I was reminded again, yesterday morning, listening to a sermon online, about a very critical KEY to KEEPING our “deliverance,” to STAYING free!
God has given us his very precious word, to be sure. And we may “believe” it with all our .. um .. minds .. give rational assent, find the apologetic arguments persuasive, et al. It’s MUCH more difficult to believe it with all our HEART!
GUARD YOUR HEART, FOR IT IS THE WELLSPRING OF LIFE!
And if the HEART is the interface between our mind (Soul) and Spirit – and I believe that’s the best explanation I have ever heard for this, by the way – it is CRITICAL that we guard our heart, and BELIEVE .. in our HEART. Else the disconnect between our mind (Soul) and Spirit can be severe. (And if we love Jesus, this disconnect can even cause us to LOSE this “love” .. why else would Jesus have to instruct his own church to RETURN to their first love? Because they had let other things in which CHOKED it out!)
And we fall vulnerable to easy deceptions, we embrace “old lies” and disconnect with our own Spirit; and quite frankly, the Enemy of our souls couldn’t wish for more. Because the Enemy is after our HEARTS .. If we belong to Christ, our spiritual Enemy cannot “possess” our Spirit – we belong to GOD. BUT if this Satan Accuser of the Brethren (or any of his underlings) can block the “interface,” if he can sever the connection, he can – and with our “agreement” (?!) – LOCK us up so wholly in our “minds” and mere intellectual rationality .. then he CAN render us effectively POWERLESS!
BUT ARE WE IN FACT POWERLESS?
Are we in fact “powerless”? NO! But if we are disconnected from the “power SOURCE,” namely JESUS, how can we be surprised that we get lost in our own thoughts, and self-defeating talk, and intellectually superior games – even justify them in the name of “theology” and in the end, become completely inactive concerning the Power of the Spirit and the CALLING of God to go into ALL the world and make disciples? (Meanwhile we pat ourselves on our backs for all the “good” we’re doing by deep Bible-studying in our private little corners, growing spiritually FAT on the thing that was meant to ENERGIZE us to BURN for the Kingdom of God??)
If we allow the Enemy any access to our HEARTS, he can HAVE our MINDS. (Because he has our own PERMISSION to enter – our lack of vigilance, our silence IS tacit agreement!) This is why Scripture is so clear about how great the battle for the mind actually is, how we are to TAKE CAPTIVE (like a prisoner of war!) EVERY thought and render it subservient to Christ. And once our hearts HAVE been delivered from the “legal” access of our great spiritual Enemy(ies), it is thus all the more ESSENTIAL that we stand vigil at the borders, do NOT allow any .. um .. “illegal immigrants” (if you’ll pardon the analogy) to cross over. We must GUARD our HEARTS, so we can experience the flow of GOD’S Spirit (in communion with ours) and so permeate our thoughts, KEEP our minds STAYED on him (because he promises the fruit of this is PERFECT PEACE)….
DO YOU LACK PEACE?
If we aren’t experiencing “perfect peace” – that’s a good indicator our MINDS aren’t stayed on HIM – and if our minds aren’t stayed on HIM, that’s a good indicator that somewhere along the line we let the enemy have some “access” to us .. we believed a lie, or resurrected an old one (one of my pet favorites has to do with how very intrinsically UNLOVABLE I am, how UNDESERVING I am), we let down our guard and vested our “hearts” on something OTHER than God (creating a heart “idol” as it were) .. We even do this by letting our minds OBSESS (or “agitate like a washing machine” as my spiritual mom/discipler/counselor once told me), instead of TAKING back that thought, making it CAPTIVE to Christ, and so shutting the GATE on the Enemy before he can put his foot in there and cause disruption in our HEARTS, and so break our fellowship in the Spirit with our Beloved Jesus!
EVERY LITTLE YIELD TO THE FLESH
We think these things are so LITTLE! We deceive OURSELVES into thinking that giving in to temptation in this or that little thing won’t really matter, after all, it’s all “under the blood” and God’s GRACE is so GREAT .. blah blah blah. But EVERY little yield to the flesh – even if that “thing” our flesh desires isn’t intrinsically sinful (all things are permissible, NOT all things are profitable, and I will be mastered by none, as Paul authored!) – can be an ACCESS point, a place where we have perhaps blatantly abandoned our post, or to a lesser degree just got a little distracted.
Oh dear, how could we DO this?? (And I do it so EASILY!?) When we KNOW the consequences are so DIRE?? so DEADLY?? It’s not that our little “yield” heaps condemnation on our heads .. God must constantly remind me (because my “mind” wants to fall prey to believing otherwise) .. THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION! for those of us who are IN Christ Jesus! ..
And it’s not even as if the “flesh” is itself intrinsically bad. We DO have this fleshy “tent” in which we dwell, so there are things “in the flesh” that are genuinely BASIC to our (current earthly) lives .. We have to eat; we make love to our spouses; we do need sleep and arguably some measure of recreation .. But it’s when we are YIELDING to our flesh OVER our Spirit that we have problems; we let our flesh master US instead of the other way around .. Gluttony (too much!), Immorality (against God’s intent & loving provision/protection!), Addictions to gaming or movies or SLEEPING or WHATEVER .. We let these things MASTER us, and we don’t even know how it happens, because by the time it’s obvious, the million little yields that GOT us here were but whispers in our MINDS .. but they add up.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO STAND FIRM?!
So where is our VICTORY? Where is our STANCE? How do we HOLD our ground? How do we KEEP the land we have already conquered (or that has been conquered on our behalf, more accurately!)? The Promised Land is OURS by rights; so how do we GET the Giants OUT?! (The story of Israel gives us the answer – FAITH IN THE GOD OF ANGEL ARMIES!)
Oh dear, I was so KINDLY reminded by God of this just yesterday, and it immediately brought relief to MY SPIRIT. (See, just the reMINDer *ahem* broke some of the shackles on my HEART .. see it’s all interwoven, it’s all about “flowing” as a whole self according to God’s creation of the human being as IMAGE of the TRIUNE God!) ..
God’s very WORD SET us FREE and KEEPS us free! God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a .. oh yeah .. SOUND MIND!
It might be oversimplifying, but if you don’t have, or aren’t being LED by PEACE, you are (most likely) IN some kind of “fear” .. (examine your hearts to see if there be any truth to this – what are you AFRAID of?!) .. If you are in FEAR, you are not in FAITH .. If you lack FAITH, how do you GET more “faith”? .. Well, FAITH comes by HEARING, and HEARING by the WORD OF GOD!
DO YOU LACK FAITH? GET MORE WORD!
Lack Faith? Get WORD! It’s such a simple equation!
And did you know your HEART (and Spirit) can RECEIVE the WORD even if your MIND is resisting it?!
Did you know you don’t have to “feel” like reading the Bible for it to nevertheless PENETRATE to your Heart and Spirit?
Because the WORD of God is SHARPER than any two-edged sword and can DIVIDE even between the THOUGHTS and INTENTIONS of the HEART!!
It can DISCERN between the Soul (mind) and Spirit .. (Why is this so hard for us to grasp?! Why do we, as Christians, go so out of our way to conflate the realities of the unseen as though mind/soul/heart/spirit are all ONE thing .. our “inner” man? OH, when we get this WRONG, we fall PREY to so many other DECEPTIONS!!)
BE ENCOURAGED! THE PROMISES OF GOD ARE SURE!
Your “MIND” doesn’t even have to AGREE beyond the point of CHOOSING to pick up the WORD! Your “MIND” doesn’t have to LIKE it, per se, to make your MOUTH speak the PROMISES of God OUT LOUD! Your “feelings” about the matter don’t have to tell YOU what to do, YOU tell your FEELINGS what to do – “Take a backseat, I need to do this, and I don’t ‘care’ if you don’t ‘feel’ like reading this chapter this morning, God told me this is what we need to do, so you’re going to sit down, and we’re gonna DO this!”
And THAT’S where the miracle of God’s POWER is first MANIFEST to overcome your “fleshly” resistance. Jesus PROMISED that He (and His Father) would make their DWELLING with us!! THAT’S where the miracle of God’s PRESENCE is manifest to OPEN your Heart to RECEIVE! We SPEAK the truth of God’s promises OVER ourselves, and we have PROPHETIC POWER to affect CHANGE in our own Hearts and Spirits, and ultimately to CHANGE OUR OWN MINDS, which in turn, ushers in the GRACIOUS GIFT of “feeling” the PEACE of God ruling in our lives. This in turn makes us ABLE to be LED by the Peace of God!
And this is all as simple as .. quoting a single verse to your own reflection in the mirror some morning. (Break the chains!) Picking up your Bible and settling on just one Psalm or Proverb or a favorite verse, and READ OUT LOUD for five minutes. (Break the chains!)
Oh dear, hearing the WORD brings FAITH .. it creates its OWN momentum, and you cannot HELP but walk in VICTORY (cuz it was already always YOURS to begin with!) Do not let the Enemy TAKE BACK what is rightfully YOURS because of Christ!! The freedom FROM sin, and the freedom TO FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD IN THE SPIRIT THRU CHRIST .. These are your rightful INHERITANCE because of the blood of the only true LAMB of God, the only true GATE of God, Jesus HIMSELF who went through the veil of death on your behalf! HE conquered death and hell so we could be MORE than conquerors. WE GET THE SPOILS of HIS VICTORY in this war!! Ah, and HE HIMSELF is the treasure! HE is our healing! HE is our “self-control” in the face of overwhelming temptations. HE is our sacrificial love! HE is our Victorious Warrior and IT IS FINISHED! because of the Cross and the Resurrection!
CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH!
I have peppered (by phrase and fragment) many Scriptures throughout this update, so I will try to go back and add references for you, so you may DIG DEEPER into the WORD for yourselves. Or I may add as a new post – a kind of addendum to serve as perhaps the springboard for your CONFESSING WITH YOUR MOUTH that Jesus is Lord, that the promises of God are TRUE and cannot be broken, and his WORD will ENDURE!
But if you are feeling defeated, today? Even a LITTLE bit!? .. Just SAY something! One little truth of God to WAKE UP your heart, he himself is the LANGUAGE of our Heart and Spirit, and deep calls to deep, so ONE LITTLE WORD has the power to FELL the Enemy! The ears of your Heart cannot HELP but leap for joy as in the “womb” of your “inner man”, because it RECOGNIZES the voice of its GOOD SHEPHERD! Your HEART can HEAR the words coming out of your OWN MOUTH! So season your SPEECH with the Word and Promises of God. SOW into the garden of your own Heart, and WATCH the miracle of a bountiful harvest!
So SAY something – Just remember ANYTHING from your memory verses when you were a child. God SO loved the world that he GAVE his ONLY begotten son, that WHOSOEVER would BELIEVE on HIM, would RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!! and NOT perish! REMEMBER the Savior of your Heart! REMEMBER the Lover of your Soul! And PREACH yourself happy! SPEAK the language of your Spirit, and TAKE BACK what is rightfully yours – the very fellowship with God himself for which you were MADE! and live your VICTORIOUS life (PEACE even THROUGH the storms of this life!) ..
JESUS IS “your best life now” (if you’ll pardon the allusion to the famously heretical!) just as much as the earthly storms of this life are the “worst” you will experience in light of eternity. This life is as close to “hell” that ANY who is IN Christ will ever get .. And when all is said and done, we get HIM forever!!
Oh dear, Jesus is SO good!