Friday, October 19, 2012

Stepping Out In Faith, Part 4

We think that the devil can put thoughts in our head, right? Sometimes we hear, “Don’t let the devil put them thoughts in your head.” The devil doesn’t have the power to do that! Now get this. Those thoughts are the result of your perspective.

What the devil CAN do is bring distractions into your life. When he brings those distractions, he knows just what will work. He gets you to focus on the wrong things and because our minds are not yet renewed and still carnal, we look at those things and they affect us a certain way.

Two of us could look at the same situation; we could even talk about the same person and have two entirely different opinions. Some people love me; others hate me. They won’t say it because they’re Christians, and they’re afraid to. God sees our hearts. You see, this leads to a life of frustration because some of you are going through life with love/hate relationships, not only with people, but also with things . . . with situations. You’ll love it on one hand and hate it on the other.

In an earlier blog, we used the example of walking around the room with your eyes closed as you listened to voices, sometimes even voices you think you can trust. “Take a left.” Well, you might trust that voice, take that left, and then run into a chair. The human inclination would then be to go through life blaming somebody else. No, you shouldn’t have listened to that voice! Don’t listen to all those voices!

Satan can bring these voices into our lives. He’ll get our eyes off the things of God, our purpose, and the prize, and before long, we’re going for the wrong thing. It works; it’s very effective. Think about the children of Israel. What was the greatest weapon against the armies of Israel? Well, I’ll tell you what I think it was: beautiful Pagan women! Man, if nothing else works, send the hotties! You read about that throughout the Bible; it works almost every time! It still works today!!! You watch men and some pretty thing walks by and every head turns. Huh? It doesn’t take much. What were those beautiful women? A distraction. “If we can get them to look at these women,” and what Israelite soldier ain’t gonna look at a pretty Pagan woman? So send in the beauties! It was simply a distraction to get their eyes off the prize and keep them out of the Promised Land!

How many distractions is the enemy throwing your way? The Bible says that, “He roams about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” How is he going to devour? How’s he going to steal, kill, and destroy in your life? He’s going to do it by coming after the Word of God in your heart and mind. If he can get you thinking about things that will bring destruction, and you think about them long enough and get them in your heart, you’re going to do it sooner or later given the opportunity.

We need to get our minds renewed so we are no longer thinking carnally, because to think carnally is to put ourselves at enmity against God. The carnal mind is at enmity against God. Now, walking in the promises of God requires that we walk in agreement with God. You’ll never walk in the fullness of His promises until you’re walking in agreement. Walking in agreement doesn’t mean, “Thus saith the Lord, amen, God said it; I believe it; that settles it!” We think that if we just put a bumper sticker on our backs, that we’re going to walk in the fullness of God’s promises. Do you really believe it, and are you really doing it? Are we moving in agreement with God? How do we do that?

We’re going to have to get our minds renewed. We have to be thinking like God thinks and get on the same wavelength! Now that doesn’t mean being woo woo or super-spiritual. Christianity is not simply based upon some spiritual experience; true Christianity is based upon the Word of God. I’m sick and tired of spiritual frivolity that is not bringing people to a fuller measure of God’s promises in their lives; it’s just giving them goose bumps and making them feel good for an hour a week. It’s cheap and it’s artificial.

True Christianity is based on truth and the Word of God is the final authority. It’s a whole lot easier to have some Shundai experience than it is to conform your life to the Word of God so that you might walk in the fullness of His promises! I feel better; I don’t know about you . . . but I’ve been wanting to say that. 

Thanks for joining me as we continue to look at steps we can take towards obtaining God's promises, and pitfalls we can avoid that keep us distanced from the prize.

~ pg

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stepping Out In Faith, Part 3

I would like for us to look at Romans 8:6-7 for a few moments. I believe oftentimes that we give far too much credit to the devil. It is true that the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (according to John 10:10); we’re all familiar with that. But how does he seek to steal, kill, and destroy? What is it that he’s after? 

More than anything else, he’s after the Word of God. He doesn’t want the Word of God working in you towards the renewing of your mind. If the enemy works anywhere, it’s in the mind. His most effective weapon is distraction. He knows that if we ever get our minds renewed and our lives transformed, then we’ll be proving what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. That is definitely something he doesn't want! The perfect will of God for you is His purpose for your life. The enemy's goal is to keep you from fulfilling that purpose. 

As Romans tells us, if you get your mind renewed, then your life is transformed. “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind . . . ” The whole purpose of that is so that we might know and do the will of God. And why is the will of God important? Well, even from a selfish point of view, it is important because in doing the will of God, we find peace and contentment. We find fulfillment.

A few weeks ago, somebody who had not seen me in years asked me: “Emory, are you happy?” I chuckled and said, “Happy, hmmm, happy. Happiness can vary from day to day.” I said, “I can tell you this much, I’m very fulfilled and content. I know that I’m doing what God created me to do.” What greater fulfillment can there be? Am I happy? No, I’m not always happy. Some things make me mad. Some things make me unhappy. Some things make me laugh. Some things make me cry. So the issue isn’t, “Are you happy”; the issue is, “Have you found the will of God for your life and are you content and fulfilled in it?”

Now there are steps that each of us are going to have to take toward the direction of fulfilling God’s will in our lives. It is not a simple matter of “give this up and give that up.” As long as you view your Christian experience that way, then you’re going to struggle because you’ll always feel like you’re having to give something up and you’re not getting anything in return. As a result, your expectations may not be met because you think that Christianity is “giving up and giving up and giving up,” and it’s not. Christianity summed up in a few words means, “Following Christ.” When you follow Christ, you fulfill God’s will and purpose in your life, and therein you find true peace and fulfillment.

Now, Romans 8:6 talks about the carnal mind, and Paul reminds us that to be carnally minded is death. What is death? MTS students, do you remember? In simple terms, death is separation from life. What is life? God is life, right? We know that is what the Scripture says. Therefore, to be carnally minded means that you are separated from God. Carnally minded equals death, but to be spiritually minded equates to life!

I believe that we all still have some level of carnality in our thinking. If you don’t think so, then you just proved that you do! The carnal mind is at enmity against God. I want you to understand the seriousness of this. Our carnal mind is God’s enemy. I’m going to let you "selah" on that. 

When I follow my carnal mind, or when I yield or submit to it, I am setting myself at enmity against God. If you're doing that, I’m not saying that you’re going to go to hell or that you’re backslidden. All I am saying is that when we are operating in carnality, we are separating ourselves from God. That’s why to be carnally minded is death. 

My carnal mind is at enmity against God. When I partner with that or come into agreement with my carnal mind, then the stage is set for that thing to be accomplished. Remember that the Word says, “That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 18:19, KJV).

Is it any wonder that to be carnally minded leads to poverty, pain, frustration, and unrest? Why? Because we’re walking in agreement with that which is at enmity against God. Who do you think is going to win?

This is all part of the subject of stepping out in faith in order to obtain the promises of God. I’m not quite finished with this topic yet and will continue to develop it in the next couple of blogs. Thank you very much for being part of our lives; Vickie and I count it a privilege and a joy to be part of yours!

~ pg