In order to live a victorious life in Jesus Christ we must not only watch what we say but we must be watchman over our hearts.
This means being careful what we look at with our eyes and what we listen to with our ears. Unless we need to know information for the purpose of prayer, scriptures tell us to be innocent concerning evil. In other words we don’t (unless specifically called to) fill our minds with specifics of demonic worldly activity.
The Bible says that as a man thinks in his heart so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)
The word for “think” in this scripture is translated as Shawar which means to split open or be a gatekeeper.
Paraphrased: as a man being a gate keeper over his mind so he is in his thinking and being.
The Bible tells us about gate keepers who were watchman that kept a look out for wolves and enemy attacks. Allegorically speaking this verse implies that whatever we let into our heart that is mind, will, emotions or feelings is what will be the out come of our actions and the destiny of our life.
So, if we watch and listen to worldly entertainment then we will act and behave like what we are letting into our mind . We will be worldly. No different than the unsaved. This is not God’s will for our lives. The Holy Spirit in his word has given us all the information that we need to live a holy life well pleasing to God.
The Bible tells Christians to be separate from the world. We are called to think on things that are good, godly and worthy of our Lord. The reason the Lord told us to meditate on his word day and night was so that we would be conformed to the word and not the world. (Philippians 4:8 Romans 12:2,3)
Putting on Christ is putting on the word of God for Jesus is the living word made flesh. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh.” Romans 13:14
If we meditate on God’s word written in the Bible then we will think and act the way God wants us to think and act.
Worldly thoughts or worldly ideas are seeds that will grow into tares and choke out the word of God planted in our heart. We must be careful gatekeepers so that we can cast down all high and lofty thoughts exalting themselves against the knowledge of God.
The Bible tells us to cast down all contrary ideas exalting themselves against the word of God. Misconceptions and distortions in our mind that do not agree with the Bible need to be cast down (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Christians who watch and listen to worldly ideas become indoctrinated with the world system. This is why many Christians live defeated lives. Listening to Satan’s worldly system keeps many bound to the world so that they become filled with unbelief and start to explain away the Bible.
Satan always comes with his lies. Has God really said this? Are you sure he really meant that? Didn’t he really mean this instead? (John 8:44, 2 Timothy 3:13)
If God said it in his word then it’s TRUE. Any voice disagreeing with the Bible is satan’s voice and we need to cast down those demonic thoughts!
If God says that he is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or can even imagine then that’s exactly what is true. If we are not living up to that standard then we need to examine ourselves as scriptures say. Are we really in the faith? Are we trusting and relying on God for everything or are we swaying like a reed in the wind? Tossed to and fro with a double mind. Limiting God so that he cannot do any mighty works in our life?
God’s word says that I am righteous because of Jesus Christ. God’s word says that I am more than a conquer through Christ who loves me. God’s word says I am the head and not the tail. God’s word says he will lead me in his ways and into his paths as I put my trust in him. God’s word says he came to give me an abundant life.
So who are we going to believe? Mr. Devil and his lies or the word of the living God?
Victory is sure to those who have their minds transformed by God’s word for as we think in our hearts so shall we be. As we renew our minds with God’s word so shall we be conformed to the image of Christ.
Be a gatekeeper of your heart! Guard your heart with all diligence for out of your heart or spirit proceeds life. Don’t let the thief steal, kill and destroy !
Put the word in your heart and then you will think like God wants you to think and act like God wants you to act and be what God wants you to be !
Cain was Adam and Eve’s first born son. Cain symbolically represents the law. The law was given by Moses to show men that they are sinners in need of a Savior because no one can keep the law perfectly. Under the Old Testament animal sacrifice was required to cover sin but could not take away sin.
The law was given before Jesus became the sacrifice for sin once and for all. The law was a temporary restrainer of sin but has no power to defeat sin.
CAIN MEANS SPEAR, or a possession. A spear pierces the flesh. It cuts through the heart.
The sting or piercing of sin under the law brings death. The law does not bring life because no one can keep the law in its entirety. All are condemned to eternal separation from God who try to keep the law for justification. (right relationship with God)
ABEL was born after Cain. ABEL means breath of the Spirit. ABEL represents life in the Holy Spirit. Jesus brought life through his atonement for sin and his resurrection.
CAIN was a tiller of the ground. Tiller in Hebrew is abad. It means to work or serve like a bondsman. The ground represents earth or of this natural world.
ABEL was a keeper of sheep. Grace keeps God’s sheep justified from sin through Jesus Christ the Savior. ABEL represents God’s grace. (undeserved mercy)
CAIN brought before the Lord his offering. An offering symbolizes atonement for sin. In other words, Cain brought the works of his hands which he produced from the earth or the rudiments of this world, as an offering for sin.
ABEL brought a blood offering from an innocent lamb to atone for his sin.
The first offering given was made by God to atone for Adam and Eve’s sin by slaying a lamb and clothing them in its skin. CAIN was aware of this. However, he felt that he could earn forgiveness from sin by the works of his hand but God rejected CAIN’S offering.
God accepted Abel’s offering because it was God’s prerequisite for forgiveness of sin. The law says that the soul that sins shall die. Blood must be shed to atone for sin. An eye for an eye. A life for a life.
CAIN became jealous of his brother. Why? We know from the law that obedience to God’s word brings blessings but disobedience brings God’s curse. God refused to bless the work of Cain’s hands but he blessed Abel because he received the lamb sacrifice for atonement of sin.
The struggle between the flesh and the Spirit begin here. Those in the flesh or of the earth cannot please God but those in Jesus Christ are blessed in him and through him.
Often times this will cause jealousy and persecution from the religious mindset (those trying to keep the law for justification) towards the true Christian. These religious ones will attack the children of the Spirit because they want God’s blessings but they want it on their terms. They want God to accept them based on their deeds which they deem to be righteous in and of themselves.
To be rejected by God caused Cain’s countenance to fall or in modern English Cain felt inferior. This is what caused anger and jealousy to rise up in Cain.
After that the Bible says that Cain went and talked to his brother. That conversation is not recorded but I think that Abel tried to explain to Cain the way of salvation. They were talking in a field. Jesus said the fields are ready for harvest. The field represents bringing the salvation message.
Unfortunately, Cain did not receive the message of salvation because what he did was to rise up against his brother and kill him. This is significant because the flesh ( world minded ) always wants to rise up against the Spirit (God’s ways) all the time. The flesh wars against the Spirit on a continual basis according to scripture. The works of the flesh (human deeds outside Jesus Christ) do not please God and so the flesh resists the Holy Spirit all the time.
God asked Cain, “Where is your brother?” Cain replies, “How should I know ? Am I my brothers keeper? (Or in other words), Should I be guarding and protecting him? “
Cain lied to God when asked where his brother was. Cain rejected his responsibility as the oldest. In effect what Cain did was reject his inheritance just like Esau did. Then Cain became upset and cried about how he could not bear his punishment. Interesting to note, the Bible doesn’t mention his punishment right away, but Cain knew.
The Bible says that the soul that sins will die spiritually. CAIN was to face the worst punishment anyone could get. Separation from God. Notice how there was no repentance on his part. No lamb sacrificed. CAIN still rejected salvation by the blood atonement.
God, however, still offered to Cain his mercy. He tells him that if someone would want to hurt him in the future he would be punished 7 times. 7 is God’s number of perfection. God marked Cain with a reminder to all who would reject God’s plan of salvation for their own. God put a sign on him. CAIN was an example to others. All who saw him knew who he was and what he did. Scriptures tell us that sin will always be found out.
CAIN went out from God’s presence and dwelt in the land of Nod which means vagrancey. The flesh cannot dwell with God. CAIN was homeless.
1 John 3 :2 says that Cain was of the wicked one. The flesh is of the devil. The works of one’s hands or one’s own recognizance for justification is an abomination to God. It is of the devil’s nature; selfish, prideful, jealous and murderous.
Jude 1 : 11 says that apostates or false brethren go the way of Cain. They go after the way of the flesh and run after money. Baalam was a prophet for hire. He went the way of Cain. He prophesied nice things people wanted to hear for money. Korah another apostate was rebellious. He wanted his way instead of going God’s way.
The way of Cain is man’s way; greedy, rebellious and wanting the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
The flesh fights the Spirit and that is why God said the flesh must be put to death or denied. The flesh or world desires cannot inherit the Kingdom of God! A Cain mindset cannot inherit eternal life!
We can not rely on our works, good deeds or any thing else for salvation and acceptance by God except the blood of Jesus.
Trying to attain God’s approval by good deeds or law keeping results in separation from God in this life and also eternally.
Trying to keep the law (deeds of righteousness) for God’s approval is going the way of Cain. What is acceptable for salvation is receiving God’s free gift of eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. His blood alone can redeem from sin and make you a child of God.
Then when you are born of God all deeds done by the Holy Spirit are acceptable to him. God blesses his works not man’s works. Jesus Christ alone, by faith alone saves and justifies . Jesus said, I AM THE WAY. I AM THE TRUTH. I AM THE LIFE.
Romans Chapter 7 is a chapter in which the struggle between the man under the law has with the sinful nature.
Paul who was a Pharisee under the law is revealing the battle a person under the law has with the carnal nature.
Right at the beginning of the chapter Paul makes it clear that he is speaking to those under the law. In other words those who are battling the carnal nature from a legalistic mindset.
Paul says that when we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord we are no longer bound to the law. Those under the law were and are constantly battling the nature of sin at work in the non saved person and the law of God.
While with the intellect a person can agree that the law is good they are if not saved powerless to perform it.
Paul points out that true Christians have been delivered from the law. Not from the truths set forth in the law but the law as a letter or theological theory abstract from the non redeemed nature.
While the law reveals sin it has no power to deliver from sin. The law is only a road map but cannot actually get us to our destination. What we need is a vehicle to get us there.
The law in and of itself is good Paul says but because the non redeemed have a carnal nature the no redeemed cannot obey the law in its entirety. That is why under the law God set up the sacrificial system of the blood covering of animals.
The person under the law is not quite the same as a full blown sinner. While the law keeper is a sinner the law keeper tries to obey the law of God in the non redeemed state.
Herein lies the problem. It is rather easy to detect a full blown sinner but not so easy to distinguish a person under the law from a true Christian.
A law keeper may even sometimes look to be more holy than the true Christian. This is because the law keeper is working relentlessly to serve the law while a Christian is looking to God’s grace and mercy for salvation.
There is according to scripture an intense struggle going on between the carnal nature of the law keeper and the law.
The law keeper actually hates the bondage that they are in. They want to serve God in their minds but cannot perform the law good enough to get God’s approval. It’s very tormenting to be a law keeper.
Is there deliverance for this struggle between the carnal nature and the law of God? Paul tells us that there is!
He tells us that through Jesus Christ we can have deliverance.
If we continue on to Romans Chapter 8 we find that those in Jesus Christ no longer have to be in torment battling the law of God and the sin nature. Paul says that there is now no condemnation of the law towards those who walk after the Holy Spirit.
In other words those born of God who are baptized into Jesus Christ and are in the Holy Spirit (because he is living in them) are now called to walk in the Holy Spirit.
Here is where some Christians get mixed up. Just because we are born again and have the Holy Spirit living in us does not mean we have achieved victory over sin. There is a part for us to play and it’s called walking after or yielding to the Holy Spirit. That is being obedient to the inner working of the Holy Spirit in us.
The difference between a law keeper and a true born again person is that the law keeper cannot perform the works of the law for justification while the born again person is justified by grace through faith and can be empowered by the Holy Spirit to obey God.
God’s righteous is fulfilled in those who walk after the Holy Spirit Paul says. To walk after is translated in the Greek as; to be occupied with, to live with and to follow after.
Paul goes on to say that those who live after the flesh or earthly minded things will produce death that is a non productive spiritual life but those who live after the Holy Spirit will produce life abundantly.
Paul also says that one is proven to be a true Christian with the indwelling Holy Spirit by their putting to death the deeds of the body through the power of the Holy Spirit that is indwelling them and walking after the Holy Spirit which is indwelling them.
In other words when the body which is still subject to earthly senses is put under subjection or control of the Holy Spirit then life and liberty in Jesus Christ is the fruit produced.
Paul also says that suffering in the flesh or not giving in to its dictates will produce a far better eternal weight of glory for us.
One day the Christian’s body will be redeemed and the earthly part will be gone but at this time rather that keeping the sin nature contained by the law, those born of God have the Holy Spirit to control sin and produce fruits of holiness.
Christians are more than conquerors in this life Paul says because we belong to Jesus Christ. A conqueror is not a defeated in bondage to sinful desires and lifestyles person nor is a conqueror a twisted tormented law keeper trying to keep the law in the sinful nature.
A conqueror lives victorious in the Holy Spirit. Nothing can separate the true Christian from the love of God if we really belong to God.
Sin has no more dominion over those who walk after the Holy Spirit because Jesus defeated the power of sin at the cross. Scripture tell us that “He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made the righteous of God in Christ Jesus the Lord.”
(2 cor. 5:21)
Therefore brethren we are under no obligation or compulsion to obey sinful desires for that leads to death but we are under grace and grace leads us through Holy Spirit power to live a life of holiness.
The greatest remedy for our sins, failures, bad choices, and mistakes is God’s unfailing love in which he demonstrated to us through the gift of the Savior Jesus Christ.
This love undeserved is called grace but did you know that grace and salvation stem from God’s heart of compassion in which he releases to the undeserved his mercy.
Mercy called chânan in the Hebrew means to bend in kindness to an inferior; to bestow favor upon. To have pity. Eleeō in the Greek means mercy is the divine grace of almighty God. Mercy is in effect the Lord’s compassion.
Mercy according to the Bible triumphs or is victorious over judgment. All sin is judged by God whose throne is established in justice and righteousness.
Legally speaking God’s laws when broken must be judged. That judgment always leads to death. Christians many times want to blame the devil for every thing but it is not the devil who activates God’s judgment upon us when we sin. It is in fact our own doing.
What the devil does is take advantage of a legal precedent. Sin is an open invitation for Satan to have access to a person’s life. That is why Paul said. Don’t give Satan any place!
Satan is always looking for some one to devour. He wants to kill, steal and destroy in any way he can. So what can we do against this formidable foe who is a merciless devourer that takes advantage of our weakness?
Scriptures give us the answer! Yes, it is God’s mercy! When we confess our sins and ask for help in our weakness the Lord has a legal precedent that triumphs over the law of judgment.
Symptoms of emotional and physical distress often stem from sin and are projected through Satanic attacks. When we suffer from these symptoms we need to look into our hearts and find out how we let Satan get an advantage of us. Then we need to repent.
Whether personal or generational sin has a penalty. That penalty is death. Not just eternal death but non life or dark consequences both material and spiritual. These consequences are manifest through various kinds of torments, afflictions and lack.
Mercy does not need a price for it to bring the remedy for our sins. Mercy is bestowed freely to the contrite and broken heart of repentance from a loving God. Mercy is not given to the proud or self righteous but to the humble who recognize their weakness and desire help from an all powerful God.
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
Mercy from the Lord comes also when we are persecuted, misunderstood, and attacked by unscrupulous people.
Let me show you from scriptures how the mercy of God can be applied to our lives.
In our distress or trouble we can call on the Lord for his mercy and he will hear us and deliver us.
When we are weak and suffering with affliction we can call on the Lord for his mercy. When we are hated and persecuted we can ask for God to pour out his mercy. When we are poor, depressed and alone we can also appeal to God for his mercy for God’s mercy endures forever.
God’s mercy will bring us forgiveness and deliverance. His mercy sent from the throne of Grace will gives us strength and empowers us to live a life that pleases him.
God’s mercy will protect us and defend us from our enemies. God’s mercy will preserve us from trouble and keep us from the power of the wicked one.
God’s mercy will make us stand and be strong in his mighty power.
God’s mercy will teach us Biblical truth and cause us to walk in his ways.
Are you in need of God’s mercy today? Call upon him in your brokenness for he will bend his ear down to hear your cry. He will come to your rescue and save you out of all your trouble for whoever calls on the name of the Lord in sincerity shall be saved!
Psalm 4:1 When I was in distress have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
Psalm 6:2 Have mercy on me in my weakness and suffering and heal me.
Have mercy when I suffer from those who hate me. Lift me up out of death. Psalm 9: 13
Through the mercy of the Lord I shall not be moved. Psalm 21:7
For your mercy’s sake don’t remember my sins Psalm 25:7
Remember mercy because I am desolate. Left alone. Forsaken. And afflicted. Depressed, needy and poor. Psalm 25:16
Have mercy. Be my helper. Psalm 30:10
Have mercy for I am in trouble and sorrowful. Psalm 31:9
Those who trust the Lord will have mercy. Psalm 32:10
Send forth your mercy to me from heaven. Psalm 36:5 psalm 57:3
Gods mercy has been my defense and refuge in trouble. Psalm 59:16
Your mercy and truth preserve me. Psalm 61:7
Show mercy and bring deliverence psalm 85:7
In your mercy give me strength and save me Psalm 86 :16
Let your mercy keep me and your covenant stand for me Psalm 89:28
Extend your mercy to my children psalm 103:17
Let your mercy deliver me because you are good. Psalm 109:21
According to your mercy teach me your word. Psalm 119:24
Deliver me from my enemies in your mercy. Psalm 136:26
Romans Chapter 6:14 tells us that sin shall not have any dominion over us.
To have dominion over means to exercise Lordship, ownership, to be ruled by.
If in fact scriptures tell us that sin shall not have dominion over us then why does sin have dominion over some Christians?
Why are some Christians living very much like they are not much different than the unsaved?
Let’s take a look at what scriptures tell us about the matter.
We find out in the next verse that sin has no dominion over Christians because we are not under law but under grace.
In other words Christians now have a new Lord. The Bible tells us that prior to salvation sin was our master. We were under the control of the devil through the sin nature. Sin is the devil’s nature. That is why Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees who were under the law that they had the devil’s nature.
Continuing on in the chapter we can find the remedy for the sin nature. Verse 15 makes it clear that just because we are under grace or favor from God through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ that does not mean we are free to continue to sin.
Verse 16 tells us that whoever we yield ourselves to obey is whose servant we are to whom we obey. If we yield to sin it is because we have sin as our master. If we yield to the Holy Spirit it is evident that God is our master.
Yielding to sin produces death. That means our fruit will be rotten, leading to decay and death. In other words our lives will produce defeat, sickness, poverty, and all kinds of ailments which may lead even to eternal death.
That is why Jesus said to test the fruit to see if someone really belongs to Jesus. If our lives are producing bad fruit then it is because of one or two things. Either there is no real salvation experience or their is ignorance of God’s word.
Vrs. 17 tells us that if we obeyed the teaching we received about salvation then we are free from the dominion of sin and are now become servants of righteousness.
Righteousness in this verse is translated as justification. Made in right standing with God. Now some Christians will stop there BUT it does in fact not end there.
This verse goes on to say that if we have been made righteous then our fruit will be unto holiness. In other words the fruit of our lives will be producing a sanctified purified life.
Now what is the key here to going from the righteous of God in Christ Jesus to holiness or godly living?
The key is in this word. YIELD. If indeed we have received Jesus Christ and are justified by his blood then we will be servants of that righteousness producing holy living.
Under the sin nature we yielded to sin. It was our master. But now we belong to another, born of his Spirit and are become servants of righteousness. If we are servants then we are not free to live any way the old flesh or earthy senses try to dictate.
We are now called to yield to God. That is to the Holy Spirit given to us at the new birth which makes his will know to us by revelation of the word of God. To yield means to give way to, adhere to. Submit to.
Verse 23 declares that the wages or earnings of obeying the sin nature will produce death but the gift of God which is salvation through Jesus Christ freely given to us produces eternal life.
Those under the dominion of sin are the slaves to sin but those under the dominion of the Holy Spirit are now become servants of righteousness unto holiness.
Yield or give way your vessel to the Holy Spirit and he will empower you to live a life that pleases God!
This humility comes by having the pride in our heart crushed and bruised.
( Proverbs 18:12 Proverbs 29: 23)
Many times we are put in a humble position for our good because the Lord is working his humility into our heart.
Humility is the essence of gentleness and meekness. It is having a lowly heart like a servant. It is being in a constant state of putting the needs of others above our own. (Acts 20: 19)
When we think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think then pride has a hold of us. In other words when we value our gifts, our way of doing things, our ideas above others then we are putting ourselves in a position to be humbled by the Lord.
Satan’s heart was lifted up in pride because he valued himself above his station. Satan wanted to be like God. He wanted to be the boss. The one in control of his life. Satan desired to be over others and to be recognized and adored. The pride in Satan’s heart however was revealed and he was cast out of the kingdom of God. He was humbled or brought low.
Jesus on the other hand even though he was God he did not boast about it. Jesus didn’t use flash and flare to get recognition. Rather he humbled himself and became a man laying down his divine attributes. He made himself of no reputation and clothed himself as a servant in humility.
Jesus even put up with naysayers, mockery and ridicule. He remained lowly even in the midst of persecution and affliction.
Scriptures tell us to be clothed with humility. That means we are to wear humility like a mantel. (Galatians 3:12, 1 Peter 5:5)
Humility brings God’s blessings into our lives. (Proverbs 22:4)
God’s presence dwells with the humble person. He revives them with his abundant life. (Isaiah 57:15)
God hears our prayers as we walk in humility before him and towards others. (Psalm 10:17).
Jesus said the greatest in the kingdom of God has the humility of a child. The humble serves others with lowlyness of mind esteeming the other person of greater importance than himself. (Matthew 18:4)
Greatest is translated as mature. To be an elder in God’s kingdom means walking in humility. A sure sign that one is a mature Christian is that humility has been fashioned in the heart.
Are you in a humble situation? Feel rejected and humiliated? Not promoted yet? Getting the short end of the stick? If you are then remain humble in your situation because God is hearing your prayers!
You just might be in for a promotion in the future! The Lord honors those who honor him. He promotes those who walk in humility of mind before him so keep your eyes on Jesus, serve others in love and put their needs before your own and the Lord will bless you!
Ignorance of Satan’s devices according to the Bible will give him access in our lives to kill, steal and destroy. It is not true that once we get saved then God will automatically keep us safe from demonic attacks.
The Lord Jesus specifically says that MY PEOPLE are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hoses 4:6
2 Cor. 2: 10,11 tells us that in order for Christians to not be taken advantage of by Satan then we need to know how he operates.
To “take advantage of” means to have power over …have a hold…to prey on
If we are ignorant of Satan’s schemes…plots…plans …operations, then he will take advantage of us. Christians who are ignorant of Satan’s devices can become victim to his attacks.
So what are some of Satan’s schemes? The Bible reveals many and you will have to read the Bible for yourself to find out all of them but I will show you a few main ones.
Just prior to Paul mentioning Satan’s ability to deceive us if we are ignorant he reveals something important. He says that forgiveness was needed for some one so Satan would not have an advantage.
Being unforgiving is one way that the door will open to demonic activity operating in our lives. Not only that but holding on to grudges will keep us out of heaven. Jesus said that if we do not forgive others then he will not be able to forgive us. If our sins aren’t forgiven then we cannot go to heaven.
Another device Satan uses is hindrance. Unless we are on guard and watchful unto prayer, Satan will come and try to put a wrench in anything we do. We need to be in the Spirit at all times.
Satan hindered Paul from his ministry assignment the Bible says . Once Paul was on to what Satan was up to then he prayed and the doors opened for him to carry on his assignment but nevertheless Satan gave it a shot to try and stop Paul’s outreach ministry. 1 Thess. 2:18
Another advantage Satan uses is our weakness. Satan knows how to hit below the belt so we need to know what our weakness is and ask God for his help in that area. Otherwise Satan will have a hey day with us. He will move on that weakness to try and bring destruction.
Another tactic the devil uses is enticement to lure us away from what God wants us to do and direct us through our weakness to disobey God to further our own agenda.
This can be seen in 1 Chronicles 21:1 where Satan rose up against David and enticed him to sin.
How do we stay safe against the satanic agenda? By being guarded in our minds. That is keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. Walking in forgiveness towards others at all times. Forgiveness is an act of the will and we operate in forgiveness by not retaliating but rather giving ourselves to prayer.
Keep alert ! Be on the watch for Satan is always seeking to devour. Know who your enemy really is and take authority over him in Jesus name when he tries to have any place!
Give no place to the devil. Ephesians 4:27
Sin will open a door for Satan to prey on us. Giving Satan place is translated in the Greek as giving the devil a home or room of occupancy.
Let us also call on the Lord Jesus to help us in our weak areas. He will always make a way of escape out of our temptations if we ask for one!
The word continue according to the Greek definition means to persevere diligently, attend to in exercise, wait on, adhere closely to.
So in other words Christians are being admonished to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty (persevere) carefully with much effort (diligent) show up and engage in physical activity (godly exercise) attending with close attachment ( draw near) in immediate proximity. (up close and personal)
Sounds like a mouthful but you get the point when it’s broken down.
Prayer is not always a quicky petition. When we don’t get an answer right away many of us want to give up. We think that the Lord Jesus doesn’t care about our situation because he doesn’t show up immediately and meet our need.
Well, God just isn’t a fast food God. It doesn’t work that way. There are many variables (and that’s a different message ) as to why we don’t see immediate results to our prayers.
Suffice to say, constant prayer is needed. It’s called seeking and seeking is a prerequisite for answered prayer. We seek until the answer comes and sometimes it takes an extended period of time. (DANIEL 9)
Notice in Jeremiah 29 that the Lord Jesus says that if we seek him in prayer that he will hear us. The Lord says that if with our whole heart we seek him we will find him. Our answer will come! The Lord tells us that he will deliver us from our captivity and restore us. It’s a spiritual principle. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much scriptures tell us. (James 5:16)
Seeking the Lord Jesus requires fervency! Prayers that are passionate and intense. In other words heart felt seeking bordering on desperation is required in prayer.
If there is one thing irresistible to the Lord it is sincerity and persistence prayer. Why do you think that the woman with the issue of blood was commended by Jesus? She was so desperate that she was willing to humble herself and grab on to the hem of his garment. That’s diligent prayer! (Matthew 9:20)
The unjust judge according to Jesus’ story gave the persistent seeker her request and the Lord likened that case scenario to how persistence towards God gets answers to prayer. (Luke 18:1-8)
Do you have a desperate need?
Then continue in prayer till the answer comes. It will come!
Just keep seeking, keep knocking, keep praying and one day the door is going to open wide up for you! Jesus assured us of this in his word.
That phrase is thrown around a lot in some Christian circles today so let’s just examine it from a Biblical perspective.
What does the Bible say about religion? According to Acts 26:5 Religion means (thrēskeia )ceremonial observance or traditional way of doing things.
Paul was a Pharisee who practiced the religion of a particular sect. (Heresy is the Greek word for sect.) A sect is a choice, a party, disunion.
In other words the Pharisees were a formally constituted by choice, and religious group that formed a ruling body over the society.
A Pharisee is a separatist belonging to a sect. One who separates in religious observance from other groups.
Galatians 1:13 scripture tells us that Paul practiced the Pharisee sect which transferred the precepts and traditions of ceremonial ordinances and laws according to their sectarian disunion from other groups.
Now that we know what a religious Pharisee is let us find out why Jesus was in conflict with them.
John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducee vipers. ( Matthew 23:33 ) A viper strikes suddenly and injects poison into the body of its victim. So John was pointing out that these sects injected religion or their ceremonial observances into people which he considered to be poisonous.
In other words what the religious people of his time were doing was indoctrinating their deadly heresy into others rather than the pure word of God.
What was the deadly heresies that the Pharisees were teaching?
Jesus pointed out some of them.
In his parables and encounters with the religious people of his day he pointed out that the Pharisees were separatist elitists in their practice. They had ridged ways of doing things that did not have grace for any one else’s method.
These religious people looked down on any one who did not conform to their way of thinking. The Pharisee or religious spirit is a practicing elitist. One who separates in form from any one different than they are.
The religious spirit hates non conformity. If you are different with a different gift or calling watch out because the religious spirit will strike like a viper! The religious spirit is very territorial.
The religious spirit separates from non conformists and does not like to keep company with them. If you don’t do things their way then you are not welcome.
Jesus many times pointed out to the religious leaders that they were hypocrites. Claiming to belong to God the religious spirit in actuality is serving Satan. Why? Because self will, self exaltation, and self centerness is Satan’s nature, not God’s nature.
True Christian’s are led by the Holy Spirit not by a sectarian rule book. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin in order to bring change in the heart by his love while the religious spirit brow beats and tries to force conformity to their way of doing things.
Another thing scriptures point out about the religious or Pharisee spirit is that it is jealous of those who walk closely with God . The religious spirit will always attack the spiritual person because of jealousy.
Why is the religious spirit jealous? Simply because the true Christian is led by God and not by them. The religious spirit can see that those who walk in the Holy Spirit are led of God and non conformist to the agenda of someone else . This infuriates the religious spirit.
The religious spirit will always cherry pick the Bible for their own agenda. Jesus said that the Pharisees strained at gnats while swallowing camels. They fussed over every dot and crossing of T’s in the Bible but didn’t seem to see the more important things that Jesus tried to point out to them like loving people and helping them out.
The religious spirit prefers ceremonial practices and while this may be in a traditional frame work it can also come from a Corinthian mind set as well. The religious spirit in a Corinthian church setting also has rules and ways of doing things according to their way of thinking.
Many times the religious spirit in the Corinthian church will reject the more practical type of Christian who loves to serve and wait on tables but will also oppose others not conforming to their agenda. The Corinthian religious spirit will look down on others as being less spiritual than they are.
The Pharasee according to Jesus will also put burdens on others that they won’t carry themselves. The religious spirit will many times require you to live a certain way or do a certain thing that they themselves don’t do. In other words the religious spirit doesn’t practice what it preaches.
The religious spirit will also brow beat others in their religiosity but fail to apply mercy and grace. Their ways are higher than God’s ways! They have all the answers and if you don’t like their way of doing things well you are just not welcome into their little camp.
We Christian’s throw around the religious spirit doctrine alot when we don’t like to listen to someone else’s view point and have our own heart examined. Sectarianism is a principle attribute of the religious spirit.
Finally, the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus the Bible tells us. Sounds pretty harsh but the religious spirit hates the agenda of the kingdom of God. Notice how the Pharisees conspired to take Jesus and hand him over to Rome because they were afraid of loosing their place! (John 11)
The religious spirit on pretence will attack a true Christian because of their perverted version of truth but in reality it’s because the religious spirit knows when the Holy Spirit comes on the scene it’s got to get out of the way. The religious spirit loses its place!
No more running the show! No more praises of men! No more fleesing the sheep! No more control !
So how do you know if you are really dealing with a religious spirit?
Look for the signs !
You will be disliked, trying to control you and conform you, jealous of your walk with God, nit picking you with scriptures taken out of context to brow beat and condemn you, telling you to do something they don’t do and finally rejecting you if you don’t conform to their way of thinking.
The religious spirit is a crafty one. Residing in churches, institutions and even family and friends but be of good cheer because just like Jesus overcame the religious spirit so can we !
How? Jesus resurrection power put the religious spirit in its place. Oh, the religious spirit may deny Holy Spirit power and come against it but will never be able to counterfeit it. The religious spirit will never be able to stop Holy Spirit power either for greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world !
The best way to deal with the religious spirit is to depend on the Holy Spirit !
What does it mean to judge? Many times we hear people say, Don’t judge others! Why all the fuss about being judged? Why don’t we want to be judged? First of all if we have nothing to hide then why do we worry about being judged? Second of all if some one misjudges us then the Lord will defend us. He will prove them wrong, so its really not such a big deal.
However, I will explain the principle of judging according to scriptures and leave it to you to judge !
Don’t judge unless you are willing to be judged !
Judging or making a critical assessment of another always brings that same judgment back to us according to Matthew 7:1-3
The Holy Spirit will reveal to us when we judge others how that we do the same things that we are judging them about. This is a good thing!
God’s Judgment in this life is for for our good ! Judgment is correction in righteous. 2 Timothy 3:16
When the Lord reveals to us how we walk in the same sins that we see in others then we can have empathy for the person in whom we have judged.
We can then be able to take that beam out of our own eye by repenting so that we can pray with love and understanding for the one we have judged. We can pray that the Lord will show them their sin so they can repent , forgive, and come into healing too . James 5:16
The Bible says that if we judge ourselves then we won’t be condemned with the world. 1 Cor. 11:32
Judging our own hearts keeps us humble. The deeper we look into our own affairs the less time we will have to be looking into some one else’s affairs.
God wants us to bear one another’s burden not throw stones at them. Sometimes it takes God’s judgment in our lives to develop wisdom and understanding. Gal. 6:2
We soon find out that the very thing we criticize in another person probably is in our heart in some form of the other as well.
David said that he learned righteousness by God’s judgment on him.
David judged Uriah. He thought that Uriah did not deserve a beautiful godly woman because he was just a base heathen but after God judged him he realized what a heel he was .
Uriah in actuality was a godly man. Maybe not in the same way David was but esteemed in God’s eyes non the less. Uriah was selfless, loyal and giving. He had a servant’s heart. 2 Sam. 11
Christians are called to judge righteous judgment. Its in the Bible! Not according to appearance or the limited information that we have but according to Biblical protocol. John 7:24
We may not know all the facts in a given situation and can misunderstand. So if we are judged by the standards we judge someone else then the Holy Spirit can judge us by that standard in order to reconstruct our hearts.
This principle of judgment can be a good thing if we yield to the correction. It brings the light of the Holy Spirit on our life by revealing our sins, our heart motives, and our failures. This is so that we can make (by God’s power ) adjustments in our own lives.
Judgment by others is painful but be rest assured that God is dealing with them in how they judge us as well.
It is much better to be judged by God in this life than in the next. There are no second chances in eternity. Hebrews 12:11
To judge by definition means to critically evaluate. God judges us all the time according to the Bible. That’s his job. Sometimes he even uses another person to reveal to us our sin. 1 Cor. 11 :22
1 Cor 2:15 is omitted by some modern versions of the Bible but the Greek manuscript says judge…. krino…judge…., determine, call into question, prove.
No where in the Bible does it say not to judge. In fact scriptures tell us to judge righteously and be prepared to have your own heart judged in the process. This is so that we can help the one we have had a controversy with. John 7:24
The Bible tells us to test the fruit, prove all things, be alert, be sober, watch unto prayer. 1 Thess 5:21
Many times those who don’t like to be judged are those who don’t want to deal with their sins. The Lord loves us unconditionally BUT he does not want us to stay the same. Jesus died to save us from our sin but he also saved us from the power of sin. John 3:20,21
The Lord wants us to be changed, transformed, sanctified by his Holy Spirit. Paul said he died every day to his old flesh and so must we. Roman’s 12:2
Don’t be afraid to be judged. Let the light of God shine on your heart when some one judges you. Look to see if there is some truth to what you are being judged about.
When you see a fault in someone else ask the Lord Jesus to show you how you may have some of that same stuff in your own heart. This is so that when we pray then we can identify with the person in whom we have judged. With the Lord’s compassion we are then able to love even more with God’s love that is in our hearts.
In this way we fulfill all the law of Jesus Christ by loving him and loving others also. Gal. 6:2