Living Free Life Group–Quotes (from April 28, 2013)

Remember:

 

 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; Jesus has come so that I may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

 

 

Highlighters:

 

 

“We deceive ourselves when we hear the Word but don’t do it (James 1:22; 1 Peter 1:13). We deceive ourselves when we say we have no sin (1 John 1:8). We deceive ourselves when we think we are something we are not (Romans 12:3; Galatians 6:3). We deceive ourselves when we think we are wise in this age (1 Corinthians 3:18-19). We deceive ourselves when we think we are religious but do not bridle our tongue (James 1:26). We deceive ourselves when we think we will not reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). We deceive ourselves when we think the unrighteous will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6: 9-10). We deceive ourselves when we think we can continually associate with bad company and not be corrupted (1 Corinthians 15:33).” The Bondage Breaker, pp.167-171

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“False prophets and teachers flourish simply because Christians accept their ministry without spiritual discernment.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 172

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“God is more concerned with church purity than church growth, because church purity is an essential prerequisite for church growth.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 174

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“Declaring that your words are directly from the Lord when they aren’t is an incredible offense to God. Manipulating people by claiming a word from the Lord is spiritual abuse.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 174

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“Being physically attractive and having a charismatic personality are not biblical criteria for validating a ministry or a teacher. The standards are truth and righteousness, and false teachers malign both.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 176

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“The motive for true discernment is never self-promotion, personal gain, or to secure an advantage over another person—even an enemy. Discernment has only one function: to distinguish right from wrong so the right can be acknowledged and the wrong can be disregarded.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 179

 ***

“The light of truth is the only valid weapon against the darkness of deception.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 181

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“We have all the resources and protection we need to live a victorious life in Christ. If we’re not living it, it’s our choice. When we leave a door open for the devil by not resisting temptation, accusation, or deception, he will enter it. And if we continue to allow access, he will assume squatter’s rights. We won’t lose our salvation, but we will lose our daily victory.” The Bondage Breaker, pp. 192-193

 ***

“Choosing truth, living a righteous life, and donning the armor of God are each believer’s individual responsibility. I cannot be responsible for you, and you cannot be responsible for me. I can pray for you, but if you go into battle without your armor on, you may get hurt. As much as that may be a matter of concern for me, I still cannot make those decisions of responsibility for you. Those choices are yours alone, but you do have a choice.” The Bondage Breaker, pp.193-194

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is a redeemed prodigal, set free from over a decade of mental illness, eating disorders, addiction, and more. She now enjoys sharing her story of freedom and transformation with a lost and hurting world, as well as teaching about spiritual warfare and the importance of understanding our identity in Christ.

Rebecca is also an author and freelance writer, having written devotionals and teaching articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and daughter, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by following her on twitter and facebook.

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Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s (Part 4)

Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s (Part 4)

Rebuking the Devil

#1—Disappointment

#2—Discouragement

#3—Despair

#4—Doubt

#5—Disbelief

#6—Distraction

7. Double-mindedness

Double-mindedness is evident in the person whose behavior is disconnected from their words. (Perhaps hypocrisy is a more familiar term?) No matter how long we’ve been a Christian or how much knowledge we have, we’ve all been guilty of behaving in ways that contradict our faith. In Greek, the word double-minded means “Two-spirited, vacillating (in opinion or purpose).” In other words, it’s an inconsistency of behavior.

As the saying goes, it takes one to know one, and I definitely know a thing or two about living inconsistent. Just like it’s easier for a recovered alcoholic to detect the attributes of alcoholism in another person, so it is with the double-minded person. I lived many years in such a state, vacillating from one opinion to another, saying one thing with my mouth while having an inward attitude completely contrary to my words. I mean, I was abusing drugs while performing on a worship team! Yes, I’ve been there and done that, and unfortunately I know a few Christians who are currently trapped in a double-minded state of living. Maybe it’s not drugs, but it’s an unforgiving spirit or a prideful heart.

As believers, especially those of us in any type of leadership position, integrity is a must. If we’re teaching something on Sunday that we’re failing to apply Monday through Saturday, we are living as a double-minded man. As James said, our faith is left unstable (see James 1:8). This is a key weapon in Satan’s arsenal. Maybe for a while we can get away with our inconsistencies, but eventually someone will catch on, and when the cat’s out of the bag the crud really hits the fan (overuse of clichés were intentional). When unbelievers (or other Christians) “catch” us saying one thing while doing another, it diminishes our witness and effectiveness as a Christian. It gives us a dead (Greek rendering means “like a corpse”) faith.

As someone in an unequally yoked situation, I have had to learn this lesson the hard way. What my husband observes in my character Monday through Saturday will speak more to him then what he sees on Sunday. And God has used my husband to point out inconsistencies in my life on more than one occasion (much to my chagrin). But in the end I am thankful for a situation I once cursed, because in it God has brought me to an authentic place of transparent living. I am who I am—on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, you get the point—and because of this, I no longer feel the need to defend myself to those who accuse or slander me in public or private. This type of peace didn’t come easy; it was a difficult process that required honesty and a commitment to allowing God to develop a character of integrity within me. This isn’t to say I don’t screw up, because God and my husband both know beyond doubt that I screw up. Consistency isn’t about perfection, it’s about honest living. It’s about being able to admit my faults in a timely manner before God and man, and put the “right to be right” to death daily.

“To be double-minded is to forget James 1:8 and 4:8,

‘A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.’”¹

If you’ve found that your behavior, attitudes, and words are disconnected from your faith, pray out loud, “Jesus, I know I have failed to consistently demonstrate in behaviors and attitudes what I say I believe in your word. In the name of Jesus I now renounce the spirit of double-mindedness and choose to allow you to develop a spirit of integrity in my life. I want my actions and thoughts to reflect the character of Christ. I want my life, behind closed doors, to be the same as my life on Sunday morning. I humbly submit my ‘rights’ to you, and ask you to purify my heart of pride. And I choose not to live in regret over missed opportunities, but instead will, in your strength, go and sin no more.”

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1-      Dr. H.L. Willmington, Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, ©1981, 1984 by H.L. Willmington–all rights reserved.

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is a redeemed prodigal, set free from over a decade of mental illness, eating disorders, addiction, and more. She now enjoys sharing her story of freedom and transformation with a lost and hurting world, as well as teaching about spiritual warfare and the importance of understanding our identity in Christ.

Rebecca is also an author and freelance writer, having written devotionals and teaching articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and daughter, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by following her on twitter and facebook.

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You can support Rebecca with one click! If you enjoyed this post, please take a second to click the FOLLOW button on the space provided on the right hand side of the computer screen (or scroll to the bottom of your screen if using a smartphone) and you will receive new posts in your email inbox. This is absolutely free and your information is never shared!

If you were encouraged by what you read here, please share with your friends and/or leave a comment.

When You’re Just Fed-Up

 

I struggled with the enclosure for several minutes but eventually gave up and sulked to my dresser. Digging around in frustration I finally found them, the fat jeans. Hadn’t seen or wore them in probably two years, but here they were and now was the time.

I can’t believe this, I mean, I’m a vegetarian, I used to be a personal trainer, and I have all this knowledge about health. Why is this happening?!

My thoughts drifted back a few years (ok, nearly twelve years). I was a certified personal trainer; I weighed 120lbs and wore a size 4 in my favorite designer clothes. Those were the days. Or were they?

While I might have looked good on the surface, I was a wreck on the inside. In order for me to get that body I purged over ten times a day, abused laxatives, worked out for hours on end even waking in the middle of the night to run laps, I was addicted to drugs and smoked like a chimney, and I regularly engaged in self-mutilating behaviors like cutting.

Shaking my head I thanked God for the extra weight I had now, because it wasn’t about the weight it was about the freedom.  I might be packing some pounds, but at least I knew who I was, who God made me, and I was no longer enslaved to a life of personal torture.

Still, God was prompting me to try a little harder when it came to taking care of my temple. Since my back injury in 2008, I had really done very little by way of exercise. Somehow that morning, pulling out the dreaded fat jeans was the spark that ignited the fire of change within me. It took a moment of shock, disgust, and honesty within myself to finally get motivated enough to make a change. (And I’m happy to say that one new exercise machine later along with consistent use of it, and I’m back in the good jeans!)

It’s the same way with our sin. We are so good at deceiving ourselves into thinking we’ve got it together, we’re doing a good job, we’re being “good” Christians, while at the same time we can’t maintain peaceful relationships, we get angry when we think of how a person wronged us, we can’t move past being a victim or feeling sorry for ourselves, and we say we’ve forgiven someone but continue to treat them differently; but boy, on the outside we look good—especially when we’re singing with our hands raised in church. Yes, there we are the super-spiritual Christian who doesn’t practice mercy, grace, love, or forgiveness.

Sometimes our consequences need to catch up with us, and sometimes, if we’re really stubborn, we need to lose everything and everyone in order to find out that God was all we needed. His approval was all that mattered.

We have to really want it, though. Because it’s hard work, this freedom thing. Maybe it’s easy to have a good experience every now and then, but to really maintain an experience of freedom it takes effort and honesty. Otherwise, we end up right back where we started, pulling out the fat jeans because we thought we were doing better than we really were. In other words, the result will always give us away.

Failed relationships, lack of peace, judgmental attitudes, critical or cynical spirits, dissatisfaction, inconsistency, insecurity, fat jeans, whatever it is, it’s the result that speaks to the attitude. Am I lacking peace, do I feel the need to judge another person’s motives, am I always complaining, being overly dramatic, craving attention, avoiding a person who hurt me, talking negatively about someone behind their back, impatient, feeling as if my needs are unmet by people…? Whatever it is, there is an underlying sin-attitude behind it.

Please don’t wait until the result of your life is so negative you can’t stand it anymore before you finally take action. Keep a short account with God, be honest with yourself, others, and God (it’s not like your secret motives will actually surprise Him).

It’s easier to button my jeans when I know I’m doing all I can to be healthy, even if I’m not wearing the size I want. Just the same, it’s easier to experience joy and peace when we’re honest, when we put pride to death daily, and maintain a clear conscience of integrity in all our words and actions. When this is our way of life, the hurts are easier to bear, we’re not thrown into a cloud of depression amidst bad circumstances, and we don’t feel the need to defend ourselves when unjustly accused (you know, when that eye for an eye thing taps on our shoulder).

Is your faith connected to your actions? Are your motives pure? Is your heart sincere? Or is the result of your attitudes leaving a bad taste in your mouth (and the relationships around you) and a few extra pounds around your spiritual waist?  As Warren Wiersbe says, don’t become so smart you become dumb! (Or, in my case, know a lot about health yet fail to practically apply that knowledge until the results were more than I could stand.)

 “In my pastoral ministry, I have met people who have become intoxicated with ‘studying the deeper truths of the Bible.’ Usually they have been given a book or introduced to some teacher’s tapes. Before long, they get so smart they become dumb! The ‘deeper truths’ they discover only detour them from practical Christian living. Instead of getting burning hearts of devotion to Christ (Luke 24: 32), they get big heads and start creating problems in their homes and churches. All Bible truths are practical, not theoretical. If we are growing in knowledge, we should also be growing in grace (2 Peter 3: 18).” Warren Wiersbe, Be Complete (A commentary on Colossians)

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You can support Rebecca’s ministry with one click! If you enjoyed this post and others, please take a second to click the FOLLOW button on the space provided on the right hand side of the computer screen (or scroll to the bottom of your screen if using a smartphone) and you will receive new posts in your email inbox. This is absolutely free and your information is never shared!

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is a redeemed prodigal, set free from over a decade of mental illness, eating disorders, addiction, and more. She now enjoys sharing her story of freedom and transformation with a lost and hurting world, as well as teaching about spiritual warfare and the importance of understanding our identity in Christ.

Rebecca is also an author and freelance writer, having written devotionals and teaching articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and daughter, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by following her on twitter and facebook.

 

Discerning the Devil’s Voice: Who is Satan?

 

One of the most important aspects of fighting spiritual warfare is the ability to recognize Satan’s voice when we hear it. And by voice I am not referring to an audible sound that resonates through our ear canal and bounces off our ear drum. I’m referring to a thought strategically placed in our minds. The same place where our own thoughts originate, like, “I want pizza for lunch,” or “I’m tired, I think I’ll take a nap.” (Click here for a more in-depth discussion on the Voice of the Flesh)
Satan’s voice: Incomplete truths, deceptions, schemes, tricks, lies, temptations, partial Scripture quotes taken out of context to support a view that is opposed to God (see Matthew 4:1-11).

Satan’s Bio

Liar:
“He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies he is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44, NLT)

Did you catch that important phrase? When he lies he is consistent with his character. In other words, it is impossible for Satan to tell a complete truth. Maybe he can spew some half-truths, but as we know, a half-truth isn’t really the truth. It is a lie or a deception. Just as God can only act according to His character (holy, loving, just…etc.), Satan can only act according to his character (lie, deceive, accuse…etc.).

Destroyer:
“The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10, NLT)

Any thought Satan (or his demons) place in your head has this purpose, to destroy you, steal from you, or kill you (physically or spiritually). While Satan cannot snatch us from our Father’s loving hand (see Romans 8:38-39), he can render us spiritually dead, or ineffective for the cause of Christ. Nothing pleases our enemy more than seeing us stumble around in a fog of confusion over our purpose and place as children of God.

Powerful Controller:
“The world around us is under the power and control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19, NLT)

We know from passages like Job 1 that Satan is limited in power to only what God has allowed him to have. So we need not have an exceptional, hysterical fear over what Satan and his minions can do. However, we should take note of and respect the power that he does have over world forces. Why else would Satan be able to offer Jesus the kingdoms of the world (see Matthew 4:8-9) if they did not belong to him? He controls the world (as God allows)—albeit temporarily. Nevertheless, until Jesus returns and sets up His kingdom on earth, binding Satan for a thousand years, we will continue to see the work of the devil not only in our own lives (as he tempts us, speaks to us, accuses and oppresses us) but also in the world systems controlled by unbelievers.

Deceiver:
“Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9, KJV)

One of Satan’s chief purposes is to deceive. Of course, one of the subtleties of deception is the deceived usually don’t recognize that they’re being deceived—hence the term, deception! If we think it will be easy to detect demonic influence, we are wrong. It won’t always be easy, and once Satan sees in our behavior that we are on to his schemes, he will try new ways to trick us. This is one of the reasons why putting on the armor of God daily is imperative to our spiritual health.

Life is not a joke to Satan. He knows what the Bible says, in fact, having been around for thousands of years we can be certain he knows the Bible better than we do. He knows what it says about his future, and he knows what it says about us, as God’s creation. We have authority over Satan, and he knows it. Rest assured, he’s not looking at us and laughing it up. A book I read recently says this: “Satan has you in his cross-hairs, and he’s not smiling.” He wants to destroy us in any way possible.

So, the first step in recognizing Satan’s voice is in understanding what his character is. When you hear “thoughts” you can test them against what we’ve already discussed (God’s Voice, the Flesh, or Satan) and see which voice the thought seems to line up with. For example, one thing I often hear, almost daily, is a thought that goes something like this, “God can control everything, and yet He is allowing this to happen. He’s not listening to your prayers anymore. He gets pleasure in seeing you suffer.” Sometimes it is easy to entertain such thoughts because there is partial truth to them. (God does indeed control everything and certainly could stop whatever is happening even though He has chosen not to.) However, it’s not enough to ignore these thoughts—we must rebuke them and reinforce the truth in place of that lie. If we fail to take this step, we are only leaving ourselves open to new attacks of a similar nature. (More will be discussed on this in the next post.)

I’m sure you can think of similar thoughts too. What sort of deceptions has the enemy consistently hounded you with over the years, either through your own thoughts or the words of others?

Still have questions? Check out these posts for more:

Is Spiritual Warfare real?

What’s the difference between the flesh and Satan?

Can Satan’s influence affect children?

**If you enjoyed this post and others, please take a second to enter your email address into the space provided on the right hand side of the computer screen (or scroll to the bottom of your screen if using a smartphone) and you will receive new posts in your email inbox. This is absolutely free and your information is never shared!**

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.

Refusing to Back Down: What it Really Means to Speak the Truth “In Love”

Refusing to Back Down: What it Really Means to Speak the Truth “In Love”

On the heels of yet another heated political debate the tweets, status updates, and blogs are running full steam. I would certainly be no exception to this. On the other hand, though, there are many Christians who feel it is offensive to openly talk about their political views or their beliefs on touchy subjects such as homosexuality and abortion. This proverbial “duct tape” silences many well-meaning believers, especially in the world of writing, where platforms and likeability are ranked high on the author’s list of things to succeed in.

No doubt, this is a controversial topic. To speak or not to speak: that is essentially the question. For me the answer came in the form of another question. Do I care so much about getting “likes”, “follows”, and “subscribers” to build my platform that I keep quiet about such topics? What is more important, speaking the truth or being liked?

I live in a state where people have been arrested for holding Bible studies in their homes. Refusing to allow and even prosecuting such acts of religious expression is becoming more common in today’s world. Am I to look the other way when things like, say, who will become the next president would directly affect issues of religious freedom? I’m not convinced that speaking the truth “in love” or having my words “seasoned with salt” means to keep silent. But let’s look at the Bible– because I am human and maybe I am wrong. If so, I want to allow God to correct me and keep me on His path to truth.

First of all we have Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount. The things Jesus said were highly offensive, especially to the Pharisees who were the most “spiritual” people of that time. They knew how to follow all of the rules and live about as perfect as a sinful person could possibly live. But Jesus wasn’t impressed because He saw their hearts. He called them out on their hypocrisy and warned the crowds of listeners not to be like them. I really can’t think of anything more offensive then calling someone out in front of other people, pointing out their faults, and warning the audience not to be like them! But—Jesus was, well, Jesus! As God living and breathing in a human body, He had the right and lived the life to back up His words of truth. I don’t have that luxury. I’m not perfect, I am not God. I cannot see someone’s heart, so publicly calling someone out is probably not a form of expression God has called me to partake in. (And under this light, I am aware of some instances where I have sinned in this area.)

But then we come to Paul. Now, the Colossian Church had become infiltrated with false teachers, and Paul, led by the Spirit of God, stepped in and spoke up about a controversial topic: false teaching. In this same letter to the church he says, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colossians 4:6)” Several verses in the Bible have been taken out of context to support erroneous practices, and this is probably no exception. It has been used over and over again as an admonition to keep quiet about important issues. In the context of the passage, however, that is absolutely not what Paul is saying. In fact, in the previous three chapters Paul warns the church about following the philosophies of man and the patterns of the world (2:8) while at the same time pointing the congregation to the Solution to their problems (2:9-3:1). Now that is what it means to speak the truth with love and grace.

The difference between condescending pious gibberish and sincere warning in the nature of love and concern come out of a sincere heart focused on the One who has given abundant life as well as freedom from the bondage of evil entanglements.

So what does all of this mean? As Christians we have a responsibility to speak the truth, to always be ready with an answer for the hope that dwells within us. When I stand up and say why I believe one candidate it a better choice for America, I am doing so out of love for my country and the people in it. I do not want to see our religious rights taken away. I want to be able, for instance, to hold a Bible study in my home without fear of retaliation. If one candidate can provide that, then I am going to talk about it. In the same regard, if one candidate is clearly supportive of the dangerous deception that a “woman’s right to choose” or a woman’s right to kill her baby is more important than the life growing inside that woman, as a Christian I have a moral responsibility to speak up for the unborn who cannot speak for themselves. I haven’t always done this, and I live every day with the regret of my silence and what became of a situation where I refused to speak. Never again will I make that mistake.

I think an important distinction in all of this is the delivery used to convey our messages. Are we saying things like, “If you vote for so and so you’re an evil demon of darkness” or are we saying, “I believe so and so is a better candidate because…” One of these expresses a view with respect and dignity while the other bashes on those who would hold a different opinion. I can’t find any example where Paul put down the character of another believer because of the choices they were making, no matter how poor those choices might have been. Instead, I see a great man of God who desperately wanted people to understand the truth, and understand where the truth comes from—Jesus. Paul always, always, always pointed people to Christ. I know I have failed in this area many times (and I confess it to God), but that is my ultimate goal in all I say and do.

I will not apologize for my views because they stem from personal convictions. On the other hand, I want to keep me speech grace-full, making sure to avoid name-calling and character bashing of those who would disagree with me. In the end, for me, I feel it is more important to be real with people rather than sensor my beliefs in the name of “likeability”. Do I want to be a successful author with a large platform to reach others with the message of Hope? Of course I do! But I will not compromise the truth in the form of silence. This is a critical time for our country, and we cannot afford to exchange silence for popularity. Yes, I want to have integrity in all I say and do, especially in a public outlet. But I also want people to know I am a real person, with real struggles, real opinions, and real convictions. Maybe I’ll lose a few “fans” along the way, but ultimately I will be the only one held accountable for my choices. In that regard, God’s opinion of my words and actions are all that really matters.

How about you? Have you experienced backlash in your efforts to speak the truth in love? How has God used your experiences in approaching touchy subjects to teach you how to speak in a grace-full way? Have you every failed in this area of “seasoned” speech? Do you feel it’s more important to convey a certain public “persona” then it is to convey your personal convictions? I look forward to your responses and hope to learn from what God has taught you through your experiences.

Living on the Mountaintop

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Proverbs 26:11

Truth has allowed me to experience freedom, but my enemy doesn’t want me to stay there. He wants me to leap head first off the mountaintop and crash violently below in a heap of blood and bones. I’ve teetered off the edge quite a few times this week, and the only thing that has held me up is believing the word of God.

Like a dog returning to its vomit, my mind returns to the lies it believed for over a decade. I lose my temper and all of a sudden “I’m a hypocrite and a failure”. It’s amazing how quickly these thoughts enter my mind; the Enemy wastes no time feeding them like rain on weeds. Several times I have had to sit down, open my Bible and “take captive” every thought to the obedience of Christ.

Lie: “I’m a failure.”

Truth: My Father God is full of grace and mercy, and he gives me freedom to fail.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

Much of this last week and a half has been spent soothing the gaping wounds left by the fiery arrows of the Enemy. I have been tempted to wallow in the “what-ifs” many times, however things are different now; this time I am running from the vomit and soaking up the nutrition that will keep me on the mountaintop. If I have to say 200 times a day, “In the name of Jesus I renounce the lie that….and choose to believe the truth that…” I am determined to do it.

Soaring on the heights is not easy work. I can’t just climb to the top and expect it to be smooth sailing. There are strong breezes up here, and it’s a long way down. Fortunately I have the strongest Hand holding mine, gently correcting my old habits one by one. The view is breath-taking up here so I think I’ll stick around.

Secret Poison

Narcissism: n. self love or excessive interest in one’s own appearance. (Webster’s New World Compact Dictionary)

We all have them in our lives and we have all been them at some point. The narcissist is always concerned how they are perceived in someone else’s eyes. This excessive self interest leads them quickly into deceptive behaviors. This person will extort emotionally to have their own needs met, contemplate wrong thoughts for self gain, and plow through life expecting to be gratified by everyone they come in contact with. When their perceived needs go unmet, they turn into self-loathing, contempt, and self-pity.

This secret poison can rot away at the person who is not aware of its damage. I can recall many instances in my life where I was tempted to “exaggerate” the truth in order to receive attention. Perhaps I allowed my symptoms to appear worse than they really were, or I let others believe I was capable of more than I really was.

I remember the moment when God gently but firmly grabbed my heart to these subtle behaviors and began to show me that in the end, I was lying. I never wanted to look at it that way, that was more severe than “a little exaggeration”. I saw at once how my deceptions had hurt myself more than anyone else. I was constantly unhappy because I was seeking emotional fulfillment from those around me. This is an impossibility, since Christ is the only true source of satisfaction.

As I saturated myself in the Word I began to see that the only way to truly be happy was to be honest about who I am, what I am feeling, and what I am capable of. Constantly seeking the attention of others was only poisoning my spirit. Once I expected to receive a certain amount of attention from someone, and they failed to meet my expectation, I would drown in my own cespool of self-pity. Nothing anyone did was ever good enough to meet my needs.

Perhaps we all have a touch of narcissim within. We need to allow the Spirit to erradicate it from our lives, and we can cure the poison of self-deception. Who we are in Christ is all we need to be. His standard is the only standard that matters. The beginning of integrity is through honest lips. The righteous person will speak truth, sacrifice personal comfort for the sake of their integrity, and in turn they will be well taken care of by their Heavenly Father. This is the person who is fortified in the Spirit, and soars with the eagles on the heights of authentic peace and joy.

“He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil-this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him.” Isaiah 33:15-16