Posts Tagged ‘walking in the Spirit’

Be Aware of “That Kiss”…

          In Luke 22:51 Jesus healed the temple servant after Peter had cut off His ear. You would think such a miracle would have been reason enough for everyone present to submit to the authority of Jesus, but it wasn’t. Judas had betrayed Jesus with a kiss, a sign of close and personal affection, but rather meant for evil. In verse 53 Jesus declares the hour of evil and the power of darkness that belonged to His captors. There can be no doubt that Satan was controlling the actions of those who came to seize Him and that they were powerless to do anything else.

          How often is Jesus betrayed by those disguised as His servants? Even a kiss can be rooted in deception. When we fail to guard our hearts, the opportunity always arises for us to betray Him through our self-interest and motivation. If we fail to consider all our actions through the lens of His word then we are vulnerable to the power of darkness and the hour of evil. Hebrews 4:12 tells us “…the word of God is living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword…able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” This is the sword that He has given us to answer all evil intent. The sword of steel can only cause physical harm but the sword of the word strikes at the very existence and presence of evil itself. When Peter struck the servant, it only added to the atmosphere of hostility. It would have presented the opportunity for justification by those who came to seize Jesus but our Lord would not allow them to have such cause. In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians (v.6:12) we are told “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

          Our first concern in warfare must be enemy identification. James 1:19 councils us “to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” Herein lies the process for discovery of the enemy. Being “quick to hear” grants us the time to evaluate what is really happening. If we are listening then we are not reacting. This presents us the opportunity to apply God’s word from our hearts and correctly evaluate our course of action. If we fail to follow these steps we are all too likely to shoot the wrong target. We may inflict wounds to those who confront us but fail to strike the crucial blow needed to defeat our spiritual enemy. We must accept the existence of cosmic powers of darkness at work. There are demonic creatures who aid Satan in His desire to defeat God’s work by striking out against believers. All too often we focus on the other person, examining their conduct while failing to look beyond what we see in the physical sense. Cutting the ear off the servant only tends to give credence to his cause. Blindly we aid the enemy in his efforts without being aware of what we have done.

          Further study of Ephesians 6:13-18 would benefit all of us in preparation for spiritual warfare. Not only will we find the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (v.17) but also other pieces of armor necessary for battle. It’s time to suit up and be prepared to do a little hunting of our own. He has given us all we need to search out and destroy the enemy. We no longer need to be subject to his schemes. It’s time to resist. It’s time to send him on the run. It’s time to walk in victory; all we need is to be prepared.

Is Satan Hijacking Your Spiritual Life?

         winter trip 044 The beatitudes tell us that it is “the pure in heart” that “see God”. Have you ever seen God? Are you pure in heart? Well do not despair as this is a struggle for everyone and much depends upon our understanding of what this verse actually means. A change in our perspective will help us to better understand what the spiritual life is and what it is not.

          If you read Oswald Chambers entry for March 27th “My Utmost for His Highest” he states the following: “When the devil elevates you to a certain place, he causes you to fasten your idea of what holiness is far beyond what flesh and blood could ever bear or achieve.” We know that holiness means to be set apart for God, set apart for His purposes and available to be used by Him for the building of His kingdom. With this in mind, we often feel less than holy as each day progresses due to the fact that we recognize things in our life that are inconsistent with our view of holiness. When we lose our temper with someone we do not feel holy. When we have an impure thought we do not feel holy. Sometimes we do not feel like spending time alone with God or reading His word and that also makes us feel less than holy. I could go on and on with a list that never ends of the many things that make us feel less than “pure in heart” and as a result we do not “see God”. So perhaps it is in these very items that we need to change our perspective. When these things cause us to live by our feelings of futility then we can be assured that the above verse from Mr. Chambers is spot on, and we are most assuredly fastening our view of holiness on something unattainable by flesh and blood.

          In essence these are the very things that provide us the opportunity to enter into the presence of God and to achieve a holy life. We should think of ourselves as having two distinct areas of life, an “inner sanctuary” and an “outer court”. We are the model of the ancient Israelite temple. God came to live amongst His people and resided in the inner sanctuary of the temple just as He now resides in the life of a believer in the “inner self”. It was in the “outer courts” of the temple where the everyday person gathered to be cleansed of their sins by the sacrificial offerings presented to God by the priesthood. Scripture tells us that we are a “royal priesthood”. We now have the right to come to the throne of God and He has provided the sacrifice for us. We can make a claim of purity based upon the sacrifice of Jesus, not on any righteousness that we think we may possess. (We have none.) So it is in the outer courts of our life where we experience these issues that confirm that we are less than pure. Rather than feelings of inadequacy and defeat we need to recognize that God allows us to have these experiences as an opportunity to realize our need for Him. We need to see these events in our everyday life as our need to immediately turn toward Him in thought, word, and deed. Through prayer and repentance God will allow us to enter a state of being pure and holy in His sight. It is in this process that we “see God” with spiritual clarity. When we surrender to the deficiencies we see in our daily life, we immediately have a blurred view of God. (see “My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers”, 3/26).  Therefore it becomes, for the Christian, an urgent need to realize these occurrences and immediately do business with God. By developing this habit we have a clear sense of closeness with God and discover the blessing of peace in our lives in the face of all types of trials.

          My dear friend and brother in the Lord, Pastor Scott Hobbs authored and recorded a song which continues to bless me and I believe echoes the process that I am speaking of. The chorus goes like this, “I will run, I will run, with a passion I will run for I want to see the face of God.” When we encounter the deficiencies that draw upon us everyday, we need to run with a passion to see the face of God. When we don’t feel much like it and recognize that God doesn’t seem close we must develop the discipline of running toward Him. I believe this is the key to walking in the Spirit and God will welcome us time and time again with open arms. Ironically, it’s the negative things of life that present the best opportunity for fellowship with our loving Creator.