Saturday, April 17, 2010

Recognizing the Truth

I've been part of a particular church body for 20 years. I have seen and experienced a LOT of blessings and a LOT of pain. Currently we are going through more difficulty, but I'm not going to elaborate on that here. What I want to share with you is how God is growing me personally. After all, I'm responsible for MY relationship with Him, and not anyone else.

I've written off and on throughout this blog various struggles that I have gone through. I've dealt with depression since my teenage years and at different points of my life the depression consumed me almost literally to the point of death. God has used different people to minister to me, to help keep my head above water long enough for me remember to grab hold of my Life Preserver again - Jesus Christ! He has also used various ministries, one of which is Freedom in Christ Ministries. I regret to say that I don't remember exactly who God used to guide me to this ministry, but I'm eternally grateful. I was given a copy of the book Victory Over the Darkness. This book was a God-send, because at the time I was at a point where I could not get myself to read my Bible. This book is so saturated with God's Word, however, that I was being fed His truth anyway! I was surrounded by darkness, but He is the Light, and His light began to penetrate the darkness revealing to me the lies that I had been believing. Not only were the lies being revealed, but I was given the tools, or better yet, the weapons to use against this permeating darkness. I was reminded in Victory: I am a child of God and the evil one cannot harm me (I John 5:18), I am free from condemnation (Romans 8:1, 2), I am God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) - just to name a few of the truths! Once I started voicing these truths - LITERALLY voicing them aloud - the devil had to flee! I started to feel alive again. I started WANTING TO LIVE again.

Not long after I read the book, I followed through with the Steps to Freedom. These are several different areas of our lives that we are encouraged to examine to see where the strongholds are and how to confront them, confess them, renounce them and be released from them. It was absolutely liberating!

I wish I could tell you that it solved everything, but it didn't. Why is that? Well, just like with anything else, if you don't keep it up, it won't work. If you don't eat right and exercise, you'll get fat. If you don't communicate with your friends and loved ones, you'll lose touch. It's the same thing with our relationship with God. If we don't read His word and pray, we won't grow in our relationship with Him. Unfortunately I didn't learn that completely, and I'm wondering if I have yet to learn that completely. So after walking in freedom for quite some time, I started to get lazy. I didn't read my Bible or pray as often as I should and I started living in my own strength. Of course that meant that my spiritual life started to decay once again, and I was susceptible to Satan's lies. However, having been through the Steps to Freedom, I was able to recognize the problem much more easily and more quickly, and so I started to do what I knew I should do. I started "taking every thought captive" which means realizing a deceiving thought and replacing it with God's truth, standing firm on His promises!

Let me fast forward to my current situation. As I mentioned in the opening, I've been part of local church body for a long time. We are currently going through some difficulties that have triggered in me a passion for knowing God's word even better. This is a good thing, right? Well, yes, however... I have been searching God's word so intensely about specific things because I want to know without a doubt what the truth is, and I have been praying so fervently and so often that in the last couple of days it started to catch up with me and I actually started to feel weary. As a result I haven't prayed much the past 2-3 days, or read my Bible. Last night as I was lying in bed about to go to sleep, I thought, "I need to talk to God about this". So I started admitting to Him, "Father, I'm weary of praying. I'm weary of searching Your Word about specific things. Father, you would think that I would be renewed and strengthened from all of this prayer and studying, but I'm not." Before I could continue He whispered to me, "That's a lie from Satan. I am the Bread of Life. I am the Living Water, if You drink of this water you will never thirst again." I was stunned, but grateful to Him for helping me to realize that I had once again started to believe the subtle lies of the devil. I promised myself last night that I would not let my morning go by without spending time in His word. I chose to watch a Beth Moore video online and what do you think she was talking about? The Bread of Life! How cool is that? God is SO GOOD! (Let me encourage you to watch the video, it's only about 15 minutes)

I know that I have jumped all over the place in this post. But what I hope I've made clear is that we are not "wrestling against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12 ESV). We MUST put on the Armor of God daily (Ephesians 6); we must be "transformed by the renewing of our minds" (Romans 12:7); we must "take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).

So, my dear brothers and sister in Christ, remember who you are in Christ Jesus. My dear friends who don't know Christ, I urge you to call on His name, for it is the name of Jesus that saves!

I John 5:1a says, "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God" and in I John 5:4-12 it says, "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the son of God? This is He Who came by water and blood - Jesus Christ; not by the water only, but by the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that He has borne concerning His Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning His Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God, does not have life. "

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