A POSSIBLE YOU
FINDING GOD’S DESTINY FOR YOUR LIFE
LAYING OUR SECRETS ON THE TABLE
“(Inasmuch as we) refute arguments, theories, reasoning’s and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the (true) knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).” (II Corinthians 10:5)
As much as we try to deny our problems and weaknesses, the best way to grow and progress is to be honest with our own heart. One reason why we do not deal with our secret idols is because we do not want to let go of them (surprise!). Of course it is difficult, these forbidden desires that we are passionate about have a strong grip on us and it’s not easy to walk away from them. We have built these “pleasure palaces” one stone at a time and the images of our secret desires have possessed our heart. Instead of asking for help to CHANGE our life, we choose to manage our fears, stress, confusion, plans, ideas, disappointments, and failures with our own intuition. Through careful strategy and cunning deceit, Satan attempts to twist our thoughts and situations into a hopeless world of cruelty and darkness. His ugly lies are painted with serene images of justification that he uses in order to INFLUENCE our perceptions as he establishes “strongholds” that defends against the power of God to CHANGE the way things are. On the other side of the war, we find the light of God’s love is filled with the message that He can transform anything that is bad, wrong, or impossible into something beautiful and meaningful. Of course the devil hopes that he can keep much of the world blind to God’s “life changing truth” and unfortunately so far, He has succeeded.
Most everyone has a type of stronghold which is simply an area in which we are held in “bondage” as a result of an un-renewed mind. The word bondage is used to define something that is weighing us down and hindering us from being free to live and serve God in perfect peace. The more pure we are – the more peace we will experience because holiness is God’s character and His perfect will for our life. When we are devoted to an “intentional” stronghold of carnality within our mind, we are “haunted” by the realization that we are not right in the eyes of God. This conviction is a feeling of guilt before a holy God and a miserable reality where we AVOID His presence. We might dream of being like a little child and dancing around in the bliss of innocence and happy to sing His praises, but the pride and temptation to govern our destiny keeps us a hypocritical prisoner. This is the main reason why Christians are so cold and lifeless. I personally believe that many church members live every day with one foot in the world and one foot in God’s Kingdom and the consequence of this empty existence is NOT living in the joy, love and zeal of an intimate relationship with God. Those who claim to be disciples of Jesus listen to worship and just stand there as if they are bored, and then listen to the message with NO intention of absorbing truth for their own personal spiritual development. Why? Because, the Word has the power to change them! Until Christians become serious about tearing down the strongholds of pseudo-faith and slot machine mentality, their representation of God’s Kingdom will continue being an anemic and lethargic example of spiritual lukewarmness. If Jesus is NOT allowed to reign in our heart as Lord – then what is being a Christian all about? How can Jesus be anyone’s Savior of promise if He is not their Lord of truth? The more we become determined to be filled with Him, the brighter His glory will shine within us! It is the darkness of our “willful” sin and pre-determined ideas that are preventing us from becoming what He died for us to be! Selah.
Do you believe that if someone was willing to go through the refining fire process of becoming more pure and holy in the sight of God, that they could have a greater impact on those around them? Are we saying the closer we are to God the more divine appointments we will be given? If this is true – then WE are the reason that more people are not being delivered! “And he laid it (a hot coal) upon my mouth and said, listen, this has touched your lips and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here am I; send me.” (Isaiah 6: 7-8)
The reason why our thoughts are so important is because they are the “origin” of every word and deed. Since these strongholds within the mind are structures or fortresses made of ideas, we see why Paul was regarding this type of warfare to include taking every thought CAPTIVE to the obedience of Christ. Those who live in the vanity of their own carnal thinking have built protective walls and barriers around these control centers which by the way continues to keep us in bondage, agony and defeat. But, who do we think is going to cast down sinful thoughts and pull down these barricades of evil imaginations? Good question, I am so glad you asked. As the verse at the beginning of this article is saying, WE have the responsibility to “capture” our thoughts and place them under the submission of God’s perfect will however, it is definitely getting the horse before the cart if we start talking about tearing down mental strongholds without first consulting our will. For such a complex issue it is actually quite simple; first our heart must want these structures cast down and then we can ask God in faith to come and help us do it! We must take the first step in declaring that we hate our sin and desire to turn away from it and ONLY THEN will God’s power and authority begin to renew our conscience and rebuild a new transformed nature. Conviction and knowing that we are guilty of trespassing and offending God’s will is a step and desiring to change is another, but the next step is much deeper and a world of difference than just acknowledging that we are wrong. The place I am referring to is repentance and this is the ultimate crossroad of decision where we have either come to the end of our sin or we will continue going like we have been.
Many people say they are sorry for doing things that are wrong, but that is NOT necessarily repentance. True repentance is directly connected to Godly sorrow and this means that we have realized how much we have “offended” God and hurt Him with our filthy, carnal arrogance. Repentance is also associated with a broken and contrite heart which is just another way of confirming that we have literally become “sick” with our rebellion to the point of nausea. When our spiritual eyes have been opened to the big picture of what our sin has done, it is like when God opened the eyes of Adam and Eve and they “knew” they were wrong. The entire world is presently saturated in the darkness of sin and yet within the core of our being we know that God’s light exposes and judges us. The more we know the more we are accountable for which is why it is crucial to sow God’s seed everywhere so that He can continue His plan of salvation! “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife HID THEMSELVES from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I WAS AFRAID, because I was NAKED; and I HID MYSELF.” (Genesis 3:8-10) There is no greater calling – no higher priority – nothing more worthy or important than reaching out to the lost! The love that is woven throughout the Bible is the love from God to us – the love to God from us – and the love for souls! It is SIN that is killing love and causing it to wax cold. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is being filled with LOVE! Love is an action word and the amount of our obedience is measured by our level of love. Many Christians are not excited about serving God because deep down they are afraid of Him! They walk around with fake smiles because “they know” they are filled with sin and do not want to repent and this explains WHY there is a distance between them and God. When a person lives with an idol, and they have every intention of keeping it – they are not interested in any type of spiritual activity because it is a reminder of who they are and how they need to change. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)
Now brother Billy, I am too old now to think about changing these things you are talking about, besides what difference would it make to an older person? Well my friend, if you have been thinking in these articles that it was all about food and taking care of our temple, you have once again missed the point. Not being able to control our appetite is just an example of a deeper problem of not having self-control over anything. If you are too old to incorporate change into your life does that also mean that you are too old to evangelize or be generous? Are you so set in your ways that you are refusing to be a witness with fire and zeal for the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you not able to ask God to fill you with His love? You see, it is a pathetic existence to walk through life believing the deception that you can do anything you want and that it’s ok with God. Then at the end of your life, your excuse for not allowing your mind to be renewed is that now you are too old to make a difference. Allow me to relay God’s opinion of such a life; He is sad, aggravated, and disappointed with an attitude such as this! Yes but brother, I went to church all my life, participated and voted on issues concerning the direction of the church and even gave a portion of my hard earned money! Truth does not beat around the bush or disguise itself in order to be accepted or gain popularity. Going to church alone is not what the Christian life is all about, even though many people are convinced it is. We do not go to church to be a Christian – we go to church to LEARN HOW to live the Christian life! No one ever won a race with just learning how to run, just like no one ever made money just learning how to count. The same is true with church, as no one ever walked with God in obedience just because they listened to sermons and read the Bible. Until we realize that just knowing all about God and His Kingdom does not give us bonus points – we will continue being spiritually deaf and dumb. We must become determined to incorporate our faith and His Word into the demonstration of His glory! The true disciple of Christ has learned the significance of abandoning their will which activates the reality of being filled with God. Unless the will is yielded to God and Christ is allowed to become Lord of the heart and soul, there may not have been a valid manifestation of redemption. To believe that God Almighty will honor a life that has been dedicated to the desires of the human will is to misunderstand His character. If all we have to do in order to go to heaven is to know “about” God – then why in the world did the Father make a new COVENANT with the blood of His only Son? This would make salvation a game that awards prizes for those who win the most Bible quizzes or earn doctorate degrees in Bible history. The sad reality is that many who have learned about God have never known Him personally and will not be saved. The merciful and loving plan to redeem the lost is an opportunity for “whosoever will” to allow the Holy Spirit to transform them into God’s image. We must have God “IN US” before He can reach out “THROUGH US.”
It is tragic but true, that many will accept to remain in the cycle of sin because they have never come to place where they war against it. Selah. They may occasionally feel shame and be depressed about what they do, but they are still willing to live with it. But Billy, I really don’t do anything that bad. Yes, I probably live according to my flesh but God will have mercy on my inability to be perfect. The problem with this statement is that it’s the result of a stinking attitude and the absence of the reverential fear of God! Would you actually have the courage to stand before God Almighty and say that you know you are weak but you just thought He would let it go because He liked you? For one thing, it is amazing how the flesh can become its own defense lawyer and believe that God would compromise His Word just because our rebellious nature hopes He grades on the curve. Our sneaky and corrupt mind puts more faith into excuses and twisted philosophies than God’s holy, perfect promises! To begin with, one of the most dangerous misconceptions is not remembering the sins of omission. We can brag all day about how we have NOT committed certain sins while ignoring His voice and disobeying His instructions concerning things He WANTED us to do because we allowed ourselves to be distracted with foolishness. We can sit on the couch all day and night watching television and before we go to bed, we can say, “Thank you Lord for protecting me from sin.” How do you think He will react, when all day long He was trying to tell us where to go, what to do and who to call, so that He could use us in His work? This is the part of spiritual sensitivity that is often overlooked in the Christian life and is just as devastating as the “obvious” outward trespasses of the flesh. Many people even Christians do not want freedom within their spirit because that would allow them the liberty to live work and serve God with all their mind, strength and soul. Sadly, many hold on to their familiar lifestyle because it has become a twisted feeling of false security that allows them to play games. They are more familiar and comfortable with the “bondage cycle” than with the idea of liberty and that is how they choose to remain. When describing the life of a remnant disciple, we always go back to the idea of “dying to live.” Well no one wants to die whether physically or internally with the will and of course the flesh brings out every method of defense it can think of to “preserve” its ability to live however it wants. Our carnal nature is equipped with this built-in “survival mode” and fighting and scratching to “live” is the resistance we feel when we tinker with the idea to surrender to God. The cost of the flesh is CONTROL and that is the most difficult aspect of the Christian life to give up!
There are only two kingdoms – and everyone chooses which one they will CONFORM to! Conform means to; be in harmony – to be in agreement – to be in one ACCORD. So everyone is a conformist to either the DEFAULT system or the DIVINE reality. When our mind agrees with our carnality – our body will follow! Likewise, when our head and spirit lines up with God – our body will follow as it is our body that is the puppet that always does exactly as it is told. Selah. If you remember, God spoke to Israel out of the clouds and lightning in Deuteronomy chapter 5, and they were terrified. What should have been the greatest praise and worship service in the history of the world, ended up with them complaining to Moses how they wanted God to speak to them from now on through a man. Come to find out, Stephen in Acts 7:43, mentions the reason as they were convicted and afraid of God because they had secretly kept their idols and were worshipping them. Humans have always wanted to play religious games and live in both worlds but God is saying today to lay ALL of our secrets on the table. Cast out the golden “figures” and images YOU have made. Today is the day to deal with the sins that are keeping you from BOLDLY serving as God’s fearless warrior! Selah.