Weapons of Our Warfare

January 3, 2014

 

Weapons of Our Warfare


1 Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.



How many of us are still trying to combat and fight flesh with flesh.  Is just a positive mental attitude, or using a right formula or trying to be good enough or religious enough going to win our battles over our flesh?  What we are experiencing in our lives is frustration, defeat and condemnation.  We want to do right, but we are still experiencing that law of sin working on our flesh. Our flesh and even soul are not very good at overcoming the weaknesses in themselves.  The Word says that the weapons that God has provided for us are mighty to the tearing down of strongholds.  There are many of us that haven’t experienced a lot of victory in tearing down these strongholds.  We continue to allow these stronghold to be a part of our thinking, behavior and being.  We are still identifying with them and in so doing we continue to give them life and power over us.  Our greatest weapons are not our earthly thinking.  That is the source of our greatest defeat.  We think as the world thinks and not as the Spirit of God thinks.  When the Word exhorts us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, it is telling us to put on the mind of Christ and renew our thinking according to the Word and not according to our natural reasoning.   It is telling us to put our identification on who we are in Christ and not on whom we have been in the flesh.

The first place we must come too is a place of total surrender to the Lord and the Holy Spirit that indwells us.  We are like a country taken over by the Lord, but the flesh still maintains its pockets of resistance, it’s guerilla fighters that provide avenues for the flesh to have access and regain position and power.  Most of us don’t want to admit to these, but they’re there.  We know they are there because we are struggling with these fleshly strongholds in areas of our lives.  Romans 12 starts out by telling us the first position we need to take, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. “ The first thing we need to do is offer our lives a living sacrifice which means that we are willing to lay the flesh upon the altar and allow it to be consumed.  It means that we are turning our mind and thinking from a worldview to a kingdom view.  Our thinking, goals and attitudes are no longer geared towards this earth; they are geared towards heaven and the spiritual calling we have in Christ Jesus.  Here, in this earth, we have no abiding place, but our eyes must be set upon the city whose builder and maker is God.  It is in this mindset that we begin to fashion our lives and our thinking after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh.  As we begin to walk in the Spirit then all that flows through our senses begins to flow through Him.  He is the Discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  If we are sensitizing ourselves to Him then He begins to put His finger on the wrong motives, thoughts and attitudes that are working in our lives.  If we indeed want the weapons of the Spirit to operate in our lives, we must first be in agreement and submission to the Holy Spirit.  While the Holy Spirit indwells us to help us in living a godly life, He by no means usurps our will to decide and choose to whom we obey and to whom we give our mind and our flesh over too.  If we want to choose the fleshly things, then the Holy Spirit will back off.  We may still have a conviction that what we are doing isn’t right, but if we desensitize ourselves to the Holy Spirit through following after our self-will then we will be less and less sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  When God says draw near to Me and I will draw near to you, He is saying as you become more sensitive and obedient to Me then you will begin to sense more of My presence and dealings in your life.  The thing we learn about walking in the Spirit is that it is a continual conscious act to live in that place.  When we walk after the Spirit long enough it may become more natural to us, but our spirit man must always be a guarded city.  As soon as our defenses go down the enemy is ready to come in.  

Indeed the weapons of our warfare are mighty, but they do demand diligence and full surrender of our hearts and minds to Christ.  Our over coming is by allowing the Holy Spirit to over come every thought and temptation that is contrary to the will of God.  We will no doubt loose some battles along the way, but that must not discourage or detour us from our mission of being conformed to the image and likeness of Christ.  In this life, the warfare is continual and ongoing, but we do have the weapons to defeat our foe.  We must indeed to do as Ephesians 6 exhorts us too and put on the whole armor of God that we might stand against the whiles and schemes of the devil.  It is up to us to appropriate our spiritual weapons and armor through fully and unceasingly yielding ourselves as living sacrifices in obedience and submission to the Holy Spirit.

 

Blessings,

kent

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Boys to Men

October 25, 2013

Ephesians 4: 14-16
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Boys to Men

As I was meditating this morning an old John Wayne movie came into my thoughts called “The Cowboys”. Many of you may still remember it. It was about a rancher who had to drive his cattle to market, but he couldn’t get any men to help him so he had to take a group of boys to drive his cattle. Along the drive they are confronted with cattle rustlers who capture them. John Wayne never allows fear or intimidation to be seen on him. He stands up to these rustlers and demonstrates before these boys what a man of courage and integrity is all about. In the process the leader of the rustlers kills him and they go on to take the cattle. The only other adult is the old cook. After John Wayne’s death, these boys rise to the occasion and they no longer see themselves as boys, but as men. They plan their strategy and take the cattle back from the rustlers, defeating them in the process and killing their leader. They then take the cattle on to market and complete their mission.
What I felt the Lord was showing me through this is that we have a man who has walked before us and shown us the true nature and character of God. He has never shown fear or been intimidated by His enemies, but demonstrated before us the greatest degree of courage and self-sacrifice as He gave His life for us. We are like those boys, who have never seen ourselves really as men, but God is placing us in circumstances that we must gird up our loins as men and walk the walk of the Savior. There comes a time we put aside our childish ways and we come into manhood and I speak this figuratively for women as well as men. The Holy Spirit is there to give the wisdom and guidance to grow up into Him which is the head, even Christ. As we come into maturity, we put aside our petty bickering and differences and we function as one man, one team filled with the Holy Spirit, with power and authority. I believe that in this time the Lord is telling us to grow up and go from boys to men. We know the way; Jesus walked it before us, now it is time that we walk His walk, not going where we choose, but where He leads us. Many of us may be weak or of no special ability or strength, but God has chosen the foolish to confound the wise and the weak to prevail over the strong. It is not because of who we are that we are anything, but it is because of who He is in us that we are everything and capable of anything. It is time we take our eyes off of our immaturity and childishness. It is time we place our eyes upon Him that we have been called to be conformed too and begin to walk in His image and likeness. Faith sees what is not evident and without faith it is impossible to please Him. It is that faith of who He is in us that is taking us from boys to men.

Blessings,
kent

Ephesians 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31″For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Bone of His Bone and Flesh of His Flesh

The law of first mention in the Word is that wherever we see something first mentioned in the Word it establishes a precedent, truth and principle that guides us in the interpretation of where it used in other places. Genesis 2:23-25 is where this precept and principle is first used and it establishes a precedent for the mystery and the principle that Paul speaks of here in Ephesians. It says, “The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.” 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
If you can receive it, think of Adam before the fall as being like Christ in the earth. Everything is perfect. There is no sin, decay, pestilence or strife. It is a utopia. The only thing Adam is lacking is companionship. He is alone in that he is existing in a level by himself. Above him, he has the fellowship with God and below him he has the companionship and provision of God’s creation, but there is no one to meet him where he’s at.
I believe when God created Adam that he was created in the image of God and he was complete in one person in the male and female sense. Both genders were already complete in him. But God in His wisdom and divine purpose saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone, so He put Adam in a deep sleep, from his side He took a rib and formed a woman. He separated out a gender that was a part of Adam and made it separate from him. When Adam awoke and came to know this woman, what he spoke, is what Christ has spoken of His bride, the church, when she was taken out of His side. Remember when Jesus hung upon the cross and after He slept in death, the soldier pierced his side and out that wound flowed blood and water. These are the elements of birth and life. The woman, the bride was now taken out of Him, washed in His blood and baptized into the death of the flesh that she might become alive in the spirit. Jesus, the Christ, could now say of her, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.” Christ might now say of His church, you are flesh of my flesh and spirit of My Spirit. The profound mystery is that we are only complete as we are in Christ and He is complete within us. We are two parts come together to make the whole man Christ. Christ the head and Christ the body must become fully one. His Word must wash us by renewing our minds and hearts in the mind and will of Christ. Our full consummation with Him will be seen as we are presented ‘without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless.’ When Christ left the Father it was to take unto Himself a bride. When He comes again she will be ready and prepared for Him. The Holy Spirit has been grooming us for Him and like Esther when she went into the king, we will be so radiant in beauty that none other can compare. The reason Esther was so pleasing to the king is because she took the effort to find out from the eunuch what was pleasing to him. We must find out from the Holy Spirit what is pleasing to Christ and be conformed to it. Then we will be ready as His presence and appearance comes forth. We will be flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone in consummate fullness.
The Father wants us to see and know who we are in Him. It took time and process for Esther to see herself as the queen of the great kingdom of Babylon. She had to change her thinking from who she had been to who she had become. We must also change out thinking, being transformed in the renewing of our minds to who we now are in Christ. We are one flesh and one spirit in Him. He is the last Adam, without sin or fault and He is conforming us into His own image and likeness. “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” We must be in a place of full respect and commitment unto our Husband, who is our head in all things. We can’t be the rebellious, self-willed and self-serving wife that lives only for her wants and desires. Our purpose is for Him, to complete Him by allowing Him to have expression through us. Through us, the woman, He procreates Himself in the earth.

Blessings,
kent

The Groan Within

July 8, 2013

The Groan Within

Romans 8:18-24
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

As much as we can love the Lord and desire to be filled with the fullness and glory of His divine life we find that as long as we are still of this earth we are still tethered to our body of flesh. It is this body of flesh that poses our limitations; it is the dust to which we are bound and upon which the serpent feeds. This flesh is ever demanding our attention and our care as it provides the earthly housing for our spirit man. Yet it is the spirit man within us, redeemed and conformed to the image of Christ, that so groans to be set free from the limitations, the hindrances, the weakness, the sin and the failures that the flesh prompts and facilitates. Every day must be a recommitment to crucify this flesh, hold fast our faith in Christ and walk in a manner that glorifies Him. Yet every day it seems the enemy is at work in our lives to undermine, to seek some avenue of darkness that he might exploit in us. Everyday it is necessary to set ourselves in array with our spiritual armor to combat our spiritual foe. The battle is waged not so much without as it is waged within. We battle our thoughts that are impure or out of alignment with the Word of God. We war with our passions and our impulses to act out of our flesh rather than our spirit. We war with the individual weaknesses that are characteristic and inherent within us. “Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of sin and death (Romans 7:24)?” Isn’t that our groan and cry to the Lord? We often hate what we are still manifesting in our flesh, but we seem so powerless to gain the victory and righteousness that we so desire to see. It is this reality that we continually face that causes us to know that we are the products of God’s grace and mercy alone and through no righteousness of our own. It is His righteousness and life with which we now relate and identify. The answer to our cry and groan for the deliverance from this body of death is still “Jesus Christ”.
We groan to see that full deliverance from the influence and power of our body of sin, but God in His infinite wisdom has chosen that even in salvation that we must walk in faith and trust for the in-working of righteousness and deliverance in us. God has structured it in such a way that it is only in a holy and sustained union with Him and identification with who we now are in Christ that we walk each day in faith, working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Our day to day victories are only accomplished as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that has set me free from the law of sin and death. There are two laws operational in your life today. Whichever law you make the choice to serve that is whose servant you are. We know that, in ourselves, in this flesh, dwells no good thing. We know that the heart is deceitfully wicked and who can know it? This is why we need an ally to prevail over this body of sin.
Romans 8:12-13 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” The key to a victorious life in Christ is living and walking in the Spirit and by the power of the Spirit putting to death the passion and misdeeds of the flesh.
It is not often an easy walk. Sometimes we grow weary or complacent. Sometime we allow the moldy corruption of our sinful desires to have place under a cloak of righteousness, but eventually the stink of our misdeeds will be revealed. Yes, we are often weak and we can all stumble. We need to pray for one another. We need the ability to be transparent with one another without judgement so that we can minister grace and encouragement to each other. We are the body and with the life of Christ within each of us we must minister and function to the good and health of the whole. As we hold fast our faith and hope, one-day that groan will be turned to the shout of victory, as we will triumph fully in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

The Hidden Man of the Heart

1 Peter 3:3-4
Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Who is the hidden man of the heart? I heard it brought out in a message the other day that one thing we never really see is our own face. We can see pictures, drawings or even the reflection of ourselves in a mirror, but they are only representations of the real. Perhaps the instrument we rely most upon to show us ourselves is the mirror. Even mirrors have different qualities and can only reflect as well as the light they are under. How do we see ourselves? Is it not a culmination of how others perceive us and reflect us back to ourselves, or the ideas we have about ourselves which are shaped by our culture and world around us? Aren’t we always evaluating who we are based on what we can perceive of ourselves? Often, we even try to present our outward man in ways that are not who we truly are to create an illusion of who we want to be or whom we want others to think we are. Some of us don’t even want an accurate reflection of ourselves, but would choose to live in the imaginations of what we want ourselves to represent.
God has a mirror that he wants us to look in so that we might see ourselves as He sees us. In the Old Testament the priest had to wash himself in a brass laver. This brass laver was like a wash basin made from the brass looking glasses or mirrors of the women. So as the priest washed they had to reflect on themselves. God was showing us in type that when we come to the laver or wash basin where His Word and Holy Spirit reflect to us the true condition of our hearts, ” That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (Ephesians 5:26).” God is interested in this hidden man of the heart, because it is what is being formed in His image and likeness, not the outward. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18). We have to begin really seeing ourselves as God sees us, “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We tend to see only our failures and shortcomings. We often only judge ourselves by condemnation and shame because we still perceive ourselves as sinners. We must begin to look and see ourselves in the light of who we are in Christ. God is dealing with the imperfections of our heart, not in condemnation but in transformation. He is conforming us to His nature in our hearts and character. While we look through the water of the brass laver into our hearts the water is there to wash us of all our impurities and uncleanness. The hidden man of the heart is who you truly are. “Christ in you the hope of glory”(Colossians 1:27). Let that Life be the outshining of what the world sees and let it be drawn to the light of the glory of Christ in you, so that it His image in you that you reflect.

Blessings,
kent

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