What’s Making America not-so-Great and Killing the Evangelical Church

      A few years ago I began writing a new manuscript. Thirty thousand words later and a two year sabbatical, I am once again reminded of the importance of sharing this message. So, below I have decided to share one of the chapters of this unfinished work with you, in hopes that God will speak to both you and me about the dangers of the Entitlement mentality. How often I forget to leave this door closed! Perhaps you can relate? It doesn’t take much effort to look around our world and our churches to see its nasty infiltration. Let’s pray that we, as a church and the bride of Christ, will come together–laying aside our expectations–and learn to be content with the peace of Jesus alone.

Excerpt from:

The Devil’s Alphabet: 25 Doors You Don’t Want to Open

CHAPTER THREE

Door #5: Entitlement

Counterfeit: easily offended, anger towards God, feeling as if we are owed something

            Truth: We have no rights, all our rights belong to God, we are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

The Origin of Entitlement

“For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’” Isaiah 14:13-14, NLT

Most of us have heard it said, “Satan’s downfall was his pride.” But I would challenge that statement. Opening the door of entitlement often leads to other doors, doors like pride. But pride begins with entitlement. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines entitlement as: “the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something; the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges).” Before pride, Satan saw something he wanted and decided he deserved what he saw. Satan saw God, His glory and His throne, and believed he deserved those things for himself. This entitlement mentality was the beginning of the end for Satan. It’s one of the things he used to tempt Eve as well; she doubted God’s word first, then began to believe she had a right to the knowledge God was clearly withholding from her. Whether we realize it or not, we stumble through this door more often than we think.

Entitlement Mentality with God

            Anger towards God, I think we’ve all experienced this at times. But what is the source of this anger? The source, more often than not, is an entitlement mentality. As Christians we tend to fall victim to thinking life is supposed to go a certain way because we’re obeying God. We’re promised blessings when we obey, right? While obedience to God is a promise of blessing, it is not a promise of good or pleasurable circumstances. The blessings we are promised aren’t necessarily material in nature (though they certainly can be). You’re going to read this repeatedly and I say it again now to continue to drive the point home: one of our greatest blessings is having a “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Peace has no price-tag, and those who have this peace know exactly what I’m talking about. The moment we start to believe God owes us something is the same moment our spiritual peace begins to erode because like it or not, our circumstances will not always be pleasant.

“Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?” Romans 9:20-21, NLT

Those are difficult verses to swallow, especially if we’ve walked through the door of entitlement. It doesn’t help that there are an abundance of religious leaders today teaching and writing about things like health, wealth, and prosperity. This never ceases to amaze me. How can this teaching be so prominent when our Bible contains much of the opposite when it describes the lives of Christians? Look at Job! Look at Paul, John the Baptist, or pretty much anyone who followed the teachings of Jesus. They were persecuted, punished, tortured, and murdered because they followed God. Materially speaking, they were anything but prosperous. And while Job was wealthy, he also lost all of his wealth, health, and property; he even lost his entire family. None of his friends understood his suffering because of their own entitlement mentality. “Surely God only allows such horrors to befall the wicked, evil, and rebellious, not the righteous,” they reasoned. And the same thing happens in our lives. We suffer and our fellow Christians judge our spiritual lives because deep down they too believe good things are synonymous with obedience to God.

Sometimes life is great, we’re showered blessing upon blessing, good things raining down from the heavens abound. And other times it seems the only thing raining on us is hydrochloric acid; burning, painful, searing loss after loss. In either case, God owes us nothing. Certainly God wants to bless us, but it’s the spiritual, inner blessings He is focused on. It’s the transformation of us into the likeness of His Son that he knows will be our ultimate bliss.

As a mother, I strive to teach my daughter healthy eating habits, but that’s not easy with a young child who seems extraordinarily picky. Rest assured, when my daughter opens up her school lunch and sees fruits and vegetables, her reaction isn’t gratitude. ‘Round and ‘round we go fighting about it, but in the end she either eats the produce or goes hungry. She believes I am torturing her, but I know, as much as she dislikes it, that I’m doing the right thing for her body, growth, health, and development. I could let her eat artificial cheesy snacks and chocolate cookies every day, to show that I love her and care about her happiness, but a better way to show I love and care about her is to withhold those things from her, saving them as an occasional special treat. In fact, she appreciates those things a lot more when she doesn’t get them every day. Similarly, God wants to show us He loves us and cares for us, but His idea of love is far different (and greater) than ours. Our prayers sometimes sound like a six-year-old begging for cake; God hears those prayers, but many times chooses to answer with carrots and apples. When we have an entitlement mentality, the raw produce version of answered prayers or life circumstances will probably anger, baffle, and discourage us. When that is our reaction to the circumstances in our lives, we need to stop and ask God for a heart check, as we’ve likely walked through the door of entitlement.

Entitlement Mentality with People

            Let’s face it, God is God and He’s going to do and allow whatever He wants. For some of us that truth isn’t terribly difficult to accept. After all, He’s God and we’re not; but when it comes to other people, well now, that’s a different story. We expect others to forgive us, treat us with kindness, care about our hurts, ask us how we’re doing, sympathize and empathize with us, and basically fulfill our emotional needs in every way we were designed to get from Jesus. God forbid someone fail to meet our lofty expectation, that’s when our entitlement mentality rears its ugly head. We know we’ve walked through that door when we find ourselves easily offended, overly sensitive, resentful, bitter, gossipy, judgmental, and critical of others; basically an overall jerk of a Christian (those who knows me well are laughing right now, because they know I have struggled with all of these character flaws). Somewhere along the way, someone failed to meet our unspoken, assumed expectation, and that hurts, especially when we feel we’re entitled to a certain response or action from said person.

It’s Not All About Me (or You)

“I’ll never forget the day I decided to try a new church. Just months after being widowed, I had moved and was looking for a church that was similar to the one where my husband had been pastoring. That day, I had gone through the process of finding the place where my children would go during the service and after leaving them in the capable hands of the teachers, I walked to the sanctuary. As people were milling around, I waited for someone to introduce themselves to me…but no one did. With my heart pounding and my hands sweating, I realized just how alone I was. New situations hadn’t bothered me before, but that was because I normally had my husband at my side.

“When I found a seat, I half expected the people sitting next to me to turn their heads and acknowledge my presence, but they didn’t. Then, as the worship began, I found myself fighting back tears. When your late husband was an amazing worship leader, pretty much any song sung in church reminds you of him. And so there I stood, alone, in an unfamiliar church, choking back tears. For a moment I was embarrassed because I felt I was making a scene. But that moment of embarrassment vanished when I realized my sorrow had gone unseen. For a while, that day really bothered me. How could those people be so self-focused that they didn’t even notice me? I felt invisible. I felt as if no one cared.”

Wow, that’s rough! Certainly my friend here had every right to be upset over the situation. I know I’ve experienced something eerily similar in many church settings, and I’m sure you have too. Unfortunately, it’s easy to walk in with expectations of how we are to be treated; failing to see that perhaps others have the same expectations of us. Before you know it, we’re all ticked off and offended with each other. Fortunately, God used the situation to speak to my friend about her own attitude, rather than the attitude of everyone around her (He has a way of doing that to us, doesn’t He?).

“Months later, as the intensity of my grief wore off I have come to see something. It’s not the people around me who have become more self-focused during my trials—it’s me. And honestly, at times I’m the most self-focused person I know. I had walked into that church feeling as if everyone should notice me. I stood during worship and had the audacity to think that the people gathered there would be looking at me instead of worshipping God.

“If I have learned only one thing the past few years, it’s that life isn’t all about me. And much like this memory shows, church isn’t all about me.”

It’s not all about me and it’s not all about you. The sooner we accept that truth the happier we will be. In a perfect world maybe our expectations of others would be met more often, but we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world full of difficult and unfair circumstances. One of the keys to living a more peaceful, less frustrated life, is to give our expectations to God, and leave our assumptions behind the closed door of entitlement. We’re going to be hurt and disappointed by people, because we’re all self-centered, sinful human beings, it’s a fact of life. We don’t appreciate it when others make assumptions about us and our motives, so it shouldn’t be a shocker that we need to treat others the same way we’d like to be treated—with grace.

Truth Encounter

            The door of entitlement is a tough one, one the Devil will place in our path time and time again. It’s what got him in trouble and what has plagued humanity from the beginning of time. The best defense is to get out of denial and admit we have a problem with this self-centered way of dealing with people and God. The following prayer can be used to help you refocus on the truth, and reject this door of entitlement. No matter what words you use to express your heart to God, say them out loud so the Devil can hear you and flee.

“Jesus, I know I’ve often walked through the door of entitlement, becoming bitter, resentful, angry, or offended with you or others over my unmet expectations. I now choose to give all of those expectations to you (take a moment to think about and name specific situations where you were hurt or offended by someone, or angry at God for allowing a situation into your life); my expectations of how others should act, my expectations of how you should answer my prayers, and my expectations of how I think my life should go when I am living to please you. In the name of Jesus I choose to reject the lie that I am entitled to anything, and accept the truth that it is only because of your grace I am even breathing at this very moment. I am not my own, but have been bought with the price of Jesus’ blood. Teach me how to bring glory to you through my attitude, and by showing grace to others as you have shown me grace. Thank you for freeing me from the bondage of entitlement. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

 

 

When “ONE” Really Does Matter

When “ONE” Really Does Matter

 

Earlier this year I felt led to start a life group at New Life Community Church—a life group that focused on spiritual freedom, spiritual healing, spiritual warfare, and the icky issues that often get overlooked in favor of more traditional studies by famous authors. You know, the studies about Grace, How to Pray, How to Disciple, How to do this and that and the other. Don’t get me wrong, I love those types of studies too, but sometimes people walk into church a little “messy” on the inside, and sometimes those people need something a little different than another “Five Steps to Being a Better Christian.”

I was excited as it got under way. There were four of us ladies, which would be perfect when it came to discussing the more sensitive issues we were likely to explore. (It’s easier to share in a small small group then in a room with twenty people.) But after just a few weeks our small group was reduced to microscopic proportions as just I and one other woman remained. Not surprisingly I struggled with the doubt of whether or not I had really “heard” God’s voice in this endeavor. Apparently I had some unmet expectations regarding the “success” of this group. (Don’t you love how God kicks us off our platform of pride rather bluntly?) But in the end I knew I had followed His leading, and I committed myself to sticking it out, even if it was only so “ONE” little life could possibly be affected in a positive way (and even if that “ONE” just happened to be ME!).

Surrendering my expectations to God lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I could walk into the “group” (I mean, if two people can be called a group) excited about the study and what God had revealed to my friend during her week. We probably learned more from each other’s insights and experiences then either of us thought possible.

A few months into the group I had the opportunity to share a testimony at a Life Group Leaders meeting our church held. I had “ONE” little testimony to read, but God had more in store as a result.

After the meeting a woman approached me and asked if there was room for “ONE” more (Oh nope, sorry, three is a crowd—NOT). So she started attending the group even though the study was ending soon. She shared some of her struggles and asked us to pray for some of her family members who were struggling with some specific “icky” issues we often addressed in our study. The three of us developed quite a bond through this “doing life” together thing. We now pray for each other on a regular basis and know we can depend on each other for a listening, non-critical/judgmental ear. We have a “safe” place to share what many people may find “taboo” in a Christian environment (after all, Christians shouldn’t be depressed or have anxiety, right?!).

A few weeks after this woman joined our group, one of the Pastors referred another woman to me who needed a listening, non-judgmental ear regarding her “issues”. She ended up coming to the group, even though she was only able to make it to a couple meetings before it ended.  (I’ll share more about her amazing spiritual transformation in a later post, but you won’t want to miss it! It’s powerful!) So, by the end of the semester, our little life group was up to four. Then the summer came and I found out God had some major plans!

Now, we weren’t even meeting in the summer, nor was this group specifically advertised at church—but the church happens to have a website where people can browse through the life groups and read a little paragraph about it to see if it’s something they are interested in. Through this website, a few more ladies contacted me and a few others were referred to the group via word of mouth. I like to think of it as a carefully God-selected group of women called to come together in this special way.

In a matter of two months I went from prayers of, “Lord, only one? Ok, I’ll trust that this “ONE” is exactly what you have planned,” to, “Ok Lord, where am I going to find room for all of these people?!” You see, the Unexpected God came through again with His awe-inspiring blessings.

In just a few weeks our group begins again, this time we have two different meeting dates because there isn’t enough room for all of us in the room we had been using! So we’ve expanded to two days of meeting, and TEN women searching for the same thing: a dynamic and intimate relationship with Christ. Woo! God is GOOOOOD!

So I said all of that to say this: if you’re leading or mentoring just “ONE”, or maybe you write a blog and only “ONE” person reads it, or maybe you work hard to serve but not “ONE” person notices your efforts, then take heart! Maybe God will grow your ministry and maybe not, but either way, the “ONE” He gave to you is the perfect one because He chose it. So embrace it! Every “ONE” is important in God’s kingdom and we really CAN change the world one person at a time. It starts with our own spiritual freedom, and then through building relationships—one at a time—and trusting God with the results. You never know how your influence, testimony, or freedom in Christ could be used to affect the life of another…and another…and another…

…Or, as it was in my case, maybe that “ONE” God wants to transform is actually YOU.

Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s (Part 6)

Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s (Part 6)

Rebuking the Devil 

(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

Have you ever tried to write with a dull pencil? Or cut a vegetable with a dull knife? You can get the job done, but the end result leaves something to be desired. Sometimes in my laziness I have shaved my legs (sorry if that’s TMI, guys) with a dull razor and though it eventually got the job done, it didn’t feel good!

It’s the same for Christians; we should be sharp in our faith and beliefs. As we grow in love for God and His word, we learn how to love Him and we learn more of His character. His truth is then able to permeate our words and actions. As our lives are transformed, others around us will notice the effects of our submission to Christ. Of course, the opposite is true as well. If we continue on as immature believers, weak in faith, the result is much like that of a rusty blade. Not only do we hurt ourselves, but those around us will suffer as well. The results of our dullness will be grossly evident to the world.

A shallow faith is not an attractive faith. When we say we believe something, yet fail to behave in a way that backs up that “belief” we do ourselves and others spiritual harm. Our Enemy is certainly pleased when he can keep us comfortable, lukewarm, weak, vacillating between spiritual highs and lows, and double-minded as Christians. When a trial comes, when the storm rages, we find out how shallow or strong our faith really is.

As Christ followers we have a responsibility to grow in Christ, not just in book-smarts or theological knowledge, but in submission to Jesus. Submission activates our faith and opens the door for us to hear the Holy Spirit’s guidance, warnings, and convictions (see James 4:7). But without the “sharpness” of life in the Spirit, we lack the spiritual discernment and wisdom to guide us through life successfully (in the will of God). And without a doubt, our poor choices will affect others around us.

The author of Hebrews was disappointed to find the Jewish believers stumbling in the quick sands of spiritual immaturity, and rightly so, he admonished them to “grow up” so they could teach others the way of truth, rather than being spoon fed spiritual milk their entire lives. The Christian life is meant to grow and mature, not idle aimlessly in neutral. A lot of the problems we’re seeing in the world today are directly related to the dullness of modern, worldly, semi-committed, complacent, and immature Christians. And as we’ll see in the next post, spiritual dullness left unchecked can have eternal consequences.

“To suffer dullness is to forget Hebrews 5:11, ‘Of whom we have many things to say and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.’”¹

If you’ve struggled to fully submit your life to Christ and walk in the Spirit on a consistent basis, pray the following prayer out loud: “Lord, I confess I have allowed Satan’s deception of dullness and complacency to infiltrate my spiritual life. This is evident when I fail to fully submit to your word and will. I now choose to reject a dull spiritual life, and actively choose to believe and live by the truth that I am to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and share that with others.² Guard my heart against a dull, immature faith and grant me a wise spirit.³ Thank you for renewing my heart and mind, and giving me a willingness to seek and live by the truth of your word.”

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  1. Dr. H.L. Willmington, Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, ©1981, 1984 by H.L. Willmington–all rights reserved.
  2. “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18, KJV
  3. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” James 1:5-6

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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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If you haven’t already, 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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Radio Interview–Tomorrow!

Despite the difficulties of the year, God has continued to richly bless me, my family, and the ministry of freedom He called me to pursue and share with others. Tomorrow, Saturday, May 18th, I will be appearing as a guest on the CL Gammon radio show. We’ll be discussing how believing God has impacted my journey through addiction, mental illness, and more. Please share this with your friends, especially if you know someone dealing with depression, addiction, eating disorders, and other spiritual battles. The program will air Saturday, May 18th at 10am EST/7amPST and you can listen by clicking HERE. If you can’t tune in tomorrow, the program will be archived so you can listen in at your convenience (I’ll repost the archived link here on my website.) I hope you’ll join me, and let me know what you think! If there are any questions you’d like me to address, I’d love to hear them (below in the comments). The program is only half an hour, so grab a cup of coffee as you wake up and listen in on your computer or smart phone, or whatever technology you use.

 

Through Christ, freedom is possible. Help me share this message with others…

 

Thank you!

Rebecca Aarup

 

PS- I have to apologize in advance for how my voice will sound, I’ve been battling a cold all week, and am so congested I feel like my eyes could pop out. This interview should prove interesting! (Don’t try to convince me that God doesn’t have a sense of humor! Nevertheless, He remains GOOD and FAITHFUL!)

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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.

_______________________________

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.

 

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

 ***

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

 ***

“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

 ***

“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

 ***

“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

 ***

“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

 ***

“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.

_______________________________

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 5)

Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s (Part 5)

Rebuking the Devil

 

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

Lies are lies whether they are outright blatant deceptions, careful manipulations to overstate or understate a situation, or words that have been omitted to avoid a particular consequence. Many times I have been advised by Christians to not tell my husband something that might upset him. Usually this is justified in their minds because of our faith differences, “He won’t understand because he doesn’t have the same faith as you.” But no matter how good the intentions behind the advice, I know I am to respect my husband, and part of that involves being honest with him, even if it means I may get a response I don’t like.

Dr. Willmington wisely states, “To be less than we should be as pastors, parents, or workers is to cheat our people and children and thus become dishonest.”

When we choose to believe the word of God and walk by faith, the people around us will be blessed (<<< Click to Tweet)—especially our children and immediate family members. Likewise, when we fail to trust God or walk by faith, the relationships around us will suffer, cheating those people of the blessings God wants us both to receive. It’s an issue of spiritual integrity that needs to be addressed and dealt with in each of our hearts.

“To be dishonest is to forget 2 Corinthians 4:2,

‘But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.’”¹

If you recognize a spirit of dishonesty within your heart, pray out loud: “Lord, thank you for bringing this issue of honesty to my attention. I realize I have been dishonest by __________ (not speaking the whole truth, exaggerating circumstances, minimizing feelings/circumstances, omitting details, etc.). In the name of Jesus I now renounce the spirit of dishonesty and choose to embrace a life of spiritual integrity. From now on I will concern myself with having a clean conscience before you, God, rather than worrying about how I am seen in the eyes of people. Lord, continue to teach me how to walk with integrity in both word and action as I seek to glorify you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

9. Deceit

Deceitfulness is yet another one of Satan’s weapons of mass destruction, not only for unbelievers but for the Christian as well.

•Non-Christian (Unbelievers)

Many of us know people who are living according to the deceptions of the god of this world through cults, New Age teachings, astrology, atheism, indifference to God, or false doctrines of salvation, and we need to pray for them:

“Lord Jesus, I come before you believing that if I ask anything according to your will, you will hear me.² I know you desire that none would perish but that all would come to repentance³ but I also understand that your gospel is veiled to those who are perishing because the god of this world has blinded their minds. In the name of Jesus I now ask that this veil of deception be lifted, and all demonic interference hindering ________ (name of person) from coming to a saving faith will be disrupted and abolished. Give _________ (name of person) a hunger and thirst for righteousness that will bring them to a complete freedom through Christ. I ask this with the authority of the blood of Christ, Amen.”

•Christians

When we contort the word of God to fit into our ideologies and human reasoning then go and teach that message to others, we are both deceived and deceitful. We have the will, as humans, to agree or disagree and to obey or not obey God’s written word. But we do not have the authority to add to, or subtract from the Word of God. And that is exactly what occurs when we twist the meaning of Scripture to fit our purposes.

As a writer and Bible teacher, it is my responsibility to accurately interpret the word of God to the best of my ability (see 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17 and James 3:1). This includes careful preparation and research before I write/teach on a subject. I am not to grab a random verse and try to squeeze a devotional out of it, or worse yet, take a verse out of context and develop a doctrine out of it! I am to take what is clearly stated in the word of God and make it more easily understood and applicable to those I share with.

Each one of us will be held accountable for how we treated the word of God in both personal application and teaching (<<<Click to tweet!)—it’s serious business! In that light, we are to remember to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, and not to add to or subtract from it. We are not to be deceived nor are we to deceive others.

“To be deceitful is to forget Jeremiah 17:9,

‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’”¹

Don’t follow your heart, your feelings, or your ideas of God. Follow the facts as presented in the Bible. (<<<Click to tweet!)

Accept the word of God for what it is and don’t twist it to fit into your human reasoning. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (see Isaiah 55:8). (<<<Click to tweet!)

If you have been deceitful, whether intentionally or unintentionally, pray out loud: “Lord, I confess I have tried to twist your words into something more comfortable for me to accept. In the name of Jesus I now renounce the spirit of deceit and choose to live by your word alone, not my ideas of your word. I will accept the authority of the Bible as a whole instead of picking and choosing what I want to believe while tossing aside the less palatable portions. Guide me into all truth and convict me when I stray from, or misuse your precious Word.”

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

2- “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15

3- “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

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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.

Living Free Life Group–Quotes (From April 14, 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:

“Every temptation is an enticement to live independently of God.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 136

“Most of us won’t often be tempted to commit obvious sins such as armed robbery, murder, or rape. Satan is too clever and subtle for that. He knows that we will recognize the flagrant wrong in such temptations and refuse to act on them. Instead, his tactic is to entice us to push something good beyond the boundary of the will of God until it becomes sin. He treats us like the proverbial frog in the pot of water: gradually turning up the heat of temptation, hoping we don’t notice that we are approaching the boundary of God’s will and jump out before something good becomes sin.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 137

“The following statements reveal the sinful results in a number of areas where we are tempted to take the good things that God created beyond the boundary of God’s will.

•Physical rest becomes laziness

•Quietness becomes noncommunication

•Ability to profit becomes avarice or greed

•Enjoyment of life becomes sensuality

•Interest in the possession of others becomes covetousness

•Enjoyment of food becomes gluttony

•Self-care becomes selfishness

•Self-respect becomes conceit

•Communication becomes gossip

•Cautiousness becomes unbelief

•Positiveness becomes insensitivity

•Anger becomes rage and bad temper

•Loving-kindness becomes overprotection

•Judgment becomes criticism

•Same-sex friendship becomes homosexuality

•Conscientiousness becomes perfectionism

•Generosity becomes wastefulness

•Self-protection becomes dishonesty

•Carefulness becomes fear”

–The Bondage Breaker, pp. 137-138

“[Satan] learned about Jesus’ apparent vulnerability to physical temptation by watching Him go without food for 40 days. He’s watching you too, looking for soft spots of vulnerability in your physical appetites for food, rest, comfort, and sex. Temptation is greatest when hunger, fatigue, and loneliness are acute.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 141

“God is under no obligation to us; He is under obligation only to Himself. There is no way you can cleverly word a prayer so that God must respond to it. That not only distorts the meaning of prayer but puts us in the position of manipulating God. The righteous shall live by faith in the written word of God and not demand that God prove Himself in response to our whims or wishes, no matter how noble they may be. We are the ones being tested, not God.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 143

“Where is the way of escape [from temptation]? In the same place temptation is introduced: in your mind. Every temptation is first a thought introduced to your mind by your own carnality or the tempter himself. If you ruminate on that thought and consider it an option, you will eventually act on it and that’s sin.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 148

“God has not only declared us forgiven, but He has removed our filthy garments of unrighteousness and clothed us with His righteousness. Notice that the change of wardrobe is something that God does, not we ourselves.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 154

“Accusation leads to death; conviction leads to repentance and life.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 157

“Don’t believe anything Satan says about you; it’s a lie. Believe everything God says about you; it’s the truth which will set you free.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 161

Consider:

Why is my freedom so important to the world?

B002_Full_The_Bondage_Breaker

Purchase The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson

 

 

 

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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, 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.