Saturday, March 18, 2017

Stand On Who You Are Not--Spiritual Warfare V

Now you need to know who you are not.  The enemy will try to convince you of all sorts of lies in order to give you what I call, “spiritual vertigo.”  Have you ever had vertigo?  The room spins, you are sick to your stomach and all because of fluid in the middle ear. Satan wants that same condition in you by whispering lies into your ear.  You feel disoriented, unsure if you can stand.  Then that sickening feeling kicks in that maybe, just maybe, God’s Word is a lie:  Is this “Christ in me” thing not as powerful as everyone claims?  Is it a lie?  Could I have been deceived? 

Well, that last part is true.  Deception begins with perception.  If you begin to perceive in any way that God’s Word is not the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth so help you, God, then you do start to wonder. Those who wonder too long wander.  Wandering off the ground given to you by Christ will make you vulnerable to any suggestion that Satan whispers in your ear.  Romans 8:1-16 provides powerful blows to Satan’s vertiginous designs on you.  Let’s begin.

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God...                                            
Here we go.  Ready?

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  You are no longer condemned by your sin and shame.  It has been removed.  You have been granted clemency, a reprieve from your death sentence.  Sin and death were taken care of by Christ’s death on the Cross.  So, you are walking off of Death Row, and nothing and no one can take you back to that cell.  Who is leading you out?  The Spirit.  Follow after Him.  Walk in Him.  His path takes you to freedom. 

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
How was the law of our flesh overridden?  Our flesh is a law unto itself, always first in line to sin and raise a fist of unbelief at God.  Only a new law can override an old one.  Jesus overrode “The Law of Sin and Death” with “The Law of Christ’s Life in Me.”  

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  When I read the words of God, I quickly realize that I am a sinner.  What’s even more disturbing is, having been told what I should not do, then that’s all I want to do!  If you doubt me, just tell a toddler, “Don’t touch that!”  He will figure out some way to touch it, even if it’s dangerous to him. For a moment, think about a courtroom.  God’s words are the prosecuting attorney.  The attorney reads the charges against me:  Without Christ living in you, you cannot do what a holy God demands. It’s true. I am condemned before the righteousness of God because of my flesh and all of its desires. So I cry out to the court, Help me! What should I do? Jesus then walks in as my Defense, and silences the court.  His voice, spoken to my heart, says, Only in Me can you please Me.  New wine (My Life in you) and a new wineskin (your heart made new) can satisfy what I demand. It is my sin that is condemned.  I walk out of the courtroom, free from shame and condemnation because of Christ. The prisoner exchange is complete: His life for mine. His life in mine. My old sin nature is dead and now it is Christ Who lives in me: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Gal. 2:20)

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  Now, not only do I want to do what the Lord asks of me, I can do what the Lord asks of me.  How?  I am empowered by His Spirit.  Like walking in deep snow, I will place my feet only in His footprints because He goes before me. I can follow the Spirit not because I am suddenly “good” or have good intentions but the very thing that held be back—my sinful nature, my flesh—is now subject to a much more powerful force:  A heart made new in Him, empowered and sustained by Him.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  My heart made new in Him means I don’t want to follow me. I want to follow Him. I am no longer shackled to my flesh; I have been set free. Yes, the flesh calls my name, but His voice drowns out its call.  I can choose.  Prisoners have no choice; their chains do not allow it.  But because I am free in Him, I am free to choose.  I choose Life, because I choose Jesus.
  
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  The endgame of Satan is my death.  The endgame of my flesh is my death.  The world’s endgame is my death. I choose Life.  The result?  Peace. Know Him, know peace. No Him, no peace. 

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  My mind has to come under His loving reign.  Otherwise, it is at war with God. If my mind, immersed in my sinful nature, is not transformed and made captive to the mind of Christ, I am at war with God.  War is not peace nor freedom.  His work in me is the work of: "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." (2 Cor. 10:5)

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  Our flesh cannot ever please Him.  That is why His Son came: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8)  Wow. God deserves my best. My flesh cannot deliver; only Christ in me can. 

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  The Spirit in me is a promise from God: "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2 Cor. 1:21-22)  I am in Christ and His Spirit in me is my most precious possession.  I am His most precious possession. 

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  I died with Him by giving Him my heart.  I was buried with Him by surrendering my will.  I am resurrected with Him by walking in this new life: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."(Gal. 2:20) This verse in Galatians is essential for understanding where you and I now stand in Christ!  

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  I live by His power alone: "I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 1:19-20)  I will live in His power.  Once this life is over, I will hear His voice whisper my true name as I go to be with Him.  Forever.   

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. To pay my debt to Him is a simple payment plan:  Live each day in surrender and watch Him work out His will in the world through me. 

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  This flesh and this world means death.  Why do I not buy that?  It’s because I want to believe I am not all that bad.  “Did God really say?” echoes down the ages into all the ears of Adam’s children.  My response:  Yes, God did say. Yes, Jesus did pay. Yes, this is salvation’s day. Because only Jesus is the Way.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  If I am led by the Spirit of Christ, I am God’s son or daughter.  If the enemy starts mocking me, I will point and say, “I’m with JESUS.”  That is enough.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  I sit in the waiting room with Fear.  In comes the Spirit, waving adoption papers with Abba’s signature on it, signed with the blood of His precious Son.  Fear is shown the door.  I am His and He is mine.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God..."Yeah, right" sneers the accuser. “You’re His? Prove it!” The Spirit takes my hand and off we go, dancing to the melody of the Father’s love. The worst music to Satan is the sound of shackles clanging to the floor. I do not have to prove anything.

Now, here are your key verses to S.T.A.N.D. (Spiritually Trained and Not Defeated) on to declare what you are not:

I am not condemned:  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom. 8:1)

I am not in bondage:  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Cor. 3:17)

I am not in fear: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  (2 Tim. 1:7)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  (Deut. 31:6)

I am not without choice:  Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.  See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.  For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.  But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.  This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life… (Deut. 30:11-20)

Done.  I choose life because I choose Christ. Take that, Satan.  

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