full privilege. That heirship must be drawn upon.
WRONG ADVISORS: What can we do about our carnal responses? Perhaps we’ll turn to counselors and defend ourselves by saying, “Well, I was born this way. I’m suicidal because nobody loves me.” Or, ”I’m an adult child of an alcoholic.” One by one, each new excuse becomes another ragged and crooked patch sewn onto the crazy quilt that we’ve fabricated in order to cover who we really could become.
Like when we say, “Okay, Okay, so I have a bad temper. That’s because I’m Irish, and I have red hair -- it’s not my fault.” Or maybe we say foolish things like, “I can’t help it, it’s in my genes.” Have you ever prayed, “Oh God, take away these bad thoughts? Don’t let me think these things anymore. Make me lose some weight." These self-limiting responses resist change and bring our life to a mis-matched standstill. Nothing fits.
Improperly trained, garden variety counselors often emphasize the importance of “”how you feel.” They nurture the “inner child” and defend poor behavior, implying that in order to protect your ego, you must cast the blame of what happened to you onto someone else. The chief weakness of many well-meaning, garden-variety counselors is that they often leap too quickly to a solution. Upon hearing the client’s first excuse, they breathe a sigh of hopeful relief and say, “That’s it” and search no further. “Go ahead and be angry,” they suggest, “you must uncover your true feelings.” Then, generally, they give whatever rationale you need to justify continuing the negative behavior.
That’s bad advice.
Sure, this scenario is an oversimplification, but don’t miss the point… We Christians have avoided transformation of our soul in much the same way. We look for someone or something else to blame – whether it be the devil, teachers, parents, bosses, or whatever comes to mind. If we don’t take some responsibility, we can go through years of therapy and not be changed. The stinking problem remains because nothing changes in us. We still expect the same things and think the same way. The self still rules.
[i] Ephesians 6 in the Phillips translation says, “For a fight is not against any physical enemy, but it’s against the organizations and powers that are spiritual.”
[ii] Lk. 10:19
[iii] Jesus asked Peter (whose name meant little rock), “Who do men say that I am?” Peter answered that He was the Christ (the Anointed) the Son of the Living God. Because of Peter’s revelation, Jesus said that upon that rock (a different word meaning Big Rock), He would build His church. David appeared in the natural to be nobody. But through revelation that he was a king in the kingdom, that little rock became a Big Rock.
[iv] Mahoney, Ralph, “Our Great Salvation” World Map Digest Dec. 87.
[v] 2 Cor. 10:4
[vi] 1 Cor. 3:3
[vii] Paraphrase of 1 Cor. 3:1-3 Amp.
[viii] Mt. 8:22, 15:28, Mk. 1:26-34, Luke 8:2, Acts 16:18, Gal. 5:19-21
[ix] Klassne, Elmer, Herald of His Coming, March 96
[x] Paraphrase, Rom. 8:2-8 AMP
|Last Updated on Sunday, 12 February 2012 12:11|