Spiritual Warfare #26 Eyes That See

          Now that we understand how to develop our spiritual ears, let’s focus on what causes us to have eyes that see.

For many years I prayed that God would help me see things, people, opportunities, and situations the way He sees them. That sounds like a pretty good prayer, don’t you think? I did too, until the Lord interrupted my prayer one day and said, “Jack, I don’t want you to pray that way anymore, instead, pray that you would see things the way I want you to see them.”

At first, I thought, “Isn’t that the same thing?” But He quickly showed me that it wasn’t. Man is not capable of seeing the way God sees. His ways and thought are so much higher than ours.

1 Samuel 16:9 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

  There is a way that God wants us to see everything and everyone. We are not capable of seeing how God sees because we are viewing life from the filter of two natures. The fallen nature we inherited from Adam, and the nature of God that we received at the new birth. Living in this incredible paradox demands that we adapt to seeing things from a very specific perspective called faith.

Faith is a perspective, not a tool to get our needs met. Faith is a very narrow way of seeing, thinking, believing, and speaking. Faith is the perspective that fills our entire being with light.

Matthew 6:22-24The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good (single), your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad (evil), your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

          The word “good” in verse 22 is the Greek word “haplous.” It means single. It is used only one other time in Luke 11 in his account of this same passage. The word “bad” in verse 23 is the Greek word “poneros” and is always translated “evil, wicked, or wicked one.” Why is this important? Because anything other than having a single eyed, faith perspective is evil.

Paul said in Romans 14:23 … whatever is not from faith is sin.

          If we are not seeing from a faith perspective, we are seeing things from an evil, or wicked perspective. What we look at illuminates our entire being with what we see.       

          Look at Matthew 24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

          It is significant that this statement comes right after the instruction to have a single eye. How we see determines who we will serve.

          Mammon is often defined as money. But a more accurate definition would be avarice, or selfish desire. We don’t have the ability to serve money, but we can serve our selfish desires and lust for money, and other earthly things. There are only two masters available to serve. God and self. To serve self is to serve the Devil. It has always been that way.

            The only influence Satan can gain in our lives is through our selfish desires. In the garden of Eden, Satan deceived Eve into yielding to selfish desires. It all started when she looked at the fruit and found it desirable to eat and make one wise.

Galatians 3:6-7 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

          Satan did not ask her to bow down and worship him. He tricked her into being selfish and doing what she felt was good for herself. He caused her to look at and consider the wrong things and it led to her disobedience.

          We only need to see and know very little if we are living by faith. We are to walk in love believing the best of every person. If we saw what was in the hearts and minds of everyone it would be hard to believe the best of them. We only need to know the next step, the rest we walk out by faith, trusting that God knows best and that He only wants the best for us.

The Word of God gives us plenty of instruction on how we should see things, and if Gods Word abides in us, it filters everything we see with spiritual insight.

I believe now that asking God to help me see things the way He would have me see them is another way of asking for His wisdom. It also removes a huge burden to understand every detail. If God gave us every detail of every situation we would have no need for faith, and it would be impossible to please Him.

Hebrews 11:6 ~ But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 

Just knowing that God is pleased with faith should give us comfort when we don’t know all the details. Faith will always consider the unseen realm no matter what is seen with the physical eyes. Faith is a perspective anchored in trust.

Paul gives a powerful lesson in Philippians about living with this perspective.

Philippians 4:6-8 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

If we practice verses 6 and 7, we qualify for supernatural peace. We need this supernatural peace to wage supernatural warfare. In verse 8 it gives us the instruction on what to do while we are trusting God and waiting for the next step. We fill our thoughts with believing the best, thinking the best, and expecting the best. It keeps our faith alive and makes our walk pleasing to God.

We don’t need to see how God sees. We only need to see enough to take the next step. Sometimes that step may look like the wrong one in the natural. Many times, that step will go against our natural understanding, but that is why supernatural peace passes our understanding. We must learn to recognize, and be led by peace.

Peace is to be the arbitrator of our lives, sitting as ruler over everything and every decision.

Colossians 3:15 ~ And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

To walk by faith, to have eyes that see from a supernatural perspective, we must understand the peace of God and its function in our lives. The more we walk in peace, the less we will feel the need to know all the details, and we will be better equipped to live our lives with a single eye.

For more teaching on Spiritual Warfare, CLICK HERE.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Spiritual Warfare #25 My Pet Sin

          Many of us have pets. Some kind of animal to keep, feed, and care for. We can become so close to our pets that we think of them as members of the family. They provide companionship and comfort when we are hurt, depressed, or suffering from anxiety. Pets are always there when we need them and they never fail to give us that dose of “feel good” when we seem to need it most.

          Many of us have sins we keep as pets. Familiar habits or old crisis mechanisms that give us relief, comfort, and satisfaction when our flesh is screaming at the top of its lungs to “FEED ME!” 

          A pet sin is the one we run to when we are tired or feeling weak. The sin we defend, protect, and get angry about when we are confronted about it.  A sin that torments us at our weakest point and yet the one we can’t seem to get free from. A sin that we easily yield to, even though we know we shouldn’t. A pet that we make provision for and feed in secret. We run to it for instant gratification and then feel guilty immediately after we yield to it.

It is possibly the most dangerous sin to our own souls, and one that can hinder our spiritual progress. It can destroys our confidence, compromise our witness, and keep us from realizing our potential.

          In spiritual warfare the greatest battles are always the internal ones, the battles that we fight when no one else is around. Even with help and accountability we must take up the sword of the Spirit for ourselves and conquer the things that torment us in our soul.

Before King David killed Goliath in front of two nations, he won victories over a lion and a bear when no one else was around. Getting victory over a lion and a bear is much like getting victory over a pet sin, and sometimes it can seem just as difficult. The victories we have in private prepares us for the type of victories that will change nations.

Galatians 5:16-18 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

          If we are battling to keep the flesh under control, struggling to deny it from having dominance in our lives, it is likely we have not given ourselves fully to walking in the Spirit. When we struggle with a certain sin that continues to trouble us, we must be honest with ourselves and be willing to make the changes necessary to get the victory. Walking in the Spirit has two distinct characteristics and can be easily measured in our lives. Freedom from pet sins must start with this simple, two part assessment;

  1. Am walking faithfully in what I have learned from God’s written word?

           Obedience to what we learn from the Lord is the foundation of walking in the Spirit. This gives us the spiritual ears to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying in our hearts. If we do not start here, with this first step, our hearts will become hardened, our conscience will become seared, our spiritual ears will become deaf, and our spiritual eyes will be darkened.

This will prevent us from embracing the second step of walking in the Spirit which is hearing the spoken word of God, and being led by the Spirit.

     2. Am I walking faithfully in what I am hearing and perceiving, from God’s spoken word?

          Being watchful and attentive to the leading of the Holy Spirit is the second step. Learning to live by the unction of the Holy Spirit, the leading of peace, being sensitive to the still small voice inside us, are all things we must develop and grow in. However, it is almost impossible to be successful in being led by the Spirit if we are not committed to obeying the written word.

God is always speaking to us in some way. Without our commitment to discover and obey what God has already said in His written word, we won’t have ears to hear what He speaks by the Spirit, or eyes to see when He is leading us by the Spirit. It all starts with our own personal relationship with the Bible.

Being a disciple is to live a life governed by the written word, as well as the spoken word. It is only then that we will become a healthy expression of the living word, Jesus Christ.

James 1:21-25 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

If we are not committed to doing the things we have learned from God’s written, and spoken word, we quickly become self-deceived. We forget who we are and why we are here. Our identity comes into question and we loose the ability to discern truth.

Self deception then becomes our reality. We begin to live a lie, believing we are disciples of Christ yet refusing to follow Him. We are no longer walking in the Spirit so we continue to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. We hang on to parts of our old nature and shackle ourselves to our own deception. We get stuck in a cycle of sin and make it our pet.

        Flesh will always war against the things of the Spirit because of its fallen nature. Everyone deals with this, even Paul the Apostle had these battles and he describes them in Romans 7:

Romans 7:16-25 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Pet sins hold us captive to the flesh and the law of sin and death. They literally hold us captive to the Old Testament law so the we never fully embrace New Testament grace. It is one of Satan’s most prized deceptions.

          Even after we cast those pet sins out of our house they will try to drop by for a visit once in a while. They will ask us to feed them and be looking for a way to get back into our house. They may even have several of their buddies with them looking to be fed as well. The thing is, its not really our house, its God’s house, and He has a no pets rule written into the contract.

Flesh is our enemy

Romans 8:6-8  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

The word “enmity” in verse 7 literally means hostile opposition, or hatred toward God. The carnal mind, our flesh, is God’s enemy, therefore it should be our enemy. We must all come to the place where we see our pet sins as our enemy.

God has promised to deliver us from our enemies, not our pets!

Many of us don’t realize we are feeding our carnal, fleshly desires. We think that what we are doing is no big deal. IT IS A BIG DEAL! Let me give you a some examples; If you have been delivered from drugs and you know that it has a strong pull on your flesh, any thing that would stir up old memories and desires should be avoided. Movies with drug abuse, talking about how you used to use, or even driving through the part of town where you used to buy drugs can all be triggers that let “the cat” in the door.

If you struggle with overeating, or binging junk food, it is much easier to win the battle if you stay out of the junk-food isle in the grocery store. If it stimulates any of your five senses, it WILL begin to pull on you. If the shortest route to your destination is through an area that stirs up memories of past sins, TAKE ANOTHER ROUTE! The long way is better than the wrong way.

What about being addicted to entertainment? Surfing the internet, social media, video games? Wasting hours every day on mindless, foolishness? Is that really harmless? Or is it stealing the life right out of you, keeping you from things more important and warring against your soul?

If you think it is no big deal, or if you think you are strong enough to handle it. You may wake up one day and realize that the little thing that is “no big deal,” has now become your very large pet and is demanding to be fed! If flesh is the enemy of God, it is our enemy as well. If we feed our enemy he gets stronger and has more power to do us harm. If we feed our spirit, it will grow stronger and overcome the flesh.

What we feed grows. What we starve dies.

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

This verse of scripture may seem like a two step program to victory over the devil but it is not. It is a one step program. Submitting to God IS resisting the devil. Remember that the enemy has already been defeated by Jesus. Submitting to God, by obedience to His word, embraces, and enforces that victory and causes that pet to run right out the door.

“Pet sins takes us farther than we want to go, keeps us longer than we want to stay, and costs us more than we want to pay.”

For more teaching on Spiritual Warfare, CLICK HERE.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

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Forgotten God #7 video

Forgotten God #7 discussion topics for Bile study
  1. Does the story of the Big Red Tractor describe your Church?
  2. What can you do to facilitate change?
  3. Would you describe yourself as thriving, or simply surviving?
  4. Who are you investing in, and what are you becoming?
  5. How important is prayer to you?
  6. Describe your prayer life.

Spiritual Warfare #24 The Hearing Ear

Although hearing God’s voice has been touched on in previous lessons, I want to zero in on the one thing that enables us to hear clearly from God.

The Lord asked me years ago, “How does faith come?” I immediately said “Faith comes by hearing Lord.”  (quoting Romans 10:17). The Lord then asked: “So then how does hearing come?”   

I did not have a quick answer for Him, but I was reminded of all the scriptures that state: “he who has ears to hear let him hear,” and passages that said, “they had ears but could not hear and eyes but could not see.” I began to see why people who confess Jesus as Lord have the appearance of faith but are struggling in their Christian walk and getting little results. They don’t have a hearing ear … so faith never comes.

The common teaching is that faith comes by hearing and hearing and hearing etc. And there is truth to that line of thought. The thing that has not been taught is that there are different ways to hear and there is a difference between natural hearing and spiritual hearing.

 Romans 10:17 ~ So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Let me give you a more accurate translation of this verse to make it clear.

ROM 10:17 (paraphrase) ~ So then faith comes by what you hear, and your hearing comes from the Word of God that you act upon.

Just because we have ears does not mean we are capable of hearing the Word. Our spiritual ears, (our heart,) can only be opened by the Word of God. That word will come from the written, as well as the spoken Word, but only the word that we act on will develop our spiritual ears. When we are obedient, it demonstrates faith and we become receptive to more instruction. Obedience is the action of faith, disobedience is the action of doubt. Faith without the work of obedience is a dead faith, and dead faith has deaf spiritual ears.

Throughout the bible, it is the disobedient and rebellious people who “had ears but could not hear.”

Deuteronomy 29:4 ~ Yet the LORD hath not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.

Jeremiah 5:21 ~ Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:

Ezekiel 12:2 ~ Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.

Spiritual hearing comes from the word of God that we act upon. If we find ourselves unable to rightly discern God’s voice, we should humble ourselves before the Father and ask Him why. If we are rebellious or disobedient in any way, He will reveal it to us if we are sincere.

There are vast realms of understanding and revelation that we will never acquire if we are not doers of the word. If we do not act on what we have heard, the bible says we are deceiving ourselves. When we hear the word and do nothing about it, we become spiritually deaf. 

James 1:22 ~ But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Once we obey the Word of God, a wonderful cycle of begins. Acting on the word gives life to our faith and develops our ability to hear from the Lord, which in turn opens us up to hear more, which gives us more opportunity to act on what we hear, which gives life to our faith ….  And the cycle goes on.  It is called spiritual growth.

If the Word of God is sown in our heart and we refuse to act on it (rebellion), the devil has the right to come steal it from us. This is the condition that we see in the parable of the sower.

Matthew 13:19 ~ When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.

There are too many “way side” Christians in the Church today. The spiritual condition of the Church as a whole is poor, in part because of the inability to hear what the Lord is saying to this generation.

Matthew 13:9-13 ~ He who has ears, let him hear.” 10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

When Jesus called the twelve He said to them: “Come.” They acted on that word and continued to follow Him. Because they acted on the word, THEY HAD EARS TO HEAR MORE. Lets look at the rest of this passage.

Matthew 13:14-15 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

Lack of spiritual hearing comes from unbelief. Unbelief is a deception of the heart that manifests itself in many ways. It can come in the form of rebellion, disobedience, lack of understanding, spiritual laziness, pride, or selfishness. 

If we allow ourselves to continue in unbelief we create strongholds that the enemy can hide behind and strengthen our deception, causing us to hear even less.

God has already spoken many things in His written word. Why would He be inclined to say anything else if we are not interested in what He already said?

If we find out what God has already spoken and act on THAT. This will give us ears to hear what the Spirit is saying.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC