Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s (Part 7)

Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s (Part 7)

 Rebuking the Devil

11. Deadness

“They think he has leukemia,” my heart stopped as a lump formed in my throat. The news seemed, well, unbelievable, “How can that be?! He’s only thirty years old,” I responded to my sister. But deep down something in me just knew. My brother-in-law was going to die. And in fact, less than a year later he passed away. His death was an awful thing to witness. It challenged my faith and even some of my moral convictions. I left the hospital only hours before his last breath, but that final day was dreadful. I’m not even sure what was worse: watching his chest rise and fall awkwardly, or hearing the wails and cries of his mother and sisters who wept as those with no hope. As much as I loved him and would miss him, I prayed for God to take him quickly during those final, torturous hours. The only comfort came in knowing he was leaving his pain and entering the eternal rest of Jesus’ arms.

But it almost didn’t work out that way.

In the minutes after receiving that first phone call, my world began to change as I wrestled with the way I had lived my life and how my choices could have directly affected the eternity of my brother-in-law. He knew I claimed to be a Christian, he knew I was raised in church, he knew what I said I believed, but he also knew that my actions were the exact opposite of everything I had been taught. In fact, it was only a few months after my “prodigal return” to Jesus that I found out he was sick.

Realizing the seriousness of the situation, I fell to my knees in prayer for his salvation. He was not saved, he did not know Jesus, and frankly, I couldn’t blame him with the type of Christian examples he had in his life! Unfortunately, this scenario plays out all too often in many families. We find out a loved one is sick, we worry over their soul; we pray for their salvation, we cry out to God in desperation for their physical healing. But where were we and our prayers before we found out about their illness? Tragically, many of us were Christians whose faith was dead.

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead,” (James 2:17, NIV). The Greek rendering for “dead” in the passage is literally, “like a corpse”. It’s like a body without a soul—it’s an empty shell, completely ineffective.**

When I started to witness to my brother in law, he was skeptical to say the least. Sure I had “repented” and been going back to church for a few months, but the whole of my life (as far as what he knew) was nothing but a giant hypocrisy. What was so great about the God I was reflecting in my life? Why should he want that? And now here I was pleading with him to accept Christ before it was too late. Maybe I should have thought about that, oh, say ten years earlier when I was chasing the lusts of the flesh.

In the end, after much prayer and witnessing (and yes, much confession and asking of forgiveness) my brother-in-law did accept Jesus as his Savior before he lost the ability to communicate. I’ll never forget one of the last things he said to me as his face radiated peace during those final days, “I’m going to be with Jesus! I’m going to Heaven!” I had no doubt about his eternal security, but man, that was close! Too close! And for many, sadly, the story does not have a happy ending.

Spiritual deadness is merely the result of spiritual dullness left unchecked. Living as a complacent, lukewarm believer eventually leads to an ineffective faith. What the world needs to see is Christians practicing what they preach (love, grace, mercy, forgiveness), and exuding the peace that passes all understanding in their daily lives. When we choose sin over obedience, self over surrender, and bondage over freedom, our behavior will absolutely reflect those choices—and our choices will affect other people. It may even affect their eternity.

“To suffer deadness is to forget Revelation 3:1,

‘To the angel of the church of Sardis write: “These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”’”¹

Our lives are ravaged with trial, suffering, and pain, but that doesn’t mean we should lose hope, abandon our faith, and walk away from God when circumstances don’t turn out the way we’d like. A lot of times our spiritual estrangement is a result of an “entitlement” mentality. We believe God “owes” us a certain way of life, and when He fails to meet our expectations we get angry with Him and rebel. I plead with you to take caution with such an attitude. Satan will tempt us to think our influence doesn’t really matter, or that our choices aren’t hurting anyone else, but that is a lie from the pit. Our spiritual freedom matters, our faith matters, and it matters not only for you and me, but for our families and friends, and anyone we come in contact with in our daily lives. The bank tellers, the grocery store clerks, the other drivers on the road (ever see a crazy driver with a Jesus fish or church sticker on their car?)—our decision to choose to pursue truth and live by it matters to the world.

If you’ve struggled with a dead (ineffective) faith, please pray this prayer out loud, “Jesus, my attitude, actions, and choices do not always align with your truth. In the name of Jesus I now choose to believe what your word says about me, and how you see me, and I reject the lie that my choices and behavior do not matter and won’t hurt anyone else. Give me a heart that is willing to walk by faith while boldly rejecting what is false. When I trusted you as my Savior, you made me alive in righteousness and dead to sin, now create an experience in my life that reflects that position of freedom. Help me live every day as one dead to sin and alive unto righteousness. Thank you for your forgiveness, mercy, and compassion. I choose to reject the voices of condemnation and embrace your word of truth that says simply, ‘Go, and sin no more.’² In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

_________________________________________________________

  1. Dr. H.L. Willmington, Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, ©1981, 1984 by H.L. Willmington–all rights reserved.
  2.  See John 8:1-11
  3. **Before you send me angry emails or attempt to post argumentative comments, I know this verse is often used to prove that one needs works in order to be “truly” saved. But without getting into a theological debate, I will merely state this: in relation to the whole of God’s word and contextual interpretation, I do not believe this verse says faith without works is not a “saving faith”. In fact, if it did, it would contradict many other passages and examples of “carnal” Christians in the Bible. (And that’s as much as I care to comment on this subject. This post is NOT intended to be a doctrinal debate on soteriology!)

 _________________________________________________________

(To review the previous Deadly Ds of the devil, simply click on the “D” of your choice:

#1—Disappointment; #2—Discouragement; #3—Despair; #4—Doubt; #5—Disbelief; #6—Distraction; #7—Double-mindedness; #8—Dishonesty; #9—Deceit; #10–Dullness)

Living Free Life Group–Quotes (from May 12, 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:

“Christ has set you free through His victory over sin and death on the cross. But, if you have failed to stand firm in the faith or you have willfully sinned, it is your responsibility to do whatever is necessary to maintain a right relationship with Him.” The Bondage Breaker, page 199

***

“Who or what is most important to us becomes that which we worship. Our thoughts, love, devotion, trust, adoration, and obedience are directed to this object above all others. This object of worship is truly our God or god(s).” The Bondage Breaker, page 205

***

“We will find real joy and freedom when we stop living a lie and walk openly in the truth.” The Bondage Breaker, page 209

***

“The real secret to happiness isn’t anywhere in prime-time entertainment, of course. The key to a fulfilled life has nothing to do with fast cars, revolving partners, or this year’s fashions. Those are just counterfeits with which the enemy and the flesh conspire to tempt us. And the remedy—the number one defense against this devious deception—is to clothe ourselves in truth.” Chip Ingram, The Invisible War

***

“When we are sure God loves and accepts us, we can be free to own up to our sins and face reality instead of running and hiding from painful circumstances.” The Bondage Breaker, page 210

***

“We need to own up to our own faults without excuses and without blaming, bring them to God, and confess them honestly before him. That’s the only way to stand firm against deception.” Chip Ingram, The Invisible War

 ***

“Defensiveness occurs when God brings truth into our lives and we won’t receive it. We justify ourselves rather than confess the reality of our faults. [We need to] put on the belt of truth and let it break [our hearts]. Psalm 34:18 says, ‘The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ The Spirit of God is always a friend of truth, especially when it hurts.” Chip Ingram, The Invisible War

***

“Faith is the biblical response to the truth, and believing what God says is a choice we all can make. If you say, ‘I wish I could believe God, but I just can’t,’ you are being deceived. Of course you can believe God because what God says is always true.” The Bondage Breaker, page 214

***

“You don’t just put on the belt of truth in a quiet time some morning or with a quick prayer in the car. It’s a process. It comes through long, significant seasons of being with God, not out of duty but out of longing to hear his voice. It comes when we stop ignoring that uncomfortable lack of peace, that disquieting voice in the back of our minds, and refuse to cover it up.” Chip Ingram, The Invisible War

***

“Just ‘having faith’ is not enough. The key question is whether the object of your faith is trustworthy. If the object of your faith is not reliable, then no amount of believing will change it. That is why our faith must be on the solid rock of God and His word. That is the only way to live a responsible and fruitful life. On the other hand, if what you believe in is not true, then how you end up living will not be right.” The Bondage Breaker, page 218

***

“Your freedom must be maintained…Freedom will continue to be yours as long as you keep choosing the truth and standing firm in the strength of the Lord.” The Bondage Breaker, page 244

***

“The power for Christian living is found in the truth; the power of Satan is in the lie…Christians are to pursue the truth because they already have the power and authority to do [God’s] will. Truth is what makes an encounter with Satan effective because his primary strategy is deception.” The Bondage Breaker, page 258

***

“When fear is controlling a believer, the Spirit of God is not, and Satan has the upper hand. Fear of the enemy and faith in God are mutually exclusive.” The Bondage Breaker, page 258

______________________________

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.

_______________________________

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.

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.”

________________________

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

________________________

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.

_______________________________

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.

Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s (Part 1)

Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s

Rebuking the Devil

 

In order to defeat the enemy we must first know our enemy. In our last post we studied the character of Satan. Knowing his character will help us understand what kind of thoughts originate from him (or his demons) compared with our own fleshly thoughts and desires.

Today we will talk about the various weapons of warfare Satan uses to attack believers. I’ll be using some references from the course I just finished at Liberty: The Doctrine of Satan. In it, my instructor lists the sixteen deadly “D’s” and I’ll be sharing his insights with you over the next several posts. I have no doubt you’ll recognize some of them in your life.

The Deadly D’s of the Devil

 

1.      Disappointment

 

What Christian (or human being) hasn’t experienced disappointment? Let’s face it; we all have expectations that are not met. We all have wants and desires that never come to fruition in our lives. Satan loves to capitalize on the demoralizing feelings of disappointment in the believer’s life. If we’re not standing guard with our weapons of war (the Armor of God—see Ephesians 6:10-18) we will be ill equipped to fight through disappointment successfully.

“To be disappointed is to forget Romans 8:28, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.’

Disappointment is God’s appointment.”¹ <<<<(Click to Tweet!)

When the fiery arrow of disappointment is aimed at our heart, we need to take the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and deflect the attack with the truth. We need to pray out loud (this is VERY important because the devil cannot read our minds, he can only place thoughts there), “Lord, I am disappointed, but I know that this disappointment is merely Your divine appointment in my life, and You are working these circumstances out for my greatest good. I choose to reject the lie that I can only be happy when I am getting my way and believe Your word that you care for me and have provided all I need to be complete.”

2.      Discouragement

 

When disappointment is left unchecked, it deteriorates into discouragement. It’s important to note that any form of discouragement has its origins in the devil. Discouragement cannot come from God. When we walk around with a sore countenance, griping and moaning about our circumstances, we give over a place of our hearts to discouragement (a spiritual stronghold for Satan to gain ground in our lives), which completely contradicts our New Life in Christ. Not only are we opening the door for Satan, but we fail to display the joy and peace of Christ to a world that needs His hope.

“To be discouraged is to forget 1 Samuel 30:6, ‘And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’”¹

If we’ve allowed discouragement to take root in our lives, we must pray out loud, “Lord, I confess my attitude of discouragement to you. I now choose to repent of this sinful spirit and renounce the lie that my joy and peace depend on favorable circumstances in my life. I choose to believe that my joy, security, and peace can only be found in You, Lord. From this moment on I am choosing to focus on the comforting truth available to me through Your Word.”

3.      Despair

 

Despair is the final result of disappointment and discouragement left to fester in one’s spirit. The despairing believer has no joy, purpose, or peace. I know a lot about despair because I lived a decade of my life in that place. I tried to commit suicide and suffered with addiction, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. It is impossible to effectively serve God  or experience the fullness of His presence in such a state of mind. The despairing believer has willfully traded the truth of Jesus for the lies of the devil.

“To despair is to forget 2 Corinthians 4:8,‘We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair.’”¹

If we’ve found ourselves in this destructive place, we need to pray out loud, “Lord, I confess that I have believed the devil’s lie that I am __________ (worthless, purposeless, unusable, etc.) and I now renounce that lie and replace it with Your truth. I know You love me, have created me for a specific purpose, and have assigned good works for me to do while I am here on this earth. You have a plan for my life, and I now embrace that plan and choose to trust Your Sovereign control over my life and circumstances.”

The best way to keep these first three deadly d’s from gaining ground in our lives is to recognize where they are coming from (Satan) and fight against it with the Word of God and prayer. It all starts with a little disappointment, so remember—Disappointment is God’s appointment. Give it to Him the moment it occurs and choose His truth over Satan’s lies.

How about you? Have you ever seen these deadly d’s take root in your life? What was the end result?

____________________________________________________

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

____________________________________________________

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!**

________________________________________________________

profilepic3Rebecca Aarup has written devotionals and Bible teaching 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.

Discerning the Devil: In Childhood

We’ve already discussed how to discern the voice of the flesh, now it’s time to talk about the voice of the devil. This is a loaded topic, so we may discuss this for several posts to come. Let’s review what we’ve discovered about Satan’s voice so far.

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).

It sounds so simple, but that is part of the great deception of our Enemy. If Satan was holding a play by play book of strategies in his hand, probably one of the first things he’d have written down would be, “Get them to think I am nothing to be concerned with. Get them to focus on every Scripture passage except the one’s that talk about me and my work. As long as they don’t care about me, fight me, or acknowledge me, my task will be much easier.”

And if you happen to be one of the minority, that is, one of the few Christians who actively fight the spiritual war (by active, I mean daily), you’ve probably been labeled by other believers as a fanatic. I wish it were true, I wish I was just an over-zealous spiritual warfare junky-fanatic. But that’s simply not the case. I believe the Bible is truth, and when it talks about the Enemy, that is just as true and important as what it says about developing the fruits of the Spirit or any number of other spiritual growth subjects. I don’t know this is true by experience only (for we can never trust our experiences alone as truth), but I know this to be true because of what the word of God says AND my experiences with that truth.

In my book, Like a Lost Sheep: Life through the Eyes of a Prodigal, I talk extensively about the voice of the devil and how it played a role in my childhood and the way I interpreted events. It’s important to note that Satan doesn’t wait until we are “all grown up” to attack us. His lies often begin to infiltrate our thinking when we’re children, before we’ve probably ever been taught anything about fighting a spiritual war.

“Jesus told the Jewish men of his time, who thought they were children of God simply because they were Abraham’s descendants, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The Bible is clear about Satan; he is a liar and he is actively fighting against the Church (see 1 Peter 5:8-9, Ephesians 6:10-18, 2 Corinthians 2:10-11). Do you think he has enough manners to wait until we are adults to take aim and fire his weapons at us? Not a chance. From the moment we are born, the greatest Enemy of God has sought to destroy His most prized creation: man. If Satan can’t have our soul, he will at least try to ruin our testimony and affect in Christ’s kingdom. And he doesn’t sit back and wait until we recognize what he is doing, or we are old enough to understand. Satan is merciless, and he wants to destroy us.”

     So, in what ways might we have heard Satan’s voice when we were children? (This is important to think about and uncover, because often the lies we’ve believed as children affect the choices we make as adults.)

Think back to a painful childhood event, what were some of the things you “thought” at the time? I’ll give an example from my life. As an overweight child plagued with severe acne, I was teased quite a bit, not just from peer groups, but from my own family members. Every time I experienced the shame of teasing, I thought, “I am not good enough. I am ugly. No one loves me. I am alone. I am worthless.” Do you see how these thoughts differ a great deal from the voice of the flesh, which is rooted in pride?

Satan is merciless, he doesn’t care how old we are, and he takes every opportunity to hammer his lies into our psyche. Because if we believe, for instance, that we are worthless, we will probably make choices in our lives that reflect that belief.  In order to gain an upper hand in this Great War we fight as believers, the first step we need to take is to discover the lies we believed about ourselves as children and renounce them. It could look something like this.

“Lord, you know the experiences I had as a child and how they made me feel _________ (worthless, unloved, lonely…etc.). Today I choose to believe the truth that in Christ I am __________ (loved, accepted, never alone…etc.).  Thank you, Jesus, for your truth that sets me free. Open my spiritual ears so I might be better able to discern your truth from Satan’s lies. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

     What lies did you believe about yourself as a child? Have you been able to see how Satan was at work in your thoughts, even at a young age? Does this knowledge make you think about your own child may be experiencing and how you can help them combat it? In our home, my daughter (at five years old) has memorized and often quotes verses like the ones below to help her focus on truth and recognize thoughts that are opposed to the truth:

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5

“We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

memory verse

_____________________________________________________

If you enjoyed this post, please take a moment to enter your email in the space provided on the right hand side of the screen (if using a computer) or scroll to the bottom (if using a smartphone). Your email is private and will not be shared. By signing up you will receive new posts directly in your inbox.

Other related posts:

Spiritual Warfare 101: Is it Real?

The Voices in My Head: The Flesh

______________________________________________________

profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is an author and freelance writer. She is a health columnist for The Christian Online Magazine, creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters online women’s ministry, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson Press) 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.

 

The Junk in My Trunk

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8

Suggested reading: Isaiah 59

Waking the Dead by John Eldredge

Imagine you’ve beautifully decorated a cake. You spent years studying how to decorate it to perfection, and all that knowledge has paid off. Your cake looks marvelous, anyone would want it at their wedding. That is unless they cut into it. You see, you spent so much time learning how to decorate the cake, you never took the time to learn how to bake the cake! Your ingredients were not measured correctly, and were not good quality. You had a beautiful cake that was inedible.

This describes the majority of us. We’ve accepted the teachings that we “should” act a certain way. So, we attempt to decorate our appearance (with the best of intentions) rather than fixing the inside. It’s called legalism. “Surely a real Christian wouldn’t act that way!” Perhaps that “Christian” has too much junk in their trunk, and they don’t realize it.

I have spent many years learning the Bible, doing studies, and attending classes, but those facts did not set me free. As a believer I continued to struggle with eating disorders, addictions, and ungodly attitudes. It was a daily struggle which often ended in despair. “I’ll never be able to do this!” There are many denominations that would label me a “non-believer” based on my actions. What was my problem?

When I went through The Steps to Freedom in Christ I started to understand what was holding me up. Yes, I did have a heart that sought after God, but I had too much junk in my trunk making it impossible for me to drive up the mountaintop of freedom. I struggled every day with wanting to do the right thing, then failing to do it. I chalked it up to Paul’s struggle in Romans 7:24, “Oh wretched man that I am!” I guess it’s the way it will always be; trying to do good and failing. I was taught and believed this was the way of the Christian life, ups and downs; failures and successes.

I had tried to forget about my past and move on for many years, yet I had failed to deal with it head on. One thing I did was list every physical act partaken of with another man that was not my husband. I had to write down their names and what I did. I even had to write down my husband’s name and everything we did before we were married. I went through the list systematically renouncing the deeds and the spiritual bonds it produced. Those were things I tried to forget for many years. I never realized that just pushing the memories away didn’t fix the problem. I had made spiritual agreements with these people and these bonds needed to be broken. Just because I had re-dedicated myself to Jesus didn’t mean the spiritual bonds of sin were severed. Had God already forgiven me? Of course! He forgave me as He suffered on the cross for my every shameful choice, but I couldn’t experience freedom until I acknowledged and renounced my actions.

Repentance isn’t for God, it’s for me.

This process was repeated in every area of my life, not just sexual sin. I’m talking about down to “obeying the laws of the government”. Yes, that means speeding and other traffic violations whether or not I was “caught”. Does this sound extreme to you? I assure you, it’s not. A lifetime of junk piling up set a wall between me and true freedom.

I am living life on the mountaintop now because I finally emptied out the garbage. I acknowledged its existence, renounced it and repented, allowing me to experience the freedom of Christ completely. We’re wearing ourselves out trying to get up that mountain with 500lbs of bricks on our backs. We’re fighting a losing battle by decorating a cake with inedible ingredients.

For the first time in my life I am “living” the way I should; not out of effort but because I have been changed from the inside out.  If my trunk is filled with junk I’ve never faced, I will have no room to retain the truth of Jesus that results in changed behavior.

Am I perfect? No, but I am equipped, armed, and ready for the spiritual battle that rages every day of my life and that has allowed me to walk in my position with Christ as a saint.

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.