Temptation

October 30, 2014

Mark 26:21
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.

Temptation

Temptation seems to always want to come and visit us in our weakest moments, entice us with its sweetest fruit and numb us to the consequences of its poison. Lust and desire are strong aphrodisiacs no matter what level or place in life they come to us. They always seek to turn our heads from who we are in Christ to who we were. In Genesis 3 we see the beguiler as he comes to rationalize with Eve that what God said wasn’t so and God just didn’t want her to partake of what would make her like Him. God warned Cain in Genesis 6, “… sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” We all, like Cain and those that have gone before us, are often caught up in our mind, will and emotions where we rationalize and court sin. It so often starts so subtly with the innocent and seemingly harmless things, just like a fish playing with the bait on a hook until before we know it the hook is set and we are being reeled into the depths of our sin that can lead us to strongholds and addictions.
In our passage from Mark 26, Jesus sees this happening even to His own disciples as He cautions them, “watch and pray”. Like them. many of us go through a time of spiritual victory and strength where we tend to let down our guard and think we are no longer vulnerable to the temptations of sin. What Jesus speaks to His disciples, He speaks to us. “Be vigilant, watchful and mindful of the cunning strategies of the enemy. Your spirit may be strong and willing, but your flesh may not have the resolve that you think that you have in your spirit. Given opportunity, it will want to indulge itself in those areas where it is weak and vulnerable.
Our spirit, in unity with God’s spirit is the strength we have to reign in the flesh with its desires. While we no longer have that appetite for sin, we all fall prey to it at various time and in various ways. What we all now have confidence in, is that even if we make a mistake, we no longer live in the realm of the law of sin and death, but in the realm of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We know that in Christ we have an advocate with the Father who ever lives to make intercession for us and if we fail 1 John 1:5-8 reminds us of the message we have from Christ. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”
God warns us even about the company we keep. Where our hearts are our actions will follow. 2 Corinthians 6:14 -18 exhorts us, ” Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.
17″Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”
18″I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
While we minister the love and righteousness of God to the world, it is no longer the place of our fellowship or abiding. We are a people separated out of the world and unto Him, so our affections are set on things above and no longer of things beneath. It is as we maintain the identity of not who we were, but who we have now come into that we live in Christ through the power of His Word and Life. We are no longer conformed to this world as Romans 12 tells us, but we are transformed through the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus.
Remember that the war that you are in, is not one of flesh and blood. The enemy is as 1 Peter 5:8 warns us, ” Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” He is looking for our places of weakness and vulnerability. And Jesus says, the mission statement of the devil is “to kill, steal and destroy.” He will always entice you through logic and lust into sin and then condemn you for it. Ephesians 6:10-18 reminds us that we are in a war and not a casual relationship with this world and the spirits that seek to rule it. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
We must not only be mindful of ourselves, but pray and watch out for one another. The enemy is always trying to catch us on our blindside and your brother may be able to see what you have been blinded too. Let us watch one another’s back in love, not in judgement or condemnation. Together we stand as one man to defeat our foe and overcome temptation. We need to watch and pray, not only for ourselves, but for one another. Together we must stand helping, ministering and exhorting one another to be strong, resisting the devil so that he will flee from us. The serpent only feeds on dust. Your dust has been redeemed through the cross so that you walk no longer in the former dust and lust of your flesh, but live out of the life of the Spirit of Christ in you. In that place he has nothing to feed upon.

Blessings,
#kent

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Guard Your Heart

September 25, 2014

Guard Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

What is the heart of a person and why is it important to keep it? Most of us know that when the Word speaks of the heart it is in the figurative sense, but just as the heart is the primary organ of natural life, so it is in the spirit. Our heart speaks of our soul, our mind, the inner man, the seat of our understanding, will and emotion. It is really the key component that identifies who we are as an individual person and personality. When we understand that, then we understand why the Word is exhorting us to keep, guard and watch over our heart with all diligence. This diligence conveys a meaning as one would watch or guard in a prison. Perhaps it is so necessary to watch over our hearts in this manner because Jeremiah 17:9-10 tells us, “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, [I] try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings.” When the Lord searches our heart what does He find? When he tries the reins of our heart; are we like the sensitive and well trained horse that responds to his every gentle nudge and direction. Or, are we the wild rebellious stead, set upon our own freedom and our own way, unbridled in our affections and passions, bent on our own direction?

We need to be watching, even with a heart that is given to the Lord and in love with Him. Things of the world and our imaginations and desires can begin to creep in subtly, almost without detection. We know that we have an adversary, the devil, who stalks like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. What makes us vulnerable to him? It is our heart. It says, “for out of it are the issues of life.” What happens to your circulatory system when it develops a blockage or even worse your heart? Your physical life can be in serious trouble and the same can happen spiritually.
How do we guard our hearts? We continually hold ourselves up to the mirror of God’s Word. We know that if we are aligning ourselves with it in every respect then our heart is abiding in truth. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
We also covet and pray for the Holy Spirit’s help in keeping our hearts, because He can show us the things we can’t see in ourselves. He is our hope and companion in the process of spiritual renewal and transformation that we desire to take place in us. 2 Timothy 1:14 says, “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” It is Spirit of Christ in you, in union with your spirit, which must be the heart and mind, which you now live out of. As you do, those are the issues of life. What goes forth out of you is his Spirit-life. Our tongue and our actions are the best indicators of what is really in our heart. Jesus tells us in Luke 4:65, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
Remember to not let your guard down, become complacent or be filled with apathy. You are a life-giver and in order for the issues of life to flow forth from you, you must be abiding in and carefully guarding the life of the spirit within you. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.”

Blessings,
#kent

Lift Up a Standard

June 20, 2014

Lift Up a Standard

Matthew 6:13 (NLT)
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

All of us have had strongholds and weaknesses in our lives in which we were prone to sin and perhaps still are. When we came to Christ we found the truth of Ephesians 4:8, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Jesus suffered and died to break the power of the enemy over our lives. He bound the strong man of the house (satan) and loosed the captives held in sin and bondage. That was you and I. Romans 6:22 says, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” And Romans 8:2 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
How many of us have enjoyed the freedom we found in Christ, then one day have satan show up on the doorstep of our soul with the temptation to partake again of those things from which we had been set free? James 1:13-16 says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.” So we know the temptation doesn’t come from God, but many of us know the slippery slope it has led us too and many of us have slid down that slope, feeling the shame and disgrace of again giving place to those temptations that led us into sin.
Jesus told his disciples when they were in the Garden with him just before the Passion, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak. (Matthew 26:41).” The flesh we live in is our weakest link in living a victorious life in Christ. While we have been set free from the sin nature, the power and temptation of sin can still influence our soul as it stirs up those former passions and desires. Jesus said this in Luke 12:39, “And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.” If you are the good man of your spiritual house and you knew that at a certain time satan was going to come to you with a particular temptation, you would prepare for it and strengthen and fortify that area so that you would not yield to that temptation. Check the doors of your spiritual house. Have we left an access open, windows or doors for temptation to find its way into our house? Have we failed to rid our lives of all the avenues that sin can again have access into our souls? Lock the windows and doors of your soul, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1Peter 5:8).” This is why we must watch and pray always, maintaining a vigil against the temptation that wants to come and entice us back into sin. The spirit man in us must be the strong man in our house as we are identified with Christ and each day we are to be walking in the revelation of our union and oneness with Him.
Isaiah 59:19 says, “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” That standard is the Word of God and our faith in it. As Jesus used the Word to defeat devil’s temptations in the wilderness, so it is our standard by which we establish in our own hearts the righteousness upon which we stand.
Have we slipped back into those former sins? Are we tempted to do so now? The blood of Jesus is there to provide the way back. God does not want us beaten down by the condemnation of our failures; neither does He want us to remain in them. Reach out and take hold of the hand of Jesus. He is there to pull us back out of that miry clay and set our feet again on solid ground. 1John 1:9 is His outreached hand of grace to us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We must find our victory, not out of condemnation, but in the love of whose we are. Wrap your spiritual arms around Jesus, let Him be the passion and desire that is above every other. Satan will come knocking at our door, but 1Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].” Run away from the temptations that comes your way and run into the arms of Jesus that He might show and provide for you the way of escape. He is our standard, our banner and our victory.
The Word of God gives much mercy and grace to be forgiven and to turn from our sin, but it never gives us justification and excuse to continue abiding in it. It is where we change our direction, not our pretense of righteousness while we continue in sin.
Pull up all of those markers where sin has marked our life. Make a righteous declaration of faith based on what the Word of God says we now are in those places in Christ Jesus. Allow righteousness define you, where sin once defiled you.
When we harbor the fugitives of our repentance we are still in collaboration with the enemy of our soul. You can’t conquer the ground in the places where you are still giving place to the enemy.
True Christianity is not an ideology or a theology, it where we walk as Christ walked and where His Word becomes flesh in us. If we love God we will keep His commandments.

Blessings,
#kent

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